||Centrally Located Hotel In Heidelberg||None||
Pick up your car and drive to Heidelberg, located in a river valley at the foot of the verdant Odenwald (Forest of Odes). Not only home to the oldest university in Germany, Heidelberg was largely spared from the destruction of WWII and retains its baroque charms with its famed castle and beautiful bridge. “Heidelberg was every bit as captivating as I had imagined it would be,” wrote Mark Twain in his 1878 book, A Tramp Abroad, about his three-month stay in Heidelberg.
The ruins of Heidelberger Schloss are among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. Only partially rebuilt since its demolition in the 18th-century, it dominates the view of old town, and is served by a station on the Heidelberger Bergbahn funicular railway.
||Centrally Located Hotel In Rothenburg||Breakfast||
You depart this morning after breakfast, headed to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Located on the Romantic Road about half way between Frankfurt and Munich, the city and its historic Market Square are surrounded by a 14th-century town wall and an exceptionally well-preserved medieval Aldstadt (Oldtown), as seen in the 1940 Walt Disney movie Pinocchio, and in the 2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Best of all, you'll be there for the night so after the tourists leave, you can experience the real Rothenburg.
En route to Rothenburg, some of the castles you will pass include the Dilsberg Fortress in Neckargemuend, the castles of Neckarsteinach, the ruins of Schloss Schadeck (or Swallow's Nest Castle), the knight's castle at Hirschhorn, the castle of Goetz von Berlichingen, the Horneck castle of the Teutonic Order of Knights, Schloss Guttenberg, Schloss Steinsberg in Sinsheim, Waldenburg, and Schwäbisch (shwibish) Hall. (Total driving distance: 184 miles. Estimated drive time: 3 hours.)
||Centrally Located Hotel In Nuremberg||Breakfast||
During the Medieval period, Nuremberg was one of the great trade centers on the route from Italy to Northern Europe, and used the wealth generated to become the center of the German Renaissance in the 15th- and 16th-centuries, which explains the richness of its Aldstadt. The thick walls and 80 towers around Nuremberg's Aldstadt encompass the medieval Kaiserburg and museum, the traditional crafts shown in the Handwerkerhof, the Königstor tower gate, many medieval timber-frame buildings, the Gothic Church of St. Lawrence and the Church of St. Sebaldus, are all well worth a visit. The Spielzeugmuseum, or Toy Museum, displays antique and modern wooden and metal toys, dolls and doll houses, model railways and more.
En route to Nuremberg some of the castles you will pass include Colmberg, Lictenau and Wolframs-Eschenbach in Romantic-Franconia, the former Royal Palace of Brandenburg-Ansbach, the 1,000- year-old Abenberg and Ratibor Palace in Roth.
Kaiserburg was built between 1140 and 1400, and is the castle in which Richard the Lionheart, King of England, was held captive during the crusades. One of the most important fortresses in Europe, it is actually three complexes in one: the imperial castle (Kaiserburg), buildings of the Burgraves of Nuremberg (or Burggrafenburg), and municipal buildings of the Imperial City (or the Reichsstädtische Bauten).
||Centrally Located Hotel In Ahortnal||Breakfast||
The amazing 4+ Star Rabenstein Castle in Bavaria between Bayreuth and Nuremberg lies on a rock high above the Aisbach Valley and houses a restaurant and falconry center where you can see handlers working with the birds in this ancient art. With a history that stretches back to the 12th-century, the castle was abandoned until the 1860s when it was purchased by the Count of Schönborn, who restored the castle and gave it new life. Today, each of the castle's 22 guest rooms is individually decorated and fit for a king.
Nearby in the Sophienhöhle Cave, one of the most beautiful dripstone caves in Germany, and a celtic village with a true-to-life Celtic house plus a campfire barbecue.
En route to Ahorntal just some of the castles you will pass include the Imperial palace at Forchheim, the ruins at Ebermannstadt, the ruins of Neideck and Streitburg at Markt Wiesenttal, and Schloss Gössweinstein, Schloss Pottenstein, Schloss Egloffstein and Schloss Waischenfeld.
||Centrally Located Hotel In Ahortnal||Breakfast||
After breakfast at one of the most historic and romantic castles in Europe, you're ready for your next Avanti destination!
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