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The best of GERMANY, SWITZERLAND, northern ITALY including VENICE

(FRANKFURT in/ MILAN out - 14 days)
A leisure tour for using only 4 to 5 hotels

Day 01  Arrive at FRANKFURT Airport - Orientation Tour and transfer to your hotel

A warm welcome awaits all group members upon arrival Frankfurt by your Tour Director who will be with you from now on throughout land. – A brief orientation drive will show you first the lively city center of Frankfurt and its financial district. Of further interest will be the “Roemer”, a complex of eight historic buildings dating back to the 15th up to the 18th C, including the City Hall and St Leonard Church even of the 14th C. – Following a break to browse around, a short transfer drive by your private motor coach will take you to your hotel either in Frankfurt or to its nearby area of Bad Kreuznach, your home for the upcoming 7 nights. - Toward evening join your Tour Director for a welcome reception and for a special dinner at the hotel.  (D)

Day 02  Orientation Tour of BAD KREUZNACH  - afternoon free

A morning orientation tour of Bad Kreuznach will acquaint you first with the city´s history, a mix of modern, natural beauty and still with a historic atmoshere. - It started all with an early Roman settlement BC and a tombstone of the Roman soldier Tiberius can still be seen in the museum of Roemerhalle. - Today´s population of Bad Kreuznach is about 50.000 and for neary 50 years it was one of the homes of the United States Army base that closed down here in 2001. - One of the city´s landmarks are the "Bridge Houses", built on a bridge that crosses the river Nahe in the central district of this town and typical villas of wealthy citizens were costructed during the German Empire. - You may also enjoy its Castle Gardens, transformed during the 19th C into a beautiful range of rare trees which gives the impression of an open air museum. - The afternoon is yours for own activities to do as you please.  - This evening we join again for another fine dinner at your hotel.  (B & D)

Day 03 Excursion to HEIDELBERG, to RUEDESHEIM for a RHINE RIVER CRUISE -and to KOBLENZ 

Enjoy another good breakfast this morning and leave then first for beautiful Heidelberg, an ancient university town celebrated in songs, poetry and described as the "German Heart of Romanticism". - Here, you will be visiting the city´s Church Of The Holy Spirit, an example of late Gothic architecture, its old market square, the City Hall and its glorious "Knight Mansion" that was built during the late 16th C. - Then, we drive up the castle hill, walking to the terrace and will be rewarded by a wonderful view of Heidelberg and its river Neckar. - Afterwards, visit the old Castle Museum and admire its "Great Vat", holding a capacity of nearly up to 50.000 gallons. - Some later, our today´s excursion leads you to the quaint town of Ruedesheim, where the vinyards of the “Rheingau” cease at the beginning of the Rhine Gorge. You will enjoy the picturesque streets and alleys, especially its “Drosselgasse” lined with a number of ornate wine bars inviting visitors for a local wine tasting. – Some later and according to our schedule, you are booked on an unforgettable Rhine river cruise past castles crowning hills, vineyards, medieval towns and the legendary "Loreley Rock" where mermaids are said to have lured sailors to their death ….. – You disembark at St. Goarshausen and continue with your motor coach to the city of Koblenz at the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Mosel, where Romans have established an encampment already in the 9th C.  – From the fortress Ehrenbreitstein, above the right bank of the Rhine river enjoy excellent views of Koblenz with its church towers of the “Liebfrauenkirche”, built during the 12th C and “St. Kastorkirche” of the 18th C. - One of the most striking views of all is the hallowed piece of ground on the promontory at the confluence, called “Deutsches Eck” (German Corner), so named because here in 1216 the Teutonic knights established their first base. – During the later afternoon we return to our hotel in time for freshen up and for dinner.  (B & D)

Day 04  EXCURSION to TRIER and to LUXEMBOURG 

A most scenic motor coach excursion is waiting this morning when your journey takes you into the lovely valley of the river Mosel. You will be attracted by deep curves, numerous vineyards planted on slopes which are in sharp contrast to the short harsh span of the Rhine Gorge. - The route leads through the stylish small town of Kobern-Gondorf overlooked by the ruins of two castles, each of which enhances the other. - A few miles further west rises the powerful fortress Eltz bristling with towers and pinnacles above the trees in an awe-inspiring site. - Soon, we shall arrive at Cochem and its setting, one of the most picturesque towns on the river Mosel for a stop including a delicious wine tasting. - Then, our route continues to Trier, founded by the Romans about 2.000 years ago, the oldest city in Germany. - Following a lunch break the city tour includes its highlight "Porta Nigra", an imposing gateway of a fine Roman relic. - Also of much interest will be the fortress-like Cathedral with its square towers and turrets, the old Roman Basilica and the Imperial Baths, constructed under the Roman Constantine. - Less than a hour from here we cross border for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and enjoy its scenic region with a lush, green and rugged landscape. - Your sightseeing tour will show you its fortification and casemates, a remarkable complex of tunnels and fortresses. - We shall visit Englise St.-Michel, a beautiful church of Gothic style displaying a great altar, a masterpiece of the 17th C and an impressive Baroque organ. - Travelling on road Chemin de la Corniche, we pass elegant turrets which flank the facade of the Grand Ducal Palace and which are decorated with low-relief geometrically designed sculptures. - Time will be yours now to shop or browse around before we return some later this afternoon to our hotel  for another delicious dinner and for overnight.  (B & D)

Day 05  Excursion to ROTHENBURG and to NUREMBERG

While leaving our hotel this morning we travel some further south-east to Rothenburg on the Romantic Road which links the river Main and the Bavarian Alps by way of peaceful valleys. The nature of this road is to be found in its gentle and poetic quality and provides a serene journey through history that evokes the great periods of old medieval towns such as the former Franconian Imperial city of Rothenburg. - Hardly any other town casts such a spell on visitors as this architectural gem. A short walking tour reveals half timbered houses, medieval turrets, gates and towers, almost untouched in its original architecture since the Thirty Years War. - Enjoy here its beautiful painted Old Town Hall of both Gothic and Renaissance style and admire the outstanding “Baumeister-Haus”, an ancient restaurant building of 1596. – On the north side of this square you won´t miss the former “Ratstrinkstube”, an old tavern whose clock jacks enact several times a day the famous bumper of a wine legend representing a “master draught” which took place here in 1631. - Afterwards, you will be visiting St James Church with its famous high altar, known as the “Last Supper of the Holy Blood”, a 16th C masterpiece of woodcarver Tilman Riemenschneider. – Time will be left in charming Rothenburg to do as you please before our route leads further east to historic Nuremberg, Germany´s imperial capital during the Middle Ages. - The city sightseeing will show you first its old town quarter surrounded by an almost intact city wall with numerous towers. - The Museum Bridge, that spans the Pegnitz river will lead you to the bustling market place and to its 14th C “Beautiful Fountain” of Gothic architecture. - The east side of this square is overlooked by the Church Of Our Lady, where mechanical figures perform their noon time rituals. - Across the Old and New City Hall, you will be visiting St. Sebaldus Church, built during the 13th C with a magnificent Gothic choir and tomb, an outstanding example of brass art including a sarcophagus of the late 14th C. – In the course of time, Nuremberg also became  known for its annual International Toy Fair and for its famous gingerbread and roasted sausages. - So, why not try here a tasty "Bratwurst" and explore this delightful city center on your own, - before we some later return to our hotel.  (B & D)

Day 06: EXCURSION to COLOGNE and to its CATHEDRAL

During the morning, your today´s excursion takes you further north to the city of Cologne, capital of the Rhineland and one of the country´s largest cities. Especially known for its gigantic High Cathedral Of St. Peter, a Roman Catholic church and a World Heritage Site. Constructed around 1248 which took more than 600 years to complete this great incomparable edifice that attracts each day an average of more than 20.000 people. - We park our motor coach nearby to visit this church, overwhelming by the height of each tower of about 520 ft and with its 24-ton Bell of St. Peter, the largest free-swinging bell in the world. - You will enjoy the ornateness of decoration such as five stained glass windows depict the lives of the Virgin and St. Peter, given to the Cathedral by former King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Not to be missed the medieval statue of St. Christopher, Patron of Travellers, who welcomes each visitor to its Cathedral. - The altarpiece is a famous masterwork by Stefan Lochner and the 10th C Cross of Gero is one of the oldest sculpture of crucified Christ, carved in oak and displays an unique example of Othonian art. - However, the most celebrated work of art is the "Shrine of the Three Kings" of the late 12th C. - While here, you will be visiting the Treasury Chamber, home of church treasures dating back to the 4th C. Admire works of art made of gold, silver, bronze, ivory and holy relics, liturgical items, textiles, insignias of Archbishops and valuable sculptures from the Middle Ages. - Following this site, time will be left to explore its nearby car-free pedestrian and shopping zone of the inner city, perhaps for a light lunch and for trying here a glass of a good local beer named "Koelsch" - and remember, if you give a toast clink glass bottoms and not tops ...! - Do as you please now and join later your travel companions for our return to the hotel.  (B & D)

Day 07: MORNING AT LEISURE - Afternoon CHURCH SERVICE including ORGAN CONCERT

An almost full day at leisure. – During the later afternoon you are invited for a private church service including organ music of Bach. - Toward evening we meet again for a festive farewell dinner with wine at the hotel. - As a surprise there will be a drawing of valuable gifts with everyone is winning. - We wish this last evening the most enjoyable one during your stay in Germany. (B & D)

Day 08: Depart your hotel by way of BADEN BADEN to INTERLAKEN in SWITZERLAND

Leaving our hotel this morning travelling south by way of Baden-Baden with a stop, right at the fabled Black Forest attracted by its dark coniferous woodland. - Baden-Baden means Europe´s most luxurious spa resort and has seen famous visitors such as the King of Prussia, Napoleon III and Queen Victoria. - Enjoy an easy walk through the lovely park and "Kurgarten" and see its elegant Casino of 1838 which has made Baden-Baden a meeting place of the fashionable world and a summer capital of Europe. - Following this stop and some miles south we cross into Switzerland and proceed to the area of Interlaken and to your hotel for the next 2 nights. - A welcome reception is waiting today before we join for dinner this evening at the hotel.  - Afterwards your Tour Director invites you for a leisurely walk to become some more acquainted with the resort of Interlaken, rich in tradition and to enjoy its scenic location right in the heart of the Swiss Alps providing a beautiful mountain panorama.  (B & D)

Day 09: Excursion to GRUYERES and to MONTREUX & CHILLON CASTLE

Today´s journey leads us first over the Jaun Pass, one of Switzerland´s most mountainous roads to the fortified and picturesque town of Gruyeres lined by old houses with twin windows and wide eaves. - The medieval main street slopes down to the town fountain before rising up again toward the old castle of former counts, the ruling class between the 11th and 16th C.  The heraldic crane of the Counts of Gruyeres can be seen in many  places, over doors and in stained glass windows. – Following this site you are invited to a typical Gruyeres Cheese Dairy for a tasting on the ground floor and viewing a cheese cellar and its storage area. From the second floor and its galleries you can overlook the demonstration area where the manufacturing of Gruyere cheese in wheels of up to almost 80 lbs is made. – After this interesting stop we motor down the Jaun Pass to the resort of Montreux on Lake Geneva, stretches along the shore of a great bay facing south and rises in tiers to heights covered with woods or vineyards which shelter it from the north and east winds. – On the lake shores you may enjoy seeing fig, almond and mulberry trees and even cypresses, magnolias and palm trees flourishing in a truly Mediterranean climate. – Among other international events  held in Montreux are the Golden Rose Television Festival and the famous Jazz Festival taking place in spring and summer. – From the terrace of  the old parish church experience a beautiful view now of the city, the lake with its Chillon Castle, the mountains of the Savoy Chablais and the sparkling Dents du Midi are clearly visible. – Following a break we soon arrive at Chillon Castle, occupies an attractive site and is framed by the lake and Alps. The origins of this castle are dating back to the 9th C and was extended during the 12th C by the Counts of Savoy. - The moat has to be crossed on a 18th C bridge which took the place of an earlier drawbridge. - You will see the Knights´Hall and several salons, remarkably decorated and furnished like the Great Hall with a magnificent ceiling and an imposing 15th C fireside. On display also a fine set of Savoyard furniture and a large collection of pewter. The former Banqueting Hall is adorned with a timber roof in the shape of an inverted  ship´s hull and a collection of rare silver coins is displayed in the Domus Clericorum Hall. – The castle´s dungeons have served as a state prison on several occasions over this period. Probably the most famous prisoner De Bonivard, who was arrested here in the 16th C by the Duke of Savoy and chained to one of the pillars. The English poet Byron commemorated the captivity of Bonivard in a poem after his visit in the year of 1816 which helped to make the castle the most popular monument in Switzerland.  - From the castle enjoy some last views of Montreux, its lake and the Alps and then return to your hotel for another tasty dinner with wine.   (B & D)

Day 10:  Leaving area of  INTERLAKEN  for  LAKE COMO in ITALY

We leave the area of Interlaken this morning and its beautiful Bernese  Alps and travelling further south through the impressive St Gotthard tunnel, journey along the lovely Ticino Valley by way of Bellinzona, for almost a thousand years a stronghold guarding its surroundings with a fortification resting on three castles connected by walls, a great part of which can still be seen. – Then, past Lugano and its lake, framed between the mountains Bré and Salvatore. - Toward evening arrive at Lake Como, appreciated for its beautiful setting and opulent lakeside gardens, a great favourite of its captivating landscape and scenery. – Following hotel check-in for staying on the next 2 nights, you are invited for a welcome reception and a special Italian dinner this evening at the fine hotel restaurant.  (B & D)

Day 11:  Excursion to LUGANO, LOCARNO and to LAGO MAGGIORE

Our today´s excursion takes us first with a short drive back to Switzerland and to Lugano, shares it lake shores with Italy and is set among steep slopes of the Alps. Winding our way along the lakeshore promenade past the municipality of Paradiso, a wonderful blend of nature and culture. You will see the Cathedral of St Lawrence showing a fine decorated doorway of Renaissance, numerous buildings and monuments in the Italian Lombardy architecture. – Then, our route leads further north to Locarno on the Swiss side of  Lago Maggiore and best known for its annual Film Festivals. - An orientation drive will take us to the city´s historical Castello Visconti and to its monastery Madonna del Sasso, a pilgrim church overlooking Locarno from a hill in the hollow of a sunny bay. - Following this stop we continue with our today´s excursion around Lago Maggiore on the Italian side as far as Stresa which attracts many artists and writers. – We board a ferry here that takes us over to Isola Bella, one of the famous Borremean islands, named after the wife of Charles III. Here, you will be visiting its palace of the former Princely family, built in Lombard Baroque style representing several state rooms, Napoleon´s Apartment, a Ball Room and a Hall of Mirrors. – Time is left to enjoy the colourful  gardens, filled with a variety of exotic plants which form an amazing Baroque composition. A truncated pyramid of ten terraces ornamented with statues, beautiful fountains and a shell-shaped amphitheatre providing an extraordinary scenic effect. – Back from its island we then return to our hotel in the area of Lake Como for another delicious dinner with wine and for overnight.  (B & D)

Day 12:  Leaving LAKE COMO via VERONA to PADOVA/ ABANO TERME near VENICE

Following breakfast we leave our hotel and Lake Como by way of Italy´s largest lake Lago di Garda with a short stop before we continue with our drive to Verona, former home of Romeo and Juliet, immortalized by Shakespeare. An orientation drive will show you delightful buildings of Roman and Venetian architecture, the splendid and fortified castle Castelvecchio of the 14th C and the Arena, largest amphitheatre in the former Roman World which can accommodate up to 25.000 spectators during the annual opera season. – Then, proceed further east arriving its ancient area of Padova which used to be one of the most prosperous Roman cities about 2.000 years ago and Abano Terme, well-shaded by pines and one of Italy´s most famous spa resorts. - Enjoy a welcome reception and a fine dinner this evening at your hotel restaurant.  (B & D)

Day 13:  VENICE SIGHTSEEING - MILAN

Leaving our hotel this morning for a beautiful sightseeing day with a short drive to legendary Venice. - From the boat station Piazzale Roma we take a “Vaporetto” to St Mark´s Square gliding on Grand Canal that winds through Venice past magnificent palazzos and numerous footbridges like the famous one of Ponte Realto. Founded about 1.200 years ago and built on 117 little islands with a link to the sea, Venice´ beauty still reflects an incomparable architecture of Byzantine domes, palaces of Venetian-Gothic style, charming squares, dozens of silent canals and for centuries gondolas which have been the traditional means of transport. – One of the city´s highlights will be a guided visit to the Doges´ Palace, residence of the former rulers features a vast collection of art treasures, a symbol of Venetian power and glory. Founded in the 12th C but completely transformed between the 13th and 16th C. - Your tour will start at the top of the Golden Staircase and will lead you through a suite of rooms and halls like the Grand Council Chamber of about 14.000 sq ft with paintings and portraits of over 70 doges, as well as  Tintoretto´s  famous “Paradise”. -  Following this visit ample time is yours now for a lunch break or to stroll around, explore the city´s fascinating alleys, shop for Venetian glass or discover the romance of this intriguing city of canals perhaps by a gondola ride. Experience the unique atmosphere that makes Venice one of the most attractive cities in the world. – This evening an earlier dinner with wine will be served in Venice before we head for our hotel in the district of Milan, lively capital of the Italian district Lombardy. - Leaving Venice around 07:00P for a three-hour drive to Milan you will enjoy one more drawing of valuable and different gifts while travelling, presented by your Tour Director on its way to your hotel.  (B & D)

Day 14:  Last day of tour - depart from MILAN AIRPORT

Following a last and tasty breakfast this morning, your airport motor coach transfer is waiting to take you first on an orientation tour of Milan to see its landmark and Cathedral presenting over 2.000 statues of marble and saints keep a vigilant eye over the city from its spires. - If time allows, you will be also visiting Milan´s world famous opera house La Scala, built 1778 and its museum to view from one of the boxes of six levels the mighty auditorium with a seating for about 2.000 visitors. - Then it´s on to Malpensa Airport for your flight back home. - At the airport it´s time to say “Buon Viaggio” and good-bye to the Old World, to your driver and Tour Director before your flight takes off ..... - Now, - wishing all of you a happy return .....! (B)

Copyright by Wink GmbH & H. Ackermann,

unless using our services as an Incoming Tour Operator.

 

What your land tour cost all includes:

* 13 accommodations at personal selected fine hotels:
   7 overnights in Frankfurt or in its area of Bad Kreuznach, Germany.
   2 overnights in Interlaken or nearby, Switzerland.
   2 overnights on Lake Como or nearby, Italy.
   1 overnight in Padova or Abano Terme near Venice, Italy.
   1 overnight in or near Milan, Italy.
   (Further information on all hotels on request)
 
* 13 full buffet-style breakfasts.

* 13 three or four-courses dinners; four evenings with wine including one dinner in Venice.
 
* Total: 26 Meals.

* Bag service in/ out at all hotels.

* 4 welcome receptions at hotels.
 
* Touring by a private and modern motor coach with all facilities,
   such as air-condition, washroom and toilet, kitchen/ bar, reclining
   seats, panorama windows, etc.
   Airport transfers upon arrival Frankfurt and for Milan departure,
   all excursions, side trips, boat trips, sightseeing and entrance fees
   as per itinerary.

* Highlights:
 ° Orientation tour of Frankfurt and Bad Kreuznach .....
° Excursion to Heidelberg with sightseeing and entrance to its Castle
   Museum, to Ruedesheim, Rhine River Cruise and to Koblenz .....
° Wine tasting in Cochem on the Mosel river, to Trier and to the
   Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, both with sightseeing .....
° Excursion to Rothenburg and Nuremberg, both with sightseeing .....
° Excursion to Cologne including its Cathedral and Treasure Chamber .....
° Private church service and organ music .....
° Transfer to Interlaken in Switzerland by way of Baden-Baden/ Black
   Forest including orientation drive .....
° Excursion to Gruyeres with a cheese tasting and to Montreux including
   sightseeing and entrance to Chillon Castle …..
° Transfer to Lake Como, Italy with stops en route .....
° Excursion to Lugano and Locarno including sightseeing and boat
   transfer to/ from the island of Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore with entrance
   to its castle .....
° Transfer to Padova/ Abano Terme near Venice, by way of Lago di Garda
   and Verona including sightseeing and its arena .....
° Excursion to Venice including boat transfer and guided entrance to
   the Doges´Palace .....
° Transfer to Milan including Cathedral and entrance to the opera
   house La Scala (depending dep time by air) .....
° A valuable gift to each member on day 07 and day 13.
* An experienced motor coach driver and a professional English
   speaking Tour Director throughout land.

Land tour cost per person sharing dbl/ twin-bedded room

30 - 35 paying persons =  Euro 2,450.- p.p.
36 - 40 paying persons =  Euro 2,320.- p.p.
41 - up paying persons = Euro 2,200.-p.p.
 
Single supplement            Euro    390.-

* All rates net in Euro and not commissionable, valid 2013/ 2014.
* From 25 paying persons on – plus one person free of charge on land.
* Please select your own dep/ arvl dates in accordance with us.