Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country Germany
Travel type Fly
Price range From £789
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 5 nights
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Heidelberg, medieval cities of the Main valley and the Romantic Road

Many people think they know Germany, but are surprised by its historic cities, expansive rolling countryside, castles, preserved medieval villages and the warmth of its people. You’ll find all this and more as we explore one of its most fascinating regions Heidelberg and Franconia. Bordered by two of Europe’s most beautiful rivers - the Main and Neckar– it’s also full of cultural gems.

Five nights four star accommodation with breakfast and dinner at hotels as mentioned; return flights and associated taxes; sightseeing tours of Bamberg and Heidelberg; entrance and tour of ‘Residenze’ in Wurzburg, all touring as mentioned, services of a Riviera tour manager.

  • Return flights
  • Five nights four star accommodation with dinner and breakfast
  • Guided tour of baroque Heidelberg, seat of one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities
  • Discover the Romantic Road
  • Tour of the Residenze in Wurzburg
  • Guided tour of Bamberg
  • Explore the picturesque river Main and its medieval towns of Miltenberg and Wertheim
  • Escorted by experienced tour manager
Day one

You fly to Frankfurt where you will be met and then drive to Wurzburg, and your hotel for the next three nights, the four-star Maritim where we also have dinner. Straddling the River Main and surrounded by vine-clad hills and wooded slopes, the city’s origins stretch back to Celtic times.

Day two

This morning follow the “Romantic Road” itself. The route’s name derives from its poetic journey through history, evoking the period when its medieval towns held ultimate sway and Teutonic chivalry reigned supreme. You can sense the history in medieval villages whilst Baroque churches and hilltop castles unveil before you as we wind along the Tauber valley. We soon arrive in Rothenburg where you meet the 16th century. Crowning a hill overlooking the river below, nestling securely behind preserved medieval walls.

At the peak of its power, this Protestant town suffered greatly during the thirty years’ war subsequently remaining too impoverished to expand beyond its walls in the ensuing centuries thus ensuring its survival creating today’s present town. Narrow, cobbled streets lined with tall gabled, half-timbered houses with staircase turrets and oriel windows lead to St Jakob’s church and a medieval Town Hall at its heart. Built high on a hill, the views over the meandering river below are astonishing.

Returning to Wurzburg which, during the 18th century was a seat of the Prince Bishops who created the Residenz, one of Europe’s finest Baroque palaces, constructed to outshine Vienna, Versailles and other great courts of the day. You start with the staircase, with its frescoes plus the intricate decoration of the Imperial Hall. Progressing further you can see one room completely covered in gold leaf, and another having 600 mirrors. Fine-art adorns the wood-panelled walls and there are extensive views over the gardens. One of the most unusual rooms has the most incredible acoustics you will probably ever experience. Walk across the room and your footsteps echo with increasing resonance, then on reaching the centre, the noise reverberates in a series of surreal crescendos. The calculations involved to create this effect 300 years ago are quite startling.

Day three

This morning take a drive though the Steigerwald natural park to Bamberg, one of Europe’s most beautiful small cities. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, what you see today began its artistic journey during the 11th century when the Emperor Heinrich II planned a capital as grand as Rome. Although it never became so large Bamberg boasts spaciousness with a wealth of fine buildings belying its size. Pride of place goes to its gothic cathedral but there is a range of architecture, from Romanesque to Baroque it is like an incarnation of an architectural text book. There is also a network of canals and a tangle of lanes lined with merchants’ houses culminating in its main square and traditional daily market.

Visit the town hall, covered with huge colourful frescoes almost hovering on wooden piles whilst below the River Main flows swiftly on and the 11th century former Episcopal palace plus a host of other things to see. We have included a walking tour of this baroque townscape whose reflections dance on the river. There’s also time to wander where your feet take you or perhaps sample the local beers, noted as some of Germany’s finest. We return to Wurzburg in time for dinner.

Day four

We leave Wurzburg heading downstream along the River Main valley with the medieval theme continuing as we call at another historic town, Wertheim. Nestling at the confluence of the Main and Tauber, it’s a patchwork of twisting alleys and panoramic viewpoints with a ruined castle looming high above. Following the valley we soon arrive in Miltenberg acknowledged as one of Germany’s most beautiful villages, medieval and preserved. Continuing we join the Niebelungstrasse route running through the heart of the Odenwald forest, the inspiration for the medieval myths and legends of the great Wagnerian epics with which it is so indelibly linked. We stay two nights with dinner, at the four star Maritim in Mannheim.

Day five

This morning we visit nearby Heidelberg taking a guided walking tour of the city. Nestling by the river Neckar, in a valley dominated by its castle, high on a wooded hillside. The town itself is a maze of historic, baroque and gabled buildings lining the river with its old town behind. Adding to this, its 14th century university, one of the most prestigious in Europe lends Heidelberg that genteel atmosphere rather similar to that of Oxford or Cambridge.

During the 19th century it was the centre of Germany’s romantic movement, on the route of ‘The Grand Tour’ and visited, amongst many others, by the artist Turner who captured its splendours for eternity. During our guided walk we see the principal sights but Heidelberg’s greatest monument, is simply the city itself. During the afternoon, you are free to explore as you wish, perhaps taking a stroll through the squares and lanes to enjoy a cooling 'weisswein' or a beer in one of the many street cafes or heading up the hill for a closer look at the pink sandstone of the castle, before returning to our hotel for our final dinner.

Day six

Today bid farewell to this historic and traditional corner of Germany returning to Frankfurt at the appropriate time for your return flight.
Wurzburg - Maritim Hotel Wurzburg four star

Centrally located directly on the banks of the River Main, it offers views of the Marienberg fortress which towers high over the city. The hotel has a wine bar, two restaurants one with a terrace and overlooking the river, a bar and an indoor swimming pool. All of the rooms have a radio, telephone, lap top sized room safe, mini bar, Satellite TV and hairdryer.

Mannheim - Maritim Hotel Mannhiem

This four star superior hotel breathes the elegance and sophistication from a bygone age, and is managed by one of Germany’s best hotel groups. Built in 1910, it overlooks the city centre’s gardens and is built in Renaissance style. On entering there are high vaulted ceilings, Venetian glass chandeliers, marble floors and columns, polished brass, extensive use of hardwoods and is fully air-conditioned. Leather armchairs fill the tasteful bar and lounge whilst the furnished traditional restaurant serves international cuisine. The rooms have all the facilities you would expect of such a hotel and there is an indoor swimming pool as well.
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