Explore the spectacular alpine scenery around Lake Constance, whose shores border Germany, Austria and Switzerland, on this superb six-night holiday based in the Austrian town of Feldkirch. There are several organised excursions included, making sure you experience the very best of this beautiful corner of Europe. You’ll visit Bregenz in Austria, the medieval town of Meersburg on the German side of the great lake they call Bodensee, the exquisite ‘floral island’ of Mainau and the breathtaking Rhine Falls in Switzerland. There will also be a day of discovery in the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest countries, and an unforgettable visit to the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein in Bavaria.
6 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
Make your own way to London Heathrow Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Zurich. Upon arrival we transfer over the border into Austria and the town of Feldkirch, where we will check in to our hotel for the next six nights, the Hotel Weisses Kreuz (4T), in time for dinner.
Day 2 Bregenz - Appenzell Cheese Dairy
Today we discover the city of Bregenz, the capital of the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, located on the eastern shore of Lake Constance. The pretty Old Town is a pleasant place to wander, while highlights include the baroque onion-domed Martinsturm tower, the Vorarlberg Museum and the Kunsthaus, displaying rotating exhibitions of contemporary art. In the afternoon, we cross into Switzerland to visit a dairy where the traditional Appenzell cheese is produced, and, of course, enjoy a tasting of this Swiss speciality.
Day 3 Meersburg - Mainau
Our destination today is Germany, and the charming lakeside town of Meersburg, home to what is said to be the oldest inhabited castle in Germany, known as the Old Castle, which dates back to the seventh century. Also worth a look is the baroque New Castle, a palatial residence built for the local prince-bishop in the 18th century. From Meersburg we cruise across Lake Constance to the ‘floral island’ of Mainau, renowned for its beautiful flower gardens. Also here is a baroque palace, arboretum, palm house and the biggest butterfly house in Germany. We leave late this afternoon.
Day 4 Füssen - Neuschwanstein Castle
Returning to Germany today, we visit the pretty Bavarian town of Füssen, at the southern end of the Romantic Road. One unmissable sight is the Gothic Hohes Schloss, which was once the summer residence of the Bishops of Augsburg and now hosts an art gallery. Nearby is the spectacular Neuschwanstein Castle, a fantastical, fairly-tale palace begun in 1869 as a private hideaway for the reclusive King Ludwig II. Inside, the highly ornate rooms are decorated with murals of kings, saints, poets and knights, including Siegfried and Lohengrin, the ‘Swan Knight’.
Day 5 Vaduz
We have a new country to explore today - the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein, which lies in the Alps between Switzerland and Austria. You will have free time to explore the capital, Vaduz, where you might like to browse the collections of the National Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts, and there will be an opportunity to visit the Hofkellerei, the Prince’s wine cellars, for a taste of the local wine. We return to our hotel for dinner.
Day 6 The Rhine Falls, Schaffhausen - St Gallen
The breathtaking Rhine Falls, near the town of Schaffhausen in northern Switzerland, are 150 metres wide and 23 metres high and today we experience this impressive force of nature close up on a boat trip. Later we travel on to the pretty town of St Gallen, which is home to the baroque Abbey of St Gall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose origins go back to the eighth century. It is especially noted for its library, which holds thousands of important early manuscripts.
Day 7 Feldkirch - Zurich - London
We transfer to Zurich Airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow. Upon arrival, you are free to make your own way home.