Journey through the heartland of German fairy tales, art, food and music on this eight-day tailor-made self-drive
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History & culture | Natural world | Self-drive
Begin in Munich, a home from home for beer drinkers, art enthusiasts, and a window into the world of traditional Bavarian heritage, customs and hospitality. Take a detour into Austria and the pretty alpine town of Innsbruck, followed by a night in Füssen, home to the famous, fairytale castle, Neuschwanstein. Next, head to beautiful Lake Constance, which shares its shores with both Austria and Switzerland. See the charming old town and medieval churches of Zurich, followed by a night among the mountains in the Back Forest town of Freiburg. Finally, your journey takes you to Strasbourg, capital of France's Alsace region, home to charming, half-timbered houses, ornate Gothic architecture and a quirky combination of French and German culture.
Day by day itinerary
Arrive in Munich, capital of Bavaria, famous for its beer and hospitality, and check in for two nights at your hotel of choice. Art lovers should head to the Alte Pinakothek (Old Picture Gallery), which rivals the Louvre for its Old Master and Renaissance collections. Other highlights include the green and leafy English Garden, the Viktualienmarkt, a food market full of Bavarian specialities, and climbing to the top of St Peter's Church, the oldest church in Munich, dating from 1180.
Time your trip to take in Munich's Oktoberfest, a celebration of Bavarian beer, food and music held each year during the 16 days leading up to the first Sunday in October.
Stay: Golden Leaf Parkhotel im Lehel (Standard) or Eden Hotel Wolff (Superior)
Breakfast included on day 2
Begin your self-drive, starting with a detour into Austria and the mountain town of Innsbruck before continuing to Füssen, the end of the Romantic Road and home to Germany's most famous castle, Neuschwanstein, one of three castles created by Germany's 'Mad King' Ludwig II, and by far his most ambitious and theatrical. Set on an isolated rock ledge amid heart-stopping alpine scenery, its turreted design was the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty and later at Disneyland.
Stay: Hotel Hirsch (Standard and Superior)
Travel through the green landscape of the Allgäu, famous for its cheeses, to the town of Lindau on the eastern side of Lake Constance. Here you'll board a ferry across the lake to the historic town of Konstanz and check in for two nights at your hotel of choice. Lake Constance is Germany's largest lake and shares its shores with Austria and Switzerland. So why not cross the border and spend a day in Zurich, whose charming old town boasts medieval churches, guildhalls and town houses?
Stay: Hotel Barbarossa (Standard) or Hotel Halm (Superior)
Head to the city of Freiburg among the mountains of the Black Forest. Look out for the various strausse (typically taverns run by winemakers serving hearty local specialities) that pop up in the city throughout the summer.
Stay: InterCity Hotel, Freiburg (Standard) or Hotel Rheingold (Superior)
Travel through Colmar to Strasbourg, capital of the Alsace region of eastern France, a city famed for its long and varied history, rich architectural heritage, blend of French and German influences and superb wines.
Stay: Best Western Hotel de l'Europe (Standard) or Hilton Strasbourg (Superior)
Finish your trip with a flight home from Frankfurt, leaving enough time to visit Heidelberg's famous Schloss (castle), once described by Mark Twain as 'the Lear of inanimate nature - deserted, discrowned, beaten by the storms, but royal still, and beautiful'.
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