Famous Fossil Sites and the Munich Show
Frankfurt to Munich
17 - 27 October 2019
Includes 3 Geoparks, 2 World Heritage Sites and Europe's leading fossil and mineral show
Exclusive small group tour, number of participants : 4 - 7
Prices are per person, based on 2 people sharing a room. Single supplement applies please make contact for details.
The 'Eyes of Eifel' maars near Daun formed from steam explosions.
By Martin Schildgen https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=987174
Loriolaster mirabilis brittle star fossil from the Hunsrück Slate
Darwinius masillae a species of primate from the Messel Pit World Heritage Site
By Jens L. Franzen, Philip D. Gingerich, Jörg Habersetzer1, Jørn H. Hurum, Wighart von Koenigswald, B. Holly Smith - https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6926953
Marine reptile skeleton Temnodontosaurus acutirostris, with ammonites: Harpoceras falcifer Stage : Lower Jurassic (Toarcian) 185 million years Locality : Holzmaden Germany
By Didier Descouens - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12740006
An Archeopteryx fossil bird from the Solnhofen limestone.
Itinerary - 11 Days
Day 1. Arrival in Frankfurt. We will be staying at a hotel near to Frankfurt Airport. We have a welcome meeting at 18:00 in the hotel.
Day 2 - Messel Pit UNESCO World Heritage Site, fossil quarry situated inside the Bergstrasse-Odenwald Geopark. Our first stop is the Messel Pit, which is only 30 minutes from our hotel and is the most important Eocene fossil site in the world. In particular, it provides unique information about the early stages of the evolution of mammals and includes exceptionally well-preserved mammal fossils, ranging from fully articulated skeletons to the contents of stomachs of animals of this period. Here we take a guided tour of the pit and visit the Visitor Centre. We then visit the Darmstadt Museum where many more Messel Pit fossils can be seen. We spend the night at the same hotel near Frankfurt Airport. Total driving time for the day: 1 hr 10 mins.
Day 3. Vulkaneifel Geopark - This geopark is full of volcanoes! And contains hundreds of former eruptive centres with lava domes, calderas and cinder cones. Our first stop, in the East Eifel area, is the caldera of Laacher which erupted 13000 years ago. Here at a site called Wingertsbergwand we look at 40m thick tephra deposits and visit the Lava Dome and Roman Mine museums. We then drive to the Powder Maar (Pulvermaar) near Gillenfield. This is the picture-perfect maar of the geopark. A maar is a volcanic crater formed by a steam explosion when water comes into contact with magma beneath the surface. Nearby, at Strohn, we see the famous 120 ton, 5m diameter lava bomb that was ejected from an eruption. We then visit Windborn that, rather than being a maar, is a true crater lake in a scoria cone. The night is spent in Daun near the 'Eyes of Eifel' maars. Total driving time for the day: 2 hrs 45 mins.
Day 4 - Bundenbach - Hunsrück slate fossils. We spend the day at Bundenbach a world famous fossil locality. Beautifully preserved detailed fossils have been found in the slates from the lower Devonian period (400 million years old) and fossils from the marine deposits in this area can be seen in many museums in the world. We will visit the small museum in the old quarry at Herrenberg in Bundenbach. It's even possible to find our own fossils in the Herrenberg quarry. We then drive to one of Gemany's oldest cities: Speyer. Here we spend the night and have time to visit its magnificent cathedral which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Total driving time for the day: 3 hrs.
Day 5 - Holzmaden, Posidonia shales in the Swabian Alb Geopark. Today we visit Holzmaden, and its Jurassic "Posidonia"-shales. These rocks are famous for the marine reptile fossils they have yielded. Directly opposite the Huff Museum in Holzmaden is a large fossil quarry where we can search for our own fossils. Qualified museum and/or quarry staff will review our findings and decide if we can keep the specimens or if they are to be withheld for the state due to scientific importance. It is likely we may find ammonites, belemnites and even isolated reptile bones. We then visit the museum itself which has an excellent display of fossils. This is followed by a visit to a second fossil quarry, Kromer Slate Quarry, and then the remains of a volcano. The night is spent in Laichingen. Total driving time for the day: 2 hrs.
Day 6 - The 'Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura' World Heritage Site and the Swabian Alb Geopark. We start the day visiting the Laichingen Pothole museum and cave which is the deepest cave in the Swabian Alb Geopark. We then visit Blautopf a spectacular blue coloured kast spring before visting Hohle Fels Cave which is part of the 'Caves and Ice Age Art in the Swabian Jura' World Heritage Site. Artifacts found in the cave represent some of the earliest examples of prehistoric art and musical instruments ever discovered. We then return to Laichingen for a second night. Total driving time for the day: 40 mins
Day 7 - Swabian Alb Geopark. Our first stop of the day is the Erminger Turritellenplatte fossil site in the town of Ulm. The site is a 20 million-year-old beach deposit that contains fossil shells and shark teeth. We then journey on to a meteor crater at Steinheim am Albuch, before going on an underground tour in an iron mine in Aalen. The night is spent in Treuchtlingen, the nearest town to the Solnhofen Archeopteryx quarry. Total driving time for the day: 2 hrs 45 mins
Day 8 - Solnhofen Archeopteryx. Solnhofen is known for the 10 Archeopteryx prehistoric birds that have been found here. The first feather was found in 1860, and the first Archeopteryx was found in 1861. In Solnhofen we visit the Bürgermeister Müller museum where we can see an orginal Archeopteryx fossil. We then visit the Jura Museum in Eichstätt to see more fossils . The rest of the day is spent at the Blumenberg Quarry near Eichstätt as we attempt to find our own fossils. In the mid afternoon we drive to the city of Munich where we spend the next 4 nights. Total driving time for the day: 2 hrs.
Day 9 - Free Day in Munich. Your tour guide will leave you this morning leaving you to self guide for days 9-11. Today is a free day in the Munich, the Capital of Bavaria. Its is suggested you visit the Geology Museum, and go on a tour of the famous Breweries.
Day 10 - The Munich Show. The Munich Show is Europe's largest Fossil, Mineral, Rock and Gem show with exhibitors and traders from all around the world.
Day 11 - Depart or spend a second day at the Munich Show
The trip price includes accommodation (with breakfast), transportation during the trip and guiding. Flights, lunches and dinners are not included in the price.