This incredible 19-day tour will take you across the Alps: Before heading into the higher ranges bound for Italy, you travel from Munich to Salzburg via the pre-Alpine hills. After exploring Bella Italia's premier cities, the tour returns to Germany via Switzerland with a stop at stunning Lake Maggiore.
This trip will be customized according to your wishes.
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.
Rental car pick-up
Broker: Sunny Cars GmbH
Vehicle: VW Polo or similar (EDMR)
Location: Munich (Railway Station)
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.
This centuries-old city has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Countless churches and palaces bear witness to the power and unsurpassed wealth of this small republic.
The lagoon city was founded in northern Italy during the troubled times of the decline of the Roman Empire. The remains of the evangelist Mark were transferred to Venice in 829. The streams of pilgrims that followed gave the city much added importance. Since then the sacred symbol of the lion has been the city's coat of arms. Venetian troops later occupied eastern Italy and, in 1204, even Constantinople. At the height of its power Venice ruled the Mediterranean. The demise of the “serrenissima repubblica” began with the fall of Constantinople and the opening of the Western Hemisphere by Spain, Portugal and Holland. Venice's political importance declined after the Congress of Vienna and it was given to Austria. Returned to Italy in 1866, Venice has inspired generations of artists, writers and musicians. More than a city, it is a symbol of wealth and beauty as well as death and decay.
This hotel features a superb location only a stone's throw away from Piazza San Marco. The building's exterior and main entrance may appear mundane, but the interior design is amazing.
This is particularly true of the rooms, which Marcella and Giuliano have tastefully furnished in the Venetian style. The ornamental wall fabrics harmonize perfectly with the curtains and the carpets. Everything from the cheerful furniture to the chandeliers is a delight to the eyes. Amenities include air conditioning, soundproof windows, a minibar in every room and modern bathrooms. The Breakfast is sweet with croissants and coffee.
The capital of Tuscany lies on the banks of the Arno between the Adriatic and Tyrrhenian seas, near the center of the Italian peninsula.
It is a city that bustles with industry and crafts, commerce and culture, art and science. The Chianti region between Florence and Siena is one of the most beautiful landscapes in Italy and a famous wine production area. Founded by the Romans in the first century B.C., Florence reached its pinnacle between the 11th and 15th centuries, when it was a free city balancing the authority of the Emperor with that of the Pope. In the 15th century it came under the rule of the Medici family, who later became the Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The city is considered the cradle of the Renaissance and humanism and was a leading center of art, culture, politics and economic power during this period. The universal geniuses Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo thrived here. Their works, along with those of many generations of artists up to the masters of the present century, are gathered in the city's many museums.
The sixteenth century villa with a beautiful garden is surrounded by olive groves, vines, rows of cypress trees and ochre-coloured farmhouses – all this just twenty minutes from Florence and a little more than thirty from Siena. It is more like a private house than a hotel: a Tuscan villa with its family antiques, an elegant but very warm ambiance, spacious and quiet bedrooms, lavish breakfasts. The latter feature a large buffet that includes Tuscan specialities such as fresh ricotta cheese, the local focaccia bread, prosciutto and home-made brioche. Whereas the loggia looks out onto a formal garden, the swimming pool is located in an olive grove. All the bedrooms are spacious – most are even enormous – some have frescoed walls and ceilings, and a couple of them have a fireplace. Each room has its own refrigerator, computer outlet, safe, air conditioning, an electric kettle and a tea and coffee tray. The view is of the garden, the olive grove or the central courtyard with the old well and fragrant creeping vines. The bathrooms have been decorated with thorough attention to detail, each with handmade tiles and some with original frescoes.
Getting to Florence from the hotel is quite easy: guests can drive into the city and park at the train station, drive to a large park & ride parking lot just outside of Florence and take the tram into town, or take the bus to Florence from a stop two miles from the hotel. A visit to a working winery, including wine tastings and a light buffet of local products, can be booked upon request.
The western world was ruled from the city built on the legendary seven hills for 1,500 years. Rome was the stage for many historic events of worldwide significance during that era.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire the city became the seat of the Catholic Church. During the zenith of its power (the second century A.D.) Rome's population numbered more than a million, making it the world's first metropolis. However, only 25,000 people lived among the city's ruins at the close of the Roman Empire. Regrowth didn't begin until the return of the Pope from Avignon in the fifteenth century. Today the Italian capital ranks amongst the premiere cities of Europe with regard to art, culture and a fast-paced lifestyle. Millions of tourists visit Rome annually to take in the sights, shop and enjoy the cuisine.
This centuries-old building is located in the city centre, between the Spanish steps and the Via Veneto. Marco and Giulia, the enterprising proprietors who have roots in the hotel business, have completely restored the property and now offer modern, comfortable accommodation in a historical building.
Marco can suggest the best sites to see – he is an accredited Rome tour guide. The building offers many practical conveniences. An elevator takes guests to the air-conditioned rooms on the three upper stories. The upstairs suites have a view extending over the roofs of the old city to the dome of St Peters. You're guaranteed a good night's rest here (a valuable commodity in Rome), as the guesthouse is next door to a convent! The subway station Barberini is only a few steps away.
This scenic and culturally fascinating region between Florence and Sienna is considered to be classic Tuscany.
Vineyards, cypress trees, forests, idyllic wine villages and castles are nestled in the gently rolling hills. During the Middle Ages, Chianti was the scene of heavy fighting between the Tuscan cities of Florence and Sienna, a conflict that ended in 1559 with the annexation of Sienna by Florence. Since the best wines in Italy are made here, the name “Chianto Classico” has been a protected trademark since the 18th century. It initially included Radda, Castellina and Gaiole. Other areas to the East were added later.
A cypress alley will lead you to 800 acres of majestic hill country in Dievole, a private Chianti Classico estate near Vagliagli, where you can enjoy Italian nature, art, fashion and La Dolce Vita. Siena is only eight miles south of Dievole and Firenze just forty miles north.
Dievole, once home to Florence nobility, is now one of the most elegant guesthouses on a working wine estate in Tuscany. Some of Italy's best and most famous wines are being produced here. Guests are either accommodated in the sixteenth century Villa, the private guesthouse Casa Dievolino or rooms with a kitchenette in Casa Olivo.
In a part of Switzerland renowned for its warmth and Mediterranean light, Lake Maggiore has been attracting visitors for over 100 years.
While its northern tip is part of the Swiss Ticino, it reaches as far south as the Po Valley. The walks above the lake offer views which remind one of the Côte d'Azur near the heart of Europe, with the Alps as a backdrop. There is everything here: unspoiled nature, spectacular scenery, the best climate in Switzerland, major cultural events, beaches, lakeshores, an early spring, a golden autumn, wine and food specialties, and an infinite number of possibilities for excursions and every kind of leisure activity, from golf to extreme sports like canyoning.
The villa in a large park overlooking Lago Maggiore is an island of tranquility. Situated about 30 minutes from Ascona, the hotel stands on the Italian side of the border, which is less frequented by tourists.
Each of the 18 bedrooms is uniquely and individually decorated. The restaurant specializes in dishes made of fresh local products. Weather permitting, meals are served on the seaview terrace. A swimming pool is available during the warmer months.
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.
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.
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.
Rental car drop-off
Location: Munich Airport (Desk at Airport)