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The lead up to Christmas in traditional German towns and the snow frosted Alps is the stuff of storybooks - twinkling markets stacked with Yuletide delights and towering Christmas trees. Enter the realm of gingerbread, Glühwein and carol singers this winter.
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Welcome to Munich! Transfers leave Munich Airport for your hotel at 10:00 am & 1:00 pm. Later, an orientation tour will show you all the city's major sights, culminating in the Marienplatz, with its soaring Town Hall and Glockenspiel. Here, the Christkindlmarkt is in full swing, an entrancing festival of light and music. Your Tour Director will introduce you to one of the market stallholders for a taste of traditional Bavarian Lebkuchen and a fragrant cup of Glühwein. In the evening, join your Tour Director for a Welcome Reception with dinner and wine.
Munich embraces the vacation season with a particular zeal, so today is all yours to enjoy the vibrant festive markets that abound in this city. On crisp winter days, organ music and carols ring out from the ancient churches. If snow has fallen, the vast English Garden provides lovely winter vistas. Another option is to experience the romantic royal palaces of the Bavarian Alps.
Drive beside the tranquil waters of Lake Chiemsee on your way to Salzburg in Austria, where the spires and domes of the old town are often draped in snow come December. A walk with a Local Expert shows you Mozart's family home and the rosy hues of the 500-year-old market in front of the cathedral. Head through the mountains to your Innsbruck hotel. In the evening, drive to the charming town of Hall in Tirol, boasting one of Austria's best-preserved historic centers. Soak up the unique atmosphere in a 700-year-old building and delight your palate with a Medieval Banquet and wine.
Spend the morning at leisure. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of the old town and Christmas Markets, set in front of the Golden Roof and graced by beautifully preserved medieval façades. In the afternoon, enjoy delightful scenery and healthy fresh air on a horse-drawn carriage ride.
Take Austria's longest road tunnel back into Germany and pause in the tiny island-town of Lindau. Walk through the maze of ancient streets down to the harbor. Across the lake, often shrouded in mist, rises a silhouette of snow-capped peaks. After time to explore, continue along the shores of the Bodensee to your hotel in the Black Forest for three fabulous nights.
Visit Freiburg in the morning, a lively university city with a charming Christmas atmosphere. Walk from the medieval Münster through the heart of the historic old quarter, past colorful stalls offering a range of festive goodies from the Black Forest.
Cross the Rhine to the region of Alsace today, wedged between the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains, which has changed nationality four times since 1870! Arrive in Strasbourg, the "city at the crossroads" where the Christmas Market is the oldest and one of the largest in France. Spend time in a cozy neighborhood of timbered fairytale buildings, with Christmas shops and a gingerbread bakery, warm with fragrant promise. Return to Germany and your Black Forest hotel in time for dinner tonight.
Cross the Swiss border and head for Zürich where sightseeing includes the imposing Grossmünster, elegant Fraumünster, and winding alleys of the old town alongside the River Limmat. A highlight is Europe's biggest indoor Christmas extravaganza in the main railway station, with over 160 wooden chalets and a three-storey Christmas tree, dripping with Swarovski crystals. In the evening, toast to the culmination of your Yuletide tour with a festive Celebration Dinner and wine.
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before checking out. Complimentary hotel shuttle transfers to the airport depart every 15 minutes.
8 Buffet Breakfasts (BB); plus 1 Welcome Dinner (WD), 1 Signature Evening (SE), 2 Three-course table d’hôte Dinners (DW) and 1 Celebration Dinner (CD) all with wine, plus tea or coffee.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|24 Nov 17||3 Dec 17||$1,995$1,845pp||Early PaymentPay by Aug 31||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|25 Nov 17||4 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|26 Nov 17||5 Dec 17||$1,995$1,845pp||Early PaymentPay by Aug 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|28 Nov 17||7 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|2 Dec 17||11 Dec 17||$1,995$1,845pp||Early PaymentPay by Aug 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|3 Dec 17||12 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|5 Dec 17||14 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Call 1-877-622-9109|
|9 Dec 17||18 Dec 17||$1,995$1,845pp||Early PaymentPay by Aug 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|11 Dec 17||20 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|12 Dec 17||21 Dec 17||$1,995$1,845pp||Early PaymentPay by Aug 31||Request Quote Book Now|
|13 Dec 17||22 Dec 17||$1,995pp||Request Quote Book Now|
Christmas Markets: All departures explore Munich, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Freiburg, Strasbourg and Zürich.
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $200.
Gratuities: Option to pre-pay gratuities for Travel Director and Driver $76 per person.
Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above.
AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the Land Only price of the vacation.
Yes, U.S. citizens traveling to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland must have a current passport valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. No visa is required for U.S. citizens entering these countries.
The currency in Germany and Austria is the Euro (€).The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF). Please note that Switzerland is not part of the European Union and thus is not obliged to convert to the Euro, however many prices are nonetheless indicated in euros to help travelers compare prices. Some Swiss merchants may accept euros but are not obliged to do so. Change given back will most likely be in Swiss francs.
While it’s a good idea to bring some money for when you first arrive in Europe, you’ll usually find a better exchange rate in your destination. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.
Traditional German cuisine is rich and delicious. Try specialties including a variety of bratwurst with sauerkraut, cold cuts, spätzle and potato dumplings. For dessert you cannot miss the world famous Black Forest Gateau. Beer is a big part of German culture; sample a variety of German offerings including pilsner, Kölsch and sour beers. In Frankfurt, try the local cider (Apfelwein). Wine is also popular throughout Germany, and world-class whites are produced in the Rhine and Mosel regions.
Austrian cuisine is hearty and satisfying and reflects regional influences from Italy, Hungary, Germany and the Balkans. Try a variety of sausages including the popular Wiener Schnitzel and Viennese specialties such as goulash and apple strudel.
Swiss cuisine is a flavorful blend of German, Italian, and French influences and a wide variety of regional offerings. Specialty dishes include fondue and raclette (cheese dipping dishes), sausages and rösti (fried potato), bündnerfleisch (air-dried beef) and fondue bourguigon (cubes of steak with various sauces). Swiss pastries and desserts are excellent. There are also spirits made from fruit; the most popular are Kirsch, Pflümli and Williamine. And don’t miss out on the world-class selection of Swiss chocolate.
A service charge is typically included in the price of food at restaurants in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. When leaving a tip, it is appropriate to simply round up or add up to 10 percent to your bill. Rather than leaving your money on the table, be prepared to leave it with your waiter when you pay your bill. If you are expecting change, simply tell them how much you will need back after gratuity.
At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend €3.00 per person/per day for your driver and €5.00 per person/per day for your Travel Director. Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is 1-2 euros per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit. A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.
Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.
You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions. All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers. In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.
If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.
We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.
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