2023 December 8 to 18
Prices listed are per person:
Shared Room: $7198
Private Room: $8398
Explore Vienna’s famous Christkindlmarkt – The largest Christmas market in Austria with over 150 stalls of food, drinks, and Christmas gifts.
Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides and ice skating at both the Viennese Emperor’s Palace or Bavaria’s Baroque Palace under a canopy of Christmas decorations and festive music.
Snack at Munich’s giant Viktualienmarkt – Germany’s largest Christmastime farmer’s market with acres of edible treats, music, and Christmas gifts from all across Bavaria.
Lose yourself in Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt – the oldest Christmas market in all of Germany with 250+ stalls of regional food, drinks, holiday music, and plentiful Christmas gifts.
Discover Nuremberg’s castle atop the sparkling city, decorated for Christmas and offering a variety of Christmas activities, such as concerts and tours.
Immerse yourself in the largest Christmas market in France, located in Strasbourg’s city center with over 300 stalls of French and European Christmas fare, drinks, music, and varied Christmas gifts.
Christmas markets are street markets associated with the celebration of Christmas and are usually held during the four Werks of Advent. Originating in Germany, they have spread all over Europe, with many towns in Germany, France, and Switzerland holding Christmas markets in the town square. These markets feature open-air stalls hawking regional food specialties, Christmas drinks, and seasonal products and gifts, accompanied by singing and dancing. Vienna’s December Market is a forerunner of the modern Christmas market and dates back to 1298.
Day 1: Arrival in Vienna
Welcome to Vienna! Famous for its classical music and opera, Vienna is home to spectacular architecture and rich cultural offerings with an undeniable charm. Brimming with ornate palaces, traditional coffee houses, art galleries, and museums, the city is the jewel in Austria’s crown – sensationally decorated during Christmas time. Today enjoy a walking tour and a visit to our first Christmas market, Vienna Christmas World, one of the most iconic Christmas markets in the world is the Vienna Christmas World on Rathausplatz near the Rathaus, Vienna’s historic city hall. This evening we will enjoy our Welcome Dinner.
Day 2: Markets and Mozart/Strauss Concert
Enjoy your leisurely day, visiting over 150 Christmas market stalls, eating, listening to music, and getting lost in the joy. This evening we will enjoy dinner and a Mozart/Strauss concert at Kursalon.
Day 3: Vienna
Today we will visit Schonbrunn Castle with an audio guide (Imperial audio ticket: 22 rooms, duration approx. 35 mins) + Schonbrunn Park.
Later today you can enjoy the optional excursion to the beautiful Melk monastery – one of the Foremost Baroque Ensembles in the World. Planned by the famous Austrian Baroque Architect Jakob Prandtauer in the first half of the 18th century, the Melk Abbey complex, where Benedictine monks still live and dedicate their work to culture and education, extends over 320 meters.
Afterward, the rest of the day will be at our leisure.
Day 4: Munich via train
This morning we will enjoy our comfortable, 4 hours direct scenic train journey from the capital of Austria to the capital of Bavaria via first class. During our ride, you will enjoy the Austrian mountain scenery passing snowcapped mountains while sipping coffee and enjoying lunch on board.
Munich is home to some of Europe’s greatest cultural treasures, packed with lovely sights, museums, and endless steins of beer. In the weeks before Christmas, Munich pulls out all the stops. Generally, it’s cold enough to snow, so the roofs of all the fabulous buildings and churches are topped with a glittering cap. In the morning, icicles drip from gutters and tree branches and ice roses cover the windows. Munich opens her jewelry box and pulls out the best Christmas decorations to spread lavishly all over the city. Huge stars, angels, and Christmas trees decorate streets and shop windows, and you can enjoy over 20 Christmas markets.
We will have an afternoon city walking tour and then this evening, enjoy the famous Hotel Deutsche Eiche with complimentary access to the biggest gay sauna in Munich!
Day 5: Munich
Today we will explore more of Munich with some optional experiences:
Option 1: Trip to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle (Disney-inspired original Fairy Castle of gay King Ludwig II )
Option 2: Trip to Dachau Museum
Option 3: 3rd Reich Walking Tour – 5-hour tour
Day 6: Nuremberg
Today we will take a 1-hour high-speed train to visit Nuremberg for the day. The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt is one of the oldest and most famous Christmas Markets in the world. In the wooden booths of “the little city of wood and cloth” one finds traditional, often handmade Christmas decorations and sweet treats such as gingerbread and Spekulatius almond cookies
Day 7: Strasbourg
We head to Strasbourg today via the TGV high-speed train. It is a direct first-class luxury train that will bring you from Munich to Strasbourg in four hours.
Christened the Capital of Christmas by Strasbourg’s deputy mayor in 1992, the French city is home to about a dozen Christmas markets in different squares throughout the city. The most iconic one has been held at the foot of Strasbourg Cathedral since 1570, when the city was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, making it one of the oldest Christmas markets in Europe. Taking pride of place in the center of a Christmas village festooned with miles of twinkly lights is a 100-feet-tall Nordic pine. Some 300 stalls sell everything from pastries and glühwein to handmade gifts and festive decorations.
Day 8: Strasbourg
Enjoy a free day today.
Day 9: Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr
Today we will enjoy the fairy-tale villages of Ribeauvillé and Riquewihr, in the vineyards close to the Alsace mountains. Here you will be transferred into another world.
Day 10: Basel, Switzerland
Today, we will head to Switzerland.
Lying on the border of France and Germany, the Swiss city of Basel has three main Christmas markets: the one on Barfüsserplatz in the old town is the largest with a new market next to the cathedral on Münsterplatz and a smaller one on the right bank of the Rhine on Claraplatz. The three are within easy walking distance from each other, linked by beautifully decorated streets, shop windows, and homes. The streets are lined with little wooden chalets hawking crafts, regional products, and food specialties like oozy Swiss raclette and a thin Austrian pizza called flammkuchen.
Day 11: Departure from Basel
Transfer to the Basel Airport, or there are optional trains to Zurich airport (90 mins)
Price includes: All group ground transportation; All hotels and accommodations in double occupancy; HE Travel tour director; 11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 9 dinners; HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Airfare to the starting point of the tour and from the end of the tour; Airport transfers; Souvenirs, snacks, admissions, alcohol; Meals and beverages not listed here; Optional activities, as listed; Gratuities for tour director and local guides.
Optional Tour Choices:
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- What if I am traveling alone?
- Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself. For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
- What is the physical activity level of this tour?
Physical Activity Level
For this tour, you should be able to leisurely walk for hours every day.
- Where does the tour start and end?
- The tour starts in Vienna, Austria and ends in Basel, Switzerland.
- Additional Questions
- For answers to your additional questions, please email email@example.com or call 305-294-8174