20822
Austria/Germany/France
Castles, Farms & Forests: Walking in Austria, France & Germany
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.
Program No. 20822RJ
Length
14 days
Starts at
3,190
Flights start at
1,300
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14 days
13 nights
29 meals
12 B 6 L 11 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive, Check-In, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Lingenau
D
Hotel Gasthof Adler

Activity note: Hotel check in is at 3:00 PM. Approximate walking time is 1 hour walk in the Lingenau village.

Afternoon: Meet your group at 10:00 AM at the Zurich Airport Terminal 1 Arrival Hall for the group transfer (approx. 2 hours) by private coach to Lingenau (2247 feet). Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Settle into your hotel rooms and then take a short walk with the Group Leader to become familiar with the village. Before dinner, the Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date Daily Schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate. Program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel. Water is included in the program cost at all meals. Unless otherwise noted dinners on this program are typically a three course set menu.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
The Bregenzerwald Cheese Trail
Lingenau
B,L,D
Hotel Gasthof Adler

Activity note: Up to 2.5 miles of walking for 2.5 hours on trails. There is the option of adding 3.5 miles to today's walk.

Breakfast: On this program, breakfasts will offer a typical European style breakfast buffet with breads, cheeses, cold-cuts, yogurt, fruit, cereals, juice, milk, coffee, tea and water.

Morning: The first trans-regional cheese road (3210-5136 feet), which is unique in the world, features Alpine dairy farms, alps and private cheese manufacturers, farmhouses that are open to visitors, “cheese inns” that offer special cheese dishes on their menus and specialty stores selling cheese products as well as traditional craft shops and tourist facilities. In the morning, watch cheese-making on the Alp Schwarzenberger Platte (4300 feet) where you will also enjoy a cheese tasting. On this field trip you will discover how cheese is made from milk, how cheese tastes, and all of the different foods which can be made from cheese. Afterwards, explore the Metzler Naturhautnah Farm and experience a simple way of life.

Lunch: Experience the local dish “Käsespätzle” (cheese dumplings) at the farm. Unless otherwise noted lunches on this program are typically a two course set menu.

Afternoon: Return by bus to Bezau (2132 feet), and then board a cable car to the mountain summit Baumgarten (5577 feet). Enjoy gorgeous views of the rolling countryside, from the foothills of the Alps in the north to Lake Constance. After a short walk on the panoramic trail, take the chairlift to Andelsbuch, one of the oldest villages in the Bregenzerwald. If time permits, visit the Käsehaus, where over 60 types of cheese can be bought. Return by local bus back to the hotel.

Dinner: Tonight will represent a typical "Bregenzerwalder" farmer's buffet, so you can see and experience how farmers celebrate special occasions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Mainau Island
Lingenau
B,D
Hotel Gasthof Adler

Activity note: Up to 3 miles of walking for 2 hours in the park.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning begin today’s field trip by traveling to the Island Mainau (1300 feet) located in Lake Constance on the south shore. The island is known as the exotic flower island (a little tropical paradise) as everyone will realize while walking on the island park. The curator will lecture about the history and botany, about the Teutonic Knights - original owners of the island - and about the present residents, Count Bernadotte's family, an uncle of the King of Sweden.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own on the island. Choose from 7 different restaurants, including a restaurant that has been on the island since 1937 serving superb local and international cuisine, and another with the style of a beer garden. All restaurants serve all types of beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and local produce along with the local wines. Visit the website to learn more about the different restaurants (www.mainau.de).

Afternoon: Board a boat for a 30-minute ride on Lake Constance. Stop in Meersburg (1476 feet) for a stroll through the picturesque town.

Dinner: Experience and learn about the traditional fondue dinner including cheese, meat, vegetables, and fruit.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Bregenzerwald to Hinterzarten via the Rhein Falls
Hinterzarten
B,D
Hotel Schwarzwaldhof

Activity note: Up to 1 hour of walking in the village.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: On the way to the Black Forest visit the breathtaking structure of the Rhein Falls, fed by the Rhine River, the largest waterfall in Europe. The falls are 492 feet in width, reaches a height of 75 feet, and has a torrential 158,503 gallons of gushing water pouring over the cliff per second, offering visitors a stunning view of the cascading waterfalls. Hear a lecture on the famous Rhein Falls.

Lunch: A stop will be made in Stein am Rhein, Switzerland (1355 feet) for time to explore this quaint village and local fare on your own.

Afternoon: Arrive late afternoon in Hinterzarten (3225 feet) and check in at the hotel. If time permits, take a brief stroll around the village.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Freiburg, Capital of the Black Forest Region
Hinterzarten
B,D
Hotel Schwarzwaldhof

Activity note: Up to 2 miles of walking for 2 hours through town.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Walk to the train station for the transfer to Freiburg (912 feet). We begin today's walking field trip in Freiburg, the capital of the Black Forest, a university town since 1457, and “city of music”. The town was extensively destroyed in 1944 but no modern buildings have been allowed to challenge the supremacy of its magisterial “Altstadt” (old town). During the walk, see the famous cathedral built in 1120. Today's lecture will be given by a local historian of Freiburg and will educate you on the past and present history of the Black Forest Capital.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Freiburg.

Afternoon: This afternoon, take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities, which can be found in the first Information Packet or on the Road Scholar website. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You will return via train back to Hinterzarten at your own leisure. Prior to dinner there will be a briefing.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
The Heimatpfad Walk, Hinterzarten Bog
Hinterzarten
B,L,D
Hotel Schwarzwaldhof

Activity note: Up to 5 miles of walking for 3 hours on trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Begin today’s field trip along the Heimatpfad (4114 to 3100 feet), a high Black Forest path known as the "local" history path that continues along the Loffel Creek. Continue the walk to Höllsteig.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Enjoy an excursion to the bog of Hinterzarten, which is an important remnant of a former type of ecosystem that was once quite abundant in the Black Forest. Due to drainage, most of these ecosystems are now lost. We walk on easy trails through the bog while learning about wildlife in the area and how bogs develop and grow. What are the biggest threats to a bog and how will bogs react to climate change? Examine moss, trees, and peat to answer these questions while admiring a very special landscape. Upon returning to the hotel delight in a slice of traditional Black Forest cake at a local establishment know for this famous cake.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
8
The Feldberg Nature Reserve, Boat Ride
Hinterzarten
B,L,D
Hotel Schwarzwaldhof

Activity note: Up to 5 miles of walking for 3 hours on mountain trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: The Feldberg (4711 feet) is the highest peak of a broad, low mountain range that is several kilometers long. Take the local postal bus to the Feldberg pass (4000 feet) and walk through the nature reserve. You will pass mountain forests with many different tree species and birds, down to the glacial Lake Feldsee. Walking over a moraine and along the Seebach creek, you will reach a mountain pasture.

Lunch: At a 500-year-old farmhouse.

Afternoon: Continue to walk down the Seebach valley. On your return, stop at Titisee and take a boat ride on the largest natural lake in the Black Forest, formed during the last ice age. A glacier once extended from Feldberg all the way to this present-day lake.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Black Forest to the Alsace
Turckheim-Colmar
B,L,D
Hotel Les Portes de la Vallee

Activity note: Up to 3 miles of walking for 2.5 hours on trails and cobblestones.

Breakfast: At the hotel before beginning the transfer to Turckheim (760 feet).

Morning: Approximately 16 to 19 million years ago, rising magma solidified underground and became what is now the central part of the Kaiserstuhl mountain range, the warmest place in Germany. On your way to the Alsace, visit the Badberg nature reserve and the surrounding vineyards of this volcanic area (1826 feet), rich with thermophile flora and fauna. Learn about the flora, fauna and historical land use during a field lecture. This spot in the middle of the Rhein River valley offers good views of the Black Forest in the east and the Vosges Mountains in the west.

Lunch: In Breisach (656 feet).

Afternoon: Visit the almost intact fortress Neuf-Brisach, built at the end of the 17th century. The star-shaped fortifications are so enormous that an entire city could fit inside. Continue by coach to your hotel in Turckheim (approx. 3800 inhabitants), crossing the Rhein River en route. Briefing prior to dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Colmar, Cooking Class
Turckheim-Colmar
B,D
Hotel Les Portes de la Vallee

Activity note: Up to 2 hours of walking in town and through the museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning the walking field trip is through the charming historical center of Colmar and through the "Little Venice” quarter, which happens to have one of the largest pedestrian zones in Europe and countless treasures from the middle ages to the 20th century. Today’s walk also includes an excursion of the exquisite famous Unterlinden Museum, formerly the Dominican convent from the 13th century. Hear a lecture on this museum, and also on Colmar, the most Alsatian town in all of Alsace.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Colmar.

Afternoon: On your own to see and do more of what interests you most in Colmar. The Group Leader will be happy to assist you with "must-see" suggestions. Return to the hotel at one's own leisure.

Dinner: A local chef teaches you how to bake your own "flammeküche" - Alsacian pizza. Bon appetite!

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
The Alsace Vineyards and Castles
Turckheim-Colmar
B,L,D
Hotel Les Portes de la Vallee

Activity note: Up to 2 hours of walking in the château.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Private coach to the Château Haut-Koenigsbourg (2625 feet). Built in the 12th century, Haut-Koenigsbourg castle has witnessed eight centuries of European conflicts and rivalries between lords, kings and emperors. On the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the castle was handed over to the French government and given the status of "National" palace. Today this Château gives a remarkable picture of life in a 15th century fortress in Alsace. From its square dungeon, admire the area of the Alsace plain!

Lunch: An organic lunch buffet will be waiting at the Bistrot le Katz in Katzenthal. The Klur winery is a family business, since 1999, but has a tradition of winegrowing and production extending back to the 17th century.

Afternoon: Today's field lecture is on Alsace Wines and Gastronomy. After lunch, experience the wines first-hand when you are invited to a wine tasting. Following the wine tasting transfer back to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
The World War I Battlefield
Turckheim-Colmar
B,L,D
Hotel Les Portes de la Vallee

Activity note: Up to 5 miles of walking for 3 hours in the museum and on trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Take a private coach to Le Linge (3234 feet), a French battlefield where a major conflict of WWI took place. Take in a field lecture here. Visit the museum where you will find French and German objects and relics found on site, models of infantry men, a model of the battlefield, photos, texts and maps.

Lunch: Enjoy local specialties at a mountain inn.

Afternoon: Take a walk in the "Ballons des Voges," a protected area made up of woodland, pasture, wetland, farmland and historical sites. This area was officially designated as a regional natural park in 1989. Return by bus to Turckheim.

Dinner: Farewell Dinner at the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Transfer to Zurich
Zurich
B
Hotel Fly Away

Activity note: Up to 2 miles of walking for 1.5 hours on trails.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Take a morning walk from Château du Hohlandsbourg and past the three Castles of Eguisheim, offering a magnificent panorama over the Alsace plain and the Vosges Mountains.

Lunch: Explore local fare on your own in Eguisheim, elected as the most beautiful village in France in 2013.

Afternoon: Transfer by private coach to Zurich (2 hours, 1505 feet). Check in at your hotel.

Dinner: Explore local fare on your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Departures
In Flight
B

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program.

Morning: Independent shuttles to the airport for your flight home. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures.