Highlights include visiting Alsace, touring Bavaria with its fairy-tale castles,visiting Berchtesgaden, travelling through the magnificent Austrian and Swiss Alps, driving some of the world’s most thrilling mountain passes, including the Stelvio, past breath-taking scenery, and sampling the wonderful cuisine and wines.
Classic Travelling has driven the route to ensure it is scenic and interesting as well as visited each hotel to make certain we have the most charming and comfortable accommodation, and they have appropriate standards of style and luxury, along with suitable parking.
Stay in some of the most glorious hotels, including stunning chateaux, cosy wooden chalets and medieval townhouses. All the hotels are individual and unique and, overall, are of an extremely high standard. Due to the nature and age of these hotels the rooms vary from charmingly comfortable to the utmost luxury. We have hand-picked the accommodation for their unique atmosphere and style. All accommodation includes breakfast, and dinner is included where stated. Suitable parking is, of course, a feature of each hotel, but it is only occasionally undercover.
May be subject to change without notice
For UK participants take the ferry from Dover to Calais, followed by an easy drive to Laon. Visit the largest war memorial area of France, Vimy Parc. This whole region was the scene of fierce fighting in both World Wars. Stay in an exclusive chateau set around a courtyard a few kilometres from Laon. A welcome dinner is included.
Drive across northern France to the beautiful Alsace region. On the way visit the attractive town of Verdun, France’s ‘Capital of Peace’. Travel across the engaging Vosges Mountains to the hotel. Set in a tranquil and pretty village, the hotel is a treat with its spa and great food. Dinner is included.
Leave France behind and cross into Germany. Virtually every road in this area of the Black Forest is designated as a scenic route and the driving is superb. Lake Constance is a beautiful area with lovely half-timbered houses in the towns along the shore. Drive the corniche road along the northern shore, through Meersburg, and pay a visit to the Zeppelin Museum, before heading to the medieval, tiny island town of Lindau. Stay in a beautiful quality, family-run hotel next to the lake towards Switzerland. Dine at the hotel overlooking Lake Constance.
Heading east from Lindau enter Bavaria, home of many of Germany’s best-known cliches: beer, lederhosen, sausage dogs, sauerkraut and fairy-tale castles. Drive along the thrilling Alpine Road and visit the castles of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein, the latter is the ultimate story-book castle. Drive through Garmisch-Partenkirchen, host of the 1936 Winter Olympics and onto Tegernsee. Stay in a charming country house hotel for the next two nights, on the outskirts of a small spa town, one of the country’s most elegant resorts, and where the thermal springs are at a constant 27ºC. Dinner is included tonight only.
A day off to either relax, or take a boat trip around the lake, stopping off at Tegernsee to visit the town and brewery. Tegernsee is among Bavaria’s most beautiful lakes and the area has long been a favourite with the rich. The little town of Tegernsee has a 1300 year old monastery, now a castle. From the southern end of the lake there is a cable car up into the mountains giving access to wonderful views and walks.
Drive along scenic roads all day. The route takes you to beautiful Berchtesgaden, location of Hitler’s Eagles’ Nest, and the fascinating Dokumentation Center, charting the Nazis and their regime. Continue into Austria and to Kitzbuhel, where the tour will spend the next two nights. Stay in an a fabulous design hotel very close to the centre of town. There is a pool and spa, underground parking, and all rooms have beautiful mountain views.
Kitzbuhel has a picturesque centre and is a fashionable and prosperous resort. There are many lovely walking trails surrounding the town or drive our recommended circular, scenic drive to Zell am Zee and perhaps tackle the Grossglockner Pass.
Mileage: 72 (optional)
An easy drive through the mountains and then along the Inn River valley to the alpine town of Fiss. On the way visit Innsbruck with its 15th century baroque facades and mountain backdrop. For fans of ‘bling’ there is the Swarovski Crystal factory to visit too. Dinner is included at the hotel.
Leave Austria and cross the Resia Pass and the border into Italy to drive some of the world’s most famous and thrilling mountain passes, including the Stelvio Pass, the highest road pass in Europe. Then cross into Switzerland and over the Bernina Pass in time to explore St Moritz and the nearby, famous Cresta run. Travel over the startlingly dramatic Julier Pass and stay for two nights in the little village of Lenzerheide, in the mountains, in a stunning old converted farm, now a luxury hotel. Dinner is included on both evenings.
Enjoy another day off. There are some fabulous walks and hikes, amidst the unique alpine flora, around the village and mountains, or you can head off on two or four wheels. Alternatively relax and indulge in the spa, enjoy the views of the panoramic sauna, and open-air hot-tub surrounded by idyllic alpine vistas, or experience the feel and scent of a meadow hay bed! Dinner is included again.
Another excellent day of sensational mountain driving. Drive north to Chur and then east to Andermatt. Drive over the beautiful Furkha Pass, and see the glaciers at Gletsch, climb the Grimsel Pass, before descending to Brienzer See. Pass through Meiringen, location of Sherlock Holmes’ ‘death’, and head for Brienz, a quiet town renowned for its beautiful wood carvings. Visit the wonderful ethnographic museum at Ballenberg, which shows Switzerland as it used to be with buildings, animals, historical gardens and fields, and typical crafts and customs.
It is a gentle drive along from Brienz to the spa town of Interlaken, nestled between the lakes of Thun See and Brienzer See. There is a wonderful side trip to the stunning Lauterbrunnen Valley and the Jungfraujoch. Take a trip up to the Schilthorn, by funicular railway, where the James Bond film ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ was filmed. Then wind your way through classic Swiss scenery to Gstaad, playground of the rich and famous, and a perfect place for afternoon tea and a stroll. Stay for two nights in a superb hotel with excellent facilities in the centre of Gstaad.
Spend the day exploring the surrounding area. Visit the superb Nestle Cailler chocolate factory or discover how Gruyeres cheese is made at the nearby factory, or traditional farm. The medieval hill-top town of Gruyeres is very pretty and well worth a visit and a stroll around the chateau or along the walls. This is true Swiss dairy country so a meal in Gruyeres is recommended to sample the world famous cheese, cream, chocolate and meringue cuisine. There are also some beautiful walks in the surrounding mountains including botanical floral paths. If you’re feeling very energetic try some summer skiing on the glacier at Les Diablerets!
Mileage: 63 (optional)
Drive over the Jaunpass and then skirt Lake Gruyeres, heading to the medieval city of Fribourg. Cross the plain to the pretty, lake-side town of Morat/Murten and then round Lake Neuchatel. Climb up the Jura, stopping to see the panoriamic view at Vue des Alpes, before visiting the superb watch museum at La Chaux de Fonds near the Swiss/French border. Cross into the Franche-Comte region of France and stay in a wonderful, mellow chateau situated in tranquil gardens. Dinner is included.
It’s a long but lovely drive across country on good, open roads. Visit the medieval town of Troyes – particularly the most beautifully restored 15th century buildings around the Cathedral. Continue on, driving through the Champagne region and Epernay, to Laon, and stay in the same hotel as the first night of the tour. A final farewell dinner is included.
For UK participants, drive to Calais or Zebrugge and take the ferry back to the UK and depart for home.
Mileage to Calais: 151
- Tour participation
- An extensively researched and carefully designed itinerary to optimise your trip
- All accommodation for fourteen nights for two people sharing a twin or double room in beautiful, luxury hotels
- Breakfast every morning
- Three-course dinners on 11 evenings, with wine (half a bottle per person). You will be able to dine at restaurants of your choice on other nights (recommendations are made).
- Return crossing the UK for a car & two people – see ferry details above (UK participants only)
- Tour book – includes a brief history of the countries to be visited, emergency details, maps and directions, accommodation information, and a very detailed, tailored account of recommended sights and visits for each day. The book effectively eliminates the need for any other guide books
- Rally plaque for each car
- European road atlas for each car
- Professional hard-back photo book with memories from the tour (after the tour)
- Accompanied by experienced tour director, Sarah Dowding
- Our back-up mechanic will accompany the tour in case of any mechanical problems. He will carry tools, some equipment/spares, and also have some limited room for small amounts of luggage.
What’s not included
- Three evening meals
- All lunches
- Entry into attractions and activities
- Personal travel and medical insurance
- We strongly suggest and recommend you have European breakdown cover (in case our mechanic is unable to fix a problem and your car needs to be repatriated), and ensure you are covered for the countries to be visited.
- All drinks are extra to accommodate individual preferences.
- This tour is open to any classic, vintage or sports car of any age.
- Each person must have a passport (and any necessary visas for non-EU passport holders) valid for France, Germany, Austria, Italy & Switzerland and any other countries you may visit to participate on the tour.
- All passports must be valid for six months after the end of the tour.
- You will also need your vehicle registration documents, driving licence (a photo-card licence or international permit is best), and an international insurance green card.
- Please check with your travel and motor insurers that you are covered for travel in the required countries.
- You are also required to carry a warning triangle, first-aid kit, fluorescent jackets, set of replacement bulbs, two breathalysers (for France) and a national identification sticker.