ARRIVE HANOVER AIRPORT - TRANSFER TO MAGDEBURG
A warm welcome awaits you upon arrival at the airport by your Tour Director followed by a comfortable coach transfer to the city of Magdeburg, founded by Emperor Otto I the Great during the 10th C. A brief orientation drive shows the mighty Dom and Gothic landmark from the 13th C. before we arrive at the hotel, your home for the upcoming 8 nights. This evening, join your Tour Director for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel. (D / OV)
BERLIN AND POTSDAM
A great sightseeing tour is awaiting you today as your morning route takes you first to Berlin to start with the city’s historic "Alexanderplatz" and travelling along the grand avenue of "Unter den Linden", lined with huge monuments dating back to the 17th and 19th C. A side trip will take you to Checkpoint Charlie, a former crossing point between East and West Berlin. Soon after, we will arrive at the Brandenburg Gate which has symbolized the division of the city up to 1991 when Berlin once again became the capital of reunited Germany. Admire its Victory Quadriga crowns the frieze before we stop at the former "Reichstag" which now houses Germany’s Parliment. A ramp running around the glass-dome resting on twelve columns to secure more daylight to its main chamber. - Then we continue along the park district "Tiergarten", arriving at the splendid boulevard "Kurfürstendamm" and pass the ruined tower of the Romanesque church "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächniskirche", a memorial place and reminder of the World War II destruction. - Time is yours now to browse or shop on this prestigious avenue with miles of boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, shopping malls, cafes and restaurants. Following this stop your coach will take you to nearby Potsdam to visit the famous Sanssouci Palace, built in 1745 during the reign of Frederic the Great. The inside tour of this former summer residence will show you a magnificent display of art and treasure collections and its ornated Concert Hall. You may also visit its attractive park designed by a famed German landscape artist and "Cecilienhof", where the Potsdam Agreement was signed in 1945. Later, return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B & D / OV)
AN EXCURSION TO THE LUENEBURG HEATH
Today’s excursion leads further north to Germany’s largest expanse of heathland and favourite recreation area in unspoiled natural surroundings. Especially during the flowering season in late summer the landscape brings a remarkable touch of life and colour when the heather is in flower and birches, pines and junipers are in leaf.
You will be visiting its ornithological park near Walsrode decorated with beautiful flowers and thousands of birds from all over the world are to be found here, such as stilt birds and a variety of web-footed, like flamingoes, cranes, ibis and many others.
In a large bird hall you can observe tropical birds flying around, a great collection of budgies and parrots are striking both for its sound and visual effect. -Following a leisurely break we continue with our drive and pass the area in which Montgomery’s caravan was situated at the end of the war and to which the German High Command came to sign the treaty of unconditional surrender. -Another highlight is waiting for us at the small town of Undeloh, an attractive village where houses shelter beneath huge oak trees and are kept apart from mechanical civilization. - Some time later, and a short drive from here takes you to the city of Lüneburg which is known for its brick houses, an impressive Town Hall, an assemblage of different buildings dating from the 13th to the 18th C. and a Gothic cloister and fountain which are outstanding features of the old 15th C. abbey and its conventional edifices. Time is yours again, before we return to our hotel in time for dinner. (B & D/OV)
WITTENBERG, DRESDEN AND MEISSEN
A full day of history awaits you this morning as we drive to Wittenberg, which recalls the exciting life and work of reformator Martin Luther. You will be visiting the church "Schlosskirche" and its famous gate where Luther nailed his 95 individual complaints challenging the pope in Rome during the early 16th C. - Time is yours before your coach takes you to Dresden, also called the "Florence" of Germany due to its magnificent architecture and works of art. See the city’s "Zwinger", a great Baroque ensemble with a grand esplanade which is surrounded by galleries, pavilions and arches of Romanesque style. View its opera house "Semperoper", built in Renaissance architecture dating back to the late 19th C. and the Baroque Cathedral decorated with statues of saints and apostles. Following is a visit to the famous Painting Gallery presenting a fine collection of the German Romantic and Biedermeier Schools, such as Caspar F. David and C. Spitzweg among many others. -Later, your excursion takes you along the river Elbe to Meissen, world known for its outstanding porcelain. The museum shows a splendid collection of timeless exhibits throughout the past centuries and observe a workshop demonstration before we return again to our hotel. (B & D/OV)
Another eventful excursion starts today with a drive to Schwerin, capital of the German province Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Today, the city’s riverside promenades and stunning castle attrachts tourists from near and far and convince many of them that Schwerin is the highlight of the Baltic region. An orientation tour will first show you the city’s Cathedral of Gothic style and the old Garden Square presenting a historic ensemble with its museum and theatre district. On a small island on the edge of the Lake Schwerin, mounted by 15 turrets and surrounded by well-kept gardens, you will be visiting the famous Castle Schwerin, built for the Mecklenburg royal family in 1857. Be impressed by this opulent fairy-tale castle, a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance styles and its inside with pristine antiques, silk tapestries, furniture, carved wood floors and ornately decorated plaster-inlaid walls. Free time is on your own before our coach takes us back to our hotel in time for freshen up and for dinner. (B & D/OV)
EXCURSION TO WEIMAR
This morning route on one of Germany’s autobahns takes you to the city of Weimar in the province of Thuringia which has always been the seat of literature and arts and was home of the poets Goethe, Schiller, Nietzsche and of composers Liszt, Bach and Gropius formed his "Bauhaus" school of art and architecture here about 85 years ago. It was Weimar too, that the first but short-lived Republic was founded in 1919 by the German National Assembly but did little to stem the rise of fascism. The city tour will show its market place which dates from the 14th C. and next to it the town’s largest cobblestone square "Theaterplatz". You will enjoy the main hall of the Central Library, an unique Renaissance building that was later transformed into a masterpiece of Rococo design. Also worth seeing is its 18th C. "Stadtkirche", a Baroque cathedral that shows Lucas Cranach´s famous Winged Altar. Another must is to to see the "Goethehaus" with an interior decor from oak-carved furniture to the pewter gaslights and wood cutlery where Goethe lived until his death in 1832.
On request and only a few miles out of Weimar, a side trip will show you Buchenwald, one of Nazi´s former death camps, today a reminder of World War II´s horror. - Later during the afternoon we shall return to our hotel for dinner and overnight. (B & D/OV)
HAMBURG AND HARBOR CRUISE
A comfortable morning drive leads north to Hamburg, one of the largest ports in Europe. Its status of a Hanseatic City State testifies its long time importance and has profited greatly from the Baltic and North Sea trade for many hundreds of years. Your city tour will take you along the Inner Alster river with a great view of its skyline. You will be visiting the city’s quaint market place, dominated by the splendid Town Hall with a huge clock tower and nearby to the landing stage "Jungfernstieg", a much visited area for its elegant shops and department stores. Here, spend some free time to do as you please. - After your lunch break you are invited to participate in an unforgettable harbour cruise to become more acquainted with its large dockyards, shipping buildings, activities taking place along the banks and enjoy watching the boats, container ships and cruise liners pass by. - Following this refreshing and most enjoyable sightseeing cruise your coach will take you to Hamburg´s colourful quarter St. Pauli, where dance halls and massage palours invite "lonely" visitors form all over the world. Under the guidance of your tour Director, ample time at leisure before we join again for dinner, this evening in Hamburg to allow more time for sightseeing and other activities. - Later this evening, return to your hotel for overnight. (B & D/OV)
A FREE DAY - ORGAN CONCERT - SPECIAL DINNER PARTY
This day is at your complete disposal. Your Tour Director is at hand to assist in your plans. - In the evening and as a highlight you will enjoy a private organ concert and church service before we join again for a farewell dinner at our hotel. This evening will be a special occasion with local music and entertainment. In addition and as a surprise there will be a raffle of valuable gifts with everyone winning. We wish the last evening to be the most enjoyable one of your great leisure tour! (B & D/OV)
After a last good German breakfast its time to say "Auf Wiedersehen" to the friendly hotel staff and to the wonderful Old World of Germany! Your motor coach driver and Tour Director takes you back to your arrival point, bid farewell now to you and are wishing you a most happy return! (B)