Website Upgrade (May 2018)
Our website has undergone a major technical upgrade to make it compliant with new standards for web pages and to make it accessible to users of tablets and smartphones.
You will have noticed that the home page has a new layout, but apart from that we have changed as little as possible of the way the site is organized, looks, and works. The layout is slightly cleaner and lighter and a bit less cluttered, but most of the changes are in the structure and syntax of the underlying code. (If you're interested in the gory technical details ... the pages are now in HTML5 and implement "responsive design".)
We have been under pressure from search engine operators to bring things up-to-date, and hope that these changes will welcome new visitors now able to navigate our pages, without disrupting the browsing patterns of those already familiar with our site.
If you encounter a problem please let us know about it using the link on our Feedback page.
2018 Brochure Now Available (November 2, 2017)
Our new European Castles Tours brochure is a 36-page colour catalogue of our current tours, with the main tours described on two pages each. The tour descriptions include daily highlights and features sections as well as date and cost information.
There are also short sections on our private edition, custom, shorter, and day tours.
If you would like a copy of this brochure for yourself or to pass along to someone else, we would be happy to mail you a copy.
We have also made the brochure available in PDF format so you can browse it immediately online or download it to view and / or print.
You can order or download our brochure on our Newsletters and Brochure page.
2018 Schedule Posted (September 2, 2017)
The 2018 dates for our scheduled multi-day tours have been posted, and these tours are available for booking now.
A summary list of all our major tour departures is provided on the Tour Dates page.
The 2018 dates are now included on each of the multi-day tour pages, and are included in the downloadable Itinerary PDFs on those pages.
We've also provided a calendar-format schedule as a printable PDF here and at the top of the Tour Dates page to make planning easier.
You can also add any of our day or short tours before and/or after longer ones, or you can make personal combinations of the short tours.
All of our tours are returning, but the Themeparks Kids' Tours is now offered only as a private tour. All of the scheduled tours are also available on a private basis if our regular dates do not work for you.
An index to our longer tours, distinguishing between scheduled and private tours, is provided on the Major Tours page.
An index to our shorter tours is provided on the Day and Short Tours page.
New "Themeparks Kids' Tour" Tour Added (December 22, 2014)
Astrid and her already well-travelled son, Sandro, have worked together to develop Sandro's idea for a new tour for families with active kids.
Themeparks Kids' Tour: Disneyland Paris, Europa Park, Alsace and Black Forest blends the best of themepark thrills and attractions with cool slices of European history.
Disneyland Paris offers more than 50 rides and attractions. Europa Park in Germany also offers over 50 attractions, and is especially famous for its 12 rollercoasters. These themeparks have offerings for kids of all ages, so your visits can be tailored to be as active or relaxed as you wish.
Experiences at these constructed modern attractions are balanced by visits to real-world European marvels from long ago. Tour Versailles Palace in Paris, the centre of power in France until the revolution, visit the immense Reims cathedral completed in 1275, tour a huge 12th century castle atop a mountain in Alsace, stay in an Alsatian village that looks today much as it did in the 16th century, and see how people lived and worked in Germany's Black Forest over the past 400 years. The best of yesterday and today together in one tour. August 8 through 16, 2015.
Full details > Themeparks Kids' Tour page
New "Guided Vacation in Tuscany" Private Tour Added (September 21, 2014)
Guided Vacation in Tuscany: Hilltop Villages and Vineyard Valleys, History and Hospitality strikes a balance between exploring Tuscany, taking it easy, and enjoying its foods and wines.
Tuscany is renowned for its art, history, and evocative landscape. Hill-towns gaze across the country-side from on high; the valleys are lined with vineyards, olive groves, and quiet hamlets.
This is a guided holiday, and your guide is the key to making it special. Your guide is local and knows the places, stories, history, and art in detail – and loves sharing all that with you. Your guide will pick the best spots, the best food, and make the best of your time.
Full details > Guided Vacation In Tuscany page
Two New Multi-Day Tours (Posted March 18, 2014)
Irish Highlights Tour - The Emerald Isle's Southern Gems and Castles
Experience the legendary charms of the Emerald Isle in all their incredible variety. Big cities and small villages. Castles, historic sites, and cottages. Mountains, midlands, rugged coastal cliffs, and beaches. Pubs, good food, and traditional songs and entertainment. Visit Dublin Castle, the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, the Iveragh and Dingle Peninsulas, and the Cliffs of Moher.
Travel to and from Dublin, and tour southern Ireland, with overnights in Dublin, Killarney, and Limerick. Departs August 30, 2014.
Details on the Irish Highlights Tour page.
Portuguese Castles Tour - Garden of Europe with a Glorious Past
Enjoy splendid cities, historic places and castles and historic sites which have unique stories to tell. Adventurers, seafarers, enormous wealth and discoveries which changed the view and the knowledge of the whole world forever.
Savor beautiful architecture and scenery that ranges from almost tropical to breathtaking cliffs and romantic but wild beaches. Discover the country of discoveries, kings, castles and monasteries in their unique style. Listen to the Portuguese music and enjoy the friendliness and warmth of the Portuguese people, which certainly belong to the best hosts in the world!
Details on the Portuguese Castles Tour page.
Four New Day and Short Tours Added (May 6, 2013)
Interest and participatipon in our day and short tours has been enthusiastic. These tours are great for people with time constraints, and for travellers who want to tailor their visits to see the specific things that interest them the most. And there's the huge advantage of being able to relax, knowing that transportation and wayfinding and ticketing all all being looked after for you.
We have now expanded our day and short tour offerings with four new itineraries:
To show how these new tours complement the existing ones and make selection easier we have reorganized the overview Day and Short Tours page.
- New "Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour" Added for
- New "Berlin and the East of Germany Tour" Added for 2012 (July 18, 2011)
The 2012 schedule for our multi-day group tours has many more departure date opportunities to match your schedule with tour availabilities. All our 2011 tours are returning for next season. Our most popular tour, Bavarian Castles, will be offered five times.
Our new Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour features the castles, magnificent scenery and wine of the "Three Corners" where Germany, France and Switzerland meet by the Rhine. This tour vists Freiberg, Strasbourg, Colmar, Lucerne, and Mount Pilatus. The Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour is being offered in two versions, a regular tour beginning June 22 and a Christmas version starting November 30.
Details are on the Black Forest, Alsace and Switzerland Tour description page.
Our new Berlin and the East of Germany Tour features the elaborate Royal residences in and around Berlin and the stunningly beautiful cities of Leipzig and Dresden in Saxony. It follows Martin Luther’s footsteps in Wittenberg, Wartburg and Erfurt, and visits Weimar, the town of poets and thinkers. This private tour is offered in regular and Christmas versions.
Details are on the Berlin and the East of Germany Tour description page.
All scheduled multi-day group tours are now being offered on a Departure Guaranteed basis. Tours will not be cancelled due to low levels of participation.
The full list of our multi-day group tours is on a handy Major Tours page.
The complete schedule of tour departures and duractions is on our Dates page.
Website Facelift Doesn't Affect Tours (February 9, 2011)
We've changed the home page of the website, added some directory pages, and streamlined the look of most of our pages. Our home page had become too crowded to navigate easily as we added new tours and services, so we've introduced intermediate "section" pages with links to the pages about our tours, our partners, and ourselves.
The changes to the overall look of pages are designed to make them easier to read, and to make navigation between pages easier. None of this affects our tour offerings. We hope you like the changes.
New "Bavarian Castles Highlights Tour" and 9 New Day Tours from Munich Added (October 20, 2010)
Bavarian Castles Highlights 3-Day Tour
Includes the "must see" highlights of our longer Bavarian tours.
- Visit and tour inside all three of King Ludwig II's magnificent castles – Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee.
- Marvel at the splendour of the UNESCO-designated Wieskirche, the Church in the Meadow.
- Explore beautiful Oberammergau, the Passion Play village.
- Enjoy a walk through the medieval centre of Innsbruck, visiting the Golden Roof, the Cathedral, and the Hofburg Palace.
Full details are provided on the Bavarian Castles Highlights Tour description page.
Day Tours from Munich – 9 Different Private Tours
Treat yourself to a special day with your family and friends! Pick up and drop off at your hotel or your preferred location in Munich. All entrance fees, tickets, and transportation included.
9 different itineraries: Neuschwanstein, Oberammergau and Linderhof / Herrenchiemsee and Fraueninsel / Salzburg / Eagle's Nest and Berchtesgaden / Rothenburg, Dinkelsbuhl and Harburg Castle / Zugspitze Summit, Garmish and Ettal / Salt Mine, Berchtesgaden and Konigsee / Innsbruck and Swarovski Crystal World / Legoland.
Full details are provided on the Day Tours from Munich tour description page.
New Tour Added – "Best of Germany and Austria" (June 20, 2010)
This new tour is for those of you who want to see it all but have limited time. The essence of three tours combined – River Castles, Bavarian Castles, and Imperial Castles.
Full details are provided on the Best of Germany and Austria tour description page.
Three Nights Venice Extension for Bavarian Castles Tour Now Available (June 8, 2010)
Now you can 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."
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.
Full details are provided in this Three Nights Venice Extension itinerary.
New "Royal Delights" Private Tour Added (May 7, 2010)
Discover the highlights of southern Bavaria and Austria. Spend three nights in Munich, one in Salzburg, and two in Vienna on our new Royal Delights Private Tour.
Visit famous landmarks and castles – King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castles, the famous village of Oberammergau, Wieskirche (the Church in the Meadow), Konigsee (one of the most beautiful Alpine Lakes), Hitler's Eagle’s Nest, Hohensalzburg Fortress, Queen Maria Theresa's Schonbrunn Palace, the Wachau Valley, and Melk Abbey.
This private tour is now available weekly on a year-round basis, except for prior commitments.
Full Royal Delights Private Tour details > Royal Delights Tour Page
Booking.com added as new hotels travel partner (February 11, 2010)
We have added online hotel searches and bookings via Booking.com to our travel partner arrangements.
Booking.com is a leader in online hotel reservations in Europe and offers hotels worldwide.
Our Booking.com page contains pre-defined links to locations in Europe most likely to interest our guests.
Our page also offers a custom search form to look for accommodations anywhere. The Booking.com search engine recognizes thousands of destinations worldwide.
Private Tours Now Available with Flexible Dates for Bavarian, Rivers, and Kids Itineraries (January 21, 2010)
Do the dates of our scheduled tours not work for you? We can now arrange three of our tours for you or your party as a private tour. Same itinerary as the scheduled tour, but in a private limousine or van, with bilingual, professional private guide / chauffeur.
More information in the "Costs and Dates" sections of these tours:
Comments and Recommendations from Guests on YouTube (September 5, 2009)
The second European Castles Tours video has now been posted on YouTube, featuring comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on the Bavarian Castles and Kids and Castles Tours.
This new video supplements the written recommendations of guests on other tours which are also reported on the References page of this website.
Tour Director Astrid Baur on YouTube (May 29, 2009)
Astrid has posted a short video clip on YouTube introducing herself, giving some background about herself and her interests, and talking about how she approaches designing and operating her tours.
Online Travel Bookings via Expedia Added (April 24, 2009)
Through a partnership with Expedia.com we are pleased to offer self-service travel search and booking services.
Email Newsletters Now Available (March 30, 2009)
European Castles Tours is now introducing short email Newsletters to keep past, current and potential clients up-to-date on new tour offerings and other changes.
Newsletter subscribers will receive some exclusive offers and information. Newsletters will be emailed no more frequently than once a month.
You can sign up on our Newsletters and Brochure page.
We've moved !
New Website and New Castles Tours Name (March 28, 2009)
Astrid Baur's Castles Tours, previously at www.castlesoftheworld.de, have now completely moved to this new website, and this step also marks the completion of the process of changing the operating company name for Astrid Baur's tours from Castles Of The World Tours to European Castles Tours.
The tours have not changed. (And Astrid has not changed.)
The old site is now closed, and re-directs have been put in place so that persons using old bookmarks are connected these new pages.
This new site delivers pages faster and provides opportunities for adding more supplemental content. Now that the conversion process is substantially complete, new features will be coming in the next few weeks.
New Tours Added - Kids and Castles, French Castles, and Italian Highlights (September 8, 2008)
Three new tours have been added, largely in response to requests from participants in previous tours. Experience with children enjoying the River Castles Tour led to the creation of the Kids and Castles tour, which combines elements of the Rivers and Bavarian tours. Both the French and Italian tours respond to specific requests from interested travelers.