Best of Germany and Austria – 2018

Rhine and Danube, Castles and Mountains

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This tour is for travelers who want to see the highlights of both Germany and Austria but have limited time.  This tour combines the best of three of our other tours – the River Castles, Bavarian Castles, and Imperial Castles Tours.

Go for a cruise on the legendary Rhine and tour the Burg Eltz and Heidelberg castles.  Visit the medieval towns of Rothenburg and Dinkelsbuhl.  Tour King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee castles.  See the highlights in Munich, including a stop at Nymphenburg Palace.  See Innsbruck's famous Golden Roof, and enjoy a traditional Tyrolean folklore show.  In Salzburg see Mirabell Gardens, Mozart’s Birthplace, the Cathedral, and Fortress Hohensalzburg.  Finish your Best Of tour in elegant Vienna, touring Schonbrunn Palace.


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Board your flight from your home destination to Frankfurt, Germany.

This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.

Air fare independently arranged.

(You will return home from Vienna Airport.)


Arrival in Frankfurt, Germany.  Your flight should arrive at the Frankfurt Airport by 11:15 a.m. at the latest for the complimentary transfer at noon.

When the group is complete we drive directly to the Rhine for lunch in Rüdesheim.

Afterwards board a Rhinesteamer and cruise on the most beautiful stretch of the river, the part added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 2002.  Relax as we go downstream past the Loreley Rock and lots of medieval castles on both sides of the river, and on to charming Boppard, our home for the next two nights.

Tonight we meet for a welcome drink followed by dinner at the hotel.

>  Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to hotel, welcome drink, Rhine cruise, three-course dinner, hotel in Boppard



Today we drive upstream along the MOSELLE River, which in scenery, castles and vineyards does not stand in the shadow compared to its big brother, the Rhine.

Our first stop is the twelfth century BURG ELTZ, rising majestically above the rear end of the wild Eltz Valley, one of Germany's  most beautiful castles, surrounded by the river on three sides. Inside visit.

We continue to COCHEM located on an idyllic bend on the river, where you have time for lunch on the Moselle Promenade.

Back to Boppard for free time in the afternoon.  Dinner tonight in a wine cellar with wine tasting.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Burg Eltz entrance and tour, three-course dinner with wine tasting, hotel
    in Boppard

Burg Eltz


Today we say goodbye to the Rhine and head south to HEIDELBERG, on the banks of the Neckar river.  In medieval times the Electoral Palatinate with Heidelberg as the politcal centre was one of the most advanced European States.  See the beautiful red-walled castle including the great vat with a guided tour.  Then we take a cogwheel train down into the city where you have more time for sightseeing, shopping and postcards.

We continue to medieval ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER in Frankonia where you feel like you just jumped back into the 16th century.  Competely surrounded by its medieval ramparts with countless towers, Rothenburg is famous for its ancient houses, fountains, cobbled lanes, hidden corners, and ornate street signs.  Also famous for the Meistertrunk, in which – according to legend – the burgomeister saved the town by emptying a 6-pint tankard in one single draught.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Heidelberg Castle entrance and guided tour, three-course dinner, hotel
    in Rothenburg




We leave Rothenburg this morning and drive along the ROMANTIC ROAD to DINKELSBUHL.  Go for a walk in this beautiful town also completely surrounded by its medieval walls.

Continue on the Romantic Road via Nordlingen and Augsburg and on to MUNICH for early afternoon arrival.

Take your pictures of Nymphenburg Palace, the summer residence of the Wittelsbacher family, the place where Ludwig II was born, and do an Orientation Tour of Germany's secret capital featuring the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Tower, Leopoldstrasse, Schwabing, Ludwigstrasse, Odeonsplatz, Koenigsplatz, and Karlsplatz.

Our Munich Orientation tour ends by the Residenz and the Opera, where we get off and continue the last few metres on foot to Marienplatz, the very heart of Munich, known for the Glockenspiel carillon in the Town Hall.

Tonight why not have a beer at the famous Hofbrauhaus, Munich’s most famous beer hall, or have a traditional Bavarian dinner in one Munich’s fine restaurants?  Dinner is on your own tonight.

 >  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Munich orientation tour, hotel in Munich



We leave Munich this morning and drive south to the Bavarian Alps.  When we arrive in the village of Hohenschwangau we go up to Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge), sitting high above the Poellat Gorge, where you can take the best pictures of Neuschwanstein 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.) 

Afterwards we walk down for our inside tour of NEUSCHWANSTEIN – Germany's most famous castle – with a castle guide.

Back down in the village of Hohenschwangau, you have time to have a bite to eat, and to go for a stroll on Lake Alpsee, one of the most beautiful Lakes in the region, where young Ludwig learned to swim.

After lunch we drive through the mountains to INNSBRUCK on the Inn River, the capital of the Tyrol.  Enjoy a nice stroll to see the famous little Golden Roof below the impressive Austrian Alps, the fine baroque church, the Hofburg, built by Empress Maria Theresia, and maybe shop for Swarovski Crystal, which is made in Innsbruck.

In the evening, we have a nice Tyrolean dinner and a traditional folklore show with yodelling, alphorn blowing, Schuhplatting and dancing.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Neuschwanstein entrance and tour, entrance to Tyrolean dinner show, including
    three-course dinner, hotel in Innsbruck



We drive back into Germany today to see Ludwig II’s largest castle, HERRENCHIEMSEE, on an island in Lake Chiemsee.  Ludwig built this castle after a visit to Versailles, but only ever stayed in it for one week.  To get to the island we take a boat and then we take a horse carriage to the Palace.  Inside visit with a Castle Guide.  Time for lunch on the island.

We continue East to SALZBURG, this world famous city where upon arrival you go on a walking tour. See the Mirabell Gardens, Getreidegasse with Mozart’s Birthplace, and the Cathedral.  Later, if you wish, take the funicular up to Fortress Hohensalzburg for breathtaking views, or spend the afternoon shopping in the beautiful streets.

Dinner tonight in one of Austria's oldest restaurants.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Herrenchiemsee entrance and tour, entrances to Hohensalzburg, funicular, and
    Hellbrunn Gardens, service of local guide, three-course dinner, hotel in Salzburg



We say goodbye to Salzburg this morning and go east the scenic way – along the Danube’s famous WACHAU VALLEY, known for vineyards, castles and the picturesque villages that placed it on the UNESCO World Heritage list.  Enjoy a morning break in one of the pretty towns and try a glass of Wachau wine.

We arrive in VIENNA in the early afternoon and drive along the Ring Road which offers Vienna’s most famous sights: Opera, Hofburg, National Museum, Town hall, Burgtheater, University, Parliament and much more.  Afterwards a walking tour of the heart of Vienna, including an inside visit at St. Stephen's Cathedral.  Enjoy free time for shopping on Kaertnerstrasse or Graben or more sightseeing.

Dinner on your own tonight.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, sightseeing tour of Vienna, entrance to St. Stephen's Cathedral, three-course
    dinner, hotel in Vienna

Vienna Hofburg



This morning see SCHÖNBRUNN, Austria’s answer to Louis XIV's Versailles.  See Maria Theresa’s summer palace and enjoy free time in the splendid baroque garden.  Inside guided tour.  Afterwards you are shown how apple strudel is made in the Imperial Kitchen, and you may try it together with a cup of coffee.

Your afternoon is at leisure.  The to-do list is endless.  Maybe ride the Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater, known from the movie "The Third Man", visit the Opera or the Hofburg from the inside, relax in one of the beautiful parks, spend time in a typical "Kaffehaus", or get your final shopping done.

Great farewell dinner in a typical Heurigen tonight.

>  Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace, apple strudel and coffee, Heurigen Dinner,
    hotel in Vienna




Time to say "Auf wiedersehen".

Transfer to Vienna Airport for your return flight home.

>  Buffet breakfast, transfer to airport


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Tour Features 

  • All features as per itinerary, departure guaranteed
  • Door-to-door transportation (all modes).  Leave the navigating to us.
  • 8 breakfast buffets
  • 6 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
  • 8 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.
  • 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 >    Itinerary


Nymphenburg Palace, Munich


Mirabell Palace, Salzburg

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Inside Burg Eltz

Heidelberg Castle


Nymphenburg, Munich

Marienplatz, Munich


Golden Roof, Innsbruck


Schonbrunn, Vienna

There are more pictures in the In Depth section below. The Gallery has larger images of tour destinations.


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Best of Germany and Austria Tour  In Depth

Larger Pictures of Castles, Communities and Regional Highlights
Images of tour features, from the three tours on which this one is based

Detailed Itinerary Destination Maps
2-page printer-friendly PDF including:
-  Tour Destinations map from the top of this page, and
-  Pictorial map of castles along the Rhine Gorge from Rudesheim to Boppard.

Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major tour itinerary features


Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.

Tours Characteristics
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.

Travel Info
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.


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Unbelievable!  We were met at the airport in Frankfurt and began our tour with a relaxing scenic cruise on the Rhine ....

The next day began what I can only describe as the trip of a lifetime.  We visited several castles, a 10th century abbey, numerous cathedrals, beer gardens, centuries-old restaurants, had a wine-tasting evening, took the night watchman's tour in a medieval walled village ....

I can't say enough positive things about European Castles Tours.  In fact, we're planning on using them again to tour Italy.  Book them, you won't regret it!  

     –  "cmbitt" on Trip Advisor,
         Pennsylvania USA,
Full text ...

My husband and I truly enjoyed the “Best of Germany and Austria” tour.  On the Rhine cruise from Ruedesheim to Boppard we marveled at the 13th century castles amid the verdant vineyards....  Staying overnight in Rothenburg ob der Tauber made us virtual participants in the 14th century ....

All the hotels had bounteous breakfast buffets. The dinners on the tour were all very delicious and featured tasty German and Austrian cuisine. Our guides ... were very helpful and informative.... We loved what we saw in Germany and Austria and would highly recommend this tour to others.

     –  William and Judy Claffey, Ohio
Full text ...

If you would like a vacation that someone else worries about all the details and you sit back and enjoy the sights, then a European Castles Tour is for you.... Not a minute is wasted yet there is still free time to enjoy individual interests.  If you are considering another tour company, please consider the included traditional foods and drinks that are provided.  Also there are no budget-busting optional excursions with these tours .... 

The personal service and attention you will receive from your guide will be the icing on the cake....  I can't wait to begin planning my third tour!"

     –  April Cook, West Virginia,
Full text ...


Lots more references are provided on our separate References Page .

Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our  References Video .

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Dates, Prices and Reservations


Complete printable itinerary in PDF format >



The Best of Germany and Austria Tour is 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 30% reduction on this tour.

Guaranteed Departure:  The Best of Germany and Austria 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.


Best of Germany and Austria – 2018


Your international overnight
flight leaves ...




Child 8-16
with 2 Adults


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Available - Book Now

US $ 2,999





Reservation info and online form  >




Dates for all current multi-day Castles tours >

Tour Dates


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.

Contact us with your preferred dates and specific requirements at  this private tour email link
.... or phone one of the numbers below, or write to the address on our Contact page.


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Contact Information

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 


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