19454
Germany
The Best of Germany: Grand Cities, Castles and the Romantic Rhine
From grand cathedrals to ancient castles, from Bavarian villages to a historic summer palace, come explore the monuments and culture of Germany on this comprehensive learning adventure.
Rating (4.8)
Program No. 19454RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
4,779
Flights start at
1,025
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17 days
16 nights
38 meals
15 B 13 L 10 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
Arrive Berlin, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Berlin
D
Maritim proArte

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Early arrivals may leave their luggage with the hotel concierge until rooms are ready.

Afternoon: After hotel arrival and check in, take some time to freshen up and relax before our Orientation session. The time and location will be posted. If you arrive early, take a walk around the neighborhood or have a light lunch at one of the many restaurants nearby. Orientation: 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. All transfers and transportation will be provided via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. When we are dining out at local restaurants, we’ll have plated, 2-course meals with water included; other beverages available for purchase. Please note that in Germany it is expected to pay for using public restrooms with small change; we advise carrying 50c pieces with you during field trips. Estimated times for travel and transfers depend on traffic and local conditions at the time of the program. We have set aside some free time in the schedule for your personal independent exploration. Please note that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, enjoy a welcome dinner featuring a starter, main course of meat, fish, or vegetarian, and dessert, plus water and a welcome drink; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
3
German Language Class, Downtown Coach
Berlin
B,L
Maritim proArte

Activity note: Getting on/off 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, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as breakfast meats, egg dishes, fruit, cheese, yogurt, bread, croissants, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Our Group Leader will continue the program introduction, and we’ll be joined by a language teacher who will give an introduction to German language and culture. We’ll then board a motorcoach with another 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 with sandwich, yoghurt, fruit, and beverage.

Afternoon: Continue to explore Berlin aboard the motorcoach, visiting and learning more about some of the city’s 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 to explore Berlin on your own.

DAY
4
German Parliament (Bundestag), Politics
Berlin
B,L
Maritim proArte

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles at different sites; standing, climbing flights of stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will begin the morning with a lecture and political discussion round led by a political expert. Afterwards we will take a walking field trip from the hotel 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 explore the building, we will see and appreciate the magnificent architecture, and also learn more 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. We’ll board a motorcoach for a short ride to museum island, where we will have lunch followed by free time.

Lunch: At a restaurant on museum island.

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. We recommend visiting famous Museum Island, a UNESCO listed World Heritage site. Its five museums include exhibitions spanning the whole of Western Civilization from pre-historic to the 19th Century. Please note: At the Pergamon Museum, the hall containing the Pergamon Altar, the North Wing, and gallery of Hellenistic art are closed for renovations. The South Wing, featuring the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way from Babylon, and Museum of Islamic Art remain open.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Potsdam, Sanssouci Palace, Performance
Berlin
B,L,D
Maritim proArte

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach several times; walking up to 2 miles, standing around palace and gardens.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our morning field trip via motorcoach takes us to Potsdam and the amazing Sanssouci Palace that has been called the “Prussian Versailles” for its magnificent architecture, rich decoration, beautifully landscaped gardens, and lavish waterworks. An expert will lead our exploration of this splendid complex that served as Frederick the Great’s summer residence and relaxing get-way from the protocol of his royal court in Berlin. Sanssouci means without concern, i.e., carefree, in French. It was built from 1745-47 above a terraced vineyard following the King's own ideas and sketches. The palace is considered a major work of Rococo architecture in Germany.

Lunch: At a restaurant in the Dutch quarter of Potsdam.

Afternoon: Free Time. See and do what interests you most in Potsdam. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. We’ll return to Berlin with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: We will ride to a local restaurant near Charlottenburg Palace. Enjoy a plated, 2-course meal plus water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: From the restaurant, we will walk to Charlottenburg Palace where we will enjoy a performance of 17th and 18th century classics. The Berlin Residence Orchestra interprets the works from composers such as Bach, Handel, and Mozart with a special flair for the era which makes for an unforgettable cultural experience. This large, baroque palace is the only surviving royal residence in Berlin of the Hohenzollern family – a dynasty that controlled much of central Europe until the World Wars of the 20th century. The largest palace in Berlin constructed at the turn of the 18th century, the intricate palace includes a belvedere, a mausoleum, a theater, and a pavilion. We will return to the hotel at the end of the performance.

DAY
6
To Dresden, Free Time
Dresden
B,L,D
NH Dresden Altmarkt

Activity note: Transfer from Berlin to Dresden is about 120 miles (193 km), approximately 2 hours depending on traffic. Getting on/off a motorcoach, walking on cobblestone streets.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will begin the transfer to Dresden, arriving at our hotel for lunch. Once a small fishing village, it slowly developed and became the capital of the Margrave of Meissen in the 13th century. As families tussled for power and divided from within, Dresden became the seat of the Albertine court and gained electoral privileges 56 years later in 1547 following a regional war. As the city continued to develop, its breathtaking architecture and artistic heritage earned Dresden much praise, including from Wolfgang von Goethe, who visited the city no less than four times.

Lunch: At the hotel, enjoy a 2-course plated meal with water provided; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Hotel check-in follows lunch. The remainder 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. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Dresden City Exploration, Frauenkirche, Semperoper
Dresden
B,L,D
NH Dresden Altmarkt

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, and standing, about 2.5 hours; cobblestones, climbing stairs.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring a wide choice of items, plus coffee, tea, water.

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 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 have 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.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 2-course plated meal with water provided; other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
8
Nuremberg, Mödlareuth (Little Berlin), Imperial Castle
Nuremberg
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel Nürnberg

Activity note: Transfer to Nuremberg is about 200 miles (315 km), approximately 4.5 hours depending on traffic. Steep walk to Imperial Castle, cobblestones during city exploration; participants may take a taxi at an additional cost if the walk to too steep.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will transfer to Nuremberg by motor coach. On the way we will stop at the village of Mödlareuth - also known as "little Berlin". Mödlareuth is a village of 50 inhabitants which was divided right in the middle by the wall during the Cold War. Until today parts of the wall and border fortifications have been kept as a museum where you will have some time to explore on your own. Afterwards we will continue our journey to Nuremberg.

Lunch: At a local restaurant near the Nuremberg Imperial Castle, enjoy a 2-course plated meal with water provided; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After lunch we will meet a local expert who will take us on an exploration of Nuremberg's old town including an outside visit of the Imperial Castle, one of the greatest medieval monuments in Europe. The exact date of its original construction in the 11th Century is unknown but it was expanded beginning in 1140 and continued to grow during the following centuries. It served as the royal residence of the Holy Roman Empire for nearly 500 years and became the symbol of Nuremberg until it was nearly destroyed in World War II; the castle has been since restored to its former glory as one of the most formidable medieval fortresses in Europe. We’ll also see the St. Sebaldus Church, the Church of Our Lady, the exterior of the Albrech Dürer House, the main market square, and the beautiful 14th century fountain. After the city walk enjoy some leisure time to check-in relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
To Munich, Nuremberg Trials, Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Munich
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel München

Activity note: Transfer to Munich is about 98 miles (157 km), approximately 2.5 hours depending on traffic.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we’ll ride to the Memorium of the Nuremberg Trials for our next field trip in the company of a local expert. Held from 1945 to 1949, the Nuremberg Trials prosecuted German war criminals, setting precedent for dealing with crimes against humanity going forward. Afterwards we will continue by motor coach for a guided outside visit of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.

Lunch: At a local restaurants at the lake of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.

Afternoon: We will depart Nuremberg by motorcoach and transfer to Munich. After arriving in Munich we will check-in and have some leisure time before dinner.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Munich & Bavaria Overview, City Field Trip, Andechs Abbey
Munich
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel München

Activity note: Getting on/off the bus; walking up to 1 mile, cobblestone streets, extensive standing.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will be joined by a local expert for a presentation on the historical development and sociocultural characteristics of Munich and Bavaria. Led by our expert, we’ll then depart on foot for an exploration of the city. One of the highlights is the Marienplatz, named for a golden statue of the Virgin Mary, which also features the world’s most famous glockenspiel with life-size figures.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll board a motor coach and ride southwest of Munich to the renowned pilgrimage Andechs Abbey—oldest in Bavaria—sits atop the “heilige Berg” (holy mountain) high above Lake Ammer. A Benedictine monastery since 1455, the monks have brewed beer in the traditional Benedictine style and preserves the monastic style. This brewery annually produces more than 2.5 million gallons of premium beers. We will begin our field trip with an expert led exploration of the brewery, followed by the church. Atop of the holy mountain, one of the church’s defining visual feature is “flamboyant Baroque” architecture.

Dinner: At the restaurant in the Andechs Abbey.

Evening: Returning to Munich by motor coach.

DAY
11
Nymphenburg Palace, Free Time
Munich
B,L
Maritim Hotel München

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile through the palace and gardens; stairs, uneven surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our field trip this morning is to another special highlight of our program, Nymphenburg Palace in the western part of Munich, where we will explore with a local expert. 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 (700 meters) long. The complex of palace and landscaped garden park is beloved by Munich’s residents and visitors alike.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the palace.

Afternoon: Free Time. We will return to downtown Munich for the remainder of the afternoon on your own to see and do what interests you most.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Art District, Pinakothek Museums
Munich
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel München

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile; extensive standing in the museum.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our next field trip brings us to Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek (Old and New Picture Galleries), two of the important galleries in the world that we will explore with our expert. The “old” Pinakothek 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. The so-called “new” Pinakothek focuses on European paintings from the 18th to 19th centuries, many collected by King Ludwig I.

Lunch: At a restaurant near the museum.

Afternoon: Free Time. It is impossible to see everything in the Pinakothek galleries, so you might like to spend some free time here. Alternatively, go visit the Nazi Documentation Center or return to the hotel and relax.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

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

DAY
13
Nördlingen, Heidelberg University
Heidelberg
B
Hotel Holländer Hof

Activity note: Transfer to Heidelberg is about 200 miles (342 km), approximately 4.5 hours depending on traffic. Walking and standing on cobblestone sidewalks, stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to Heidelberg. Late in the morning, we will stop in Nördlingen to admire the medieval city wall and enjoy some leisure time.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy local fare.

Afternoon: Explore Nördlingen on your own for an opportunity to stretch your legs before we continue our transfer to Heidelberg, where a local expert will introduce us to the historic city and the university. Archaeological studies have found that the earliest evidence of human life near here (Homo Heidelbergensis) was more than 550,000 years ago! Much later, it was settled by Celts, then Romans, then Germanic tribes. The city’s name first appeared in 1196, and the university, the oldest in Germany, was founded in 1386. Led by an expert, we will stroll through venerable Heidelberg University that, like the city, has had its ups and downs over the centuries and today is once again an august temple of learning. We will visit the stately Alte Aula (Old Hall); the Karzer, a place of detention and incarceration for unruly students; the University Library with more than 90,000 academic texts and more than 3,000 on-line databases; and St. Peter's Church where many former professors and other prominent Heidelbergians are buried.

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

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Historic Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle
Heidelberg
B,L
Hotel Holländer Hof

Activity note: Walking on cobblestone sidewalks, stairs, extensive standing.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a walking field trip into the Old Town. Heavily damaged by wars in the 17th century, Heidelberg was reconstructed in the 18th century and still reflects its baroque splendor, miraculously little harmed during two world wards. The rich and storied past lives on in its vibrant present. It has been designated a UNESCO City of Literature in recognition of its heritage in education and the literary arts. Highlights include the Church of the Holy Spirit and the old market square.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: From 13th century fort to international symbol of German Romanticism, the remains of Heidelberg Castle look out majestically over the Old Town. It was once one of Europe’s grandest palaces with gardens regarded as a masterpiece, but both suffered major damage due to wars and natural disasters. Efforts at the beginning of the 20th century saved it from further deterioration, and some of the interior rooms have been preserved. We will explore the grounds and remaining interiors with an expert and imagine what once was.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for our transfer in the morning.

DAY
15
To Frankfurt, Explore Downtown, German Cooking Class
Frankfurt
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel Darmstadt

Activity note: Transfer to Frankfurt is about 60 miles (100 km), approximately 1.5 hours depending on traffic.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to Frankfurt where we will embark on an expert-led walking field trip throughout the city. A center of industry, commerce, and culture, Frankfurt grew in prominence during the Holy Roman Empire and is currently the home of the European Central Bank. Following the end of WWII, Frankfurt was reconstructed in a variety of architectural styles changing the face of the city, and became Germany’s unrivaled financial center with Berlin divided among the Allies. Our field trip concludes at a local cooking school.

Lunch: At a local cooking school with a chef, we will prepare and eat a typical German dish.

Afternoon: Free Time. We depart the cooking school for our ride to the hotel, located just outside of Frankfurt, where we will have time on our own to see and do what interests you most.

Dinner: At the hotel, enjoy a 2-course plated meal with water provided; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Bacharach, Rhine River-Loreley Valley
Frankfurt
B,L,D
Maritim Hotel Darmstadt

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles; cobblestone sidewalks in Bacharach. Bring a warm jacket for the boat trip.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we will enjoy the beautiful landscapes of the Rhine Valley starting in the morning with a leisurely boat trip from Bingen to Bacharach where we will disembark in time for lunch. Of all the picturesque towns and villages on the Rhine River, this is one of the most charming, and retains much of its medieval atmosphere. One of the landmarks is the Wernerkapelle ruins, where a plaque displays a prayer by Pope John XXIII for tolerance and understanding.

Lunch: At a vineyard in Bacharach, our lunch will include a wine tasting.

Afternoon: We’ll take a walk through the vineyards and village of Bacharach with a local expert, and then embark on a Rhine River cruise through the Loreley Valley from Bacharach to Boppard. Afterwards we will return to our hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: We will have our farewell dinner at the hotel. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
17
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m. See the “Travel Information” section regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation From Last Location.”

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. 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. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!