EUROPEAN CHRISTMAS MARKET TOURS
8-day Rail Tour of France & Germany
and 7-day Rail Tour of Germany & Austria
France & Germany:
Nov. 30 - Dec. 7, 2019
Germany & Austria:
December 8 - 14, 2019
The Christmas season in Europe is truly magical – all those twinkling white lights and mugs of mulled wine take the chill out of the air and warm the cockles of your heart! By now, experiencing the Christmas markets of Europe by river cruise has become something of a tradition. But since we like to go a little off-the-beaten-path here at Mockingbird, we’ve developed an alternative Christmas market experience. If you love the idea of visiting the Christmas markets of Europe but aren’t sold on the idea of a river cruise, this is the trip for you!
Instead of heading to the river, we’ll hit the rails. After all, trains are by far the best way to explore Europe. We’ll visit some of Europe’s quaintest towns and best Christmas markets. There will, of course, be outstanding shopping, plus delicious food, fascinating history, and more holiday spirit than you can fit in a suitcase. And staying in the heart of these lovely towns will allow us to enjoy them after dark, when their streets are quietest and their sparkling decorations are at their most magical. If you’ve never experienced Europe during the Christmas season before, you’re in for a treat.
This year we’re offering our Better-Than-a-River-Cruise European Christmas Market Tour two ways! First, on our “classic” 8-day tour of France and Germany, we’ll make our way from Paris, through the Alsace region of France, to the fabled “Romantic Road” of Bavaria, Germany. Then, on our new 7-day tour of Germany and Austria, we’ll journey from Munich to the very musical Austrian Lake District and finally on to elegant Vienna. Join us for either or both (!) variations of this special travel experience and prepare to fill your hearts with Christmas joy!
Both of our Christmas tours are now guaranteed departures! Keep scrolling for the itineraries, prices and further details about both of the tours. (To read about our December 2017 tour, visit our blog here!)
THE GREATER GOOD
A portion of the proceeds from this tour will benefit the International Committee of the Red Cross. You can read about their work here.
France & Germany
DAY 1 (SATURDAY): PARIS
Arrive in Paris at any time, where a private transfer will take you to our Left Bank hotel. Join your fellow travelers in the afternoon to enjoy the City of Light’s festive holiday atmosphere. You won’t want to miss the Champs-Elysées lit up with some 400 Christmas trees or the spectacular displays at Paris’s grand department stores! This evening we’ll enjoy a jolly welcome dinner.
DAY 2 (SUNDAY): COLMAR
This morning a high-speed train will carry us east from Paris to Colmar, Alsace’s most beautiful city. Yes, it’s French, but it’s also a bit German, and its charming canals evoke Amsterdam. In the afternoon we’ll take a walking tour of the city and then dive into the holiday scene. Colmar is particularly lovely to wander at night, when it takes on a fairy-tale quality. (Hotel Le Marechal)
DAY 3 (MONDAY): COLMAR
With the weekend trippers gone, today will be a perfect day for you to explore Colmar at your leisure: its winding streets, its Christmas market, and perhaps its excellent Unterlinden Museum or the museum dedicated to Bartholdi, the designer of the Statue of Liberty.
DAY 4 (TUESDAY): STRASBOURG & ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
In the morning we’ll bid Adieu to Colmar and take a short train ride to Strasbourg. Home of the European Parliament, Strasbourg is a bigger version of Colmar, with an awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral. We’ll stop here just for a few hours, to visit the Cathedral and have lunch. Then it’s back on the train for our journey into Bavaria, to the small town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. (Hotel Eisenhut)
DAY 5 (WEDNESDAY): ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER
Rothenburg is Germany’s best-preserved medieval walled town and the gem of Bavaria’s Romantic Road. It also hosts one of the best Christmas markets in Germany – but because the town is tricky to get to, you won’t find any river-cruisers here. The day is free for you to enjoy the market and explore the city, including the Gothic St. Jakob’s Church (and perhaps the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, if you’re so inclined). This evening we’ll take a walk back in time on the highly entertaining Night Watchman’s tour of the Old Town.
DAY 6 (THURSDAY): ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER & NUREMBERG
This morning you may want to return to the market or take a walk along the top of the city’s medieval walls. In the early afternoon we’ll take a train to Nuremberg, home to glorious medieval architecture, important history museums, and Germany’s largest Christmas market. Your afternoon and evening will be free to explore the city and all that the market has to offer. (Deutscher Kaiser Hotel)
DAY 7 (FRIDAY): NUREMBERG
This morning we’ll take a walking tour of the city to learn about its important place in German history. The rest of the day is free for you to explore and shop. History buffs will want to visit some of the city’s excellent WWII museums and sites. Tonight we’ll have a special farewell dinner.
DAY 8 (SATURDAY): DEPART FOR HOME
With light hearts and heavy suitcases, today we part ways. A private transfer will take you to the Nuremberg airport or train station for your trip home. If you prefer to extend your time in Europe, we will be happy to assist you with your arrangements.
Jump to price and other details.
Germany & Austria
DAY 1 (SUNDAY): MUNICH
Arrive in Munich at any time, where a private transfer will bring you to our hotel in the center of town. Join your fellow travelers in the afternoon for a walking tour of this historic Bavarian city. This evening we’ll enjoy a jolly welcome dinner. (Platzl Hotel)
DAY 2 (MONDAY): MUNICH
With the weekend crowds gone, today will be a perfect day for you to explore Munich – and its 600-year-old Christmas market – at your leisure. You may want to find your way to the New Town Hall at midday, to watch its famous glockenspiel put on a show. And even though it’s not October, you can still enjoy an evening at a traditional beer hall!
DAY 3 (TUESDAY): SALZBURG
This morning we board a train for Austria! Salzburg is a Baroque delight of cobbled streets and elegant buildings. The afternoon is free for you to explore – you’ll want to dive right into the holiday scene! This evening, we’ll have a special treat: a Mozart concert at the Mirabell Palace, one of the most beautiful concert halls in Austria. Once upon a time, Mozart himself performed here. (Hotel Am Dom)
DAY 4 (WEDNESDAY): SALZBURG
The hills are alive this morning …as we discover Salzburg’s history and its claim to fame as the home of the Sound of Music! Our tour will also give us a glimpse of the beautiful Austrian Lake District (the Salzkammergut), which becomes a wonderland in winter. The rest of the day will be free for you to enjoy Salzburg’s many Christmasy delights.
DAY 5 (THURSDAY): VIENNA
Our final stop on this tour is all class. In the morning we’ll bid Auf Wiedersehen! to Salzburg and take the train to Vienna. Our walking tour this afternoon will show us the highlights of this elegant capital. With your free evening, you might want to take in some opera at Vienna’s famous Opera House – and perhaps try the equally-famous Sachertorte? (Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth)
DAY 6 (FRIDAY): VIENNA
There’s so much to see and do in Vienna, even when the postcard-perfect Christmas markets aren’t filling the squares! Your day is free to enjoy all that the city has to offer. If your suitcases are full, you might want to check out one of Vienna’s palaces, or pay a visit to the Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School, or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Opera House. Your tour director can assist you with your plans. Tonight we’ll have a special farewell dinner.
DAY 7 (SATURDAY): DEPART FOR HOME
With light hearts and heavy suitcases, today we part ways. A private transfer will take you to the Vienna airport for your flight home. If you prefer to extend your time in Europe, we will be happy to assist you with your arrangements.
FRANCE & GERMANY PRICE
$ 3,495 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement: $ 1,195 per person.
8 days, from Paris to Nuremberg, escorted by a certified tour director
7 nights in centrally-located, 3-star-or-better hotels
7 breakfasts and 2 dinners
Private arrival transfer in Paris and departure transfer in Nuremberg
All train tickets in Europe, in first class whenever available
Group activities listed in itinerary
GERMANY & AUSTRIA PRICE
$ 3,095 per person, based on double occupancy.
Single supplement: $ 995 per person.
7 days, from Munich to Vienna, escorted by a certified tour director
6 nights in centrally-located, 3-star-or-better hotels
6 breakfasts and 2 dinners
Private airport transfers in Munich and Vienna
All train tickets in Europe, in first class whenever available
48-hour public transit pass in Vienna
Group tours listed in itinerary
Mozart concert in Salzburg (or similar, subject to availability)
Prices do not include international air between your home and Europe, optional activities, travel insurance, gratuities, meals other than those listed above, and all other personal expenses.
This tour involves light-to-moderate physical activity, including walking and standing for extended periods. Because we will use public transportation on this trip, you should be able to carry your luggage up and down stairs, lift your luggage on and off of trains, and walk at least half a mile with luggage in tow.
Routine vaccinations are always recommended for all international travelers.
Maximum 8 travelers
Still have questions? We have answers! Contact us to discuss.