back to Germany


The Sounds of Saxony

A feast of music in Dresden, Leipzig and Halle

Join us for this seven-night, eight-day feast of music from Bach, Mendelssohn, Handel and many others with meals included and staying in city centre hotels with a world of culture on your doorstep. We include two concerts, one private to our group and several recitals in museums, once the homes of where some of Europe's most famous composers lived. Add to that the rich history of the Saxon kings in Dresden, painstakingly restored after the war to sit once again in all its glory on the banks of the Elbe. In Meissen we visit the porcelain manufacture to watch age old crafts sit side-by-side with modern methods and enjoy half board with of our two dinners in atmospheric local restaurants in each city.

Spend four nights in Dresden, a major European center for music, with a long operatic tradition and one of the richest classical music landscapes in all of Germany. For centuries, the capital of Saxony drew renowned musicians from around the world who supplied the royal court with music for its vast array of events, from weddings and balls to church masses. Legendary composers Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Richard Strauss all visited or lived in Dresden, and you can still feel their presence throughout the city.

Then spend three nights in the university city of Leipzig with its famous Gewandhaus Orchestra, Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s house, the Thomaner church (Bach’s heritage) and numerous art galleries. You can feel the fascinating power of music everywhere in Leipzig – in the streets and squares, in churches, concert halls and the many authentic locations where famous musicians worked and lived. In past centuries, more than 500 composers lived here, including great names from music history: Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Clara und Robert Schumann as well as Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Albert Lortzing, Gustav Mahler and Hanns Eisler.


  1. Travel to Dresden (D, DR)

    Morning: meet your Tour Leader and fellow music appreciators at Heathrow and check-in for your direct flight to Berlin.

    Afternoon: on arrival in Berlin transfer to your coach for the two-hour drive to Dresden. On arrival check-in to the Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel for a four-night stay. Your hotel is situated on the banks of the Elbe overlooking the heart of Dresden’s old centre.

    Evening: get to know your fellow companions over a welcome drink followed by dinner in the hotel with drinks included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  2. City Tour with Frauenkirche & Semper Opera House tours (B, MC, D, DR)

    Morning: meet your Local Guide and wander from your hotel across the bridge into the heart of Dresden’s painstakingly restored old town. Learn the history of the Saxon kings and see the procession of princes’ mural. Wander through the Zwinger, a reminder of the baroque period, the orangery and garden which today houses the Old Master’s Picture Gallery and Dresden Porcelain Collection. We stop for a break during the morning for included coffee and cake.

    Afternoon: we enter the magnificent centerpiece of Dresden the Frauenkirche to listen to a short spiritual word (in German) followed by a short organ recital and then a tour of the prayer stalls to learn the history of the church. After time for lunch (at own cost) we meet at the famous Dresden Semper Opera House for a private guided tour.

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with a drink included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, MC = Morning Coffee, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  3. Historic Green Vault and Residence Orchestra concert (B, D, DR)

    Morning: a guided tour of the Royal Palace, one of the oldest buildings in Dresden and the residence of the electors and kings of Saxony, and once the kings of Poland. Today it is a museum complex that houses the Dresden Armoury, Turkish Chamber and the Historic Green Vault. World renown as one of the richest treasure chambers in Europe created by Augustus the Strong (1670-1733). Here you can see enchanting works of art in a baroque setting, with the treasures displayed on gilt consoles in front of mirrored walls. As well as the unique cabinet pieces created by the Dresden court jeweler Dinglinger, such as the Royal Household of the Grand Mogul and the Golden Coffee Service, there are fascinating precious objects made of gold, silver, enamel and gemstones, ivory, mother-of-pearl, coconuts and ostrich eggs.

    Afternoon: at leisure to explore Dresden. A good time to enter the Zwinger and explore the Old Masters Gallery, wander the Elbe or take a boat cruise.

    Evening: an early evening concert of the Dresden Residence Orchestra. Playing world famous works, written by composers such as Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss, all in the magnificent setting of the Zwinger Palace. After, we enjoy dinner with drinks in an atmospheric local restaurant.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  4. Meissen, Porcelain production, Meissen Castle and Cathedral (B, D)

    Morning: a short drive along the Elbe from Dresden is the small town of Meissen famous for its porcelain manufacture where the “cross swords symbol" has been applied to porcelain works since 1710. Watch the craftsman create magnificent tableware's and ornaments. After, enjoy a short recital of the Meissen Porcelain Organ.

    Afternoon: after free time for lunch (at own cost) we take a guided tour of the Albrechtsburg, the castle that overlooks the Elbe and Meissen Cathedral. In 1581 the Meissen diocese was dissolved in the course of the Protestant Reformation, and the church was used by the Protestant Church since. It is the cathedral church of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Saxony. The pulpit is located relatively centrally, accessed from the north aisle. The unusual design (with a door preventing public access) dates from 1591

    Evening: dinner in the hotel with a drink included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  5. Leipzig (B, D, DR)

    Morning: transfer to Leipzig travelling through Saxony’s countryside and agricultural regions. On arrival in Leipzig check-in to your central hotel for a three-night stay and take time to wander the area close to the hotel and have lunch (at own cost).

    Afternoon: meet your Leipzig guide for a for a two-hour walking tour of the city. Sights include the St. Thomas Church with its Bach monument where we tour, Bach was director of music here for 26 years. We also see the St. Nicholas Church the starting point of the peaceful revolution in 1989 that lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Old Town Hall on the Market Square, the Gewandhaus and Mädler Passage the famous ornate shopping arcade. The musical history of Leipzig encompasses not only Wagner but also Strauss, J.S. Bach, Telemann, Robert and Clara Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Mahler.

    Evening: dinner in your Leipzig hotel with a drink included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  6. Halle – Handel House Museum – Chamber music concert (B, D, DR)

    Morning: travel to Halle, a historic trading town and the birthplace of Handel. At its centre is the Marktkirche, an outstandingly beautiful example of the very last phase of Gothic, with coeval paintings and furnishings. The morning culminates in a visit of the Handel House where George Frideric Handel was born in 1685. Today not only does it tell the story of Handels life and works but house over 700 musical instruments and documents of the musical history of Halle. We enjoy an organ recital during our visit.

    Afternoon: free time in Halle before returning to Leipzig in the mid-afternoon.

    Evening: relax in the hotel and enjoy a private concert just for our group of our specially arranged quartet who play for you before dinner in the hotel with a drink included.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  7. Mendelssohn, Schumann & Bach Museums with recitals (B, D, DR)

    Morning: a short stroll to visit the Mendelssohn House with an introductory lecture followed by a private concert. See the apartment where Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy lived on the first floor and composed his many works. The concert of the Mendelssohn-Quartett will take place within this famous house.

    Afternoon: take a guided tour of the Schumann House where he allowed his music to speak the depth of love he had for Clara. In their first year of marriage, he wrote more than 130 songs for voice and piano. These were inspired by his feelings for her during their courtship and their new life together against their families wishes. As their family grew, he composed Kinderszenen or Scenes from Childhood (1838) as a set of piano pieces to express the excitement, curiosity, popular games and dreams of children. Today is rounded off with a guided tour of the Bach Museum. The historic house is one of the oldest buildings on the square outside St Thomas’s Church. After, we enjoy a short private Cembalo concert.

    Evening: farewell drinks followed by dinner with a drink in an atmospheric local restaurant.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

  8. Depart for the UK (B)

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before the drive to Berlin Brandenburg Airport for the return flight to the UK and time to bid farewell to your fellow classical music appreciators.

    Key to symbols: B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, DR = Drink

Essential Information

Included excursions and visits

  • Dresden: guided city tour on foot
  • Dresden: private tour of the Semper Opera House
  • Dresden: Guided tour of the Royal Palace
  • Dresden: Historic Green Vault Entrance
  • Dresden: excursion to Meissen Porcelain
  • Dresden: guided tour of Meissen Castle (Albrechtsburg) & Cathedral
  • Leipzig: visit of Mendelssohn House Museum
  • Leipzig: visit of Schumann House Museum
  • Leipzig: visit of Bach Museum
  • Halle: visit of the Handel House Museum

Included recitals & concerts

  • Dresden: organ recital in the Frauenkirche
  • Dresden: performance of the Dresden Residence Orchestra
  • Dresden: Meissen Porcelain Organ recital
  • Leipzig: Mendelssohn House Quartet recital
  • Leipzig: Bach Museum Cembalo recital
  • Leipzig: private quartet chamber music in the hotel
  • Halle: Handel Home Museum organ recital

Optional excursions 

None! All excursions and extra listed above and below are included.

Included extras

  • Hotel porterage
  • Personal audio guiding system
  • All hotel, restaurant, guide and driver gratuities
  • Services of knowledgeable Local Guides
  • Optional worship with our travelling Tour Leader

Included meals & drinks

Meals: all breakfasts and all evening meals are included. Breakfasts will be an extensive buffet in your hotel. Five evening meals will be in the hotels with two, one in each city, being in atmospheric local restaurants for that extra experience. During your Dresden city tour we include coffee and cake during a pause.

Drinks: welcome and farewell drinks as well as a beer, wine or soft drink and tea or coffee with all evening meals are included.

Our team in Germany

All excursions and city tours will also be escorted by a knowledgeable local guide who will also offer local advice, hints and tips for you to get maximum enjoyment of your time with us. Also, our dedicated McCabe Faith leader is there solely for our guests and will arrange optional worship. They will escort all excursions and be available for any queries.

Your journey

The flight is direct to Berlin with British Airways. Regional flights to Heathrow from some UK airports and flight seat upgrades, for that extra comfort and ease through the airport, can be arranged at a supplement. An overnight stop at Heathrow may be required which we can assist you with. Please enquire at time of booking.

Outbound departs: 11:10       arrives: 14:05

Inbound departs:   14:50       arrives: 15:50

Length of flight to Berlin: 2 hours

Flight times are subject to change and confirmed with your final paperwork

Your hotels


Four nights

The Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel is an impressive 19th-century classical-style building on the banks of the Elbe, with modern wings for comfortable accommodation, all just a short stroll from the most important sights, museums, and shops, including Frauenkirche, Zwinger and Semper Opera. It is the only hotel in Dresden that enchants its guests with the world-famous "Canaletto view" of the Dresden Old Town on the other side of the Elbe River.

Hotel facilities: the hotel offers a fitness and wellness area including an indoor swimming pool, well equipped gym and sauna. There is a café inside the hotel. Meals are often taken in the panoramic restaurant overlooking the river. WiFi is available throughout the hotel.

Your hotel room: all classic rooms are comfortably furnished with views of the Neustädter Markt Square, and its statue of August the Strong, and have a TV, telephone, safe, mini bar and come with a bathrobe and slippers.

Hotel bathrooms: all bathrooms have a shower over bath tub and are equipped with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries. Ample towels are provided for bathroom and pool use.


Three nights

A beautiful Art-Nouveau building in the heart of Leipzig just a short stroll to the main square, museums and many attractions.

Hotel facilities: American specialities and high-quality steaks are served in the elegant Steaktrain restaurant. The Nikolai Bistro opens daily at 10.00 and offers snacks, cocktails and homebaked cakes in a beautiful Art Deco atmosphere. It also looks out in Nikolaistaße and Willy-Brandt-Platz, the square in front of Leipzig Main Station. There is a small sauna, jacuzzi and spa for guests use.

Your hotel room: decorated in the Art-Nouveau style all come with air-conditioning/heating and are equipped with flat screen TV, safe, fridge, a complimentary bottle of water on arrival and complimentary Wifi.

Hotel bathrooms: shower or bath with hairdryer and complimentary soap, shampoo and shower gel.

Please note that some rooms have open plan bathrooms with no door or wall between bathroom and bedroom. Requests can be taken but cannot be guaranteed prior to arrival.

Practical information

Entry requirements

British Citizen and EU Citizen Passport holders can currently enter Germany freely with no restrictions or other documentation required. Stays within the EU can be up to 90 days (can be spread over multiple visits) within any 180-day period.

Please note your passport must be valid for six months after your return from Germany.

Full details of entry requirements and any required vaccinations will be detailed in your final paperwork 14 days before departure.

For the latest and most up to date travel advice including entry requirements please consult the Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office travel advice website.

Health & wellbeing

For travel within the EU you should ensure that you have the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which is free of charge.  You can apply for the GHIC card by calling 0191 218 1999 or applying on line at…

The level of cover offered by the GHIC card varies by country visited and is only applicable in state-run health facilities. In some countries coverage may just be a partial contribution.

Adequate insurance cover will be required for all hospital emergencies and doctors’ visits.


In June the daily minimum to maximum temperature range is 12 - 24 degrees and in September 11-22 degrees. Rainfall in September is low but in June late afternoon and evening thunderstorms can occur. Weather reliability is similar to the southern UK so always be prepared.


Casual clothing is recommended in the day-time with evenings being smart/casual. You may wish to take one or two smarter items for the evenings and some concert recitals . As this tour requires a certain amount of gentle walking and guided tours, we suggest you take a pair of lined shoes. It is advisable to bring a couple of warmer items for the evenings and some air conditioned buildings may require a warmer item to be worn.


There is a certain amount of walking (and stairs) involved on a daily basis on this holiday so please make sure you pack comfy footwear for this so that you are prepared. Your Local Guides will keep you updated on a daily basis with what to expect the following day. If you are finding it difficult to keep up, then please make sure you tell your Local Guide and Group Leader who can help you to find places to rest and relax and then you can re-join the group at a later stage.

Some streets in towns and villages that you will visit will be cobbled. We suggest you take a pair of comfortable shoes with good grips or trainers. For your guided walking tours  you must be prepared to be on your feet for up to 90 minutes without the need to sit down and walk two to three flights of stairs unaided.

The McCabe Educational Trust

The McCabe Educational Trust is an independent registered charity with the aim of helping inspiring people we meet on some of our pilgrimages. As ‘the haves’ encounter the ‘have nots’ the Trust has become a practical tool for one to help the other.

McCabe Pilgrimages invite all travellers to become partners in this work. A £20 voluntary donation to the Trust’s work is added to every pilgrim’s invoice and all money raised in this way is given in full to the projects the Trust supports. This scheme is voluntary and confidential with nobody put under any pressure to participate.

Travel insurance

Ensuring that your holidays are appropriately protected is one of our main priorities. That’s why we have specifically chosen Holiday Extras as our *preferred travel insurance provider to ensure that you are protected before and whilst you are travelling. Holiday Extras offer McCabe Travel guests favourable rates for single trip, multi-trip and annual policies.

For more information or to obtain a quote click below for their website

Or call them on 0800 083 3551 to speak to a friendly advisor.

Please quote AG628 upon calling to receive the best rates

Full financial security

All money paid to McCabe is fully secure. Holidays including flights are covered by our ATOL license from the Civil Aviation Authority, and holidays without flights are protected by our membership of the ABTOT bonding scheme. If a pilgrimage is cancelled, for instance through lack of numbers or for political considerations, McCabe will promptly refund all monies paid.

AITO Quality Statement

McCabe Pilgrimages is a member of the Association of Independent Tour Operators. The Association represents Britain’s leading independent tour operators and encourages high standards of quality and service. McCabe abides by the Association’s Code of Conduct and adheres to the AITO Quality Charter.

You can read McCabe reviews on the AITO website here

Read reviews


Send to a friend

    Travel club

    A portfolio of tours with our regular travellers in mind

    Read more