Art, Architecture and Music in Berlin, Dresden & Hamburg

11 Sep – 25 Sep 2019

  • Region:
    • Europe in Autumn
    • Germany
  • Status: limited
  • Code: 21936

Tour Highlights

  • Lectures and site visits by art and architectural historian, musician and musicologist Dr Iva Rosario, expert in all these aspects of Central European culture.
  • Explore some of Germany’s – and Europe’s – greatest art and antiquities collections including Berlin’s Pergamon Museum, Gemäldegalerie & Alte Nationalgalerie, Dresden’s wonderful Zwinger and Hamburg’s huge Kunsthalle.
  • Enjoy fine performances in each city: Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet at the Berlin Philharmonie, La Bohème by Puccini at Dresden’s Semperoper and a performance of Ravel’s work by the Symphoniker Hamburg at the Laeiszhalle.
  • Tour two of Europe’s greatest music centres, Gottfried Semper’s Dresden Opera House, and Hamburg’s ultra-modern, revolutionary Elbphilharmonie.
  • Wonder at the fascinating contrast between such timeless palatial masterpieces as Sanssouci, Berlin’s Charlottenburg and Dresden’s Zwinger, and the very latest in European architecture, such as Daniel Libeskind’s revolutionary Jewish Museum in Berlin.
  • Visit the Reichstag Conversion and walk inside Norman Foster’s Reichstag glass cupola for a spectacular view over Berlin.
  • Led by a local architect, explore the Potsdamer Platz, Berlin’s spectacular ‘gallery’ of modern architecture.
  • Discover the extraordinary painting and sculpture collection of Berlin’s new Berggruen Museum; among its huge collection are 70 Klees, 30 Matisses and 120 Picassos!
  • Learn about the royal house of Saxony, the growth of Prussia and its creation of the German state, and the fascinating history of the medieval and Renaissance Hanseatic League of trading cities.
  • Cruise Hamburg’s port, the second largest in Europe, past UNESCO-listed warehouses.
  • Spend 8 nights based in the 5-star Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof Hotel, located in the heart of West Berlin.


We enjoyed our action-packed visit to Berlin for several reasons: The high calibre of the tour leader and manager, the interesting range of sites visited, the pleasant group, the use of public transport (which gave good insight into the city), some time for own interests, comfortable & convenient hotels and the small group.  Jane and Allan, WA.

15-day Cultural Tour of Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg

Overnight Berlin (8 nights) • Dresden (3 nights) • Hamburg (3 nights)


On this tour, art historian, musician and musicologist Dr Iva Rosario investigates the powerful contrasts between German traditions, carefully preserved and restored, and ultra-modernity. We explore Berlin’s, Dresden’s and Hamburg’s ongoing renewal in art and architecture, planning and performance, music and many other elements of contemporary urban life in precincts like Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz and individual masterpieces like Hamburg’s revolutionary Elbphilharmonie. German reunification unleashed a vibrant wave of creative energy, transforming great monuments, extensive art collections and the physical and cultural fabric of old Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg. Berlin’s latest projects include the Humboldt Forum (replacing the communist Palace of the Republic); massive modernisation on Museum Island; and the Hamburger Bahnhof – the former railway station is now one of the world’s most successful exhibition spaces for contemporary art. These newest developments build on earlier architectural adventures including Norman Foster’s Reichstag Dome, Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum, and the Potsdamer Platz (consisting of a range of projects designed by leading international architects including Renzo Piano, Arata Isozaki and Richard Rogers). We contrast these new architectural projects that we explore with local experts to a grand heritage of buildings including the beautiful Prussian palaces, Sanssouci and Charlottenburg, and the Saxon monarchy’s exquisite Zwinger Palace. We explore magnificently renovated museums housing vast collections of ancient, European and modern art, including Berlin’s Pergamon and Egyptian Museums, Gemäldegalerie, Alte Nationalgalerie, new Berggruen Museum and Bröhan Museum of decorative art and design, as well as Dresden’s Gemäldegalerie des Altes Meister and Hamburg’s vast Kunsthalle. We shall enjoy performances by the famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and at Semper’s Opera and Hamburg’s amazing Elbphilharmonie. We also take a cruise on Hamburg’s historic Hanseatic harbour and sample the best of modern German cuisine at restaurants such as Berlin’s fine Einstein Unter den Linden restaurant.


The following itinerary describes a range of sites which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but others require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in museum opening hours, musical performance schedules and confirmation of private visits. Participants will receive a final itinerary together with their tour documents prior to departure. Meals included in the tour price are indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B= breakfast, L=lunch and D= evening meal.

Berlin - 8 nights

Day 1: Wednesday 11 September, Arrive Berlin
  • Introduction

Participants taking the ASA ‘designated’ flight from Australia are scheduled to arrive into Berlin in the afternoon and will transfer directly to Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof Hotel. If you are travelling independently to Berlin, you should take an officially marked taxi to the hotel. (check-in time is 3.00pm). In the late afternoon, we shall meet up and take a brief orientation walk around the area of the hotel in the former West Berlin city centre, situated around Kurfürstendamm, the famous KaDaWe department store and the ruined remains of Kaiser Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche. (Overnight Berlin)

Day 2: Thursday 12 September, Berlin
  • Deutscher Bundestag Dome
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Guided tour by local architect, including Reichstag & government area, DZ-Bank (exterior), Pariser Platz
  • Afternoon at leisure
  • Group Dinner at the hotel Restaurant

This morning, we travel by public transport to the Unter den Linden, one of Berlin’s most famous boulevards and make our way towards the Brandenburg Gate. Our first visit is to the Deutscher Bundestag, one of the most interesting constructions in Europe. Sir Norman Foster designed an extraordinary glass dome from which visitors gain a wonderful panorama of the city. Across the road at the Pariser Platz we visit Frank Gehry’s fabulous DZ-Bank, a spectacular modern building that contrasts dramatically with the stately architecture of the Brandenburg Gate. Here we see the vibrant strength of Berlin’s cultural and physical renewal, an explosion of imaginative architecture built on the foundations of the old imperial city.

Tonight we enjoy a group Welcome Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. (Overnight Berlin) BD

Day 3: Friday 13 September, Berlin
  • Walking tour of the Mitte and Unter den Linden
  • Alexander Platz
  • Hackesche Höfe
  • Marienkirche

From the Pariser Platz we walk back along the Unter den Linten on a tour of Berlin’s Mitte (Central) district, a veritable microcosm of the city’s entire history. Nowhere else in Berlin do the buildings reflect so much of the city’s evolution. We visit the Russian Embassy, built in a typical Stalinist ‘wedding cake’ style (1950), the former palace of Prince Heinrich, now the Humboldt University (1753), Schinkel’s Classical New Guardhouse (Neue Wache, 1818), the beautiful Baroque Arsenal designed by Schlütter (Zeughaus, 1695-1706), the neo-Renaissance Berlin Cathedral (1905) and the Gothic Marienkirche (late 14th century).

A brief detour will give us the opportunity to view one of Berlin’s loveliest squares, the Gendarmenmarkt, with its two cathedrals and Konzerthaus designed by Schinkel in 1821. Nearby is what remains of Frederick the Great’s grandiose plans to build a cultural centre called the Forum Fredericianum, and the State Opera House (Deutsches Staatsoper), constructed by Knobelsdorff between 1740 and 1743. Behind the Opera House is the copper-domed St Hedwig’s Cathedral (1747-1773), modelled on the Roman Pantheon by the architects Lequay and Boumann.

We shall spend lunchtime in Berlin’s – and Germany’s –  largest square, Alexanderplatz. Named after Russia’s Tsar Alexander I, it has been a military parade ground, famers’ market, transport hub, scene of revolutionary demonstrations (1848 and 1989) and huge shopping centre. The square, since reunification, has been undergoing constant change.

After lunchtime at leisure, we shall visit the extraordinary complex of eight courtyards, the Hackesche Höfe, a social, cultural and commercial hub of the new Berlin. Once a hay storage area outside the city walls, it was incorporated into the city when Friedrich Wilhelm I extended the city walls. A Jewish community developed here, whose cemetery, now a fine memorial, we shall visit.

Nearby, we visit the Marienskirsche, founded in the late 13th century and constantly altered over the centuries, until Carl Gotthard Langhans, architect of the Brandenburg Gate, gave it its present Neo Gothic form in 1789. Of special note is the imposing pulpit by Andreas Schlüter (1703). Its most interesting feature, however, is a long 15th-century fresco (c.1484) of The Dance of Death, found under whitewash in 1860, and possibly painted after the city’s population was decimated by plague; it may have been based upon a more sophisticated example in Lübeck. (Overnight Berlin) B

Day 4: Saturday 14 September, Berlin
  • Gemäldegalerie in the Kulturforum, Tiergarten
  • Afternoon at leisure
  • Evening performance at Berliner Philharmoniker (Berlioz Romeo & Juliet)

This morning we will travel by public transport to the museum complex which houses the art collection of the former West Berlin, the Kulturforum. In this complex is the new Gemäldegalerie. Among the 1200 paintings housed in the Gemäldegalerie are masterpieces by Botticelli, Raphael, Titian, Rogier van der Weyden, Dürer, Holbein, Rubens, Rembrandt (one of the world’s largest collections), Vermeer, Watteau, Gainsborough, Reynolds, Velazquez, Goya and many more. In the afternoon there will be time to remain in this wonderful museum or to explore the other museums in the Kulturforum area. Tonight we meet up again to attend a performance of Berlioz’ orchestral and choral work, Romeo and Juliet, at the magnificent Berliner Philharmoniker. (Overnight Berlin) B

Day 5: Sunday 15 September, Berlin
  • Ägyptisches Museum
  • Pergamon Museum
  • Alte Nationalgalerie

Today we shall visit three important museums on the Museuminsel (Museum Island), each housing remarkable collections of art. We first visit the redesigned Egyptian Museum to see the celebrated bust of Queen Nefertiti, created about 3300 years ago. The museum also contains the wonderful Kalabasha Gate, which was presented to Germany as a gift for the help given in saving the Temple of Kalabasha during the building of the Aswan Dam in Egypt (1960-70), and another great treasure, the so-called Berlin Green, which is a remarkably realistic portrait bust of a man carved out of green stone (c.500-400 BC).

After a lunch break we visit Berlin’s remarkable Pergamon Museum. This huge building houses an awe-inspiring collection of Greek, Babylonian, Roman, Islamic and Middle Eastern art. We view some of the most important pieces including the celebrated the Gate of Miletus (120 AD), the Babylonian Ishtar Gate (604-562 BC) and the wonderful Aleppo Room from Syria (1600 AD).

Our day concludes with a visit to the Alte Nationalgalerie, which has been restored to its former glory. Designed by August Stüler between 1866 and 1876, the Alte Nationalgalerie stands on a pedestal like a classical Greek Temple, with dramatic red sandstone stairways & pillars. It was planned as a cultural icon of the German nation, a temple to education for the young, and houses a wonderful collection of 19th-century art. Two newly refurbished rooms hold the gallery of romantic painting, with masterpieces by Caspar David Frederich and Karl Frederich Schinkel, previously housed in the Charlottenburg Palace. This is the most significant collection of Friedrich’s work in the world and boasts examples of his style from every period of the artist’s development. (Overnight Berlin) B

Day 6: Monday 16 September, Berlin
  • Guided tour with a local architect: the Schloßplatz and Potsdamer Platz
  • Topography of Terror Installation
  • Checkpoint Charlie

This morning we take a guided tour of two renewed areas of Berlin. Schloßplatz was originally the site of the 18th-century Berlin City Palace (Berliner Stadtschloß), which was extensively damaged during bombing raids in 1945 and demolished in 1950. Following the division of the city into east and west, the Socialist government decided to build the ‘Palace of the Republic’ and construction began in 1973. In addition to serving as the seat of the GDR parliament, the greater portion of the building, however, consisted of various rooms and halls dedicated to cultural events. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the palace was closed and steps were undertaken to dispose of the asbestos in the main body of the building, which was finally razed in 2008. Our architect guide will today explain the controversial rebuilding projects, which combine the reconstruction of the baroque façade with a modern core housing an ethnological museum and other cultural spaces.

Our guided tour continues with a visit to Potsdamer Platz. It is perhaps here more than anywhere else in Berlin that the extraordinary re-invention of the city can best be experienced. Out of a previous wasteland, a whole new urban space has evolved. Nineteen new buildings including shops, apartments, hotels, theatres and offices are being crammed into a comparatively small area of some 60,000 square metres. The list of architects who are contributing to this project reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ in the field of contemporary construction design. The names include Lauber, Piano, Isozaki, Rogers, Moneo, Kohlbecker and the entire square may be regarded as a ‘gallery’ of contemporary architecture.

We shall then follow the line of the Berlin Wall to Checkpoint Charlie. On the way we pass the Topography of Terror installation. Situated around the excavated underground cells of the SS headquarters, this monument tells the story of those who were taken prisoner by the SS during the Third Reich. This chilling reminder of the horrors of pre WWII Germany is situated directly under one of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, a symbol of post WWII Germany. A short walk brings us to Checkpoint Charlie, perhaps one of the most evocative names of the cold-war city. Little remains of the bleak pressure point, but Checkpoint Charlie is particularly important in gauging the changes which have been wrought since the fall of the Berlin Wall. (Overnight Berlin) B

Day 7: Tuesday 17 September, Berlin
  • Schloss Charlottenburg
  • Bröhan Museum
  • Berggruen Museum

This morning we take the U-Bahn to Charlottenburg Palace. Set in a landscaped park, this mansion was built in 1695 as a summer retreat for the ‘philosopher queen’, Sophie-Charlotte, by her husband, Friedrich I. Originally the palace, designed by Nering and Eosander, was comparatively small. Between 1740 and 1748, however, an extensive section was added at the behest of Friedrich the Great. Called the Knobelsdorff Wing after its famous architect, this is the most exciting section of the palace. We explore the Royal Apartments, Banqueting Halls, the White Room and the Golden Gallery which were designed in the Rococo style by the interior decorator/sculptor, Johann August Nahl in collaboration with Knobelsdorff. The apartments and halls also contain an excellent collection of masterpieces by French 18th-century painters, notably Watteau and Chardin, which were part of the king’s personal collection.

Across from Schloss Charlottenburg, in one of the former gatehouses, is the wonderful Bröhan Museum, which concentrates on the decorative arts and design. The ground floor contains a series of delightful rooms decorated and furnished in Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles, as well as an exhibition of paintings by members of the Berliner Sezession.

Nearby, we shall visit Berlin’s newest, and one of the world’s greatest, collections of modernist art, the Berggruen Museum, given to the state by the art dealer, collector and friend of Picasso, Heinz Berggruen (1914-2007), who had spent six decades in exile from his native country. The extraordinary collection, now part of the National Gallery of Berlin, includes important works by the Baroque artist Giambattista Pittoni, and modernists like Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne, Alberto Giacometti, Georges Braque, Paul Klee, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso; it has 70 Klees, 30 Matisses and 120 Picassos from most periods of the artist’s life. (Overnight Berlin) B

Day 8: Wednesday 18 September, Berlin
  • The Jewish Museum
  • Lunch at Einstein Unter den Linden
  • Afternoon at leisure

We begin this morning with a visit to Berlin’s Jewish Museum, perhaps the most significant example of contemporary architecture in Berlin. Designed by Daniel Libeskind, it is important for its unique architecture and exhibition layout, which capture the spirit of the exhibition perfectly and have led to a radical new understanding of museum design throughout the world.

We shall enjoy a group lunch at one of Berlin’s finest restaurants, Einstein Unter den Linden. This afternoon will be at leisure. (Overnight Berlin) BL

Desden - 3 nights

Day 9: Thursday 19 September, Berlin – Potsdam – Dresden
  • Sanssouci Palace

This morning we depart Berlin and travel by coach to the historical city of Potsdam, situated just beyond the south-west border of Greater Berlin. Set in beautiful natural woodlands with many lakes and river tributaries, Potsdam boasts an idyllic location, and gained its most impressive monuments during the reign of Frederick the Great (1740-1786), who commissioned a series of palaces set within landscaped parkland.

The entire Sanssouci complex, with its many palaces and beautiful gardens, makes an excellent comparison to the French Palace at Versailles. Although Potsdam was heavily bombed, Sanssouci escaped damage during the last world war and thus the palace is still preserved in its original condition. The artistic importance of Sanssouci has been recognised by UNESCO, which has included the entire complex in the list of world heritage monuments.

Our visit will include an official guided tour of the Sanssouci Palace, a magnificent mansion located at the top of a great staircase ascending through a series of terraces. The exterior is a tour de force of Rococo design. The interior boasts several fine rooms, among them the Ante-chamber, the Library in the form of a rotunda, the Bedchamber and Study of Friedrich the Great (including the armchair in which he died), the magnificent Concert Hall, the Reception Hall with paintings by Coypel and Van Loo and the equally splendid Hall of Marble with its superb decoration of Carrara and Silesian marble. We will also visit the Chinese Teahouse, a charming 18th-century pavilion, decorated with gilded statues, which many consider to be the most beautiful building in the park, and the New Rooms (1747), which were built on either side of the Sanssouci Palace. One side was designed in the form of an Orangery, and acted as the palace guest house.

In the late afternoon we travel by coach to Dresden. Dinner will be served at the hotel. (Overnight Dresden) BD

Day 10: Friday 20 September, Dresden
  • Dresden: walking tour of the old town centre
  • Guided tour of Gottfried Semper Opera House (45 minutes)
  • Afternoon at leisure
  • Optional visit to the Albertina, Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery)
  • Evening Performance of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Semperöper

Dresden contains outstanding art collections and fine 18th- and 19th-century architecture, with a long and proud history as the capital of the Dukes and Kings of Saxony, and as an important Central European cultural centre. It has played a particularly important role in the history of European music: Bach, Schubert, Schumann, Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Rachmaninoff are just some of the major composers who lived and worked here. The city suffered badly in the Allied aerial bombing raids towards the end of World War Two, when blanket bombing on 13 February 1945 almost completely destroyed it. Dresden formed part of East Germany during the post-war period and was an important industrial centre with a focus on research. Following the reunification of Germany, Dresden has reclaimed its place as a major cultural centre. Extensive, almost miraculous, restoration and reconstruction works allow a thorough view of the past beauty of the city. This morning our walking tour will take us past Dresden Castle, the Katholisches Hofkirche and the Dresdener Frauenkirche on Neumarkt Square. The tour will include a 45-minute tour of Gottfried Semper’s Opera House, one of the greatest opera houses in Europe. It was built in 1841, over 10 years before Charles Garnier designed his famous Paris Opera. Gottfried Semper (1803-1879), a close friend of Wagner, designed his magnificent opera house whilst he was Professor of Architecture at Dresden’s Königlichen Akademie der bildenden Künste; at this time, he also designed a gallery at Dresden’s great Zwinger.

Lunchtime and the afternoon will be at leisure. There will, however, be an optional visit to the Albertina, Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden’s magnificent ‘New Masters Gallery’. Its fine collection includes important works by German Romantics like Caspar David Friedrich, Impressionists such as Lovis Corinth, the Expressionists Emil Nolde, Max Beckman and Ernst Ludwig Kirshner, as well as the realist Otto Dix whose vicious images of the Weimar Republic and War shocked contemporaries. The collection also includes Paul Gaugin’s magnificent Two Women of Tahiti and works by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, Eduard Munch, Georg Baselitz, A.R. Penck and Gerhard Richter.

In the evening we shall attend a performance of Puccini’s La Bohème at the Opera House. (Overnight Dresden) B

Day 11: Saturday 21 September, Dresden
  • Zwinger & Gemäldegalerie des Altes Meister
  • Historisches Grünes Gewölbe (Historic Green Vault)
  • Neues Grünes Gewölbe (New Green Vault)

Today we visit the Zwinger Palace, a German Baroque Palace that was almost completely destroyed in the 1945 bombing raids and carefully rebuilt during the socialist era. Within the Neoclassical Semper Wing is the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister art gallery – fortunately the artworks had been removed to safety at the start of the war. The gallery is small but it houses one of the finest collections of paintings by Old Masters in Europe, gathered by the Electors and Kings of Saxon, including masterpieces by Giorgione, Raphael, Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Vermeer, Van Dyck and Canaletto.

The Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), located in the west wing of Dresden Castle, is a unique museum that contains arguably the largest collection of precious objects such as dinner services, ornaments and jewellery, in Europe. Founded by Augustus the Strong in 1723, it was named after the malachite green painted column bases and capitals of the initial rooms. The collection features a rich variety of exhibits from the Baroque period to that of Neo-Classicism. The original rooms were destroyed in the bombing of Dresden during WWII. The Grünes Gewölbe has, however, been faithfully restored. Today, its treasures are shown on two floors: The Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe) is an accurate reconstruction of the historic treasure chamber as it existed in 1733, while the New Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe) on the 1st floor is composed of modern exhibition rooms that display precious objects in a neutral museum setting. You will marvel at the extraordinary riches that reflect the importance of conspicuous consumption to the maintenance of a courtly ambience and regal status in the 17th and 18th centuries. Some exhibits include the Cherry Stone with 185 Carved Faces made in 1589 using a magnifying glass. Another extraordinarily intricate work is The Royal Household at Delhi on the Occasion of the Birthday of the Grand Mugual Aureng Zeb. This is a huge gold model of the Indian court encrusted with 4909 diamonds, 164 emeralds, 160 rubies, a sapphire, 16 pearls and two cameos. This orientalist fantasy expressed the Elector of Saxony’s aspirations to equal an eastern court fabled for its fabulous wealth; it cost more than the construction of Moritzburg Castle! The collection’s most valuable exhibit is, however, the Green Diamond bought by August III of Poland from a merchant at the Leipzig fair in 1749. (Overnight Dresden) B

Hamburg - 3 nights

Day 12: Sunday 22 September, Dresden – Hamburg
  • Intercity train to Hamburg
  • Hamburg orientation tour
  • Hamburg Town Hall
  • Michaelis Church

After breakfast, we shall transfer to Dresden station to take the intercity to Hamburg, a journey of around 4 ½ hours. On arrival in Hamburg we shall transfer by coach to our hotel. After time to freshen up after the journey, we shall take an orientation walk through the city centre to the Town Hall and then through the New Town to the magnificent church of St Michael.

We shall visit the grandiose Hamburg Town Hall, the most important 19th-century historicist building in the city. It was built (1886-1897)  replacing an earlier hall that had burnt in 1842 – when the city was particularly prosperous, sometime after the Kingdom of Prussia and its confederates had defeated France in the Franco-German War and the German Empire was founded. This grand building not only expressed the city’s wealth, but also the independence of the State of Hamburg and Hamburg’s republican traditions.

We shall visit Hamburg’s largest church, St Michael’s, one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant Baroque churches ever built. The church spires of Baltic port cities often acted as landfall markers for shipping. St Micheal’s 132-metre high Baroque copper-covered spire not only dominates Hamburg’s skyline, but has guided ships sailing up the Elbe for centuries. Within the huge church the pulpit, font and high altar are particularly notable. The church played a vital role in the religious life of the city; among many citizens baptized here was Johannes Brahms.

Dinner will be served at the hotel. (Overnight Hamburg) BD

Day 13: Monday 23 September, Hamburg
  • Guided tour of the Elbphilharmonie
  • Speicherstadt Museum & Warehouse District
  • Walking tour of Old Town
  • St Jacobi Church
  • Evening Performance at Laeiszhalle (Ravel repertoire by Symphoniker Hamburg)

Hamburg has a proud tradition as a trading city. Founder, with nearby Lübeck, of the powerful Hanseatic League, the city maintained its vibrant commercial life throughout the ups and downs of German history; today it has Europe’s second largest port after Rotterdam.

We begin today with a guided tours of Hamburg’s revolutionary new Elbphilharminie situated on the Grasbrook peninsula on the Elbe River. Designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, who also designed Munich’s extraordinary Allianz Arena and the Beijing National Stadium (Olympic ‘birds nest’), it is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. Its extraordinary glass façades rise up from the former Kaispeicher building over which it was constructed, to its expressive wave-like rooftop. Within, it holds two concert halls, a hotel and residential apartments. Between the old warehouse and the glass structure above is the Plaza, a public viewing area that extends around the whole building.

We next visit the Speicherstadtmuseum, located in an original redbrick warehouse built in 1888, in which goods and tools collected from traditional warehouse companies and business premises of the warehouse district are exhibited. Historical photos and maps illustrate social and economic changes of over a century in this unique historical monument that used to be part of the former free-port and is now part of Hamburg’s UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The exhibition also covers the architecture of the dockland warehouse district, coffee- and tea-trading, and lighter-boating that carried goods from ships to the warehouses.

We shall next walk through the centre of town to the church of St Jacobi (St James), dedicated to the saint whose remains are believed to lie at Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The present church is a careful reconstruction of the hall church, which was built in the 15th century and made Lutheran in 1529. Although the church’s fabric is a restoration (the tower has a 20th century design), many of its furnishing were saved from WWII bombing. Its highlight is a famous organ built by Arp Schnitger from 1693. With 60 registers and around 4000 pipes, it is the largest Baroque organ in Northern Europe. The church also has its original 15th century altars.

The rest of the day is at leisure. We shall reconvene in the evening for a performance by the Symphoniker Hamburg of works by Ravel at the historic Laeiszhalle. (Overnight Hamburg) B

Day 14: Tuesday 24 September, Hamburg
  • Harbour Boat Tour
  • Afternoon at Leisure
  • Farewell Dinner at Die Bank

It is impossible to understand Hamburg’s history without fully appreciating the importance of the harbour. We therefore begin today with a cruise on Hamburg’s harbour, the second busiest, after Rotterdam, in Europe. It also has a deep, important history, especially as the second most important Hanseatic Port after Lübeck. We shall cruise past warehouses, and see the revolutionary Elbphilharminie and the church spires that acted as ‘beacons’ to shipping from the water.

From our cruise station, we shall move to Hamburg’s great Kunsthalle, one of Germany’s largest museums. It has an excellent Old Master collection, including Rembrandt, Rubens, the wonderful Dutch 17th-century landscape painter Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael, and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Its superb collection includes one of the country’s best Caspar David Friedrich corpuses, as well as key works by Goya, Courbet, Manet, Monet, Degas, Éduard Munch, Paul Gaugin, Paul Klee, Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Lovis Corinth, James Ensor, Max Ernst, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Emil Nolde and Pablo Picasso, among others. We shall break for lunch in the Kusthalle. The afternoon is at leisure to allow you to explore the city further or to remain in this magnificent museum.

We shall convene at our hotel in the evening to end our day with a farewell dinner at one of Hamburg’s ‘hotspots’, Die Bank brasserie and bar. As its name suggests, it occupies the banking hall on the opulent first-floor of this former bank, built in 1897. (Overnight Hamburg) BD

Day 15: Wednesday 25 September, Hamburg. Tour Ends.
  • Departure transfer for participants travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight

Participants taking the ‘designated’ ASA flight will transfer to Hamburg Airport. If you are not taking this flight you should find your own way to the airport, or consult ASA for transfer assistance. B


15-day Cultural Tour of Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg

ASA has selected 4- and 5-star hotels that are all centrally located. All hotels provide rooms with en suite bathroom.

  • Berlin (8 nights): 5-star Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof Hotel – a modern hotel located in the heart of West Berlin.
  • Dresden (3 nights): 4-star Steigenberger Hotel – a centrally located hotel in a historic building within easy walking distance to the city’s art galleries and performance venues.
  • Hamburg (3 nights): 4-star Renaissance Hotel – a design hotel within an historic building located in the city centre, refurbished throughout.

Note: Hotels are subject to change, in which case a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double (or twin) room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

How to book

Make a Reservation


Please complete the ASA RESERVATION APPLICATION and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your non-refundable deposit of AUD $500.00 per person payable to Australians Studying Abroad.

Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Single Supplement

Payment of this supplement will ensure accommodation in a double (or twin) room for single occupancy throughout the tour. The number of rooms available for single occupancy is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Gallery Tour Map
Physical Endurance & Practical Information
Physical Rating

The number of flags is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, seven to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless, all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 15-day Cultural Tour of Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg involves:
  • Exploring Berlin, Dresden and Hamburg on foot.
  • Extensive walking (up to 5km per day) and standing during museum and other site visits.
  • Extensive use of public transport in Berlin. When using the U-Bahn or S-Bahn, participants may need to negotiate many short flights of stairs.
  • The use of audio headsets, which amplify the voice of your guide (despite noisy surroundings). This technology also allows you to move freely during site visits without missing any information.
  • 4- and 5-star hotels with two hotel changes.

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the ASA Reservation Application Form.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers:

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $7690.00 Land Content Only – Early-Bird Special: Book before 30 September 2018

AUD $7890.00 Land Content Only

AUD $1750.00 Single Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 4- and 5-star hotels
  • Breakfast daily, lunches and evening meals as indicated in the itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch and D=evening meal
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach (public transport in Berlin) as indicated in the itinerary
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Train travel (1st-class ticket) Dresden to Hamburg (Day 12)
  • Evening performances at Berliner Philharmoniker, the Semperoper in Dresden and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg (or similar)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Entrance fees
  • Use of audio headsets during site visits
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Berlin, Hamburg-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Luggage in excess of 20kg (44lbs)
  • Travel insurance
Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • More than 75 days before departure: $500.00**
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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