Experience the scenic and cultural highlights of Germany, from the legendary Rhine River and the beautiful Black Forest and Bavarian Alps to artistic Dresden and cosmopolitan Berlin.

Starting at: $5,792 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 King Ludwig II's Neuschwanstein Castle with stunning alpine scenery  Germany's scenic Rhine River Valley  The German university town of Heidelberg, along the Neckar River  The Black Forest  Neuschwanstein Castle  The Glockenspiel in Marienplatz, Munich  The Marienplatz in Munich  The baroque interior of Nymphenburg Palace, Munich  Watchtower at Dachau  The picturesque town of Bamberg  Square in Dresden  The Royal Palace, Dresden  Semper Opera House, Dresden  The town of Meissen, dominated by the Albrechtsburg Castle  Display of Meissen porcelain  Brandenburg Gate, Berlin  Sign in four languages at Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin  The Reichstag, Parliament Building, Berlin  The Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

Highlights of Germany

15-17 days from $5,792 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Experience the scenic and cultural highlights of Germany, from the legendary Rhine River and the beautiful Black Forest and Bavarian Alps to artistic Dresden and cosmopolitan Berlin.

or Call 855-330-1542


Save $200 *per person when you book by April 6, 2018! Use promotion code LASTCALL online or when speaking to our travel specialists to secure these savings.

• Aug. 1, 2018

*Offer valid on new bookings only.


This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.


From the legendary Rhine and the beautiful Black Forest to artistic Dresden and cosmopolitan Berlin, explore Germany’s scenic beauty, arts, and history.

Highlights Include

  • Rhine River Cruise: Discover a landscape of German tradition, history, and castles during a full-day excursion, including a relaxing cruise through the Rhine River Valley—a World Heritage site.
  • Heidelberg and the Black Forest: Tour the university town of Heidelberg with its evocative medieval streets, then continue through the Black Forest, a storied woodland whose pastoral beauty and natural spring waters have drawn visitors for centuries.
  • Bavaria: Travel through the Bavarian Alps to the fairy- tale castle of Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II’s 19th-century Romanesque revival palace, with its fanciful turrets and towers. In Munich, Bavaria’s capital, see the baroque Nymphenburg Palace and the Glockenspiel carillon in Marienplatz during a highlights tour. Visit Dachau, today a memorial to the 40,000-plus people who perished there. Continue to Nuremberg, where Allied forces prosecuted Nazi leaders in military tribunals.
  • Saxony: The historical center of Dresden, Saxony’s capital, has been beautifully restored since the devastation of World War II. Explore the beloved Semper Opera House and stand in awe at the Historic Green Vault in Dresden Castle, a European “jewel box” housing astounding treasures. In Meissen, visit the Royal Porcelain Factory where fine china has been produced since 1710.
  • Berlin: Germany’s capital is its largest city, cultural center, and beating heart. See major sites associated with its partition and reunification, such as Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and Checkpoint Charlie. You’ll also visit the Neues Museum and enjoy time at leisure to explore other important cultural sites. Plus, travel to Potsdam to tour Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great of Prussia and considered the “German Versailles.” 

Activity Level 2: Moderate

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Frankfurt, Germany

Day 2 — Frankfurt

Arrive in Germany’s—and Europe’s—financial center today and transfer to your hotel. As guests’ arrival times may vary greatly, there are no group activities planned during the day. Early this evening meet for a briefing about the journey ahead then enjoy a welcome dinner together. (D)

Day 3 — Frankfurt and Rhine River Cruise

One of the great rivers of Europe and Germany’s historic highway of commerce and industry, the Rhine holds a special place in German tradition. Encounter this fabled waterway on a full-day cruise through the Rhine River Valley, a World Heritage site and land of castles and kings, legends and lore. (B,L)

Day 4 — Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Black Forest

With its riverside setting, medieval castle ruins, and narrow, winding streets that were spared wartime bombing, Heidelberg stands as perhaps the quintessential German city. Discover this romantic university town on a morning tour featuring Old Town; the university (c. 1386); Carl Theodor Old Bridge spanning the Neckar River; Heidelberg Castle; and lively Market Square, where you have free time for lunch on your own. Then depart for the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Germany’s storied woodland whose pastoral beauty and natural spring waters have drawn visitors for centuries. (B,D)

Day 5 — Black Forest, Triberg, and Freiburg

Today we discover Germany’s Black Forest, an ancient wood whose dark name belies the splendor of its rushing streams and the peace of its hushed groves. We stop first in Triberg, birthplace of the traditional cuckoo clock and where we visit the Schwarzwaldmuseum, a gallery housing local art, crafts, and depictions of life in this corner of Germany over the centuries. Then we travel on to Freiburg, another river-straddling university town which is, on average, the sunniest and warmest city in Germany. Here, we see the 13th-century Gothic cathedral and the adjacent Augustinian cloister, both of which survived heavy bombing during World War II.  Swedish historian Jacob Burckhardt declared in the 1800s that the cathedral’s 380-foot tower would “forever remain the most beautiful spire on earth,” and it’s easy to see why, as the intricately wrought peak looms above the city. We return to our hotel late this afternoon with the remainder of the day at leisure. Lunch and dinner today are on our own. (B)

Day 6 — Black Forest and Bavaria

Leaving the Black Forest, travel along the shores of Lake Konstanz through scenic Bavaria, home to the breathtaking Bavarian Alps. Midafternoon reach Garmisch-Partenkirchen and your hotel set amid the stunning alpine scenery. (B,D)

Day 7 — Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle, Munich

Today encounter the fairy-tale castle of one’s imagination: Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II’s 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace that was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle, with its fanciful turrets and towers, gables and balconies. Following your visit to the hilltop castle, enjoy lunch together. Then continue to Munich, capital of Bavaria. (B,L)

Day 8 — Munich

A morning sightseeing tour of Munich, Germany’s most prosperous and highly livable city, includes the baroque Nymphenburg Palace, former summer home of Bavarian royalty; the Glockenspiel carillon in Marienplatz, Munich’s popular central square; the royal avenue of Maximilianstrasse. Then the remainder of the day is free to explore as you wish. Tonight dine together at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 9 — Munich, Dachau, Nuremberg

Travel just ten miles outside Munich today to Dachau, site of Germany’s first concentration camp and today a memorial to the 40,000-plus who perished there. After this somber encounter continue to Nuremberg, a historic city where Allied forces prosecuted Nazi leaders in military tribunals that became known as the Nuremberg Trials. Here take a walking tour of this city known for its medieval architecture. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Nuremberg and Dresden

This morning visit several sites associated with the Nuremberg Trials, including the Palace of Justice complex where the momentous trials took place. After the tour here and free time for lunch, travel on to Dresden. (B,D)

Day 11 — Dresden

The historical center of Dresden, the capital of Saxony, was largely destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II, but was rebuilt to its earlier glory. Among the attractions of this remarkable city that you will see on this morning’s tour is the beautiful Semper Opera House You'll also visit the Historic Green Vault in Dresden Castle, the “jewel box” of Europe, housing an astounding array of treasures, including the crown jewels and the world’s largest green diamond. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore as you wish. (B)

Day 12 — Dresden, Meissen, Berlin

Leaving Dresden, stop in Meissen to visit the factory that produced the world’s first high quality porcelain outside of the Far East. Opened in 1710, Meissen’s Royal Porcelain Factory still creates the fine china that is on display in museums and homes around the world. Continue to Berlin, where you enjoy dinner together. (B,D)

Day 13 — Berlin

Germany's capital, its largest city, cultural center, and beating heart, Berlin is both provincial and international, historic and up-to-the-minute, sophisticated and friendly. Get your first taste on this morning’s tour featuring Brandenburg Gate, the triumphal arch now a symbol of reunification; and the Neues Museum, which features collections of Egyptian artifacts (including the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti) as well as collections from European and Asian civilizations between the Stone and Middle ages. Visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, the remaining section of the partition that brutally divided the city – and the nation – from 1961 to 1989. Here, too, is Checkpoint Charlie, symbol of a once-divided nation. Now a historical monument and tribute to victims, the memorial traces the history of the wall and German reunification. The remainder of the day is free for independent exploration. (B)

Day 14 — Berlin and Potsdam

Today visit nearby Potsdam, former capital of Prussia, site of the victorious Allies’ post-World War II conference, and home of Sanssouci, the former summer palace of Frederick the Great of Prussia. Tour the elaborate manse, considered the “German Versailles,” with its parks, lakes, and follies. Then return to Berlin for an afternoon at leisure; tonight gather for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15 — Depart for the U.S.

This morning depart for the airport and your return flights to the U.S. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)