Local departure by coach or Door-to-Door service, then to Belgium for an overnight stay.
Day 2 Möhne Dam
Location: Möhne Dam
This morning, we travel across the border into Germany and include a stop at the Möhne Dam in the Ruhr Valley, heroically breached by the Lancasters of 617 Squadron (Dambusters) in 1943. At Möhne you can walk on top of the dam and still see where the breach was made. Of the 20 massive dams constructed in the Ruhr Valley, six dams were selected as targets with three of these being the primary targets: the Möhne, the Eder and the Sorpe dams. Between the Möhne and Sorpe, they held back 76% of the total water available to the industrial valley, one of the main reasons they were two of the primary targets. If breached, these dams would bring the whole industrial valley to a standstill, causing massive damage to the steel industry devastating production of tanks, aircraft, guns and locomotives which were all vital to Germany's war effort.
After our visit we continue east to Hannover and our hotel for a four-night stay.
Day 3 Goslar, Wernigerode & the Harz Mountains
Location: Goslar, Wernigerode & the Harz Mountains
Our included excursion today takes us first to the former imperial city of Goslar. With over 1,000 years of history, Goslar was the favoured seat of government in northern Germany for centuries. At the same time, it was also a centre of Christianity and the spires of the 47 churches, chapels and monasteries define the town’s unique silhouette. Goslar was also referred to as the ‘Rome of the North’. Today, the view of the townscape with the steeples of the five large parish churches is impressive when viewed from the knoll upon which the Imperial Palace stands. The many crooked, narrow, cobble-stoned streets in the Old Town are a joy to explore.
After free time, we take a scenic drive through the beautiful Harz region to the delightful town of Wernigerode. Wernigerode is an attractive destination on the Holtemme River, nestling against the northern foothills of the Harz Mountains. It has an impressive medieval town centre with rows of charming, centuries-old, timber-framed houses and is dominated by a fascinating, fairy tale castle. Enjoy free time exploring the town at your leisure before returning to our hotel in time for our evening meal.
Day 4 Hannover & Celle
Location: Hannover & Celle
A free day to relax and explore Hannover at your own pace. Hannover has had a long and special relationship with Britain since 1714 when Elector Georg Ludwig became King George I of England. Hannover is not the typical European city. It was unfortunately hit hard during World War 2, leaving it with only a few historical landmarks. Even the Altstadt or Old City is relatively new. Head to the Kröpcke, a large pedestrian area in the heart of Hannover. It is the city’s major shopping spot and home to the opera house. You will also find many places to eat here.
This afternoon, why not join us for an optional visit to the nearby picturesque town of Celle? Situated in a glacial valley, Celle is a town with a distinctive flair. It is located approximately 25 km south of the town of Bergen, the location of the largest concentration camp on German soil during World War 2. It was here that Anne Frank was interned and later died. Celle was founded over 700 years ago, and managed to emerge from World War 2 virtually unscathed with its historical centre intact. There are over 400 half-timbered buildings in the Old Town alone, which has made it a popular tourist destination. There will be free time to explore this picturesque town. Be sure to see the three oldest buildings: the Ducal Palace, Town Church and the Old Town Hall. Another architectural delight is the New Town Hall, which is an impressive red brick building dating from the 19th century and one of the largest buildings of its kind in Germany. Please note: entrances to places of interest are at extra cost.
Day 5 Göttingen & Hamelin
Location: Göttingen & Hamelin
Today’s optional excursion is devoted to two of Germany’s most famous sons, the Brothers Grimm, who between them wrote some of the world’s best-loved fairytales. We head south to the city of Göttingen, where the Grimm brothers were both professors at the university. One of the main sights is the ‘Gänseliesel’ or Goose Girl fountain. This art nouveau figure is a favourite of all newly graduated doctors, who kiss her bronze cheeks after passing their exams – a tradition which has continued for over 100 years.
This afternoon we continue to the quaint town of Hamelin. Situated on the River Weser, Hamelin was originally founded in the 9th century by monks. By the 13th century a full-fledged town had developed. Although the town itself is quite charming with many Renaissance and half-timbered buildings, the famous Pied Piper fairy tale is the town’s principal draw. Many of the bakeries offer rat shaped breads and you will even have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the Pied Piper and follow the ‘Rat Trail’ where thousands of handcrafted painted rats show you the way around the town.
Day 6 Cologne
This morning, we leave our hotel after breakfast and travel back through Germany to Belgium and our overnight hotel. En route, we pause at the majestic city of Cologne. This stylish and attractive city stands on the banks of the Romantic River Rhine. Here, you can enjoy some free time to explore the many shops and boutiques. During the Second World War, around 90 percent of Cologne’s inner city was reduced to rubble. Today, the Rhine metropolis is the fourth largest city and one of the most outstanding travel destinations in Germany and Europe. Cologne cathedral, famous around the world, dominates the panorama of the city and is still today the second highest building in Cologne after the telecommunications tower. Maybe take time to visit the famous Gothic cathedral, with its most celebrated work, the Sarcophagus of the Magi, thought to hold the remains of the three wise men. The local cuisine, with its many traditional pubs and restaurants, is highly varied and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Whether it’s relaxing on the Rhine promenade or drinking a Kölsch in one of the typical breweries, a visit to Cologne is always enjoyable.
You will stay for four nights at the 4-star H4 Hannover Messe. Due to demand, we may also use the 4-star Wyndham Hannover Atrium or the 4-star H+ Hotel Hannover.
Overnight stays in Belgium will be in city-style hotels.
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