Your holiday summary

Holiday type Escorted tours
Country Germany
Resort Berlin
Travel type Fly
Price range From £539
Travel partner Riviera Travel
Duration 4 nights
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Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz

On this varied tour, we visit two of Europe’s great cultural cities, Berlin and Dresden. The outpouring of joy and energy that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall, now over twenty years ago, has rekindled Berlin’s legendary vibrancy and the city throbs with new life. Dresden is perhaps more sedate yet equally revelling in its renewal. Before the last war it was Germany’s most beautiful city due to its amazing art treasures and imposing baroque buildings. After severe bomb damage, it has now been almost completely restored.

We will also experience the traditional Germany of small towns, villages and rolling countryside. Another face of Germany is medieval Meissen, where porcelain is crafted by highly skilled artisans in the only factory in Europe where the processes are still completed entirely by hand. Finally and in complete contrast we visit Colditz castle, the famous second world war Prisoner of War camp for serial escapees.

The price of this holiday is person based on two people sharing a twin room. Single rooms are available at a supplement of £79. The price includes return flights, two nights at both the Hotel Maritim in Berlin and the Hotel Steigenberger De Saxe in Dresden with breakfast, return transfers, guided tour of Berlin, walking tour of Dresden, visit and tour of Colditz Castle and museum, visit and tour of Meissen porcelain factory, all touring as mentioned, services of a Riviera tour manager.

  • Return flights
  • Four nights four star superior accommodation with breakfast
  • Guided tour of Berlin
  • Walking tour of Dresden
  • Visit and tour of the Meissen porcelain studio
  • Visit to Colditz castle
  • Escorted by our experienced tour manager
Day one

You should arrive at the airport to take your flight to Berlin. On arrival a coach will take you to your hotel either the four star superior Hotel Maritim, Berlin or the four star superior Maritim Pro Arte for two nights. The four star superior Hotel Maritim, Berlin is located very near Potsdamer Platz in the heart of the centre and very convenient for visiting the sights. This international standard property is part of one of Germany’s best hotel chains, is of very high quality with a restaurant, bar with live music, indoor pool and sauna. The four star superior Maritim Pro Arte is a modern hotel is located between the Brandenburg Gate and the Gendarmenmarkt, and just a stone’s throw from Unter den Linden with its elegant shops – great for exploring on foot. The hotel is spacious, very comfortable and houses an art collection. Facilities include two restaurants, a bistro, bar, indoor pool and spa area and all. Rooms in both hotels are air-conditioned with private facilities, mini-bar and wifi connection.

Day two

Berlin was originally two separate 14th century towns; it has always been a city of contrasts and never more so than in its recent past which makes it such a fascinating place to visit. Germany itself has existed only since 1871 with Berlin becoming its capital from then until 1948 where it stood at the very crossroads of the Eastern Bloc and the western democracys and their respective political systems. Who can forget the standoffs at ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, President Kennedy’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech and the events of 1989 when probably the world’s most famous wall was peacefully breeched. Berlin is united once more and although every year the evidence and the memory of past contrasts fades, it remains a remarkable and intensely fascinating place and there is still time to experience some of the atmosphere pervading the city today. This morning we have a guided tour seeing amongst the many sights the iconic 'divided city' location – Checkpoint Charlie; symbol of the city, the Brandenburg Gate; the parliament building, the Reichstag partly designed by Norman Foster; the Unter Den Linden, the city’s most famous boulevard; the cathedral and of course what remains of the ‘Wall’ - ironically now a protected historical monument.

The afternoon is free for you to explore the city. It would be very wrong to think Berlin is all about politics, but it is one of the most vibrant cities, with an atmosphere and optimism to match. Galleries and museums abound – there is one dedicated to life in the former East Germany or you may like to take a cruise on the rivers and lakes bisecting the city or visit one of the parks: indeed over one third of the city is green. Perhaps, go for a drink in one of Berlin’s bars and maybe have a Weisse – one of the characteristic local tipples. There’s also Charlottenburg palace and the 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.

Day three

After breakfast we drive through gentle rolling woodland and fields into Saxony, crossing the River Elbe en route to somewhere that is synonymous with the heroic art of escape – Colditz, towering above the town atop a river cliff and seemingly impregnable. For a thousand years a series of fortifications crowned this ideal defensive position, but it is best known for its role as a prisoner of war camp during the second world war. The massively walled castle was so secure it was selected to confine serial escapees, but Colditz “boasted” one of the war’s highest rates of successful ‘home runs’ as they were called, probably due to having so many ardent escapers who could pool their expertise to great effect. Our guided tour and the related exhibition offer an insight into the lives of both inmates and guards, and we see escape tunnels and a home-made radio, false uniforms, diaries, papers, fake documents and other escape equipment ingeniously created from whatever materials were to hand. Much was secreted about the buildings and, like the ‘radio room’, were discovered by maintenance workers after the war. Some of the most moving exhibits are postcards sent by prisoners to their children who they never saw for many years.

For a complete contrast, next we visit nearby Meissen, famous of course for its exquisite porcelain, the first to be made outside China, in 1708. The rarity and cost of the factory’s products meant that it was the preserve of the rich and famous and Europe’s wealthy amassed vast collections – many of which grace the world’s great museums. We have a tour discovering how highly skilled artisans create these works of art many of which take weeks, sometimes months to finish. Quite often referred to as Dresden porcelain, this is the only factory in Europe in which all the processes are completed by hand and we see the complete cycle from clay to finished article, after which there is a stunning museum displaying pieces from throughout the company’s existence.

We soon arrive in Dresden for two nights, at the centrally located, four star superior Hotel Steigenberger. Beautifully designed, this modern and very well managed property throughout makes extensive use of marble; the rooms are superbly decorated and have all the facilities you would expect of a hotel of this quality and an indoor pool.

Some dates will stay at the four star superior Maritim hotel, situated on the banks of the River Elbe and just a few minutes walk to the historic city centre. This modern conversion of a historic building offers fully air-conditioned spacious rooms. Both properties have a very good restaurant, a comfortable bar and both international standard hotels.

Day four

Dating from the 12th century, Dresden sits astride the waters of the River Elbe. It rose to artistic prominence during the early 18th century when August the Strong, ruler of Poland and Saxony, gathered many of the Europe’s best musicians, architects and artists to his capital. Indeed, many of Wagner’s works were first performed here, whilst Canaletto captured Dresden for posterity on numerous occasions, from many different views. Its pre-eminence as a centre for art, classical music, culture 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 restored in recent years, returning Dresden to its former glory.

This morning we have a walking tour around the revitalised architecture. There is the Frauenkirche whose bell shaped dome has for centuries been a landmark on the city skyline, and whose inside decoration is a display of baroque art at its best. We also see the Renaissance Stallhof with its Fuerstenzug – a 100m long Meissen tile mural depicting Saxony’s monarchs, the Residenz-Schloss with its many museums and the Semper Opera. Most remarkable of all is the Zwinger Palace, home of the world’s twelfth largest art collection with works by Rubens, Canaletto, Van Dyke, Rembrandt, El Greco and many others. Also there is one of the world’s finest porcelain collections, a display of modern art and an collection of medieval armour and weapons. An ambience pervades through the city with shops, cobbled streets and restaurants and with numerous talented street musicians keeping Dresden’s musical heritage alive. This afternoon you are free to explore as you wish.

Day five

After breakfast a coach will return you to Berlin airport at the appropriate time for your return flight.
Berlin - Some dates may stay at the Maritim Pro Arte Berlin, four star superior rated located in the centre of Berlin. The modern architecture which is of a high quality creates a unique design of hotel. The hotel has a number of restaurants, bar, a spa area with a pool, sauna and steam room (a charge may apply for the use of some of the spa facilities). The rooms are fully air-conditioned and are equipped with satellite TV with pay TV channels, mini bar, telephone, lap top sized safe and hairdryer.

Dresden - Some dates may stay at the Maritim Dresden, four star superior rated, situated on the banks of the Elbe, housed in a building that is a protected monument. The hotel has a restaurant piano bar and a wellness centre with a pool (a charge may apply to some of the facilities). All rooms are air-conditioned and have satellite TV with pay TV channels, mini bar, telephone, lap top sized safe and hairdryer. excellent restaurant, comfortable bar with live music, wellness centre with indoor pool and sauna. All the comfortable rooms are fully air-conditioned with hairdryer, minibar and safe.

Dresden - Hotel Steigenberger, four star superior rated and centrally located just a few minutes walk from the historic centre. This modern and well-managed property makes extensive use of marble throughout, has a very good quality restaurant, bar and wellness centre with indoor pool. The extremely comfortable rooms are superbly decorated, fully air-conditioned with minibar, safe and tea and coffee making facilities.
This offer has no departures. [NEED SOME CONTENT HERE].

I enjoyed the trip. I had no criticism of the holiday at all The organisation and information from the office was excellent, The hotels were very good, the introductory trips were very good giving enough information then to select options for more detailed investigation.
Jul 2011
Ms J Hughes-Nurse