- Get active on a cycling tour of Reichenau Island in Lake Constance
- Float above the Baden region on an early-morning hot-air balloon ride
- Luxuriate in the natural thermal waters of Baden-Baden
- Tour the wineries of the Rhine Valley
|Day 1||Arrive in Zürich, Drive to Konstanz, Self-Guided Tour||Konstanz|
|Day 2||Cycle Around Reichenau Island||Konstanz|
|Day 3||Drive to Baden-Baden, Stroll the Lichtentaler Allee||Baden-Baden|
|Day 4||Hot-Air Ballooning Above Baden, Spa Day in Baden-Baden||Baden-Baden|
|Day 5||Drive the Romantic Road, Walking Tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber||Rothenburg ob der Tauber|
|Day 6||Grape Escape to the Rhine Valley, Drive to Frankfurt||Frankfurt|
|Day 7||Depart Frankfurt|
Day 1: Arrive in Zürich (Switzerland), Drive to Konstanz (Germany), Self-Guided Tour
Welcome to Zürich! After you arrive at the airport in the Swiss city, pick up your rental car and drive less than an hour over the border into Germany to Konstanz. This attractive city is on the western shore of large Lake Constance, a body of water on the borders of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. The lake is the second-largest in Western and Central Europe (after Lake Geneva), and there are many natural and cultural attractions and activities to keep you occupied here.
After you've arrived at your hotel and had a chance to freshen up, spend the remainder of the day exploring Konstanz at your own pace. There are opportunities for swimming, boating, and sailing, or you could start by visiting one of the town's spectacular landmarks, like the Rheintorterm, a magnificent tower overlooking the lake. You can also check out the town's ancient center, Niederburg, and the market, Konstanzer Marktstätte, with its metal sculptures of massive horses, women, rabbits, and birds. It's a great place to relax and people-watch.
Day 2: Cycle Around Reichenau Island
Enjoy a day of outdoor adventures with a bike trip around the island of Reichenau. Start your tour at the Rhine Bridge in Konstanz, where you'll first pass through the suburbs before reaching the Reichenauer Damm. Reichenau is the largest island in Lake Constance and is also known as "Vegetable" or "Fruit Island" because of the variety of farm-fresh produce available here.
The historic churches of Reichenau are also famous, and the connection between religion and farming vegetables became clear as early as 840 CE when Abbot Walahfried Strabo wrote the teaching poem "Hortulus" about horticulture. Stop by the small catholic church St. Georgskirche near the entrance to the island. It may look inconspicuous from the outside, but the interior offers some beautiful and important murals, including scenes from the Bible's New Testament depicted in the style of Ottonian book illumination.
Day 3: Drive to Baden-Baden, Stroll the Lichtentaler Allee
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 4: Hot-Air Ballooning Above Baden, Spa Day in Baden-Baden
Get up early this morning for a breathtaking hot-air balloon ride, watching the sunrise over the Black Forest and the Vosges in the Rhine Valley. The balloon will rise gently out of the morning fog, carrying you above forests, lakes, vineyards, and picturesque villages. Drift along with the wind, potentially crossing the border of the Rhine, and experience the peaceful sensation of floating. With highly trained balloon teams, your ride will be a safe and memorable adventure.
You've crossed the halfway point of your trip, and it's time for some self-care. Baden-Baden's many famed spas offer a luxurious escape where you can relax in the warm, soothing waters that bubble up from the earth. The Caracalla Spa is a large complex with a variety of luxurious amenities. Take a dip in two circular pools, unwind in rock grottoes, soak in whirlpools, or indulge in a sauna experience. Continue to Friedrichsbad, a 19th-century Roman-style bath complex. Soak in thermal baths of varying temperatures, try the Irish hot-air baths, and receive a soap and brush massage in a tranquil setting featuring frescoes and a soaring dome.
Day 5: Drive the Romantic Road, Walking Tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Today you'll take a self-guided tour along a short portion of Germany's Romantic Road. This 256-mile (423 km) route winds through some of Bavaria's most enchanting landscapes, passing fairy-tale castles, quaint villages, and dense forests. After 2.5 hours of driving, you'll arrive in the enchanting medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber in time for a private walking tour. Your first stop will be the Medieval Crime Museum, where you'll delve into the fascinating world of ancient law enforcement and punishment. It provides a fascinating insight into life and law in medieval times.
Next, your guide will take you to the bustling heart of the town: Flat Square. This picturesque plaza is lined with the town's colorful half-timbered buildings and is an excellent spot to soak in the charming atmosphere. Admire the magnificent Rothenburg Town Hall, a stunning example of Gothic and Renaissance architecture, and marvel at the impressive town walls that have survived the centuries. Your final destination will be the awe-inspiring Church of St. James, an architectural gem that houses an intricate wood-carved altar and the famous Holy Blood Altarpiece. Spend tonight in Rothenburg so you can further soak in its historic atmosphere.
Day 6: Grape Escape to the Rhine Valley, Drive to Frankfurt
Today, take a guided tour of the Rhine Valley, stopping at some of Germany's finest wineries. This scenic route takes you through historical villages along the winding Rhine River, culminating in the picturesque town of Ruedesheim. Your first stop is one of the region's award-winning and historically-significant German vineyards, where you'll learn about the area's rich wine history, which dates back to Roman and Cistercian monks' winemaking traditions.
In addition to three tastings, with opportunities to swirl, sniff, and sip German sparkling wine, Riesling, and other varieties under the winemakers' guidance, the tour includes a lunch stop to keep your palate balanced and your stomach full amid all the wonderful wines. Later in the afternoon, you'll pack your bags and get back on the road, driving 2.5 hours northwest to Frankfurt, where you'll stop for your final night in Germany.
Day 7: Depart Frankfurt
It's time to say goodbye to Germany. Depending on your departure time, you might want to stroll through Frankfurt's Old Town or visit the Museum Embankment, a strip of museums alongside the Main River. At the appropriate time, drive to the airport and return your rental car. Safe travels!