On this intriguingly varied tour, we experience two of Europe's greatest cultural cities, Berlin and Dresden. Both have endured violent interludes in otherwise glittering histories and have now returned to their former glory at the heart of 21st- century Europe. The outpouring of joy and energy that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall nearly 30 years ago rekindled Berlin's legendary vibrancy, and this modern city throbs with new life while doffing its cap respectfully to the past. Iconic locations abound - from Checkpoint Charlie with its spy stories, to the magnificent avenue of Unter den Linden with its many cafes and museums. Here we also see the Brandenburg Gate and the instantly recognisable Reichstag, symbol of the new Germany.
Perhaps more sedate than Berlin, Dresden is a cultural jewel reborn as a beacon of hope and peace, revelling in the renewed splendour of its architecture, opera and museums. Before the last war it was Germany's most beautiful city thanks to its imposing Baroque buildings and many art treasures. After huge bomb damage, Dresden has been almost completely restored as part of an extraordinary restoration project spanning 60 years, - and the results are breathtaking. But there is much more to this tour than these two re-energised cities as we experience Germany's traditional side through its rolling countryside, small towns and picturesque villages.
There will also be reminders of old East Germany, including an occasional Trabant, the still sought-after car that is so associated with the period. We explore the medieval town of Meissen, where highly skilled artisans craft exquisite porcelain in the only factory in Europe where the process is still completed entirely by hand. Finally, and in complete contrast to picturesque Meissen, we visit Colditz Castle, the infamous prisoner of war camp for serial would-be escapees - inmates included the legless fighter pilot Douglas Bader. This is a tour that reveals Germany's delightful contrasts, from its vibrant modern cities to its charming rural landscapes, and lets you experience the past, present and future of this remarkable country.
This tour can operate in reverse staying first in Dresden for two nights followed by two nights in Berlin. You will experience the same tours and visits.
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Covid Cancellation protection included as standard;
Tour of Berlin, home to Norman Foster’s Reichstag, ‘Check Point Charlie’, the DDR (former East Germany) Museum, and some of the world’s finest archaeological and fine art museums;
Walking tour of Dresden, ‘Florence of the Elbe’, home to one of the world’s greatest art collections, formerly the capital of the Kings of Saxony;
Visit Meissen and take a guided tour of the world-famous porcelain studio;
Guided tour of Colditz Castle of Second World War prisoner of war fame – with entrance fees included;
Four nights in four-star superior accommodation inclusive of all local taxes, with daily breakfast;
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Arrive at the airport for your flight to Berlin. On arrival, we transfer to either the four-star superior Hotel Maritim Berlin or the four-star superior Maritim Pro Arte for two nights.
Berlin is an incredible place. Originally two separate 14th-century towns, it has long been a city of contrasts and never more so than in its recent past, which makes it such a fascinating place to visit.
This morning we have a guided tour taking in many landmarks, including Checkpoint Charlie, a poignant symbol of the Cold War when the city was divided between East and West. You’ll see the Brandenburg Gate – one of Germany’s most iconic landmarks – and the Reichstag, the parliament of the reunified Germany that is steeped in history and partially reconstructed by Norman Foster. We also take in Unter Den Linden, the city’s most famous boulevard, the imposing cathedral and of course what remains of the Berlin Wall – now a protected historical monument.
The afternoon is free for you to explore. Berlin’s turbulent political past makes it such an absorbing place, but it is also an incredibly vibrant city with a character and optimism to match. It strongly rewards exploring on foot – visit the impressive Charlottenburg Palace and the legendary Olympiastadion stadium, or you may wish to take a short train ride to Potsdam and the Sanssouci Palace, home of the famous Prussian king Frederick the Great.
After breakfast we drive through gentle rolling woodland and fields into Saxony, crossing the mighty River Elbe en route to somewhere synonymous with the heroic art of escape: Colditz. The supposedly escape-proof castle towers on its clifftop, looming over the town below. Our guided tour and the related exhibition offer intriguing insights into the lives of both inmates and guards. We see escape tunnels, a home-made radio, false uniforms and other escape equipment, all ingeniously crafted from whatever materials were to hand. Much was secreted about the buildings and, like the ‘radio room’, was discovered by maintenance workers after the war. Some of the most moving exhibits are postcards sent by prisoners to their children, whom they were not to see for many years.
Next we visit the town of Meissen, famous for producing the first porcelain to be made outside of China. We have a remarkable tour revealing how, since 1710, highly skilled artisans have created these unique works of art. Many porcelain pieces take weeks or even months to finish, and in the museum you can enjoy many of the splendid examples from throughout the company’s existence.
We soon arrive in Dresden for two nights, at the centrally located four-star superior Hotel Steigenberger. On some tour dates we'll stay at the four-star superior Maritim Hotel situated on the banks of the River Elbe.
Sitting majestically astride the stately waters of the River Elbe and dating from the 12th century, Dresden is a strikingly beautiful place to visit. It rose to artistic prominence during the early 18th century when August the Strong, ruler of Poland and Saxony, gathered many of Europe’s best musicians, architects and artists in his capital. Its pre-eminence as a centre for art, classical music and science saw the emergence of fine Renaissance, Baroque and Classical buildings, the majority of which – though destroyed by the Allied bombings of 1945 – have been wonderfully restored in recent years, returning Dresden to its former glory. This morning we have a walking tour around these revitalised architectural gems, and in the afternoon you’re free to explore as you wish. Absorb the ambience of Dresden’s many enchanting shops, seek out a cosy restaurant down one of the quaintly cobbled streets, or simply enjoy the numerous talented street musicians that keep Dresden’s musical heritage alive.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
The price of this holiday is per person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are available at the relevant supplement. The price includes:
Four nights accommodation in four-star superior hotels
All touring as mentioned
All local accommodation taxes
Transfers to and from the hotels
The services of a Riviera Travel tour manager
Included excursions are a guided tour of Berlin, a walking tour of Dresden, entrance to and a guided tour of Colditz Castle and museum, entrance to and a guided tour of Meissen porcelain factory.
Touring Holidays with Riviera Travel
Outstanding tour managers, friendly local guides, meticulously crafted itineraries, personalised experiences and honest pricing policy are just some of the reasons to book an escorted tour with Riviera Travel. Boasting an award-winning reputation, the brand has been delighting travellers for 35 years and is proud to currently hold two Which? Recommended Provider awards, including Escorted Tour Provider and River Cruise Provider. Riviera Travel is also consistently recognised by customers and the industry for excellent service and value for money and has recently been awarded ‘Best Value for Money’ by Travel Weekly.
When you choose a Riviera Travel holiday, every detail of your river cruise or escorted tour is personally considered by travel specialists. The experts behind the brand go to great lengths to curate each holiday, ensuring you can enjoy the very best of your chosen destination and have plenty of free time to explore at your own pace. What’s more, Riviera Travel is fully bonded by ABTA and ATOL and you can fully relax with the brand’s no surcharge guarantee.
Riviera Travel offers a wide range of thrilling escorted tour itineraries for every type of traveller. Whether you want to see the iconic sites of Prague, go on a solo traveller adventure in Paris or relax with a soak in Iceland’s famous geothermal spa, Riviera Travel promises to give you the best European tour experience possible. The brand also offers amazing worldwide escorted tours, which means you can voyage to Antarctica, stay in the heart of New York City or even go on a guided safari in the Kruger National Park in South Africa. And remember, insightful guided tours and visits are all included in the price and you can enjoy scheduled flights from a choice of UK airports or Eurostar travel.
When it comes to the local guides and tour managers, Riviera Travel chooses specialists that are not only extremely friendly and knowledgeable but also have flair for engaging audiences and sharing eye-opening insights. Ancient ruins, historic towns and unfamiliar landscapes all come to life when you’re in the company of one of the guides or managers, and each one will make you feel as though you’re travelling with a friend who knows the best secrets of every destination.
Once you’ve booked your Riviera Travel escorted tour, you can rest assured that the cost of your holiday will not increase as there are no hidden costs at all. As Riviera Travel’s pricing is transparent, clear and includes essentials such as taxes and fuel supplements, you can book with confidence knowing that your holiday offers exceptional value. You do, however, have the option to upgrade and add hand-picked highlights to your itinerary to make your trip extra special. And if you choose a solo tour, all prices are fully inclusive with no single supplement to be added and you’ll still have a room all to yourself.