Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland – 2013
(1) Three Corners' Castles,
Magnificent Scenery and Wine
(2) Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners
Hohenzollern Castle, Germany
Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle, France
Chapel Bridge, Lucerne, Switzerland
Explore the "Three Corners" of Europe – where Germany, France and Switzerland meet by the Rhine River.
Tour beautiful castles in Germany and France, explore charming towns in both countries, and cruise on the Rhine River that serves as the border here. Marvel at the unique mix of Germanic and French architecture and culture. Go sightseeing in Strasbourg and Colmar, and follow the Alsatian Wine Route.
Then head into the German corner of Switzerland, to stop at the Rhine Falls, explore gorgeous Lucerne, and take in the breathtaking vistas from the top of Mount Pilatus.
Cultural variety, and a delightful blend of castles, magnificent scenery and wine.
This tour is offered in two slightly different versions:
- The regular season version is described in detail in the Itinerary section below.
- The slight differences in the Christmas version are described in the Christmas Tour section.
Day 1 – DEPARTURE
Board your flight from your home destination to Zurich, Switzerland.
This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.
Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 – WELCOME TO ZURICH, SWITZERLAND AND THE BLACK FOREST
Arrival in Zurich, Switzerland. At 12 noon the complimentary transfers depart from the airport to your hotel, Schloss Reinach, near Freiburg in Germany's Black Forest. This will be home for the next five nights.
Rest in the afternoon, take advantage of the hotel facilities, or play a round of golf only steps away at the Golf Course Munzingen-Tuniberg.
Tonight you'll meet your travelling companions and tour director and enjoy a great dinner at the hotel.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to hotel, three-course dinner with menu choice, including one beverage and coffee or tea after dinner, overnight at Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 3 – HOHENZOLLERN AND LICHTENSTEIN CASTLES
Today visit two of Germany's most beautiful castles, both rising majestically from atop the Swabian Hills. First we go to HOHENZOLLERN CASTLE for an inside guided tour. King Frederick William IV. of Prussia had it reconstructed between 1846 and 1867. The bastions and towers offer a breathtaking panorama over the countryside, and the splendid halls and rooms offer lots of valuable works of art pertaining to the history of Prussia´s Kings and Germany's emperors.
We continue to LICHTENSTEIN CASTLE. The first castle was built here in 1200 but it was destroyed twice, in 1311 and in 1381. Lichtenstein Castle evolved into its present glorious appearance when it passed to King Frederick I of Württemberg's nephew, the Duke Wilhelm of Urach. Its new owner ordered the castle's reconstruction and that was carried out between 1840 and 1842 by architect Carl Alexander Heideloff. Today Lichtenstein Castle is still owned by the Dukes of Urach, but it is open to the public. Enjoy breathtaking scenery from the hilltop.
Dinner tonight in the country in the heart of the Black Forest.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 4 – FREIBURG, BREISACH, WINE CELLAR TOUR
This morning go for a stroll around the old city of FREIBURG with your guide. Walk the main streets and squares, its small streams (Bächle) and lanes with the colourful mosaics made of Rhine pebbles, the Cathedral Square (Münsterplatz) with its merchant town houses and secular buildings, the colourful farmers and trader market, and get to know the city's very long history. A tour of the Gothic cathedral with its wealth of medieval treasures forms the highlight of the tour.
Visit the winery Badische Winzergenossenschaft, the largest of its kind in Europe, explore their wine cellars, and enjoy some wine tasting.
Continue to BREISACH for a stroll along the Rhine River and a visit of the town followed by dinner.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, service of local guide, three course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 5 – STRASBOURG AND COLMAR
This morning we drive into France to visit STRASBOURG, seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Join your guide for a walking tour of the old town and visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The 142-metre (466-foot) spire is a masterpiece of architectural elegance and intricacy. We also visit La Petite France, the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg, with magnificent half-timbered houses that date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Fishermen, millers and tanners once lived and worked in this part of town where the streets have been built level with the waterways.
We continue to COLMAR in the heart of Alsace. Colmar's Germanic and French architectural heritage was spared by the frequent wars that ravaged this area. The town has preserved the charm of its romantic districts (Tanner’s District, Little Venice). Enjoy your guided tour of the old town, which also includes a visit to the Bartholdi museum, housed in a vast residence which was the birthplace of the creator of New York's Statue of Liberty, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.
Dinner tonight in France.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, tours in Strasbourg and Colmar, services of local guides, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 6 – CASTLE HAUT-KOENIGSBOURG, ALSATIAN WINE ROUTE
Since its construction in the 12th century, the HAUT-KOENIGSBOURG
CASTLE at Orschwiller in Alsace has been a constant witness to both
European conflicts and rivalry between lords, kings and emperors.
A number of illustrious owners each left their mark on the castle’s history, and successive events even led to changes in the castle’s structure. Enjoy a tour of this magnificent castle with its majestic architecture and its incredible view across the Alsatian plain.
We continue on the ALSATIAN WINE ROUTE, stopping in villages along
the way, each of them offering a delightful picture postcard setting and
some the best examples of Alsatian architecture.
Dinner tonight at the hotel.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, wine tasting, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 7 – RHINE FALLS, LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Today it is goodbye to Germany and the Black Forest as we cross the border into Switzerland. We stop in Schaffhausen to see the largest waterfalls in Europe, the RHINE FALLS, where in summer 600,000 liters of water falls down 23 meters (75 feet) every second.
We continue to LUCERNE, this most beautiful city at the foot of the Swiss Alps on fabulous Lake Lucerne. See the Lion Monument (the famous dying Lion of Lucerne), walk the wooden Chapel Bridge and join your guide for a stroll of the old town.
Later shop for something really Swiss – chocolate, watches or army knives – or stroll along the Lake this afternoon.
Tonight look forward to a typical Swiss dinner in town, on your own.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, visits at Rhine Falls and Lucerne, hotel in Lucerne
Day 8 – LUCERNE, MOUNT PILATUS
This morning be prepared for incredible views as you climb up MOUNT PILATUS by cogwheel train, the steepest in the world. From the top enjoy endless views of the mountains and plains and lakes below. Time for a Swiss hot chocolate before we return downhill on the other side of the mountain by cable car.
Back in LUCERNE you have the afternoon free to spend at your leisure. Maybe go for a cruise on Lake Lucerne, visit the Swiss Museum of Transport or one of the many Art Galleries, go hiking in the stunning surroundings or just enjoy time in or on the Lake and relax, or to get your final shopping done.
Tonight be prepared for lots of fun at a Swiss Folklore Farewell Dinner.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, cogwheel train and cable car rides, three-course dinner with show, hotel in Lucerne
Lake Lucerne, seen from Mount Pilatus
Day 9 – HOME FROM ZURICH
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen". One final breakfast and then a complimentary transfer to Zurich Airport for your return flight home.
If your flight is leaving earlier then 10.30 a.m. we can arrange for an alternative transfer at your expense.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to Airport
The Christmas version of this tour – Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland - Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners – has the same route and accommodation arrangements as the regular season version.
It visits almost all the major destination features of the regular tour. We can't go to Lichtenstein Castle (but we substitute a scenic drive through the Black Forest and a stop for Black Forest Cherry Cake on a lake). We can't go for a short cuise on the Rhine, and we use cable cars both ways for our trip up Mount Pilatus.
But this Christmas version of the tour adds visits to charming Christmas Markets in Freiburg, Strasbourg, Colmar, and Lucerne. Take in the sights. Join in the festivities. Shop if you wish, or just window-shop. Soak up the atmosphere. Soak up some glühwein too!
We pass along savings from travel in the off-peak season to help your shopping budget.
We've prepared a separate itinerary just for this trip:
Complete printable Christmas Tour itinerary in PDF format >
- All features as per itinerary, departure guaranteed
- Door-to-door transportation (all modes). Leave the navigating to us.
- 7 breakfast buffets
- 6 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
- 7 nights' accommodation
- All entrance fees, taxes, and local guide fees paid
- No hidden extras, no optional excursions – already included
- Maximum group size of 30 people, fewer on most tours
- The tour language is English only.
- Packing and unpacking is minimized.
First five nights at Schloss Reinach near the Black Forest town of Freiburg. Only one move.
- The days are well planned to offer you many highlights, but you are never rushed.
Ideal combination of free time and planned activities.
- Skip the lines at must-see attractions.
- All visits are inside, not drive-by. Learn the stories that bring old buildings to life.
- You will see not only the highlights but also the spots where only the locals go.
- Tour director – Let our experts make every day and destination fascinating!
- Satisfaction assured – backed up by our money-back guarantee.
Complete printable itinerary for regular season tour in PDF format >
Little Venice, Colmar
Along the Alsatian wine route
Notre Dame Cathedral, Strasbourg
Le Petit France, Strasbourg
Lauch River, Colmar
Mount Pilatus Cableway
Farewell Dinner, Lucerne
There are more pictures in the Gallery and Groups pages in the In Depth section below.
Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour In Depth
Larger Pictures of Castles, Communities and Regional
Images of tour Black Forest, Alsace, and Switzerland Tour features, organized by region
Itinerary Destination Map
Tour Destinations map from the top of this page in printer-friendly PDF format
Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major tour itinerary features
Pictures of Tour Groups and Participants
Photos from the first Black Forest tour, June 2012
Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.
Notes on the distinguishing features of the various tours offered.
What's so special about these tours? How do they differ from each other?
Comments from participants in this and other Castles tours.
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.
This is a new tour, being offered for the first time for 2012, so we're just beginning to build a list of recommendations for this tour.
Home from the most excellent Black Forest tour! Astrid - we had a great time! Thanks for everything. Wonderful tour mates and itinerary. We have already recommended this tour and European Castle Tours to several people. We can't wait to travel with you again. Tschuss!
- Marcy & Dewey Woodruff, Minnesota
(We do have lots of recommendations for our other tours, provided on a separate References Page.)
Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our References Video .
Cost and Date Information
Complete printable itineraries in PDF format:
The Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour is offered on the following basis:
Tour prices are for the land segment only. Air fare is not included.
Prices are per person, in U.S. dollars, based on double occupancy.
Single Occupancy is available for a Single Supplement charge of US $ 250.
Three adults sharing one room each receive a Triple Occupancy reduction of US $ 150.
A child 8 to 16 years old sharing a room with two adults receives a 30% reduction on this tour.
Guaranteed Departure: This tour is guaranteed to
operate as scheduled and
will not be cancelled due to a low level of participation.
A deposit of US $ 300 per person is required to secure a reservation.
Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland –
Regular Itinerary – 2013
Three Corners' Castles, Magnificent Scenery and Wine
June 21, 2013
Available - Book now
US $ 2,699
Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland –
Christmas Itinerary – 2013
Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners
November 29, 2013
Available - Book now
US $ 2,549
Private Tour Option
Do our dates not work for you? We can arrange the tour for you or your party as a private tour. Same
itinerary as above in a private limousine
or van, with bilingual, professional private guide / chauffeur. Prices per individual are the same as for the regular group tour, plus a US $ 200 per day
private tour premium for the group. This private tour is available for the 2011 Christmas season. Please send an e-mail to confirm availability.
Reservation details and materials >
Dates for all current multi-day Castles tours >
Contact the Tour Director, Astrid Baur, in Germany (Eastern Time + 6 Hours)
U.S. Phone: (202) 580 - 8732 / German Phone: 011 - 49 - 171 - 546 68 39