Festive Revelry: A 9-Day Guided Tour of France, Germany and Austria’s Christmas Markets
There is nothing quite like Christmas among the Alps with the festive Munich Christmas Market, Salzburg’s snowcapped spires and an indulgent cup of Glühwein in Innsbruck. Your Local Expert brings Mozart’s history to life ahead of an indulgent Salzburg market tasting, with samples of traditional, hand baked gingerbread. After tasting these festive treats, the culinary delights continue with a traditional Innsbruck dining experience, set against the backdrop of a local Tyrolean folk show. If that is not enough to summon your holiday spirit, a stroll through the medieval cobbled streets of Freiburg will certainly do the trick, not to mention the fairytale surrounds of Strasbourg, where the sweet scent of cinnamon treats is carried on the breeze at the oldest Christmas market in France.
DAY 1: Arrive in Munich Welcome to Germany. Transfers leave Munich airport for your hotel at 10:00 and 13:00. Meet your Travel Director at 15:00 for an orientation of the city that will show you all the city’s major sights, culminating in the Marienplatz, with its soaring Town Hall and Glockenspiel. Here, the Christkindlmarkt will be in full swing, an entrancing festival of light and music. In the evening, join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Dinner with wine. The next day is at leisure.
DAY 2: Free Time in the Bavarian Capital - Munich embraces the holiday season with a particular zeal, so the day is all yours to enjoy the vibrant festive markets that abound in this city. On crisp winter days, organ music and carols ring out from the ancient churches. If snow has fallen, the vast English Garden provides lovely winter vistas. Another option is to experience the romantic royal palaces of the Bavarian Alps.
DAY 3: Lake Chiemsee, Salzburg and Innsbruck - Travel alongside the tranquil waters of Lake Chiemsee on your way to Salzburg in Austria, where the spires and domes of the Old Town are often draped in snow come December. Visit Mozart's birthplace to learn more about his life, and sit down to a musical demonstration on his original pianoforte. Your Travel Director will introduce you to one of the market stallholders for a taste of traditional Bavarian Lebkuchen and a fragrant cup of Glühwein. Head through the mountains to your Innsbruck hotel. This evening, enjoy a traditional meal accompanied by local Tyrolean entertainment.
DAY 4: Innsbruck at Leisure - Enjoy a relaxed start and spend the morning at leisure. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of the Old Town and Christmas Markets, set in front of the Golden Roof, graced by beautifully preserved medieval facades. Explore Insbruck with Insight Choice. Choose between a horse & carriage ride or visit the magical world of Swarovski Crystal.
DAY 5: The Black Forest via Lindau - Travel through the Alberg tunnel, Austria’s longest road tunnel, as you return to Germany and pause in the tiny island-town of Lindau. Walk through the maze of ancient streets down to the harbour. Across the lake, often shrouded in mist, look for the rising silhouette of snow-capped peaks. After time to explore, continue along the shores of the Bodensee to your hotel in the Black Forest for three fabulous nights.
DAY 6: Freiburg Sightseeing - Visit Freiburg in the morning, a lively university city with a charming Christmas atmosphere. Walk from the medieval Münster through the heart of the historic old quarter, past colourful stalls offering a range of festive goodies from the Black Forest.
DAY 7: Strasbourg and Alsace Experience - Cross the Rhine to the region of Alsace, wedged between the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains. This area has changed nationality four times since 1870! Arrive in Strasbourg, the City at the Crossroads, where the Christmas Market is the oldest and one of the largest in France. Spend time in a cosy neighbourhood of timbered fairy-tale buildings, with Christmas shops and a gingerbread bakery, warm with fragrant promise. Return to Germany and venture to a local restaurant for a delightful dinner of local specialties, accompanied by wine.
DAY 8: The Swiss City of Zürich - Cross the Swiss border and head for Zürich where sightseeing includes the imposing Grossmünster, elegant Fraumünster, and winding alleys of the Old Town alongside the River Limmat. A highlight is Europe’s biggest indoor Christmas extravaganza held in the main railway station, with over 160 wooden chalets and a three-storey Christmas tree, draped with Swarovski crystals. Toast to the culmination of your Yuletide journey during a festive Celebration Dinner with wine at a local restaurant with its own microbrewery.
Depart Zürich - Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before checking out. Transfers are available from your hotel to Zürich Airport.
Departure Date: 19th November - 27th November 2022, other dates are available just ask your adviser.