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Castles, Farms & Forests: Walking in Austria, France & Germany

Program No. 20822RJ
Discover the timeless heart of Europe as you trek through scenic landscapes and traditional villages, befriending locals and tasting new cuisines on enchanting alpine excursions.

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DATES & starting prices
May 22 - Jun 4, 2023
Starting at
Jun 12 - Jun 25, 2023
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Aug 14 - Aug 27, 2023
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Aug 28 - Sep 10, 2023
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Sep 11 - Sep 24, 2023
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DATES & starting prices
May 22 - Jun 4, 2023
Starting at
Jun 12 - Jun 25, 2023
Starting at
Aug 14 - Aug 27, 2023
Starting at
Aug 28 - Sep 10, 2023
Starting at
Sep 11 - Sep 24, 2023
Starting at

At a Glance

To walk along the pathways of Austria, Germany and France is to step into a world where ancient castles, enchanting forests and charming villages are still very much a part of everyday life. With local experts and historians, discover famous roads and lesser-known paths that lead through this beautiful Alpine region. Meet farmers and artisanal cheese makers as you walk the Bregenzerwald Cheese Trail, journey along the trails of Black Forest Nature Park, learn the royal history of Chateau Haut-Koenigsbourg and much, much more.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Walking 3-5 miles daily over varied terrain.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Ride a chairlift down to Andelsbuch, one of the oldest villages in the Bregenzerwald forest area.
  • Marvel at the sight of Rhein Falls in the Black Forest, the largest waterfall in Europe.
  • Explore, on a guided tour, the Château Haut-Koenigsbourg, built in the 12th century.
  • Take an expert-led field trip to the outskirts of one of the last remaining bogs in the Black Forest.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Cathedral Builders of the Middle Ages
by Alain Erlande-Brandenburg
This pocket-size encyclopedia of the art, architecture and culture of the Middle Ages features hundreds of drawings, color illustrations and a chronology.
Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine
by Lewis Spence
These classic tales, first published in 1915, introduce Odin, Brunhild, Lorelei, Siegfried and a host of mythic figures associated with the magic and mystery of the Rhine. Organized by chapter from source to sea, the map, illustrations and introductory chapters on history, geography and people set the stage for a river cruise.
The Blue Flower
by Penelope Fitzgerald
Set in the Age of Goethe, this exquisitely written short novel is a fictional account of the life of the Romantic poet Novalis. It paints a vivid picture of German intellectual and mercantile life in the late 1700s.
The Alps, A Cultural History
by Andrew Beattie
Beattie explores the turbulent past and vibrant present of the Alps, where early pioneers of tourism, mountaineering and scientific research have each left their mark.
The Habsburgs, Embodying Empire
by Andrew Wheatcroft
With skillful scholarship and engaging style, Wheatcroft reveals the history of this family of eccentric monarchs.
Alps Map
by Freytag & Berndt
This regional map (1:500,000), centered on the Alps, includes portions of Austria, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France.
A Time of Gifts
by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Fermor effortlessly interweaves anecdote, history and culture in this exuberant account of a walk from Holland, up the Rhine and down the Danube, through Germany, Prague and Austria in 1933. Written not in the moment, but 40 years later, the accumulation of time and experience gives the book particular poignancy.
Beneath the Wheel
by Hermann Hesse
A short novel, set in a village in the Black Forest not unlike where Hesse was born.
All Along the Rhine
by Kay Shaw Nelson
Subtitled "Recipes, Wine and Lore from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Holland" this tribute to the Rhine Valley complements its history and culture with 130 recipes.
Wine and War, The French, the Nazis and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure
by Donald Kladstrup
This thrilling account of how the vintners of France saved their crops -- and their bottles -- as the Nazis approached, focuses on the activities of five winemaking families in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Bordeaux and the Loire Valley.
Schlepping Through the Alps, My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd
by Sam Apple
A hilarious and touching exploration of history, tradition and sheep. This account of travels in Austria with Hans Breuer, a shepherd who sings Yiddish folk songs to his sheep, is admittedly a comic quest, but it also delves into some of the darker corners of Austria's history in World War II.
The Rhine: An Eco-Biography, 1815-2000
by Mark Cioc, William Cronon (Introduction)
A scholarly, well-researched environmental history of the Rhine, particularly its role in European economic and German national history over the past 200 years.
The Discovery of France
by Graham Robb
Winner of the 2008 Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize, Robb's erudite portrait, the result of time both in the library and on his bicycle, marvelously illuminates the rural byways, history and charting of France.
A Tramp Abroad
by Mark Twain, David Eggers (Introduction), Kerry Driscoll (Introduction)
Written 11 years after Innocents Abroad, this is Twain's second foray into European travel. Filled with his characteristic wit and humorous observations, it documents his journeys through Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy. Now with an introduction by Dave Eggers.
The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food
by Adam Gopnik
Gopnik's delectable social history traces America's "table ancestry" to 18th-century France, birthplace of modern taste and the restaurant. He also urges us not to forget the deeper value of what goes on around the table.
The Alps, A Human History from Hannibal to Heidi and Beyond
by Stephen O'Shea
In an entertaining narrative, O'Shea drives, hikes and climbs through 500 miles of the Alps while musing on the historic personalities who braved the forbidding range, including Napoleon, Hitler and James Bond. A thoughtful introduction to the Alps.
The Food of France
by Waverly Root
An evocative and beautifully written survey of French food. First published in 1958 and revised in the mid-1970s, the book covers the important regions of French cuisine by dividing them into domains of Butter (northern France), Fat (Alsace) and Oil (the south).
Cuisines of the Alps
by Kay Shaw Nelson
Subtitled "Recipes, Drinks, and Lore from France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia," this colorful tour of the region's rustic cuisine offers more than 140 recipes, a section on regional wines and historical information.
The Road from the Past, Traveling through History in France
by Ina Caro
Time travel through France by way of its finest castles, chateaux, cathedrals and monasteries. This unusual travelogue is an invaluable companion for traveling in Paris, southern France, the Dordogne and the Loire Valley, combining personal observation with large doses of well-presented history.

Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.