Bavarian Castles Tour – 2016
King Ludwig II's Castles and the Bavarian Lakes
Hopfen am See
Discover the wonderful castles of King Ludwig II and the beauty of Bavaria's lakes and countryside. Tour inside the castles with local guides and take time to explore on your own. Alternate the visits to castles with other excursions, including a trip to the top of Mount Zugspitze, the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich, the Church in the Meadow, Oberammergau and other picturesque towns and villages in the region, and other highlights listed in the itinerary below.
Optional Extensions: Add the Three Nights Venice Extension to also visit one of Europe's most romantic cities, or one of our regional short or day tours to tailor your visit to Bavaria to pursue your own specific interests.
Board your flight from your home destination to Munich, Germany.
This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.
Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 – HOPFEN AM SEE
Arrival in Munich, Germany. Your flight should arrive at the Munich Airport by 11:15 a.m. at the latest for the complimentary transfer at noon.
When the group is complete we head south to your home away from home in HOPFEN AM SEE, on the lake near Fussen (Füssen or Fuessen in German). Our home base here at the southern end of Germany's famous Romantic Road is within hiking distance of Neuschwanstein in the beautiful Bavarian Alps.
You are staying in a typical local "landhaus", where you are a friend, not a tourist. Your rooms are very gemuetlich, decorated in Bavarian country style, all with cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, extra sitting area, balcony, and a great mountain view.
You'll be treated to a welcoming Bavarian dinner on the Lake Promenade tonight.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from
airport to hotel, three-course welcome dinner with menu choices, one
coffee or tea after, overnight at Landhaus Koessel in Hopfen am See
Landhaus Kossel (Kössel / Koessel)
Day 3 – NEUSCHWANSTEIN, HOHENSCHWANGAU
Today we focus on NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE (Schloss Neuschwanstein in German), Germany's most famous castle. First we go to Marienbruecke (Mary's Bridge) sitting high above the Poellat Gorge, where we can take the best pictures of the castle. (If Mary's Bridge is closed because of ice or snow on the path, you will be taken to another lookout where you can take wonderful pictures of Neuschwanstein.)
From there we walk downhill for our inside tour of Neuschwanstein. Afterwards there's time for lunch and a stroll on Lake Alpsee, where young Ludwig learned to swim. [ Larger photos of Neuschwanstein, including helicopter views, are included in the Bavarian Castles Gallery in the In Depth section below. ]
In the afternoon we visit SCHLOSS HOHENSCHWANGAU, the castle built by his father Maximilian, where Germany's fairy tale king spent much of his childhood, and where he dreamed about his future castles. Local guides in both castles.
Fantastic dinner tonight in the area where Ludwig II was planning his next castle, Falkenstein.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door
transportation, entrances and guided tours of Neuschwanstein and
horse carriage, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 4 – ZUGSPITZE, LINDERHOF, OBERAMMERGAU
Beautiful drive via Austria to Garmisch where we take a cable car up to the ZUGSPITZE, at almost 10,000 feet Germany's highest mountain, with a matchless panorama.
We continue on to SCHLOSS LINDERHOF, Ludwig's beautiful hiding castle deep in the forest, which served as a background for the romantic fantasies of the young king. Inside visit with local guide.
Back home via the pretty village of OBERAMMERGAU, known for the passion play, a tradition which derives from a vow made by the inhabitants in 1633 that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague then sweeping the region they would perform a passion play every ten years.
Medieval Dinner in Fussen tonight.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door
transportation, Zugspitze cable car, guided tour of Linderhof,
Day 5 – HERRENCHIEMSEE, BAD TOLZ
Today we focus on King Ludwig II's largest castle, HERRENCHIEMSEE, which he built on an island in Lake Chiemsee after a visit to Versailles. Herrenchiemsee was Ludwig's most expensive project, he stayed here only about one week.
Boat and horse carriage rides to the castle and local guide for inside tour.
On the way back we stop in the beautiful town of BAD TOLZ (Bad Tölz or Bad Toelz in German). Bad Tolz became famous for its spa. It also features colourful painted buildings.
There's time to relax before we join the locals tonight for great atmosphere and food at a local brewery.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, boat and carriage rides, Herrenchiemsee tour, dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 6 – MUNICH, NYMPHENBURG
We go to MUNICH (München or Muenchen in German, sometimes Munchen on the net) and first we visit SCHLOSS NYMPHENBURG (Nymphenburg Palace), where Ludwig was born, and the Marstallmuseum, containing many of Ludwig's elaborate carriages.
An Orientation Tour of Germany's secret capital features the Olympic stadium, Olympic Tower, Leopoldstrasse, Schwabing, Ludwigstrasse, Odeonsplatz, Koenigsplatz, Karlsplatz, Church of our Lady, and Marienplatz where you see the Glockenspiel.
Afterwards plenty of time on your own for shopping, more sightseeing (BMW Museum, German Museum, Pinakothek, ... the options list is endless). Dinner on your own in the evening. Why not have a stein of beer at the Hofbrauhaus (Hofbräuhaus), Munich's famous beer hall?
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Munich orientation tour, entrance to Nymphenburg Palace, Landhaus Koessel
Day 7 – INNSBRUCK
Today we drive south through the mountains to INNSBRUCK on the Inn River, the capital of Austria's Tyrol.
First we visit Schloss Ambras, a Renaissance castle and palace located in the hills above the city. It was built in the sixteenth century on the site of a tenth-century castle, and became the seat of power of the Counts of the Andechs. The castle is notable for its exterior architecture and interior furnishings, and contains major art and armour collections. We have a private guided tour.
In the city enjoy a nice stroll through its quaint medieval lanes, see the famous little Golden Roof below the impressive Austrian Alps, the Hofburg palace, and the Hofkirche, Innsbruck's fine Baroque church. Free time to explore on your own, and maybe shop for Swarovski Crystal, which is made here.
Dinner in Austria tonight on the way back home.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance and private guided tour of Schloss Ambras, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 8 – WIESKIRCHE, LAKE STARNBERG, ANDECHS
On our last exploring day we take the Romantic Road to visit the masterpiece of Bavarian Rococo, WIESKIRCHE, also known as the Church in the Meadow, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We continue to LAKE STARNBERG and at Berg see the Votivchapel and the cross in the lake where Ludwig died. Then on to ritzy Starnberg with time for lunch and a stroll on the lake.
Afterwards a short drive to ANDECHS, a famous Benedictine monastery on the Holy Mountain. The monks are also well known for making their own beer, which we have time to enjoy in one of the many beer gardens.
Enjoy your last evening with a wonderful farewell dinner in Hopfen.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door
transportation, three-course dinner with menu choices, one beverage, and
coffee or tea after,
Day 9 – RETURN
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen". Transfer to Munich Airport for your return flight home.
Your flight should not leave Munich before 10:30 a.m.
If you wish, you can extend your vacation with one of the optional extensions outlined below.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to airport
Three Nights Venice Extension
Turn your Bavarian Castles Tour into an even more magical vacation with an extension to Venice, described as "undoubtedly the most beautiful city built by man" and as "one of Europe's most romantic cities."
This three-night extension takes the same approach to visiting Italy's Veneto region as our longer Italian Highlights Tour.
Travel across the scenic Alps, visit Verona, the setting for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, and check into your 4-star hotel on Venice's Lido Island. Ride the bus boats on the Grand Canal and see the Rialto Bridge, tour inside the palace and basilica on St. Mark's Square, go for a gondola ride, and visit the scenic islands of Murano, Burano, and Torcello. Shop if you wish, explore on your own, or relax on Lido Island's beach.
Price per person for double occupancy is EUR 699. Single supplement is EUR 150. Please see the table in "Dates & Prices" below for scheduled and private availabilities.
Full details are provided in this Three Nights Venice Extension itinerary.
Your can also customize your itinerary by combining the Bavarian Castles Tour with one of our three-day tours, slightly modified to carry on from your Bavarian tour.
The Rothenburg and Northern Bavaria 3-Day Tour explores the medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in depth. Marvel at the 16th century ramparts and towers surrounding the town, and its ancient houses, fountains, and cobbled lanes. Also visit other notable landmarks in the region, including Harburg Castle (fully intact after 900 years), Würzburg Residence (grand palace), Ulmer Minster (the tallest church in the world), and Augsburg's Fuggerei (the oldest social housing complex in the world).
The Salzburg and Eastern Bavaria 3-Day Tour explores legendary and attractive Salzburg, with one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. See Mirabell Gardens, Mozart's birthplace, and Fortress Hohensalzburg. Choose between included excursions to Hellbrunn Castle, Hohenwerfen Fortress, or the Salzkammergut resort area. On the return visit Hitler's mountaintop Eagle's Nest, the charming valley town of Berchtesgaden, and beautiful Lake Königsee.
Or you could add one or more of the day tours from our Day and Short Tours page to explore specific areas of interest to you. That page provides an index to the tours, brief descriptions of each tour, and links to complete details.
Please feel free to contact us for help combining elements to build your ideal itinerary.
- All features as per itinerary, departure guaranteed
- Door-to-door transportation (all modes). Leave the navigating to us.
- 7 breakfast buffets
- 6 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
- 7 nights' accommodation
- All entrance fees, taxes, and local guide fees paid
- No hidden extras, no optional excursions – already included
- Maximum group size of 30 people, fewer on most tours
- The tour language is English only.
- There is no packing and unpacking, as we stay at the Landhaus Koessel every night.
- The days are well planned to offer you many highlights, but you are never rushed.
Ideal combination of free time and planned activities.
- Skip the lines at must-see attractions.
- All visits are inside, not drive-by. Learn the stories that bring old buildings to life.
- You will see not only the highlights but also the spots where only the locals go.
- Tour director – Let our experts make every day and destination fascinating!
- Satisfaction assured – backed up by our money-back guarantee.
Complete printable itinerary in PDF format: Bavarian Castles Tour Itinerary
Hotel – The Landhaus Koessel
The Landhaus Koessel is located on Lake Hopfen, near Fussen, with beautiful scenery and mountain views of the Bavarian Alps.
You stay in Bavarian Country Style rooms, which are very spacious, with extra sitting areas, balconies, cable TV, direct-dial-telephones, coffeemakers, mini-bars, and hairdryers. You will feel at home immediately. High speed internet is available. For more information please see the Landhaus Koessel English-language website.
Find out for yourself what makes this particular place in the Alps so special that King Ludwig wanted to spend the rest of his life here.
The Landhaus Koessel
At Lake Hopfensee, May 2014
Atop Mount Zugspitze
View from Zugspitze
Below Neuschwanstein, June 2013
Ludwig Votivchapel, Lake Starnberg
On the way to Neuschwanstein, September 2012
There are more pictures in the In Depth section
The Gallery has larger images of tour destinations, and Groups has photos of participants in past tours.
Bavarian Castles Tour In Depth
Larger Pictures of Castles, Communities and Regional Highlights
Images of Bavarian Castles Tour features, contributed by past guests and from public domain sources.
This gallery now includes three dramatic and exclusive helicopter views of Neuschwanstein.
Detailed Itinerary Destination Maps
3-page printer-friendly PDF including:
- Bavarian Castles Tour Destinations map from the top of this web page,
- Detailed map with Bavarian Castles destinations marked by day, and
- Fussen Area map, highlighting the locations of the castles.
Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major Bavarian Castles Tour itinerary features
Pictures of Previous Tour Groups and Participants
Photos from recent year Bavarian Castles Tours
Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.
Notes on the distinguishing features of the various tours offered.
What's so special about these tours? How do they differ from each other?
Comments from participants in this and other Castles tours.
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.
I just returned from an unforgettable week in Bavaria with Astrid, her crew and their Bavarian Castles Tour. Everything about this week far exceeded by expectations.
From the moment I was picked up at the airport until I was dropped off one week later, I was given the feeling that I was the personal guest of a Bavarian Friend who wanted only for me to see and experience their beloved homeland in a positive light.
Do yourself a favor and book this tour. You will not regret it. The attention to detail, the scenery, the food, the Bavarian history, the people, the lovely German/Bavarian countryside will all come together to create a wonderful week, the memories of which will last a lifetime. This will not be my last adventure with European Castles Tours!
- Dale Schaefer,
We just returned from the Bavarian Castles Tour and it was Wunderbar. The attention to detail and organization of the tour was impeccable....
Each day was packed with several sites to visit. A meticulously planned itinerary allowed for just the right amount of time at each stop…. It is an English speaking tour. The Landhaus Kossel is a comfortable and charming inn.... Food was delicious.... Each day we traveled in a comfortable Mercedes Benz bus, safely driven by Andre…. This tour is designed to be as easy and friendly as possible. The driver and tour guide do all the hard work and attend to the details....
This is a truly outstanding tour, you will not be disappointed. And Bavaria is soooo beautiful.
- "Happy Trails Boston",
Massachusetts, September 2014
Read the complete review on Trip Advisor
Bavaria was my third tour with European Castles Tours, all different and all wonderful! The special style of touring of Astrid and her team means small groups, flexible itineraries, incredible attention to detail, and perfect balance between scheduled activity and free time. There is plenty of time to savor the usual tourist sites.... Friendly manners and warm smiles complete the package. No surprise that Astrid's tours often include repeat customers!
- Penny Pernell,
Pennsylvania, July 2012
Thank you so much for the great tour you took us on. All was very enjoyable! There castles were the hi-light, but your planning, the Landhaus where we stayed, bus rides, dinners – all were first class. Thanks you so much.
- Veronica McLean,
Vancouver, Canada, June 2012
Additional comments on this and other Castles Tours are provided on a separate References Page .
Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our References Video .
Dates, Prices and Reservations
Complete printable itineraries in PDF format:
The Bavarian Castles Tours listed below are offered on the following basis:
Tour prices are for the land segment only. Air fare is not included.
Prices are per person, in U.S. dollars,
based on double occupancy.
Single Occupancy is available for a Single Supplement charge of US $ 300.
A child 8 to 16 years old sharing a room with two adults receives a 40% reduction on this tour.
Guaranteed Departure: The
Bavarian Castles Tour is guaranteed to operate
as scheduled and will not be cancelled due to a low level of participation.
A deposit of US $ 300 per person is required to secure a reservation on these tours.
Bavarian Castles Tour – 2016
Fall 2016 Dates
This tour now operates weekly from late April through mid-October on a regular Friday through following Saturday schedule.
* The three-nights Venice Extension is available at its standard rates for the
tours marked "Option" in the table below, and may be
available on other dates as a private extension, with prices on request.
Your overnight international
Your return flight
is on Saturday ...
September 9, 2016
September 16, 2016
September 23, 2016
September 30, 2016
Available - Book Now
October 7, 2016
Available - Book Now
Child 8-16 with 2 Adults
US $ 2,429
US $ 2,729
US $ 1,457
Reservation info and online form >
The "Christmas Markets Tour" (King Ludwig II's Castles and the Bavarian Christmas Markets) shares much of the itinerary of the "Bavarian Castles" Tour detailed here. Full details are provided on the Christmas Markets Tour page.
Dates for all current multi-day Castles tours >
Private Tour Option
Do our dates not work for you? We can arrange the tour for you or your party as a private tour. Same
itinerary as above in a private limousine
or van, with bilingual, professional private guide / chauffeur. Prices per individual are the same as for the regular group tour, plus a US $ 200 per day
private tour premium for the group.
Email is fast, flexible, and free. You can write to us at this email link .
You can call us in Germany (Eastern Time + 6 Hours)
U.S. Phone: (202) 580 - 8732 / Castles Office: +49 8362 924 8800