Germany

German Icons: Berlin, Dresden and Munich

Program No. 16877RJ
Dive deep into the culture of Germany as you explore three iconic cities, discovering politics in Berlin, architecture in Dresden and weisswurst, beer and a baroque palace in Munich.

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At a Glance

Join local experts to discover the shared history and unique identity behind Germany’s most important cultural metropolises — Berlin and Munich. While both cities boast rich history, traditions and arts, the cultures of each are strikingly different. Halfway between Berlin and Munich, visit the city of Dresden to marvel at the cultural treasures that lay hidden behind the Iron Curtain for a generation.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two hours/two miles at a time, sometimes twice per day. Some program days require walking up to five miles and standing for up to 2 hours. Some sights are only accessible by stairs and/or cobblestones. Public transportation and motor coaches used throughout the program.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Examine Berlin’s artistic treasures on the famous Museumsinsel and the German Bundestag, redesigned by Sir Norman Foster.
  • Discover Dresden with its newly restored Frauenkirche and the highly regarded Semperoper.
  • Explore the collection of Old Masters from the 14th to the 18th centuries at one of the oldest art galleries in the world – the Alte Pinakothek.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Janet Kempf
Janet Kempt studied art history, Spanish and history in Berlin, Madrid and Munich. She has worked in both the curatorial and pedagogical fields of museums since 2006. One of her favorite works of art is Donatello's “Putto with Tambourine” in the Bode Museum, which presents the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy in an extraordinary way.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Wolf Refardt
Wolf Refardt View biography
An expert on the military history of the 19th and 20th centuries, Wolf Refardt enjoys sharing his knowledge during his lectures and classes on the events of the Cold War. Wolf has published papers on themes that range from Sepulchral culture in enlightened absolutism to the development of public welfare in Brandenburg, and to the history of battles that took place during World War II.
Profile Image of Sabine Rosenkranz
Sabine Rosenkranz View biography
Sabine Rosenkranz was born in Dresden, East Germany, where she grew up to become an English teacher. In love with her beautiful home city, she decided she wanted to introduce it to visitors. Sabine became a licensed city excursion leader 25 years ago and has delighted in leading American visitors around Dresden since the German reunification of 1990. She particularly enjoys showing off the Saxon State Art Collections.
Profile Image of Ulrich Brückner
Ulrich Brückner View biography
Ulrich Brückner studied political science, German literature and history at the University of Würzburg and the Freie Universität Berlin. He specialized in European integration and his PhD thesis focused on the role of the European Commission in the policy-making of the EU. He has been a lecturer at the Freie Universität Berlin, Szczecin University and an active member of the European Union’s Jean Monnet Programme. His current fields of interests are institutional developments in the EU, external affairs and Eastward enlargement.
Profile Image of Janet Kempf
Janet Kempf View biography
Janet Kempt studied art history, Spanish and history in Berlin, Madrid and Munich. She has worked in both the curatorial and pedagogical fields of museums since 2006. One of her favorite works of art is Donatello's “Putto with Tambourine” in the Bode Museum, which presents the beginning of the Renaissance in Italy in an extraordinary way.
Profile Image of Markus Urban
Markus Urban View biography
Markus is a professional historian, author and lecturer specializing in European history of the 19th and 20th centuries. He studied modern history at the University of Erlangen in Germany and Kalamazoo College in Michigan. For his PhD thesis, he analyzed the function and perception of the Nazi rallies from 1933-41. He has published several books on Nuremberg, the latest being about the Nuremberg Trials.
Profile Image of Gabor Köhler
Gabor Köhler View biography
Gabor was born in Leipzig in 1970. After graduating from high school, he studied law in Hanover. About 20 years ago he founded his company with a partner. He has been self-employed as a group leader since this time. Gabor leads all exhibitions of the Dresden Residenzschloss, the Zwinger, the Opera, the city of Dresden etc. in German and English. He also accompanies groups around Dresden, such as Saxon Switzerland. His hobbies are playing the piano, astronomy and chess.
Profile Image of Vera Blumenthal
Vera Blumenthal View biography
Vera Blumenthal studied Egyptology and Classical Archeology at the Humboldt University of Berlin where she obtained her PhD degree with a thesis about the Egyptian Old Kingdom. For more than twenty years, she has worked as a freelancer for the Berlin State Museums, concentrating more and more on cultural education. She is an expert in the history and architecture of Museum Island at Berlin and one of the founders of the agency ARIADNE, specializing on organizing high quality group education in the museums of Berlin.
Profile Image of Astrid Neubert
Astrid Neubert View biography
As a licensed and official guide for Munich and Bavaria, Astrid also has a degree as an interpreter. She has been a travel leader for almost 20 years and believes that it is the most rewarding job to show the beautiful sights of her hometown to her guests. A passionate traveler herself, she loves to come back to Munich where her roots are and as a true “Münchener,” she enjoys telling her guests about how people live here and what their traditions and habits are.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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11 days
10 nights
18 meals
9 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Berlin, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Berlin
D
Intercity Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Luggage can be stored at the hotel if you arrive early. Remember to bring your nametag (sent previously).

Afternoon: Orientation: 4:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to applicable requirements and guidelines throughout the program. Please note that in Germany it is often expected to pay for using public restrooms with small change; we advise carry 50c pieces with you during field trips. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Berlin Past-Present-Future, City Highlights by Motorcoach
Berlin
B,L
Intercity Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach several times; short walks to and standing at field trip sites; cobblestones. The specific sites seen during our motorcoach field trip will depend on schedules and local conditions at the time of the program.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: Our Group Leader will continue the program introduction, and we’ll be joined by an expert local historian who will give a presentation on Berlin’s problematic past, its vibrant present, and potential future. We’ll then board a motorcoach with our expert for a field trip to see some of the city’s highlights including the Berlin Wall monument, Checkpoint Charlie, Gendarmenmarkt Square with the restored Konzerthaus and the French and German churches, Paris Square and the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer Square (the new and old), Memorial Church, and new architecture.

Lunch: At a pleasant spot during our field trip, we’ll stop and have packed lunches.

Afternoon: Our expert-led field trip continues aboard the motorcoach with stops at key sites.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Reichstag, Free Time, Performance
Berlin
B,D
Intercity Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Activity note: Walking up to 1.6 miles at different sites; standing, climbing flights of stairs. Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: In the morning, we will have an opportunity to venture behind the scenes of German politics and discuss current issues with a political expert. We will then take a walking field trip with the Group Leader this morning to one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the former Reichstag building that is now the seat of the Deutscher Bundestag, the German Federal Parliament. As we see and appreciate the magnificent architecture, we will also learn more from a staffer about Germany’s turbulent political past — and that mysterious 1933 fire! — before ascending to the recently rebuilt glass cupola. From here, you can enjoy spectacular views of the parliamentary and government district and Berlin’s sights.

Lunch: On your own to sample local fare. Why not try a typical German dish, the "currywurst?" Did you know the invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer, a true Berliner? Your Group Leader will be happy to point out the best place to give it a try!

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities at the end of the daily schedule. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: From the hotel, we’ll take the motorcoach to a restaurant.

Evening: We will enjoy a classical music concert.

DAY
5
Museum Island, Free Time
Berlin
B,L
Intercity Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; cobblestones, standing in the museum. Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and other free time activities according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: We will begin the morning with a lecture by a knowledgeable local expert who will join us in a conference room to provide an overview of Berlin's famous Museumsinsel — Museum Island — at the northern tip of Spree Island, where the settlement that became Berlin began. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Museum Island complex is home to five internationally acclaimed museums. After the lecture, we will go and see one of the exhibitions led by the local expert. The Altes Museum houses treasures from ancient Greece and Rome. The Alte Nationalgalerie, in a magnificent classical temple, has one of the largest collections of 19th century sculpture and paintings in Germany. The Bode Museum features sculptures, paintings, and a numismatic collection. The Neues Museum holds works of art from pre-history through Egyptian, including the world famous bust of Nefertiti. The Pergamon Museum is renowned for its extraordinary Babylonian, Greek and Roman antiquities.

Lunch: At a restaurant on Museum Island.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most. You are welcome to remain and continue exploring the treasures of Museum Island.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy local fare. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for transfer to Dresden in the morning.

DAY
6
Train to Dresden, Royal Palace & Green Vault
Dresden
B,L
Maritim Hotel & Internationales Congress Center Dresden

Activity note: Walking a short distance to the train station. Our luggage will be sent ahead from Berlin to Dresden while we take the train and will be waiting for us at the hotel when we arrive; bring only what you will need on the train. The trip from Berlin to Dresden is approximately 2 hours depending on connections. Standing in the museum, walking on cobblestones. Walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will take a short walk to the train station. Your luggage will be sent directly to the hotel in Dresden so you will only need to bring what you need for the train ride.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: Before checking in at our hotel, we will visit the Royal Palace with a local expert. After this, you can visit the "Historic Green Vault" – one of Europe's finest treasure collections, recently reopened after 68 years – on your own. It was amassed by Augustus the Strong, the 18th-century Prince of Saxony. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore on your own or just relax. We recommend visiting one or more of the city’s 30 museums, many of them world-class institutions. Please note that some museums are closed on Mondays.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Dresden City Exploration, Semperoper
Dresden
B,L
Maritim Hotel & Internationales Congress Center Dresden

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles and standing, approximately 2.5 hours; cobblestones, climbing stairs. Walking and other activities during independent exploration according to personal choice.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: A local expert will lead our walking field trip in Dresden that provides an overview of the Old Town and sites including the Frauenkirche — Church of Our Lady — the Zwinger, Brühl’s Terrasse, Procession of Princes, Dresden Castle, and the New Synagogue. The Frauenkirche has been one of Dresden’s spiritual landmarks since the 11th century. The splendid Baroque church that replaced the old Gothic edifice in the 18th century was one of the city’s foremost architectural landmarks until 1945. Dresden was virtually destroyed by the massive Allied bombing campaign against Nazi Germany in the final stages of World War II. The Frauenkirche was among the casualties, its ruins standing for decades as a symbol of war’s destruction. Sentiment slowly grew for a restoration of the great church as a memorial to peace. It was restored piece by piece and reconsecrated in 2005 before an audience of 60,000 people with millions watching on television.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: As a special highlight, we will head out on foot for an expert-led field trip to see the Semperoper near the Elbe River in the historic center of Dresden, another Dresden institution devastated by the 1945 bombing and later resurrected. It was long one of the finest opera houses in Europe, called “Semper” for its designer, Gottfried Semper, after opening in 1841. It took 40 years after World War II, but the building was completely reconstructed and reopened in 1985. It has continued to present some of the world’s greatest musical artists. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore on your own or just relax.

Dinner: On your own.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer to Munich in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Munich, City Exploration
Munich
B,D
Steigenberger Hotel München

Activity note: Our luggage will be sent ahead from Dresden to Munich while we take the train and will be waiting for us at the hotel when arrive; bring only what you will need on the train. The trip from Dresden to Munich is about 290 miles, approximately 5 hours including one change of trains. Getting on/off a bus; walking up to 3 miles, cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: With our Group Leader, we will take a train from Dresden to Munich.

Lunch: On your own either aboard the train – which has restaurant cars – or after arrival in Munich.

Afternoon: When we arrive at the hotel for check-in, collect your luggage and take some time to freshen up and relax before our next field trip. We’ll then meet a local expert for a walking field trip of Munich. Highlights include the Marienplatz, English Garden, Cathedral of our Blessed Lady, and Viktualienmarkt.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Lecture, Nymphenburg Palace, Brewery Visit
Munich
B,D
Steigenberger Hotel München

Activity note: Walking up to 5 miles, extensive standing in the palace and gardens, taking of public transport to brewery.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room.

Morning: We will gather in a conference room to hear a lecture about Munich and Bavaria. After this we’ll board the tram for an expert-led field trip to another special highlight, the Nymphenburg Palace in the western part of Munich. Begun in 1664, it was for many years the principal summer residence of Bavaria’s rulers. The palace is considered a unique synthesis of artistic achievement in baroque architecture and garden design. It is one of the largest palaces in Europe; the Italianate façade alone is more than 2,000 feet long. The complex of palace and landscaped garden park is beloved by Munich’s residents and visitors alike.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy local fare. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will first have some leisure time to explore on your own. Afterwards, we will transfer by public transportation to a local brewery where we will enjoy a short introduction about the art of brewing, plus — of course! — a tasting.

Dinner: At the brewery.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Art District, Pinakothek Museum, Free Time
Munich
B,D
Steigenberger Hotel München

Activity note: Getting on/off a tram. Walking up to 2 miles inside the museum.

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: This morning we'll board the tram for a field trip to Munich's art district. The Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek (Old and New Picture Galleries) are two of the important galleries in the world. Led by an expert, we’ll explore the artistic treasures of the “old” Pinakothek, which is indeed one of the world’s oldest galleries and was once the largest. Its magnificent collection consists of Old Masters from the 14th to the 18th centuries.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: Free time.

Dinner: At a local restaurant. Share favorite experiences and enjoy camaraderie with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
11
Program Concludes
Munich
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers.

Breakfast: At the hotel. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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