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Close to Berlin, at Lake Havel, you find the small, but charming, city of Potsdam. It used to be the Prussian Royal Seat. The kings erected architectural masterpieces in and around the city: among them the Sanssouci Palace with its beautiful park, and the New Palace. The Cecilienhof Palace is famous for having been the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945. The Palaces and parks of Potsdam and Berlin have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1990.
On its way through Lower Austria the Danube flows through Wachau, a breathtakingly beautiful part of the Danube River Valley and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of Europe’s most charming wine-growing regions featuring ancient terraced vineyards, lush orchards, and flower-filled gardens. Picturesque wine villages (Dürnstein, Weissenkirchen and Spitz etc.) with their traditional wine taverns create a perfect setting for you to enjoy and taste the Austrian way of life!
Lucerne, with its waterfront promenades and medieval old city, is located on the banks of the Lake Lucerne. It is one of Switzerland's most popular tourist destinations. The Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge) on the Reuss river, a wooden medieval footbridge joining the old and the new Lucerne together is one of the main attractions. The best way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery around the Lucerne area is a ride on an aerial cable car and a cog-wheel train to the nearby Mount Rigi or Mount Pilatus, or a boat cruise on the lake.
A short drive from Kraków, the grim testimony of the former concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau, reminds the visitor of the tremendous power of the human folly. Absolutely worth a visit is the Wieliczka Salt Mine just 15 km southwest of Kraków. The mine has a labyrinth of underground tunnels, and there is an ornamented chapel, where every single element, from chandeliers to altarpieces, is made of salt.
On the Austrian side of the lake - at the foot of the Mount Pfänder - the old town of Bregenz is famous for its astounding amphitheater with a floating stage. On the Swiss side, the Rhine flows towards Basel through the idyllic town Stein am Rhein and through the magnificent Schaffhausen Falls. Sankt Gallen is a charming old university town, famous for its cheese and typical Swiss architecture. It is a great starting point for excursions into the Appenzell region with its rolling hills and alpine meadows overlooking the lake.
The Moselle flows through some of the finest and most idyllic landscapes in Germany. A tributary to the Rhine, it slowly weaves its way past spectacular hillsides covered by terraced vineyards and ruins of medieval castles towering over beautiful wine villages. Traditional wine taverns invite you to relax and taste some of Germany’s best wines. There is a network of walking trails along the surrounding hills for the outdoor enthusiasts to discover the river valley on foot. Charming small towns like Trier, the oldest town in Germany, await your visit. From there, a day-trip to the nearby Luxembourg is an interesting option.
In the north, there is Nuremberg with its powerful past, once a free imperial city surrounded by smaller fortresses and duchies of Franconia.
Munich, in the south, is the capital of the Free State of Bavaria. It is best known for the world's biggest beer festival Oktoberfest, and the world famous beer tavern ‘Hofbräuhaus.'
Just a short drive south of Munich, a wonderful mountain range of the Bavarian Alps appears against the backdrop of the 'royal blue' skies. The imposing royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Herrenchiemsee, built by the King Ludwig II, blend in the picture-book scenery of the beautiful alpine meadows, lakes and small villages, where Bavarian traditions are still very much alive (like the folklore costumes Lederhosen and Dirndl). It is an unforgettable experience.
Magnificent mountains and deep mountain lakes await you along the hiking trails passing through idyllic villages and lush valleys. The natural beauty of the Alps invites you to take a moment for the wonderful view, slow down and feel the Swiss ‘joie de vivre.’
Lucerne, the cultural center of the region around Lake Lucerne, will be our base for the day trips exploring the surrounding area. We’ll visit the nearby mountain peaks Rigi (with an overnight stay) and Pilatus using the local cogwheel train and a cable car. The third day will take us through the wonderful landscapes of the Emmental region to Thun, from where we catch a boat to Interlaken. After a wonderful drive back through mountain passages in between some of the highest peaks of the Swiss Alps, a gourmet dinner with local specialties will be served! On the last day, there is still time for a sightseeing tour of Zürich, the modern banking capital of Switzerland.
We have put together an interesting and versatile itinerary for a 5-day school trip. The accommodation will be arranged in the Youth Hostel of Stahleck Castle, built 1000 years ago on a hill above the charming town of Bacharach on the west bank of Rhine. One day will be reserved for visiting a local school, or for a field trip of your choice. The finalized itinerary will be put together according to the wishes of the tour group.