On this excellent tour for first-time visitors to Germany you will stay in two medieval castles while experiencing some of the country's most beautiful regions: the Rhine River, Bavaria and the Black Forest.
Rental car pick-up
Type: VW Rabbit or similar
Pick-up location: Frankfurt, Airport
During the 12th century the Dukes of Schöneburg ruled the area from this castle on a hill above the town of Oberwesel and levied duties on Rhine commerce. The castle was burned down in 1689 and lay in ruins for over 200 years until it was bought and restored by an American named Mr. Rhinelander in the early 1900s.
Today the modern, luxury hotel is owned once again by the town of Oberwesel and has been managed by the Hüttl family since 1957. It offers 20 elegant, individually furnished rooms and two suites with four-poster beds and balconies facing the Rhine River. Guests can stroll through the surrounding forests, meadows and vineyards or just relax and enjoy the one-of-a-kind views.
The 5-star hotel has been an institution in Cologne since it was first opened in 1863. In 1910 it made headlines when it began offering ensuite bathrooms with running warm water, a rarity at the time that was considered the epitome of luxury and comfort. This tradition has been proudly maintained over the last century: exactly 100 years after it began offering warm water, the hotel in the heart of Cologne was named the Hotel of the Year by one of the country's leading hotel and restaurant guides. The exceptional service extends from the "pillow card" which enables guests to select just the right pillow for a good night's rest, to the free minibar and valet parking. Two restaurants are available: the "Hansestube", serving innovative French cuisine, and the Japanese restaurant Taku, which received a Michelin Star in 2012. The rooms are surprisingly quiet despite the central location just steps from the train station and the Cathedral.
Founded by the Romans in 30 BC, Cologne is one of Germany's oldest cities. The city marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire and was therefore of great strategic and military importance to the Romans. For many centuries now it has been a leading trading and transportation hub due to its location along the Rhine River. Cologne University, established in 1388, is the second oldest and the largest university in Germany. Cologne became one of the focal points of Western culture during the Middle Ages when the bones of the Three Wise Men were brought to Cologne in 1164 after being captured from Milan. Cologne Cathedral, one of the most magnificent structures north of the Alps, was built to house these relics, although construction wasn't completed until 600 years later. The landmark was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996. Pope Benedict XVI visited the cathedral in 2005. The city boasts 12 Romanesque churches among its numerous other historical sites. Cologne is also known as the centre of the German Mardi Gras celebrations that peak during the carnival period.
Originally built in 1264 as a customs house, the hotel occupies one of the best locations in Rothenburg: on main street, next to a medieval city gate and just minutes from the central square. The current hosts, Stephan and Lilo, are the fourth generation of the same family to run the facility, which has been a hotel since 1488. The first thing guests notice is the charming entryway decorated with antiques. The bedrooms come in all shapes and sizes, and no two are alike. They all have one thing in common, however: each was personally decorated by the hostess with exquisite attention to detail. Guests can sample traditional Franconian dishes and home-brewed beer in the rustic restaurant.
The 4-star hotel with an authentic Bavarian ambience is just a few doors from the famous Hofbräuhaus in the very heart of Munich. In addition to spacious, modern bedrooms with individually adjustable air-conditioning, the property features an award-winning restaurant, a cosy bar and spa/fitness facilities. An especially popular feature is the lavish breakfast buffet. All major sites in the Munich Old Town are within easy walking distance. Parking is available directly beneath the hotel.
On a lofty summit originally selected by King Ludwig the Mad for the site of another fairy-tale castle after completion of Neuschwanstein sits a hotel which is like no other. Newly arrived guests are first struck by the endless vistas of mountains, green valleys, lakes, and forests at their feet. Then comes the hotel itself, in which every room was individually and imaginatively decorated by the owners themselves, resulting in living quarters that are not mere guest rooms but distinct creations that exude luxury, taste and comfort. Next to the hotel the ruins of Ludwig's final project still stand, within whose tranquil walls the visitor may better sense the lingering spirit of the eccentric ruler than at tourist-plagued Neuschwanstein, clearly visible in the distance. Travellers who brave the narrow road leading up to the castle will be richly rewarded.
The attractive villa built in 1872 in the late-Empire style is a registered landmark on the shore of Lake Constance. The nine bedrooms featuring lake views have been lovingly decorated and furnished with antiques. Guests can stroll along the shore promenade directly in front of the building, relax in the large garden behind it, or take cruises to various destinations around the lake. Downtown Constance is just a 15-minute walk across a bridge over the Rhine in one direction, the beautiful island of Mainau a few minutes' drive in the other. The charming hotel is also perfectly situated for day trips to Switzerland.
In business since the year 1120, the hotel in the centre of Freiburg credibly claims to be the oldest continually operated guesthouse in Germany. The property has gone through numerous architectural changes through the centuries, starting out as a Romanesque building before being converted to gothic and finally baroque style. In tune with the hotellong history, the hosts place great emphasis on traditional Black Forest hospitality. Many of the bedrooms are done in rustic country-inn style. Guests can ask to see the historical vaulted cellar. All major sites in the old town are within easy walking distance.
Heidelberg is a romantic old university town with a long pedestrian street, the Hauptstrasse, which constitutes the dynamic heart of the city. The hotel stands at the beginning of this key avenue. Its stately facade dates from 1592, the year the gold sign was imprinted that still hangs above the door. Official records show the building served as a town hall for a decade before becoming the Hotel Zum Ritter. Thanks to the hotel's impressive facade and central location, its lovely panelled dining room is popular among the throngs of tourists that flock to Heidelberg. This makes the hotel a very bustling place in the evenings. It has been extended to the rear, and in the newer wing you find ten spacious, modern bedrooms with custom-fitted furniture and floor-to-ceiling draperies. The remaining rooms vary from small single rooms to large bedrooms overlooking the busy main street. The decor is more modern than old-world.
Rental car drop off
Drop off location: Frankfurt, Airport
Rental car company: AVIS (Germany)
Type: VW Rabbit or similar (Group B)
Equipment: Air-conditioning, radio/CD, electric windows, central locking system, manual shift
Max excess/deductible: EUR 850.00