When it comes to Christmas celebration, there is hardly anyone who does it better than the Europeans. On this journey, we will visit some of the oldest and biggest Christmas Market across Northern Europe, tasting local seasonal delicacies and soak in various fairy-tale like winter sceneries from half-timbered houses to snow-capped castles. Enjoy your first touch of Christmas magic in Frankfurt before departing to Alsace Region of France for its candy-colored houses and delicious French goodies. From here, venture across Central Germany to the land of Bavaria, stopping en route to attend the Royal Christmas Market at Hohenzollern Castle, and extend all the way to the lovely town of Salzburg in Austria
As you are being taken to your hotel, it does not take long for you to recognize the fairy-tale like festiveness that spread across the city of Frankfurt. At the old Romerberg, gorgeous Christmas light is set against whimsical half-timbered houses and vintage carousel plays lovely melody next to a giant 30m tree – just like what you would see inside a snow globe.
Follow the footsteps of romantics from 18th – 19th century and experience the charm that Mark Twain found in Heidelberg. This lovely town along Neckar River is an ancient university town with an impressive renaissance castle sitting on its center. Inside the palace, you will find slices of German romanticism, world’s largest wine barrel and windows that open to the best view of Heidelberg. The Christmas atmosphere is unique as well – stalls nestle idyllically amongst the historic old town and ice skating rink opened against the impressive castle backdrop
After settling in, delight yourself with another Christmas ambiance and satisfy your taste buds with all kinds of delicious French goodies including crepes, tarte flambée and king of Alsatian delicacies, the foie gras.
Take a walk through the downtown Strasbourg with your private guide and you will find an indescribable blend of French – German culture. Under the shadow of Notre Dame de Strasbourg, we will roam through the old town’s twisting alleys lined with half-timbered houses and enjoy traditional comfort food in one of the best winstubs (Alsatian Tavern) along La Petite France. If time permissible, we will also walk into the Cathedral and marvel at the remarkable astronomical clock and its enigmatic mechanism.
Venture to Colmar, another lovely Alsatian town, that is famous for its lined-up candy colored houses and postcard moments in almost every corner. The best way to soak in the city vibe is to wander aimlessly across the historic old town with its famous Petite Venise or visit the Unterlinden Museum for art lovers. In festive season, the entire town is wrapped in warm and happy atmosphere and stuffed with all kinds of handicrafts and decorative items to go into your Christmas basket. Depending on your interest, your private driver can also drive you to other smaller but equally charming village such as Eguisheim and Riquewihr.
The Alsatian days are over and you will be privately transferred to Hohenzollern Castle. Sitting at 855 meter on Swabian Mountain Alps, this legendary structure is considered the residence of past Prussian rulers with roots dating back to 11th century. During every Advent Season, its vast courtyard and lavish royal rooms turn into a wonderland of vendors selling handmade Christmas crafts and culinary treats. The market is not extremely large but definitely one of the most memorable and sought after
Unlike Berlin, who chose to embrace modernity and skyscrapers, Munich restored many of its building post World War II to their traditional format, giving this third largest city in Germany a small town charm. Enjoy exploring the city on your own and visit sites that cater to your interest. Art lovers should definitely check out Alte Pinakothek for brilliant collections from 14th to 18th century or Munich Residenz for its beautiful murals. You may also choose to see futuristic automotive at BMW Welt, walk behind the stage into Bayern Munich’s locker room or simply gaze at local’s life at the colorful Viktualienkt Market. As the day turn into afternoon, follow the crowd and flock to Marientplatz for your Bavarian Christmas celebration that showcases variety of handmade items from sheepskin jacket to fruit cake and plum almond.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most well-known, visited and photographed sights in Germany that also gives real-life inspiration to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. It was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and intended to become the private retreat for his family; only that it did not happen as he passed away before the construction saw its completion. Enjoy a guided tour inside the castle and follow the nature trail to admire its beauty from various vantage points
Rise to the highest peak of Germany at almost 3000 m and take in the incredible 360˚ alpine panorama with a glass of cold beer in your hands.
No visit to Garmisch is considered complete without a hike in Partnarch Gorge which is exceptionally mystical and beautiful in winter. The trail is only 700 meter long but deep into the gorge with long icicles line up the trail – creating bizarre icy walls. If the weather is cold enough, the river stream and waterfall will freeze and the entire gorge turns into an enchanting icy world
Kept warm by fleece with a cup of hot cocoa or mulled wine, off you go exploring the beautiful Garmisch-Partenkirchen as you being pulled over untouched blanket of snow, past the Olympic ski-jump hill and approach a frozen waterfall where delightful prosecco and canapés are served
Switch on your “spy mode” as we are about to enter the newly-opened James Bond Museum located at more than 3,000 m above sea level in Sölden, Austria. Immerse yourself into the world of 007 as you go through cinematic installation and interactive technology dedicated to James Bond’s Movies, primarily “The Spectre” and scenes that are shot in Sölden. If those does not impress you, the luxurious super car collections or the dreamy lunch at Ice Q Restaurants absolutely will
Set your foot into the glittering Swarovski Kristallwelten and witness how this high-end diamond company turns crystals into a living experience in the form of art installations and inspiring garden. Throughout the years, many well-recognized artists, designers and architects have produced their own unique crystal creations. Notable works, among others, including Yayoi Kusama’s “Chandelier of Grief”, Andy Cao’s “Crystal Cloud” and the “Eden” Forest by Fredrikson Stallard
Hallstat is virtually a postcard picture brought to life with glassy lake reflecting lined-up alpine houses and towering mountains rising from the water’s edge. Within this UNESCO World Heritage town are churches that date to the twelfth century, a buzzing market square, and plenty of cozy, candlelit restaurants for a date lunch. We will also visit World Heritage Skywalk from where best possible Hallstat view can be seen and dive into Hallstat salt mines to get a fascinating insight on salt mining history that has lived for over 2500 years
Standing beside the fast-flowing Salzach River, Salzburg is a relatively small and quaint town famously known as the birthplace of Mozart and consequently filled with classic mood and vibe. On this half day tour, Your guide will make certain to show you the breathtaking St Peter’s Church, statue of Mozartplatz and the Hohensalzburg Castle, which is very hard to miss while walking in the town. And while you are still in the festive mood, take the opportunity to experience the intimate Austrian Christmas vibe and sample local seasonal treats from Bratapfel (baked apel) to Lebkuchen (gingerbread)
Combine this itinerary with other wonderful Europe Experiences
Pick your own ballgown and tuxedo, learn some waltz from the expert and dance like a true Viennese at one of the 400 balls that are staged in Vienna every winter
Spend your days walking in the snowy forest, enjoy Michellin-starred cuisine at a hidden village and warm up your winter nights with steamy hot springs in Baden – Baden
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