Oktoberfest & The Alps

Leisurely Escorted Tour
to Bavaria and Austria

Majestic Mountains, Alpine Lakes, Historic Cities

The Zugspitze is the highest mountain peak in Germany with an altitude of 2,962 meters above sea level.
Patti Reed bicycles across the meadow between Ehrwald and Lermoos. In the background is Germany's highest mountain peak, the Zugspitze.

Oktoberfest & The Alps
Day-by-Day Itinerary - Page 1

Fly from you home city to Munich.


The Tyrol (in yellow) is one of the
nine Länder (Provinces) of Austria.

  Arrive at Munich Airport by 9:30 am. Change dollars into Euros at the airport.   We drive south to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, site of the 1936 Winter Olympics and home of the famed composer Richard Strauss, who died there in 1949.
  Here we cross the Loisach River and the border into Austria and the province of Tirol (German for the Tyrol.)
  The traditional village of Ehrwald, population 3,000, offers unique old-style Tyrolean charm hard to find in this modern fast-paced age. Erhwald sits near the base of the Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany at 9,715 feet.
  The village is on a beautiful plateau 3,500 feet above sea level, in a peaceful valley selected by National Geographic magazine as one of the most scenic and beautiful spots on Earth.

After the stress of your overnight trans-Atlantic flight, this is your special day to recuperate and relax in preparation for the rest of your tour.
  Today is also your chance to experience a serene and unhurried Austrian mountain village. Unspoiled scenery, flowers, animals, woods and meadows, lakes and mountain streams make Ehrwald a very unique place to savor and enjoy.
  We suggest you take a leisurely walk across the peaceful meadow in the valley to the nearby village of Lermoos. Look for these flowers along the way: Scharfer Hahnenfuss (yellow ... they're buttercups), Primel (white ... primrose) and Bärwurz (white.)
  Even a couch potato can easily walk the aptly named Panoramaweg, a not too strenuous hiking path through the forest to Lermoos, with excellent views of both villages.
  Enjoy lunch in Lermoos. Then meander back to Ehrwald to watch the locals go about their daily activities.
  If skies are clear, you might want to ride the cable car to the top of the Zugspitze for lunch at the summit with incredible views in all directions.
  There once was a border station at the top, now empty, and you can cross back and forth from Austria to Germany.

Depart at 9:15 am and drive north on the old Roman trade route, the Via Claudia Augusta, past the ruins of Ehrenberg Castle to Reutte, market town in a scenic spot near the German border.
  We cross back into Germany at Füssen and make our first stop at the Lech Waterfall, to see the rushing water and the bust set into the mountain rock of King Max II, father of King Ludwig II.
  Then we continue on to the richly-frescoed Wieskirche (Meadow Church.) The interior offers one of the world's most extravagant and flamboyant displays of the rococo.
  This pilgrimage church is the masterpiece of Dominikus Zimmerman, who worked on the building from 1746 to 1754.
  Lunch is at the historic and atmospheric Hotel Mueller in Hohenschwangau.

Neuschwanstein Castle
King Ludwig II's
Neuschwanstein Castle

  Next we visit what is probably the most famous castle in the world: Schloss Neuschwanstein.
  Built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the village of Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein exemplifies a child's fantasy of a fairy tale castle.
  It was built as a shrine to three operas of Richard Wagner:

  • Lohengrin
  • Parsifal
  • Tannhäuser.
      Although some of the interiors remain unfinished, the king's suite was completed. The large neo-Romanesque minstrel's hall recalls the setting for the second act of Tannhäuser --the Hall of Song in the Wartburg Castle.
      The two-story throne room closely resembles a Byzantine church, with its resplendent gold and polychrome mosaics, galleried arcades, and central dome.
      Perched on a craggy rock above dark green pines, the grey Neuschwanstein looks down on the smaller, ochre Hohenschwangau Castle, the family home where Ludwig was raised as a boy and in his last years watched the construction of his masterpiece.
      The Michelin guide rates the "unforgettable view" from Neuschwanstein four-star.
      Walk to the bridge over the rushing waters of the Pöllatfall for an excellent view of Neuschwanstein from the side.

    DAY 5
    Depart at 9:15 am for the Passion Play village, Oberammergau.
      The worst years of the plague in Germany were those between 1627 and 1635. In 1632, one million people died of famine and the plague in Saxony alone.
      The village of Oberammergau was spared until autumn 1632, when in less than a month, 84 adults are known to have died.
      On October 27, 1633, the Village Council led all those who could walk to the parish church. There before the altar the villagers vowed that if God would rid them of this plague, they would forever enact a Passion Play every ten years recalling the last week of Christ's life on earth, his crucifixion and his resurrection.
      To this day residents of the village take part in what is now a world-famous tradition.
      Oberammergau is celebrated not only for its play, but also for its many painted houses, such as Hänsel und Gretel Haus, and for its wood-carvers.
      You will have time in Oberammergau to visit Käthe Wohlfahrt's Christmas village and her astonishing collection of Yuletide decorations, ornaments, figures and gifts from around the world.

    Garden of Linderhof Castle
    Garden of Linderhof Castle

      Linderhof is the smallest castle of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, "a rococo hunting lodge" deep in the forest of one of the wild valleys of the Ammergau Alps, which the royal hunters reserved for their own use.
      This palatial gem combines Italian Renaissance and baroque styles and is opulently decorated. A magnificent park with formal gardens, fountains and pools makes Linderhof very special.
      Ettal Monastery , founded in 1330 by Ludwig the Bavarian, is a monumental complex in a stunning alpine setting with a high Baroque church at its center. Some (local residents, anyway) say the decorated ceiling rivals that of the Sistine Chapel.

    Red Riding Hood House in Oberammergau
    Red Riding Hood House in Oberammergau

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