On this intriguingly varied tour, we experience two of Europe's greatest cultural cities, Berlin and Dresden. Both have endured violent interludes in otherwise glittering histories and have now returned to their former glory at the heart of 21st- century Europe. The outpouring of joy and energy that accompanied the fall of the Berlin Wall over 30 years ago rekindled Berlin's legendary vibrancy, and this modern city throbs with new life while doffing its cap respectfully to the past. Iconic locations abound - from Checkpoint Charlie with its spy stories, to the magnificent avenue of Unter den Linden with its many cafes and museums. Here we also see the Brandenburg Gate and the instantly recognisable Reichstag, symbol of the new Germany.
Perhaps more sedate than Berlin, Dresden is a cultural jewel reborn as a beacon of hope and peace, revelling in the renewed splendour of its architecture, opera and museums. Before the last war it was Germany's most beautiful city thanks to its imposing Baroque buildings and many art treasures. After huge bomb damage, Dresden has been almost completely restored as part of an extraordinary restoration project spanning 60 years, - and the results are breathtaking. But there is much more to this tour than these two re-energised cities as we experience Germany's traditional side through its rolling countryside, small towns and picturesque villages.
There will also be reminders of old East Germany, including an occasional Trabant, the still sought-after car that is so associated with the period. We explore the medieval town of Meissen, where highly skilled artisans craft exquisite porcelain in the only factory in Europe where the process is still completed entirely by hand. Finally, and in complete contrast to picturesque Meissen, we visit Colditz Castle, the infamous prisoner of war camp for serial would-be escapees - inmates included the legless fighter pilot Douglas Bader. This is a tour that reveals Germany's delightful contrasts, from its vibrant modern cities to its charming rural landscapes, and lets you experience the past, present and future of this remarkable country.
This tour can operate in reverse staying first in Dresden for two nights followed by two nights in Berlin. You will experience the same tours and visits.