Best of Switzerland & Germany & Danube Cruise
23-Day Tour

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Price Per person double occupancy

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Price Includes: Roundtrip airport transfers, 14 night lodging in 4 star hotels, 7 nights Deluxe Danube River Cruise on the MS AMADEUS ROYAL, all meals and beverages while on cruise, breakfast daily and 5 dinners on the land tour, full time English speaking tour escort and cruise manager, current cruise taxes, modern bus transportation, baggage handling on cruise and at hotel (one piece), sightseeing as listed.

Not Included: Airfare, optional Jungfraujoch cog railway, all lunches and 7 dinners on the land tour, tips to guides, drivers, hotel staff, and cruise staff ($11 per person per land touring day will be added to the final invoice), optional cruise shore excursions, optional travel insurance.

Reservations: A $500 deposit and a completed Reservation Form are required to secure and hold a cabin. $300 is non-refundable. Space is very limited and should be reserved as early as possible.

Final Payment: The final payment for the trip is due on or before March 13, 2016.

Cancellation: Cancellations must be in writing and must be received by Pilgrim Tours for any appropriate refund minus the following penalties. Air penalties are not part of the percentages below and vary based on the airline policy at the time of ticket issue.
Cancellation through February 20, 2016 - $300.00 Cancellation through March 25, 2016 - 45% of tour/cruise price Cancellation through April 24, 2016 - 65% of tour/cruise price Cancellation through May 22, 2016 - 85% of tour/cruise price Cancellation after May 22, 2016 – 100% of tour/cruise price

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Day 1: Depart USA

Overnight flight to Europe.

Day 2: Calvin’s Geneva

We arrive in Switzerland, the city known to Protestants as the "Town of Calvin" - Geneva. We begin sightseeing at St. Peter's Cathedral, where John Calvin taught the doctrine that made him famous throughout the Protestant faith. Other Reformation sites of interest include Calvin's Academy, the Reformation Monument and the Reformation Museum. We'll also take a walk by the Flower Clock and Gardens. The remainder of the day you are free to explore at your leisure. We have dinner and overnight at the hotel in Geneva.

Day 3: Chillon Castle, Berne, Interlaken

This morning, we follow beautiful Lake Geneva eastward to the much photographed Chillon Castle, the 12th-century water fortress near Montreaux. Our next stop is in Berne, Switzerland's capital. Here you will find a wonderfully preserved Medieval town and one of the earliest cantons to embrace the Protestant Reformation due mainly to the influence of Zwingli. Sightseeing with a local expert starts at the popular Bear Pit and then focuses on the monumental Federal Palace and the beautifully pre-served medieval Old Town. Witness the hourly parade of painted figures at the Clock Tower and take your pictures of ornate, flower-adorned fountains. We continue our tour to the charming mountainside community of Interlaken for dinner and overnight.

Day 4: Grindelwald, Lucerne, Zurich

This morning we have a visit to the village of Grindelwald, also known as the “Glacier Village.” Weather permitting, you may choose an optional travel up and up via cog railway to the spectacular peak of the Jungfraujoch. The view from 11.000 feet will take your breath away. Please note: The cost of the Mountain Excursion is not included in the price because this tour is based on weather conditions. The cost for the cog railway is $185 per person currently. If the weather does not allow this tour we depart for Lucerne and enjoy a tour of this charming city to see the impressive city walls, the famous covered wooden bridge and Thorwaldsen’s masterful Lion Monument. Our lodging this evening will be in the Zurich area.

Day 5: Zurich, Constance, Strasbourg

This morning we tour Zurich, the most prominent Swiss city. This is Ulrich Zwingli’s city. It was here in the Old City that Felix Manz was martyred in the Limmat River. We’ll visit the Grossmunster Church and its statue of Ulrich Zwingli, one of the most important Reformers. Following free time for lunch, coffee and chocolates, we will travel on to Constance, made famous by reformer John Hus, and then into the picturesque Black Forest region of Germany. Dinner and lodging this evening will be in Strasbourg, France.

Day 6: Strasbourg, Worms, Karlsruhe

Enjoy a tour of Strasbourg, referred to as the “City of Hope” and “Refuge of the Righteous” by the Anabaptists. This is where John Calvin wrote his famous books on systematic theology and where Martin Bucer, another Reformation leader, helped bring in the Reformation. We will have a stroll around the city center to view the Cathedral of Strasbourg, St. Thomas's Church, and charming “La Petite France” quarter. From here we continue on to Worms, thought to be one of the oldest towns in Germany. We visit the world’s largest Memorial to the Reformation and the Church of the Holy Trinity, which is believed to be the place where the decisive hearing took place. We also visit St. Peter’s Cathedral, one of the most exquisite examples of Romanesque architecture and scene of several milestones of European history. In 1048, Bruno of Egisheim-Dagsburg was elected pope Leo IX here and in 1521, Martin Luther was summoned by emperor Charles V to recant his teachings be-fore the Diet of Worms, a historic assembly that was to change the history of Christianity. Behind the cathedral in the Heylshof Park marks a plaque on the ground the place where Luther made his brave declaration. We continue on to visit Europe’s oldest Jewish cemetery, the Holy Sands and the former Jewish quarter. Our lodging next two evenings will be in nearby Karlsruhe.

Day 7: Mainz, Rhine River Cruise

This morning, we visit Mainz, the birthplace of printing. Aa guided tour through the Gutenberg Muse-um is documenting the evolution of printing and displaying Gutenberg’s first Bible as well as the world‘s tiniest Bible. Jon Gooseflesh, better known as Johannes Gutenberg is considered to be the most important individual-contributor of the Second Millennium. Then we tour St. Martin's Cathedral, built in the 8th century and towering in all its might and grandeur the city. Seven king's coronations took place in the course of the centuries in the Mainz cathedral. If time is still available visit St. Stephen’s Church, famous for its marvelous Chagall windows. From here, we travel northward to the Rhine River and relax on a delightful and picturesque cruise from St. Goarshausen, past magnificent castles and the famous Loreley Rock to charming Rudesheim. We return to Karlsruhe.

Day 8: Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Romantic Road

This morning, we travel on to one of the most charming cities in the entire world - Heidelberg, ancient capital of the Palatinate and home of Germany's oldest university. But most importantly, it was a stronghold of German Reformed Protestants beginning in 1560. One of the great confessional statements of the Reformation, the Heidelberg Catechism was produced here in 1563. Heidelberg Castle, a most impressive historic landmark of Germany, stands majestically overlooking the Neckar River. The structure, now largely in ruins, preserves numerous examples of Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque German architecture. The afternoon adventure includes the panoramic "Romantic Road" with a visit to the best preserved medieval town in all of Europe, Rothenburg. We see the quaint Rathaus (town hall) with its tower and have free time for coffee and shopping in the many delightful shops. Our lodging for the next two evenings will be in Augsburg. Dinner is included at a local restaurant tonight.

Day 9: Neuschwanstein Castle, Oberammergau, Augsburg

This morning we travel into the Alpine region of Bavaria to the Rococo-style chapel in the Meadow and Ludwig II’s most luxurious former residence, the Neuschwanstein Castle. Travel to the village of Oberammergau where the Passion Play takes place every 10 years. You will have a little free time to explore the painted houses, woodcarver shops, and have some lunch. In the afternoon, a walking tour of Augsburg, site of the Augsburg Confession, will bring to light the history behind much of our doctrine today. It was here in 1518 at St. Anne's Church that Luther met the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan, who demanded that Luther submit to the pope. Augsburg was also the site of another Imperial Diet (1530) and in the town hall the Peace of Augsburg was signed in 1555 ending for a time the religious wars in Germany between the Catholics and the Protestants.

Day 10: Coburg, Erfurt

This morning we travel northward to view the fortress of Coburg known as Veste, the place of Luther's imprisonment in 1530. We visit the apartment where he stayed and continued his translation work, a chapel where he spoke and worshiped, and a gallery of period paintings. This afternoon we spend time in nearby Erfurt, where Luther attended the university. A highlight will be the Augustinian Monastery where he spent his early years as a monk and the famed doors that he closed on his pro-testing friends after saying "You can see me today, but never again." You will find it interesting and uplifting to hear how the studies here brought him to his understanding of scripture. Our lodging this evening will be in Erfurt.

Day 11: Erfurt, Eisleben, Leipzig

Leaving Erfurt, we visit Eisleben which is noted among the most significant in Luther's history; he was born here in 1483, died here in 1546 and old manuscripts indicate that he felt a special affinity to Eisleben. We will see the house of his birth and death, St. Andrews Church where he preached his last sermon, the Luther Monument, and St. Anne's Church with the famous Biblical scenes hewn in stone and many other sites. This afternoon we travel to the beautiful city of Leipzig, Bach's city, with free time and a visit to St. Thomas Church where Bach was choir master and organist. Our dinner and lodging this evening will beat the hotel in Leipzig.

Day 12: Leipzig, Wittenberg, Berlin

We continue on the Reformation Trail today with a visit to Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived and taught for 36 years. You will see the Castle Church door area where Luther posted his 95 Theses, giving birth to the Reformation. This beautiful church is also the burial site of Luther. We see the university where Luther taught and the Luther House which is the greatest museum of Reformation History in the world with a detailed history display of his life and accomplishments, historical documents and an outstanding collection of period paintings of his life and family members. Our lodging for the next two evenings will be in Berlin.

Day 13: Berlin

We enjoy an inspirational guided tour of this fascinating city including the “East Side Gallery”, the longest continuous and still standing section of the Berlin Wall, the infamous “Checkpoint Charlie”, the majestic main gate the “Brandenburger Tor” and nearby “Holocaust Memorial,” a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We continue on to the German Parliament (Reichstag) with a visit to the roof terrace, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the refurbished city center and Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz, the famous boulevard “Unter den Linden”. In the afternoon you will have time at leisure or the opportunity to visit the GDR Museum to find out more about life under socialism or visit the world-famous Pergamon Museum with its many treasures including the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus.

Note: During the current stage of renovations in the Pergamon Museum, the hall containing the Pergamon Altar will be closed to the public for five years, due for reopening in 2019. The South Wing featuring the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way from Babylon, as well as the Museum of Islamic Art, remains unaffected and will be open to the public during this time.

Day 14: Berlin - Dresden - Prague

This morning we depart Southwest for the border of Germany and the Czech Republic. Before arriving at the border we stop for free time in Dresden. One of Germany’s most beautiful cities, Dresden was virtually destroyed during the night of 13/14 February 1945, when Allied Forces mounted a vast car-pet-bombing raid on the city. We have free time in the city center where meticulous restoration work is in progress to return the city centre to its former glory. We have lunch and free time before traveling south to Prague. After hotel check-in and included dinner, enjoy an independent evening walking tour of this beautiful city which is even more impressive by night; all of the buildings are illuminated and appear to be out of a movie set. Walk across the St. Charles Bridge for a view of the city from a unique angle. It is not surprising to learn that Prague was the major filming site for the movie, "Amadeus".

Day 15: Prague

After breakfast at our hotel we enjoy a full day tour of Prague. We begin on the coach, introducing the major historical areas of the city center: the New Town & Wenceslas Square, the Old Town and picturesque Mala Strana. Next is the highlight of the trip, a walk through the Prague Castle complex to discover the major sights within; admire the grandeur of Saint Vitus Cathedral, the ancient architecture of the Old Royal Palace, and enjoy stunning views over the whole of Prague. From Prague Castle, we head for the river to walk across the magnificent Charles Bridge. Then, we continue on to the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), before ending the tour at the Old Town Square. En-route, we learn the origins of one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world. Dinner on your own.

Day 16: Prague, Passau

This morning we take a nice introductory tour of Prague including the Old Town. There is some time at leisure for independent sightseeing and shopping before a transfer to Passau to board the Danube River Cruise. Enjoy an included welcome cocktail and dinner.

Day 17: Regensburg

Arrive in Regensburg where you can take an optional city walk tour this morning. In the afternoon you can book an optional visit to Weltenburg Monastery. Tonight there will be a special Bavarian evening.

Day 18: Passau/Salzburg

Arrive in Passau where you can choose to take an optional full day excursion by bus to Salzburg. The optional city tour will include lunch and Salzkammergut. Those on the excursion will continue by bus to Linz to board the cruise ship.

Day 19: Melk/Emmersdorf

Today you can take an optional excursion to Wachau including the Melk Abbey and wine tasting. You would then continue by bus from Emmersdorf to Weisssenkirchen where you have free time to explore on your own before re-joining the ship. Tonight arrive in Vienna and where you can enjoy the Vienna at night optional excursion.

Day 20: Vienna

In the morning there is an optional city tour of Vienna. In the afternoon you can choose the optional excursion to visit Schonbrunn Palace. In the evening there is an optional excursion to enjoy a Sound of Vienna concert with category B tickets.

Day 21: Bratislava

In the morning there is an optional city tour of Bratislava. In the afternoon you can choose the optional excursion to Imperial Palace Hof. In the evening there will be a special Captain’s Gala Dinner on board.

Day 22: Esztergom/Budapest

In the morning there is an optional tour of Sztergom and Szentendre. Those on this excursion will travel by bus from Esztergom to Budapest. In Budapest you can take the optional city tour. In the evening there will be a folklore show on board.

Day 23: Home

Disembark the cruise ship today after breakfast and transfer to the Budapest airport.