Germany's South: Rhine River, Bavaria, Black Forest

Cobble stone streets and timber-framed houses in the medieval town of Rothenburg, the fairy tale castle of Neuschwanstein, the romantic Rhine Valley and a towering gothic cathedral: This tour is designed for first time visitors. You will experience a mix of beautiful countryside and vibrant cities. If you can spend a few more days, why not add-on a stay in Berlin?

This trip will be customized according to your wishes.

From Frankfurt a. Main to Rothenburg

Rental car pick-up

Rental car pick-up

Rental car pick-up
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Company: Europcar
Vehicle: VW Polo or similar (EDMR)
Loca­tion: Frankfurt Airport (Desk at Airport)

From Frankfurt to Rothenburg

186 km | 3:00 h


Forest, poverty and thieves
The Spes­sart in the Mainviereck (Main-square) comprises the largest contiguous area of mixed decid­uous forests in Germany. It lies between Rhön, Vogelsberg and Odenwald about 55 km east of Frankfurt and 40 km west of Würzburg. The highest mountain is the Geier­sberg with 586 meters. In the year 839 it is mentioned for the first time – as Spehte­shart, meaning some­thing like “Spechtswald” (woodpecker forest). At that time it was an impe­rial forest and was used for hunting. In the following centuries the archbishops of Mainz owned the forest. They did not allow settle­ment until the 12th century. Later several lords of the manor shared the dominion, which favoured the emer­gence of bands of robbers and thieves. Docu­mented are the Spes­sart robbers at the beginning of the 19th century. They were immortal­ized in 1827 by Wilhelm Hauff's story “Das Wirtshaus im Spes­sart” and in 1958 by Kurt Hoffmann's film of the same name. Until today the triad forest, poverty and Spes­sart robbers has remained in the aware­ness of the people.


Castles and gardens in the former bishop's resi­dence
The town in Lower Franconia lies at the conflu­ence of the Main and Aschaff rivers in the very west of the Spes­sart region. The old town is dominated by an imposing Renais­sance building, the red sand­stone facades of which are reflected in the River Main. Orig­inally, Johannisburg Castle was the seat of the electors of Mainz. Together with the colle­giate church and the Main bridge, which was an important customs station in the Middle Ages, it forms a listed ensemble that covers most of the old town.


Snow White and a half-timbered town on the Main
Magnif­i­cent half-timbered build­ings char­ac­terize the image of the Old Town on the Main. The nucleus of the city was the church of St. Michael. Together with the surrounding build­ings, the church was forti­fied in the early Middle Ages, which can still be seen today in the walled-in area and the small gate to Kapuzin­ergasse. The Kurmainzer castle with its four towers was built in 1340 by Count of Rieneck and later provided with ditch and wall, both of which are still well preserved. The people of Lohr claim that Snow White was born in the castle. In any case, it has been housing the Spes­sart Museum since 1972.


Medieval jewel on the Tauber river

In this Middle Franco­nian town on the Tauber river time seems to have stood still since the 30-year war. It now is a world-famous tourist attrac­tion with narrow cobbled streets, tall Gothic gabled houses, churches with signif­icant high altars and a completely preserved city wall with numerous watchtowers: The cityscape of the free impe­rial city has become the epitome of German romanticism.

If you stay in one of the historic hotels in the city, make sure to partic­ipate in the guided tour with a medieval night-watchman.

Accommodation: A Tollhouse from the year 1264

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast | 1x parking

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.


Baroque wine village with preserved city walls
Iphofen lies at the foot of the Schwanberg surrounded by vine­yards and ancient villages. The first Silvaner vine was planted in the area in 1692. Founded in 751, the enchanting town still features narrow cobbled streets and timber-frame houses (Fachw­erkhäuser) enclosed by a mighty town wall. The numerous wine festivals are held in front of the baroque city hall. Although almost as well-preserved as Rothenburg, Iphofen is less well known and thus less touristy. Many hiking trails lead into the nearby Steigerwald.

Out and about with the night-watchman

Guided tour through Rothenburg
This entertaining one-hour tour of old town with Rothenburg ob der Tauber's night-watchman informs about the history of Rothenburg: from its beginn­ings to the mirac­u­lous protec­tion from the bombard­ments during World War II.

Bad Windsheim

Baking bread and brewing in the Franco­nian Open-Air Museum
A tour of the Franco­nian Open-Air Museum is like a journey through time – through 700 years of Franco­nian everyday history: more than 100 build­ings, farms, craftsmen's houses, mills, brew­eries, sheep farms, an office building, school building and noble castles as well as barns, stables, bakeries and drying houses convey how the rural popu­la­tion of Franconia lived and worked in earlier times. The houses are arranged in six groups, so that one can walk from village to village just like in past times. Guided tours and changing events from bread baking and basket weaving to fencing courses take place.

From Rothenburg to Munich

200 km | 3:00 h

The eastern route will take you past Nurem­berg before turning south to Munich. The former “Free City” crowned by the Impe­rial Castle is worth a visit.
Romantic Road: From Rothenburg take the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) south to Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen, then cont­inue to Munich via Donauwörth and Augsburg.

Rothenburg, Dinkelsbühl and Nördlingen are the only three towns in Germany with fully intact medieval city walls.

Upper Bavaria

“The true Bavaria” between the Alps and the Danube
Upper Bavaria is consid­ered to be the real Bavaria, the borders of which have changed several times over the centuries and have not taken tribal or language borders into account. In partic­ular, there is no specific Upper Bavarian dialect. The term “Oberbayern” first appeared in 1255 and today Upper Bavaria is only one of several admin­is­tra­tive districts in Bavaria, bordering the Upper Palatinate to the east, Franconia to the north and Swabia to the west. Because of its natural beauty and cultural attrac­tions, the region between the Danube and the Alps attracts many visitors from Germany and abroad.

Altmühl Valley

Picturesque valley dotted with medieval villages
The Altmühl River, a trib­utary of the Danube, mean­ders through a lush valley at its lower end. The valley and the surrounding medieval villages are all part of the largest natural park in Germany. Of the towns along the river, Eichstätt is one of the most picturesque. Founded in 908, the city boasts a treasure-filled Roma­nesque cathedral on the magnif­i­cent Resi­den­zplatz, a square lined with baroque and rococo palaces.


City for the Mozart and Brecht enthu­siasts
The second oldest German city after Trier is named after the Emperor Augustus. Because of its strategic loca­tion on the main route to Italy, it quickly rose to a free impe­rial city and an important commer­cial center in the Middle Ages. The Roma­nesque cathedral dates back to this time and on its south side one can admire the “prophet-windows” which are just as old – the only ones world-wide. Also worth seeing are the “Fuggerei”, the oldest social housing devel­op­ment in the world that has been inhabited since 1523, as well as the house of the Mozart family and the birthplace of Bertold Brecht.


Tech, art and folklore

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.

Accommodation: A Villa at Nymphenburg Palace

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.


Bavaria's picture book land
The land on the Isar is also called “Bavaria's Picture Book Land”. In front of the mighty mountain scenery in the south with its deeply cut valleys, a blooming landscape spreads out with blue lakes, char­ac­teristic places, splashing streams and gentle hills. The main town of Bad Tölz lies on the Isar river. The spa was formed at an iodine spring. The old town around the curved Markts­traße with its magnif­i­cent gabled houses is worth a visit. In the novel “Der Jäger von Fall” (The Hunter of Fall) Ludwig Ganghofer set a literary monu­ment to the inhab­i­tants of the Isarwinkel for their love of their home­land and thus also made the river landscape known trans-regional.

Nymphenburg Castle

Time Travel to the Bavarian Monarchy
A visit to the castle that Elector Ferd­inand Maria once gave his wife on the occa­sion of the birth of the heir to the throne is a journey through time to the Bavarian monarchy. Two shady avenues lead to the castle, between them lies the Nymphenburg Canal. In summer it belongs to the swans, in winter to the ice skaters. At the end the half a kilometer wide castle rises. The 230-hectare English castle park with its streams, canals and bridges looks like a fairy tale forest. Today the castle houses four museums.


Meeting point and entrance gate to the shopping mile
The semicircular Karlsplatz, better known as Stachus, is the gateway to Munich's trendy pede­s­trian zone. Here you can find several S-, U- and tram lines, cars, buses, cyclists and pede­s­trians. Some only want to cross the old town, others start their city stroll here in the pede­s­trian zone. Or go shopping in the Stachus Passagen. The large fountain with its water jets invites you to cool off on hot summer's days.

From Munich to Pfronten

150 km | 2:30 h

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 towns of Hohenfurch, Schongau, Peiting, Rottenbuch and Wildsteig and the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


A miracle and rococo perfec­tion
On June 14, 1738, the farmer's wife Maria Lory saw tears in the eyes of a wooden figure depicting the suffering Jesus at the scourge column. This miracle soon attracted thou­sands of pilgrims. For the"Pilgrimage to the Scourged Saviour on the Meadow" a new church became neces­sary: the Wieskirche. From 1745 to 1754 Dominikus Zimmer­mann created the oval church, which nowa­days is regarded as Rococo of the highest perfec­tion. Today the Wieskirche is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts one million visitors from all over the world every year, espe­cially on the Festival of the Tears of Christ on the Sunday following 14 June. Concerts take place during summer.


UNESCO World Heritage Site
On June 14, 1738, the farmer's wife Maria Lory saw tears in the eyes of a figure depicting the suffering Jesus on the scourging column – the beginning and reason for pilgrim­ages to the Wies. From 1745 to 1754, Dominikus Zimmer­mann built a church for this purpose, which today is one of the most famous rococo churches in the world, and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. Located south­east of Steingaden in the Bavarian district of Weilheim-Schongau, the so-called “Pfaffenwinkel”, the Wieskirche is under the juris­dic­tion of the diocese of Augsburg. It attracts numerous visitors every year not only because of its symbolism but also because of its furnish­ings. Among the jewels are the altar­piece by the Munich court painter Balthasar Albrecht and the organ, which is based on a slider chest organ from 1757, of which 475 pipes are still preserved today.

Schönegger Käsealm

Moor walk and Brotzeit
From the Wieskirche the Brettlesweg runs through the Wiesfilz. The board­walk leads through a moist bog with many ponds. After a few minutes you reach the Schönegger Käsealm, where you can buy several dozen kinds of cheese, sausage, fresh hay milk and farm­house bread. Every­thing is from their own produc­tion. Or you can enjoy a Schönegger Brotzeit (snack) at one of the sunny tables. (There and back: 3.4 kilome­ters, 1:30 hour, up and down 52 meters)


Baroque Churches and pre-alpine Hills

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.

Accommodation: A remote mountain-top castle

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.


Castle and old town at the foot of the Alps
The town is located in the Eastern Allgäu on the river Lech, which exits spectac­u­larly from a gorge between Ammergauer and Allgäu Alps into their foothills. That's why it has its name. The Romans called the settle­ment on the Via Augusta “Fauces”, which means “gorge”. Today Füssen marks the southern end of the Romantic Road and is a good starting point to visit the Bavarian royal castles. Worth seeing is the old town with its gabled houses and the High Castle, which lies on a steep rock high above the city.


Health resort with cable car to the Breit­enberg
The health resort on the northern edge of the Allgäu Alps is crossed by the River Vils and consists of 13 indi­vidual villages. The landmark is the late baroque church of St. Nicholas in Pfronten-Berg. From Pfronten-Steinach a cable car takes you to the Hochalpe (1502 m) and from there a chairlift goes on to the Breit­enberg (1838 m). From there you have a beau­tiful view in all direc­tions.


From medieval castle to royal summer resi­dence
Hohenschwangau Castle, then also known as Schwanstein Castle, was first mentioned in docu­ments in the 12th century. It was owned by the Knights of Schwangau until the 16th century, after which it changed hands several times and was severely damaged in various wars. In 1832 the later King Maxi­m­ilian II, father of King Ludwig II, acquired it and had it rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style according to orig­inal plans. The Bavarian royal family used Hohenschwangau as a summer and hunting resi­dence. King Ludwig II spent his child­hood here and used it as his summer resi­dence until his death in 1886.


Mountain with a view between Germany and Austria
On the border between Germany and Austria lies the 1,986 meter high Aggenstein. From the Breit­enbergbahn base station you can hike along a scenic trail to the Bad Kissinger hut. The last part to the summit is a secured climb. You can take a break at the Bad Kissinger hut. The ascent to the summit requires sure-foot­ed­ness and concen­tra­tion. At the top you have a pano­ramic view over the Tannheimer mountains. On your way down you pass the Hochalphütte, where you can stop again. (return: 10.7 kilome­ters, 5 hours, up and down: 1172 meters)


Spectac­ular exit of the River Lech from the Alps
The waterfall near Füssen is a unique natural monu­ment of the Bavarian Alps. The water masses of the River Lech, fed from the Alps, plunge over five steps twelve metres into the depth. Below the Lech Falls, the river narrows and enters the Lech Gorge. It is the only one in the entire Bavarian Alpine region through which a larger Alpine river can still flow freely and unim­peded by man. From the Lechfall car park you can take a tour of the royal castles, which leads to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau through magnif­i­cent landscape. (return: 13 kilome­ters, 6 hours, up and down 522 meters)

From Pfronten to Konstanz

138 km | 3:30 h (including ferry crossing)

The route leads along the pano­ramic German Alpine Road, one of the most scenic stretches in Germany, to Lake Constance.

In Lindenberg you may want to stop to sample the famous Lindenberg Cheese. From Lindau you will trace the entire north shore of the lake around to the city of Konstanz in the southwest corner.

Lake Constance region

Swabian Sea against a high mountain backdrop
Europe's third largest lake is widely consid­ered one of its most beau­tiful, thanks to its incomparable Alpine setting. Yet what makes the freshwater lake truly unique is its geograph­ical posi­tion between three countries: Austria, Switz­er­land and Germany. Oddly, it has never been estab­lished what part of the lake belongs to which country, thus making it impos­sible to deter­mine what country one is offi­cially in during a boat ride. The River Rhine flows through the lake, entering at the east end, passing through the city of Konstanz and exiting near the medieval Swiss town Stein am Rhein. The romantic island of Mainau with its landscaped gardens and sculp­tured flowerbeds is worth an excur­sion. The little town of Stein am Rhein, the Swiss answer to Rothenburg just 28 km west of Konstanz, should not be missed.


Lookout between Allgäu and Tyrol
The 1178 meter high Oberjochpass is only a few hundred meters away from the Austrian border. It is an important link between the Allgäu and Tyrol. Those who drive the winding Jochs­traße between Hinde­lang and Oberjoch, can already marvel at the view of the Allgäuer Alps, while Hinde­lang and Oberdorf lie below.


Sailing and swimming in the Allgäu natural lake
The natural lake to the west of Immenstadt covers nearly 2.5 square kilome­tres and is crossed by the river Konstanzer Ach. Other trib­utaries are the hill­side streams in the south. An area of outstanding natural beauty has been estab­lished all around the lake. The Alpsee is great for sailing and surfing because of the valley running east­wards offering passage for the prevailing west­erly winds. This often leads to strong turbu­lence; the wind direc­tion can change very quickly. There are bathing opportu­ni­ties in three places: on the south-west, south-east and eastern shore.


Following the torrent on wooden footbridges and rock stairs
North­east of Sonthofen, the Starzlach has dug a wild and romantic ravine for many thou­sands of years. The torrent rises at an alti­tude of 1070 metres and then rushes through the picturesque gorge. It plunges over several waterfalls, which provide cool­ness in summer and freeze to bizarre ice curtains in winter. Wooden footbridges, rock stairs and even shorter tunnels have made the wild gorge acces­sible. (return 2:30 hours, 3,6 kilome­ters, up and down 250 meters)


By cable car to the local mountain of Ober­staufen
The 1,834 meter high mountain is the highest peak of the foothills of the Allgäu Alps. Because of its exposed loca­tion it is easy to reach and offers a great view of the mountains and the lush green foothills from above. The Hochgratbahn leads up the mountain. One can, for example, take the cable car up the hill and, on the way back, walk to the valley station via the Nagelfluhkette. (return: 11.3 kilome­ters, 4:30 hours, up and down: 960 meters)


2000 years of history at Lake Constance

Despite its two thou­sand year history the city on the southern shore of Lake Constance is vibrant. This is due to the Univer­sity, which attracts many young people, to the theaters and concerts.

Since 1993 the harbor is dominated by a massive statue that rotates once around its own axel every four minutes. A nine meter high female figure with a plunging neck­line holds two gnomes in her hands. This is the legendary pros­titute Imperia and the two gnomes are the Emperor and the Pope. During the Council of Constance 1414-1418 she slept – and played – with both. Jan Hus, who criti­cized the power and demo­r­al­izing influ­ences of concu­bines within the Roman Church most violently, was burned at the end of the Council in Constance at the stake.
The old town around the cathedral and the town hall is espe­cially beau­tiful and inter­esting.

Accommodation: A former Dominican Convent in Constance

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast | 1x parking

On a small private island on the shores of Lake Constance lies the former Dominican Convent. Most of the comfort­able rooms have beau­tiful views of the garden or the lake.

Amazing wall paint­ings dating back to the 13th century can be admired in the corridors. A short stroll of only three minutes will take you into the Old Town of Constance. An exten­sive Breakfast is served in the restau­rant which also offers interna­tional cuisine and seafood for dinner. The Dominikan­er­stube is known for its regional dishes and when the weather is nice coffee and cake await on the terrace. The bar is named after Count Ferd­inand von Zeppelin who was born here.


Zeppelin plant on the northern shore of Lake Constance
This town on the northern shore of Lake Constance named after the first King of Württem­berg was only estab­lished in 1811. Because of free trade priv­i­leges with Switz­er­land the city grew rapidly and attracted indus­trial­ists and tourists, including the Russian Tsar Alexander II. In the early 20th century the Graf von Zeppelin from Konstanz set up his airship factory in Friedrichshafen. This was converted into arms facto­ries in the Third Reich, but today they belong to Airbus.


Magnif­i­cent gardens in Lake Constance
Due to its magnif­i­cent gardens and park­land the 45-hectare island at Konstanz is also known as “Island of Flowers”. The favor­able climate contributes to the thriving of palm trees and other trop­ical plants. In March the flower season opens with an orchid exhi­bi­tion. There­after blos­soming tulips, narcissi and hyacinths have a turn to show off their beauty before being replaced by rhodo­dendrons and azaleas. Summer is the time for roses and in autumn the dahlias develop their splendor. In the all-year-open butterfly house one can stroll around at 26 degrees and 90 percent humidity, marveling at the exotic vegeta­tion and cascading waterfalls.

Lake Dwelling Museum Unteruhldingen

Life 6,000 years ago near Lake Constance
The open-air museum with 23 recon­structed houses from the Stone Age is located directly on Lake Constance. In the replica pile dwellings on the edge of a nature reserve, the history of the early farmers and traders in the foothills of the Alps is shown in six villages. On footbridges you enter the world of the Neolithic and Bronze Age. During a tour one can learn a lot about everyday life 3000 to 6000 years ago. How was fire made or flour ground? Touching is not forbidden, but encour­aged to enhance the learning expe­r­i­ence.

Hoher Hirschberg

View of the Alpstein mountains and the pre-Alpine landscape of Appen­zeller­land
The ascent to the Hoher Hirschberg begins from the so-called meeting point. A large part of the route leads along a narrow asphalt road, so that the tour is easy to walk on despite the constant incline. A good basic condi­tion is required never­the­less.
The hike leads through the hilly landscape of the Appen­zeller­land, which could not be any more typical for Switz­er­land. You will encounter grazing cows on green meadows and rustic half-timbered houses nestled in the valleys.
Once you reach the top, a magnif­i­cent view of the Alpstein mountains opens up with the Säntis massif in focus. A restau­rant invites you to rest and refresh your­self before you head back downhill and back to the starting point.

(3:00 hrs, 7.8 km, eleva­tion change: 250 m)

From Konstanz to Freiburg

126 km | 2:30 h
The rela­tively short leg allows enough time for a scenic drive through the heart of the Black Forest. Beau­tiful Lake Titisee is an excel­lent place to stop for coffee.

Black Forest

Fragrant meadows, dark forests
Germany's south-western corn­er­stone is about 160 kilome­ters long and between 20 and 60 kilome­ters wide. The descent towards the Rhine is steep while the tran­si­tion into the Neckar and Danube Valleys to the east is a more gentle one. With its fragrant meadows, dark forests and crystal clear waters, the region is still the epitome of the perfect world. The Black Forest is ideal for leisure activists: hiking, mountain biking, climbing and white­water rafting is just as popular as visiting one of the many thermal baths between Baden Baden and Bad Griesbach.

Upper Rhine

Splendid cities and natural reserves
The Upper Rhine extends from the Rhine knee near Basel to the Rhine knee near Mainz. The region includes the German-French-Swiss border area with Alsace, north-western Switz­er­land, southern Palatinate and part of Baden. Since the Stone Age, the plain between the Black Forest and the Vosges is one of the most important transit areas in Europe. The Romans were the first to system­at­ically build roads. In the Middle Ages there was a trade route between Northern Italy and Flan­ders. Great cities such as Strasbourg, Colmar and Freiburg bear witness to the wealth of the region. But until the 19th century, unpre­dictable floods threat­ened every civi­l­iza­tion. It was not until the straight­ening of the Rhine in the 19th century that the problem was contained. In some places, however, there are still flood­plain forests and oxbow lakes, which are protected.


A view from Lake Constance to the Swiss Alps
Towering above Lake Constance is the local hill of Singen, crowned by a ruin. The 693 meter high Hohentwiel offers great views: From the impres­sive fortress the eye roams from Lake Constance across the rolling hills of the Hegau to the chain of summits of the Swiss Alps. For the last 9,000 years people have been settling on these slopes of the volcanic mountain. Farmers from the Neolithic period, artists from the Bronze Age and the Celts have all left their traces. A short one-hour walk leads from downtown Singen to the summit.

Forest nature trail Häusern

About the biocoenoses in the Black Forest
More than 50 display boards inform about the biocoenoses in the mixed forest, among them the bats, the forest mush­rooms and the birds in the Upper Black Forest. Anyone can take part in a forest quiz. The trail starts at the Felsenweg. From there it cont­inues across the Scheibenfelsen to the sports field of Häusern. Passing the sports field, we follow the signs. A short detour to the Fuchsfelsen (Fox Rock) is optional. From there you have a wonderful view. Through Gold­egasse we return to the starting point. (return: 2 kilome­ters, 1 hour, up and down: 30 meters)


In the footsteps of charcoal makers and glass carriers
There have been glass­works in the remote Windberghochtal ever since the 12th century. Their fragile prod­ucts were trans­ported with great care through the Black Forest. The glass carriers with their custom-made “backpack cupboards” were special­ized in this. The hike passes several huts and leads through a magnif­i­cent wilder­ness with waterfalls and ancient forest. In good weather you have a wonderful view up to the Alps. (return: 14.1 kilome­ters, 5 hours, up and down: 372 meters)


Green university town in the warm Upper Rhine Valley

The city in southwestern Germany which lies in the Upper Rhine Valley between the French Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest to the east, enjoys a pleasant warm climate.

Its story begins with a castle (Freiburg – “free castle”) of the Zähringer Duke in 1008. Today the vibrant univer­sity town with over 30,000 students is a stronghold in the world for solar energy research and one of the few German cities with a “green” mayor. The picturesque, traffic-free old town with its magnif­i­cent cathedral lends itself to a leisurely stroll, to shop or to dine. South of the city the Schauins­land rises, – one of the most beau­tiful mountains in the southern Black Forest. And a few kilome­ters north the Kais­er­stuhl (Emperor’s Chair), a range of hills where rare plants and excel­lent wines grow, emerges from the Rhine plains.

Accommodation: A Park Hotel in Freiburg

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast | 1x Parking garage

Culture and Liter­a­ture play a mayor part not only in the region but also in the family run hotel. Over the years many authors and artists have come to stay and today each room has its own literary patron saint with a small selec­tion of books and artwork – often dedicated – on display.

At recep­tion a vast collec­tion of books, written by former famous guests, is avai­l­able to browse. The hallways are adorned with photog­raphy art work from the Black Forest and the surrounding area. The loca­tion is central: just a few steps lead to the pede­s­trian zone and every­thing Freiburg has to offer. In the morning the sumptuous Breakfast is a great start into the day.


From poor­house to hiking paradise
After the Hochrheinbahn went into oper­a­tion in the middle of the 19th century, the region between St. Blasien and the Alb was marginal­ized. Mining oper­a­tions and ironworks became unprof­itable. What remained were the farmers, charcoal burners and lumberjacks. At this time the name “Hotzenwald” came up. It refers to the simple costume of the poor forest people. “Hotzen” was the name for the men's three-quarter-length pants. Today, the area in the extreme south­east of the Black Forest is a preferred holiday destina­tion. The wild and romantic gorges of the Wehra, Murg and Alb are a paradise for hikers. The south-facing plateaus offer magnif­i­cent views over the Hochrhein, the Swiss Jura and the highest peaks of the Alps.


Distant views of Mont Blanc
To the south of Freiburg lies a mountain peak called Schauins­land (“look into the country”); with 1284 meters one of the best view­points in the Black Forest. Espe­cially in the fall, when the mountains rise “above the clouds” pheno­m­enal views open up: to the Vosges, the Hornisgrinde and the Bernese Alps, even to Mont Blanc. Those who do not want to hike to the summit can take the Schauins­land-Tram.

Emperor's Chair

Sunshine, wine and walking
North of Freiburg lies the Kais­er­stuhl (“Emperor's Chair”), a group of hills that rise up from the Rhine Valley. Its name is most likely owed to King Otto III, who held court at Sasbach in 994 and later became emperor. Germany's warmest region is famous for its white wines, but also for its great variety of orchids. Wild hyacinths grow between the vines, irises bloom on the slopes and green lizards and mantises live in the meadows. The best way to explore this sunny area is on foot via the 22-kilometer Kais­er­stuhl-Path which leads from Endingen to Ihringen.


Beau­tiful views from the highest mountain of the Black Forest
At 1,493 metres, Feldberg is not only the highest mountain in the Black Forest but also in Germany not counting the Alps. A nature reserve has been estab­lished around the summit with its subpolar vegeta­tion. Espe­cially during inver­sion weather condi­tions during winter you have sensa­tional views. Then the Vosges mountains pile up on the other side of the cloudy sea, while in the south the snow-capped Alps glitter – from the Zugspitze to the Bernese Upper Alps. In the House of Nature, which also serves as the admin­is­tra­tive seat of the Southern Black Forest Nature Park, there is a perma­nent, inter­ac­tive exhi­bi­tion. Behind the house begins the nature trail “Wichtelpfad im Auer­hahnwald”. (return: 2.2 kilome­ters, 0:45 hours, up and down 60 meters)

From Freiburg to Heidelberg

193 km | 2:30 h

From Freiburg the route will head north along the entire west edge of the Black Forest National Park. One of the oldest German spas is located towards the north end of the Black Forest: Baden-Baden.

Remnants of Roman baths show that the natural springs of Baden-Baden have been valued by the priv­i­leged classes for over 2,000 years.


Germany's fruit garden on a Roman road
The Strata Montana (“mountain road”), as the Romans called their north-south road between the Upper Rhine and Odenwald, leads from Darmstadt in southern Hesse via Heidelberg to Wiesloch in Nordbaden. The 68-kilometer-long historic road is today the national road, B3. Bergs­traße is also the name of its lovely surround­ings. A mild and sunny climate, an early spring and fertile soil make it one of the richest fruit gardens in Germany with viti­cul­ture, fruits, almonds, sweet chestnuts and walnuts. Mediterranean plants such as figs and olive trees thrive here as well.


At the meeting place of two cultures
The capital of Alsace (Elsaß) on the western bank of the Upper Rhine is located at the meeting place of two cultures and is not the seat of the Euro­pean Parlia­ment only by chance. The Roman settle­ment quickly devel­oped into an important trading center and was one of the most splendid cities of the German Empire in the Middle Ages. Mystics and human­ists lived here as did reformers and first-class arti­sans. Johannes Gutenberg devel­oped his first printing press in the shadow of the cathedral. Goethe and Herder studied at the Univer­sity. 1681 the city was occu­pied by Louis XIV and remained French until 1871 (Franco-German War). After the 1st World War, the city fell back to France. The historic center on the Grande Isle consists of picturesque half-timbered houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. The impres­sive cathedral, one of the most signif­icant monu­ments of Western archi­tec­ture, towers at its center. The entire old town has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Black Forest High Road

Holiday route through the Black Forest National Park
Germany's oldest holiday route runs through the northern Black Forest and is part of the Bundess­traße 500, which begins in Baden-Baden and climbs up steeply to the main ridge of the northern Black Forest, reaching it at Bühler­höhe. On a rock there is a small church of St. Mary, popu­larly known as the Adenauer Chapel, with glass windows worth seeing. When the weather is clear, one has a comprehen­sive view over the Rhine plain to the Vosges.

From Bühler­höhe, the elevated road runs from 800 to over 1000 meters above sea level. Near Sand am Mehliskopf an all-weather bob run is in oper­a­tion year round. Here is also the junc­tion to the nearby Schwarzenbachtalsperre and to the cross-country skiing centre Herrenwies.
Below the highest mountain in the northern Black Forest, the 1164-metre-high Hornisgrinde, the road reaches the almost circular Mummelsee, around which leads a short plank track.

The admin­is­tra­tion of the Black Forest National Park, which the Black Forest High Road crosses over long distances, is located in the nature conser­va­tion centre at Ruhestein. To the west of Ruhestein, the only via ferrata in the northern Black Forest leads over the Karlsruher Grat. A few kilome­tres further south along the road lies the Lothar Trail, which demon­s­trates the consequences of hurricane Lothar. Over the heights of the Schliffkopf and the Kniebis the road finally leads to Freu­denstadt, where it ends.


Last flood­plain forest on the Upper Rhine
When the Rhine was still a trib­utary of the Rhone and flowed into the Mediterranean, dewing Glet­zscher had formed a huge lake between the Black Forest and the Vosges. Later, after the Rhine had dug its way through the barrier of the Taunus Mountains, the lake became a wetland biotope with large riparian forests and a maze of water arms with an extremely diverse fauna and flora. When the Upper Rhine was straight­ened and tamed in the 19th century, only Taubergießen remained of the area. With almost 2,000 hectares of land, it is today the largest nature reserve in Baden-Württem­berg. Several hiking trails lead through the “last jungle on the Rhine”. Boat trips with tradi­tional fishing boats are also offered. A popular circular route is the Swamp Beaver Route (round trip: 13 kilome­tres, 3 hours, up and down: 20 metres).


Romantic wine-growing town on the Roman road
The romantic wine-growing town southwest of Baden Baden was located on the Roman road from Strasbourg to Mainz. The magnif­i­cent houses and the partially preserved city wall bear witness to the wealth of the Middle Ages. Above the ceme­tery there is a statue of Erwin von Steinbach, who was involved in the construc­tion of Strasbourg Cathedral as a builder, and died in Strasbourg in 1318. If you walk from Baden Baden, you pass the cosy Walde­necksee. Via walkways and narrow paths one follows the forest sports trail after the hut to Varnhalt. (There: 8.4 kilome­ters, 2 hours, up: 140 meters, down: 250 meters)


Local Mountain of Baden Baden
The 670 meter high mountain four kilome­ters east of Baden Baden offers a great view over the Rhine Valley. It is named after the ancient Roman god of trade, to whom a Roman votive stone found on the summit is dedicated. If you don't want to go up on one of the many hiking trails, you can take the Merkurbergbahn from 1913. At the lookout tower there is a mountain inn. A hiking trail leads through the species-rich mixed forests and on to the bizarre rocks at the Battert. (return 16,8 kilome­ters, 5:30 hours, up and down: 680 meters)


Romantic university town on the Neckar

The capital of the Palatinate (Kurpfalz) is at the point where the Neckar coming from the Odenwald enters the Rhine valley.

It is consid­ered the cradle of German Romanticism and has inspired poets such as Brentano, Arnim or Eichendorff. The city is mentioned for the first time at the end of the 12th century. 200 years later the univer­sity was estab­lished and the castle under Pala­tine Count Rupert was built. In 1693 the town and castle were destroyed and rebuilt in the 18th century in baroque style. Rising majes­tically above the roofs of the old town are the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle – the most spectac­ular in its loca­tion, size and beauty in all of Germany. The clas­sical-romantic view of Heidelberg's Old Town and the castle can be enjoyed from the Philosphengärtchen (Philoso­phers' Garden) and along the Philoso­phers’ Way on the north bank of the River Neckar.

Accommodation: A boutique hotel on the River Neckar

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

On entering the rooms in this new boutique hotel guests are first struck by the stunning views of Heidelberg from every window. At night the illu­minated castle and Old Town spread out before you will almost seem unreal. For more unre­stricted pano­ramic views you can relax on the rooftop lounge, or spend the after­noon or evening even higher up in the hotel's private vine­yard – with a well-stocked picnic basket provided by your host.

After admiring the view guests can begin to admire their tempo­rary home away from home: every room and every piece of furni­ture in it were exclu­sively designed by a Floren­tine archi­tect with an eye to balance and harmony. All items of furni­ture were handmade by local craftsmen. While thor­oughly modern, the inte­rior decor was designed to recap­ture the late 18th century spirit of Romanticism, when Heidelberg was Germany's philo­soph­ical and literary centre. The noble simplicity of the 18th century building's white exte­rior gives the impres­sion of a private resi­dence rather than a hotel. Downtown Heidelberg is just a few minutes' walk away across the famous Old Bridge.

Old Bridge

Baroque pede­s­trian bridge
The baroque Karl Theodor Bridge is one of Germany's oldest bridge build­ings and was first mentioned in 1248. There were many previous wooden build­ings, but they were repeat­edly destroyed by drifting ice floes. It was built in its present form in 1788, but towards the end of the Second World War two pillars were blown up by the Wehrmacht to stop the advancing Allied troops. Already in 1947 the bridge was completely recon­structed. At the southern end of the Old Bridge stands the medieval bridge gate with its 28-metre-high double towers. Orig­inally it was part of the city fortifica­tions. Bridge duty was paid at the gate, in case of danger it could be closed by a trap gate.

Mountain railway Heidelberg

Pano­ramic trip to the Königstuhl
With the mountain railway you can go up to the Königstuhl and enjoy the fantastic views over the city and the Rhine plain up to the Palatinate Forest. The lower cable car, one of the most modern mountain railways in Germany, starts at the Kornmarkt in the old town and goes via the Castle to the Molkenkur. From there, you take one of the oldest electrically oper­ated mountain railways to the Königstuhl.

Heidelberg Castle

From a magnif­i­cent Renais­sance building to a symbol of transience
The castle ruin high above the old town of Heidelberg is one of the most famous ruins in Germany and the city's landmark. The forti­fied castle from the 13th century was converted into the magnif­i­cent resi­dence of the Palatinate Electors in the Renais­sance. After the destruc­tion of 1689 and 1693 by the French, the castle was restored only hesi­tantly. In 1764, a devastating fire after lightning struck sealed all efforts. The building was abandoned and the ruin was used as a quarry for the new Schwet­zingen Summer Palace and later for the citi­zens of Heidelberg. At the end of the 18th century, the picturesque ruin was discov­ered by literary figures as a symbol of transience. During the Napoleonic Wars it was reinterpreted as a patri­otic monu­ment.

Philoso­pher's Path

Pano­ramic walk steeped in history
The name comes from a time when all students had to study the seven liberal arts, which were combined under the subject philosophy, before starting their studies. It was prob­ably not so much the scho­lars as the students who discov­ered the path as an ideal place for romantic walks and undis­turbed togeth­er­ness. For the first 700 meters the lower half leads steep and winding through one of the most expen­sive resi­den­tial areas in Heidelberg. Then it cont­inues on nearly even grounds . The Philoso­pher's Garden offers the best view over the Neckar to Heidelberg's old town, the Königstuhl and the castle, but also out into the Rhine plain.

From Heidelberg to Oberwesel

128 km | 2:00 h

You will pass by the city of Worms, where Martin Luther was threat­ened with excommu­nica­tion in 1521 unless he retracted his teach­ings.

He refused and was declared an outlaw by Emperor Charles V. Important sites in Worms include the Roma­nesque cathedral from the 11th and 12th centuries and the oldest Jewish ceme­tery in Europe.

Lorsch Monastery

World Cultural Heritage from the time of Charle­magne
When the abbey was conse­crated in 774, Emperor Charle­magne was person­ally present with his family and court. Later he raised the abbey to one of his most important impe­rial monas­teries. Three build­ings of the formerly large complex remain: a frag­ment of the Nazarius basilica, a section of the monastery wall and the famous Königshalle. When Lorsch Monastery was declared a World Heritage Site in 2014, the monastery areas were linked in terms of landscape archi­tec­ture. An herbal garden was also created – according to the spec­ifica­tions of 1,200-year-old Lorsch pharma­copoeia.

Jewish quarter of Worms

Medieval center of German Jewry
The Jewish commu­nity of Worms was one of the most important in the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages and early modern times. Jewish merchants enjoyed impe­rial customs freedoms since the 11th century A famous Talmud school flour­ished in Worms. The syna­gogue was conse­crated in 1034. The Jewish ceme­tery is the oldest in Europe and has existed since at least 1058. The glorious era ended in 1096 when the Crusader army reached Worms. The Jews were murdered unless they under­went forced baptism or committed suicide. The former Jewish quarter in the north of the old town is now restored. Worth seeing is the syna­gogue, which was devastated in the pogrom night of 1938 and rebuilt in 1961. The Rashi House is now a museum and provides informa­tion about Jewish life in the Upper Rhine region.

Luther monu­ment at the former Reichstag

Where the Middle Ages ended
Where the Kunsthaus Heylshof stands today, the Palatinate, the palace of the German emperors in Worms, was located in the Middle Ages. From the 15th century onwards, impe­rial diets were held here, at which the impe­rial estates gathered and decided on common laws and orders. It was above all the Impe­rial Diet of 1521 that found its way into world history. At that time, the young monk Martin Luther was supposed to recant his heret­ical theses before the emperor and the envoys of the pope. Instead, with his foolhardy refusal, “Here I stand, I can do no other,” he ushered in the schism of the church and with it the end of the Middle Ages. This is commem­o­rated by the Luther Monu­ment of 1868 in the then customary style of national hero worship. Besides a titanic Luther, it shows the Euro­pean reformers Waldes (France), Wyclif (England), Hus (Czech Republic) and Savon­arola (Italy).


Castles, wine and half-timbered houses

From its source at St. Gotthard in Switz­er­land up to its mouth of branched river arms in the Nether­lands the Rhine covers 1320 km.

For thou­sands of years it has been one of the most important trade routes in Europe. Between Bingen and Koblenz it squeezes through a deep valley which is one of the most beau­tiful landscapes in Germany and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Castles and ruins alternate with vine­yards and picturesque half-timbered towns. Many myths and legends surround the valley; the best known is about the Loreley, who sat on a cliff, combing her beau­tiful long golden hair and enchanting the boatmen with her enticing singing voice, so that many men drowned in the quickening waters of the Rhine. The best way to expe­r­i­ence the valley is from the boat on a trip from St. Goar to Kaub.

Accommodation: A medieval castle overlooking the Rhine

1 Night | 1x Double Occupancy | Dinner, Bed & Breakfast

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.


Wine bars and manor houses
The city on the southern end of the Middle Rhine is also the capital of the Rheingau, one of the most important wine regions in Germany. At the same time, Rüdesheim has become a magnet for corpo­rate outings and coach tours. The count­less wine bars in the Dros­sel­gasse are popu­lated by cheerful drinkers. In the shops of Käthe Wohlfahrt Christmas deco­ra­tions and cuckoo clocks can be bought all year round. The Nied­erwald Monu­ment rises high above the city and can be reached by hiking or by cable car. The more than ten-meter-high statue of Germania was erected in 1871 after the war against France and till today it stares threat­en­ingly towards the West.

Pfalz bei Kaub

Medieval castle on an island
The castle on an island in the Rhine is like the Marksburg and the castle Boppard one of the few unde­stroyed and hardly changed castles in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley. It has been built by Ludwig the Bavarian, who at the beginning of the 13th century was also Count Pala­tine and German Emperor. Since he needed a lot of money for this office, he had a customs duty castle built in the Rhine to profit from the heavy traffic on the river. However, the baroque tower helmet, which today char­ac­ter­izes the appear­ance, dates only from 1714. One hundred years later, on New Year's Eve 1813/14, the castle suddenly became the focus of world history, when the Prus­sian Field Marshal Blücher in a top secret action with 60,000 soldiers, 20,000 horses and as many cannons crossed the Rhine at Kaub to hunt Napoleon Bonaparte's troops.


A tale of nymphs, mountain spirits and beau­tiful virgins
Already in the medieval ages dwarves, nymphs and mountain spirits were blamed for the dangerous currents and echoes at the 130 meters high Lorelei rock . The beau­tiful maiden however, is an inven­tion of the poet Clemens Brentano. He describes Lore Lay as a girl from Bacharach, who is consid­ered a witch because of her beauty. She is forced to join a monastery, but on her way, out of lovesick­ness she plunged from the rock named after her into the Rhine. Brentano's ballad touched the romantic feeling of his time and trig­gered further Loreley stories. The most famous poem was made by Heinrich Heine, in which Loreley, like an antique siren, capti­vates the Rhine sailors with her song and beauty, which is why they perish in the dangerous current on the rocky reef.


Fabu­lous castles, sunny vine­yards
The 320 kilometer long hiking trail follows the Middle Rhine Valley on the Eastern side. It starts in Bonn and after 17 days ends in Rüdesheim. The mark is a blue rectangle with a white “R” styl­ized as a river. From almost every place along the Rhine there are paths leading to the Rheinsteig. The longest and most beau­tiful is the 17th day from St. Goar­shausen to Kaub. Here you can expe­r­i­ence the Middle Rhine Valley in all its splendor. Vine­yards, quiet side valleys and magnif­i­cent view points – espe­cially the Loreley – make the hike unique. (21 kilome­ters, 6:30 hours, up: 753 meters, down: 750 meters)

From Oberwesel to Köln

Rental car drop-off

From Oberwesel to Cologne

147 km | 2:30 h

You will follow the Rhine Valley to Koblenz, where the Moselle River flows into the Rhine. Shortly before reaching Cologne you will pass Bonn, the former capital of the Federal Republic of Germany and the birthplace of Beethoven.

Important sites include the 11th century cathedral and Beethoven-Haus, which contains the largest Beethoven collec­tion in the world, including the last piano owned by the composer.


Romance and wine in an ancient cultural landscape
The longest trib­utary of the Rhine rises in the Vosges, forms the border between Luxem­bourg and Germany for a while, and then mean­ders leisurely in a deeply cut valley through the wooded low mountain ranges of the Eifel and Hunsrück. The section between Bernkastel and Cochem is consid­ered to be the most beau­tiful, because here one still finds what can only be sensed in the indus­trial­ized Rhine Valley: the romance of an ancient cultural landscape. Villages and towns, where time seems to have stood still, lie in the shadow of myste­r­ious castle ruins and are surrounded by vine­yards that gener­a­tions of winegrowers have wrested from the steep slopes of the valley. Along the Moselle there are wonderful hiking trails (marked by an “M”), some­times at alti­tude through forests or medieval villages, some­times through vine­yards or quiet side valleys. In some places the path follows the Via Ausonia, a Roman trade route.


Winegrower town with a great history
The former impe­rial city is located on a bend in the Rhine, the Boppard Hamm. Vine­yards on the surrounding mountains char­ac­terize the place as well as tourism. History goes back to the stone age, as evidenced by the 13,000-year-old stone tools found in 2001 in an exca­va­tion. The beginning of the city Boppard is however a Roman fort named Bodo­briga, which secured the Roman-Germanic border and today is consid­ered to be the best preserved Roman castle in Germany. The remains can be visited in the archae­o­log­ical park. The double-towered Severus Church with Roma­nesque mural paint­ings bears witness to its heyday in the High Middle Ages. Today the local history museum resides in the tower of the Electoral Castle.


The epitome of German castle romanticism
The hilltop castle from the 12th century towers high above the Rhine on a rock. It is the only medieval castle in the Rhine valley, which was never destroyed and therefore has a long, varied history. Prob­ably already around 1117 a castle existed. Anyway, one hundred years later, it was in the posses­sion of the powerful family of Eppstein, which used the Marksburg as a customs station. In the middle of the 14th century, the castle received its present, Gothic appear­ance. At that time, the St. Mark's chapel was built, after which the castle was henceforth named. Under Napoleon, the castle was a military hospital and later a prison. Scribbles of inmates can still be seen in the chapel today. In 1900, the neglected building was finally restored. Today, the Marksburg is a romantic castle from the picture book.


Via ferrata with great views
The best views over the large Rhine loop and the vine­yards of the Boppard Hamm can be admired from the Gedeonseck, to which a chairlift runs from Boppard. There's a nice restau­rant at the top. In the hinter­land begins one of the largest forests of Rhine­land-Palatinate, through which many hiking trails lead. Directly on the steep slope below the Gedeonseck, a via ferrata has been set up that offers hikers who are free from giddi­ness and well-equipped a climbing expe­r­i­ence with a magnif­i­cent view. (There and back: 5 kilome­ters, 2:30 hours, up and down: 260 meters)

Rental car drop-off

Rental car drop-off
Loca­tion: Cologne (Desk at Airport)

From the rental car station to the hotel

17 km | 18 minutes


Rhenish zest for life in the shadow of the cathedral

Founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, Cologne is Germany's second oldest city. 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 became one of the focal points of Western culture during the Middle Ages when, under the rule of Friedrich II, the relics 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. Today the landmark is the emblem of Cologne and is also a World Heritage Site of UNESCO. The old town facing the Rhine together with the city boasting 12 Roma­nesque churches among its numerous other histor­ical sites creates a unique ensemble and Cologne is also known as the center of the German Mardi Gras cele­bra­tions that peak during the carnival period.

Accommodation: An award-winning hotel next to Cologne Cathedral

2 Nights | 1x Double Occupancy | Bed & Breakfast

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.

Cologne Cathedral

Gothic superla­tive
At 157 meters the third highest church in the world is consid­ered the master­piece of Gothic archi­tec­ture. Its west façade with the two towers has an area of over 7100 square meters and is thus the largest in the world. The laying of the foun­da­tion stone took place in 1248, after the relics of the Three Magi were trans­ferred from Milan to Cologne. The Dreiköni­genschrein is set up in the choir room and is the largest gold­smith's work of the Middle Ages. After centuries of construc­tion stoppage, the cathedral was not completed until 1880. The mighty church survived the Second World War despite massive bomb­ings and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996.

Museums at the Cathedral

Roman times and modern art
The Roman-Germanic Museum shows archae­o­log­ical finds from the times of the ancient Rome. Among the most important exhibits are the Dyon­isos mosaic from the dining room of a Roman villa and the tomb of veteran Lucius Poblicius. Both can be seen from the square in front of the cathedral through a glass pane. The Ludwig Munic­ipal Museum contains the Ludwig couple's collec­tion, which has attracted worldwide atten­tion. Art objects of the 20th century are on display – from Picasso to Roy Licht­enstein and Gerhard Richter.

Old town

Medieval alleys and brew­eries in the shadow of the cathedral
The old town south of the cathedral has quite a high Kölsch brewery density, medieval alleys and the historic Cologne town hall. Nearby is the fragrance museum in the Farina House, which is inexorably linked to the famous perfume “Eau de Cologne”. The Italian perfumer Johann Maria Farina created the scent that reminded him of oranges, lemons, grapefruit and berg­amot, cedrat, the flowers and herbs of his home­land. The reopened “Dufthaus 4711” awaits you in Glockengasse, with a fountain from which Kölnisch Wasser bubbles.

From Köln to Frankfurt

From Depar­ture to Depar­ture by rail

169 km | 2:00 h

You will take Germany's fastest train, the InterC­ity­Ex­press (ICE). An older version of the ICE set the world speed record in 1988, reaching 406.9 km/h (253 mph).

Your train tickets will not be booked by Umfu­lana. Please book online on www.bahn.de. Alterna­tively you can book on www.raileu­rope.com, where prices will be displayed in most currencies, but tend to be more expen­sive than on the the local provider's website. Another option is to purchase your ticket on arrival at the station.

16 days
from € 3,319.00
per person based on two people sharing a double room
  • Accommodation in a double room
  • Meals (as listed above)

You can start this tour on any date.
Best Travel Time: April–October

The prices can vary depending on the season.
Your Consultant
Alina Frielingsdorf

Ph.: +49 (0)2268 92298-25

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