7 days - 6 nights - from € 559 p.p. Roots of the Reformation
   

 

Come visit the historic cities of Germany, the epicenter of the Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther lived here and spread his revolutionary messages to the people of Germany's cities and villages in the 16th century, and while you may not be changing history, as he did, you can follow his footsteps across this beautiful country and her historic cities. See where he lived, studied, preached and hid from the Pope's emissaries. Visit the church where he was ordained and the city where he first defended his 95 Theses. While you're on Luther's trail, though, don't miss out on the other intriguing sites and experiences that these towns have to offer.

 
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 - Münster

First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Münster. This city was the center of a radical group of Reformists known by the more mainstream Protestants as Anabaptists for their adherence to adult baptism. They staged the Anabaptist Rebellion in 1534, attempting to establish a theocracy in the city, and held it through 1535. The radicals had planned to expand an empire from Münster, but their leader was soon beheaded. His successor, perhaps equally overzealous, legalized polygamy in the city and took 16 wives for himself, personally beheading one of them in the marketplace. He and several key followers were, in turn, soon beheaded and their bodies placed in iron cages hung from the steeple of Lampertikirche (St. Lampert's Church) to make an example for the populace. The cages still hang there today, though the bones have been long since removed. But not to worry, there are no longer beheadings in Münster, no matter how unpopular your ideas. There is much to see in this city beyond the turmoil of radical Reformists. Toward the end of World War II, 92% of medieval Münster was destroyed. Many cities in the region decided to create modern metropolises from the rubble. But the citizens of Münster, known for being traditional, decided to rebuild their Altstadt (Old Town) with its original medieval lay-out and architecture. Today, the Altstadt is a marvel for residents and visitors. It's also a place where peace, tolerance and understanding are celebrated. After all, this is the town where the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648, ending the Thirty Years War and marking a rare time (perhaps the first in Europe) that peace was reached by negotiation and compromise (albeit more than five years of it) rather than by domination and defeat. The site of the negotiations and ultimate signing is the Friedenssaal (Hall of Peace) in the Rathaus. The Rathaus is one of the most important achievements of Gothic profane architecture and has been reconstructed in full historic detail. The building from the middle of the 14th century was reconstructed in the 1950s, true to the original. The original was seized during the initial takeover by the Anabaptists in 1534. It is in the heart of the Altstadt, on the Prinzipalmarkt, part of the medieval street lined by buildings that form a thick, high ring-wall around the earliest town center. Since the Middle Ages, the Prinzipalmarkt has been Münster's main shopping street. The tall, narrow houses with their steep gables and arched arcades on massive columns were originally built by wealthy investors. Generations of merchants have established their businesses along this remarkable street since the late 12th century. The Gothic gables of the Rathaus and the Renaissance façade of the Stadtweinhaus (City Wine House) are almost exactly as they were during medieval times. In St. Paul's Cathedral, you'll find superb examples of a 13th century church making the transition from Romanesque to Gothic during the 40 years it was under construction. A marvel of the late medieval times, its astronomical clock features a calendar extending to the year 2071. The Servatii Church, built around 1230, is the smallest and most original of the city churches. It displays late Romanesque and early Gothic elements and appears somewhat submerged since it still stands on original medieval ground level while the city built "up," literally, around it. Where city walls once stood, the Promenade has encircled the city center since the 18th century. Bicycle is the way to go in this two-wheel-friendly city, and the 4.5 km (3 mile)-long, tree-lined Promenade serves as a car-free expressway for pedestrians. Your hotel is located close to Muenster main station.

   
  Day 3 - Erfurt

First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight 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. At almost every turn, there's a reminder of the man who launched the Reformation. Erfurt was the young Luther's spiritual home. In 1505 he graduated from the University with a Masters in philosophy. It is said that a violent storm close to Erfurt that same year prompted him to become a monk at the Augustinerkloster (Augustinian Monastery) in gratitude for his survival. Martin Luther stayed there until 1511 and was ordained as a priest in St. Mary's Cathedral. Even after he had left the city, he often returned to preach to enthusiastic crowds, in the university church (St. Michael's) for example. It has been more than 500 years since Luther was a student at the collegium maius, the old Erfurt university's main building, which is now being restored. On November 10 every year, Erfurt celebrates Martin Luther's birthday and remembers St. Martin with the St. Martin's Festival on Domplatz. The Augustinian Monastery, dating back to 1277, houses an exhibition that shows the life and work of its most renowned resident. You can visit Luther's cell in addition to its impressive library with many rare books. The Monastery is also one of the Erfurt's best values for lodging. The spartan but certainly historic accommodations are clean, modern and sparsely decorated - bed, chair and desk but no television, radio or telephone - with private bathrooms/showers. Another important structure in Erfurt is the Barfüsserkirche, or the blackfriars' "Church of the Barefooted." Most of the church was destroyed in 1944, but even in the present condition the church is one of the greatest examples of German ecclesiastical architecture of the 14th and 15th centuries. Luther also preached here in 1529 before the Franciscan monastery was discontinued. Other significant sites for those interested in the Reformation and its leader are the Luther monument (next to the Merchants' Church on the Anger road) and the "Haus Zum Schwarzen Horn" at Michaelisstrasse 48. This building housed Mathes Maler's printing workshop, where many of Luther's pamphlets were printed. Day excursions from Erfurt to nearby cities can further highlight Luther's life. You can see the Luther Stone in Stotternheim. In Eisenach, you can visit Luther's house and the famed Wartburg Castle with its Luther room, where he translated the New Testament in 1521 and -22 while in protective custody. Luther spent much of his life living and preaching in nearby Wittenberg. Today you can visit his home and the town's Castle Church, where it is said he nailed his Theses to the doors. Also on the map of interest are Eisleben, where he was born and died, and Mansfeld, his childhood home. As long as you're in Erfurt, though, remember that 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. Also not to be missed is the Petersberg Citadel, the only extensively preserved Baroque town fortress in central Europe. It has an intricate maze of underground passageways waiting to be explored. The Krämerbrücke (Merchant's Bridge), built in 1325, is a fascinating work of medieval secular architecture. It is completely covered by houses on both sides. The original 62 narrow houses have over time been amalgamated to form the present 32 houses, and it is recognized as the longest bridge of its kind in Europe. In more recent times, this beautiful city has bloomed into the reputation of Europe's "Flower City," and a visit in springtime is a delight for the senses. 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 near the main station in the City Center.

   
  Day 4 - Heidelberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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First-class train ride to the Historic Highlights City of Heidelberg. A taxi will take you to your hotel in the City Center (Old Town). 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). 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. Your hotel is located in the City Centre.

 
Day 5 - Augsburg

First-class train ride to the Historic Highlight City of Augsburg. Augsburg is yet another city that witnessed pivotal events in the Reformation due to Luther's presence. Later in the same year of the Heidelberg Disputation, an emissary of Pope Leo X was sent to Augsburg in lieu of trying Luther in Rome. After refusing to recant his beliefs (ultimately leading to his excommunication), Luther fled to Wittenberg fearing his life. The Augsburg Confession, a statement of basic Protestant beliefs and ideas, was written in 1530 for the Diet of Augsburg, convened to find a settlement between the various Protestant groups in the area. These various events made Augsburg a key city of the Reformation. But before the upheaval of the Reformation, indeed before Christianity itself, Augsburg got its starts as a Roman military camp. Founded by Emperor Augustus in 15 B.C., it 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. By one count, as many as 600 bridges cross the still-intact waterways - more, Augsburgers claim, than in Venice or Amsterdam. Augsburg is nicknamed the "German Renaissance City," and 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 while Martin Luther was in the city defending his Theses to the Pope's emissary, he resided in St. Anna's Church, a former monastery that offers excellent examples of Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo styles. You can still visit the so-called "Lutherstiege" where he slept during his stay in Augsburg. Your hotel is located near Augsburg Main Station.

Day 6 - Munich

First-class train ride to Munich. Munich, famous throughout the world, is the Bavarian metropolis, close to the Alps and in the heart of Europe. Where to begin when one wants to name places to see and things to do in this extraordinary city which like few others combines modern life with lively history. There is Munich's old town where 850 years of history are showing off, there is the Marienplatz (Marien square) where 3 times each day thousands of people are spell bound when the world famous Glockenspiel (carillon) starts it's beautiful song Visit and marvel at the Frauenkirche, the town's landmark, do not miss the Hofbräuhaus and find out why the Münchner (inhabitants of Munich) don't want to miss out on their "Brotzeit" (a meal or snack consisting of bread, cold cut, cheese and so on, usually enjoyed between breakfast and lunch). These are only a very few ideas of what to see and to do in this great city which might deserve an extra day's visit!

 
Day 7 - Munich

Enjoy your last day of the tour. A airport shuttle bus will take you to Munich International Airport for departure. Or continue your tour from Munich Main 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

€649 per person - based on double occupancy


Alternatively:

AVIS rental car instead of 1st class train travel:

€559 per person - based on double occupancy

Information & Travel Agent Services

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