Detailed Itinerary (or download a PDF copy here)
Day 1 (Sunday, May 17)
Leaving our Frankfurt Airport hotel, we are soon in the exceedingly charming Saarland, on the lovely Saar River. We visit the amazing Saarschleife (Saar Loop), where the river, flowing northwest, abruptly reverses itself and heads southeast. Late in the day we enter venerable Saarburg, thick with half-timbered houses and a waterfall in the middle of it all. Here we check into our delightful hotel and have DINNER. OVERNIGHT – SAARBURG
Day 2 (Monday, May 18)
Today we depart for nearby Trier, the largest town in these parts and the oldest city in Germany. It was inhabited by the Celts some 1,300 years before Rome came into being. Its vibrant market square, which pulses with activity, is considered by many to be the most attractive in all of Germany. After visiting the sights, we depart for the lovely valley of the Mosel, where steep vineyards plunge down to a sparkling river. Our destination: the utterly charming riverside town of Cochem. OVERNIGHT – COCHEM
Day 3 (Tuesday, May 19)
We travel to the single best sight in the region, Burg Eltz, a massive castle rising proudly above a plunging gorge. Its walls have seen 700 years of local history, and its furnishings have remained intact since the 1500s, making Eltz the most impressive castle for many miles around. After our visit, we follow the Mosel to delightful Beilstein, a fairytale village on the river. From here, we catch a riverboat back to Cochem, where we have DINNER. OVERNIGHT – COCHEM
Day 4 (Wednesday, May 20)
The Mosel Valley boasts peaceful, half-timbered medieval villages, an idyllic river hemmed in by steep slopes, and vineyards and castles jostling each other for pride of place. On today's agenda are visits to villages along the Mosel (including Zell and Bernkastel-Kues). Along the way we're likely to see wine producers working their vertiginous vineyards. LUNCH in Zell. OVERNIGHT – COCHEM
Day 5 (Thursday, May 21)
Leaving Cochem, we are soon in Bad Kreuznach, whose Romerhalle boasts third century Roman mosaic floors. By 4 p.m. we're in Bacharach, on the Rhine River. where we check into our hotel and have DINNER. OVERNIGHT – BACHARACH
Day 6 (Friday, May 22)
Today we get to know the scenic Rhine Valley, catching a river steamer at Bacharach, disembarking at the former Roman town of Braubach and driving to Marksburg, the only medieval castle in this part of the valley that was never taken in battle. Then, still on the right bank, we come to an overlook high above the Lorelei Rocks, where ancient sailors were said to have been lured to their deaths by a river siren. OVERNIGHT – BACHARACH
Day 7 (Saturday, May 23)
Leaving Bacharach and the Rhine, our itinerary takes us to Würzburg, lying at the foot of a medieval citadel, where we enjoy free time and have lunch. Würzburg is the home of many baroque churches and the splendid Residenz Palace (1720), which boasts a huge fresco by the Venetian painter Tiepolo. Late in the day we arrive in perhaps the most charming village on our tour – Rothenburg ob der Tauber. DINNER in town. OVERNIGHT – ROTHENBURG
Day 8 (Sunday, May 24)
We have the entire day to explore Rothenburg, which hides a delight around every corner. One of the Romantic Road's oldest towns, Rothenburg overlooks the winding Tauber River from its rocky crag. Once inside the intact medieval walls, you'll encounter traffic-free streets crammed with ancient houses, narrow, cobbled lanes and bubbling fountains. DINNER. OVERNIGHT – ROTHENBURG
Day 9 (Monday, May 25)
From Rothenburg we make a day trip to two incredibly charming villages: Dinkelsbühl (ramparts and watch towers surrounding an authentic medieval town); and Nördlingen (well-preserved medieval houses, some of them a bit lopsided). We return to Rothenburg in the afternoon. OVERNIGHT ROTHENBURG
Day 10 (Tuesday, May 26)
Leaving Rothenburg, we travel south along the Romantic Road, first visiting ancient, imperial Augsburg, once the home of two great medieval merchant dynasties. Connected to Verona by the Via Claudia, an ancient Roman road, Augsburg's favorable location promoted it as a center of commerce. We find some lunch here and also visit two worthy sights – the old Town Hall (Augsburger Rathaus, 1624) and the Fuggerei (1521), a "town within a town" originally built to house the town's poorer Catholics. In the afternoon we arrive at one of the most magnificently decorated churches in Europe, opulently rococo Wies, lying in a placid meadow. Finally, at day's end, we come to the terminus of the Romantic Road at Füssen, surrounded by soaring Alps. DINNER in Füssen. OVERNIGHT – FUSSEN
Day 11 (Wednesday, May 27)
Two castles associated with "Mad" King Ludwig are nearby Hohenschwangau, a hunting palace that the Bavarian royal family occupied in the 1800s, and the most romantic castle in Germany, Schloss Neuschwanstein, built by Ludwig but ocupied by him for only six months. Visiting these imposing palaces adds to our understanding of the Bavarian royal court, caught between the enormous power of the Prussian and Austrian empires. LUNCH today. OVERNIGHT FUSSEN
Day 12 (Thursday, May 28)
We leave Füssen but still have one more day in the Bavarian Alps. In the morning we visit the most gracious of the castles built in the 19th century at the order of King Ludwig – Linderhof. This lovely palace, modeled after Versailles, gives a glimpse of the life of the supposedly Mad King. Then it's on to charming Mittenwald, where stucco houses boast centuries-old wall paintings of local scenes. Here the 18th-century St. Peter and St. Paul Church is famed for its colorful frescoes. Near day's end we arrive at our hotel in the vicinity of Munich Airport, convenient for flights home tomorrow. OVERNIGHT – MUNICH AIRPORT AIRPORT
Getaway day (Friday, May 29)
We depart Munich Airport today for our flight home.
MEALS Tour includes breakfast every day, as well as eight other meals (lunches and dinners), as indicated in BOLD CAPS on the itinerary.
Hotel Saarburgerhof, Saarburg
Hotel Cochemer Jung, Cochem
Hotel Alte Mühle, Bacharach
Hotel Markusturm, Rothenburg
Hotel Sonne, Füssen
Hotel Mövenpick, Munich Airport
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS Subject to availability.
* TOUR PRICING Expected tour cost of $4,295 may change, although this is not likely, as fluctuations in foreign currency rates may make a surcharge necessary. Call us for details - (800) 676-1247.
ITINERARY Details of this preliminary itinerary could change. A final itinerary will be issued at trip departure.
SIGHTSEEING All sightseeing listed in itinerary is included as part of the tour.
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