Day 1 ARRIVE IN MUNICH, GERMANY.
Time to rest or to start exploring the lively Bavarian capital. At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a welcome dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day 2 MUNICH–REGENSBURG.
Sightseeing with a Local Guide of Germany’s “Secret Capital” features the Olympic Stadium, built for the 1972 Olympics; the 1,000-foot-high Olympic Tower; and Königsplatz, used for Nazi rallies during World War II. Drive along the Ludwigstrasse, and see the Bavarian Arch of Triumph and Field Marshall Hall. Also visit lively MARIENPLATZ with the Old and the New Town Halls and the gothic Frauenkirche. Arrive in Regensburg, and meet your Local Guide for a walking tour, featuring the Stone Bridge, the oldest preserved bridge of its kind in Germany; the Porta Pretoria, built in the 2nd century by Emperor Marcus Aurelius; and St. Peter’s Cathedral. Next, [LF] board the Swarovski crystal boat for a CRUISE on the Danube River. You cannot leave Regensburg without [LF] tasting a medieval hot dog at the Historic Sausage Kitchen. (B)
Day 3 REGENSBURG–NUREMBERG.
Visit the THURN UND TAXIS PALACE, a former Benedictine monastery that was converted into the residence of the Princes of Thurn und Taxis in 1812. This family started the first large-scale postal service in Europe in the 15th century. Continue to Nuremberg, known for its children’s toys and gingerbread. Admire the impressive medieval ramparts as you walk through the pedestrian area of the charming Old Town and see St. Sebald Church, painstakingly reconstructed as a monument to peace from the rubble of near-total wartime destruction. Also admire the Schöner Brunnen, a 14th-century fountain dedicated to the Holy Roman Empire. It is said that it brings good luck to spin the two brass rings. (B)
Day 4 NUREMBERG. EXCURSION TO BAYREUTH & BAMBERG.
Look forward to an exciting day. First, stop in Bayreuth for an orientation of this city of festival fame. Richard Wagner came to Bayreuth in 1871 and was not satisfied with the existing 18th-century theater, the Markgräfliches Opernhaus, so he had a new one built. Today, the Festival Hall is used exclusively for the Bayreuth Festival, and only works by Wagner are performed there. Continue to picturesque Bamberg, the city with the largest historical center in Germany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. [LF] Taste “smoked beer,” a type of beer with a distinctive smoke flavor imparted by using malted barley dried over an open flame. Later enjoy a guided walk along the cobblestone streets, and admire the architecture of the houses. Return to Nuremberg. (B)
Day 5 NUREMBERG–ROTHENBURG–STUTTGART–BLACK FOREST.
A short drive delivers you to medieval Rothenburg with its ramparts and towers, cobblestone lanes, and 16th-century houses. Hear how the town survived the Thirty Years’ War, and shop for Christmas ornaments. On to Stuttgart for [LF] an exciting visit to the MERCEDES-BENZ MUSEUM before continuing to the Black Forest. (B,D)
Day 6 BLACK FOREST–LAKE CONSTANCE–OBERAMMERGAU.
A scenic drive this morning to sparkling Lake Constance. Next, enter the Bavarian Alps and arrive in the quaint Passion Play village of Oberammergau. (B)
Day 7 OBERAMMERGAU. NEUSCHWANSTEIN EXCURSION.
The highlight today is a visit to King Ludwig’s magnificent NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, one of Germany’s most famous castles and inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle at his theme park. Follow your Local Guide through this fairytale castle on its craggy outcrop high above a sparkling lake. Also visit the MUSEUM OF THE BAVARIAN KINGS and enjoy a HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDE. (B,D)
Day 8 OBERAMMERGAU–MUNICH.
A leisurely morning with the possibility to join an optional excursion to King Ludwig’s Linderhof Castle. This afternoon, you can return to Marienplatz and explore its many enticing shops. Tonight, a special farewell dinner awaits you at one of Munich’s lively restaurants to say auf Wiedersehen! (B,D)
Day 9 MUNICH
. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)