DAY 1: WEDNESDAY/ SUNDAY
Frankfurt – Eisenach – Weimar – Leipzig (D)
Depart from Frankfurt in the morning and drive eastward to Eisenach, dominated by the Wartburg Castle. Visit one of the most important buildings of German history and see the room where Martin Luther in only eleven weeks translated the New Testament. Three hundred years before, St. Elizabeth of Thuringia spent almost all her life at the Wartburg. Afterwards, we continue to a cultural treasure, Weimar, where numerous famous persons like Goethe, Schiller, Liszt and Richard Strauss lived and worked. Afterwards we head to our today’s destination, Leipzig, check-in at our hotel and visit one of Germany´s largest Christmas markets. The main attraction is located on the historical market square in front of the ancient town hall, a 25yard Christmas tree with thousands of lights. Stroll along the stalls with handcrafted Christmas gifts from the region. We invite you to an informal but very typical German snack with Bratwurst and the hot spiced wine called Gluehwein. Overnight at Ramada City Centre or similar..
Day 2: Thursday/Monday
Leipzig - Meißen - Dresden (B)
After the breakfast we continue towards Meissen where we will visit one of Germany’s oldest porcelain manufactories. Founded in the 18th century and being continuously in operation since then, the delicate and always handcrafted products are found in royal courts and celebrities homes all around the world. See the exhibition hall and the demonstration workshops where all steps of the painting and glazing process are explained to you. Afterwards, we go on to Dresden, the capital of the Free State of Saxony. On a city tour you will get to know one of the loveliest cities of central Europe. Due to its general mild climate, the baroque architecture and the renowned museums, Dresden is also called ‘Florence of the Elbe’. See the main sights such as the Semper Opera House, the baroque Zwinger and, overall, the restored Frauenkirche. Nowadays, it is hard to believe that after the bombing in 1945 the city centre was completely destroyed. After our tour we check-in at our hotel. In the evening we will visit the Christmas market called ‘Striezelmarkt’ – named after the local cake ‘Striezel’. Highlights are the big Christmas pyramid and the numerous stalls where you can taste the Striezel. Overnight at Park Inn o.s.
Day 3: Friday/Tuesday
Dresden - Annaberg - Schneeberg - Plauen (B/D)
Today we are heading mostly along country roads, via Seiffen, a centre of the wooden toy industry, to two ancient miner-villages, Schneeberg and Annaberg. These towns are typical for the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) and actually home of the German tradition of woodcarving and Christmas pyramids. In former times, light – represented by candles – was an important symbol of life and safety for the miners, working in the dark tunnels. The woodcarvers combined their deep religious beliefs and used candles to illuminate the pyramids, decorated with saints and symbols of the holy night. The Christmas market in Annaberg is dating back to 1510. Schneeberg hosts St. Wolfgang’s Church with an altar from 1539, carved by Lucas Cranach the Elder. In the afternoon we continue towards Plauen, famous for its handcrafted lace. Plauen was founded in 1122 and since the 16th century has been an important place for cotton manufacturing. Our farewell dinner will be served at our hotel. Overnight at Hotel Alexandra o.s.
Day 4: Saturday/Wednesday
Plauen - Bamberg - Frankfurt (B)
This morning we are travelling through the Franconian forest to the imperial city of Bamberg. Founded in the 9th century, it has a nicely preserved Old Town which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will see the cathedral and the former Benedictine abbey of Michaelsberg before, unfortunately, it is time for the last impressions of German Christmas markets. You will have sufficient time to do some last-minute shopping before we start our journey through the rolling hills of Franconia back to Frankfurt, our final destination which we will reach in the late afternoon.