There is nothing quite like it. The charm of the traditional German Christmas markets casts a magical and delightful spell on both tourists and locals alike.
Join Travac as we explore Christmas markets and festivities in both Germany and Austria. While these centuries old Christmas markets are held in many locales throughout both countries, Travac has selected the very best markets and towns to visit to make sure your experience is second to none. You’ll start in Vienna, a city that hosts five separate markets. You’ll then travel to Innsbruck, high in the Alps before heading to Nuremburg, the granddaddy of Christmas markets and one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Along the way you’ll also visit Munich, the Neuschwanstein Castle with its “Walt Disney” façade and Heidelberg, famous for its romantic medieval castle.
We look forward to having you join us for this special experience.
Depart Ottawa on your overnight flights to Vienna.
Vienna’s magnetic charm is found on every corner during its colourful Christmas season. On the drive to our hotel you will have a chance to acclimatize yourself to your new vibrant surroundings. You will be able to check your bags at the hotel and enjoy a bit of free time in the heart of Vienna, possibly stopping at one of its world-renowned coffee houses for a “sachertorte.” After check in (early afternoon), the balance of your day will be at your leisure. Your Travac Tours Director will be happy to make suggestions for dinner.
Vienna 3 nights.
Your sightseeing of Vienna will begin with a guided tour of this great metropolitan centre led by a professional local guide. You will have a chance to see Hofburg Palace, the official residence of the President of Austria and a former home of the Hapsburg Dynasty. You will also see the famous Opera House, one of the most beautiful in the world, St Stephen’s Cathedral and Schonbrunn Palace, the summer home to the Hapsburgs. Your afternoon will again be free to discover some of the city’s incredible virtues. An optional concert will be available this evening. (B)
From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot mulled wine creates a wonderful pre-Christmas atmosphere. It is a tradition that has been going on since 1294 and brings delight to the locals as well as attracting visitors from all over the world. This evening you will be off to the Vienna Woods for a special Viennese dinner. You will enjoy home-style cooking with top-rated Austrian wines in an idyllic ambiance. The estate of the restaurant, which dates back to the 12th century, will charm you with its cozy rooms, historic vaulted cellars and romantic garden. You’ll be entertained by wandering musicians passing from table to table during your dinner. (B, D)
This morning you will depart Vienna and make your way south to the “post card” city of Innsbruck. Along the way, we’ll be stopping in Salzburg. Here you can truly experience romance in Mozart’s birthplace. Salzburg’s “Old Town” is internationally renowned for its baroque architecture and is one of the best-preserved city centres north of the Alps. It was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997.
Christmas is always in the air in Salzburg and you will enjoy shopping the many quaint shops that populate the old town. Its Christmas market is unique and centrally located. The town itself offers a great combination of food and shopping from traditional inns to centuries old family businesses all within easy walking distance of each other. You will then depart for Innsbruck where you will overnight. (B)
Innsbruck 2 nights.
Innsbruck is in the centre of the Tyrolian Alps. In fact, the surrounding mountains provide exceptional vistas that really can’t be compared. Nowhere else are alpine experiences and urban joie de vivre so closely connected.
There is something special about a mountain view Christmas market. That’s why the Innsbruck Christmas markets are great spots from where to wrap your hands around a warm cup of glühwein (mulled wine) while keeping an eye on snow-covered Alpine peaks. The shops here will offer you a different experience than you have enjoyed so far and there will be an abundance of shops around the narrow streets that encompass the Christmas markets in this enchanting Austrian town. The Swarovski Christmas tree on the market square sparkles with more than 17,000 Swarovski crystals. (B)
Our journey continues from Innsbruck to Munich in the heart of Bavaria. Along the way we will be stopping at the Neuschwanstein Castle. The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in all of Germany and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. This fairy tale castle was the model used by Walt Disney in fashioning Cinderella’s castle and is one of the icons that we associate with all Disney productions.Without doubt this will be one of the highlights of your Christmas experience. (B)
Munich 1 night.
This morning we will make our way to Nuremberg. With over 400 years of tradition, the Nuremberg Christmas market is one of the most famous in all of Europe. There is an unforgettable atmosphere in the old town. Almost every building is decorated in its Christmas regalia and tempting aromas fill the streets and alley-ways.
Travac’s visit to Nuremberg goes beyond the markets. Nuremberg is distinguished by its medieval architecture, red-roofed buildings, its castle and of course its Nazi rally grounds and the site of the Nuremberg trials. (B)
Nuremberg 2 nights.
Today we will be visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This well-preserved medieval town has become a destination for tourists from around the world. It is part of the romantic road through southern Germany. Beyond its Christmas markets is its wonderful Christmas museum.
Ultimately it is the small-town atmosphere that will become a cherished memory of your Christmas market experience.
Upon returning to Nuremberg you will have some free time to continue exploring this enchanting town. (B)
After breakfast we will travel to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a town on the Neckar River in southwestern Germany. This university town is easily among Germany’s most beautiful cities, but to see the picturesque old town and the castle illuminated by fairy lights during the Christmas season is the icing on the cake. Time permitting, we’ll also visit some of the surrounding villages that offer their best during the Christmas season. (B)
Heidelberg 2 nights.
A visit to Heidelberg is not complete without a visit to Heidelberg Castle. Nestled in the hill 300 feet above the city sits this breath-taking castle. The castle itself, has a history almost as old as the city itself. Not only does the castle offer wonderful views of the city, its gardens that surround part of the castle were considered to be among the finest when they were first commissioned and still impress. It is also home to the largest wine keg in all of Europe (standing over two stories tall and holding 220,000 litres of wine). (B)
This morning we will make our way to Frankfurt for our return flights to Ottawa. (B)
Vienna: Austria Classic
Hotel AddressPraterstraße 72
+43 1 211 30-0
Innsbruck: Hotel Grauer Bär
Hotel AddressUniversitätsstraße 5-7, 6020
+43 512 59240
Munich: Hampton by Hilton Munich City Centre West
Hotel AddressLandsberger Str. 114, 80339
+49 89 1598500
Nuremberg: IntercityHotel Nuremberg
Hotel AddressEilgutstraße 8, 90443
+49 911 24780
Heidelberg: Holiday Inn Express Heidelberg City Centre
Hotel AddressKurfürsten-Anlage 23, 69115
+49 6221 42840