Day 1 :
- Depart home for Heidelberg, Germany:
Day 2 :
Guten Tag Heidelberg
- Arrive in Heidelberg:
Meet your tour director and check into your hotel.
Day 3 :
- Heidelberg Tour Director-led Sightseeing Tour:
Surrounded by mountains, forests, and the Neckar River, Heidelberg showcases a quintessential German landscape. Join your Tour Director as you drive through this granddaddy of all college towns, with its scores of bars, cafés, and shops. Get a beautiful view Germany’s oldest university —founded in 1386—from the Marktplatz, Heidelberg’s main square. Notice that behind the university lurks the Students’ Prison, used from 1778 until 1914 to imprison students for up to four weeks for minor offenses like drunkenness, practical jokes, and dueling. (Imprisoned students still had to attend lectures — think of it as the 19th-century equivalent of being grounded.) Then head up to Heidelberg Castle, which is still a little wobbly from its partial destruction during the Thirty Years’ War, a 17th-century attack by the French, and a major lightening hit in 1764. The castle’s courtyard is home to the largest wine barrel in world, the Great Vat, which holds about 50,000 gallons of wine (possibly another contributing factor to the castle’s romantically off-balance appearance).
- Rhine River Cruise:
Cruise along the fortress-studded Rhine, with its banks crowned by magnificent castles and breathtaking, vine-terraced hills. Please note that the location of the Rhine Cruise is subject to change in the spring due to operating schedules.
Day 4 :
- Tour Rothenburg:
Travel to Rothenburg and enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of Rothenburg. Christmas reigns all year round in Rothenburg, a jewel of a town on Germany’s picturesque Romantic Road. Beyond the year-round Christmas markets, the town boasts one of the most intact medieval city walls in Europe and a fairly unique clock. During the Thirty Years’ War, a former Rothenburg mayor was offered the chance to save the city by chugging close to a gallon of wine; he succeeded (and then slept for three days straight), and his accomplishment is reenacted seven times daily by mechanical figures on the clock in the Marktplatz -- adding a new twist to the concept of “cuckoo clock.” The enormous Gothic St. Jacob’s Church watches over the exploits from across the square.
- Travel to Munich via Romantic Road:
There is no surprise here. The Romantic Road is exactly what it says it is -- a drive down the middle of Western Bavaria’s heartland and a path through the center of your own heart with its romantic picturesque scenery. Between Würzburg and Füssen, the route is strewn with quaint villages, colorful castles, farmhouses, elaborate churches and dense forest.
Day 5 :
- Tour Munich:
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Frauenkirche, Glockenspeil, Nymphenburg Palace and the Olympic site of 1972. Then visit Dachau with an audioguide.
LEAP Activity | Bask in Bavarian Arts
Discover the links between traditional dance and Bavarian history. Listen to and learn Bavarian music while participating in ancient folklore storytelling. You’ll also learn (and demonstrate) a variety of traditional dance steps as taught by local experts.
Day 6 :
- Neuschwanstein Castle:
Travel to Lucerne and tour this fascinating castle along the way. This elaborate castle was built atop a rock ledge over the Pöllat Gorge in the Bavarian Alps by order of Bavaria's King Ludwig II, referred to as "Mad Ludwig," whose favorite pastime was midnight sleigh rides through the countryside. This stronghold was the crowning jewel of the king’s building spree across Bavaria and was the inspiration for Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. Begun in 1869 and left unfinished at Ludwig's death in 1886, this lavish palace is an eccentric reconstruction of a medieval castle, and it boasts major technological and architectural achievements for the time, including running water, flushing toilets, a hot water system for the kitchen, and bathrooms with warm-air heating systems.
LEAP Activity | Debate the Great
Meet six influential figures from Germany’s history. Join a debate and argue their accomplishments to decide who the greatest German is.
Day 7 :
- Tour Lucerne:
Enjoy a tour director-led sightseeing tour of
Löwendenkmal (Lion Monument), Kapellbrücke, Jesuitenkirche, Weinmarkt and Kornmarkt Squares.
- Optional Zurich half day excursion:
Visit Zurich, an optional excursion, known as "Downtown Switzerland". The city acts as headquarters for five world banks and countless underground gold bullions. Later, explore the old town (altdstadt) and get a sense of why this city was named number one for best quality of life; stroll through parks and quays, relax by Lake Zurich or shop for products unique to Switzerland.
LEAP Activity | Swiss Life and Legends
Legends of William Tell, the Lion Monument, Swiss independence, and more come to life as you reenact episodes in the history of Switzerland.
Day 8 :
- Tour Verona:
Travel to Venice via Verona. In fair Verona shall we lay our scene. The setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” still glows with romance. See Juliet’s balcony, tenderly draped with climbing ivy and overlooking a golden-hued statue of the young mistress herself. As you gaze out and contemplate the power of love, don’t get too swept away -- remember that while Shakespeare based his characters on Verona’s real-life feuding families, both Romeo and Juliet were, in fact, fictional.
While in Verona you will also have visit the Roman Arena and Casa di Giulietta.
Day 9 :
- Tour Venice:
Enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the Bridge of Sighs, Doge's Palace, Grand Canal, and St. Mark's Cathedral.
LEAP Activity | Behind the Carnival Mask
Create a Venetian mask inspired by the Italian Carnival, the Commedia dell’Arte—or by your imagination! Learn the meaning of the mask and its historical significance, then decorate yours using professional techniques.
Day 10 :