Walking in Germany and France

Journey to Titisee-Neustadt and explore the beauty of this municipality and the evocative Black Forest of Germany.  During days structured around walks, take in the beauty of Lake Titisee; explore Freiburg and the romantic Ravenna Valley; and sample Black Forest Cake. In the Alsace region of France, we explore Colmar, enjoy the wine route, and hike through vineyards. Experience significant World War I and II sites, including the American WWII Memorial in Alsace. Learn about the European Parliament in Strasbourg, proud symbol of democratic values, peace, and reconciliation.

Dates
Sep 26 - Oct 8, 2023  (13 days)
Cost

$6,595 per person, double occupancy

For more Information
travel@commonwealthclub.org

(415) 597-6720

    Tuesday, September 26
    Depart the U.S.

    Depart the U.S. on independent flights to Zurich.

    Wednesday, September 27
    Arrive Zurich, Switzerland

    Arrive in Zurich, Switzerland, and transfer to our hotel. This evening gather for a tour orientation and welcome dinner at a local restaurant. 
    Hotel Europe Zurich (D)

    Thursday, September 28
    Titisee-Neustadt, Germany

    After breakfast depart for Titisee-Neustadt (New City) in the Black Forest. En route we visit the breathtaking Rhine Falls and have lunch on our own. We arrive in the late afternoon for check-in, followed by dinner at the hotel.
    Walking: ~ 1.5 miles / ~2 hours, paved paths and city streets
    Maritim Titisee Hotel (B,D)  

    Friday, September 29
    Freiburg / Titisee-Neustadt

    Take a train to Freiburg, the capital city of the Black Forest and the most southern city in Germany. It is frequently called Germany's 'sustainable city' and, taking advantage of the sunny location near the Rhine River in Baden-Württemberg, it is renowned for its ecological initiatives, vineyards, and university life. Enjoy a walking tour of the old town with a local guide followed by free time to explore on your own. Visit one of Freiburg's numerous cafes and pastry shops and try Black Forest Cake or Freiburg Bobbele (chocolate). Return by train to Titisee-Neustadt. 
    Walking: ~ 2 miles / ~2 hours, city streets
    Maritim Titisee Hotel (B)  

    Saturday, September 30
    Black Forest Highlands

    Today we hike the Heritage Trail of the Black Forest Highlands, which also functions as an open-air museum. We begin by walking through the Löffeltal and the beautiful forest, along Rotbach Stream to the Hell Valley. Enjoy a short visit to St. Oswald Chapel which dates back to 1148. See Hofgut Sternen, where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once stayed, and attend a demonstration of the local glass blowing. After lunch,  continue hiking and pass through the Ravenna Viaduct with its impressive stone arches, and take in the romantic Ravenna Valley. We follow the trail until it takes us back to the hotel.
    Walking: ~ 5 miles / ~3 hours, trail walking
    Maritim Titisee Hotel (B,L)  

    Monday, October 1
    Feldberg / Titisee-Neustadt

    We drive to Feldberg (4'711 ft), the highest summit of the Black Forest. Walk to Feldsee, a cirque lake, created by the glaciers of the last Ice Age. It is over 100 feet deep and is the largest cirque lake in the Black Forest. Steep walls surround the lake on three sides, and rare protected alpine plants can be found on the sunny rocks. After lunch at a farmhouse, we hike to Feldberg Valley Station. Weather permitting, we enjoy a boat ride on this magical lake.
    Walking: ~ 5 miles / ~3 hours, mountain trails 
    Maritim Titisee Hotel (B,L)  

    Tuesday, October 2
    Alsace / Colmar, France

    This morning we head to Colmar, France. We travel via Kaiserstuhl, a geologically volcanic region, and Germany's sunniest area, with a mountain range, grapevines, and a uniquely diverse flora. Enjoy a walk in the Rhine River Valley area with a local expert. Discover colorful meadows, almond trees, wild orchids, cacti, and an abundance of vineyard herbs. We then continue to drive to Neuf-Brisach for lunch at a local restaurant. See the Neuf-Breisach Fortress, one of the last fortresses built by the brilliant engineer Sébastien Le Prestre, Lord of Vauban. At the service of Louis XIV, he created the "iron belt", a series of fortifications capable of resisting any siege and protecting the borders of France. After our visit, we continue to our hotel in Colmar for dinner.
    Walking: ~ 3 miles / ~2.5, cobblestone streets
    Le Grand Hôtel Bristol Colmar (B,L,D)  

    Wednesday, October 3
    Vallée de Munster, Les Vosges / Colmar

    We set off this morning for Petit Ballon (4’173 ft), a flat summit situated in the Vosges Mountains, a small mountain range separating the Munster Valley and the Lauch Valley. This is an area of woodland, pasture, wetland, farmland, and historical sites. We hike through forests and over colorful meadows, and we see the political border between Germany and France. On the top of the summit, an amazing panorama surrounds us. We enjoy lunch at a local inn, before returning to our hotel.
    Walking: ~ 4-5 miles / ~3 hours, easy trails
    Le Grand Hôtel Bristol Colmar (B,L,D)  

    Thursday, October 4
    Colmar / Alsace Wine Region

    Discover the town of Colmar during a guided tour walking down the flower-bedecked alleys, and past traditional buildings and canals. Colmar's thousand-year-old history is visible at every corner. After the tour, enjoy some time exploring this city on your own. In the afternoon we walk through the vineyards and learn about the capital of the Alsace wine region.  Enjoy a stop for a wine tasting before returning to our hotel. Dinner on your own.
    Walking: ~ 2 miles / ~2 hours, paved roads
    Le Grand Hôtel Bristol Colmar (B,L)  

    Friday, October 5
    Alsace / WWI & WWII History

    Visit the Linge Memorial Museum and the site of a battlefield in WWI. As the only mountain battlefield on the western front, it holds a special significance and is a powerful place of remembrance. We then start a hike, one that takes us through history as we see war trenches and the forests of former battlefields. We make stops at local inns (ferme auberge) and enjoy lunch. This afternoon we visit the American 21st Corps Monument in Sigolsheim. This monument honors American soldiers who sacrificed themselves during World War ll helping liberate the Alsace. Return to the hotel for dinner on your own.
    Walking: ~ 5 miles / ~3 hours, natural and gravel paths
    Le Grand Hôtel Bristol Colmar (B,L)  

    Saturday, October 6
    Strasbourg

    Today we explore Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace and an international hub. Enjoy a narrated boat ride on the river, and then take a guided walking tour through the vibrant streets. Learn about the European Parliament in Strasbourg and how it made Strasbourg a proud symbol of democratic values, peace, and reconciliation. Learn how modern architects connected their art to the old structures. Then enjoy free time in the city strolling the shopping mile, visiting one of the city's excellent museums, or relaxing in a café at the river. In the late afternoon, return to Colmar for our farewell dinner at a local restaurant.
    Walking: ~ 2 miles / ~2 hours, city streets
    Le Grand Hôtel Bristol Colmar (B,D)  

    Sunday, October 7
    Alsace / Zurich

    On our last day, we start with a small hike through the Alsace Plain, which encompasses an extensive number and variety of castles. Arrive to Eguisheim, for lunch on your own and time to explore this town which was officially named "one of the most beautiful villages in France". Settled in the Roman Age, it is also the hometown of Pope Leo XI (1002-1054). Today, its long history is also visible in the town’s onion-shaped appearance, with houses circularly surrounding the town center. We then transfer to Zurich for a free evening in this vibrant Swiss city. Dinner is on your own.
    Walking: ~ 3 miles / ~2 hours, natural and gravel paths
    Dorint Airport Hotel Zurich (B) 

    Monday, October 8
    Zurich / U.S.

    Depart via the hotel shuttle for independent flights home. (B)

    Cost:  $6,595 per person, double occupancy
    Single Supplement: $1,050

    Minimum 8 guests. Maximum 16 guests. 

    Included:
    Tour leader, local guides, and speakers; activities as specified in the itinerary; transportation throughout; airport transfers on designated group dates and times; 11 nights accommodations as speci­fied (or similar); 11 breakfasts, 5 lunches (including some picnic lunches), 5 dinners; wine and beer with welcome and farewell events; Commonwealth Club representative with 10 or more participants; gratuities to local guides, drivers, and for all included group activities; pre-departure materials.

    Not included:
    International airfare; gratuity to tour leader; visa and passport fees; meals not specified as included; optional outings and gratuities for those outings; alcoholic beverages beyond welcome and farewell events; travel insurance (recommended, information will be sent upon registration); items of a purely personal nature.

    What to Expect

    Participants must be in very good health and able to keep up with an active group of walkers. Walks are moderate with some more strenuous segments. On average guests will walk 2-5 miles each day over 2-4 hours, broken up throughout the day. Some days there is only walking at site visits.

    Travelers should be able to walk on gravel and dirt hiking trails, over uneven terrain, and use stairs without handrails. Sturdy walking/hiking shoes are required; ankle-high shoes are recommended. One does not have to participate in every activity, but the tour is geared towards the pace described above.

    Learn from our expert guide throughout the trip. Hear "field lectures" on a variety of topics along the way.

    The Commonwealth Club (CWC) has contracted European Walking Tours to organize this tour.

    Reservations: 
    A $1000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed Reservation Form, will reserve a place for participants on this program. The balance of the trip is due 90 days prior to departure and must be paid by check.

    Eligibility
    We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.

    Insurance
    We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website.

    Cancellation and Refund Policy:
    Notification of cancellation must be received in writing. At the time we receive your written cancellation, the following penalties will apply:

    • 120 days or more prior to departure: No cancellation fee
    • 119-91days prior to departure: $350 per person
    • 90-61 days to departure: 50% fare
    • 60-1 days to departure: 100% fare

    Tour pricing is based on the number of participants. Tour can also be canceled due to low enrollment. Neither CWC nor European Walking Tours accept liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased in conjunction with the tour.

    Medical Information:
    Participation in this program requires that you be in good health and able to walk several miles each day. The “What to Expect” outlines what is required. If you have any concerns see your doctor on the advisability of your joining this program. It is essential that persons with any medical problems and related dietary restrictions make them known to us well before departure.

    COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols: The well-being of our guests and staff members on tour will continue to be our highest priority. Detailed protocols for this tour, based on conditions at the time, will be provided approximately 60 days prior to departure. All travelers must be fully vaccinated (including recommended boosters) for COVID19, as well as adhere to any testing and mask requirements put in place by the destination, the tour operator, and the Commonwealth Club.

    Itinerary Changes & Trip Delay:
    Itinerary is based on information available at the time of printing and is subject to change. We reserve the right to change a program’s dates, staff, itineraries, or accommodations as conditions warrant. If a trip must be delayed, or the itinerary changed, due to bad weather, road conditions, transportation delays, airline schedules, government intervention, sickness or other contingency for which CWC or European Walking Tours or its agents cannot make provision, the cost of delays or changes is not included.

    Limitations of Liability:
    In order to join the program, participants must complete a Participant Waiver provided by the CWC and agree to these terms: CWC and European Walking Tours its Owners, Agents, and Employees act only as the agent for any transportation carrier, hotel, ground operator, or other suppliers of services connected with this program (“other providers”), and the other providers are solely responsible and liable for providing their respective services. CWC and European Walking Tours shall not be held liable for (A) any damage to, or loss of, property or injury to, or death of, persons occasioned directly or indirectly by an act or omission of any other provider, including but not limited to any defect in any aircraft, or vehicle operated or provided by such other provider, and (B) any loss or damage due to delay, cancellation, or disruption in any manner caused by the laws, regulations, acts or failures to act, demands, orders, or interpositions of any government or any subdivision or agent thereof, or by acts of God, strikes, fire, ­flood, war, rebellion, terrorism, insurrection, sickness, quarantine, epidemics, theft, or any other cause(s) beyond their control.  e participant waives any claim against CWC/ European Walking Tours for any such loss, damage, injury, or death. By registering for the trip, the participant certifies that he/she does not have any mental, physical, or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/herself or other participants. CWC/ European Walking Tours shall not be liable for any air carrier’s cancellation penalty incurred by the purchase of a nonrefundable ticket to or from the departure city. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the traveler. Reasonable changes in the itinerary may be made where deemed advisable for the comfort and well-being of the passengers.

    Registration Commonwealth Club of California CST: 2096889-40 T