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Germany: Bavaria Hiking & Beer Adventure

September 11 - 17, 2021

“Thirst is only beautiful when accompanied by beer.”

old German saying

Welcome to the fatherland of beer!  Bavaria is known as the heart of Europe’s beer country and conjures up images of rollicking biergartens with lederhosen-clad revelers clinking frothy steins of beer while polka music plays in the background. Nowhere in the world features a more prominent beer culture than Bavaria. However, Bavaria also offers a landscape full of quiet beauty, and a bevy of hiking and walking trails with views of bucolic meadows, meandering rivers, and castles straight out of fairytales.

On this tour our days are spent on foot, exploring quaint Bavarian villages and cities as well as beautiful rolling countryside full of panoramic views.  Most days our hiking will be rewarded with a refreshing beer at our final destination, be it a beer-making monastery or the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world.  We’ll also visit five small breweries on foot along a famous brewery walking trail, Fünf-Seidla-Steig, in Franconian Switzerland.  

This is the perfect balance between physical activities and Bavarian beer experiences, even for a casual beer drinker.  Our evenings are spent in accommodations that range from a fun and eclectic modern hotel to a small B&B attached to a brewery. We’ll also have the chance to experience the best of Bavarian cuisine, washed down with a variety of delicious local beers.

Notes:
~ Even casual beer drinkers will enjoy this trip. The official beverage of Bavaria is so intimately tied to its history that it is almost imperative to experience the area’s culture via its beer!
~ Our trip ends right as Oktoberfest in Munich begins, allowing beer lovers to extend their vacation in one of the most fun ways imaginable.

 

Details

  • Dates: September 11 - 17, 2021
  • Cost Per Person: $3,400
  • Optional Single Supplement: $500
  • Activities: Hiking & Beer
  • Difficulty: All Ability Levels
  • Guides: Beth Peluse

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Past Traveler Tour Rating

5/5 stars

Trip Highlights

  • Hiking in the beautiful and serene countryside and urban landscapes of Bavaria
  • Visits to casual biergartens and historic breweries such as Hofbrauhaus, Andechs, Weihenstephan, and Weltenburger
  • Walking along the Fünf-Seidla-Steig, a trail that links five tiny Franconian breweries in the "Switzerland" of Bavaria
  • Enjoying incredible Bavarian meals paired with a variety of remarkable beers, such as Rauchbier -- the smoked beer of Bamberg
  • Spending two nights in a small family run brewery and inn
  • Exploring two famous beer cities by foot: Munich & Bamberg
DAY 1

Welcome to Bavaria! Our adventure starts after lunch, allowing you time to arrive in Munich this morning or the day before (which we highly recommend). We first visit the Oktoberfest Museum to get a good overview of the area's beer history, then take a short train ride to the nearby English Gardens, one of the largest public parks in the world.  The park is crisscrossed with walking paths and wonderful sights like a Japanese tea house, a manmade stream for surfing, the Chinese Tower, a meadow for nude sunbathers, temples, lakes and streams full of waterfowl, an open air theater, monuments and...of course several wonderful beer gardens where one can rest while sightseeing!  Tonight we will have a homemade dinner with the owners of the small Hopfenhacker Brewery.
Walking Distance: ~5 kilometers

DAY 2

This morning we take the train to the town of Herrsching, southwest of Munich and set on the eastern shore of Lake Ammersee.  From there we have a scenic hike full of rolling hills to the Andechs Monastery Brewery for lunch (and one of their famous beers). A portion of the trail we walk on is part of the Camino de Santiago or Jakob's Weg. We then hike back in time to take a ferry ride around the Ammersee before catching a train back to Munich. We end our day with a delicious  dinner at the "the world's most famous tavern," the Hofbrauhaus!
Hiking Distance: 8 kilometers

DAY 3

After breakfast at the hotel, we'll pack up and set out to the nearby town of Freising, the oldest city in Bavaria. From town we'll take a beautiful short walk uphill to Weihenstephan, the oldest continuously operating brewery in the world, for a brewery tour and tasting. Afterwards, you are free to have lunch there, or walk back to town. Today is primarily a travel day, so we will continue north from Freising to our adorable B&B (Brauereigasthof Schneider) in the town of Essing, where we'll be treated to a short introduction to their small family run brewery and a special four-course beer dinner.
Hiking Distance: 2 - 4 kilometers

DAY 4

Today is one of our favorite hiking days ever! We start right from our hotel and hike along the river, through beautiful forests, and hilltop meadows before arriving at the banks of the Danube River.  A tiny boat ferries us across the water and a short time later we come upon an ancient monastery and brewery, Weltenburger Kloster, founded in the year 1050!  We relax here for lunch (and of course, a beer) and you then have the option of continuing to hike another 6 kilometers along the Danube or take a boat ride to the beautiful hamlet of Kelheim. If there's time, we recommend stopping at Weisses Brauhaus, the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria, where the Schneider family has been brewing for centuries. Tonight, we have dinner once again in the cozy dining room of our darling inn.
Hiking Distance: 6 or 12 kilometers

DAY 5

After a leisurely breakfast, we'll check out and shuttle north to the mountainous area of Franconian Switzerland and the town of Thuisbrunn. This is another favorite hiking day of ours!  We spend it on the Fünf-Seidla-Steig, which translates to "five half liters of beer trail."  This hiking route connects five small Franconian breweries and you'll have the chance to visit all five if you want! After we are finished hiking we head to northern Bavaria and the iconic beer town of Bamberg, considered one of Germany's most beautiful towns. Bamberg is laid out over 7 hills, each crowned by a church, and our hotel is near the confluence of the Regnitz and Main Rivers, at the edge of Old Town. To end our day, we'll enjoy an intriguing dinner at Rauchbierbrauerei Schlenkerla that includes a sample of the smoked beer for which Bamberg is famous.
Hiking Distance: 11 kilometers

DAY 6

We begin the day by meeting our local guide Eric, a gnome-like man with an enormous amount of energy.  He will take us on a historical walking tour of Bamberg's Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Beer played a part in the history of Bamberg, just as it has all over Bavaria. You will be wowed by the incredible architecture from the 11th to 19th centuries - cathedrals, arched bridges, castles, and Europe's largest intact old city wall.  You'll have a bit of time to explore Bamberg on your own for lunch (perfect time to shop for your lederhosen or dirndls if you are going to Oktoberfest!). This afternoon we will hike part of the 34-kilometer-long "13 Breweries Way."  You can hike as many kilometers and stop at as many breweries as time and your energy allows and hop on the train back to Bamberg at any point you like. We'll reconvene for a farewell dinner at nearby Fassla brewery - imagine a dark interior of cozy corners full of laughter and clinking mugs and you've envisioned this place, the epitome of a German tavern.
Hiking Distance: 5 - 10 kilometers

DAY 7

After breakfast, we'll have a two- or three-hour walk along the Bamberg River Path, following quiet side roads or foot paths along the Regnitz River. Rivers have historical significance everywhere and this one is no different. On the way back, we'll stop and admire Bamberg's 13th-century cathedral. We'll have you back in time to shower and pack before checking out. We'll get you and your luggage to the train station so you can either return to Munich or travel onward.
Hiking Distance: 4 - 6 kilometers

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 + 2 >> COCOON HAUPTBAHNHOF / MUNICH

Our first two nights are spent in a fun and comfortable boutique hotel in the center of Munich and just a few minutes' walk from the main train station. Each room is well-appointed in an Alpine lodge style with fun details in every corner.

NIGHTS 3 + 4 >> BRAUEREIGASTHOF SCHNEIDER / ESSING

This charming family run brewery hotel is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of hiking. Essing is barely a town - you'll love the quiet location along the the Altmuhl River under towering cliffs. Of course, you'll also love their house-made beer!

NIGHT 5 + 6 >> BEST WESTERN / BAMBERG

We don't normally choose chain hotels, but the location of this one is hard to beat!  Our last two nights are spent on the edge of Old Town and a 10-minute walk from the train station. We love the terrace that overlooks the river and pedestrian bridge, a local gathering spot where exciting things are always happening.

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Arrival & Departure

You are free to arrive in Munich (airport code: MUC) anytime you like prior to our after-lunch meeting on Day 1. This allows you to travel the day before and arrive even that morning. However, we highly recommend arriving at least a day ahead of time to recover from your travel and any potential delays.  We have rooms reserved for the night before the trip (September 10) at the same hotel we use during the trip, so can easily add on a room night for you and add it to your invoice.

Our adventure ends the last afternoon of the trip in Bamberg, and we will get you to the train station in the early afternoon for your continued travels or a return to Munich.

What's Included?
  • Two Zephyr guides accompany this trip.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
  • All breakfasts and dinners are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. We have lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day until we say goodbye in Bamberg on the last day.
  • All scheduled brewery visits and formal tastings are included. Your guides will often buy the first round at select beer stops.
  • NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
Weather

The weather in Bavaria in September is cool yet comfortable with the highs during the day in the mid-60s and the lows at night in the mid-50s. You'll want to bring layers, including rain gear, that can easily be taken off and on during our various hikes.

Ability Level

This tour is rated For All Abilities and is a moderately active trip but with relatively easy and lower mileage hiking.  Most hikes include rolling hills. Daily mileage varies but is roughly 4 - 12 kilometers.  While you will get daily activity, this is not the best trip for someone looking for a major workout and tons of mileage.

Changes to the itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a brewery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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