Amazing architecture, twinkling lights, sumptuous treats and magical old-world charm. Rediscover the excitement of the Christmas season with a visit to Germany’s authentic markets. Your senses will delight at the beauty of the world around you. Immerse yourself in the romance of your surroundings while enjoying traditional music and delicious regional cuisine.
Insightful, exciting guided city tours combined with leisurely market strolls and specialty excursions create the perfect combination for relaxed yet meaningful travel. Modern merriment and centuries of history and culture await you.
Day 1: Christmas comes to Berlin
Welcome to the vibrant, dynamic city of Berlin. Your tour guide will meet you at the airport, where you will begin your journey with a sightseeing tour of Berlin. Marvel at stunning historical structures like the Brandenburg Gate or the Reichstag while learning about the history, culture and diversity of Berlin. Enjoy the sights from the comfort of your private coach.
After your tour, you will arrive at your hotel and check-in.
Later today, you will visit the magical Charlottenburg Palace Christmas Market. Enjoy a cup of Gluhwein (hot spiced wine) while you marvel at the spectacularly illuminated Charlottenburg Palace. The 17th century palace and its ornamental gardens create a romantic backdrop to the bustle of the market festivities. Miniature chalets adorned with festive trimmings house delicious delights such as Christmas stollen, bratwurst, and mushroom pans. No visit is complete without browsing the many handicrafts available for purchase.
After the market, enjoy a welcome dinner with your tour companions.
Berlin is internationally famous for its nightlife. Take advantage of your overnight stay here in the capital and try a cabaret, theatre, bar or pub.
Overnight in Berlin.
Day 2: Magical Meissen
Before carrying onward to Dresden, you will first stop for a visit to Meissen, picturesquely situation on the banks of the Elbe River. Famous for its beautiful porcelain, Meissen also is home to an atmospheric Christmas Market.
You will start your visit with a tour of the imposing Albrechtsburg Meissen, the oldest palace residence in Germany.
After a short orientation of the town, you will have the opportunity to visit the Meissen Christmas Market. Merry music entertains you while you admire the stunning architecture of the market square. Surrounded by colourful Renaissance townhouses, the striking Frauenkirche with its unique carillon, and the specially decorated Rathaus (Town Hall), the market buzzes with festivities and merriment. With its cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings, the Meissen Christmas Market truly makes for a memorable afternoon.
You will continue to Dresden, where you will enjoy dinner with your tour companions.
Overnight in Dresden.
Day 3: Dreaming of Dresden
You will start the day with a city tour of Dresden, once known as the “Jewel Box” of Germany, due to its architecturally stunning city centre. Revel in your surroundings while learning about Dresden, present and past.
An afternoon visit of a local Dresden bakery will make for a delicious outing. Sample the scrumptious Dresdner Christstollen, and enjoy a cup of coffee. You may be tempted to purchase some additional treats.
Free time in Dresden. Take the opportunity to explore the many Christmas Markets that Dresden offers. Dresden has more Christmas markets than any other city in Eastern Germany, including the oldest continually running festival in Germany, the Striezelmarkt.
The Striezelmarkt has been a Dresden tradition since the 14th century and is certain to make for a delightfully festive outing. Sample the delicious regional fare, like the unique Pfefferkuchen, which is similar to gingerbread but covered in preserves and chocolate. Meander through the magical market and admire the colossal décor. Highlights include a giant fairy-tale castle Advent calendar, a 14 metre high Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid, and a huge Christmas arch which spans 13.5 metres.
Dinner with your tour companions and overnight in Dresden.
Day 4: Secrets of Saxon Switzerland
Your day will begin with an excursion to Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz), an area of outstanding natural beauty. Take in the breathtaking views of Germany’s vast wilderness and unique Sandstone Mountains, complete with captivating rock formations. Hike to the eminent Bastei Bridge to take in the Elbe River from a new perspective.
During the first three Advent weekends, you will have the opportunity to visit the romantic Königstein Christmas Market, located in Saxon Switzerland. Enjoy the music of wandering minstrels and carolers while you observe local vendors showcasing their craftsmanship. Marvel at the twinkling lights and festive atmosphere while you try the delicious regional fare. No visit is complete without venturing into the resplendently decorated underground market grotto.
Your day continues with a visit to another Christmas market. Dependent on the date, you may get the chance to visit Altkötschenbroda Markt or Stolpen Markt. Altkötschenbroda Markt, a romantically boutique market, features a festive atmosphere coupled with delicious Saxon cuisine and goods. Stolpen Markt features craft making workshops steeped in charm and tradition.
Dinner and overnight in Dresden.
Day 5: Merriment in the Ore Mountains
Today you will continue onwards to the Erzgebirge region, famous for its outstanding woodwork and craftsmanship. You will have the opportunity to visit the Erzgebirgische Volkskunst, where you will be able to observe the talented local craftsmen create their wooden works of art, including the Erzgebirge Christmas pyramid. These masters will guide you through the creation of their craft, using various traditional techniques. Visit the retail shop afterwards to pick up a beautifully unique souvenir.
On Sundays, you will be able to view the Miner’s Parade, a longstanding tradition of the Saxon Ore Mountains. Enjoy the revelry of the celebration, which usually includes cheerful music. Don't forget to participate in the traditional greeting between the miners and the audience, the Glück auf.
Dinner and overnight in the Nuremberg region.
Day 6: Festivities in Nuremburg
Begin your day with a tour of beautiful Nuremburg, a city of outstanding Medieval architecture. Walk amongst the magnificent historical residences and fortifications and feel as if you have stepped back in time.
Free time for lunch with your tour companions.
This afternoon, you will visit a local gingerbread bakery. Learn about the history of Nuremburg gingerbread while indulging in a tasty afternoon snack. You will have the opportunity to purchase some additional gingerbread.
After your delicious gingerbread themed outing, take time to visit one of Nuremburg's markets. The internationally famous Nuremburg Christkindlesmarkt is home to the world's biggest Feuerzangenbowle, a unique cocktail of red wine, spices and rum heated to perfection. View this colossal sized bowl of Christmas punch while enjoying the magical atmosphere of this exciting market.
Tonight, enjoy a traditional dinner featuring Nürnberger Rostbratwürste, a sausage with an amazing 690 years of history.
Overnight in Nuremburg.
Day 7: Spirit of Christmas in Rothenburg and Bamberg
Today you will visit the beautifully preserved historic towns of Rothenburg and Bamberg.
You will start your day with a guided tour of amazing Rothenburg. It won't be difficult to imagine yourself in Medeival Rothenburg, as so much of the town has been preserved for centuries. The stunning fairy-tale town is sure to delight as you stroll through the beautifully maintained laneways, lined with gorgeous half-timbered buildings.
Explore Rothenburg's 500-year-old Christmas market, the Reiterlesmarkt. Steeped in history and tradition, this market is a historical Christmas wonderland, complete with a beautifully festive atmosphere and delicious treats. Enjoy roasted chestnuts and special white mulled wine while browsing the wonderfully traditional gifts on offer by local craftsmen.
This afternoon, you will continue onward to Bamberg, a city of outstanding beauty and a UNESCO world heritage site. Admire Bamberg's historical buildings while enjoying a special crib tour (nativity scenes) of Bamberg.
Dinner and overnight in the Nuremberg region.
Day 8: Beautiful Bavaria
Today you will journey to Upper Bavaria, a heartland of natural beauty and deep-rooted history. Dependent on your travel dates, you might get to stop at the gorgeous Christkindlmarkt on Neupfarrplatz, located in beautifully preserved Regensburg. Lights twinkle across the market square while the stately St. Peter's Cathedral provides a stunning backdrop. After you have worked up an appetite by browsing the many vendor chalets, indulge in some delicious Knackwurstsemmeln with horseradish, gherkins and mustard. Don't forget to sample at least one of the many varieties of mulled wine on offer (over 40 types are featured at this market).
You might have the chance to stop at the Kuchlbauer's Tower Christmas Market, which features an amazingly illuminated winter wonderland, complete with decorated tower. This Christmas Market, located at the Kuchlbauer Brewery, features traditional artisans and a "World of Beer".
Continue to your hotel in Munich or Upper Bavaria.
Dinner at the hotel with your tour companions.
Day 9: Christmas at the Bavarian Sea
Today will feature a special day excursion to the smaller regional Christmas markets, which are splendidly charming and festive. Dependent on the date of travel, you may get the chance to visit the Christkindlmarkt Kloster Andechs, which features a live nativity scene (crib) and regional delicacies like honey liqueur and various pastries. Also a travel possibility is the Christkindlmarkt auf der Fraueninsel im Chiemsee , a unique island market in beautiful Lake Chiemsee which is both boutique and romantic.
You may have the opportunity enjoy a Christmas Market boat shuttle on the magnificent Tegernseer Lake (only available on Saturday afternoons). View the resplendent lakeside winter scenes while sailing to the gorgeous lakeside Christmas Markets. Included is a delicious Christmas punch tasting in a souvenir mug for you to take home.
Dependent on travel date, the Berchtesgadener Advent Christmas Market may be a potential destination. Voted as one of the most popular Christmas markets in Germany, the Berchtesgadener Advent Christmas Market is certain to impress. The majestic Berchtesgaden Alps surrounding the town create a truly spectacular winter atmosphere as you visit this festive boutique market. Enjoy the traditional alpine music of the region as you sample the traditional Bavarian cuisine.
Dinner with your tour companions and overnight in Munich or Upper Bavaria.
Day 10: Farewell
Homewards journey from Munich
Copyright program and pictures: © APPINA TRAVEL GmbH