The coast, villages and countryside of the Eastern Algarve and then explore the treasures of this most westerly corner of Europe.
Enjoy sparkling winter walking in the German Alps and around the magical Oberammergau and King Ludwig’s castles...
What does this mean?
Tour codes: 30850
Full and half day walks at a moderate pace over hilly terrain.
Most of these holidays have an element of sightseeing as well.
Half day walks will probably involve about 3 hours of walking, with full day walks having around 5 hours. Expect ascents and descents of up to 600m.
Bavaria is the gem of Germany; rich in history, old-world traditions, with a unique identity and striking beauty. A land of fairy tales, Bavaria is a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year however, we think that winter is extra special. Feel invigorated by the pure mountain air; enjoy long periods of fine weather with clear visibility allowing for spectacular views of snow-capped mountain peaks, fairy-tale castles and stunning winter scenery. The surrounding countryside is blessed with a number of lakes varying in size, a paradise for walkers. We walk through gentle forest roads and paths magically transformed by fresh layers of snow.
Our base is in the delightful and cosy, 700-year-old town of Füssen, just north of the Austrian border. Its attractive location on the edge of the Alps never fails to captivate visitors. Formed by imposing peaks and an idyllic lakeland area, this was the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. At an altitude of 800 metres, it is amongst the highest towns in Bavaria.
This is the Königswinkel, home to Bavaria’s most charming attractions such as the stunning and beautifully located palace castles of Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, and Linderhof, 'places of paradise', as King Ludwig II used to call them. The introverted king built the castles in order to withdraw from public life. Today, ironically, hordes of tourists come in their masses to view his private refuge; luckily, we visit in the quieter winter months, avoiding the crowds. Our first departure will allow us to see the New Year in this winter wonderland.
Many of the escape scenes in the 1963 film “The Great Escape” were filmed in and around Füssen and we will see some of these.
And at the end of a pleasant day’s walking in this winter paradise, we can relax in our welcoming, family run spa and wellness hotel, and admire the surrounding alpine scenery.
As with all winter activities snow cannot be guaranteed. However, the walks are equally spectacular with or without snow.
Click the button below for a detailed Holiday Information Sheet containing all the particulars about this trip.
NOTE: Itineraries and Holiday Information Sheets can vary by a specific date chosen
Itinerary & Travel
Whilst every effort will be made to adhere to the outlined itinerary and advertised programme, local conditions can change due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. This may mean that routes and timings need to be amended or the order of days may change, sometimes at short notice.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we may unfortunately need to withdraw a tour that is currently confirmed to operate and we therefore reserve the right to cancel your booking. We would always do our utmost to give you plenty of notice should we have to do this. Selected elements of this tour, including local attractions and restaurants, may change at late notice. Please ensure you have valid insurance cover before you travel.
We fly from London Heathrow, Birmingham or Manchester to Munich Airport. On arrival we travel to Fussen by private coach.
Transfer Time = 2h 30m
Kalvarienberg, Schwansee & The Lechfall. An attractive walk departing from the hotel and starting with an orientation tour of Füssen’s historical Old Town. Crossing the River Lech, we begin the walk proper by climbing past the 14 stations of the cross to the top of the Kalvarienberg. After descending to the beautiful Schwansee, we return to Füssen via the spectacular Lechfall falls and gorge.
The Alpsee & into The Tirol. We start with a bus ride out to Hohenschwangau village. We walk around the tranquil waters of Alpsee, initially uphill. After a brief diversion into Austria for a picnic lunch overlooking the dramatic Tirolean Alps, we return to continue around the Alpsee.
Hohenschwangau & Neuschwanstein Castle. Today is our opportunity to visit King Ludwig II’s beautiful, fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein, along with various breath-taking viewpoints over this architectural wonder, including the famous Marienbrücke Bridge, from which the best photos of the castle are taken. We can take lunch in a local restaurant, before an easy walk back to Füssen via some typical old Bavarian villages.
Today, we take an included excursion to Garmisch Partenkirchen, Ettal, Linderhof, Oberammergau and the Wieskirche. The trip takes in some of the cultural and geological highlights north east of Füssen. Whilst in Garmisch Partenkirchen, we can visit the stunning Partnachklamm Gorge (€6 admission, not included), and wonder how anyone has the nerve to use the lofty Olympic ski-jumping facilities. Linderhof is the smallest and the most ornate of Ludwig’s castles. Inspired by French art, it was built between 1870-1878 as a private royal villa in the style of the Trianon Pavilion in the park of Versailles with grottos, water jets and terraced gardens. It became Ludwig’s refuge and he spent the last years of his life living in here. Oberammergau is famous for the Passion Play which has been performed here almost uninterrupted every 10 years since 1634.
Hohenfreyberg & Eisenberg Castles. Today we walk to two 14th Century Castles in the hills above Füssen. Both were abandoned during the 30 years’ war. After stocking up on picnic supplies, we walk to Füssen Railway Station and catch our train. The eagle eyed might notice this was where a scene from “The Great Escape” was filmed. Our walk will take us up to both castles. We will take lunch at one or the other. Coming back down by another route we pass by Wallfahrtskirche Maria Hilf Speiden. This church also appears in the film. We then take the train back to Füssen.
The Zweiseenblick & Alatsee. We leave the hotel and follow the high route along the ridge overlooking Füssen, all the way along to the breath-taking Zweiseenblick (Two Lakes Viewpoint). One of these lakes is the Alatsee, tucked away at the head of a beautiful wooded valley, and it is to the Alatsee that we descend for a coffee (and maybe a strudel) at the ‘Alatsee Hotel’. We then walk around the lake and (optionally) climb up to the Austrian border for a picnic lunch overlooking what must surely be the best view of the holiday. Our return is along the aforementioned wooded valley, passing frozen lakes beneath towering cliffs, to the spa area of Füssen called “Bad Faulenbach”.
We say goodbye to the German Alps and travel by private coach to Munich Airport, where we take our flights back to the UK.
Departure dates for your selected tour
27th Dec 2021 - 3rd Jan 2022 (7 Nights)
Below is the accommodation featured on this holiday across all departure dates. Please refer to the Itinerary for more detail about each night's accommodation for each departure date.
The three star family run hotel is well located, just five minutes from lake Forggensee, near the centre of town and close to the iconic Neuschwantein castle. Surrounded by the fairytale Allgäu landscapes, you can enjoy the friendly welcome of the hotel, and its’ amenities including a spa, gym and restaurant.
Breakfasts and dinners are included and the restaurant serves an excellent range of healthy food with high-quality, regionally sourced ingredients. The chef is particularly proud of the wonderful Bavarian Specialities they produce. Dinners are a full four courses with a choice of main. On New Year’s Eve we will enjoy a special festive dinner, followed by an ice cream buffet and a goulash soup at midnight, which will be accompanied by live music.
Most rooms will have balconies offering superb views of the mountains and the castle. En-suite twin rooms are in the Austrian Style – (which consist of one bed frame fitted with two single mattresses (without a gap) with individual duvets). Single rooms as well as twin are equipped with satellite TV, telephone, hairdryer and safe.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
This is a grade 4 winter walking holiday where you can expect full and half days of walking at a moderate pace. Our walks will be between 6-8 miles a day. Our full days of walking can be up to 5 hours of walking whereas our half days can be up to 3 hours. Füssen lies at an altitude of 800m and the highest point we reach is just over 1000m on a walk to the east of Neuschwanstein Castle. Depending on the weather, we may reach two mountain huts at a height of 1200m. The ascents and descents can be up to about 600m. Some walks will entail a gentle uphill climb or level walks around a lake to points of interest, such as the royal residences. We can enjoy wonderful views of the mountains which rise to 2,300m. Walking poles can be helpful on icy surfaces and these can be usually rented from the hotel. Winter waking is often on cleared and prepared paths so all you need is a good pair of walking boots, warm socks, your usual winter gear, and a pair of walking poles – and away you go!
Our winter walking programme includes five days walking, some at around 10-12km (6-8 miles) daily on snow cleared paths. Some walks will entail a gentle uphill climb, or level walks around a lake and to points of interest such as the royal residences. We can enjoy wonderful views of the mountains which rise up to 2,300 metres. Depending on the weather we may reach two mountain huts at a height of 1200 metres.
If you would like to try some alternative winter activities it is possible to hire snowshoes, cross country skis and sledges from Alpine Sport in the centre of town who can also provide you with guiding services. Please enquire about this locally.
Our hotel does not have a swimming pool; however, there is a large public outdoor and indoor swimming pool with a wellness area, a 10-minute walk from our hotel. Or a 15-minute bus ride away from Füssen you will find the Royal Crystal Therme-Schwangau, which has a saltwater spring with healing effects, whirlpools and waterjets and a large wellness area.
Local Transport Costs
All local transport costs in conjunction with the advertised activity programme are included in the holiday cost. There may be occasions where additional visits or excursions are added to enrich your experience, these will be paid for locally by you if you choose to participate. Local transport can be a mix of private hire coaches, taxis, local buses and ferries depending on the itinerary.
A range of local excursions and activities may be available to book at your destination through a local operator. We have no involvement in such activities or excursions which are not run, supervised or controlled in any way by us. Your contract will be with the local activity supplier and we accept no responsibility for their actions or omissions.
When budgeting for your holiday, you will need to consider drinks, any meals not included in the holiday price, non-included entrance fees, optional excursions you may choose to participate in locally and any souvenirs or additional services such as laundry. A general guideline for lunches and drinks is £10-£20 per person per day.
Currency in Germany
The currency in Germany is the euro .
Although entirely at your own discretion, tipping is an important aspect of tourism and hospitality life and expectations are fairly high. In order to simplify tipping, we strongly recommend that you allow your leader to take care of making sure tips are given to hotel and restaurant staff and to local guides and drivers. This will be done using some funds provided by us together with, if you wish, a contribution from you, which he/she will collect during the holiday.
Your tour leader makes the world of difference to your holiday and ours are as passionate about discovering the world on foot as you are. They're resourceful, organised and widely travelled. They will handle all the local administration and other needs that might arise to ensure that you don't have to worry about planning your days and you can enjoy your holiday. Although leading group holidays, they won't forget that every group is made up of individuals. Each tour leader has their own individual style, talents and professional backgrounds and all are trained, qualified, experienced and dedicated to making your holiday as enjoyable, interesting and inspiring as possible.
Leader's Evening Briefing
Each evening, your tour leader will discuss with you the programme for the following day. This will be your opportunity to discuss the details and ensure the planned activities suit your walking ability. If you have concerns on clothing or equipment, this can be discussed then also. If you do not wish to join the organised group programme, please let the leader know.
Flights London Heathrow to Munich and return with British Airways.
Transfers between Munich Airport and Füssen (approximately 2 ½ hours) are by road.
Booking Your Own Travel Arrangements?
If you wish to organise your own flights from a non-UK or provincial airport or travel by rail or car to your holiday destination, 'land only' reductions are often available. Please contact us for details.
Before finalising any independent travel arrangements, please check with us first - especially if doing so 12 weeks or more before your intended date of travel. If you do intend to join your holiday locally please do tell us at least 14 weeks in advance.
If you are joining and leaving your holiday overseas we assume, unless you advise us otherwise, that you will join and leave the holiday at your hotel.
Although airport transfers are not included for those making their own independent travel arrangements, if you wish to join the group at the overseas airport, depending on your flight arrival time, you may be able to be included on the group's transfer. Please contact us at least 5 weeks before departure for more details.
Please note that your flight must arrive within 30 minutes of the group flight to be able to join the group transfer. We also need your flight number, arrival time and departure point so that the group leader is able to meet up with you.
Regional Flights (R2). We offer regional flight options on this holiday but due to the location and travelling time to our resort we operate just one transfer vehicle between the airport and hotel. This may mean that there is a wait at the overseas airport in one or both directions.
Luggage Allowance & Travel Documents
For all those booking a flight or rail inclusive holiday, details of your travel arrangements and baggage allowance will be confirmed in your travel documents, sent to you approximately 10 days prior to departure.
Personal Details Check
To ensure that we can accurately administer your holiday arrangements, please confirm that the personal details we hold for you are up to date and that you have provided the information we need to secure your holiday travel and accommodation arrangements. Please check your passport details, date of birth and any other important details necessary for us to properly manage your holiday booking. You can view and update information already provided, and add details not yet asked for, by using the Manage My Booking facility on our website www.ramblersholidays.co.uk, or by calling our Sales and Reservations team on +44 (0)1707 331133. When you receive your booking confirmation please check the details as soon as possible.
General Passport Advice
It is a good idea to carry photocopies of the personal details pages of your passport. Should you lose your passport, this may assist with the issue of replacement documents and your return to your home country.
Passport and visa requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements.
Brexit Passport Advice
You should have at least 6 months validity left on your passport from your date of arrival.
If you renewed a 10 year passport before it expired, extra months may have been added to your passport’s expiry date. These extra months will not count, so you should ensure that your passport is not older than 9 years and 6 months from the date of issue at the time of travel.
You may wish to renew your passport sooner rather than later, in order to make sure you have it in time for your holiday or travel plans.
Please ensure to regularly check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website for updates on passport requirements leading up to and after Brexit or contact us for more assistance.
UK Government Brexit Information for Passports can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/passport-rules-for-travel-to-europe-after-Brexit.
The UK Government has published a website tool to check the validity of your passport under these rules which can be found at www.passport.service.gov.uk/check-a-passport.
In the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK citizens will be able to visit the EU for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. The UK Government also has information for travellers available at gov.uk/EUexit
Non British Passport holders should consult the host country’s embassy for applicable passport and visa entry requirements.
Breakfasts and dinners are included and will be taken in the hotel. The restaurant serves an excellent range of healthy food with high-quality, regionally sourced ingredients. The chef is particularly proud of the wonderful Bavarian specialities they produce. Dinners are a full four courses with a choice of main.
Lightweight waterproof walking boots with a good moulded sole (such as Vibram or similar) and a deep tread and which provide ankle support are strongly recommended and may be essential for some walks.
General Kit List
Outdoor activities are always safer and more enjoyable if you are prepared.
If you have not travelled with us before the following list might be of use:
This list is not exhaustive and every walker is different and may have their own preference.
Paths can be very icy in certain conditions. We recommend that you use ice-grips on the sole of your boots. You can usually purchase these in resort. Or you might like to purchase them in the UK for around £35-40, and you can do so from the following website: www.icegripper.co.uk/store/chain-traction/icetrekkers-diamond-grip. Yaktrax ice grips are available from branches of Cotswold Outdoors.
Walking or Ski poles are also recommended as they are particularly helpful in soft snow.
Travel Documents Checklist
Documents and Information to take with you:
Electricity in Germany
In Germany the electricity is supplied at 220 Volts. If you wish to use electrical equipment you will need a European two pin adaptor with round pins. More information can be found at https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/
Water To Go
An alternative to bottled water from single-use sealed water bottles is filtered water from a refillable bottle containing its own water filter such as a Water-to-go bottle available from www.watertogo.eu. Just fill up from any water source and save the environment from disposable plastic bottles.
We have negotiated an exclusive 15% discount with our partners Water-to-Go for you as a thank you for helping the environment. Please go to their website at www.watertogo.eu and enter the code RWH17 when ordering. In addition, Water-to-Go will match the discount with a donation to our charity, Heart & Sole, which will allow us to continue to make a difference in the countries you visit on our holidays.
The Map Shop
Maps and guidebooks relating to the areas you will be walking in may be bought before your holiday from The Map Shop at www.themapshop.co.uk
Health requirements can change at any time. It is your own responsibility to ensure that you inform yourself from a professionally qualified source on, and comply with, such requirements at least 6 to 8 weeks before departure. Advice on vaccinations is available from your GP.
Health Advice for Germany
No compulsory immunisations are required for visits to Germany.
You should be up to date with the usual immunisations recommended in the UK.
You may wish to consider immunisations against Tetanus and Tick-borne Encephalitis.
Further Travel Advice
For further advice please visit:
You might wish to take a small bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you for times when you're unable to wash your hands.
You must be adequately insured to join our holidays. You will be unable to participate in our local walking and other activity programmes without being able to demonstrate that you have valid travel insurance.
Please ensure that as a minimum your travel insurance policy covers you for travel to your holiday destinations (country and geographical region) and for medical expenses, mountain rescue (including helicopter rescue) and emergency repatriation to your home country in the event of illness or injury. Your policy should also provide adequate cover for the activities, included and optional, you are likely to participate in during your holiday.
Whoever you insure with, please ensure that you take full details, and ideally the policy itself, with you on holiday and provide our tour leader with your insurer's name, the policy number and emergency assistance contact numbers.
Please note that it is very difficult to obtain travel insurance once your holiday arrangements have started.
From January 1st, 2021 UK travellers can continue to use their European Heath Insurance Card (EHIC) – which can last up to five years, until its expiry date, to gain access to medical assistance during your holiday. However, you will no longer be covered in Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Travellers without a valid EHIC can apply for a new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which will replaces the EHIC once it has been phased out. Please note however that the EHIC/GHIC should not be considered a substitute for medical or travel insurance.
For more information, please visit www.nhs.uk/ehic
The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office provides up to date information on security and local laws for travellers, together with current passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/travelaware. Please take a few minutes to look at the current advice on your planned destination.
Please be aware of what's going on around you, take sensible precautions with your credit cards and passport and avoid displays of wealth such as wearing expensive jewellery or watches. Do not carry more cash on you than you will need for each day, and we recommend that a money belt is used.
We're committed to ethical tourism in all our destinations. Our holidays are designed for you to discover the essence of the country you are visiting. Travelling in small groups not only gives you an up close and personal experience of your destination, but minimises your impact on the immediate environment. We feel that the most important starting point to protect the environment is to be out in it. For more details visit our website.
The Ramblers Holidays Charitable Trust
Unlike many tour operators we have our own trust through which RWH Travel’s profits are channelled back into a variety of outdoor, walking-related or environmental conservation projects in the UK. The focus of the Trust’s financial support is Britain’s leading walking charity, The Ramblers, and their role in promoting the benefits and importance of walking to the British public. In addition the Trust welcomes applications for small grants from local organisations in the UK who need support for walking-orientated activities. This includes the establishment of footpaths and bridleways, funding for rebuilding bridges and renovating huts, as well as bursary funding for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for children who could not otherwise afford to do it. Please visit the ‘About Us’ section of our website and click on the Charitable Trust link for more details.
Heart and Sole
We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to people's lives. Heart & Sole is a venture managed by our office staff, whose aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries we visit. Through Heart & Sole, we hope to make more of a long term, direct impact to these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. See our website for more information and details of some of the projects we support.
Please do provide us with a mobile phone contact number. We will only use this to contact you with important information relating to your holiday arrangements.
Do keep your mobile phones switched on and readily available when travelling to the airport or if delayed in transit so that we can contact you with any last minute information relating to your travel arrangements.
As a matter of courtesy, please switch off your mobile phone during walks, or endeavour to minimise its use. Please also try to minimise the use of mobile devices during group meals.
Visas and Passports
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