Traveller Story: The Black Forest and Beyond

From a scenic steam train ride to exploring a magnificent castle, this tour was everything I could have expected from a holiday through Germany, France and Austria. I took my mum on this trip with me and am so glad I did – it was an experience neither of us will ever forget. Gorgeous towns hidden amongst vibrant forests, tranquil lakes glittering in the sun, breathtaking testaments to ancient architecture… my memory of this tour is a colourful collage of countless beautiful sights.

Seeing local cultures and learning about the history of places is always something I look forward to when travelling, particularly in destinations that are so different to Australia. The Black Forest, Bavaria and the Tyrol tour with Albatross delivered all this and more.

The Highlights

Neuschwanstein Castle

While I have so many wonderful memories of the tour, visiting the Flower Island of Mainau definitely stands out in my mind. There was such a fantastic variety of flowers and colours. It seemed that every fabulous flowerbed was also home to a delightful fountain or fascinating sculpture – there was something new to see everywhere we turned! The bushes manicured to look like animals were particularly good.

Perhaps it’s only because I’ve never been on a steam train before, but the ride on the Zillertalbahn in Austria was a highlight as well. It was so unlike any other train I’ve ever travelled on – such an exhilarating yet relaxing experience. Gazing out the window as the stunning landscape of the Zillertal Valley and surrounding mountains unfolded before us… we certainly lost track of time more than once!

The other stop that stands out is Neuschwanstein Castle. It was simply incredible to see something built so long ago and on such a grand scale. With the elegant apartments, halls and throne room, it really was like walking through the scene of a fairy tale. I’m so glad a guided tour of this amazing building was included; it was great to learn about the castle’s history while exploring its magnificent rooms.

The Surprises

Hallstatt, courtesy of Nyla and Alan Ramsay

I knew before embarking on this tour the scenery would be like nothing I had seen before, but it really was spectacular. I had heard great things about the Black Forest in particular and I was most looking forward to this region – and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The scenery was amazing at every stop. From picturesque half-timbered houses and cute market squares to stunning blue lakes and enchanting forest trails, every view and experience was more jaw-dropping than the last!

Another thing that was an unexpected delight was just how good the weather was. It was slightly less cool than I had anticipated. In fact, I was able to wear just shorts and a shirt on most of the excursions!

I was also pleasantly surprised by the amount of free time we had. So much was included in the tour, yet we still had plenty of time to ourselves for walking around, checking out the scenery, shopping… whatever tickled our fancy!

The Touring Experience

Salzburg patisserie

On top of being balanced between pre-organised sightseeing and leisure time, our tour also kept us really comfortable. The food, for example, was amazing. There were so many delicious meals and always generous servings – we never left any table feeling anything but full! When you travel to this part of the world, you just know the cuisine will be a highlight.

It was also fantastic to be part of such a great group of fellow travellers. We all got along well – I even have some new friends who I’ll be staying in contact with.

If you’re planning to visit Germany, I’d absolutely recommend doing so with Albatross. The Black Forest, Bavaria and the Tyrol tour is simply sensational. And don’t forget your camera! There are endless opportunities to take amazing photos.

Courtesy of Albatross Traveller - Jamiel Stutz