Over a thousand years ago, Bavarian tribes settled in the Alps between Munich and Merano and created a uniform cultural area. It is still visible in the architectural style of the houses and in the appearance of the alpine pastures. Today the area belongs to three countries: Germany, Austria and Italy. This tour combines the best of the Alps: snow-capped peaks and sun-drenched valleys, cultural towns and idyllic lakes, beer and wine...
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Although it is still a relatively young city, Munich’s charisma extends far beyond the Bavarian borders. Around the 11th century a few monks settled on the Isar – hence the name (apud Munichen – with the monks).
Because of its strategic location at a bridge and also at the intersection of two trade routes, the city soon became the residence of the Wittelsbach family who reigned as dukes, electors and kings of Bavaria. The city experienced a boom in the Baroque era and finally also in the 20th century. Munich became the capital of Art Nouveau – but also of the National Socialist movement. In 1919 Hitler already tested the demonic effect of his speeches in the Hofbräukeller. Although Munich is a high-tech location today, the Bavarian folklore is lovingly cared for, especially in the last week of September when the Oktoberfest beer festival takes place.
The attractive Neo-Renaissance villa was built in 1886 next to the Nymphenburg Palace and park, one of the most famous sites in Munich.
The 17th century palace, now open to the public, has played an important role in numerous historic events. The small, family-run hotel next door prides itself on its 23 individually designed bedrooms and friendly service. Bicycles are loaned for free, for example, and tickets for the local public transportation system for the ride downtown can be purchased at the reception desk. In spite of the quiet location, Germany`s largest beer garden is just minutes away. The hotel staff will gladly provide restaurant recommendations and assist with the planning of local activities. Indeed, the little inn was recently named a Service Hotel by the travel website Venere.
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Vehicle: VW Golf or similar (CDMR)
Location: Munich (City Office)
The scenic route will take you through the rolling hills of the Prealpine countryside past beautiful Chiemsee. One of Ludwig the Mad's (Ludwig II) most spectacular projects after Neuschwanstein is located on the island of Herrenchiemsee: An opulent palace designed as a replica of the Palace of Versailles.
There are several quaint Bavarian towns close to the route, such as Traunstein and Ruhpolding.
The city located at the northern boundary of the Alps is one the most beautiful in central Europe. The backdrop of the Alps to the south contrasts strongly with the rolling plains to the north.
The closest Alpine peak – the 1,972 m Untersberg – is only a few kilometers from the city center. The inner city, or old town, is dominated by baroque towers and churches. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is Salzburg's most famous son. The houses where he was born and also lived in are popular tourist attractions and there are many monuments remembering the “Wolferl” in the city. His family is buried in a small church graveyard in the old town.
The 19th century villa, converted into a boutique hotel, is located in a residential area south of the Kapuzinerberg.
Each of the 14 rooms is individually furnished and offers modern comfort. In the morning a rich Breakfast buffet with local and seasonal specialities awaits and in good weather can also be served on a terrace in the garden with a natural pond. Those who want can take a stroll along the Salzach and reach the oldtown in approximately 15 minutes; with the bus (line 7), it takes about five minutes.
The town with 11,000 inhabitants is the cultural center of East Tyrol. It lies at the foot of the Lienz Dolomites, where the Isel and Drau Rivers flow together and form a large estuary basin.
A special feature of the old town is the Gothic St. Andrä church, which is considered to be one of the most important buildings in East Tyrol. West of the city lies the Bruck Castle. This Habsburg castle from the 13th century now houses a local history museum.
The 4-star hotel sits in a remote location on the banks of pristine Lake Tristach, a few kilometres south of Lienz.
From Lienz excursions can be taken either to the massive Grossglockner ridge to the north or the gorgeous Dolomites to the south. The hotel manages to retain a personal touch despite its size with 42 well-appointed rooms. Carefully selected works of art hang on the walls throughout the building, even around the indoor swimming pool. The public areas are bright and airy, especially the winter garden overlooking the lake. The award-winning restaurant serves fresh fish such as trout, zander and pike from the lake. Guests can swim in the lake in the summer months. Several hiking paths lead past the hotel.
The capital of the province of Bolzano-Bozen has a distinctly Austrian flavor. It is situated in a narrow valley which was once the crossroad of several ancient trading routes.
While the baroque city center clearly shows that the region belonged to Austria for centuries, modern Bolzano represents an interesting mixture of German and Italian culture. The landscape is dominated by the fascinating Dolomites, which rise majestically to the east creating bizarre formations. Huddled at the foot of the mountains is Caldaro al Lago. The warmest lake in the Alps is surrounded by vineyards for the production of red wine.
The medieval castle atop a hill near Bolzano dates back to the year 1236. It was acquired by the Dellago family nearly 100 years ago and converted into a luxury hotel and restaurant by the current generation of Dellagos.
From this quiet perch atop a hill surrounded by vineyards guests can enjoy wonderful views of Bolzano and Catinaccio. Inside a pleasant atmosphere is created by works of folk art, bright colours and wood furnishings. Dinner on the panoramic terrace is an experience to which Mediterranean-influenced cuisine and a good wine cellar also contribute. Somewhat off the beaten track of the castle is the pool, where you can dream, read or lounge on the sun deck. Guests can also use the indoor pool, whirlpool, sauna, steam bath, solarium, tennis court and library, and Vespa excursions can be arranged.
After travelling through the Brenner Pass, a toll road, you will enter the Austrian state of Tyrol. Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol, is worth a stop to explore the narrow streets of the old town and see the famous Golden Roof. Emperor Maximilian I had the roof of gilded copper shingles made in 1494 on the occasion of his marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza, a daughter of the Duke of Milan. Just past Reutte you will cross the border to Germany.
Those wishing to avoid the heavy traffic on the Brenner Motorway can take a side route through the Özttal Alps via Meran and the Passo del Rombo. Vast mountain meadows, deep gorges, waterfalls and glaciers lie along the route.
The Allgäu between Lake Constance in the west and the Lech River in the east is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in southern Germany.
Extended moors and forests cover the north, while the southern part, sculptured by the ice age, is hilly and fertile. In the south the Allgäu borders the Alps with soaring mountain peaks and deep valleys. The Upper Swabian Baroque Road (Oberschwäbische Barockstraße) will lead you to marvellous churches and castles which harmonize wonderfully with the countryside.
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.
Much of this journey follows a scenic stretch of road that connects some of the most enchanting villages, churches and landscapes in southern Germany.
A few places worth noting along the way are the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the towns of Wildsteig, Rottenbuch, Peiting, Schongau and Hohenfurch.
Location: Munich Airport (Desk at Airport)