Germany isn’t all polka bands, beer gardens and wiener-schnitzel – although those things certainly give this central European country a great deal of character and flair.
There never seems to be a bad time to visit either. In spring and summer, the alpine air draws crowds to town squares and outdoor cafes, while winter is all about the Christmas markets and skiing.
Germany’s history is interspersed with stories of kings and castles, and forests and lakes, all of which have been the catalyst for many a children’s story-book tale.
Medieval towns, with their bell tower embellished cathedrals and quaint chalets, offer some of the most picturesque scenes in all of Europe, and it’s in places like this, where Germany takes on an almost magical quality.
The perfect place to begin any tour is in the Bavarian city of Munich. Marienplatz, the central square in Munich since the 1100s, is best known for the ornate, Gothic style New Town Hall. The building itself is famous for its Rathaus-Glockenspiel, a rotating show of figurines that dance and twirl with the chiming of the clock.
Nearby is a pedestrian area filled with shops and restaurants. Don’t miss Munich’s most famous restaurant, polka place and brewery, the Hofbrauhaus.
A short drive away, the picturesque town of Bamberg is just what you’d expect to find on a Back-Roads tour. Historic, and filled with charm, the Old Town area is the focus on a walking tour. Here, it’s the Old Town Hall that gets all the attention. Built on a tiny island on the River Regnitz, the building cleverly incorporates a historic bridge in its design.
From the quaint, to the spectacular, Wurzburg is home to the lavish Wurzburg Residence, an enormous palace that rivals any in Europe. The city is located on the River Main and is home to many magnificent structures.
Like any good European tour, the food, beer and wine are an important part of the journey. The countryside near Landau is where vineyard tours and wine tasting take centre stage.
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Travelling through the Black Forest by train, one can’t miss a stop at Todtmoos for a taste of the famous Black Forest gateau, a rich layered cake filled with cream and cherries that is the perfect finish to any German lunch.
The magic continues in Bavaria at Neuschwanstein, the picture-book example of 19th-century German castles and of which the Disneyland Castle was modelled. Built by King Ludwig II, the towering fortress strikes a magnificent pose on its mountaintop perch in the Bavarian forests. This is the quintessential story-book castle, and many of the rooms are open for the public to glimpse back into a time long ago.
If Neuschwanstein is the epitome of castles than the beautiful town of Oberammergau is one of the best-loved traditional German villages. Known for its spectacular Passion Play, which is only performed once a decade, the idyllic town is made up of traditional German houses and chalets that a traveller dreams about.
And if you haven’t yet found your keepsakes and souvenirs, then this is the place to shop. Charming shops line the tree and flower-lined main street while welcoming cafes, bakeries and restaurants provide plentiful options for mealtime.
A journey through Germany with Back-Roads itinerary
There are many inclusions when travelling with Back-Roads. This eight-day small-group journey is limited to just 18 guests and includes the following:
- 7 nights in boutique accommodation
- Experienced Back-Roads Driver and Tour Leader
- Premium mini-coach transportation
- Daily European-style breakfast (B), 4 evening meals (D)
- Enjoy a beer tasting at Weltenburg Abbey, the world’s oldest monastery brewery
- Travel through 37 tunnels along the Black Forest Railway to Sankt Georgen
- Learn the history behind Black Forest gâteau and indulge in a tasting
- Entrance included to all attractions in the itinerary including Weltenburg Abbey, Black Forest Railway and Neuschwanstein Castle
DAY 1 MUNICH – REGENSBURG – WELTENBURG – BAMBERG
After meeting with the group in Munich, your first stop of the tour will be Regensburg. There’ll be enough time to stop for a light lunch before you move on to Weltenburg Abbey, where we’ll be treated to a tour and beer tasting session. This evening we’ll dine together at a restaurant in Bamberg. (D)
DAY 2 BAMBERG – WÜRZBURG – ROTHENBURG
This morning we’ll take to the streets of Bamberg on a walking tour, starting with a stroll around the Old Town. Then, it’s onwards to the splendid Würzburg Residence. After taking some time to lunch in Würzburg, we’ll continue our journey along the Romantic Road, passing through pretty Weikersheim and Creglingen on our way to Rothenburg. (B)
DAY 3 ROTHENBURG – DINKELSBÜHL – NÖRDLINGEN – ROTHENBURG
Today we’ll venture out of Rothenburg and into Dinkelsbühl, a brightly coloured town, where we’ll have the chance to explore at our own pace. Nördlingen’s next! Here, we’ll have some free time to discover the town’s medieval walls, towers and parapet paths before we return to Rothenburg. (B,D)
DAY 4 ROTHENBURG – LADENBURG – LANDAU – BADEN-BADEN
We’ll leave Rothenburg behind us today and continue our journey to Ladenburg. The wine lovers among us will be in for a treat as move on to the countryside near Landau, where a vineyard tour awaits! When we’ve taken a look around, we’ll have the chance to taste some of the wine for ourselves. This afternoon, we’ll ‘press’ on to the spa town of Baden-Baden. (B)
DAY 5 BADEN-BADEN – HAUSACH – SANKT GEORGEN – TRIBERG – FREIBURG
This morning we’ll say farewell to Baden-Baden and continue on to Hausach. Here, we’ll board a train and travel the Black Forest Railway to Sankt Georgen, admiring some stunning scenery and passing through a grand total of 37 tunnels along the way. After a stop to stretch our legs in Triberg this afternoon, we’ll move on to Freiburg. (B,D)
DAY 6 FREIBERG – TODTNAU – TODTMOOS – SANKT BLASIEN – FREIBURG
After tucking into breakfast this morning, we’ll board the mini-coach and venture to Todtnau, a town nestled in the heart of the Black Forest. Our next stop of the day will be the verdant village of Todtmoos, where we’ll enjoy an included lunch together – although we recommend leaving a little room for dessert, as this afternoon there’s a gourmet experience to enjoy.
Cake lovers, rejoice – we’re off to visit a local café to learn the history (and recipe) behind the famous Black Forest gâteau. When we’ve learnt how to make the confection like a true Black Forest local, we’ll have the chance to indulge in a sample or two. Afterwards, it’s back to Freiburg, where the evening’s yours to do as you wish. (B,L)
DAY 7 FREIBURG – LINDAU – PFRONTEN
On the agenda this morning: a stop at the picturesque village of Bodman-Ludwigshafen, where you’ll have plenty of time to wander at your own pace. Later, we’ll take in some marvellous views of Lake Bodensee on our way to Lindau, where you’ll be free to lunch wherever you please. This evening we’ll make tracks to our final stop of the day: Pfronten, where we’ll settle down for a farewell dinner together at our hotel. (B,D)
DAY 8 PFRONTEN – NEUSCHWANSTEIN – OBERAMMERGAU – MUNICH
The imposing Neuschwanstein Castle, known as the ‘castle of the fairytale king’ is our first port of call today. After looking around, we’ll move on to Oberammergau, where you’ll be free to explore at your leisure. Our tour will come to a close as we return to Munich this afternoon. (B)
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YOUR GERMANY ADVENTURE BEGINS HERE
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