Christmas Markets of Germany 12 days / Special Event Tours
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Ring in the Christmas season in Old World style in festive markets bursting with handmade crafts and winter warmers. Begin in artsy, edgy Berlin, Germany’s political and cultural capital. Stop at the historic outpost of Potsdam, then continue to dramatic Dresden, home of the country’s oldest Christmas market. Take a step back in time onto the medieval streets of Bamberg and into the lively markets of Nuremberg. End in Munich, and raise your stein to old St Nick.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
Striezelmarkt—Germany’s oldest Christmas market
Gingerbread, fruit loaves & other holiday treats
Unique, handmade clothes, crafts & toys
The medieval architecture of bewitching Bamberg
Whimsical Glockenspiel, highlight of Marienplatz in Munich
Wheat beer & white sausage
Overnight Flight1 night
Berlin3 nights - hotel info
In a city this captivating, the only real question is: where to begin?
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Touch down in the capital of reunified Germany. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport in Berlin after you clear customs and then assists you with the transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin acquainting yourself with the city, a spectacular center of German culture. Meet your fellow travelers at an included dinner this evening.
Walk through history, from Checkpoint Charlie to Brandenburg Gate
Since the Berlin Wall came down in late 1989, Berlin has continued to evolve into a thriving metropolis. A local expert guide introduces you to the monuments to Berlin’s intricate past as well as signs of its re-emergence as a vibrant cultural center. Arrive at the Brandenburg Gate, once the symbol of the undeclared Cold War, and now the symbol of a reunited Berlin. See the site where Checkpoint Charlie once guarded the border between East and West Germany. As you see where the Berlin Wall actually stood, imagine the bleak watchtowers and piercing spotlights that guarded “the border.” Journey down Unter den Linden, once considered one of the world’s most elegant boulevards. Spend a free afternoon exploring Berlin on your own or take part in an optional World War II walking tour.
World War II Walking Tour $59* pp
Take a walk through history on this insider’s tour of Berlin during World War II, detailing the rise and fall of Hitler and the Third Reich. You’ll start in the Wilhelmstraße area and see the building that once housed the headquarters of Hermann Goering’s Luftwaffe. You'll also view the former headquarters of the infamous SS and Gestapo, the massive Reich Chancellery and the Propaganda Ministry. Finally, stand directly above Hitler’s Führerbunker as your guide details the last days of World War II in Europe. Lunch is included.
Comb through the climax and resolution of World War II drama at Potsdam
Travel to Potsdam, the pride and joy of former East Germany. Once the royal playground of Prussian king Frederick the Great, Potsdam was also the location where American, British and Soviet leaders drew up plans for the postwar administration of Germany at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. A local guide introduces you to the town then escorts you through Cecilienhof Palace, built by Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany in the early 1900s and the site of the Potsdam Conference’s iconic photograph of Truman, Churchill and Stalin.
Dresden2 nights - hotel info
Uncover holiday treasures at Striezelmarkt in the “jewel box” of Dresden
New Green Vault
Leave Potsdam for Dresden today. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided tour of Dresden, once considered by many to be the most beautiful city in the world. Pass the renovated Semper Opera House and a statue of Martin Luther. Visit the New Green Vault, as well as the gardens at the magnificent Zwinger Palace, now home to the works of such luminaries as Raphael, Dürer and Titian. You’ll also visit Striezelmarkt, one of the oldest Christmas markets in Dresden. Here, holiday fare and goodies that spruce up the Dresden city center during this time of year. Later, enjoy an included dinner with your group.
Delve deeper into Dresden or take a detour to picturesque Görlitz
Today, explore Dresden on your own or embark on an optional excursion to Gorlitz including lunch.
Görlitz $95* pp
On a guided tour of Görlitz, you'll visit St. Peters Church. Walk over the Neisse River to the sister city of Zgorzelec, located a stone’s throw away across the German-Polish border. Until 1945, the modern-day towns of Zgorzelec and Görlitz were a single entity. In their current separated state, each town offers unique insights into their nations' shared history. After an included lunch in Zgorzelec, return to Görlitz to enter the Holy Sepulchre.
Bamberg2 nights - hotel info
Explore the intellectual, architectural and political hub of Weimar
Travel to Bamberg by way of Weimar, where you’ll enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the city. This intellectual hub nurtured the genius of Goethe, Nietzsche and Schiller, as well as the entire Bauhaus architectural movement. The city also gave rise to the Weimar Republic, the failed attempt to establish a liberal German democracy between the two World Wars. Reach the Bavarian town of Bamberg for this evening’s included dinner.
Marvel at the architectural riches of medieval Bamberg
Today’s guided tour leads you through the plain, islands and seven hills of Bamberg. Wander through the historic Old Town, named a UNESCO World Heritage site for its well-preserved medieval buildings and feel, which was spared any destruction during World War II. See the Bamberg Cathedral, a Romanesque structure with four imposing towers, which ranks as Bamberg’s most famous landmark. Then pay a visit to “Little Venice,” an old colony of quaint fishers’ houses on the banks of the river Regnitz. This afternoon, delve into Germany’s medieval history with an optional excursion to Rothenburg.
Rothenburg $55* pp
Visit Rothenburg, the most well-preserved walled Medieval town in Germany. Embark on a guided tour of the city, including stops at the Town Hall, the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, and St. Jakob's Church, where you'll see a 500-year-old, hand-carved wooden altarpiece.
Munich3 nights - hotel info
Get a taste of Nuremberg’s specialties—castles, crafts and gingerbread
This morning, travel to Munich, a city renowned for its festive and charming traditions. Stop in Nuremberg along the way to see the legacy of the World War II military tribunals. You’ll also visit the Nuremberg Christmas Market, where you can shop for traditional wares like spicy gingerbread, fruit loaves, Christmas tree angels, tree ornaments and candles, toys and crafts.
Hit Munich for grand palaces, festive markets and world-class beer
This morning, you’ll embark on an expertly led guided tour of the Bavarian capital, including a visit to another festive Christmas Market. You’ll also travel past the Olympic Stadium, the fashionable Schwabing district and the Residenz, once home to the Wittlesbach dukes of Bavaria. Pay a visit to Nymphenburg Palace and continue to Marienplatz, Munich’s medieval heart, where you’ll see the city’s famed Glockenspiel. This afternoon, join an optional excursion to the former concentration camp site at Dachau.
Dachau $25* pp
Once a typical German town, Dachau served as the first Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Visit this somber site, which has since been transformed into a Holocaust memorial museum that serves as a testament to the strength of the human spirit. An audio guide will provide the narrative for your viewing of Dachau's poignant exhibits, which are echoed by the memorials to the victims that adorn the grounds.
Head into the mountains to the fairytale castle of Mad King Ludwig
On a free day, stroll through the Englisher Gardens or explore the BMW Museum. Alternatively, opt to travel into the Bavarian mountains to the castle of Neuschwanstein, the fairytale palace of Mad King Ludwig. Next, visit the scenic town of Oberammergau, known throughout the world for its open-air staging of the Passion Play. Relive memories from your tour at tonight’s Farewell Dinner.
Neuschwanstein & Oberammergau $69* pp
Head into the mountains of Bavaria, where your first stop is Oberammergau, setting for the world-famous Passion Play. After a short tour, you'll have some free time for shopping (please note that most shops are closed on Sundays). Later, continue to Neuschwanstein, the storybook retreat of the Fairytale King Ludwig. You may choose to walk or take a horse carriage up the castle hill to Neuschwanstein. Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle was modeled after Neuschwanstein's whimsical design. As you tour the castle’s interior, you’ll discover many examples of the young king’s eclectic tastes. Within its chambers are a stalactite grotto, artifacts of all kinds and murals depicting his favorite scenes from Wagnerian operas. Choose to take a horse-drawn carriage or walk back down the hill. Please note: This excursion involves walking up and down stairs.
Extend Your Stay
Add Vienna $379*
Pass through gorgeous Austrian countryside on your travels to Vienna. Enjoy free time to explore on your own during your 3-day extension. You'll find Christkindlmärktes on nearly every corner. Stroll among the elaborately decorated trees in the park and enjoy the wonderful Christmas atmosphere. Also, join guided tours of the Austrian capital, as well as the festival Christmas Markets, like Rathausplatz. On the square in front of the City Hall, this Christkindlmärkte is teeming with potential Christmas presents, food and most important hot punch and "Glühwein," heated sweetened wine.
Vienna3 nights - hotel info
Experience delightful, delicious Vienna at its Christkindlmärktes
Today, join a guided tour of the Austrian capital, including its festive Christmas markets. You’ll travel down the Ring, a series of wide boulevards commissioned by Emperor Franz Josef in 1857. Ride past the Parliament, the flower-adorned Rathaus (Town Hall) and the Hofburg, where the powerful Hapsburg dynasty ruled until 1918. This evening, consider taking part in an optional Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening that includes a ride on the Prater Ferris Wheel and dinner at a local restaurant.
Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening $99* pp
After a brief drive, your first stop is Vienna's Prater Ferris Wheel. Take a breezy ride to the top, which offers a one-of-a-kind view of the city. Next, continue to the picturesque village of Grinzing. At a local restaurant, you'll indulge in a festive night of music and food. Dinner will feature dishes typical of traditional Austrian Heurigens, or wine taverns. During your meal, you'll have the chance to try some of the tavern's own locally made wine—the perfect addition to your cozy Old-World setting.
Passport & Visa
This itinerary includes the following countries: Germany and Austria (on the optional excursion to Salzburg as well as the tour extension to Vienna). In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks when traveling to Germany. Still, it is always advisable to check with your health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
One of the pleasures of traveling is the variety of local cuisine. German food is hearty and substantial. Among the specialties are rich dumpling stews and sauerkraut cabbage, tasty thick sausages and smoked cheeses, dark breads and chocolate cakes. Bavaria produces some of the world’s purest beers, while white German wines are exceptionally good. In Austria, thick soups of paprika and onion, veal, beef and venison with cranberries are all popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. For fish-lovers there are excellent wild trout, roast carp and crayfish. Desserts perhaps provide the most memorable aspect of Austrian cuisine: strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts, soufflés and elegant chocolate cakes such as the world-famous Sachertorte.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Berlin and depart from Munich (or Vienna on extension). Included transportation on “Historic Germany: Berlin to Bavaria” is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the main cities by public transportation. Berlin’s very efficient transportation system (BVG) consists of buses, trams, the U-Bahn (underground trains) and the S-Bahn (elevated trains). A BVG standard ticket is valid for two hours of transportation, including transfers. During your stay, you might consider purchasing a 24-hour ticket or the three-day Welcome Card. Munich’s transportation system (MVV) is top-notch, an all-inclusive combination of trams, buses, U-bahn and S-bahn. Purchase tickets based on time of validity from newspaper stands, vending machines or the drivers. Most of the major attractions lie within the inner-city blue zone. Vienna has one of Europe’s most efficient transportation systems. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk for S-bahn (above ground),
U-bahn (underground), tram and bus lines. The waiting time for trains and subways is usually no more than five to 10 minutes.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
The euro is the currency you will use on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take credit cards and ATM/bank cards. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/ CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
100.0% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
Christmas Markets 2012 - 5 stars
All around this is a great tour. The tour leader, Atto, who had a wonderful positive attitude, did a great job taking care of us and making this a flawless trip. He was extremely informative, pleasant, approachable, knowledgable, and had a genuine concern for all 16 of us on this trip. The company did an excellent job booking convenient flights, arranging transfers, and taking care of all the little details so that we could enjoy the trip to the maximum. The hotels were very nice in each location with buffet breakfasts that were extensive. Each hotel was either close to attractions or convenient to public transportation. The only negative was that the hotel in Munich did not have free Internet access in the rooms. Guides in each city were very informative and provided lots of interesting information. Since we were provided with personal listening devices, it was easy to hear them despite background noise. These devices should be standard on all tours. Enjoyed walking through the festive Christmas markets at all the locations. Had a chance to experience all kinds of new foods and see amazing crafts. All the vendors were very pleasant and happy to answer questions. Had an included group dinner in each city which was nice. Gave us a chance to get together and learn about each other. The dinner in the beer hall in Munich felt a bit rushed as we obviously had a time limit imposed by the restaurant. Go Ahead may want to consider a different location to eat in Munich. Basically a terrific tour with a terrific tour leader. The places we visited, Berlin, Potsdam, Dresden, Weimar, Nuremburg, Bamberg, and Munich, were all simply amazing. Although it was a very sad place, Dachau, was important for me to see since my father had been a prisoner there during WW II. I highly recommend this trip for people who want to see a lot of history, meet friendly people, have a good time, and experience the joy of the holiday season. Just don't forget to dress warmly.
Great time in Germany
We had a fantastic guide, a very charming driver and the best group of people you could travel with! I would love to go again. The Christmas markets were a lot of fun. Make sure you leave lots of room in your suitcase for all the things you will want to bring back and dress warm!
Historical Christmas Markets
Our tour director Atto was excellent. This tour is offered throughout the year as a historical tour and it truly excels in that regard. For those interested in the former East Germany, this tour is a must. Berlin, Potsdam and Dresden were eye openers. Bamberg was a personal highlight. Weimar and Munich were also excellent. Be aware that the weather may be much colder (or warmer) than the average for December. We had several inches of snow and temperatures as low as 14 degrees. The nature of the tour means you need to be outside walking so a warm coat, boots and gloves are a must. On the other hand, having snow for the Christmas markets makes it more like Christmas. There are not, unfortunately a lot of handmade things to buy in the markets; most seem in my opinion mass produced. Keep an eye out however and you may get some nice surprises. The markets seem to be mainly a social event, so go and enjoy. Eat the brats, pretzels, chestnuts, and drink the gluhwein (or kinderpunch if you prefer non alcohol). Since my companion and I had been to on some of the optionals on a previous tour, we took the train to Salzburg for the day on our own, which we highly recommend. Salzburg had some of the best markets of the trip and GoAhead should consider a side trip there from Munich. We also had dinner on our own in the Altenburg castle in Bamberg, which was really cool and a personal highlight.
Tour Director & Guides were Great but...
The tour and director were really good along with the local guides, but our hotels left a lot to be desired. One of my rooms was so small I could barely make it around the bed never mind getting into the shower. The staff was very understanding and gave me a larger room right away. Most of the time there were few restaurants close by and in one the selection of food from room service was laughable. If the company provides better hotels in the future I would gladly recommend this tour to friends maybe even take it again myself.
Christmas Markets Tour, December 1 - 12, 2011
My wife, Annette, and I really enjoyed the trip. Our tour leader, Frank Stahl, was really good and helpful and knowledgible. He had some tough circumstances, our of our tour members got lost and it was almost one hour before she was found. Frank kept the rest of us together while coordinating the search. The city guide in Berlin was excellent, knew the city and its history well and was passionate about the city and its history both the good as well as the bad. The guide in Gooerlitz and Munich were also excellent. Their knowledge of the city and special bits and pieces of information they were able to share was just terrific. One thing that might help to improve the trip is to understand when shops in the cities will be open. We made the extra trip on Sunday to Oberramegeau and the Mad Kings's Castle. Since the trip was on a Sunday the shops in Oberrameagea wete not open. We could have made the trip the Saturday when the shops were open and taken the Munich tour and Dachau on the Sunday. In Munich I would have liked to have been able to make a stop at the Olympic Village for a brief amount of time 15 - 20 minutes. Not to take away from other parts. The morning tour would have needed to be 30 - 45 minutes loinger but this would have added to the trip. This is a thought for consideration. Add an extra day in cities like Berlin and Munich to allow a day for individual exploration. Most people take the extra trips which does not allow for exploration of the cities on ones own. If I think of more I will send an additioal e-mail. bill franz
One of the best tours I have ever taken, many thanks.
Christmas markets of Germany
Great time; weather a little iffy, but enjoyed the mixture of history and markets
Christmas Markets of Germany
this was a great trip from beginning to the end.We saw and learned a lot about the history of Germany and World War II. The food was good, especially the pastries. I finally got to see the Christmas Markets and learn about Germany's Christmas customs. The trip had a nice balance of planned tours and free time or optional tours. Our guide was very knowlegeable and helpful.
Beautiful country, wonderful tour director
The weatther was cold and snowy, but what we saw and did were excellent. We loved seeing Germany and sharing good times with relatives. My wifes brother and his wife went on trip also. The tour director, Alex Petersen, was great. He was always so upbeat and fun to be with. He also was very knowledgeable. It was a beautiful time to be in Germany with the Christmas markets. My favorite city was Berlin. I would like to go on another trip with Alex.