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Best of Bavaria: 14 day Oktoberfest Small Group Tour
Truly Bavaria's Best: Experience the medieval village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, plus the Royal Castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, the local Viehscheid celebration, the Eagle's Nest, a day in Salzburg, and Herrenchiemsee Palace. The trip culminates with BOTH Oktoberfest Parades in Munich and two visits to Oktoberfest! We do Oktoberfest for adults with our reserved seats.
Your tour guide is a bi-lingual historian and Diplom BierSommelier
Slow Tours offers a number of other Small Group Tours in Europe
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Departing from Munich airport at 11:30 AM, we drive north about 2.5 hours to the small village of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. One of the best known towns with its medieval wall intact, our family owned and operated hotel is located inside the wall. In there early evening we gather for a fantastic franconian meal, Sauerbraten. Since this is wine country, it's a great time to sample the wine produced by the owner's of the hotel. The Silvaner grape is the primary choice in the region and you can discover yourself why its the white wine of choice for so many - including Pope Benedict and England's Queen.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Sleep in and enjoy a hearty breakfast at the hotel. Following breakfast I'll offer an orientation to this small town. After our tour, which includes St. Jakob church and its Tilman Riemenschneider Blood Altar, you'll have time to discover the town at your own pace. Or, opt in for a visit to the Medieval Crime Museum and the Reichsstadt museums . In the evening, we will enjoy another great Franconian meal at Hotel Glocke. Before dinner, we have a wine tasting with the hotel proprietor's husband. Herr Thürauf makes his own wine from the region's Silvaner grape and has made a name for himself redeveloping many heirloom varieties. His passion for the craft is contagious and even an expert is sure to learn something new.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
After breakfast at Hotel Glocke, we board a bus for a 90 minute journey to the small city of Bamberg. Our favorite Bamberg guide, Eric the Storyteller, will meet us take us on a tour of his city. We visit the Bamberg Cathedral and its famous "Bamberg Knight" and Cathedral Square before visiting the heart of the city. Virtually untouched in WWII, Bamberg maintains it status as an UNESCO World Heritage City. Lunch is planned at the Schlenkerla immediately after our city tour. Famed for its Rauchbier (Smoked beer) and the Bamberg Onion, it is the perfect pairing. After our late lunch, enjoy a free afternoon in Bamberg or check out one of Bamberg's many other breweries!
Packing up our things, we drive a good stretch of the "Romantic Road" on our way south to the Alps. We will make a long stop at Kloster Andechs for lunch. Known to locals as "the Holy Mountain" it offers a beautiful rococo church and the world's best Schweinehaxe and Doppelbock beer. After a hearty lunch, we continue south and stop off for a quick visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Wieskirche. Once in Füssen, we are staying in the quiet spa district. Most of the rooms at Hotel Ruchti offer balconies facing the alps. Dinner is the classic Wiener Schnitzel!
Awake to a traditional German breakfast, complete with fresh baked goods and strong, dark coffee. Today we are off to explore the castles of Ludwig II. We start our study of this interesting king at his boyhood residence, Hohenschwangau. This castle was renovated by Ludwig's father and Ludwig spent many years here as a child. Just across the valley is his later building creation - the more famous castle of Neuschwanstein. We tour both castles before heading back to the town of Füssen to explore the quaint old town. In the evening, we travel to a traditional Viehscheid for an evening of live music and plenty of beer!
This morning we venture to the countryside to see the cows coming home! In the small village of Buching, the locals celebrate the cows being brought back down from the mountains and returned to their owners' farms. The cows will be decorated with bonnets of flowers and gigantic bells as they are led through the village. Once at the festival grounds, there will be an auction and small market before everyone retires to the festival tent for live music, food and drink!
After a hearty breakfast, we head east through the Alps toward Berchtesgadener Land. Our first stop is actually inside the mountain at the Salzbergwerk. A small mining train will take us deep into the mountain - enjoy two slides and the beauty of an underground salt lake. Afterwards we visit the oldest Schnapps distillery in the world - Grassl. After sampling the schnapps, we stop for dinner at the Scharitzkehlalm at the foot of the Höher Göll - a massive wall of granite reaching to the sky. After dinner, we check into our hotel at the end of the Königsee (King's Lake) in the National Park. Surrounded by natural beauty, you'll look forward to waking in the morning
After breakfast, we travel just a few miles to the Obersalzberg. This mountainside once swarmed with Nazi officials and now serves as the base for visits to the Eagle's Nest - referred to locally as the Kehlsteinhaus. We ride to the top and visit this famous site and then return to poke through the Documentation center and part of the Nazi bunker complex. After this heavy dose of WWII history, we ride to the nearby Austrian city of Salzburg. We'll explore the city of Mozart's birth and enjoy a little free time for shopping. Join me at Sporer for some homemade Schnapps, Fürst for the best Mozart Balls, or the Sacher for Torte and Coffee. For dinner, we'll enjoy a wonderful beer hall, the Augustiner Bräustübl zu Mülln - grab a stein off the shelf, rinse it out yourself and have it filled with fresh beer - an authentic experience!
This morning we take to the lake - Königsee. We board an electric boat for about 40 minutes out to St. Bartholomä. This church, combined with the majestic Watzmann mountain, is the symbol of Berchtesgadener Land. After visiting the tiny church, you'll have several options (weather dependent). Ride the Jennerbahn gondola to the top of the mountain for a panoramic view. Or, ride up half-way and do a bit of hiking with Scott. If the weather doesn't cooperate opt for shopping with Vonia or hit the Spa/Sauna in downtown Berchtesgaden. A light dinner is planned at the Jenner Kaser - a small hut at the foot of the Jenner Mountain, walking distance from our hotel.
This morning we take our leave of the Alps as we return to the Bavarian Capital city of Munich. On the way, we'll stop off at the Chiemsee, known as the "Bavarian Ocean." A quick boat ride takes to to the Herren Island, where Ludwig II built a copy of Versailles. We have a tour of the palace before returning on the boat and back to the mainland. Arriving at Hotel Alter Wirt, we'll get situated in our rooms before heading into downtown Munich. Dinner is planned at the Schneider Brauhaus. Currently in the sixth generation, Schneider offers an assortment of delicious Bavarian Weissbier and hearty meals.
Wake up late and linger over the organic breakfast served at Alter Wirt. Today is the opening day of Oktoberfest and we'll watch as the tent hosts and beer wagons make their way to the Wiesn. After the parade, we''ll break off and tour the city. Founded in 1158, Munich has a rich history from the "First Reich, Second Reich" and was, of course, the birthplace of the infamous "Third Reich." Our walk through Munich's old town covers all these periods - medieval architecture, historical anecdotes and insights into the culture. Although each walk is slightly different and customized to the guest's interests, we typically begin in the heart of Munich at Marienplatz. After the hearing the chiming of the Glockenspiel, we set off to explore the city - the Neues and Altes Rathaus (City Hall), the Frauenkirche (Cathedral of Our Lady), and Munich's open air market - Viktualienmarkt. We also walk part of route that Hitler's failed Putsch attempt of 1923. We'll also see where he attended his first meeting of the DAP (German Worker's Party - later the NSDAP) and visit where he gave his first major public speech. As we walk, we will discuss the local history and many local personalities which shaped the local landscape and influenced the Munich of today.
At 10:00 the massive parade begins - the "Trachten- und Schützenzug" features some 9,000 participants. Marching bands, shooting clubs, falconry clubs, coopers and everything Bavarian make for unforgettable pageantry. After the parade, we'll catch lunch in one of Munich's beautiful beer gardens. Tonight it's our turn to join the fest! In the late afternoon, we make our way to the Wiesn (Oktoberfest). Our seats are in the balcony of the Augustiner Tent. It will be a fun night of feasting on rotisserie chicken and Augustiner Beer while enjoying the band.
After breakfast we'll depart around 9:30 AM and take you straight to the Oktoberfest grounds: Theresienwiese. We'll stroll past the many rides and stands before Oktoberfest really gets humming. At 11:30 we take our tables in Box 3 in the Augustiner tent. This is the friendliest tent and the best beer at the Wiesn. The team here always takes great care of us for the afternoon. After our visit, we will show you around the grounds and offer you the chance to explore some of the historical rides and attractions on the grounds.
All good things come to an end and now it's time to head back home! The Munich airport is located 35 miles north of Hotel Alter Wirt. You will make your own way to the airport, depending on your personal flight time. A Taxi can be arranged, or you can use the tram/S-Bahn which goes to the airport every 20 minutes.
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