Day 1 – DEPARTURE
Board your flight from your home destination to Munich, Germany.
This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.
Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 – HOPFEN AM SEE
Arrival in Munich, Germany. Your flight should arrive at the Munich Airport by 11:15 a.m. at the latest for the complimentary transfer at noon.
When the group is complete we head south to your home away from home in HOPFEN AM SEE, on the lake near Fussen (Füssen or Fuessen in German). Our home base here at the southern end of Germany's famous Romantic Road is within hiking distance of Neuschwanstein in the beautiful Bavarian Alps.
You are staying in a typical local "landhaus", where you are a friend, not a tourist. Your rooms are very gemuetlich, decorated in Bavarian country style, all with cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, extra sitting area, balcony, and a great mountain view. You'll be treated to a welcoming Bavarian dinner on the Lake Promenade tonight.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to hotel, three-course welcome dinner with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after, overnight at Landhaus Koessel in Hopfen am See
Day 3 – NEUSCHWANSTEIN, HOHENSCHWANGAU
Today we focus on NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE (Schloss Neuschwanstein in German), Germany's most famous castle. First we go to Marienbruecke (Mary's Bridge) sitting high above the Poellat Gorge, where we can take the best pictures of the castle. (If Mary's Bridge is closed because of ice or snow on the path, you will be taken to another lookout where you can take wonderful pictures of Neuschwanstein.)
From there we walk downhill for our inside tour of Neuschwanstein. Afterwards there's time for lunch and a stroll on Lake Alpsee, where young Ludwig learned to swim. Larger photos of Neuschwanstein, including helicopter views, are included in the Bavarian Castles Gallery in the In Depth section below.
In the afternoon we visit SCHLOSS HOHENSCHWANGAU, the castle built by his father Maximilian, where Germany's fairy tale king spent much of his childhood, and where he dreamed about his future castles. Local guides in both castles.
Fantastic dinner tonight in the area where Ludwig II was planning his next castle, Falkenstein.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrances and guided tours of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, horse carriage, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 4 – ZUGSPITZE, LINDERHOF, OBERAMMERGAU
Beautiful drive into Austria to Ehrwald where we take a cable car up to the ZUGSPITZE, at almost 10,000 feet Germany's highest mountain, with a matchless panorama.
We continue on to SCHLOSS LINDERHOF, Ludwig's beautiful hiding castle deep in the forest, which served as a background for the romantic fantasies of the young king. Inside visit with local guide, and time to explore the formal gardens. (The Grotto is closed for extensive restoration until the end of 2024.)
Back home via the pretty village of OBERAMMERGAU, known for the passion play, a tradition which derives from a vow made by the inhabitants in 1633 that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague then sweeping the region they would perform a passion play every ten years.
Dinner in Fussen tonight.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Zugspitze cable car, guided tour of Linderhof, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 5 – HERRENCHIEMSEE, BAD TOLZ
Today we focus on King Ludwig II's largest castle, HERRENCHIEMSEE, which he built on an island in Lake Chiemsee after a visit to Versailles. Herrenchiemsee was Ludwig's most expensive project, he stayed here only about one week.
Boat and horse carriage rides to the castle and local guide for inside tour.
On the way back we stop in the beautiful town of BAD TOLZ (Bad Tölz or Bad Toelz in German). Bad Tolz became famous for its spa. It also features colourful painted buildings.
There's time to relax before we join the locals tonight for great atmosphere and food at a local brewery.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, boat and carriage rides, Herrenchiemsee tour, dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 6 – MUNICH, NYMPHENBURG
We go to MUNICH (München or Muenchen in German, sometimes Munchen on the net) and first we visit SCHLOSS NYMPHENBURG (Nymphenburg Palace), where Ludwig was born, and the Marstallmuseum, containing many of Ludwig's elaborate carriages.
An Orientation Tour of Germany's secret capital features the Olympic stadium, Olympic Tower, Leopoldstrasse, Schwabing, Ludwigstrasse, Odeonsplatz, Koenigsplatz, Karlsplatz, Church of our Lady, and Marienplatz where you see the Glockenspiel.
Afterwards plenty of time on your own for shopping, more sightseeing (BMW Museum, German Museum, Pinakothek, ... the options list is endless). Dinner on your own in the evening. Why not have a stein of beer at the Hofbrauhaus (Hofbräuhaus), Munich's famous beer hall?
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Munich orientation tour, entrance to Nymphenburg Palace, Landhaus Koessel
Day 7 – INNSBRUCK
Today we drive south through the mountains to INNSBRUCK on the Inn River, the capital of Austria's Tyrol.
First we visit Schloss Ambras, a Renaissance castle and palace located in the hills above the city. It was built in the sixteenth century on the site of a tenth-century castle, and became the seat of power of the Counts of the Andechs. The castle is notable for its exterior architecture and interior furnishings, and contains major art and armour collections. We have a private guided tour.
In the city enjoy a nice stroll through its quaint medieval lanes, see the famous little Golden Roof below the impressive Austrian Alps, the Hofburg palace, and the Hofkirche, Innsbruck's fine Baroque church. Free time to explore on your own, and maybe shop for Swarovski Crystal, which is made here.
Dinner in Austria tonight on the way back home.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance and private guided tour of Schloss Ambras, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 8 – WIESKIRCHE, LAKE STARNBERG, ANDECHS
On our last exploring day we take the Romantic Road to visit the masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo, WIESKIRCHE, also known as the Church in the Meadow, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We continue to LAKE STARNBERG and at Berg see the Votivchapel and the cross in the lake where Ludwig died. Then on to ritzy Starnberg with time for lunch and a stroll on the lake.
Afterwards a short drive to ANDECHS, a famous Benedictine monastery on the Holy Mountain. The monks are also well known for making their own beer, which we have time to enjoy in one of the many beer gardens.
Enjoy your last evening with a wonderful farewell dinner in Hopfen.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, three-course dinner with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after, Landhaus Koessel
Day 9 – RETURN
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen". Transfer to Munich Airport for your return flight home.
Your flight should not leave Munich before 10:30 a.m.
If you wish, you can extend your vacation with one of the optional extensions outlined below.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to airport
Three Nights Venice Extension
Turn your Bavarian Castles Tour into an even more magical vacation with an extension to Venice, described as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man" and as "one of Europe's most romantic cities."
This three-night extension takes the same approach to visiting Italy's Veneto region as our longer Italian Highlights Tour.
Travel across the scenic Alps, visit Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and check into your 4-star hotel on Venice's Lido Island. Ride the bus boats on the Grand Canal and see the Rialto Bridge, tour inside the palace and basilica on St. Mark's Square, go for a gondola ride, and visit the scenic islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Shop if you wish, explore on your own, or relax on Lido Island's beach.
Price per person for double occupancy is EUR 799. Single supplement is EUR 200. Please see the table in "Dates & Prices" below for scheduled and private availabilities.
Full details are provided in this Three Nights Venice Extension itinerary.
Your can also customize your itinerary by combining the Bavarian Castles Tour with one of our three-day tours, slightly modified to carry on from your Bavarian tour.
The Rothenburg and Northern Bavaria 3-Day Tour explores the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in depth. Marvel at the 16th century ramparts and towers surrounding the town, and its ancient houses, fountains, and cobbled lanes. Also visit other notable landmarks in the region, including Harburg Castle (fully intact after 900 years), Würzburg Residence (grand palace), Ulmer Minster (the tallest church in the world), and Augsburg's Fuggerei (the oldest social housing complex in the world).
The Salzburg and Eastern Bavaria 3-Day Tour explores legendary and attractive Salzburg, with one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. See Mirabell Gardens, Mozart's birthplace, and Fortress Hohensalzburg. Choose between included excursions to Hellbrunn Castle, Hohenwerfen Fortress, or the Salzkammergut resort area. On the return visit Hitler's mountaintop Eagle's Nest, the charming valley town of Berchtesgaden, and beautiful Lake Königsee.
Or you could add one or more of the day tours from our Day and Short Tours page to explore specific areas of interest to you. That page provides an index to the tours, brief descriptions of each tour, and links to complete details.
Please feel free to contact us for help combining elements to build your ideal itinerary.