Germany · December 5 - 14 2024

Bavarian Christmas Market Tour

Medieval Villages, Soaring Mountains, Fairytale Castles & Christmas Markets

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Overview

Join us on a tour of Bavaria and the lively Christmas Markets in its cheerful towns and villages. From the cloud-shredding Alps to the fertile Danube plain, the Free State ofBavaria is a place that keeps its clichéd promises. Story-book castles bequeathed by an oddball king poke through the dark forest. Cowbells tinkle in flower-filled meadows. The thwack of palm on Lederhosen accompanies the clump of frothy stein on timber bench; and medieval walled towns go about their time-warped business. The romantic American image of Germany, lederhosen-clad lads and busty Mädchens swilling beer and pretzels before an alpine backdrop, is a Bavarian scene. Many Bavarians really do wear dirndls and lederhosen, erect maypoles in spring, host exuberantChristmas markets in winter, and frequent Oktoberfest-type beer halls year-round. Picturesque Alpine villages and storybook castles nestle amid snowy peaks in the most well-known areas of Southern Bavaria. Farther north and east lie some of Germany's most visit-worthy spots; including, Regensberg, Bamberg, and adorable Rothenburg ob der Tauber, all of which we will visit.

Highlights

Fairytale Castles

Fairytale Castles

Appearing through the mountaintops like a mirage, Schloss Neuschwanstein was the model for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. King Ludwig II planned this fairy-tale pile himself, with the help of a stage designer rather than an architect. He envisioned it as a giant stage on which to recreate the world of Germanic mythology, inspired by the operatic works of his friend Richard Wagner. The most impressive room is the Sängersaal (Minstrels’ Hall), whose frescoes depict scenes from the opera Tannhäuser. King Ludwig II grew up at the sun-yellow Schloss Hohenschwangau and later enjoyed summers here until his death in 1886. His father, Maximilian II, built this palace in a neo-Gothic style atop 12th-century ruins left by Schwangau knights. Far less showy than Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau has a distinctly lived-in feel where every piece of furniture is a used original. After his father died, Ludwig’s main alteration was having stars, illuminated with hidden oil lamps, painted on the ceiling of his bedroom.

Regensburg & The Danube

Regensburg & The Danube

The sparsely populated eastern reaches of Bavaria may live in the shadow of Bavaria’s big-hitting attractions, but they hold many historical treasures to rival their neighbours. Top billing goes to Regensburg, a former capital, and one of Germany’s prettiest and liveliest cities. From here the Danube gently winds its way to the Italianate city of Passau. Landshut was once the hereditary seat of the Wittelsbach family, and the region has also given the world a pope – Benedict XVI – who was born in Marktl am Inn. Away from the towns, the Bavarian Forest broods in semi undiscovered remoteness.

Villages Straight out of a Fairytale

Villages Straight out of a Fairytale

And we will be staying in 2 truly magical villages during our Christmas Market Tour. Small towns in Bavaria are absolutely worth visiting, especially if you want to experience alpine views, glittering lakes, and vibrant countryside. Though tourists will enjoy the massive state's headline cities of Munich and Nuremberg, its small towns seem to have come out from the pages of a fairytale. Medieval half-timbered houses line cobbled streets, which open out into pretty squares. In summer, colorful flowers spill out of window boxes, while winter brings a pretty dusting of snow and plenty of atmospheric Christmas markets. Füssen is the gateway village to visit the famous Neuschwanstein Castle. To get one of the iconic photos of Neuschwanstein Castle, you actually have to visit Hohenschwangau Castle, which is located on the next hill over and the perfect spot to snap your photo. So we will. Nestled in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, you will want to have your camera ready the whole time. Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a medieval town in northern Bavaria. A stone wall with a covered walkway partially encloses the old town, offering views of the forested countryside. There are numerous towers along the wall – visitors are permitted to climb Röderturm, accessed via the Rödertor gate. Many of the town’s medieval buildings line the Plönlein, where 2 more historic gates flank a yellow half-timbered house. A short stroll along cobbled lanes takes you to the Marktplatz, where the town hall’s Renaissance façade garners admiring glances. Call in at the Medieval Crime Museum and the German Christmas Museum before you leave Rothenburg ob der Tauber.

Bavarian Beer

Bavarian Beer

Excuse the Bavarians if they scoff a bit at America’s newfound craft-beer obsession. It’s just, they’ve been doing this for a while. They started codifying beer styles and production in 1516, with purity laws that are still in effect. And the state’s capital, Munich, is home to Oktoberfest. Here’s your cheat sheet to getting to know some of the classic German styles, as well as their American craft counterparts. With at least a dozen traditional Bavarian styles we are sure to find one that is just to your taste. We will visit the home of Bavarian Beer, Bamberg, whilst we are there, see their world famous beer museum and have the chance to visit the breweries responsible for “Rauch” which is German for smoke, and this beer, native to the Bavarian town of Bamberg, has plenty of it. The malt for this beer is dried over wood fire, imbuing it with such a strong smoky flavor that it’s sometimes called “bacon beer.” It’s been around since the 1500s or earlier and was probably one of the original malt beers.

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

The wonderful smell of roasted almonds and chestnuts is in the air and punch and mulled wine steam from small wooden huts. It's Christmas market time again! Hundreds of lights bathe the market in a festive sea of lights and create the perfect storybook backdrop for your visit to the Bavarian Christmas markets. Whether you stroll through the Christmas-decorated alleys of Rothenburg or enjoy a Christmas punch in front of the mountain panorama of Fussen: at Bavaria's Advent markets, you can enjoy the contemplation of Advent together with family and friends. We will have the chance to visit up to six Christmas Markets during our journey together, including a very special one in the Palace Courtyard in Regensburg.

Hosts

This Tour will be lead by Graeme Leask and Ciaran Leask

Graeme Leask & Ciaran Leask

Graeme Leask & Ciaran Leask

Get ready to be entertained. The Graeme and Ciaran duo are together again for another tour filled with lots of laughs and stories you are sure to remember.

What's included

What's Included

All Ground Transportation

All Accommodations

Breakfasts

Monastic Site Visit

Multiple Christmas Market Visits

Optional Alps Toboggan Ride

Brewery Visits

Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Danube

Neuschwanstein Castle Visit

Stays in 3 Fairytale Bavarian Towns

Memories to Last a Lifetime

Airfare/Flights

Lunches/Dinners

You'll Be Staying Here

Hotel Sonne Fussen

Hotel Sonne Fussen

Family run hotel that combines cultural traditions and modern conveniences.

Hotel-Reichskuechenmeiste – Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Hotel-Reichskuechenmeiste – Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Bavarian Christmas Market Tour

Germany · December 5 - 14 2024 · 9 nights

FROM$3,900.00/pp

BOOK NOW