Itinerary (For day-to-day description, click on the items below)
Day 1: Berlin
Settle into hotel and relax. In the afternoon, get your first impression of the city by taking a cruise on the Spree River. Have dinner as a group which will include a trip orientation and a quick overview of Germany’s history with themes relevant to the itinerary. Overnight in Berlin
Day 2: Berlin
Morning: Take our guided tour of the historic part of the city, which centers around the boulevard Unter den Linden (“Under the Linden Trees”). It includes the Brandenburg Gate and several memorials, and ends with a climb up the Berlin Cathedral tower, which affords a great view of the city. Enjoy your lunch at the historic Nikolaiviertel (“Quarter of Nicolas”). Return to the hotel via Alexanderplatz to get an impression of the former DDR (German Democratic Republic) and Hackesche Markt, a stunning Art Nouveau shopping passage. Relax and rest in the hotel.
Late afternoon: Shop, relax, or get an idea of life in former Communist East Germany by visiting the DDR Museum (Museum of the German Democratic Republic). Alternatively, choose one of the five renowned museums on Museum Island. Overnight in Berlin
Day 3: Berlin
Morning: Learn about the divided Germany after World War II. Explore the Reichstag (German Parliament), a unique blend of modern and old architecture with a glass dome and spiral staircase. Reflect at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe, a stark reminder of Germany’s past atrocities. Take in the modern skyline of Potsdam Plaza and enjoy your lunch.
Afternoon: Get an impression of Nazi crimes and their manipulative actions at the museum of the Topography of Terror. Return to the hotel, rest and relax. Later in the day, tour the nearby Berlin Wall Memorial, once a piece of the death strip separating East and West Germany. Overnight in Berlin
Day 4: Potsdam to Quedlinburg
Morning: Drive to Potsdam (30-minute drive) passing over the “Bridge of Spies”(Glienicker Bridge). Visit Cecilienhof, the palace built by Germany’s last emperor during World War I and site of the historically significant Conference of Potsdam of 1945. Explore the old town of Potsdam on your own and have lunch.
Afternoon: Take the official tour of Frederic the Great’s lavish Neue Palais (“new palace”) and explore the adjacent Baroque park with an optional tour of his summer residence Sanssouci (“without worry”). Drive to Quedlinburg (2-hour drive). Overnight in Quedlinburg
Day 5: Quedlinburg
Morning: Follow our guided tour of Quedlinburg, a UNESCO world heritage site untouched by war and a superb example of medieval Germany. Enjoy the quaint shops and have a leisurely lunch in Old Town.
Afternoon: Visit the Collegiate Church of St. Servatius and its treasury, site of a famous twentieth century art theft. Climb the Münzenberg (“coin mountain”) and enjoy wonderful views of the town and Quedlinburg Abbey. Visit the archeological Münzenberg Museum and the nearby St. Wiperti Church with its ancient crypt. Overnight in Quedlinburg
Day 6: Thale and Erfurt
Morning: Drive up the Rosstrappe Mountain in nearby Thale. A short walk brings you to a rocky crag with spectacular views of the Bode Valley, famous for pagan rituals that inspired German writers and poets.
Afternoon: Drive to Erfurt (2-hour drive). After settling into your hotel, take our tour of this beautiful and well-preserved medieval city where Martin Luther studied. Overnight in Erfurt
Day 7: Eisenach
Morning: Drive to Eisenach (50-minute drive). Take the official tour of the Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learn about St. Elizabeth’s life, Luther’s translation of the New Testament, and the contest of the Minnesingers. Enjoy lovely views of the surrounding hills.
Afternoon: Visit the Bach House and return to Erfurt.Overnight in Erfurt
Day 8: Weimar
Morning: Drive to Weimar (30- minute drive). Our morning guided tour focuses on the Golden Age of Weimar (18th century) which attracted great thinkers and writers.
Afternoon: After lunch in town, our guided afternoon tour highlights the art and music of the Silver Age (19th and 20th century) including the Bauhaus. Take time to relax and enjoy the many shops and the idyllic park in Weimar. Return to Erfurt. Overnight in Erfurt
Day 9: Leipzig to Dresden
Drive to Leipzig (1 ½-hour drive) Tour the city and witness another important Bach site, the Thomas Church where Bach worked for 27 years. Have lunch in one of Leipzig’s historic shopping passages and enjoy the city’s architectural juxtaposition of the former GDR and modern unified Germany. Drive to Dresden (1½-hour drive). Overnight in Dresden
Day 10: Dresden
Morning: Take our guided tour highlighting the Baroque splendor of Dresden and enjoy lunch with local friends.
Afternoon: Shop, relax, or explore the Zwinger (Old Masters Picture Gallery), The Green Vault (Royal Treasury Collection), or choose another of the many diverse museums this culturally rich city has to offer. Overnight in Dresden
Day 11: Saxon Switzerland
Drive to Saxon Switzerland (45-minute drive). Spend the day exploring the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and decide whether to opt for the more rigorous climb to the top of a cliff (2½-hour hike) or a leisurely walk with beautiful views of the dramatic and bizarrely formed columns. Drive to Berlin for the last night in an airport hotel. (2½-hour drive). Overnight in Berlin, airport
Day 12: Depart from Berlin
Depart from Berlin airport hotel
You will stay in 3 or 4-star hotels that were carefully chosen to fit with the historical setting of the place you’re visiting.
- 3 nights in a modern boutique hotel with an avant-garde flair in Berlin’s central historic district
- 2 nights in a beautifully renovated hotel, originally built in the 1600s on the historic market square of Quedlinburg
- 3 nights in a comfortable hotel in the heart of Erfurt’s old quarter, steps from the medieval bridge Krämerbrücke (“peddler bridge”) lined with shops
- 2 nights in a luxurious modern Baroque hotel in the center of Dresden
- 1 night in a hotel near the airport in Berlin
Image source: Pixabay