There’s no better way to celebrate the yuletide season than at Germany's fabled Christmas markets. The smell of gingerbread wafts through the streets as you browse stalls in search of crystal, handmade toys, woolens and other items sure to please everyone on your holiday shopping list. You'll also have plenty of time to sightsee and sample each city's unique attractions during this most magical time of the year.
• Browse seven of Europe’s best Christmas markets.
• Visit a historical salt mine two kilometers deep inside a mountain.
• Enjoy tours of Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Munich and Salzburg with a AAA escort and tour director.
Join AAA Sojourns for a journey of discovery and an unforgettable holiday experience. Originating in the German-speaking areas of Europe in the Late Middle Ages, Christmas markets celebrate the season of lights with traditional food, drink and family-friendly revelry that fills the streets with colorful sights and tempting aromas. Recapture your childhood sense of Christmas magic as you visit seven of Europe’s best Christmas markets. Fueled by roasted chestnuts and spiced Glühwein (mulled wine), stroll through city squares brimming with exotic holiday delights as varied as their host cities. Experience each market's own unique character, evolved over centuries, with each featuring a vast array of local delicacies and handcrafted Christmas ornaments.
Accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide and AAA escort, travel through fairy-tale winter landscapes to explore the Christmas market of Mainz and then of Heidelberg with its five plazas filled with vendor huts. Purchase gingerbread and authentic ornaments at Nuremberg, site of Germany's largest Christmas market. Cross the border into France for an afternoon browsing Strasbourg's market then search for Bavarian glass at the festive illuminated market of Munich. Also browse the more intimate market of Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps before visiting Salzburg, where the Christmas market is held in and around the ancient cathedral.
In addition to holiday shopping, you'll enjoy guided tours of Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Munich and Salzburg. See Heidelberg’s Castle, Strasbourg’s Cathedral, and Salzburg's Old Town, including Mozart's birthplace. Take a guided tour of Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden, the world's oldest working salt mine. And be sure to eat, drink and make merry in the lively city of Munich where you'll enjoy a farewell dinner at Augustiner Brauhaus.
• 7 nights in 4-star hotels: 3 nights in Heidelberg and 4 nights in Munich
• Daily breakfast and 3 dinners
• All on-tour transportation
• English-speaking tour director and AAA escort throughout
• Visits to Christmas Markets in Mainz, Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Nuremberg, Munich, Salzburg and Berchtesgaden
• City tours of Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Munich, and Salzburg plus admission to the Salzbergwerk Berchtesgaden, a 500-year old working salt mine
• Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
Day 1 – Arrive in Frankfurt / Mainz Christmas Market
Upon arrival at Frankfurt International Airport, head to the Rhine River and the town of Mainz. Here, you’ll enjoy the first of your Christmas Markets in a town that dates back to the Romans. Mid-afternoon, continue on to your hotel in Heidelberg for a Welcome Dinner at the Restaurant zum Ritter Georg.
Accommodation: Centrally-located Heidelberg hotel - 3 nights
Day 2 – Heidelberg Christmas Market
Start your first day in Germany with a walking tour of the medieval city of Heidelberg, including its famous castle. The afternoon is yours to enjoy the town’s Christmas Markets which stretch out over no fewer than five town squares.
Day 3 – Alsace and Strasbourg
Journey across the French border to the region of Alsace where the longtime local residents are a cultural melting pot of the French, Germans, and Swiss. Spend the day in the capital of Strasbourg, with a walking tour of the Old City and its Cathedral in the morning and its Christmas Market in the afternoon.
Day 4 – Nuremburg Christmas Market / Munich
After breakfast, head east to the city of Nuremberg, site of Germany’s largest and most famous Christmas Market. Here, you’ll have hours to peruse the countless market stalls, enjoying the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of Yuletide Germany before continuing on to your hotel in Munich.
Accommodation: Centrally-located Munich hotel - 4 nights
Day 5 – Munich Sightseeing and Christmas Market
Spend the morning on a guided tour of Munich. The afternoon is yours to enjoy Munich’s Christmas Market in city’s famous Marienplatz (plaza).
Day 6 – Salzburg Christmas Market
Cross the Austrian border and continue to the magnificent city of Salzburg. Spend the morning on a guided tour of Salzburg’s Altstadt (Old City). The afternoon is yours to enjoy the city’s Christmas Market, lying in the shadow of Salzburg’s beautiful cathedral. Dinner is on your own in Salzburg before a late return to Munich.
Day 7 – Berchtesgaden Excursion
On your last full day in Bavaria, travel to the town of Berchtesgaden in the German Bavarian Alps. Spend the morning at the town’s 500-year old working salt mine, two-kilometers inside the mountain! After the tour, visit the town where you’ll enjoy lunch on your own and have time to explore their intimate Christmas Market before returning to Munich for a Farewell Dinner at the Augustiner Brauhaus.
Day 8 – Depart for home
After breakfast, bid auf wiedersehn to Germany. You will be transferred to the Munich Airport for your return flight home.
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