Swabia - Art and history between Augsburg and Stuttgart

Prices from £2,370


17 May 2020 - 24 May 2020
Duration: 7 nights
Ref: 20SWAB
With: Dr Ulrike Ziegler


Prices from £2,370
Single Supplement: £320
Deposit: £200

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Present-day ‘Schwaben’ encompasses parts of the German federal states of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. To many Germans, Swabia is the land of the thrifty, of wheeler-dealers and inventors: the Fuggers of Augsburg were once the world’s mightiest bankers, while today the Bausparkasse Schwäbisch Hall is Germany’s biggest building society; Mercedes and Porsche are both based in Stuttgart, and Albert Einstein hailed from Ulm. Yet, in terms of cultural tourism — apart from the odd stopping point on the renowned Romantic Road — the region between Augsburg and Stuttgart has quite unjustly been left off the international itinerary. A paleolithic lion man, carved from a mammoth tusk, ‘roars’ in Ulm, while wonderful 15th-century wood and stone carvings await in the picture-perfect towns of Nördlingen and Blaubeuren. Augsburg, home of the Holbein family of painters, will present itself as a proud Renaissance metropolis with outstanding museums, while James Stirling’s postmodernist Staatsgalerie at Stuttgart and the Sammlung Würth in Schwäbisch Hall harbour first-class collections of 20th-century art. Mediaeval churches dominate the centres of Ulm and Schwäbisch Gmünd, while Baroque abbeys and Rococo pilgrimage churches at Wiblingen, Günzburg and Neresheim adorn the lovely countryside of rolling hills and dramatic rock formations of the Swabian Jura. This Art Pursuits Abroad Study Tour will introduce you to an underrated part of Germany and enhance your knowledge of German art and culture from pre-history to the present.


“What I like best about this tour is the wide range of art studied: from the 40.000 year old sculpture of a “Lion Man” to collections of contemporary German art. Some of Germany’s best preserved medieval towns are located in Swabia as well as awe-inspiring Baroque churches. This tour offers the perfect profile of German art!”

Dr Ulrike Ziegler studied art history and archaeology at the University of Regensburg and King’s College Aberdeen specialising in medieval art and architecture. Her PhD focused on art exhibitions and cultural politics of post-war Germany. She has taught at university and is now lecturing for various cultural institutions. She has organised and led many study trips in Germany and Austria. In addition to tour lecturing, Ulrike is developing Art Pursuit Abroad’s German programme.

DAY 1:

Morning flight with Lufthansa from London Heathrow to Munich. By coach to Augsburg – Roman Augusta Vindelicorum. Augsburg’s trade in metals gave the city the cutting edge in finance, from which rose the Fugger dynasty of bankers. Augsburg also played a pivotal role during the Reformation with the declaration of the Peace of Augsburg (1555). We visit the cathedral before continuing to Ulm and our three star hotel.

DAY 2:

Ulm rose as an important trade centre at the point where the Danube becomes navigable. Its main landmarks are the minster and town hall, both featuring works by the early Renaissance sculptor Hans Multscher. The minster’s 161m high spire is the world’s tallest, while its 1470s choir stalls by Jörg Syrlin feature a marvellous ‘portrait gallery’ of pagan and biblical sages. After lunch, visit nearby Blaubeuren in the Swabian Jura. Its former Benedictine abbey preserves one of the great Late Gothic altarpieces by the Ulm woodcarver Michel Erhard.

DAY 3:

Full-day coach excursion to Stuttgart, capital of the counts, dukes and kings of Württemberg. The Altes Schloss houses a museum of arts and crafts presenting precious objects of the ducal art chamber and Swabian mediaeval sculptures. The Neue Staatsgalerie gained world fame through James Stirling’s postmodernist building of 1984 and houses an exquisite collection of German art of the 20th century, including works by Max Beckmann, Oskar Schlemmer and Anselm Kiefer. The Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart maintains an extensive collection of paintings by Otto Dix, together with George Grosz one of the chief exponents of Neue Sachlichkeit.

DAY 4:

Coach excursion to the picturesque town of Schwäbisch-Gmünd, home of Peter Parler, head of one of the largest masons’ shops of the late mediaeval German Empire. Prague cathedral may be Parler’s most famous work, but his Minster of the Holy Cross is an exquisite example of German Sondergotik. Its interior is particularly rich in statuary, while its treasury comprises over 300 objects from the 15th century onwards. The delightful Rococo Liebfrauenkirche in Günzburg is a late work by Dominikus Zimmermann, creator of the world-famous Wieskirche.

DAY 5:

A second morning in Ulm will take us to the former Benedictine abbey of Wiblingen, just south of the city. Rebuilt from 1714 its architectural styles range from Late Baroque to Neoclassicism. Back in town, the municipal museum illustrates the history of the city, with special focus on the guilds who contributed much to Ulm’s wealth. Highlights include the famous 40,000-year-old ‘Lion Man’ carved from mammoth ivory and Hans Multscher’s town hall statues. The rest of the day is free for independent visits.

DAY 6:

Full-day coach excursion to Schwäbisch Hall, made prosperous by salt springs. This handsome town was brought into the limelight of Germany’s cultural scene in 2001, when the business magnate Reinhold Würth opened the Kunsthalle Würth, presenting temporary exhibitions of masterpieces from his collection. This was joined in 2008 by a permanent display of ‘Old Masters’, including Riemenschneider sculptures and – since 2012 – Hans Holbein the Younger’s famous Darmstadt Madonna. The Benedictine abbey of Grosscomburg features a rare Romanesque chandelier of c. 1130 and a gilded enamelled altar frontal of the same period.

DAY 7:

Nördlingen on the Romantic Road retains its 14th and 15th century townscape. Raised to the rank of an Imperial Free City by Emperor Frederick II in 1215 it developed into a powerful and wealthy local trading hotspot. The town’s uncontested masterpiece is the high altarpiece of the parish church of St George created by Niklas Gerhaert von Leyden and Friedrich Herlin in the 1460s. Return towards Ulm via Neresheim, a magnificent former Benedictine abbey church designed in the 1740s by Balthasar Neumann.

DAY 8:

Return to Augsburg for a second visit, focusing on one of the town’s major museums. At the Maximilianmuseum we will explore the city’s supremely crafted gold artefacts and cabinets, which were produced in large numbers for export throughout Europe. In the afternoon, continue to Munich airport for a flight scheduled to London Heathrow.


Twin/double share: £2370 per person
Double room for sole use supplement: £320
Price of the tour without flights: £2170
Deposit: £200


  • Scheduled return flights (economy class) with British Airways
  • Transfers and excursions by private coach
  • Four nights bed & breakfast at the 3* Hotel Drei Mohren
  • Two dinners and one lunch
  • Guided visits to sites listed in the programme
  • Services of the lecturers and a local tour manager
  • Detailed programme and study notes
  • All entrance fees, taxes, and gratuities for coach drivers and waiters

Hotel Goldenes Rad

With a history dating back to 1499 the Hotel Goldenes Rad offer space and comfort in modern, well equipped rooms. Located directly on Münsterplatz in Ulm, next to the impressive Ulm Cathedral and the townhouse built by New York star architect Richard Meier.


  • En-Suite
  • Hair Dryer
  • Sky TV
  • Radio
  • Telephone