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Germany, 9 Days

Famous pilgrimage sites: Altotting, Speyer, Trier, Prum, Banneux (Belgium), Munster and Kevelaer

 GER - 20109

  • Itinerary

    Day 1: Arrival at Munich International Airport and transfer to hotel for one night's accommodation.

    Day 2: After breakfast, continue on a half-day trip to the city of Altotting. Guided tour of the most important pilgrimage site of the German-speaking region, known since 1489 when a three-year old boy fell into the Mohrbach River and was carried away. After his lifeless body was found, his mother carried him to the Chapel of St. Mary in Altotting, fell to her knees and prayed for the life of her son. After a short while the boy came alive again. Later the boy grew up to study and be a priest. Since that time, many more miracles and signs have been reported. And the question remains, why the boy's mother has not carried her son to the collegiate church but to the holy chapel. Visit to the Holy Chapel and the Collegiate Church, then return to Munich.

    Day 3: After breakfast, continue to Speyer. A rather smallish city in near the south-eastern border of Rhineland-Palatinate, Speyer nevertheless was the site of many important events like the Diet of Speyer in 1529. During the Protestation at the Diet, 6 princes-elector and 14 imperial cities professed Protestant belief, an event later described as the birth of the Protestant Church. Tour of the city including market square and town hall, Lautturm tower, Trinity Church and Speyer Cathedral, Sophie-La-Roche memorial house, the Jewish Courtyard and Museum, Church of the Holy Spirit and 'Altportel' gate - at 55 m one of the tallest city gates in Germany. Time for independent visits to, for example, Memorial Church, Friedenskirche (peace church) of St. Bernard or the Gothic Chapel. Speyer Cathedral is considered Europe's largest and most important Romanesque building and since 1981 part of the UNESCO world heritage. As burial site of Salian, Staufer and Habsburg emperors the cathedral is a symbol of medieval empire. Visit the cross-shaped basilica. Continue to a hotel in Trier for 2 nights' accommodation near/in Trier.

    Day 4: Half-day tour of Trier. The city was founded more than 2000 years ago as 'Augusta Treverorum', from the second half of the 3rd century called 'Trveris'. Trier claims the title of oldest city of Germany based on its long history and the fact that the Romans already recognized it as a city - as opposed to a military camp or settlement. Roman Trier, comprising the amphitheater, Barbara Thermal Baths, St. Constantine's basilica, Porta Nigra gate, Roman Bridge Trier Cathedral, Church of Our Lady, Igeler Saule column, is part of the UNESCO world heritage. Visit the largest and best-preserved Roman city gate Porta Nigra, episcopal church Trier Cathedral, Church of Our Lady and the Imperial Thermal Baths. Free time in the afternoon for independent activities and visits.

    Day 5: Continue via Bitburg to Prum. Free time to visit for example the St. Savior's Basilica and its Late-Gothic church interior and Baroque furnishings as well as the abbey built by Balthasar Neumann. Continue to Banneux, Belgium, a much-visited pilgrimage site with a mineral spring and a hospital 'Hospitalité Banneux Notre-Dame' of more than 300 beds. Each day a blessing of the sick and several church services for the pilgrims are held in the pilgrimage season from May to October. Guided tour of the pilgrimage site, and then continue to Liege, Belgium, for one nights' accommodation.

    Day 6: Continue to Aachen for a tour of the city including a visit to the Munster. Aachen Cathedral, also called Aachen Minster or Imperial Cathedral is the episcopal see of the bishopric of Aachen. St. Mary is its patroness. Today the cathedral consists of several buildings: a central octagon of Carolingian times, a Gothic choir hall in the east, westworks and a side chapel. Continue to Maria Laach Abbey in the Vulkan Eifel, the youngest region of Europe. In 10000 BC the Laacher Lake and the surrounding hills were formed by volcanic activities. Guided tour of the abbey. Upon request a church service can be arranged at the Benedictine monastery. Continue to a hotel in Krefeld for 2 nights' accommodation.

    Day 7: Guided tour of the Kevelaer. Pope John Paul II visited the pilgrimage site in 1987. Go on a tour of the historic city center and the pilgrimage destinations such as the basilica, Chapel of Grace and 'Candle Chapel'. The pilgrimage church, built from 1858 to 1864, was raised to the status of Papal basilica in 1923. The image of "The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin into Heaven" is a reminder of the goal of earthly pilgrimage. Free time in the afternoon for independent visits and sightseeing.

    Day 8: Continue to Munster. Guided tour of the city including Munster Cathedral dedicated to St. Paul. Today's cathedral is the third on this site, built between 1225 and 1264. Both of its predecessors were erected after Ludger was appointed first bishop of Munster in 805 and during the times of bishop Dodo between 967 and 993. Munster Cathedral has an astronomical clock and a carillon; go on to see the magnificent town hall dating back to the 14th century. The town hall was built with an imposing front of round arches and a crow-stepped gable and houses the Friedenssaal room where in 1648 the war between Spain and the Netherlands was ended in a peace treaty (hence the name: 'Frieden' is German for 'peace'). The room's interior is dominated by Gothic carvings covering the walls and including the images of messengers sent to the peace negotiations. 20 heads of state of Europe convened here in 1998 and signed the 'Golden Book' of the city of Munster before opening the exhibition of the Council of Europe. At the end of the city tour, visit St. Lambert's Church at the northern end of the Prinzipalmarkt square, a church financed by the merchants of the town to oppose the dominating Munster Cathedral. Built of Baumberg sandstone of a neighboring county, the church is the most important sacral building of Westphalian Late Gothic style.

    Day 9: Departure.

    (subject to alterations)

  • Tour includes

    Accompanying English-speaking tour host, coach rides and day trips in a modern long-distance bus, experienced driver, and accommodation in mid-price hotels, double rooms with ensuite bathroom or shower/WC; half-board (breakfast and dinner), guided tours by trained local tour guides, maps and informative material.

  • Not included

    Tips, admission fees, beverages, personal expenses, possible increases in fuel prices.