Seven nights on beautiful Lindau Island
Charming castles in both Austria and Germany, and mighty Zeppelins can be seen on this wonderful rail tour. Our base is on the pretty island of Lindau at Lake Constance, a huge expanse which is bordered by three countries.
We meet at our exclusive Departure Office at St Pancras International, before taking the Eurostar to Brussels, travelling in Standard Premier Class, and enjoy a light meal and drinks served at our seats. In Brussels we change trains and continue by highspeed train to Cologne for an overnight stay at a centrally located hotel.
Today we leave Cologne and travel by train to Lindau in First Class, where we arrive in the late afternoon Enjoy the breathtaking scenery during the journey, which takes us along the spectacular Rhine Gorge, with its many fairytale castles nestled amongst lush vineyards. Our journey then takes us onwards through the beautiful Bavarian countryside. We spend seven nights at the Hotel Reutemann-Seegarten in Lindau, one of the most beautiful towns in Bavaria. Located on a small island on the edge of Lake Constance, it boasts fantastic views over the lake towards the Swiss and Austrian Alps.
Today we travel up into the Austrian Alps, where we board the narrow-gauge Bregenzerwald Railway (steam-hauled on some dates). We enjoy a short journey through the pretty mountains and meadows above Bregenz. We continue by coach to Feldkirch, a beautiful town whose historic centre has remained well preserved to this day.
As well as a number of 15th century houses, Feldkirch retains some of the towers of its city walls. We enjoy a guided tour of the 12th century Feldkirch Castle, which dominates the town and affords a great panorama over the surrounding landscape. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner in Lindau.
Our excursion today is one of the highlights of the tour, as we travel by coach to the small town of Meersburg. Perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the lake, Meersburg's beautiful centre has a labyrinth of narrow lanes lined with half-timbered houses. The town is famous for its castle perched on the hillside above the lake, which dates from 628 AD.
After a tour, we have time to explore this charming town and its tangle of cobbled streets before crossing Lake Constance by ferry to Mainau, known as the Garden, or Flower Island. Here you are free to stroll through the beautiful palm trees and flower filled gardens, and take in the hot-houses and fountains which surround the Baroque church and castle at the heart of the island.
The wonderful gardens of this island are excellent to get lost in, since every path takes you to a new and often more impressive fl oral display. The Italian water steps represent flower arranging at its finest, with steps of flowers flanking a small water feature. The arboretum here actually has over 500 species of trees from all over the world, both deciduous and coniferous.
Today you are free to relax, explore at your leisure, or enjoy the hotel's facilities. You could perhaps visit nearby Überlingen, which boasts one of the region's best promenades. If you are feeling adventurous, perhaps take the train to the historic city of Ulm, famous for being the birthplace of Albert Einstein and for its rich architectural heritage, including the magnificent cathedral. Sat on the majestic Danube river, there is much to discover here, in particular, the aforementioned cathedral, which is thought to have the world's tallest spire, rising an impressive 530ft above the ground.
Alternatively, you could make the spectacular journey over the Arlberg Pass to the Alpine resort of St Anton am Arlberg, a very popular place for skiers and hikers alike. Very much a winter sports resort, this small town is excellent for those wishing to venture into the mountains on any of the marked trails in the nearby countryside.
This morning we take a leisurely boat trip along the lake to Friedrichshafen, once home to Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, builder and pioneer of the famous airships, and now home to the Zeppelin Museum. We enjoy a guided tour of this fascinating museum, which includes a reconstruction of a section of the doomed Hindenburg airship that made its maiden voyage across the Atlantic in 1936. We enjoy some free time in Friedrichshafen this afternoon, perhaps to enjoy a walk along the promenade, or to take in the pretty harbour, before we return to Lindau by regional train.
This morning we enjoy a guided walking tour of Lindau and experience the town's rich history, which dates back to the 13th century. The afternoon is free to explore; as a former Free Imperial City, Lindau still boasts the romantic alleys and dreamy courtyards of its medieval past. You may wish to stroll along the lakeside promenade to the harbour. Widely regarded as the prettiest on Lake Constance, the harbour is home to a famous lighthouse which is well worth a visit. Lindau also boasts the Maximilianstrasse, the town's main shopping street, so you may like to spend the afternoon browsing the shops it has to offer. Alternatively you could visit Lindau's historic Town Hall, or its lighthouse. The southernmost lighthouse in Germany the Lindau Lighthouse is 108ft high and sports a clock in its facade which is quite unusual for lighthouses of this type. It was built from 1853 at the entrance to the harbour, throughout the years it has undergone a number of upgrades to its light and today uses a system that is activated on the request of ships via radio signal.
Today you are free to explore at your own pace or relax in the hotel. Perhaps take a last stroll around Lindau, or, for the more energetic, hire a bike to explore the nearby countryside.
For those wishing to venture further afield, there are many ferries across the lake to Austria or Switzerland, or even to Konstanz, a marvellous German town on the Swiss border. Here you can see the remaining city gates and mighty cathedral, or simply stroll along the scenic waterfront, lined with gardens and statues. Lake Contance on whose banks Konstanz is built is a tranquil stretch of water, populated by sailing boats and yachts.
We return to Cologne by train today. Our arrival in the early evening gives you a little free time to discover the city's magnificent Gothic cathedral, its historic streets and elegant squares and perhaps enjoy a stroll through the charming Old Town to the Rhine.
Today we depart from Cologne, and travel by high-speed train to Brussels. Here we board the Eurostar service back to London. Upon arrival in the English capital, your tour concludes.
While all departures will feature the same excursions (except where explicitly mentioned), the order of excursions may differ from that given above.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
Enhancing your tour
Seven nights on beautiful Lindau Island