This idea presented as one way to experience Germany and a bit of Austria. We custom design most trips for our clients. This trip can be molded to fit your individual tastes and interests. Available now for September, 2014
The Hoher Goll mountain in the afternoon at Berchtesgaden
Enjoy this tour of some of Germany’s known and unknown places. The ‘unknown’ places are familiar to us, because we have been living and working in Germany and Europe for a quarter century.
Limited size of just four. Because this tour is conducted during high season, couples are necessary due to some restrictions at a couple of the hotels where we will be staying (they don’t rent out single rooms during high season)
Tour guide: James Derheim, who has been living and working in Germany and Europe since 1989
Hirschhorn, Germany and area (2 nights)
You are picked up by your guide and driver, James Derheim, at the Frankfurt International Airport.
We will be traveling in the European Focus tour vehicle, a full-sized van, and so you will have plenty of room for luggage.
We leave Frankfurt and drive south, with our destination being the castle hotel, “Schloss Hirschhorn,” perched high above the hamlet by the same name.
You stay your first two nights of your private tour in Europe in a castle. This 16th century residence, with battlements and towers much older, was restored and turned into a hotel and restaurant decades ago. It was recently fully modernized and is now under new ownership. The castle has been a favorite of our guests since 2000.
The castle is not overly fancy, just comfortable, with large rooms looking down on the Neckar River and a lock, where you can watch barges pass through.
We’ll have dinner tonight together in the hotel’s excellent restaurant.
The next night, James recommends a little hole in the wall down in the village.
Dinner tonight included
The view from our castle hotel over the Neckar River
A Crazy Count’s Castle
Definitely not on the American tourist’s agenda, this castle (now a museum owned by the state) was the collection point for an eccentric count’s collections of Roman and Green antiquities. The armory is one of the largest in private hands in Germany. And, you have to see the antlers collection to believe it. All in all, a very unique experience and the town where the castle stands, Erbach, is one of the prettiest off the beaten track places in the heart of Germany that we know.
Days 3 and 4:
Meersburg and Lake Konstanz (2)
One of our favorite historic hotels, “The Bear” was built as a coaching inn back in 1605 but the foundations go back even further.
A long list of innkeepers dating back to the early 17th century is in the entryway. A set of stairs leads to the rooms (As in the case with the inn located in Gleiszellen, there is no elevator) and rooms are large and many have splendid views down into the heart of the town and to the castle beyond.
James doesn’t intend to drag you through castle after castle, but it’s worth noting that the oldest castle in Germany is in Meersburg. It was prominently featured on the old 20 Deutschmark bill, before Germany retired that currency to join the Euro. One of our guests’ favorites, the castle allows visitors to go through the many rooms at their own pace, without a guide.
Things to do in this area include wine tasting at a small vineyard,
exploring nearby Friedrichshafen and its interesting Zeppelin Museum and an excursion to Mainau Island.
Since Meersburg is so tiny, it is easy to get to know the layout of the town and to easily fit in as a local. A day tripper’s town, once the sun starts to go down, those day trippers get back on their buses or their boats and the town feels like a village again.
Guests from Texas enjoy a slice of cake during a relaxed afternoon of travel
Austrian Alps, Southern Tyrol (1)
We travel through the scenic Austrian Alps, heading for a stay in a pleasant, unassuming lodge in a tiny village above Innsbruck.
We split the drive with a stop to take in one of Austria’s most magnificent waterfalls. Located deep in a stunning alpine valley, this waterfall makes for an exhilarating way to burn off some calories before the next enjoyable meal.
Later, on to our inn. This place is famous for its restaurant. We’ve never seen a night where the place is not full of happy diners who drive up here from Innsbruck and surrounding towns just for the food and warm, authentic ambience. The owner runs a tight ship, and it shows in the sparkling clean rooms and the restaurant’s impeccable service and menu.
Awesome views and the time to enjoy them. Not a rushed bus tour with crazy get up times and a “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium’ itinerary!
Days 6 and 7:
Hopefully you’re not tired of amazing mountain vistas, deep valleys and quaint villages, because today our drive to the far southeastern corner of Germany will be full of such sights. We’re heading for a vacation within your vacation, with two nights at one of the most beautiful alpine lodge hotels we know. This 4* Superior hotel is owned and operated by a family of hard-working Bavarians, who have with each generation expanded the place to its current dimensions. Nowadays, guests can enjoy heated indoor and outdoor pools, saunas, a chill-out room with heated “waterbeds,” plus a full-service spa with massage, facials, manicures and pedicures and so on. Rooms all have views and private balconies.
Dinners are four-course, relaxed affairs with Bavaria’s biggest salad bar plus a main course that you choose in advance from four possibilities.
And, in the morning, there’s another fantastic breakfast with omelets made the way you like them plus an extensive buffet.
Berchtesgaden and area
So much to see and do in this area. Depending on your activity level, there is:
• Hiking both challenging and easy
• Walks in the woods or in the meadows surrounding the hotel
• Poking around charming Berchtesgaden
• Nearby Salzburg, Austria – one of the prettiest small cities in Austria and birthplace of Mozart.
• Or, last but not least – the pools, spa and saunas of the hotel – a key element of staying here and the reason why you are coming to this hotel. Those who are not into relaxation during vacation should let us know so that we can eliminate this stop and restructure your trip
European Focus founder and guide James Derheim at the Eagle’s Nest, Berchtesgaden, Germany
We take the rural highways up through Bavaria, zigzagging our way to the former Roman military camp of “Castra Regina,” founded during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. A huge gate from the former Roman town has been integrated into our favorite hotel, another 4* Superior property with a lovely beer garden in a courtyard where the Bishop of Regensburg once held court. The massive Gothic cathedral, one of Germany’s finest, is right next door.
Regensburg is a wonderful example of what a large town would have looked like in the medieval period. Since the city was spared in WWII, it has retained its ancient character. Those narrow lanes are now filled with interesting shops. Best of all, down by the river there is a tiny kitchen which has been making sausages since (no kidding) the 1300s. The place was built to feed the workers constructing a stone bridge over the Donau (Danube) River. We can go there and munch of those delicious sausages and sample some of Germany’s best, sweetest sauerkraut while gazing at this 700-year-old bridge.
Also right around the corner from our hotel, possibly the best gelato north of the Italian border.
Regensburg is a wonderful place to wander, and plenty of time for that has been built into the plan.
Yum and Prosit! Sausages, kraut and beer riverside in Regensburg
Rothenburg ob der Tauber (1)
With a stop in Nurnberg , James shows you where the Nazis under Hitler had their huge rallies in the 1930s to drum up support for their takeover of the government. It can be a powerful experience to see these places now, crumbling and overgrown.
We then continue on for Germany’s best-preserved medieval town, Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
A trip to Germany doesn’t seem complete without a visit to Rothenburg. This has been our European home base since 2000 and we have an apartment in the old town center.
James knows Rothenburg like a local, because he has been one for so long. You’ll fit right in with the friends of James. Enjoy delicious authentic recipes from the Franconian region of Germany.
Highlights are a walk on the ramparts, a visit to Rothenburg’s amazing museum of torture and enjoying the atmosphere of this town dropped right out of the middle ages.
Brilliant colors above the Rhein at Bacharach
Days 10 and 11:
Bacharach and the Rhein and Mosel River Valleys (2)
We continue our trip to the west, bypassing Frankfurt (hello airport, not time for you yet) arriving in the hamlet of Bacharach at lunchtime. We’ll wrap up your journey with two nights at a traditional, family-owned and operated hotel where we have stayed with guests of European Focus since 1998. Dennis, who just might be the one who brings your glass of beer or wine to your room, was just about two and a half feet tall when we first got to know him and his smiling face, serving coffee from a pot nearly as big as he was at breakfast time. Now he’s just over six feet, and we think, still growing. (But, still smiling)
You can watch the goings on in the center of town from your balcony.
All around, there are things to see and do including:
• Biking along the paved path which follows the river (Downhill, as it turns out) You can take the train back when you’re finished.
• Wine tasting at a private vineyard
• Hiking or walking in the vineyards
• Picnic high above the Rhein with a sweeping view. James knows a special place
• Germany’s best-preserved medieval castle
• The Mosel River Valley, with a different character than the Rhein, worth exploring with a highlight being a visit to Burg Eltz
Dinner included your final night in the hotel.
Having a glass of Riesling above the village of Bacharach
Day of Departure
Departure from Frankfurt International Airport.
Your Private Tour in Germany and Austria
• Breakfast (at hotel) lunches and two of your dinners. We find that most people – after a buffet breakfast and a satisfying lunch, are really not that hungry for another “full meal” in the evening. Therefore, we don’t list “all dinners included” because then people feel compelled to eat those three squares per day. You will be fed well enough, guaranteed. When dinner tab is being picked up as part of your tour, you are welcome to have two alcoholic drinks per person. Beer or wine included up to two glasses per person per meal lunch or dinner. Bottles of wine are not included unless your guide purchases them.
• Spacious double occupancy room, all with private bath/shower.
• Transportation by full-sized van if with James, or other roomy, comfortable vehicle if with Jenean
• Incidentals, tolls, fuel, sightseeing entry fees for those attractions listed on your itinerary, tips or payments to local guides, etc.
Not included: Airfare
Total cost in Euro per person based on this itinerary: 3,975 Euro
Adults preferred. Four persons, couples only
Deposit amount: 500 Euro per person, paid in US dollars
One third of your remaining balance is due 60 days before the start of your trip
Balance is due 14 days before trip start
References gladly provided
To reserve this tour, contact us today by e-mailing [email protected] or by calling 800-401-7802