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Berlin to Dresden: Hidden Gems of Eastern Germany

Gently pedal along easy bike paths through a beautiful region of Germany you never knew existed. We’ll take in the wonders of this area from Sanssouci Park and the Meissen Porcelain Factory to the UNESCO wetland ecosystem of the Spreewald and the breathtaking Karst mountains in Saxon Switzerland National Park.

  • 10 Days
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Daily Mileage: 15 - 35 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Perfect for those trying a bike vacation for the first time.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Berlin to Dresden: Hidden Gems of Eastern Germany

A new prosperity has enveloped eastern Germany, and you can be on hand to witness firsthand how this picturesque region has embraced its past while turning its face to the future. You’ll explore the grounds of a royal palace, drift through canals in a traditional boat, enter a historic windmill, and discover the art of creating porcelain—and the perfect pickle. From Potsdam to Dresden, you’ll see how a resilient people have rebuilt their cities from the ravages of war. Plus, view dense forests and lush fields, “Germany’s bayou,” and the breathtaking jagged peaks of Saxon Switzerland National Park on VBT’s exquisitely crafted cycling routes.

Cultural Highlights

• Cycle through a park inspired by Versailles
• Explore the Spreewald, “Germany’s bayou”
• Savor a locally sourced lunch at a 150-year-old windmill
• Embark on a traditional Kahnfahrt (boat ride) through scenic canals and waterways
• Sample the tasty products of a local pickling business
• Learn about fine porcelain on a guided factory tour
• Delight in scenic views as you cycle a bike path along the Elbe River
• Marvel at the rugged beauty of Saxon Switzerland National Park
• Set off on a walking tour of Dresden with a local guide

What to Expect

This tour features easy terrain, with options for longer rides on rolling hills. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who need assistance. This tour is ideal for both beginning and experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 15 – 35 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Potsdam
May 66°/46°  Jun 71°/52°  Jul 75°/56°  Aug 73°/56°  Sep 64°/50°  Oct 56°/41°

Average Precipitaiton (in.) – Potsdam
May 1.9  Jun 2.4  Jul 2.9  Aug 2.5  Sep 2.4  Oct 1.5

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacation Only – Without Air

  • 6 nights in 4- and 5-star hotels
  • 11 meals – 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

Both Vacation Options Include

  • FREE use of a bicycle and helmet
  • Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
  • FULL VAN SUPPORT
  • Daily route directions and maps
  • Welcome reception with local wine and hors d’oeuvres
  • Sightseeing and cultural activities
  • 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
  • Special Good Buy Discount
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2016 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $445 | 2016 Land Only Single Supplement: $345 | 2017 Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $495 | 2017 Land Only Single Supplement: $345

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. 2016/2017 Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Star Alliance

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart from home / Fly overnight to Berlin

Depart from home for Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

DAY 2: Arrive in Berlin / Transfer to your hotel

Upon arrival at Berlin’s Tegel Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill out a PIR form before leaving the customs area; VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. Make certain your VBT luggage tags are clearly visible so that our VBT representative can identify you. After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for our VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and will assist with your transfer to our centrally located hotel (approximately 1 hour).

Please note: Our rooms may not be available until 2:00 p.m., in which case you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

The rest of the day is yours to explore Berlin at leisure, using the VBT City Information as your guide.

Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you fly in earlier than the scheduled program dates, transportation from the airport will be at your own expense.

Hotel: Art’Otel Berlin Mitte
Meals: B

DAY 3: Land program begins / Warm-up ride / Potsdam / Welcome reception

VBT No-Air Package guests: At 12:00 p.m., meet your VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of VBT’s Berlin hotel (Art’Otel Berlin Mitte, Wallstrasse 70-73, Berlin, Tel: +49 (0) 30 240 620). Our VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please plan to have lunch before meeting the representative, and come dressed for cycling.

If your arrival at the hotel is scheduled for later than 12:00 p.m., or if you are delayed, you must travel to our Potsdam hotel (Hotel Brandenburger Tor, Brandenburgerstrasse 1, Tel: +49 (0) 331 877 00000), at your own expense. A direct train connects Berlin with Potsdam, costs about $20-$30 USD per person, and takes approximately 45 minutes. Please contact the Hotel Brandenburger Tor to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package guests & Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet the VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of the hotel at 12:00 p.m. The VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please arrive dressed for cycling.

From the hotel, you’ll shuttle to the outskirts of the city (approximately 30 minutes), where you’ll meet your Trip Leaders and enjoy an orientation, safety briefing, and bike-fitting session. You will then set off on a warm-up ride, cycling through the Grünewald Forest and along the Havel River toward Potsdam.

You’ll arrive at your hotel, the 4-star Hotel Brandenburger Tor, in the afternoon. Centrally located on a pedestrian street, the hotel is just a short walk from Sanssouci Park in one direction and Potsdam’s famous Holland Quarter in the other. You’ll have time to settle in and relax, or begin exploring Potsdam on your own.

Tonight, gather with your travel mates for a welcome reception at your hotel, followed by dinner at a local restaurant.

Hotel: Hotel Brandenburger Tor
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15 miles (25 km)

DAY 4: Train to Götz / Cycle along the Havel River / Ride through Sanssouci Park

After a hearty breakfast, you’ll take a short bus and train transfer, approximately 30 minutes, from a nearby tram stop to the small train station in Götz, where you’ll cycle to a bike path along the Havel River. As you spin along rural roads through the surrounding farmland, pause along the way to take photos or enjoy a snack with your Trip Leaders at one of the van stops.

You’ll stop in Werder, a small island known for its windmill and beautiful Old Town, where you’ll have time for lunch on your own. After lunch, continue cycling along the Havel River and through the Wildpark forest to the breathtaking Sanssouci Park. Built in the mid-18th century by Frederick the Great, it was a summer residence for the Prussian king and reportedly was inspired by the palace complex at Versailles. The park takes its name from the castle at its center, which was dubbed “Sanssouci,” a French word that translates as the “Castle of No Worries.” Take time to pause and explore the marvelous, manicured grounds, only a short distance from your hotel.

Upon arrival in Potsdam, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to explore on your own. For dinner on your own tonight, choose from among the many outdoor cafés and restaurants right outside your hotel.

Hotel: Hotel Brandenburger Tor
Meals: B
Daily Options: 17 or 26 miles (28 or 43 km)

DAY 5: Transfer to Beeskow / Cycle to Burg / Boat Ride

Begin the day with a relaxing morning transfer to Beeskow, on the outskirts of the Spreewald, or “Spree Forest” (approximately 90 minutes). Pronounced “Spray-valt,” the region is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known less as a forest and more as a vast wetland with a unique ecosystem. The region is known within Europe as Germany’s bayou and consists of about 745.6 miles (1,200 km) of waterways and 186.4 miles (300 km) of navigable canals to explore. Keep an eye out for the many bird and fish species that are protected here.

The cultural heritage in the Spreewald is especially unique, being at the crossroads of Western and Eastern Germany and of Germany and the rest of Europe. The Spreewald is home to the Sorbs, a Slavic people who speak Sorbisch—a language closely tied with neighboring Polish and Czech. Street signs in the Spreewald are even printed in German and Sorbisch. Today, much of the local economy still depends on the many waterways for farming, transportation, and tourism. In fact, the Spreewald is the only region in Germany where mail is still delivered by boat.

From Beeskow, begin pedaling along bike paths and country roads, passing through dense forests and lush fields, pausing to enjoy a special lunch of local ingredients at a 150-year-old windmill. You may even choose to take a stroll through the working windmill, which is believed to be the only working windmill with three functions: milling flour, producing flax seed oil, and cutting wood.

Arrive in the picturesque village of Burg this afternoon. After checking into the hotel, you’ll regroup for a traditional Kahnfahrt, or boat ride, through the scenic canals and waterways surrounding Burg. The Kahn (known in English as a punt) is a flat-bottomed, gondola-like boat, propelled by the driver pushing a pole on the bottom of the canal. The traditional boat is used to navigate the narrow canals through the forest. Your boat driver will share stories with you about the region while you enjoy local hors d’oeuvres before dinner. Return to your hotel in time for an included dinner.

Hotel: Hotel Spree Balance
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 17 miles (27 km)

DAY 6: Gurken Radweg / Lübben

Today’s ride begins and ends at your hotel and takes you through the heart of the Spreewald on the Gurken Radweg, or Gurken Bike Path. “Gurken” is the German word for “pickle,” and the path’s name derives not only from its oblong shape when seen on a map, but also from that fact that this region of Germany is famous for its pickled vegetables.

Learn more about this thriving local industry when you stop during your ride to visit with a local family who has been in the pickling business for several generations. The business was started after World War II, when the German economy began to recover. When East Germany fell behind the Iron Curtain, however, the business was taken over by the state; the family was required to purchase it back following German reunification. Today, the family cures and bottles the fruits and vegetables grown by many farmers in the Spreewald, and you’ll sample some of these tasty offerings during your visit.

Your ride continues with a stop in Lübben, a small town on the outskirts of the Spreewald, where you can choose from among the local restaurants for lunch on your own.

Afterward, you can return to Burg via van shuttle or continue cycling the Gurken Bike Path back to your hotel.

Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Hotel Spree Balance
Meals: B
Daily Options: 18 or 34 miles (30 or 58 km)

DAY 7: Elbe River Bike Path / Meissen Porcelain Manufactory / Dresden

After breakfast, transfer from Burg to the starting point for today’s ride in Meissen (approximately 90 minutes).

You’ll start your morning in Meissen with an included visit to the famous Meissen Porcelain Manufactory. The city is world-renowned for its fine porcelain, which is made from local clay and uses techniques mastered over centuries. Enjoy a tour of the onsite Museum of Meissen and then have the opportunity to witness for yourself how this beautiful dishware is produced. Afterward, take time to stroll through the town of Meissen and enjoy a special included lunch with your VBT leaders.

From Meissen, you’ll begin cycling toward Dresden along a flat path following the banks of the Elbe River, delighting in scenic views as you pass by fertile, fragrant vineyards cascading down the area’s steep hillsides.

After checking into your Dresden hotel, you’ll have the evening at leisure to relax—perhaps arranging for a massage at its tranquil spa—or begin making your own discoveries in Dresden.

Dinner is on your own tonight.

Hotel: Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 18 or 28 miles (30 or 47 km)

DAY 8: Shuttle to Saxon Switzerland / Bastei Bridge / Bike along Elbe River

Your final full day with your small group begins with a transfer to the breathtaking Bastei Bridge (approximately 45 minutes). The highlight of the day—and perhaps the entire journey—is a visit to the Bastei, a truly breathtaking sandstone formation in Germany’s Saxon Switzerland National Park. The Bastei’s jagged peaks, naturally formed by centuries of erosion, rise steeply above the Elbe. For an optimal view of this beautiful landscape, you’ll take a walk out onto the Bastei Bridge, which is made of sandstone and designed to complement the cliffs.

After your visit to the Bastei Bridge, you’ll return to the Elbe River below, where the view of the sandstone cliffs create a dramatic backdrop for your roll along the flat bike path. The Elbe River bike path takes you past tranquil German hamlets and passenger ferries transporting locals and visitors alike across the river.

Stop en route in Dresden for lunch on your own at one of many small terrace restaurants overlooking the Elbe or in the village of Pirna. Just before arriving in Dresden, you’ll pass through Elbwiesen Park, where many Dresden residents spend their free time in the summer.

Tonight, enjoy our farewell dinner at our hotel.

Hotel: Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 15 or 28 miles (25 or 28 km)

DAY 9: Dresden / City Walk / Free time / VBT No-Air Package ends

After breakfast, bid your Trip Leaders goodbye, then set off on an included walking tour of Dresden with an expert local guide. There are many fascinating sites to visit, and many are just steps away from our hotel’s doors. Opera lovers will be familiar with Dresden’s famous Semper Opera House, a spectacular building where famous German composers like Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss chose to premiere major works. The Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is another iconic landmark. Located in Dresden’s old city center, it was destroyed during the controversial bombings of Dresden by American and British forces at the end of the World War II. Under the Communist rule of East Germany, the ruins were left untouched as a poignant war memorial. After Reunification, however, the church was rebuilt, with construction completed in 2005.

After your tour concludes, the remainder of the day is yours to make your own discoveries.

Lunch and dinner are on your own.

VBT No-Air Package guests: After the walking tour, you are free to continue on your own. There are many train connections to other cities in Germany and the Czech Republic. Or you might fly directly from the Dresden airport to your next destination. Your transportation from our Dresden hotel and beyond will be on your own.

VBT Air Package and Post-Trip Extension guests: Remain another night in Dresden on your own.

Hotel: Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss
Meals: B

DAY 10: Return home

After breakfast*, transfer to the Dresden airport (approximately 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic) for your flight home**. Please ensure you are ready and waiting in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify the times when breakfast is served.

**Please Note: VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled departure time, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: B

Berlin Dresden Bike Map

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Accommodations

Swissotel Dresden am Schloss

Located in the heart of Dresden’s Old Town, the sleek and modern Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss is within easy walking distance of the city’s prime attractions, including the ornate Residenzschloss (Royal Palace), once home to Saxony’s kings, and legendary Semper Opera, where composers Richard Wagner and Richard Stauss premiered major works. Opened in 2012, the 5-star hotel boasts a full range of amenities, including two restaurants, a bar/lounge, a fully equipped gym, and a spa and wellness center, where guests can enjoy a sauna or massage treatment. Each of the hotel’s 235 rooms is air-conditioned and features cable/satellite television, an in-room safe, minibar, private bath with shower, and free WiFi.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Spree Balance

Located right on the local bike path on the outskirts of the small town of Burg, the Hotel Spree Balance is a modern, 38-room boutique hotel designed to provide an island of tranquility for active travelers—and an idyllic place to relax after a long day in the saddle. While here, take advantage of the newly opened spa, offering optional beauty treatments, massages, and wellness packages. In the hotel’s rustic restaurant, savor tasty international cuisine sourced from fresh local ingredients, or dine in the lounge and bar, sunroom, or terrace. Your spacious room features a satellite TV, safe, telephone, minibar, and private bathroom with rainforest shower.
Free WiFi Included

Hotel Am Brandenburger Tor

Centrally located on a pedestrian street in Potsdam’s historic district, the 4-star Hotel Brandenburger Tor is within easy walking distance of Sanssouci Park in one direction and the city’s famous Holland Quarter in the other. Its 39 stylishly-decorated rooms feature private baths and free WiFi.
Free WiFi Included

Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague

An upscale boutique hotel boasting an award-winning Art Nouveau design, the 4-star Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague is ideally located on the west bank of the Vltava River, near the iconic Charles Bridge. The National Theatre, Prague Castle, and numerous other architectural and cultural treasures are within easy walking distance, and music lovers will appreciate the hotel’s proximity to Mozart’s Prague residence. The Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague has 61 air-conditioned rooms, each featuring a flat-screen cable/satellite TV, minibar, in-room safe, private bath with shower, and free WiFi.
Free WiFi Included

Art 'Otel Berlin Mitte

Art ’Otel Berlin Mitte is a stylish boutique hotel combining traditional décor with modern design and architecture. You just might think this fine hotel – in the heart of Berlin’s Fischerinsel district on the Spree River – is an art gallery, as it features work from Georg Baselitz, one of Germany’s most famous contemporary artists. The outstanding lobby, covered with a glass roof, joins the modern wing of the hotel with its 17th-century wing. Behind the hotel, the Spree River flows quietly, far from traffic and hustle. Riverside, you’ll find cafés and restaurants. Art ’Otel’s boat, moored nearby, transforms into a restaurant for hotel guests in summertime. Free wireless Internet is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included
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