Day 1: U.S.
Depart on your overnight flight to Germany.
Day 2: Berlin
You will arrive at Berlin’s Tegel Airport where you will be greeted by your tour representative. As you make your way to the hotel, you will be introduced to Germany’s capital city. After you are settled into the hotel, you will have the afternoon to explore at your leisure. Take in some of Berlin’s beautiful scenery & architecture, like Charottenburg Palace or Oberbaum Bridge. You may also want to stroll down Kurfürstendamm, one of Berlin’s infamous retail boulevards with luxury & designer stores & even car show rooms. Stop & enjoy one of this bustling avenue’s outdoor cafes. This evening, you will have dinner & your overnight in Berlin.
Day 3: Berlin
After breakfast, you will have the full-day to experience Berlin. Your day’s sightseeing tour will highlight some of Berlin’s historic & most well-known attractions. Learn about Berlin as a former divided city as you view the Brandenburg Gate, where citizens literally tore down the Berlin wall in 1989. Visit the Soviet Victory Monument & Checkpoint Charlie, the crossing point from West to East Berlin. You will also visit some of Berlin’s cultural gems, like the Pergamom Museum & Alexanderplatz, one of Berlin’s city centers. Among today’s other stops are the Berlin Cathedral, the Reichstag, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church & the Bonhoeffer House. The Bonhoeffer house was the residence of Dietrich Bonhoeffer & family, a German Lutheran pastor known for his outspoken position against the Nazi regime. Your dinner & overnight will be in Berlin.
Day 4: Wittenberg - Dresden
Today you will head east to the Germany city of Wittenberg, where Martin Luther lived much of his academic & monastic life. Visit the Luther House where Luther converted from monk to preacher. The building, which now serves as a museum, was also the family home of the Luthers. You will also stop by the Melanchthon House, home to Philipp Melanchthon, one of Luther’s collaborators & a spiritual leader of the reformation. After seeing where they lived, you will then pay a visit to where these religious pioneers were laid to rest, the Castle Church. Next, into the town church where you will see an altar designed by Lucas Cranach, a Renaissance artist & friend to Luther. Following your tour of Wittenberg, you will continue onto Dresden for a tour. You will tour the Zwinger, a beautiful Rococo castle complex. Visit Dresden’s Frauenkirche, an iconic Lutheran church, recognizable for its Protestant religious architecture. You will enjoy dinner & your overnight in Dresden.
Day 5: Dresden - Leipzig - Eisleben - Erfurt
After breakfast, you will depart for Leipzig to visit St. Nicholas Church. The church is one of Leipzig’s most famous & it rose to national significance for its role in the Monday Demonstrations in 1989, a series of nonviolent demonstrations against the communist regime. The church was a haven for those East German protesters who had become disillusioned with their government & were demanding change. En route to Eisleben, you will stop by neighboring, Lutzen to experience more German history. It is in Lutzen that Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus defeated Albrecht von Wallenstein in the Battle of Lutzen in 1632, a part of the 30-years war. From Lutzen, you continue onto Eisleben, the birthplace of Martin Luther. In Eiselben, you will be able to visit St. Peters Church, where Luther was baptized. You will then head to Erfurt for your dinner & overnight.
Day 6: Erfurt - Eisenach
After breakfast you will have the opportunity to tour Erfurt. You will first visit St. Sens Church, also known as Erfurt Cathedral where Luther participated in his first Mass & was later ordained. You will then tour the University of Erfurt. It was here that Luther earned both a bachelor’s & Master’s degree & also where he discovered his passion for Bible study & religion. After having earned his Master’s, Luther entered the Augustinian Monastery as a member of the Augustinian Order of Hermit. You will have the chance to explore this 13th century monastery. While in Erfurt, everyone must take the time to stop by the Tradesman’s Bridge, a bridge which is famously known for having been built over by houses which are still inhabited. From Erfurt, you will travel to Eisenach where you will visit the houses of both Luther & the famous composer, Johann Sebastian Bach. See St. George’s Church where Bach was baptized as well as St. George’s Latin School, Luther’s preparatory school prior to University of Erfurt. One of the highlights of your time in Eisebach will be a visit to Wartburg Castle. The Castle, which is a UNESCO world heritage site, is also where Luther translated the New Testament from Greek to German. You will enjoy dinner & your overnight in Eisenach.
Day 7: Coburg - Nuremberg - Rothenburg
Today you will travel to Coburg, a Bavarian town settled on the Itz River. Luther stayed in Coburg while the Augsburg Imperial Diet was in session. The Diet was the administrative assembly of the Imperial States in the Holy Roman Empire. During the Diet of Augsburg in 1953, the Augsburg Confession, one of the most significant documents of the Lutheran Reformation was present by German rulers. The confession set forth the principle beliefs of Lutherans. On your way to Rothenburg, you will stop in Nuremburg for a visit to Albert Dürer’s house, known for his woodcuts some of which depicted religious scenes believed to be sympathetic to the Protestant movement. Rothernburg will be your next stop for tonight’s dinner & overnight.
Day 8: Rothenburg - Augsburg - Munich
Following breakfast you will tour the Bavarian town of Rothenburg. Here you will visit St. Jacob’s Church, which is well known for its high altar, also known as the Twelve Apostles Altar. The church is also home to the wood carving depiction of the Last Supper. While in Rothenburg you will also visit some of the town’s more popular sites like the Town Hall & the Christmas Store. From Rothenburg, go on to Augsburg, a city in south west Bavaria. The Augsburg Confession is a namesake of the city, the place in which the document was originally professed. St. Anne’s Church is next on today’s tour of Augsburg. Luther stayed at the church while in Augsburg to meet with Cardinal Cajetan, the papal legate, who advocated for Luther’s submission to the Catholic Church & the Pope. Shortly after, St. Anne’s Church converted to Lutheranism. That afternoon, you will continue to Munich for dinner at Hofbrauhaus, one of Munich’s famous & historic breweries. Here you will enjoy traditional German fare, refreshments & entertainment. Your overnight is in Munich.
Day 9: Munich - Oberammergau
Following breakfast, you will tour Bavaria. First, visit iconic castle of “Mad” King Ludwig, Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle, which was originally built as a refuge for King Ludwig, has since become the inspiration for fairytale castles as well as featured in several movies. One of today’s stops will be in the town of Oberammergau. Oberammergau is perhaps best known for its passion plays. During the 17th century, the people of Oberammergau made a vow with God that if He could spare them from the Bubonic Plague, they people would pay tribute through performing a passion play, a depiction of Christ’s crucifixion, every 10 years. To this day, every decade the people of Oberammergau perform the passion play just as they promised those centuries ago. Upon your return to Munich, you will have even more opportunity to explore this world-renowned German town. See the old Gothic town hall, stroll through the Marienplatz, Munich’s city square. Walk under Karlstor, one of the four remaining city gates left from the period of medieval fortification. Then, visit Frauenkirche, or Our Lady’s Cathedral, one of the city’s most recognizable symbols & the seat of the Archbishop of Munich & Freising.
Day 10: Heidelberg - Worms - Mainz
Following breakfast, you will depart for Heidelberg. Among the many sites you will get to see in this medieval town are the Heidelberg Castle, which boasts a blend of architectural styles from Gothic to Renaissance, & the famous stone bridge. You will also visit The Church of the Holy Spirit located in old downtown’s marketplace. The church boasts a beautiful steeple which looks over the township. Its unique Gothic architecture took over one hundred & fifty years to build. From Heidelberg, you will head to Worms where Luther took his last stand before the Diet of Worms in 1521, a hearing of the imperial diet which declared Luther as a heretic. It is also here that Luther was tried for heresy. While in Worms, visit the Luther Monument & Lutheran Church, both of which commemorate the life & work of Luther as well as Worms’s role in the Reformation. That evening you will travel onto Mainz-Rudesheim for your dinner & overnight.
Day 11: Mainz - Rudesheim
After breakfast, you will have the chance to explore Mainz with a tour dedicated to Mainz’s most famous & influential son, Johannes Gutenberg. Gutenberg is heralded as the publisher who brought printing to Europe. At the Gutenberg museum, you will see one of only 47 existing copies of the Gutenberg Bible, the first printed version of the bible and aesthetic inspiration for future prints. While in Mainz, enjoy views of the Rhine River & marvel at some of the region’s terrific Romanesque Cathedrals, like the Mainz Cathedral. That afternoon, you will board your cruise of the Rhine River. Sail past the Lorelei, a rock towering over the waterline & one of the Rhine gorge’s most famous features. On your journey you’ll also view castles, barges & lots of the river’s beautiful shore line. Upon return from the cruise, you will be treated to a special farewell dinner in Mainz.
Day 12: U.S.
Departure flight home.