Berlin and the East of Germany – 2013
(1) Monarchs, Poets and Reformers
(2) Monarchs, Poets, Reformers and Christmas Markets
Brandeburg Gate, Berlin
Elbe River, Dresden
For more than three centuries the rulers of Brandenburg commissioned the best artists of their time to enhance the Royal residences in and around Berlin with elaborate palaces and gardens. There was building activity under a long series of Prussian monarchs – from Joachim II to the Great Elector, and from Frederick the Great to the last of the German emperors, William II. Visit the resulting works of architecture and landscape gardening, which are overwhelming.
Also visit the stunningly beautiful cities of Leipzig and Dresden in Saxony with their rich cultural heritage, follow Martin Luther’s footsteps in Wittenberg, Wartburg and Erfurt, visit Weimar, the town of poets and thinkers and enjoy its rich history from Luther to the iron curtain – and its opening!
This tour is offered in two slightly different versions, both offered as private tours to be scheduled at your convenience, subject to guide availability:
- The regular season version described in the Itinerary section below, and
- A special Christmas version, described in the Christmas Tour section.
Day 1 – DEPARTURE
Board your flight from home to Berlin's Tegel Airport.
This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.
Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 – WELCOME TO BERLIN
Arrival in Berlin, the German Capital.
The transfers to the hotel depart at 10 a.m. and at 1 p.m.
Rest in the afternoon and take advantage of the hotel facilities, or to go for a first stroll in the city.
Tonight you'll meet your travelling companions and tour director and enjoy a great welcome dinner.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from airport to hotel, dinner, hotel in Berlin
Day 3 – BERLIN SIGHTSEEING, CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE
Start your day with an orientation tour of BERLIN, united Germany's
capital. Guided sightseeing in the once-divided metropolis features the elegant
Ku’damm, the restored Reichstag, the 210-foot Victory Column in the
Tiergarten Park, the Holocaust Memorial, and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial
Church with its bomb-damaged tower. Drive past the State Opera House and Checkpoint Charlie, and continue on
foot in the old part of the city to Brandenburg Gate – the heart of old
Prussia with many historical buildings.
After free time for lunch spend the afternoon at CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE,
the largest residence of the Hohenzollern in Berlin. Originally built
by Elector Frederick III as a summer residence for his wife Sophie
Charlotte, the palace was later extended into a stately building with a
cours d'honneur. The magnificent palace is surrounded by a baroque garden. The entire palace
presents itself with majestically equipped rooms and salons and with
top-class art collections that offer outstanding masterpieces.
After dinner you have tickets for a revue show at FRIEDRICHSTADT PALAST !
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, guided city tour, inside tour Charlottenburg Palace, dinner, tickets Friedrichstadt Palast, hotel in Berlin
Day 4 – POTSDAM AND ITS PRUSSIAN MONARCHS
Today we focus on POTSDAM, the capital of Brandenburg. This
city, just outside Berlin, offers many unique cultural landmarks. First
visit SANSSOUCI. No other palace is more closely connected with
the personality of Frederick the Great. The name Sanssouci - "without
care" - should be understood as the aspiration and leitmotif of the
king, because it is here that he most preferred to withdraw from the
world with his dogs. The location
of the palace on the celebrated vineyard terraces and the originally
preserved, 18th century interior decorations permit today's visitors to
become immersed in the world of the philosophers.
Later today we visit CECILIENHOF, the palace of the Potsdam Conference in 1945. Emperor William II had Cecilienhof Palace built between 1913 and 1917 in the north of Potsdam's New Garden for his eldest son, Crown Prince William, and his wife, Crown Princess Cecilie. The palace's appearance was attuned to its scenic surroundings through the use of traditional materials like brick and wood. In order to disguise the actual size of the palace, with its 176 rooms, individual building elements were cleverly grouped around several courtyards.
We return to Berlin for dinner this evening.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, tours of Sanssouci and Cecilienhof, service of local guide, dinner, hotel in Berlin
Day 5 – LUTHERSTADT WITTENBERG, LEIPZIG, ERFURT
Today first we visit LUTHERSTADT WITTENBERG, the home town of Dr. Martin Luther, the Great Reformer, and the city affectionately known as the “Cradle of the Reformation”. See the Luther House, the Castle Church where Luther posted his 95 critical theses in 1517, provoking the Protestant Reformation, and the Town Church where he often preached.
On to LEIPZIG where the city's colourful past and lively present can be glimpsed everywhere. Take a stroll through the city centre – there's plenty to explore! Visit the market place with the Old Town Hall, St. Thomas‘s Church where Bach was cantor, St. Nicholas‘s Church, and the Mädler Passage with its legendary restaurant, Auerbachs Keller. Each place will help you discover more about the diverse traditions, personalities and history of Leipzig.
Late afternoon arrival in ERFURT, the capital of Thuringia. Go for a stroll in the old town followed by dinner in a local brewery.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, tours of Wittenberg and Leipzig , service of local guide, dinner, hotel in Erfurt
Old Town Hall, Leipzig
Day 6 – WARTBURG CASTLE, WEIMAR
A beautiful drive this morning to the WARTBURG CASTLE overlooking Eisenach in the Thuringia Forest, constructed between 1155 and 1180. It is one of the best preserved secular buildings of the late Romanesque period north of the Alps, and it is surely one of the most beautiful. It was here that Luther translated the Bible. Goethe praised the beautiful natural surroundings of the Wartburg, and Ludwig II King of Bavaria used it as a model for Neuschwanstein. Enjoy your guided tour of this wonderful castle!
Our next stop today is WEIMAR – famous for three items on the World Heritage List: Classical Weimar, the State Bauhaus, and Goethe’s handwritten manuscripts in the Memory of the World. The National Goethe Museum is the most important monument to the classical period. But the town has plenty more museums to visit – more than 40, in fact! They include the Bauhaus Museum, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, and even the German Bee Museum!
Go for stroll with a local guide.
Return to Erfurt where you have free time for dinner tonight.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance fee Wartburg, tour in Weimar, service of local guide, hotel in Erfurt
Day 7 – DRESDEN
Leave the state of Thuringia and drive back into Saxony to DRESDEN, one of Germanys most beautiful cities and a jewel of history. Dresden today ranks as a world-class city of art and culture.
Set in a magnificent landscape in the Elbe valley it went through a blossoming of architectural and artistic brilliance that earned it the name "The Jewel Box". On our orientation tour we see the Royal Palace, Zwinger Palace, the Semper Opera House, Elbe castles, Villa Quarter, Hellerau garden city, award-winning modern buildings, and the "Blue Wonder" bridge east of the city centre. Inside visit at The Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), one of Germany's most amazing post-WW2 reconstructions.
Augustus the Strong and his successors filled the Grüne Gewölbe (Green Vault) and Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber) with treasures from all over the world, collected paintings and porcelain, and were patrons of the great composers. Inside visit at the Green Vault.
Later enjoy a dinner overlooking the Elbe.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, Tour Dresden, entrance fee, dinner, hotel in Dresden
Day 8 – ELBE CRUISE, CASTLE PILLNITZ, BERLIN
Today a special treat – board a boat and cruise on the Elbe River to CASTLE PILLNITZ and its wonderful gardens acquired by Elector Augustus the Strong for his favorite lady Anna Constantia von Cosel, who immediately began its Baroque conversion.
When Saxony’s best-known mistress fell out of favor, the Elector himself had the hillside and waterside palaces erected. The grand castle and park grounds directly situated on the banks of the Elbe river are considered a perfect example of the chinoise style that has the architecture of the Far East amalgamate with the Baroque style. The English, Dutch and Chinese gardens on the extensive garden grounds will urge you to take a stroll and visit the famous 250-year-old Japanese camellia.
Return to Berlin for mid afternoon arrival. Get your final shopping done and join your tour director and traveling companions for a fabulous farewell dinner.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, River Cruise, inside visit Pillnitz Castle, dinner, hotel in Berlin
Day 9 – HOME FROM BERLIN
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen".
One final breakfast and then a complimentary transfer to the Berlin Airport where you arrived for your return flight home. Return flights may leave anytime today.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to Airport
The Christmas version of this tour – Berlin and the East of Germany - Monarchs, Poets, Reformers and Christmas Markets – has the same route and accommodation arrangements as the regular season version.
It visits all the major destination features of the regular tour. We just can't cruise to Castle Pillnitz.
But there are extras. This Christmas version of the tour adds visits to charming Christmas Markets in Berlin, Potsdam, Leipzig, Erfurt, Weimar, and Dresden. Take in the sights. Join in the festivities. Shop if you wish, or just window-shop. Soak up the atmosphere. Soak up some glühwein too!
We pass along savings from travel in the off-peak season to help your shopping budget.
We've prepared a separate itinerary just for this trip:
Complete printable Christmas Tour itinerary in PDF format >
Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market, Berlin
Dresden Christmas Market
- Private tour
- All features as per itinerary
- Door-to-door transportation (all modes). Leave the navigating to us.
- 7 breakfast buffets
- 6 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
- 7 nights' accommodation
- All entrance fees, taxes, and local guide fees paid
- No hidden extras, no optional excursions – already included
- The tour language is English only.
- The days are well planned to offer you many highlights, but you are never rushed.
Ideal combination of free time and planned activities.
- Skip the lines at must-see attractions.
- All visits are inside, not drive-by. Learn the stories that bring old buildings to life.
- You will see not only the highlights but also the spots where only the locals go.
- Tour director – Let our experts make every day and destination fascinating!
- Satisfaction assured – backed up by our money-back guarantee.
Complete printable itinerary for regular season tour in PDF format >
Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin
Pillnitz Castle on the Elbe River
Victory Column, Berlin
Holocaust Memorial, Berlin
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin
Cecilienhof Palace, Potsdam
Town Square, Lutherstadt Wittenberg
JS Bach at St Thomas Church, Leipzig
Cathedral Square, Erfurt
Luther's Chamber, Wartburg Castle
Cathedral and Royal Palace, Dresden
Semper Opera House, Dresden
Zwinger Palace, Dresden
Castle Pillnitz, Dresden
There are more pictures in the Gallery in the In Depth section below.
Berlin and the East of Germany Tour In Depth
Larger Pictures of Castles, Palaces, Communities and Regional Highlights
Images of Berlin and the East of Germany Tour features, presented in 800 x 600 pixel format.
Itinerary Destination Map
- Berlin and the East of Germany tour destinations map from the top of this web page.
Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major Berlin and the East of Germany tour itinerary features.
Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.
Notes on the distinguishing features of the various tours offered.
What's so special about these tours? How do they differ from each other?
Comments from participants in this and other Castles tours.
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.
Recommendations for our tours are provided on a separate References Page .
Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our References Video .
Cost and Date Information
Complete printable itineraries in PDF format: