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Fairytale Bavaria & Medieval Cities of Germany

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You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
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12 days From $4,795 per person
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There is no better way to discover the magical landscapes and enchanting medieval cities that make Bavaria seem as though it was plucked from a storybook than from Germany’s winding waterways.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2024 Tour code: BMR24

About the tour

Some of Bavaria's most delightful destinations lie ahead on this 12-day rail and cruise vacation. Its forested foothills and rugged mountains pair with medieval castles and small towns brimming with history to create an atmosphere that begs exploration. On this journey, we do just that. First, on land, we use Füssen as a base to explore one of Bavaria's most impressive castles, Neuschwanstein Castle, and climb Germany's highest peak on the Zugspitze Railway. Upon transferring to Passau by rail, we join an elegant Amadeus cruise ship in cruising the Danube, Main, and Rhine Rivers. Incredible riverside destinations from Regensburg to Strasbourg lie ahead, each offering a new way to immerse yourself in the beauty of Bavaria. Enjoy guided tours of medieval towns and their historic squares. Visit castles and cathedrals with centuries of stories told through their immaculate architecture. Taste traditionally produced wine and beer. Beautiful Bavaria awaits.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Stuttgart

As you arrive at London St. Pancras today, meet your group and tour manager, and together, board the Eurostar to Paris. We switch trains in Paris and continue by rail to Stuttgart. You will know we are approaching as the majestic spires of the historic Old Palace and the soaring TV Tower break on the skyline. These architectural landmarks are just the beginning of what makes Stuttgart so appealing. Called "the Cradle of the Automobile," the city is also known for its connections to Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, represented in fascinating local museums. Spend your evening discovering the city's uplifting blend of modern and historic sites at leisure. Overnight Stuttgart.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Füssen

This morning, we travel by train to Füssen, a classic Bavarian town on the banks of the glistening Lech River. A picture-perfect glimpse at traditional architecture, pretty squares, and cobbled streets greet us on arrival. However, its iconic Neuschwanstein Castle is the crowning jewel of the Füssen region's architecture. As you settle in on arrival, feel free to dive into the destination's violin and lute-making history, dating to the 16th century, or wander through the 700-plus-year-old Old Town, whose streets are lined with pretty pastel buildings. If you are looking for traditional Bavarian cuisine, look no further than the numerous restaurants and pubs throughout the city. Overnight Füssen.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Neuschwanstein Castle

One of Bavaria's finest castles awaits your exploration after breaking this morning. Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by the reclusive King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 1860s with the intention of building his masterpiece in the style of those castles bestowed upon old German knights. He chose a pristine location on a rock ledge on Pöllat Gorge, overlooking the Schwangau Valley and tucked amongst the breathtaking Bavarian Alps.

Spires, soaring towers, turrets, battlements, walled gardens, and more punctuate the castle's striking Romanesque Revival style. What is finished of the interior is just as impressive, with ornate carvings, lavish murals, and a two-story throne room showcasing the king's fascination with medieval lore and chivalry. Surprisingly, even with his vision of romance, he did not wish to forgo life's modern amenities and included running water, flushing toilets, and telephone lines in his plans. Though the castle was not completed during King Ludwig's lifetime, it remains a symbol of his visionary spirit and a source of inspiration and timeless beauty. See for yourself during today's guided excursion through the verdant forests to this masterpiece. Overnight Füssen.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Zugspitze Railway

Climb to the summit of Germany's highest mountain, the noble Zugspitze, on the Zugspitze Railway. The line is one of only four cogwheel railways still in operation in the country, and its course to the "Top of Germany" is a showcase of breathtaking panoramas. Since 1930, the journey has begun aboard the Zugspitze Railway, climbing over 6,000 feet through imposing mountains, evergreen forests, and a 2 1/2-mile tunnel. The train stops at Zugspitzplatt, and here, we continue toward the top on a cable car with incredible views all around. We arrive at the summit with free time to admire the sweeping views. Over 400 peaks throughout Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy are visible on clear days. Perhaps grab a bite to eat in the summit's panoramic restaurant before we descend, stopping at beautiful Lake Eibsee on our way back to Füssen. Overnight Füssen. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Passau and Ship Embarkation

Breakfast is served at the hotel this morning before our rail journey to Passau in Lower Bavaria. Called the "City of Three Rivers," Passau is as historic as it is beautiful and is the perfect place to kick off the cruising portion of our rail and cruise vacation. We join our luxurious Amadeus cruise ship on the Danube and are welcomed with a refreshing cocktail. The stewards will show you to your cabin, and then you may make your way to the sundeck or panoramic bar to watch as we set underway on the gentle Danube. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 - Regensburg and Weltenburg Abbey

Regensburg, Germany, is our first port of call this morning, and on arrival, we discover its allures on a walking tour. Our guide escorts us through its historic streets, weaving through UNESCO World Heritage Old Town, home to buildings dating to the 11th century. The crowning jewel of the city's architecture is St. Peter's Cathedral, a grand building also boasting UNESCO World Heritage Site status, whose Bavarian Gothic architecture and stained glass windows leave visitors in awe.

Rejoin the ship following the tour, and watch as the scenery becomes increasingly dramatic as we approach the romantic Danube Gorge. After lunch, Our route pauses to visit Weltenburg Abbey, the oldest Benedictine monastery in Bavaria. The monastery was founded in the 600s, yet was built as we see it today in the early 1700s. Stunning frescoes, intricate stucco work, and a grand facade complement its magnificent Baroque architecture. Spend time admiring its baroque altar - considered one of the most beautiful in the world with its gold leaf, Annunciation painting, and stunning sculptures - and tasting beer at the onsite brewery. The Abbey uses traditional methods and local ingredients to create rich, full-bodied beer renowned globally. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Nuremberg

Enjoy the ship's amenities as we weave along the Danube's course overnight and into the morning in pursuit of Nuremberg, once the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. We moor here after lunch and embark on a guided tour that includes the Imperial Kaiserburg Castle. This 11th-century fortress is impressively situated to overlook Alstadt marketplace and provides a spectacular vista over Nuremberg. Enjoy time to see its gorgeous gardens, stone sculptures, and murals that vividly depict the city's rich medieval history.

Return to the ship ahead of dinner this evening, and enjoy a spectacular chef-prepared meal as we set sail for wur. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Bamberg

Wake the enchanting scenery of a new waterway as the ship passes through the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in the wee hours, taking to the Main and then the River Regnitz. Our destination is historic Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage town boasting over 1,000 years of history. We dock this morning and set into the medieval locale on a guided tour. Highlights of our excursion include Bamberg Cathedral, first consecrated in 1012, and the charming "Little Venice" district, where quaint half-timbered houses line the riverside. The town's ancient streets are a joy to discover. Return to the ship for lunch and a day of sailing through the picturesque landscapes of northern Bavaria. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Rothenburg ob der Tauber/Würzburg

A peaceful night cruising along the River Main takes us to our next port of call, Ochsenfurt. We alight here and change modes of transportation, driving along Bavaria's spellbinding Romantic Road to the historic walled town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Often called the "Jewel of Germany," this small yet magnificent city is filled with medieval marvels. You may even recognize it from the big screen, as it was featured in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" due to its timeless allures. Our time here is spent on a walking tour, strolling along the atmospheric cobbled lanes past brightly painted half-timbered houses, colorful squares, and points of interest. History and culture await around every corner, filling each moment of our excursion with intrigue.

Following the tour, we rejoin our ship in Würzburg for lunch before reaching our next stop, the Würzburg Residenz, a grand Baroque palace. Look upon gorgeous 18th-century tapestries, art, and furniture as we arrive and indulge in a wine-tasting experience that highlights the rich flavors of the region. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Wertheim and Miltenberg

This morning, we arrive in Wertheim, a medieval town at the Rivers Main and Tauber confluence. After mooring, we set out on a guided tour featuring the ruins of the town's 12th-century castle, overlooking Wertheim's medieval city center and marketplace. The next stop takes us to the Glass Museum, where we can admire its extensive collection of glass wares from the past and present.

After, we head to ancient Miltenberg, a small town filled with traditional Bavarian charms and surrounded by gentle forested hills. Because it was spared from the destruction of WWII, its medieval center has been impeccably preserved. See for yourself as we tour with a guide. Look upon the beautiful hilltop castle overlooking the town as we explore. This 12th-century fortress has been renovated and restored throughout the years and now serves as a museum that showcases the town's rich history. After a morning of exploration, we return to the ship in time for lunch and settle in for a day of incredible views as we take to the water once more. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - Mainz

Nestled in the heart of Germany's winelands on the Rhine, Mainz is our port of call this morning. This city is known as the unofficial wine capital of Germany and a treasure trove of medieval squares, half-timbered buildings, and Roman heritage. We explore its offerings on a guided tour, winding through its ancient streets and past its lovely buildings. A tour highlight comes as we approach its 1,000-year-old Romanesque cathedral, spectacularly beautiful with its octagon tower. Return to the ship following our explorations and revel in riverside beauty for one last day. Overnight ship. 

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 12 - Tour Conclusion

Our romantic Bavarian river cruise comes to a close this morning as the ship arrives in Strasbourg. We disembark and venture to the train station to board the train bound for Paris. Here, we join the Eurostar service to London St. Pancras, where our memorable journey concludes.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Eurostar
Zugspitze Railway

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial