10 Day Luther Journey Featuring Christmas Markets

Day 01: Depart the USA We will gather around the ticket counter at the airport three hours prior to our scheduled departure. Dinner, breakfast, and entertainment will be served in-flight.

DAY 02 - FRANKFURT / MARBURG / FULDA Morning arrival at Frankfurt Airport where we are met by our tour escort and motor coach. We drive northwards to the old university town of Marburg where we can see (with local guide) St. Elizabeth’s Church and the Landgrave’s Castle, before continuing our way to the historic town of Fulda. Fulda was a center of religion and scholarship in the Franconian Empire and was designated as a town in 1114 and in the 18th century during the Baroque Age it reached its most important period. It was the residence of the Prince Abbots and Prince Bishops and a university was founded. We will see the Town Castle, St. Michael’s Church and of course the Cathedral. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.

DAY 03 - FULDA / WARTBURG / EISENACH / ERFURT This morning we travel eastward for a visit (with local guide) to the formidable Wartburg Castle (entrance included) where Luther found refuge during the Imperial Ban. The castle was built in the 11th century and is where Luther translated the New Testament in the years 1521-1522 – we will see the “Luther Stube”. A short drive brings us to Eisenach, birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach, whose birthplace we will visit to listen to some of his marvelous music played on historic instruments. We will also visit (with local guide) the Luther House museum (entrance included) before continuing to the historic town of Erfurt, where Luther studied at the university and where our tour in Luther’s footsteps will include a visit to the Cathedral and Church of St. Severi’s with a view of the Kramer Bridge lined on each side with timber-framed houses restored to their original condition. Then pay a highlight visit to the important Augustinian Monastery built in 1277 and now beautifully restored. The Monastery contains an exhibition on Martin Luther who was a monk here from 1505 until 1511. Time to visit the Christmas Markets. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 04 - ERFURT / HALLE / EISLEBEN / THURINGEN Our first visit this morning will be to Halle, where Luther stayed in 1510 for the granting of an appeal to the Pope (Dispute of the Order of St. Augustin). We will see (with local guide) the Market Church of our Dear Lady and also visit the special exhibition (included), which is hoped to be staged showing Luther’s death mask and hands, documents about him, and a Holy Bible with his handwritten notes. Then to Eisleben which ranks amongst the most significant of all places having a connection with him, although he only spent a little time here – he was born here on November 10th, 1483 and died here on February 18th, 1546; old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity towards Eisleben. We will also visit (with local guide) the house (entrance included) of his birth and see the house where he died; St. Andrew’s Church where he preached his last sermon and where his body was laid out, the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul where he was christened, and the Luther Monument. Some time at leisure to see the market place and other points of interest such as St. Anne’s Church with the famous biblical scenes hewn in stone and the buildings of former St. Augustine’s Monastery before driving to our hotel in Thuringen area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 05 - THURINGEN / LEIPZIG / WITTENBERG / THURINGEN Drive this morning to the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach’s city, where our sightseeing (with local guide) will include St. Thomas Church where Bach was organist and choirmaster; we will also view the Renaissance Town Hall and the Christmas Market, before driving northwards to Wittenberg, birthplace of the Reformation, city of Frederick the Wise who was patron and protector of Luther. Luther lived here from 1508 until his death. We will visit (with local guide) All Saints Castle Church where Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door and which contains the graves of Luther and Melanchthon. See the University where Luther taught, and visit Melanchton’s House as well as the Luther House which is the largest and greatest museum of Reformation history in the world (entrance included). We will also visit the Stadkirche of St.Marien where Luther  used to preach  and see the Luther monument and renaissance Town Hall. We then return to our hotel in the Thuringen area for dinner and overnight.

DAY 06 - THURINGEN / BAYREUTH / NURNBERG Drive through the southern part of the old East Germany and continue to Bayreuth, known worldwide for its Wagner music fes1val. We then continue through many lovely towns and villages on the way to Nurnberg, the city of Durer and the Meistersingers, a city surrounded by thick walls and overlooked by its landmark castle. Nurnberg City’s long and historic past; we will see (with local guide) its old fortifications and time permitting, we may be able to see craftsmen at their work in the Craftsmen’s Courtyard in the City Center, or stop outside the Castle to enjoy the fine view across the housetops with their pointed gables and the tall church spires. Also, we have the option to stroll along the Christmas Market. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 07 - NURNBERG / AUGSBURG Drive further south by way of Ingoldtadt on the Danube to Augsurg, City of the Confession and one of the most important German cities asociated with Luther. Martin Luther stayed in Augsburg on his way from Rome in March 1511 and it was here most significantly that he defended his 95 Theses in the debate with the representative of the Church of Rome in 1518, and during his stay in Augsburg from October 7-20 the foundations were laid for the decisive development of the Reformation and thus of the Christian Church. We will see (with local guide) the Renaissance style Town Hall, the Church of the Holy Cross (Luther’s lodgings after his journey to Rome in 1511), and the impressive Augustus fountain as well as visiting St. Anne’s Church with its small Luther courtyard and the memorial Chapel of the Fugger. We can spend the remaining of the day visiting the Christmas Markets. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 08 - AUGSBURG / NEUSCHWANSTEIN / OBERAMMERGAU / MUNICH Our full day tour of Bavaria commences with a drive through spectacular mountain scenery, past snow-capped alps, crystalline lakes and rustic villages to Neuschwanstein to see (with local guide) the famous castle built by mad King Ludwig and the basis for Walt Disney’s famous fairytale castle. A short drive then brings us to the tiny village of Oberammergau, site of the world-famous Passion Play which is performed once every ten years. We will visit the Passion Play Theater and see the many beautifully painted houses which make this such an attractive village. There will be also few time to see the Christmas Market before driving to Munich, Bavaria’s lively capital. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 09 – MUNICH Our orientation sightseeing tour (with local guide) here will include the Gothic Town Hall, the Marienplatz, Karlstor Gate and Our Lady’s Cathedral. Stop at the Hofbrauhaus Munchen. Afternoon is at leisure to visit the Christmas Market at your own pace. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

DAY 10 - MUNICH / USA Transfer this morning to Munich Airport for our return flight to the United States at the end of our enjoyable journey.