As we pedal along the scenic shores of the Havel and Elbe rivers, making our way from beautifully Baroque Potsdam to resilient, resurgent Dresden, we’ll pause to explore legendary Sanssouci Park … observe the intricate process of creating fine porcelain in Meissen… and behold the breathtaking Bastei rock formation. We’ll also discover the lush landscapes and vibrant culture of the Spreewald, an idyllic region justly celebrated for its dense forests, verdant meadows, and narrow, interlacing waterways.
Stroll among the meticulously landscaped gardens of Potsdam’s world-famous Sanssouci Park
Discover the lush wetlands, tranquil waterways, and unique culture of the Spreewald, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve
Cruise the Spreewald’s narrow, winding canals aboard a Kahn, a traditional, flat-bottomed boat
Meet a local family in the Spreewald and learn about their generations-old pickling business
Learn how exquisite dishware is made during a visit to the legendary Meissen Porcelain Factory
Sample award-winning wines during an included tour and tasting at a local vineyard
Behold the spectacular sandstone peaks of the Bastei, in Swiss Saxony National Park
What to Expect
This tour features easy terrain, with options for longer rides featuring 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.
Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $445 | 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. 2015 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.
Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Depart U.S./Fly overnight to Berlin
Depart the U.S. for Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
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 (a journey of approximately 1 hour). Please Note: Our rooms may not be available until 2:00 pm, 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 included in your Final Travel Booklet 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 1:00 p.m., meet our VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our Berlin hotel (ArtOtel 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 1:00 p.m., or if you are delayed, you must travel to our Potsdam hotel (Hotel Am 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 U.S. per person, and takes approximately 45 minutes. Please contact the Hotel Am 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 our VBT representative and the rest of the group in the lobby of our hotel at 1:00 p.m. Our VBT representative will be holding a VBT sign and will be easy to recognize. Please arrive dressed for cycling. From our hotel, we shuttle to the outskirts of the city (a journey of approximately 30 minutes), where we meet our Trip Leaders and enjoy an orientation and safety briefing and bike-fitting session. We will then set off on our warm-up ride, cycling through the Grünewald Forest and along the Havel River toward Potsdam. We arrive at our 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, we gather for a welcome reception at our hotel, followed by dinner at a local restaurant. Hotel: Hotel Brandenburger Tor Meals: B, D Daily Options: 15 miles (25 km)
DAY 4: Admire Sanssouci Park/Train to Götz/Cycle along the Havel River
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll stroll directly from our hotel and through 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 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.” We’ll explore the marvelous, manicured grounds, a walk of about 2 miles and finish at a small train station. From here, we’ll take a short train ride, a journey of approximately 20 minutes, to the start of today’s ride in Götz, where we will cycle to a bike path along the Havel River. As we cycle 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. We’ll pause 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, we continue cycling along the Havel River and through the Wildpark forest directly to our hotel in Potsdam. Upon arrival in Potsdam, the remainder of the afternoon and evening are yours to explore on our own. For dinner on your own tonight, choose from among the many outdoor cafes and restaurants right outside our hotel. Hotel: Hotel Brandenburger Tor Meals: B Daily Options: 17 miles (28 km) or 26 miles (43 km)
DAY 5: Transfer to Lake Schwieloch/Cycle to Burg/Gondola float
We begin today with a relaxing morning transfer to Lake Schwieloch, on the outskirts of the Spreewald, or “Spree Forest” (a journey of approximately 90 minutes). Pronounced “Spray-vald,” 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 1,200 km of waterways and 300 km of navigable canals to explore. Keep an eye out for many bird and fish species that are protected here. The cultural heritage in the Spreewald is especially unique, being at the crossroads between Western and Eastern Germany…and 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. We begin cycling from Lake Schwieloch, pedaling along bike paths and country roads, passing through dense forests and lush fields. We’ll pause to enjoy a picnic lunch, which our Trip Leaders have prepared for us using tasty local ingredients—including the region’s famous pickles, which we’ll learn more about tomorrow. We arrive in the picturesque village of Burg early this afternoon. After checking into our hotel, you’ll have time to relax or explore Burg on your own. Later we 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. Our boat driver will share stories with us about the region while we enjoy local hors d’oeuvres before dinner. We return to our 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 our hotel and takes us 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. We’ll learn more about this thriving local industry when we stop during our 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 we’ll sample some of these tasty offerings during our visit. Our 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. Afterwards you can choose to return to Burg via van shuttle, or continue cycling the Gurken Bike Path back to our hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight. Hotel: Hotel Spree Balance Meals: B Daily Options: 18 miles (30 km) or 34 miles (58 km)
DAY 7: Elbe River Bike Path/Meissen Porcelain Manufactory/ Wine Tasting/Dresden
After breakfast, we transfer from Burg to the starting point for today’s ride in Meissen, a journey of approximately 90 minutes. We’ll start our 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. We’ll enjoy a guided tour of the on-site Museum of Meissen and then have the opportunity to witness for ourselves how this beautiful dishware is produced. Afterwards, take time to stroll through the town of Meissen and enjoy a special included lunch with your VBT leaders. We begin our ride from Meissen, where we cycle along a flat path following the banks of the Elbe River, delighting in scenic views passing by fertile, fragrant vineyards cascading down the area’s steep hillsides as we pedal our way to Dresden. We’ll be treated to a closer look at one of the vineyards when we pause for a special wine tasting. . We’ll have the opportunity to sample several of the vinter’s award-winning wines during an included tasting. Afterward, you can choose to shuttle or continue cycling to our hotel in Dresden. After checking in, you’ll have the evening at leisure to relax—perhaps arranging for a massage at the hotel’s elegant 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 miles (30 km) or 28 miles (47 km)
DAY 8: Shuttle to Swiss-Saxony/Bastei Bridge/Bike along Elbe River
Our final full day together begins with a transfer to the breathtaking Bastei Bridge, a journey of approximately 45 minutes. The highlight of our day—and perhaps our entire journey—is a visit to the Bastei, a truly breathtaking sandstone formation in Germany’s Swiss-Saxony 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, we’ll take a walk out onto the Bastei Bridge, which is made of sandstone and designed to complement the cliffs. After our visit to the Bastei Bridge, we’ll return to the Elbe River below, where the view of the sandstone cliffs create a dramatic backdrop as we cycle along the flat bike path. The Elbe River bike path takes us past tranquil German hamlets and passenger ferries transporting locals and visitors alike across the river. We’ll stop en route to Dresden for lunch on your own at one of many small terrace restaurants overlooking the Elbe. Just before arriving in Dresden, we’ll pass through Elbwiesen Park, where many Dresden residents spend their free time in the summer. During tonight’s festive farewell dinner at a local restaurant, we toast our discoveries with a glass of one of the region’s best wines. Hotel: Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss Meals: B, D Daily Options: 15 miles (25 km) or 28 miles (47 km)
DAY 9: Dresden/City Walk/Free time/VBT No-Air Package ends
After breakfast, we bid our 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 our 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 breakfast, 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 (a journey of 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. * 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
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 five-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 electronic safe, minibar, private bath with shower, and complimentary wireless Internet access.
Located on the outskirts of the small town of Burg (Spreewald), the Spree Balance Hotel is a modern hotel built with active travelers in mind. The local bike path goes right past the hotel, and the wellness area—featuring a sauna and relaxation room—offers cyclists a place to relax after a long day in the saddle.
Centrally located on a pedestrian street in Potsdam’s historical district, the four-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 complimentary wireless Internet access.
An upscale boutique hotel boasting an award-winning Art Nouveau design, the four-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, electronic safe, private bath with shower, and complimentary wireless Internet access.
Art 'Otel Berlin Mitte is a boutique hotel, combining traditional building décor and 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, with artworks from Georg Baselitz, one of Germany’s most famous contemporary artists. The outstanding hall is covered with a glass roof and 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.
Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With LOw-Cost Trip Extensions
Pre-Trip Extension - Berlin
2 nights for only $245
2 nights at the centrally-located Art’Otel Berlin Mitte
Explore Berlin, Germany’s cosmopolitan capital and one of Europe’s most influential centers of politics, culture, science and art. Visit the Brandenburg Gate, which served as the gate to East Berlin until 1989. See Rathaus Schoneberg, where John F. Kennedy made his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. Journey to The Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 150 museums. Or simply spend time exploring this UNESCO City of Design, peeking into its trendy boutiques, art studios, cafés and gourmet restaurants. Available only with the Air Inclusive Package. Single Supplement: $145
DAY 1: Depart U.S./Fly overnight to Berlin
Depart the U.S. for Germany. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary and airline tickets.
DAY 2: Arrive in Berlin/Begin your Trip Extension
Upon arrival at Berlin’s Tegel Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, file a claim 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 (a journey of approximately 1 hour). Please Note: Our rooms may not be available until 2:00 pm, 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 included in your Final Travel Booklet as your guide. Later tonight, our VBT representative will be available at the hotel to answer questions and offer inside tips about what to do in Berlin. 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
DAY 3: Independent exploration of Berlin
Enjoy a full day to discover this amazing capital of culture and art at leisure. If you choose, you may join an optional walking tour of Berlin. This 2.5-hour program may be booked with your VBT representative upon arrival (advance reservations are not available, and a minimum of two people is required). The approximate price is €25 (about $32 U.S.) per person and includes the services of an English-speaking local guide. You’ll pass through Berlin’s historic heart, walk toward the famous Museum Island (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), view Germany’s Parliament House and Reichstag, then pass through the Holocaust Memorial Area. You’ll also stop at the Topography of Terror to see an original piece of the Berlin Wall. The tour ends at the legendary Checkpoint Charlie. You may then wish to continue on your own to the nearby Jewish Museum, or take a riverboat tour, which departs twice daily from a spot near the hotel. Choose from among Berlin’s inviting restaurants and cafes for lunch and dinner on your own. Hotel: Art’Otel Berlin Mitte Meals: B
DAY 4: Independent exploration of Berlin/Begin Main Tour
Continue your independent exploration of Berlin. You may wish to take one of the hop-on-hop-off bus tours. There are several companies offering these tours; our VBT representative will be happy to provide additional information. Air Package guests will be arriving throughout the day. Hotel: Art’Otel Berlin Mitte Meals: B
Post-Trip Extension - Prague
2 nights for only $345
Two nights at the Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague
3-day Prague Transportation Pass
Once celebrated as a center for sorcery and alchemy, magical Prague has enchanted visitors for centuries. This affordable extension gives you two full days to explore the city at leisure—plenty of time to fall under its spell. From your hotel on the banks of the Vltava River, you’ll have easy access to the city’s highlights, including Prague Castle, believed to be the largest ancient castle in the world; the Old Town Square, with its famous astronomical clock; the iconic Charles Bridge; Josefov, the heart of Prague’s Jewish culture; and Wenceslas Square, once an ancient horse-trading site and now a modern shopping center. Your included three-day public transportation pass makes it easy to explore. Only available with the Air Inclusive Package. Single Supplement: $195
DAY 1: Begin your optional extension/Transfer to Prague
After breakfast, we transfer by private minibus (a journey of approximately 2.5 hours) to our beautiful and centrally-located hotel in Prague. Upon arrival in the late morning, you’ll have the entire day to explore this fascinating city at leisure. Perhaps you’ll join an optional city walk to help you get acquainted with the city. The cost will be shared among the number of participants and can be organized through the hotel. Lunch and dinner are on your own today. Hotel: Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague Meals: B
DAY 2: Independent exploration of Prague
Continue your independent exploration of the city and nearby area. Hotel: Mamaison Hotel Riverside Prague Meals: B
DAY 3: Return Home
After breakfast*, transfer to the Prague airport (a journey of approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic) for your flight home. Please ensure that you are ready and waiting in the hotel reception area at the designated time. * 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
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