Day 1: In Transit
Depart for Berlin, Germany.
Day 2: Berlin
Upon arrival, transfer to the Hilton Berlin. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception and Dinner.
Day 3: Berlin
Educational Focus: A Tale of Two Cities. When the infamous Berlin Wall came down in 1990, East and West Berlin were reunified after decades of separation. Long after the wall’s demise, vestiges of daily life in the eastern sector remain. Learn about East Berlin today and how the two cities coexist as one.
Excursion: Berlin. See the highlights of the city, including the Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz, Federal Chancellery, Under den Linden, and more. Drive on Kurfurstendamm, the leafy boulevard lined with exclusive shops, restaurants, and cafes. Cruise the Spree River to the Tiergarten, passing by the Reichstag and Berliner Dom. See the Museuminsel, the river island that is home to Berlin’s most famous world-class museums.
Local Flavor: Enjoy a taste of German cuisine for lunch at a Berlin restaurant.
Independent Exploration: Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring Berlin on your own.
Day 4: Berlin
Independent Exploration. Today, create your own Berlin experience. You can return to Kurfurstendamm for a stroll and shopping or browse the galleries of the five world-class museums on the Museuminsel, an island in the Spree River.
Elective Excursion: Potsdam. Visit famed Ceclienhof Palace, the residence of the Prussian kings and a historic country house where Truman, Churchill, and Stalin met during the Potsdam Conference to settle the terms for the end of World War II. Pass by Sanssouci Park, the former summer residence of Frederick the Great, and Neues Palais, a magnificent baroque Prussian castle, both part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue to the Dutch Quarter for a delicious lunch.
Day 5: Berlin/Leipzig
Educational Focus: Luther and the Reformation. Delve into the story of Martin Luther, the monk whose ideas transformed Christianity in Europe and beyond.
Depart for Leipzig. Check in to the Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof.
Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch at a restaurant in Leipzig.
Excursion: Leipzig and Luther. Take a walking tour of this culturally rich city, now known as the “new Berlin” for the young creative class who make Leipzig their home. Here, in his famous debates with Catholic theologian Johann Eck, Luther revealed his beliefs, setting in motion his excommunication. Visit St. Thomas Church, where Luther preached and, later, where Johann Sebastian Bach was music director.
Cultural Event: The St. Thomas Boys Choir. Enjoy a stirring performance of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, founded 800 years ago.
Day 6: Wittenberg
Excursion: Luther’s Wittenberg. In this charming town filled with pastel-colored 16th- and 17th-century houses, visit the Schlosskirche, where Luther unveiled his 95 Theses. See the University of Wittenberg, where he taught. Visit Luther’s home, now a museum devoted to his life.
Local Flavor: Enjoy lunch in Wittenberg.
Day 7: Eisenach/Erfurt
Excursion: Luther in Eisenach and Erfurt. In Eisenach, visit Wartburg Castle. At this sprawling showcase of medieval architecture and 15th-century half-timbered buildings, the exiled Luther translated the New Testament into German. Next, visit the Bach Museum in this city of the composer’s birth. Continue to Erfurt to visit St. Mary’s Cathedral, where Luther was ordained, as well as the city’s Town Hall and Erfurt’s pretty main square lined with Renaissance buildings and sidewalk cafes.
Local Flavor: Savor a delicious German lunch in Eisenach.
Day 8: Meissen/Dresden
Excursion: Meissen Porcelain. Visit Messen, a 1,000-year-old town on the Elbe River. It became famous in the 18th century as a producer of high-quality porcelain. Tour the factory and museum to learn about the porcelain-making process.
Arrive in Dresden and check in to The Westin Bellevue.
Local Flavor: Enjoy dinner tonight in Dresden.
Day 9: Dresden
Educational Focus: Germany Today. Learn about issues and events shaping modern Germany.
Excursion: Dresden. Severely damaged by bombing in World War II, Dresden has been restored to its former splendor. See the rococo Zwinger, Taschenbergpalais, Royal Catholic Cathedral, and much more. Visit the Old Masters Gallery, whose collections showcase paintings by Renaissance and baroque artists including Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, Vermeer, and others.
Independent Exploration: Enjoy a free afternoon in Dresden. Walk along the Elbe and take in the city’s grand architecture. Explore the Altstadt, the old town, or search for momentos along Prager Strasse, the city’s main shopping street.
Day 10: Elbe River/Prague
Excursion: Elbe River Cruise. Bask in the views of romantic riverside villages and castles as you cruise the Elbe from Pillnitz to Konigstein through the Saxon Alps. Enjoy lunch on board.
After the cruise, continue to Prague, Czech Republic. Upon arrival, check in to the Hotel Cosmopolitan Prague.
Day 11: Prague
Excursion: Prague. See the Castle Square; the Chapel of the Holy Cross; and the Prague Castle Gallery. Visit the Royal Palace and St. Vitus Cathedral. Walk along the Golden Lane, then continue to Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square.
Independent Exploration: Enjoy a free afternoon discovering Prague’s quirky juxtapositions of the historic and modern.
This evening, join your fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception and Dinner.
Day 12: In Transit
Transfer to the airport for the return flight to your gateway city.