Christmas Markets Tour

Day 1: Depart from North America

Day 2: Arrive in Munich
Arrival in Munich, where your private coach and guide awaits you in front of the Terminal. Transfer to Nuremberg, the symbol of German toy-making to the entire world and a city seeped in history dating back over 1,000 years. Our home for the next two nights is ideally located in the heart of the city within walking distance to the old town and Christmas Markets. (D)

Day 3: Nuremberg
Our morning will be spent with a local guide strolling through the “middle ages” as we explore the charming old quarter, including a walk through the Fortress and the Old Town. Our afternoon has been left free allowing us ample time to explore the most famous of the German Christmas markets. Stroll through the main square and feel the magic of this fairyland setting with festive booths overflowing with ornaments and treasures. Have fun browsing the market place, smelling the aroma of gingerbread, roasted chestnuts and sizzling sausage in the air. Gather this evening for a welcome reception and dinner at our hotel. (B,D)

Day 4: Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Our first day of travel focuses on Germany’s Romantic Road, leading from the River Main and the Alps. The highlight, beyond all doubt, is Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which is noted for its old houses, ramparts, magnificent buildings and narrow cobbled streets. After a guided walking tour of the old quarter, you will have plenty of time to visit local Christmas Market and the world renowned Käthe Wohlfahrt shop and museum, specialising in anything and everything for Christmas. Later, we follow the legendary Romantic Road south to the Alps and the village of Oberammergau, best known for the Passion Play but also noted for its exquisite wood carvings. (B,D)

Day 5: the Bavarian Alps
This morning we explore the Alpine wonderland of Bavaria and enjoy special visits to King Ludwig’s fairytale Linderhof Castle with its ornate suites, a replica of Capri’s Grotto and a Moorish kiosk, as well as the Church at Wies, noted for its lavish Rococo style. Following a lunch break at a local „cheese-farm“, we return to Oberammergau with time to explore the local shops and the village. (B,D)

Day 6: Munich
In the morning catch a last view of the mountains before you head west to Munich. A local guide takes you to the sights of Bavaria’s capital, the Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz, Frauenkirche, Olympic Stadium and the Oktoberfest area. The afternoon is off to visit the Munich Christmas Market and to explore Munich on own. Later on we continue across the border to Salzburg and the beautiful alpine Hotel Untersberg located at the foot of Mount Untersberg in a little suburb. (B, D)

Day 7: Salzburg
This is a day that we shall remember as we mix the charms of Salzburg’s Christmas preparations with memories of the Sound of Music on our walking tour. Known as the “Rome of the North”, Salzburg has many magnificent monuments from both the Baroque and Renaissance eras.  Now designated as a World Cultural Heritage Site, Salzburg was ruled for centuries by Prince Archbishops.  We will see many impressive and historical sites like the Fortress of Hohensalzburg (an impressive 12th century castle overlooking the town), the cathedral, Mozart’s birthplace, the ancient cemetery and other magnificent palaces. After our walk, we will travel by coach to the Salzkammergut, the region surrounding Salzburg made famous by the “Sound of Music”. A final highlight will be our visit to the Silent Night Chapel in Oberndorf. For the evening, we will enjoy a Mozart Dinner and Concert (complete with minstrels in period costumes) at the ancient St. Peter’s Cellar. (B,D)

Day 8: the Austrian Lake District, Cesky Krumlov, and Prague
In the morning, enjoy a scenic drive along the Austrian Lake district with the Alps in the background. Cross the Austrian – Czech border and continue through the Czech countryside to the beautifully preserved medieval centre of Cesky Krumlov, another UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient town centre and Renaissance Castle. After a guided tour and some time on your own, continue to Prague and check in at the  Moevenpick Hotel for the next three nights. (B,D)

Day 9: Prague
Our local guide will join us this morning for a walking visit to the Old Town with its very beautiful Christmas Market. On our walking tour our guide will show us the Teyn Church, Wenceslas Square, the Astronomical clock, St. Nicholas Cathedral and the Old Town Hall as well as the Jewish Quarter and famous Charles Bridge with its statues and wonderful views of the Castle. We shall have the afternoon at leisure to sample the local shopping for crystal and other fine Czech products. We complete our evening with a classical concert and dinner. (B,D)

Day 10: Prague
After breakfast, continue our Prague sightseeing tour with the huge Prague Castle Hradschin where we see Cloister Strahov including the library, Loreto pilgrimage church, St. Vitus Cathedral, Vlatislav hall and the Golden Lane. Following our included lunch in a typical Czech restaurant, the afternoon is at your leisure, with ample time to explore the Christmas Market and all that the Czech Capital of Prague has to offer. Overnight in Prague. (B, L)

Day 11: the Ore Mountains and Dresden
Leaving Prague this morning we cross back into Germany, entering the Ore Mountains, one of Germany’s best kept secrets and home to all that we hold sacred in traditional Christmas lore and decorations. Here, we will find anything and everything we might imagine to decorate our Christmas tree or our home. We will visit factories and outlets, as well as one of the famous Advent concerts at the local church, beautifully decorated with Christmas ornaments. This region is most popular with German visitors during the Advent celebrations. Later we continue to historic Dresden, home to the oldest Christmas Market in all Germany. Our hotel is located right beside the Frauenkirche. (B,D)

Day 12: Meissen and Dresden
A short drive this morning brings us to Meissen where we have a private visit of the world famous porcelain works. Of course, an opportunity to visit the showroom will not be missed. Badly damaged by Allied bombing in 1945, Dresden has now been fully restored to its Baroque splendour. Our afternoon tour will introduce us to the magnificent architecture of the Semper Opera, the Church of our Lady and the Zwinger Palace as well provide us with a better understanding of the works of Friedrich Schiller and Richard Wagner. Later this afternoon we have free time to visit the Striezelmarket, the oldest Christmas Market in the world, dating from 1434 where we may have a chance to taste the biggest Christmas-stollen (4 tons). This evening, we celebrate the past two weeks, sharing our stories and memories at our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 13: Back to North America
Our fascinating journey draws to a close as this morning we catch our flights home.