This tour follows a highly popular format developed to run alongside our own-brand Music Festival on the Rhine. While most of the participants on the festival eat and sleep on board a river cruiser, a small group stays in hotels and undertakes walks through some of the most attractive stretches of the countryside in the vicinity of the river and the concert venues. They join the larger audience for seven of the nine concerts and are accompanied by their own musicologist who gives talks en route. Further details of the festival can be found online or in the dedicated brochure.
Freiburg. Fly at c. 2.30pm from London Heathrow to Basel (British Airways). Drive to Freiburg with its magnificent Gothic minster, a rich mix of historic buildings, and the Augustinermuseum, one of Germany’s best collections of medieval and Renaissance arts. Lecture and dinner before the first of two nights here.
Freiburg, Munster. Starting uphill from Munster Haut-Rhin, this is a moderate-strenuous circular walk (8.5km, c. 2.5 hours) on country lanes, farm tracks and woodland paths, which passes through picturesque villages and farms. Return to Freiburg for some free time before the late-afternoon concert in the Historisches Kaufhaus with Dorothea Röschmann (soprano) and Malcolm Martineau (piano): Lieder by Mendelssohn, Schumann & Wolf. Dinner follows the concert.
Hambach, Schwetzigen, Speyer. Drive North to the Palatinate Forest for a for a moderate walk (6km, c. 2 hours) on paths and trails in the vicinity of the imposing Hambach Castle, a symbol of German freedom, unity and democracy since the Hambacher Fest in 1832. Lunch before driving to Schwetzingen for the afternoon concert with the Freiburg Baroque Consort. Arrive in Speyer in time for dinner and the evening concert in the Church of the Holy Trinity with Cantus Cölln: Bach Motets. Overnight in Speyer.
Speyer, Bingen-am-Rhein, Bonn. Free morning in Speyer before driving to Bingen, at the southern entry to the spectacular Rhine Gorge, now world-famous as the birthplace of Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th-century nun, mystical thinker, composer and saint. Lunch is followed by an easy afternoon walk (3km, 1 hour) above the Rhine towards this afternoon’s concert venue. Afternoon concert in the Rochuskapelle with Per Sonat Ensemble: Hildegard von Bingen. Coach to Bonn. Dinner and first of two nights.
Bonn, Petersberg. Drive south for a moderate morning walk (6.5km, c. 2 hours) from the banks of the Rhine inland, rising steadily passing wood-timbered houses, fields and then through woods to Kloster Heisterbach. After a refreshment break at the Kloster’s café, the last 2.5km (c. 45 mins) is more challenging, following woodland paths that wind uphill to the Grandhotel Petersberg. Lunch here before leaving for Bonn. Some free time before the pre-dinner concert in the Electoral Palace, Schlosskirche with the Taschenphilharmonie (Pocket Philharmonic): Beethoven, Symphonies 1 & 6.
Raesfeld, Utrecht. Drive north to Schloss Raeseld, an impressive brick-built moated Wasserschloss (‘water castle’) dating to the 17th century. Easy walk (3km, c. 1 hour) in the surrounding parkland before lunch and the afternoon concert in Schloss Raesfeld with the Mandelring Quartet: Haydn, String Quartet in B flat Op. 1 No 1; Beethoven, String Quartet Op 59 No 3. Drive across the Dutch border to Utrecht where two nights are spent.
Utrecht, Kanis, Amsterdam. Morning walk in the Dutch Polder landscape. An easy walk (9km, c. 2 hours) taking in the alluring landscape of the Grecht Canal towpath and the fields towards the village of Kanis. Continue to Amsterdam for some free time before the afternoon concert in the Concertgebouw with the New Dutch Academy: Dutch Crown Jewels. Return to Utrecht for the second and final night.
Some free time before driving to Rotterdam for the Eurostar to London St Pancras (direct), arriving at c. 5.00pm
Music writer, lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. He writes for BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone and has taught classes in Lieder history and interpretation at the Guildhall, Trinity College of Music and Birkbeck College. He read French and German at Cambridge and later studied Music at the Guildhall. His publications include Schubert: The Complete Song Texts and Pocket Guide to Haydn. Twitter: @wigmoresworld | Website: wigmoresworld.co.uk
Price, per person
Two sharing: £3,120 or £2,920 without flights. Single occupancy: £3,540 or £3,340 without flights.
Flights (Euro Traveller) with British Airways; admittance to 7 private concerts on the Music Along the Rhine Festival; hotel accommodation as described below; travel by private coach; breakfasts, 5 lunches and 6 dinners with wine, water, coffee; admission to museums etc.; tips for waiters, drivers, guides; the services of the lecturer and tour manager.
Colombi Hotel, Freiburg: a 5-star hotel on the edge of the old town. Hotel Domhof, Speyer: small and traditional, in an old building around a courtyard and close to the cathedral. Königshof, Bonn: modern rooms and a restaurant with views of the Rhine. Grand Hotel Karel V, Utrecht: 5-star hotel converted from a 19th-century hospital in a quiet location within the city walls.
This is a walking tour, graded ‘moderate’. Of the 6 walks, 3 are ‘easy’ and 3 are ‘moderate’, with some steep climbs. It is essential that you are in good physical condition and used to country walking with uphill content. There is not always the opportunity to return to the hotel to freshen up before every concert or dinner. (Please see www.martinrandall.com/about-us for our walking tour grading system.)
Between 10 and 22 participants.
Before booking, please refer to the FCDO website to ensure you are happy with the travel advice for the destination(s) you are visiting.