The Elbe River starts its 724-mile long journey in the Krkonose mountains in the Czech Republic, wending its way through Bohemia and Germany to empty into the North Sea, near Hamburg.
The river offers a voyage through history, punctuated by scenic vistas and fascinating cities but there is only one cruise, sailing seven nights from Germany to the Czech Republic or vice-versa, with guests arriving or departing from Berlin or Prague. Passengers should be warned that the river sometimes suffers low water levels and a bus is used as transport if ships cannot move. From spring 2016 CroisiEurope expects its low-draft paddlewheel ship Elbe Princesse to be better suited to the river.
There’s so much to see in the German capital, but highlights should include the museum at Checkpoint Charlie which tells of the attempts made to escape over the Berlin Wall, the dome of the Bundestag, the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre which focuses on the crimes of the SS and police during the Third Reich, and the Jewish Museum. It is worth trying to visit the magnificent Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam.
Tours follow in the footsteps of the town’s famous son, priest Martin Luther. In 2017, the city will celebrate his 500-year legacy; in 1517 he nailed his 95 Theses to the Castle Church door and the act went down as the beginning of the Reformation.
Once known as the Florence on the Elbe, the city was destroyed by the allies during the Second World War. It has been rebuilt to its former glory and tours visit the Frauenkirche, the Semper Opera House, the Royal Palace and Zwinger Palace.
The capital of the Czech Republic is a fascinating city. Do not miss the Jewish Quarter, where a Hebrew clock runs counter-clockwise, or Prague Castle, which dates to around 880 and was the seat of the Holy Roman Emperor in the 14th century and is now the home of the Czech president. Watch the Astronomical Clock on the Town Hall where, on the hour, small statues of the 12 apostles appear.
The town gave its name to the world famous porcelai n so a visit to the Meisscnware factory is a must.