Fairy-tale towns and unforgettable scenery
Wander the cobbled streets of Germany's famed 'Student Prince' city, discover the breathtakingly beautiful town of Bamberg, follow the 'Romantic Road' to Rothenburg and Nordlingen, and step inside two of the astonishing Bavarian homes of 'Mad' King Ludwig as we take a tour through the villages, green pastures and towering peaks of scenic southern Germany.
Fly to Stuttgart or Frankfurt. Your Tour Manager will meet you at the airport, and our coach will carry you through the countryside to your first hotel in Markelsheim, in the Tauber Valley.
Once you've checked in, the evening is yours. The hotel's pretty restaurant will be open for dinner, or you could stroll into town and explore the traditional bars.
On the banks of the river Neckar, Heidelberg has been a centre of learning and culture since the Middle Ages. Luther defended his 95 Theses here, and the halls of its university have housed great minds from Mendeleev to Schumann, Hegel and Max Weber. Above the town, the ruins of Heidelberg Castle remain one of northern Europe's most magnificent pieces of Renaissance architecture. Discover the city's fascinating history and Baroque architecture on an included walking tour, then stroll its pretty streets or perhaps sit back and relax on an optional river cruise.
The cobbled streets and squares of Bamberg have survived the turmoil of European history remarkably intact, and today's walking tour will weave its way through the city and its history. Climb to the 12th-century Altenburg castle atop the highest of the city's hills and see the city cathedral's quartet of spires. Cross the bridges to the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) on its tiny island in the middle of the River Regnitz and explore the 19th-century half-timbered houses of Little Venice just downriver.
Germany's Romantic Road is a 220-mile route between Wurzburg and Fussen. Originally a medieval trade route it passes through some of the countries loveliest scenery and prettiest towns. Today our coach will follow the route south to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Explore the streets, squares and medieval walls on a guided walking tour, then return to the coach and continue to Nordlingen. Here an intact ring of medieval walls guard a city where the stones of the buildings contain millions of miniscule diamonds - scattered throughout the local geology by a meteor strike 15 million years ago.
Moving on, we'll head still further south, into Bavaria and past Munich, to our second hotel in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The creation of 'Mad' Ludwig II of Bavaria, Neuschwanstein castle has become an unmistakeable benchmark for a fairy-tale castle and is the highlight of today's included excursion. Discover lavish interiors inspired by the operas of Wagner, and take a walk through the forested grounds to the Marienbrucke for an unforgettable view across the treetops to the castle.
Your excursion will also include a visit to Oberammergau, best known for its once-a-decade Easter Passion Play. Here you'll have the chance to visit the theatre (payable locally) or ride to the summit of the Laber and soak up the astonishing views in one of the Laber Bergbahn's tiny cable cars on an optional excursion.
The smallest of Ludwig II's palaces, Schloss Linderhof is still surrounded by spectacular formal gardens and filled with astonishingly extravagant interiors - not to mention an artificial grotto dedicated to Venus that was once of the first spaces lit by electricity in Bavaria.
After your morning at Linderhof we'll return to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Here you'll be free to relax, explore or join our optional trip on the cog-wheel train and cable cars to the summit of the Zugspitze, Germany's tallest mountain, which towers above the landscape to the south of the town.
We'll check out of the hotel this morning, and head through the rolling Bavarian countryside to Munich airport to board the flight home.
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 2 hours.
Hotel transfer times
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
Combining hotel transfers
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Germany has introduced a room tax that ranges between 2 € and 4 € per person per night, payable directly by the guest to the hotel on check-out. You will be advised by your Tour Manager of the exact charge.
Hotel room tax
Should circumstances require, we reserve the right to accommodate you in alternative hotels, of a similar standard, nearby. Full details of your hotels will be sent with your Final Travel Documents.
Changes to your hotels