7 days - 6 nights - from € 609 p.p. Cities of Literary Genius
   

 

 

 

 

 

Germany is known around the world as a land of writers, poets and philosophers who have shaped and furthered the progress of this country for centuries. What environment could be more inspiring to writers and poets than the romantic cities of the Historic Highlights of Germany? They offer you opportunities galore to follow in the footsteps of the great masters and provide travelers with a "Who's Who" of world literature while exploring other fascinating sites and attractions.

 
Day 1 - Wiesbaden

Arrive at Frankfurt International Airport (or at Wiesbaden Main Train Station) to start your tour. Taxi transfer to your hotel in the Historic Highlights City of Wiesbaden, located in the City Center.
The town received its descriptive name, literally "bathing in the fields," from the Franconians in 829. Long before this group, though, the thermal waters were discovered by the Romans. Nearly 2000 years ago, Roman soldiers began to bathe in the thermal water that bubbled up through the ground. They found these steaming pools had healing effects on them, and the ancient attraction still remains. Wiesbaden's wealthy spa, resort and casino owners can thank those stinky Roman soldiers and their inadvertent discovery while washing up in the fields for their continued popularity and profitability today. It began to develop as a resort town in the early nineteenth century, and the European aristocracy came in droves. The presence, prestige and influence of the cultural elite helped develop an extensive calendar of cultural events (many surviving to this day) and the magnificent structures built to house them. Casinos became popular in Wiesbaden to entertain the royalty, nobility and intellectual elite between dips in the baths and it quickly became one of the leading spa destinations in Europe. The Heidenmauer (Heathens' Wall) is the city's oldest structure, dating from Roman times, and is found next to the Römertor (Roman Gateway). It was part of a Roman stronghold dating back to 364-375 A.D. built to ward off attacks from the Germanic tribes. Only fragments of the wall remain today. The Römertor was built in 1902 with a covered wooden bridge. In the Römisches Freilichtmuseum (Roman Open-Air Museum) next to the Römertor, there are copies of stone tablets found in Wiesbaden from the Roman era. In the Museum Wiesbaden, an extensively renovated art collection and exhibit focuses on the "Roman Era and the Early Middle Ages." The Altstadt (Old City), once encircled by a city wall, lends itself to strolls through its narrow, twisting alleys lined with houses dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Perhaps the most impressive area is the district around the "new" Kurhaus, the massive and magnificent Wilhelminian structure that opened in 1907. The neoclassical structure is awe-inspiring with its massive dome and rich adornments, also housing the ornate Spielbank. Try your luck at the famed casino, where roulette, blackjack and poker are the primary games of choice, and visitors can tour or even take lessons. The adjacent Kurhaus Colonnade features a less formal gambling setting with 130 slot machines. The neighboring Hessisches Staatstheater (Hessian State Theater) was built between 1892-1894 by Fellner and Helmer, two Viennese architects. The magnificent and majestic foyer in Rococo style was added in 1902. The theater auditorium in the "Grosses Haus" is a revival of the Baroque style and has 1041 seats. And, of course, you can't leave Wiesbaden without experiencing the thermal baths as the Romans did. The Kaiser- Friedrich-Therme, erected in 1913, re-opened to the public in 1999 after extensive restorations. This historic thermal bath is heated by the Adlerquelle, a hot spring with a temperature of 66°C. It offers an Irish-Roman Bath, a fascinating contemporary sauna landscape, and a range of therapies using natural methods of treatment.

 
Day 2 - Day trip to Rüdesheim, Sankt Goarshausen (near Loreley) & Koblenz

Today a train takes you from Wiesbaden to Rüdesheim, gate to the Mittelrheintal, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stunning valley measures around 65 kilometres in length, here the majestic Rhine Rivers breaches the Rheinische Schiefergebirge (schistose mountain). Along the Mittelrheintal are so many historic monuments and cultural landmarks as just about no where else in Europe. The vineyards towering high above the rapidly floating river are a sight to see. The train will then take you to the idyllic "wine- town" Sankt Goarshausen, which lies at the foot of the Loreley. Explore the mediaeval part of the picturesque Old Town, where two of the towns towers as well as parts of the original wall protecting the town are preserved.
After a short train ride you will reach the Historic Highlights City of Koblenz. Between the picturesque landscape of the Rhine and Mosel and surrounded by four low mountain ranges, is this more than 2000-year-old town known as the "Gateway to the Romantic Rhine," the ideal starting point into the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Koblenz's abundance of cultural monuments and historical buildings, the cozy little lanes and alleyways, and the relaxed and happy atmosphere of its squares and river promenades make Koblenz a charming town where its guests feel right at home. And it's a perfect base for exploration of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers that border the city. Start by exploring the narrow alleys and vibrant plazas of the Altstadt (Old Town), situated in the corner of town bordered by the Mosel to the north and Rhine to the east. A scenic walk that gives a sense of the breadth of this charming quarter is along the Mosel and Rhine promenades.
Stroll across the Balduin Bridge, first builtacross the Mosel starting in 1342. The view back to the Altstadt offers a unique view with the turretsof the Old Castle and the two pointed steeples of St. Florin's Church. The two rivers play a major role in the German mythos. The Rhine symbolizes strength and pride, while the Mosel is more nurturing. Just a short stroll upstream along the Rhine promenade, sculpted figures of "Father Rhine and Mother Mosel" lie caressing and affectionate on a bed of grapes. Behind them in stately counterpoint stands the sprawling neo-classical Elector's Palace, built in the late 1700s (closed to the public). Make your way to the Deutsches Eck - or German Corner - where the Rhine and Mosel meet. It's here that a giant copper statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I on horseback was erected in 1897, close to the spot where the Order of German Knights had its headquarters as early as 1216. The statue was destroyed by bombs in 1944. From 1953, the bare pedestal was known as the "Memorial to German Unity." After reunification, a copy of the statue was replaced in 1993. Today, flags of all German states wave proudly over the two rivers. Standing at the tip of the Corner, you can watch the sparkling waters of the Mosel swirl into the powerful Rhine. Across the Rhine stands the mighty Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, looming 388 feet above the river and reminding visitors of Koblenz's symbolic strength and historic significance. Today, the Fortress houses a memorial to the German army, a youth hostel, the Regional Museum and a restaurant with excellent regional food.
Built on the occasion of the German Wine Exhibition in 1925, the Wine Village is situated on the Rhine banks (in the Empress- Augusta-Gardens). It has been a destination for connoisseurs of good wine and regional specialties for nearly 75 years. The complex includes a genuine vineyard and half-timbered houses from some of the most famous German wine-growing areas. Sit inside for a relaxing view out onto the river, or enjoy the romantic ambiance of sharing a glass of wine on the outdoor trellised courtyard. There are myriad other attractions to enjoy in Koblenz aside from rivers and wine, though. The art museums alone could keep some guests captivated for a week. The Mother Beethoven House displays the world's largest private Beethoven exhibition. It was in the former home that the composer's mother, Maria Magdelena, was born in 1746. It also now houses documents and letters of cultural figures of the period. A building rich with history, St. Castor´s Basilica was at one time the favorite church of the Carolingian emperors. In this Romanesque building (consecrated in 836), the Verdun compact on the division of the first German Empire was prepared in 843. The church's fountain reminds us of Napoleon's rise and fall, and its cryptic inscription is one of history's great curiosities. Much of the city was demolished during World War II and was rebuilt with care, and the Deutsche Kaiser Building stands as a monument to the pre-war history of this city. An early 16th century "residential tower" with battlements, it was the only building to survive the war in its area of the Altstadt.
In the evening the train takes you back to your hotel in Wiesbaden.

   
  Day 3 - Heidelberg & Augsburg

Take a train to the Historic Highlights City of Heidelberg. Heidelberg is renowned for its romantic ambiance. Joseph von Eichendorff, the German Romantic poet who studied in Heidelberg in 1807, could be speaking today: "Heidelberg itself is magnificent romantic city; there the spring entwines the houses and courtyards and everything ordinary with vines and flowers, and castles and forests tell a wonderful fairytale of times past. "Take in the magic of the Castle, the Old Bridge and the Old Town panorama; wander through the picturesque side streets full of enticing opportunities to look, poke around and shop; enjoy the varied year-round program of cultural activities and the flair of historic student pubs. See the indelible marks of the imperial Prince Electors Palatine who ruled Heidelberg for so many centuries, and keep your eyes open for lions emblazoned upon various public spaces, the traditional symbol of the "Kurpfalz"(Palatinate).Heidelberg is an endlessly walk able little city. Stroll the Old Town for traditional markets on the squares and cosmopolitan shopping on the bustling Hauptstrasse. The restaurant selection is plentiful, and some of the best people-watching is to be done from outdoor dining on this main pedestrian way. The ruins of the Heidelberg Castle area steep but short hike, or one stop upon the funicular rail, from the Old Town. Majestically perched high above the narrow lanes and picturesque roofs of town, the magnificent red sandstone structure crowns the city. For five centuries it was the glamorous residence of the Electors Palatine. The construction lasted over 400 years and consists of ramparts, outbuildings and palaces in all styles from Gothic thigh Renaissance. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected the 16th century, and today they are considered to be two of the most important buildings in German architectural history. Another point of interest regarding Heidelberg's Electors Palatines the triumphal arch in honour of the Prince Elector Karl Theodor, located at the far eastern edge of town. When the foundation-stone was laid on October 2, 1775, the Prince Elector personally attended the celebration. He took a personal interesting the construction work, and the final result was a neoclassical building following the tradition of Roman triumphal arches, crowned by four lions. Portraits of the Prince Elector and his wife can be seen under the princely hat towards the top of the structure. You can also visit the tombs of the Prince Electors in the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost).Take a half-day excursion to visit the sumptuous residence of the Palatinate Electors Karl Philipp and Carl Theodor, Schwetzingen Castle and its gardens. Often referred to as the "German Versailles," the palace was built from 1698, and its famous gardens grew from 1742, inspired by both French and English estates. Explore the castle's varied architectural elements, including the luxurious bathhouses of the Electors, the mosque and the1752 Rococo theatre. No city was as beloved by the Romantic poets as Heidelberg, due in great part to her enchanting location on the Nectar River amidst mountains, woods and sloping vineyards. The city has drawn and inspired great writers and thinkers for many centuries, leading its popular walking path to become known as the Philosopher's Walk. Recognized as one of Europe's most beautiful trails, you can take a leisurely ramble to see the panorama of the city and river below that moved the likes of Goethe, Mark Twain, Carl Maria von Weber, Alan Ginsburg and many more. As Germany's oldest university town, Heidelberg flaunts her distinguished history while retaining a youthful atmosphere. One in five residents is a student, and the many bistros, bars, boutiques, music and dance clubs, coffeehouses and theatres catering to this group are to be enjoyed by the visitor as well. And be sure to treat yourself to a "Student's Kiss," Heidelberg's mouth-wateringly sweet specialty.
The trains takes you to the Historic Highlights City of Augsburg. Founded by Emperor Augustus in 15 B.C., Augsburg got its starts as a Roman military camp and became a Roman provincial capital for more than 400 years. By the 15th century, it was one of Europe's wealthiest and most important merchant cities. Having developed over two millennia, this town's distinct cityscape was shaped by all the great stylistic epochs. Great buildings, monumental fountains, lavishly laid-out streets, and ultramodern architecture attest to the city's tradition of cosmopolitan bounty. Many of Augburg's unique features can be credited to the pre-mercantile times of Roman soldiers, though. The city's wall dates from the Middle Ages, but you can still find traces of the Romans' handiwork in stretches of the original wall. They were also responsible for the city's intricate canal system. By one count, as many as 600 bridges cross the still-intact waterways - more, Augsburgers claim, than in Venice or Amsterdam. Be sure you don't miss the Roman Museum, a church of the former St. Magdalena monastery with prehistoric exhibits and interesting finds from the Roman empire. Take time to appreciate the magnificent beauty that the Renaissance imparted on Augsburg's façade. It is even nicknamed the "German Renaissance City." The majesty of this era is still very much alive here in the architecture of the monumental Rathaus (City Hall). This imposing Renaissance masterpiece was built from 1615 to 1620 by Elias Holl as an expression of the Free Imperial City's civic pride. Enjoy an impressive panoramic view of the city's architectural gems from the adjacent Perlachturm tower. Just one of many Renaissance fountains surviving intact, the magnificent Augustusbrunnen was erected in honor of the Roman Emperor from whom the city derives its name. Maximilian Street, framed by the historic façades of stately patrician homes, attests to the city's affluence in the days of the famous Fugger and Welser merchant dynasties. The world's oldest social settlement of the poor, The Fuggerei, was built by Jacob Fugger the Rich, banker to kings and emperors. Even today, its residents pay less than a dollar a year in rent. Banking must have been the profession of choice in Augsburg for those who wanted to lives like emperors and kings, as evidenced by the Schaezler Palace. The city palace of banker Liebert von Liebenhofen was built from 1765 to 1770 and features a richly adorned Rococo Banquet Hall,. Considered the most impressive Rococo work in Augsburg, it is also one of the most impressive private Rococo buildings in Bavaria. Today it also houses the German Baroque Gallery and the State Gallery with paintings by masters such as Dürer, Holbein and Cranach. Of interest to music-lovers, the ancestral home of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is open to the public and houses a museum for the famous composer, whose family originated in Augsburg. Augsburg also touts an impressive collection of religious edifices. The Dom (Cathedral) is lit by five of the oldest figured stained glass windows of the world (1140). St. Ulrich & Afra-Basilika and the Protestant Ulrichskirche join with the Dom to constitute a splendid architectural ensemble. And in 1518, Martin Luther first defended his theses of Protestantism to an emissary of the Pope while residing in St. Anna's Church, a former monastery that offers excellent examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo styles. The Augsburg region is distinguished as the childhood home to Elisabeth, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary. Born in Munich in 1837, she married Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph at age 16 and quickly became the Princess Diana of her century. A strikingly beautiful woman, "Sisi" was beloved by the people. At the same time, she suffered as she tried to become accustomed to the etiquette and customs of the royal court, instead choosing to spend much of her time traveling. Eventually, she developed into a confident and energetic woman who lived her life , with independence until she was assassinated in Geneva in 1898. Augsburg is the western terminus of the Sisi Road, which travels through Bad Ischl, Austria, where she met Franz Joseph, and Vienna, where she lived in the Hofburg and Schönbrunn. The Road continues into Hungary to Gödöllö Palace near Budapest.
You hotel is located right at Augsburg main train station.

   
  Day 4 - Erfurt

Take the train to the Historic Highlights City of Erfurt. Erfurt became a pilgrimage destination of sorts with the reunification of Germany. Thousands of Americans poured into this former East German city to see where Martin Luther studied, to bow heads where he prayed, to walk the same medieval streets and even to sleep where he slept. Luther came to the University of Erfurt as a student in 1501, served as a monk in the Augustinian Monastery starting in 1505 and was ordained as a priest in the St. Mary's Cathedral in 1511. At almost every turn, there's a reminder of the man who launched the Reformation. But there is far more to this city than Luther. The compact Altstadt makes for easy exploration of its many neighboring historic sights. The Domberg (Cathedral Hill) thrusts impressive twin cathedrals above the city's rooftops. The hike up the 70 steps from the Domplatz is worth it to see the treasures of the 14th-century St. Mary's Cathedral and the 13th-century St. Severus. The Fischmarkt (Fish Market) is the center of the historical city. Next to the neo-Gothic City Hall (1870-75), with its numerous of lovely mural paintings depicting the history and legends of Thuringia and Erfurt, you will find a number of town houses once owned by rich woad merchants. A few steps further there is the notable renovated classical facade of the Kaisersaal (1715), the former old university ballroom. It was here, that Napoleon I. met Tsar Alexander I. at the Erfurt Congress in 1808. The Krämerbrücke (Merchant's Bridge), built in 1325, is completely covered by houses on both sides. The original 62 narrow houses on the bridge have over time been amalgamated to form the present 32 houses, and it is recognized as the longest bridge of its kind in Europe. The Augustinerkloster (Augustinian Monastery), dating back to 1277, houses an exhibition that shows the life and work of its resident of six years, Martin Luther. Also not to be missed is the Petersberg Citadel, one of the few of nearly completely preserved Baroque Citadels in Europe. Today it stands as impressive proof of the art of European fortification construction from the 17th to the 19th centuries. This beautiful city has bloomed into the reputation of Europe's "Flower City." A city of parks and gardens, it boasts Germany's largest flower bed (6,000 square meters) in the ega-Park. The "ega" is a gardening exhibition center built around the 500- year-old Cyriaksburg fortress and is a testament to man's ability to find harmony with nature in landscape gardening. Just behind the train station, City Park rises with a series of stone terraces. The old Brühl Park, built as a refuge for nobility in the 18th century and now gone quite literally to seed, is being tamed and manicured.
Your hotel is located close to Erfurt main station.

   
  Day 5 - Lübeck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download this Dream Route as PDF

 Take a train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Lübeck. Almost every visitor is imprinted with the stunning panorama of Lübeck, whose seven steeples stretch with majesty to the heavens in a silhouette that has inspired sailors, merchants, residents and visitors for nearly 600 years. Many of these spires, as with much of the city, are built in brick Gothic style, a feature that helps give the city a distinctive look. Prints and paintings from as far back as the 13th century show a similar skyline of the "City of Seven Spires." It was known as the "Queen of the Hanseatic League," an association of merchant city-states in the Baltic region. Maritime trade made Lübeck a wealthy town of merchants and sailors, and at one point it was the third-largest city of the Holy Roman Empire (behind Cologne and Prague). The great Northern city developed in the Middle Ages with treasures that can still be enjoyed today. A good starting place for your visit is St. Peter's Church, where you can get a bird's-eye view to orient yourself to the city. The magnificent structure features both Gothic and Romanesque construction and allows you to gaze from its 150-foot-high viewing platform to the city below. What you'll see is a compact collection of nearly 1,400 historic buildings under protection as historic monuments and a complete Altstadt (Old Town) designated at a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most survive from medieval times, Lübeck's Golden Age, when merchants and sea captains demonstrated their wealth and their devotion to their city and their God. You can get a great overview of Lübeck's medieval history at St. Anne's Museum. It's located in a former Augustinian convent from the early 16th century and is host to Germany's most significant collection of ecclesiastical art and late-medieval carved altarpieces of German origin. Be sure to see their exquisite collection of liturgical garments and tools from the Middle Ages. An exhibition of home décor touches on the daily lives of the citizens of the Hanseatic city throughout its history with several authentically furnished rooms. Similar to other large medieval cities, Lübeck had its share of day-laborers and porters. They mostly lived in "Buden" - small houses, often little more than huts - that were crowded together on corner lots, behind town houses or in the yards surrounded by residential blocks. They were accessed by small alleys, some 90 of which still exist today. These pedestrian passageways beckon visitors to travel down them, and your curiosity will often be rewarded when the so-called "Gänge" open up into charming brick courtyards surrounded by apartments and cottages. Heiligen-Geist-Hospital is not only one of Europe's oldest social institutions but also one of the most significant and well-preserved monumental buildings from the Middle Ages. Although initially used to tend to the sick, the building eventually came to serve as an almshouse. The building is still used as a retirement home today, and also hosts the annual Kunsthandwerker- Weihnachtsmarkt, the Craftsmen's Christmas Market. The Culture Forum Castle Monastery, founded in 1229, is the most important medieval monastery in northern Germany. After the Reformation it was used as a poorhouse until the end of the 19th century, when it was converted to a courthouse and prison. Since its restoration, it is now a Culture Forum: a place for analyzing arts and architecture, the history of the Hanseatic League and the Baltic region, contemporary history and philosophy. There are many impressive medieval churches in the city, some original and some rebuilt after WW II bombing. The Romanesque Lübeck Cathedral, a three-nave pinnacled basilica, is Lübeck's oldest architectural monument. After the city became the seat of the bishopric, in 1160, Henry the Lion laid the cornerstone to the mighty brick building in 1173. A wooden church had previously resided on the same location. St. Mary's Church was built from 1250-1350. It's the tallest brick church in the world and the third-largest church in Germany. It's also home to the world's largest mechanical organ, which was installed in 1968. It was damaged during World War II when incendiary bombs caused a firestorm that engulfed the church on Palm Sunday, 1942. Two church bells fell to the ground, and those smashed bells were left in place as a memorial. The present-day town hall, considered one of the oldest, most magnificent German buildings, was built in the 13th century as a cloth hall and emporium. At that time, it comprised three houses, the gables of which are still visible in the magnificent façade. Gothic paintings were just recently uncovered in the auditorium. The Lübeck Senate still convenes in the council chamber. Wind down after a long day of touring the medieval and more modern sites of Lübeck at the Traditionsbrauerei Brauberger. They brew and serve beer just as it was made - and consumed - in medieval times, and you can enjoy this medieval beverage of choice in an appropriately traditional atmosphere. Your hotel is located close to Luebeck main station.

Day 6 - Lübeck & Hamburg
Free day to explore the Historic Highlight City of Lübeck and Hamburg.
 
Day 7 - Lübeck/ Hamburg Airport for departure

The Airport Shuttle bus will bring you to Hamburg Airport. Or continue your tour from Luebeck main train station.

 

Book This Tour

INCLUDED
  • Airport Transfers

  • 6 nights accommodation

  • All train transportation in first class

  • Sightseeing at leisure

  • Tour package with valuable information, maps and brochures

  • Some entrance fees

7 days / 6 nights independent tour

€829 per person - based on double occupancy


Alternatively:

AVIS rental car instead of 1st class train travel:

€609 per person - based on double occupancy

Information & Travel Agent Services

(800) 949-6362 or (310) 324-5500

833 W Torrance Blvd, Ste 111 ● Torrance, CA 90502

www.nonstoptravel.netinfo@nonstoptravel.net

CST:1018469-10

 


Tours designed & operated by
TOEUROPE GERMANY
Lessingstrasse 13
· 35789 Weilmunster · (Frankfurt/Germany)
www.toeurope.eu
· info@toeurope.eu