Europe is filled with timeless cities — but there is one time of year when some of them really twinkle and shine. On our new seven-day tour, you’ll wander the historic Christmas markets of not one but five different destinations in central Europe. Vienna! Salzburg! Munich! Nuremberg! Berlin! We’re travelling in that order for this post but you can also choose to do the trip in reverse. Now pull on a festive scarf and let's go walking in a winter wonderland together through each day of the tour.
Day 1 — On the first day of Christmas...
Okay, it’s more like the first day of your tour but counting down to Christmas Day is a big part of the adventure. And the seasonal cheer starts with a warm welcome to Vienna from your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and your fellow holiday revellers. Afterwards, you can opt to join them for a local meal or head out to catch the twinkling lights in Austria’s capital.
Day 2 — Warm your heart and hands with Glühwein
Gloomy and short winter days may send other cities into a funk, but not Vienna! Candles glow on windowsills, heady ginger and nutmeg scents fill the air and evergreen Advent wreaths are hung with care. And year after year, the Christkindlmarkts set up their bough-covered wooden stalls to greet visitors with mulled wine (aka Glühwein), handmade ornaments and seasonal sweets.
Before you’re let loose on the Christmas market magic, we'll help you get a lay of the land first. Join your CEO for a guided walking tour to sights like The Vienna State Opera House, Belvedere Palace, the Kunsthistorisches Museum and Vienna City Hall. You can even opt for a free climb up to the majestic towers and stellar view from St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Day 3 — Singalongs and cheerful Salzburg throngs
Gather your goodies and get set for Salzburg — but not before stopping at a few more Christmas markets along the way. What kind of tour did you think you were on?! Not only is Salzburg the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but it's home to one of the world’s oldest Advent markets dating back to the late 15th century. Get settled and use your free evening to wander past traditional huts as the music and spirit of the season surrounds you.
Day 4 — Big red balls and Munich market stalls
Guten morgen! What you make of your morning in Salzburg is completely up to you. You can walk the quaint Old Town side streets or climb Festungsberg Hill to get a closer look at Hohensalzburg Castle. Maybe you want to see where baby Mozart got his illustrious start?
In the afternoon, you’ll stop in at the Hellbrunner Christmas Market before you carry on to Munich. This market is especially atmospheric as it features over 700 conifers decked in 10,000 red Christmas balls and lights. Pretty! Once in Munich, you’ll have plenty of free time to window shop and take in the architecture of Marienplatz, the city’s central square.
Day 5 — Nuremberg snacks and railway tracks
If time allows, you’ll start the morning with a 306-step climb of St. Peter’s Church tower to take in the views pictured above for yourself. The tower is affectionately known as Alter Peter (Old Peter) by the local people and offers soaring views of Marienplatz, City Hall, and Frauenkirche. On a clear day you can even see the Alps!
Travelling next to Nuremberg, one of the oldest and most famous Christmas markets awaits. Be sure to try Nuremberg Lebkuchen which is a German gingerbread-like cake or cookie. You can snag some for souvenirs or savour them as you stroll past wooden stalls, old-fashioned carousels and yuletide carollers. Then hop a train to your next stop: Berlin!
Day 6 — Christmas presents and touring Berlin’s past
Get your bearings with an engaging walk led by your CEO who’ll show you Berlin’s famous sights like the Berlin Wall Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery. With your free time you can explore some sights in depth, stop for a bratwurst tasting in Alexanderplatz and end your day in Gendarmenmarkt square to find some final handmade seasonal souvenirs.
Day 7 — Time to head for ho-ho-home
Technically, you don’t have to leave but the tour as you know it winds to a satisfying close after breakfast. As a reminder, you can do this trip in reverse which means you start or end your tour in a city that features a giant ornamental tree topper. It’s a Christmas miracle! Whichever way you choose, we can’t wait to make your upcoming holidays merry and bright.
We've got two incredible Christmas in Central Europe tours — all you need to do is decide on your starting point.