Picture yourself downing a stein (or two) of suds and belting out choruses of Ach, du leiber Augustin in a beer hall in Munich. Or standing on the spot where President John F. Kennedy made his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in Berlin. Or soaking up a spectacular view of the ancient city of Cologne from the top of a soaring tower on a Gothic cathedral.
Take stops at three of Germany’s most colorful cities, link them by super-high-speed trains, find some upscale hotels to stay in between train rides, allow lots of time for sightseeing and then let a savvy tour operator put everything together for you. Oh, and you can schedule your week-long tour to start just about any day you like this year. And you can add more cities to your stay, and more days, too.
Such uncommon flexibility is the hallmark of a 12-year-old tour company called Railbookers. Unsurprisingly, the company specializes in rail-based vacations (in Europe, for instance, you can opt to ride on one or more of some two dozen rail lines).
You can do things like this and a whole lot more on a six-day Railbookers tour called “Essential Germany.” Here are some highlights of the itinerary:
Day 1: Cologne
Arrive in Cologne and check in at the Marriott Cologne for an overnight stay. Cologne is the largest city on the famous Rhine River with a history dating back to the Roman Empire. The city’s skyline is dominated by its impressive Gothic cathedral, which towers over Old Town and the main rail station. Climb up to the top of the north tower for spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Alternatively, for those with a sweet tooth, a visit to the Schokoladenmuseum (Chocolate Museum) is a must! Learn about the history and process of chocolate making with an opportunity to try the finished product at the end of your visit.
Days 2 and 3: Munich
After a leisurely breakfast, leave from Cologne’s main station for a train journey to Munich. Arrive in Munich in the late afternoon and check in for a two-night stay at the Courtyard Munich City Centre.
Founded in the 12th century, Bavaria’s capital city has a wealth of historical and cultural attractions to explore. Walk through grand 19th century avenues and squares, visit the summer residence of the rulers of Bavaria at the Nymphenburg Palace or perhaps enjoy an afternoon in the Englischer Garten, one of the world’s largest urban parks. And of course no trip to Munich would be complete without a mug or two of beer at one of the historic beer halls.
Day 4: Munich to Berlin
Leave Munich today for a six-hour ride by high speed ICE train to Germany’s vibrant capital. On arrival, check in at the Savoy Berlin for a three-night stay.
Days 5 and 6: Berlin
Enjoy two full days seeing the sights of Berlin – at different times the capital of Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. Check out famous landmarks in the city such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and a bewildering choice of museums (including some on Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site).
Elsewhere, you can learn about the history of the Berlin Wall at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, get great views from the top of the Fernsehnturm on Alexanderplatz or browse the stores along the Kurfürstendamm (or K’damm), a street also home to the arresting Kaiser Memorial Church with its ruined spire.
Day 7: Depart Berlin
Leave Berlin today for home. Or perhaps visit more of Germany’s cities. Or maybe head further afield with a train journey direct to Prague? The folks at Railbookers say “…just give us a call, we have lots of ideas for you.”
Prices for the “Essential Germany” tour start at $730 per person.