6 days - 5 nights - from € 489 p.p. On the Trail of the Romans 
   

 

While all roads may have led to Rome, they all had to start somewhere. As one of the greatest empires and most refined civilizations in human history, the Roman Empire spread its wealth and power far and wide. Present-day Germany is far north of the onetime center of civilization, but much of it was explored by soldiers of the Empire some two millennia ago. Some cities were even founded as military fortresses or outposts. Travel to Germany's historic cities with Roman roots to see where some of those roads leading to Rome originated.

 
Day 1 - Mainz

Arrive at Frankfurt International Airport (or at Mainz Main Train Station) to start your tour. Taxi transfer to your hotel in the Historic Highlights City of Mainz, located near Mainz Main Train Station.
"Live Mainz" - The state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate can probably best be understood under this motto. Because Mainz, the city at the confluence of the Rhine and Main and in the middle of the largest German wine-growing area, combines a way of life, a zest for life and a rich, age-old culture in an almost proverbial manner. Enjoy your arrival day in Mainz and explore the City which the Romans laid the foundations more than 2000 years ago.

 
Day 2 - Day Trip to Trier

Day trip (First-class train ride) to the Historic Highlight City of Trier. As Germany's oldest city, Trier began as a metropolis of the Roman Empire and enjoyed prosperous medieval and Renaissance eras as well. Today the city's glorious history can be witnessed at every step on a stroll through the bustling Old Quarter. Founded in 16 B.C. under Emperor Augustus, Trier expanded as an imperial residence and capital of the Western Roman Empire. To serve its emperors and a growing population, the Romans built a city of such unprecedented proportions that it was known as Roma Secunda. The ancient city's most famous relic is the Porta Nigra, the beautifully preserved fortified gate from the great age when the city was known as Augusta Treverorum. Trier contains the largest collection of ancient Roman buildings outside of Rome itself, all concentrated in a centralized and pedestrian-friendly area. Come gaze in wonder at the size and majesty of the Basilika that was built to express the magnificence and might of the emperor. It was the throne room of Emperor Constantine in the early 4th century, and it is the largest surviving unsupported room of antiquity. Behind the medieval façades of the Cathedral, architectural styles from the 4th through 18th centuries can be seen. It had been a Constantinian Palace, torn down after Constantine's last visit to Trier and replaced by the largest Christian church in antiquity. Today, sections of the original walls and architectural features can still be seen. Explore the expansive ruins of the Imperial Baths, remodeled during the 4th century as a barracks for more than 1,000 soldiers. And in the Amphitheater, sit in the same terraced seats occupied by fans cheering for gladiator and animal fights some 2,000 years ago. Be sure to visit the Rheinisches Landesmuseum, an outstanding archaeological museum with Germany's most extensive Roman collection. Construction workers must be careful in Trier: in 1987, excavations for an underground parking garage brought to light the remains of the first-century Forum Baths buried beneath airraid shelters from the Second World War. The two hot-water baths, a surprisingly well-preserved cold-water bath, hollowfloor heating systems, sewer canals, and massive walls on deep foundations are now accessible as a combination of excavations and museum. While the stunning ancient architecture is the city's strongest draw, travelers should also take in buildings like the baroque St. Paulin's Church and the Church of our Lady, Germany's oldest Gothic church. Trier's expansive Electoral Palace, built as a "wing" to the Basilika, is considered one of the finest examples of Rococo style in Germany, and its Baroque Palace Gardens are a peaceful green oasis in the middle of the city. Another popular attraction is the Karl Marx Haus birthplace and museum. Perhaps one of Trier's most charming areas is its former Cathedral City, a mostly intact medieval district. A warren of narrow alleys runs between medieval houses in this former city-within-a-city. Trier is considered the cradle of German wine culture, a tradition begun by the Romans when they established the still-active Mosel vineyards. There is a Wine Teaching Path that winds through Trier's vineyard-dotted surrounds to the village of Olewig, where local vintners offer tours of their wineries and wine cellars, tastings and light food.

   
  Day 3 - Rüdesheim and the Historic Highlight City of Wiesbaden

Today a train takes you from Mainz 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.

Take a First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Wiesbaden. 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. There are several attractions of particular interest regarding Wiesbaden's Roman roots. The Heidenmauer (Heathens' Wall) is the city's oldest structure 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. 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. In the evening take the train back to your hotel in Mainz.

   
  Day 4 - Augsburg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight 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 Augsburg'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. They diverted water from the nearby River Lech as it flowed from the Alps to the Danube. Just south of the city, the Romans divided it into narrow canals - which merge again north of the city and flow back into the Lech. Today, nearly 12 miles of canals stretch through and under the city. By one count, as many as 600 bridges cross the 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 for 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. 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. Your hotel is located close to Augsburg Main Station.

 
Day 5 - Regensburg

First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Regensburg. When you arrive in Regensburg, you will be welcomed with legendary Bavarian hospitality into the best-preserved medieval city in Germany, where two thousand years of history remain alive today. Regensburg was originally established around 500 B.C. as Radasbona, a Celtic settlement. But in 179 A.D., the Romans established a garrison there to guard the Empire's frontier at the Danube's northernmost point. The Romans named their camp Castra Regina for the Regen River on which it lies. Emperor Marcus Aurelius had the northern gate of the camp, the Porta Praetoria, built in the second century A.D.. This onetime watchtower stands guard to this day. Like other Roman camps, Castra Regina was laid out in a rectangular shape with two main crossing streets. Viewing a map, visitors can easily discern the outline of the ancient city. On foot, they can still walk the perimeter of original Roman garrison and in places see the remains of its walls. The present-day Bachgasse winds over the former streambed that paralleled the garrison wall. Visit the Historisches Museum der Stadt (Municipal History Museum) for an excellent exhibit on Roman times. The city went on to flourish in medieval times, and her buildings from this period are remarkably well-preserved. Many grandiose patrician houses remain with Italian-style towers reaching to the heavens and embellishing the impressive city skyline. The buildings, towers and churches offer an unspoiled peek into the past. You need not be a student of history to get a strong sense of what life was like in the days of old in Regensburg. Visit the Neupfarrplatz for a glimpse into the ancient and medieval city. This square was once the site of Roman officers' homes. In the early Middle Ages, it became Regensburg's Jewish quarter, later razed during economic hardships in 1519. Recent construction work uncovered the foundations of the former Jewish quarter built over Roman ruins. The main road of Castra Regina, the via principalis, ran through the present-day square. Descend into the excavations via stairs adjacent to the Neupfarrkirche to see cellars, walls, wells, steps and roads and gain a better insight into the lives of the ancient Romans and the medieval Jews of Regensburg. Around lunchtime, be sure to stroll toward the Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), an architectural achievement as impressive today as when it was built in the early 12th century. Nine centuries ago, workers constructing the bridge received their meals at a riverside kitchen. That same kitchen - the Historische Wurstküche (Historic Sausage Kitchen) - serves several thousand Regensburger Bratwurst each day to locals and visitors. On a sunny day, guests can sit elbow-to-elbow on slat benches and devour platefuls of the little sausages, sauerkraut and sweet mustard. One of the most important historic buildings in Germany sits in the heart of the medieval city - the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall). This complex of buildings and courtyards includes one of the last original torture chambers in Europe and the Imperial Hall, where the Perpetual Diet - in many ways Germany's first parliament - met for nearly 150 years. Your hotel is located close to Regensburg Main Station.

Day 6 - Regensburg

Enjoy your last day of the tour. The train (first-class) will take you directly to Frankfurt Airport or any train station in Germany, if you wish to continue your tour.

   
 

Book This Tour

INCLUDED
  • Airport Transfers

  • 5 nights accommodation

  • All train transportation in first class

  • Sightseeing at leisure

  • Tour package with valuable information, maps and brochures

  • Some entrance fees

6 days / 5 nights independent tour

€599 per person - based on double occupancy


Alternatively:

AVIS rental car instead of 1st class train travel:

€489 per person - based on double occupancy

Information & Travel Agent Services

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