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Explore the "Three Corners" of Europe – where Germany, France and Switzerland meet by the Rhine River. Tour beautiful castles in Germany and France, explore charming towns in both countries, and cruise on the Rhine River that serves as the border here. Go sightseeing in Strasbourg and at the Rhine Falls. Follow the Alsatian Wine Route. And enjoy the Christmas Markets in three countries. Then visit gorgeous Lucerne in Switzerland, and take in the breathtaking vistas from the top of Mount Pilatus.
Day 1 - Friday
Board your flight from home to Zurich, Switzerland. This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight. Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 - Saturday - WELCOME TO ZURICH, SWITZERLAND AND THE BLACK FOREST
Arrival in Zurich, Switzerland. At 12 noon the complimentary transfers depart from the airport to your hotel, Schloss Reinach, near Freiburg in Germany's Black Forest. This will be home for the next five nights. Rest in the afternoon, take advantage of the hotel fitness or massage facilities, or go for a hike in the countryside. Tonight you'll meet your travelling companions and tour director and enjoy a great dinner at the hotel.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to hotel, three-course dinner with menu choice, including one beverage and coffee or tea after dinner, overnight at Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 3 - Sunday – HOHENZOLLERN CASTLE
Today visit one of Germany's most beautiful castles, HOHENZOLLERN CASTLE, rising majestically from atop the Swabian Hills. We go inside for a guided tour. King Frederick William IV. of Prussia had it reconstructed and wrote in 1844: "The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, especially the sunset we watched from the bastions… Now a dream of my youth has become one wish, to see the Hohenzollern hill made habitable once more…” Indeed the bastions and towers offer a breathtaking panorama over the countryside, and the splendid halls and rooms offer lots of valuable works of art pertaining to the history of Prussia´s Kings and Germany's emperors. On the way back we take a scenic route through the Back Forest and stop for Black Forest Cherry Cake on a lake! Dinner tonight in the country in the heart of the Black Forest.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss ReinachBlack Forest, Alsace and Switzerland – Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners 3
Day 4 - Monday – FREIBURG, BREISACH
This morning go for a stroll around the old city of FREIBURG with your guide. Walk the main streets and squares, its small streams (Bächle) and lanes with the colourful mosaics made of Rhine pebbles, the Cathedral Square (Münsterplatz) with its merchant town houses and secular buildings, the colourful farmers and trader market, and get to know the city's very long history. A tour of the Gothic cathedral with its wealth of medieval treasures forms the highlight of the tour. Spend time at Freiburg's Christmas Market before we continue to BREISACH for an orientation tour and a visit to its Christmas Market. Dinner in town tonight.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, service of local guide, three course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 5 - Tuesday – STRASBOURG AND COLMAR
This morning we drive into France to visit STRASBOURG, seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. Join your guide for a walking tour of the old town and visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The 142-metre (466-foot) spire is a masterpiece of architectural elegance and intricacy. We also visit La Petite France, the most picturesque district of old Strasbourg, with magnificent half-timbered houses that date from the 16th and 17th centuries. Fishermen, millers and tanners once lived and worked in this part of town where the streets have been built level with the waterways. Time for lunch on Strasbourg's beautiful Christmas Market before we continue to COLMAR in the heart of Alsace. Colmar's Germanic and French architectural heritage was spared by the frequent wars that ravaged this area. Highlights include the “Koïfhus”, Pfister House, and the House of Heads. The town has preserved the charm of its romantic districts (Tanner’s District, Little Venice). Enjoy your guided tour of the old town, which also includes a visit to the Bartholdi museum, housed in a vast residence which was the birthplace of the creator of New York's Statue of Liberty. Its rooms contain a collection of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's most important works, thanks to the heritage the artist's widow left to the city. Dinner tonight in France.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, tours in Strasbourg and Colmar, services of local guides, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss ReinachBlack Forest, Alsace and Switzerland – Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners 4
Day 6 - Wednesday – CASTLE HAUT-KOENIGSBOURG, ALSATIAN WINE ROUTE
Since its construction in the 12th century, the HAUT-KOENIGSBOURG CASTLE at Orschwiller in Alsace has been a constant witness to both European conflicts and rivalry between lords, kings and emperors. A number of illustrious owners each left their mark on the castle’s history, and successive events even led to changes in the castle’s structure. Enjoy a tour of this magnificent castle with its majestic architecture and its incredible view across the Alsatian plain. We continue on the ALSATIAN WINE ROUTE, stopping in villages along the way, each of them offering a delightful picture postcard setting and some the best examples of Alsatian architecture. Dinner tonight at the hotel. > Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fees, wine tasting, three-course dinner, Hotel Schloss Reinach
Day 7 - Thursday – RHINE FALLS, LUCERNE, SWITZERLAND
Today it is goodbye to Germany and the Black Forest as we cross the border into Switzerland. We stop in Schaffhausen to see the largest waterfalls in Europe, the RHINE FALLS, where in summer 600,000 liters of water falls down 23 meters (75 feet) every second. We continue to LUCERNE, this most beautiful city at the foot of the Swiss Alps on fabulous Lake Lucerne. See the Lion Monument (the famous dying Lion of Lucerne), walk the wooden Chapel Bridge and join your guide for a stroll of the old town. Later shop for something really Swiss – chocolate, watches or army knives – or stroll along the Lake this afternoon. Tonight look forward to a typical Swiss dinner in town, on your own.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, visits at Rhine Falls and Lucerne, hotel in LucerneBlack Forest, Alsace and Switzerland – Castles, Scenery, Wine and Christmas Markets of the Three Corners 5
Day 8 - Friday – LUCERNE, MOUNT PILATUS
This morning be prepared for incredible views as you climb up MOUNT PILATUS. From the top enjoy endless views of the mountains and plains and lakes below. Time for a Swiss hot chocolate before we return downhill again. Back in LUCERNE you have the afternoon free to spend at your leisure. Maybe go for a cruise on Lake Lucerne, visit the Swiss Museum of Transport or one of the many Art Galleries, go hiking in the stunning surroundings, just relax, or get your final shopping done on Lucerne's Christmas market. Tonight be prepared for lots of fun at a Swiss Folklore Farewell Dinner.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, cable car rides, three-course dinner with show, hotel in Lucerne
Day 9 - Saturday - HOME FROM ZURICH
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen". One final breakfast and then a complimentary transfer to Zurich Airport for your return flight home. If your flight is leaving earlier then 10.30 a.m. we can arrange for an alternative transfer at your expense.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to Airport
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