6 days - 5 nights - from € 459 p.p.  Historic Cities of the South

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems that the South of everywhere just has a certain draw: the South of France, the Southeast of the U.S., Southern Italy. This pull is also found in the South of Germany with its pleasant climate and hospitable culture. Explore this beautiful and welcoming region with a traipse around her historic cities. Each combining art, culture, and savoir vivre in a special way, the cities of Freiburg, Augsburg, Regensburg, Würzburg, and Heidelberg await.

 
Day 1 - Mainz

Arrive at Frankfurt International Airport (or at Mainz Main Train Station) to start your tour. Taxi transfer to your hotel in the Historic Highlights City of Mainz, located near Mainz Main Train Station.
"Live Mainz" - The state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate can probably best be understood under this motto. Because Mainz, the city at the confluence of the Rhine and Main and in the middle of the largest German wine-growing area, combines a way of life, a zest for life and a rich, age-old culture in an almost proverbial manner. Enjoy your arrival day in Mainz and explore the City which the Romans laid the foundations more than 2000 years ago.

 
Day 2 - Heidelberg & Freiburg

Take a train to the Historic Highlights City of Heidelberg. A taxi will take you up to the Castle. Heidelberg is renowned for its romantic ambiance. Joseph von Eichendorff, the German Romantic poet who studied in Heidelberg in 1807, could be speaking today: "Heidelberg itself is magnificent romantic city; there the spring entwines the houses and courtyards and everything ordinary with vines and flowers, and castles and forests tell a wonderful fairytale of times past. "Take in the magic of the Castle, the Old Bridge and the Old Town panorama; wander through the picturesque side streets full of enticing opportunities to look, poke around and shop; enjoy the varied year-round program of cultural activities and the flair of historic student pubs. See the indelible marks of the imperial Prince Electors Palatine who ruled Heidelberg for so many centuries, and keep your eyes open for lions emblazoned upon various public spaces, the traditional symbol of the "Kurpfalz"(Palatinate).Heidelberg is an endlessly walk able little city. Stroll the Old Town for traditional markets on the squares and cosmopolitan shopping on the bustling Hauptstrasse. The restaurant selection is plentiful, and some of the best people-watching is to be done from outdoor dining on this main pedestrian way. The ruins of the Heidelberg Castle area steep but short hike, or one stop upon the funicular rail, from the Old Town. Majestically perched high above the narrow lanes and picturesque roofs of town, the magnificent red sandstone structure crowns the city. For five centuries it was the glamorous residence of the Electors Palatine. The construction lasted over 400 years and consists of ramparts, outbuildings and palaces in all styles from Gothic thigh Renaissance. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected the 16th century, and today they are considered to be two of the most important buildings in German architectural history. Another point of interest regarding Heidelberg's Electors Palatines the triumphal arch in honour of the Prince Elector Karl Theodor, located at the far eastern edge of town. When the foundation-stone was laid on October 2, 1775, the Prince Elector personally attended the celebration. He took a personal interesting the construction work, and the final result was a neoclassical building following the tradition of Roman triumphal arches, crowned by four lions. Portraits of the Prince Elector and his wife can be seen under the princely hat towards the top of the structure. You can also visit the tombs of the Prince Electors in the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost). No city was as beloved by the Romantic poets as Heidelberg, due in great part to her enchanting location on the Nectar River amidst mountains, woods and sloping vineyards. The city has drawn and inspired great writers and thinkers for many centuries, leading its popular walking path to become known as the Philosopher's Walk. Recognized as one of Europe's most beautiful trails, you can take a leisurely ramble to see the panorama of the city and river below that moved the likes of Goethe, Mark Twain, Carl Maria von Weber, Alan Ginsburg and many more. As Germany's oldest university town, Heidelberg flaunts her distinguished history while retaining a youthful atmosphere. One in five residents is a student, and the many bistros, bars, boutiques, music and dance clubs, coffeehouses and theatres catering to this group are to be enjoyed by the visitor as well. And be sure to treat yourself to a "Student's Kiss," Heidelberg's mouth-wateringly sweet specialty.

The trains takes you to the Historic Highlight City of Freiburg.
Today Freiburg is a cheerful "little big city" with southern flair and a charming mix of tradition and progress. It's a German city with an almost Mediterranean climate and certainly the attending ambiance and joie de vivre. France, after all, is just 25 kilometers (15 miles) away. The Austrians also left their cultural fingerprint here thanks to the city's 400 years as part of the Habsburg Empire. The site of this cosmopolitan university town is unmatched: right at the foot of the Black Forest and in the middle of the "three-country corner" where Germany, France and Switzerland meet. With the Vosges and the Alps nearby, a climate reminiscent of Lugano and a renowned thermal mineral bath and spa resort, its location is a natural attraction. In Freiburg, you encounter historic sights at every corner. The Cathedral Square is surrounded by impressive buildings, the tallest of which is the steep-roofed historical Kaufhaus (Old Merchants' House) with its colorfully adorned bartizans. Sights worth visiting include the Old and New Town Halls, the Haus zum Walfisch (House of the Whale) with its superb late Gothic portal, the Basler Hof (Basel Court) and the two medieval city gates (Martinstor and Schwabentor) still standing today. Picturesquely encircling the magnificent Gothic Cathedral begun in 1200, the medieval Old Quarter features architectural treasures including a colorful marketplace, twisting, narrow lanes and miniature streams flowing through the streets and alleyways. The cathedral's 381-foot tower ranks among the masterworks of Gothic architecture, distinguishing Freiburg's incomparable silhouette. If you attempt to climb the Cathedral tower, you'll be rewarded at the pinnacle of your climb with a breathtaking view. And even at such lofty heights, the enchanting ambiance of this old university town is palpable. The old city center's numerous historical monuments, museums, theaters, cozy restaurants and quaint bars all make this city so popular among students and visitors alike. You will quickly note a unique city feature, the so-called Bächle - or little streams - built nearly 600 years ago as a water supply and to fight fires. The water flows down to the Rhine, providing a way for tired backpackers to cool their feet and a race course for kids with rubber ducks. These babbling little streams offer a charming and often whimsical air to the Old Town. The city was an historically important center of commerce, and the historic Merchant's Hall (1520-30) is a symbol of the significance of trade in medieval Freiburg. The municipal market, customs and financial administration building is identified as a center of trade by its arcades hall, and its façade is decorated with coats of arms and statues indicating the city's links with the House of Habsburg. A popular day trip within the city limits is the Schauinsland, Freiburg's 4,213-foot "hometown" mountain. The scenery viewed from the cable car running to the summit spans far out over the Rhine plain, past vineyard hills toward the gray-silhouetted backdrop of the French Vosges mountain range. From the summit, the view extends deep into the Black Forest and south to the Alps. Tiny villages, with their red roofs and narrow steeples, and ivy-draped castle ruins perfect this idealistically quaint setting. You hotel is located right at Freiburg main train station.

   
  Day 3 - Black Forrest & Augsburg

 First-class train ride to thru the Black Forest to Neustadt/Schwarzwald, a holiday world of its own. Busy hustle and bustle combined with sweet idleness. Neustadt subscribes to the resort town tradition. There are the "Heimatstuben" - a permanent exhibition of native folk art and customs, the St. Jakobs-Münster (cathedral) and the educational woods trail which provides information on flora and fauna. From the tower to the Hochfirst crest (the local mountain) one has a spectacular view of the region, stretching from the Vosges Mountains on the other side of the Rhine to the French and Swiss alpine chain. The Hochfirst ski jump is Germany's largest natural ski jump.
The trains takes you to the Historic Highlights City of Augsburg. Founded by Emperor Augustus in 15 B.C., Augsburg got its starts as a Roman military camp and became a Roman provincial capital for more than 400 years. By the 15th century, it was one of Europe's wealthiest and most important merchant cities. Having developed over two millennia, this town's distinct cityscape was shaped by all the great stylistic epochs. Great buildings, monumental fountains, lavishly laid-out streets, and ultramodern architecture attest to the city's tradition of cosmopolitan bounty. Many of Augburg's unique features can be credited to the pre-mercantile times of Roman soldiers, though. The city's wall dates from the Middle Ages, but you can still find traces of the Romans' handiwork in stretches of the original wall. They were also responsible for the city's intricate canal system. By one count, as many as 600 bridges cross the still-intact waterways - more, Augsburgers claim, than in Venice or Amsterdam. Be sure you don't miss the Roman Museum, a church of the former St. Magdalena monastery with prehistoric exhibits and interesting finds from the Roman empire. Take time to appreciate the magnificent beauty that the Renaissance imparted on Augsburg's façade. It is even nicknamed the "German Renaissance City." The majesty of this era is still very much alive here in the architecture of the monumental Rathaus (City Hall). This imposing Renaissance masterpiece was built from 1615 to 1620 by Elias Holl as an expression of the Free Imperial City's civic pride. Enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the city's architectural gems from the adjacent Perlachturm tower. Just one of many Renaissance fountains surviving intact, the magnificent Augustusbrunnen was erected in honor of the Roman Emperor from whom the city derives its name. Maximilian Street, framed by the historic façades of stately patrician homes, attests to the city's affluence in the days of the famous Fugger and Welser merchant dynasties. The world's oldest social settlement of the poor, The Fuggerei, was built by Jacob Fugger the Rich, banker to kings and emperors. Even today, its residents pay less than a dollar a year in rent. Banking must have been the profession of choice in Augsburg for those who wanted to lives like emperors and kings, as evidenced by the Schaezler Palace. The city palace of banker Liebert von Liebenhofen was built from 1765 to 1770 and features a richly adorned Rococo Banquet Hall,. Considered the most impressive Rococo work in Augsburg, it is also one of the most impressive private Rococo buildings in Bavaria. Today it also houses the German Baroque Gallery and the State Gallery with paintings by masters such as Dürer, Holbein and Cranach. Of interest to music-lovers, the ancestral home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is open to the public and houses a museum for the famous composer, whose family originated in Augsburg. Augsburg also touts an impressive collection of religious edifices. The Dom (Cathedral) is lit by five of the oldest figured stained glass windows of the world (1140). St. Ulrich & Afra-Basilika and the Protestant Ulrichskirche join with the Dom to constitute a splendid architectural ensemble. And in 1518, Martin Luther first defended his theses of Protestantism to an emissary of the Pope while residing in St. Anna's Church, a former monastery that offers excellent examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo styles. The Augsburg region is distinguished as the childhood home to Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Born in Munich in 1837, she married Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph at age 16 and quickly became the Princess Diana of her century. A strikingly beautiful woman, "Sisi" was beloved by the people. At the same time, she suffered as she tried to become accustomed to the etiquette and customs of the royal court, instead choosing to spend much of her time traveling. Eventually, she developed into a confident and energetic woman who lived her life , with independence until she was assassinated in Geneva in 1898. Augsburg is the western terminus of the Sisi Road, which travels through Bad Ischl, Austria, where she met Franz Joseph, and Vienna, where she lived in the Hofburg and Schönbrunn. The Road continues into Hungary to Gödöllö Palace near Budapest.
You hotel is located right at Augsburg main train station.

   
  Day 4 - Regensburg

Take a train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Regensburg. When you arrive in Regensburg, you will be welcomed with legendary Bavarian hospitality into the best-preserved medieval city in Germany, where two thousand years of history remain alive today. The town began as a Roman camp, Castra Regina, named for the Regen River on which it lies. Emperor Marcus Aurelius saw to the completion of the camp and had the northern gate of the camp, the Porta Praetoria, built in the second century A.D. You can still visit this awe-inspiring structure during your stay. After withdrawal of the Romans, Regensburg was the governmental seat of the Bavarian dukes and Bavaria's first capital. In the time of Charlemagne, Regensburg became a favored site for Imperial diets and princely assemblages. With this rise in its political fortunes, the city also enjoyed an economic boom. In the 12th and 13th centuries, the ministry officials of the Frankish kings developed into proud and incredibly wealthy merchants. Their lifestyle rivaled that of the nobility. The buildings from the flourishing medieval times are remarkably well-preserved. Many grandiose patrician houses remain with Italian-style towers reaching to the heavens and embellishing the impressive city skyline. The buildings, towers and churches offer an unspoiled peek into the past. You need not be a student of history to get a strong sense of what life was like in the days of old in Regensburg. Regensburg has a long history of imperial significance. The city was the seat of the Perpetual Imperial Diet from 1663 through 1806, when the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in Regensburg. During this time, the ambassadors from the German and European royal courts made homes for themselves in the city and founded a varied culture of festivals and celebrations. The parliament convened in the Imperial Chamber in the Town Hall, an impressive work of Renaissance architecture, through 1806. Visitors can now visit the exhibition of books and prints illustrating the history of the Imperial Diet. The dungeons and inquisition chamber in the cellars are also on show. Castles, churches, monasteries and St. Peter's Cathedral bear testimony to the grandeur of the prosperous medieval era, which is also brought to life in the many museums with their valuable and fascinating collections. The Stone Bridge and the Old Town Hall, set in the heart of the medieval city, are among the most important historic buildings in Germany. Take a boat trip on the Danube to best experience the river that has sustained the city since ancient times. Visit the Neupfarrplatz for a glimpse into the ancient and medieval city. This square was once the site of Roman officers' homes. In the early Middle Ages, it became Regensburg's Jewish quarter, later razed during economic hardships in 1519. Recent construction work uncovered the foundations of the former Jewish quarter built over Roman ruins. Descend into the excavations via stairs adjacent to the Neupfarrkirche to see cellars, walls, wells, steps and roads and gain a better insight into the lives of the ancient Romans and the medieval Jews of Regensburg. No visit to Regensburg is complete without a visit to the Schloss Thurn und Taxis, a magnificent castle built around a former 8th century Benedictine abbey by the Thurn and Taxis family in 1812. While still the family's ancestral home, three main sections are open to the public. The palace, with its magnificent furnishings, paints a vivid picture of court life in the 19th century and is said to have more rooms than Buckingham Palace in England. The palace also houses the Thurn and Taxis Museum, a branch of the National Museum of Bavaria, with an extensive collection of jewelry, watches, porcelain place settings, duelling pistols and other family treasures. Around lunchtime, be sure to stroll toward the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), an architectural achievement as impressive today as when it was built in the early 12th century. Nine centuries ago, workers constructing the bridge received their meals at a riverside kitchen. That same kitchen - the Historische Wurstküche (Historic Sausage Kitchen) - serves several thousand Regensburger Bratwurst each day to locals and visitors. On a sunny day, guests can sit elbow-to-elbow on slat benches and devour platefuls of the little Bavarian sausages, sauerkraut and sweet mustard.
Your hotel is located close to Regensburg's main station.

   
  Day 5 - Wuerzburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In the morning the train takes you to the Historic Highlights City of Würzburg. This lively city is the northern gateway to the Romantic Road, a trade route from the Middle Ages still traveled by visitors seeking the best of medieval Germany. Today Würzburg is a surprisingly cosmopolitan Bavarian city filled with architectural and artistic treasures - and exquisite Franconian wine. Würzburg is dominated by its most prominent landmark, the Fortress Marienberg. The origins of this fortress date back to around 1000 B.C., when a Celtic fortified refuge existed on this site. Since the foundation of the Würzburg bishopric in 742, the city has been the region's religious centre. Würzburg experienced its most prosperous period during the rule of the art-loving prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, for whom Balthasar Neumann built the "palace of palaces" from 1719 to 1744. Known as the Würzburg Residenz (Residence), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is arguably the most ornate Baroque palace in Germany. The centre entryway is big enough for a stagecoach to turn around and leads to a massive grand staircase. Halfway up the stairs, eyes are drawn upward to "The Four Continents" (only Europe, America, Asia and Africa were known at the time), a fresco by the Venetian artist Tiepolo that is considered the world's largest painting. The brilliant colours fill an unsupported vaulted ceiling, which critics of the time said would surely collapse. Not only did it outlast the critics, but it was the only part of the Residenz left standing after a 1945 bombing. The prince-bishops hired some of Europe's finest architects, sculptors and painters, and their legacy can be seen on nearly every block. Sights worth exploring include St. Kilian's Cathedral for its exquisite architecture and the adjacent Neumünster Church, built where missionaries were killed in 689 and the destination for thousands of pilgrims every July 7. Behind this church is the Lusam Garden, where the tombstone of the medieval poet, Walther von der Vogelweide can be found. Mention should also be made of the Marienkapelle on the market square as one of the most interesting late-Gothic Bavarian churches. Würzburg (like its visitors) benefits from its prime location on the River Main. The promenade makes for delightful strolls, and riverfront cafés overflow in good weather. Sightseeing boats offer excursions to neighboring villages, and passenger ships plying the Rhine, Main and Danube make the city a prime stop. And there are few better views from a hotel room than of a river, a castle rising above it, and vineyards stretching beyond sight. From the northernmost point of the Romantic Road, a pleasant day trip might include visiting medieval Rothenburg, Germany's "Christmas city." Another diversion of interest is Weikersheim Castle, the main residence of the princes of Hohenlohe. Situated at the heart of the Franconia wine region, the excellent white wines produced in the area are central to life in Würzburg. The people of this city have a great appreciation for the quality and variety of wine from their region, as evidenced by the fact that nearly 80% of the wine produced there is also consumed there. Visitors can gain their own appreciation at one of the many annual wine festivals, during wine cellar tours, at wine tastings, in wine bars and from extensive wine lists at almost every restaurant.
Your hotel is located near Würzburg´s main station.

Day 6 - Wuerzburg / Frankfurt Airport

Take a first-class train ride from Würzburg to Frankfurt Airport or any other Railway Station in Germany.

   
 

Book This Tour

INCLUDED

  • Airport Transfers

  • 5 nights accommodation

  • All train transportation in first class

  • Sightseeing at leisure

  • Tour package with valuable information, maps and brochures

  • Some entrance fees

6 days / 5 nights independent tour

€609 per person - based on double occupancy


Alternatively:

AVIS rental car instead of 1st class train travel:

€459 per person - based on double occupancy 

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