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Christmas Markets of Budapest, Vienna & Prague

11 days Special Event
Head to Eastern Europe’s popular and festive Christmas markets to peruse stall-upon-stall of handmade, heartfelt crafts perfect for everyone on your list. When you’re not shopping, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the streets of ancient Buda and modern Pest, get a taste for the Viennese cafe culture and scan artsy Prague’s spire-studded skyline.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Maximum tour group size: 35 travelers

Tour Pace: You will walk for about 3 hours daily across mostly flat terrain with some cobblestone streets, hills and stairs.

Let us handle the details

Expert Tour Director

      Local       cuisine

Handpicked hotels

Sightseeing with local guides

Private transportation

Personalized flight options

Your tour includes

  • 9 nights in handpicked hotels

  • Breakfast daily, 3 three-course dinners with beer or wine

  • Multilingual Tour Director

  • Private deluxe motor coach

  • Guided sightseeing and select entrance fees

Overnight Flight 1 night

Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Budapest today.

Budapest 3 nights Hotel info

Day 2: Arrival in Budapest

  Included meals: Dinner

Welcome to Hungary! Meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Budapest

  Included meals: Breakfast

Discover the major landmarks of both Buda and Pest in the city that straddles east and west on a guided tour. Then, take time to wander through the city’s Christmas markets on your own.

• Trace this nation’s stormy history at Heroes Square

• Tour the lavishly decorated Hungarian Parliament building

• Cross the Danube and ascend Castle Hill

• Take in the breathtaking views from Fisherman’s Bastion

• Visit the medieval Matthias Church, once the site of Hapsburg coronations 

Enjoy a free evening in Budapest or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Unicum Liqueur & Wine Tasting with Dinner $95pp* Details

Take a taste of one of Hungary's favorite drinks, the herbal Unicum, at the source. You'll visit the Zwack Unicum Heritage Visitors' Centre in Budapest to sample the apertif and view the museum's staggering collection of miniature bottles. Then, enjoy a Hungarian dinner and wine tasting a local wine cellar with a reputation for fantastic food and a lively atmosphere.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $105)

Day 4: Free day in Budapest

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Budapest or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain $79pp* Details

Discover the turbulent, tragic and heroic history of the communist period in Budapest on today’s excursion. Your guided sightseeing tour passes the Parliament building, which was the starting place of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and still shows signs of damage from the Soviet invasion. Visit the nearby statue of Imre Nagy, Hungary’s Prime Minister during the revolution, who is an enduring symbol of freedom. Liberty Square is just a stroll away, home to the U.S. Embassy, a statue of Ronald Reagan and the only remaining monument to Communist troops. From St. Stephen’s Basilica, take the historical Metro Line 1 up the iconic Andrassy Ave. Stop for an included coffee and piece of cake amidst the Neo-Renaissance splendor of Book Café, the regular meeting place of the intelligentsia during the Soviet occupation. End the day at the House of Terror, where you will take a guided tour through this chilling museum and moving monument to the victims of communism and fascism in Hungary.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Vienna 3 nights Hotel info

Day 5: Vienna via Szentendre

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel west through the Danube basin, stopping in Szentendre en route to Vienna, home of chocolates, cafes, parks and pastries.

Day 6: Sightseeing tour of Vienna

  Included meals: Breakfast

Get transported back to the Age of Empires on a guided tour of Vienna, filled with bright holiday lights and seasonal specialties at its many Christmas markets.

• Enter Schönbrunn Palace, the Rococo Hapsburg home with impressive gardens

• Travel down the Ringstrasse, Vienna’s tree-lined thoroughfare 

• See the Parliament building, the Vienna State Opera and the grand Hofburg Palace, the Hapsburg’s winter residence

• Visit the city’s festive Christmas market and sample glühwein, heated sweet wine

• Peruse stalls of handmade crafts in search of gifts perfect for everyone on your list

Enjoy a free evening in Vienna or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening $99pp* Details

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, food and entertainment. 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.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $109)

Day 7: Free day in Vienna

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Vienna.

Prague 3 nights Hotel info

Day 8: Travel to Prague

  Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Drive through the pastoral landscapes of Bohemia on your way to Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.

Day 9: Sightseeing tour of Prague

  Included meals: Breakfast

Discover why Prague is known as the City of One Hundred Spires on a guided tour.

• Visit Prague Castle, from which Charles IV governed the Holy Roman Empire

• Admire the soaring Gothic vaults of St. Vitus Cathedral

• Ride a historic tram from Castle Hill down to the Vltava River

• Cross the elegant Charles Bridge for breathtaking views of the city

• Stroll through Old Town Square to view the 15th-century Astronomical Clock

Enjoy a free evening in Prague or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Walking Tour of Prague's Jewish Quarter $79pp* Details

Follow a local guide on a walking tour of Josefov, Prague’s Jewish Quarter, nestled between the Vltava River and Old Town Square. Discover the Quarter’s remains, which survived devastation during World War II and oppression during the Communist era. Afterward, pay a visit to the Jewish Museum of Prague, housed in a collection of former synagogues, one of which displays the names of all the Czechs sent to concentration camps. Along your tour, learn about the Golem myth, a story forever entwined with Prague’s Jewish history. You’ll also see sights once frequented by Franz Kafka, the enigmatic author of The Trial and Metamorphosis, who made his home in Prague. Lunch is included.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $89)

Day 10: Free day in Prague

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Prague or add an excursion.

Optional Excursion - Château Sychrov $139pp* Details

Visit Château Sychrov, a 17th-century Baroque estate north of Prague. Take a guided tour through the estate, paying special attention to the elaborate carvings along the stairway, in the chapel and in the dining room. Then, tour the gallery of French kings and the château’s manicured grounds. Later, attend a private recital of classic Czech music and an included dinner.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $149)

Day 11: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or continue on to Salzburg.

Add Salzburg $549 pp

Dubbed the 'Rome of the North' because of its many churches, Salzburg is a beautiful city filled with museums, mansions, parks and churches. It also has a renowned musical culture and history, which is well worth exploring.

Salzburg 3 nights Hotel info

Day 11: Salzburg via Český Krumlov

  Included meals: Breakfast

On the way to Salzburg, stop in the village of Český Krumlov for a tour of its UNESCO World Heritage-protected medieval quarter.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Salzburg

  Included meals: Breakfast

Head to Salzburg, a city famed for its churches and musical history, where a local guide leads you on a walking tour of the Old Town.

• View the University of Salzburg and the churchyard of St. Peter

• See the Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz and age Market, in the city's Old Town

• Enter the 17th-century Salzburg Cathedral, built in the Baroque style

• Pass through scenery from the beloved film "The Sound of Music"

• Take the funicular to the hilltop Hohensalzburg Fortress, one of Europe's Largest Medieval Castles

Enjoy a free evening in Salzburg or add an excursion

Optional Excursion - Mozart Concert & Dinner $109pp* Details

Step inside the 1,200-year-old St. Peter Stiftskeller, located within St. Peter’s Abbey. Enjoy an evening of fine dining and music. Mozart composed over 600 works in his short life, and tonight, you’ll hear his masterpieces accompanied by opera singing as you sample local delicacies.

Save $10 when you book this excursion up to 3 days before your tour departs. (On-tour price: $119)

Day 13: Free day in Salzburg

  Included meals: Breakfast

Spend a full free day exploring Salzburg on your own.

Day 14: Departure

  Included meals: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

How's the weather?

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Prague, Czech Republic
Temperature Precipitation
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Passport & Visa Requirements

This itinerary includes the following countries: Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. 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.

Baggage Allowance

Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs.¬Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights.¬One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height).¬ Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.

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).

Health

There are no major health risks associated with traveling on this tour. However, it’s always advisable to check with your healthcare provider for the latest updates.

Cuisine

The popularity of Hungarian wine dates back to the Roman times, with a white dessert wine called Tokaji the most popular varietal. Hungary’s national dish is hearty goulash, but also is known for its excellent salamis, cheeses, nut-flavored pancakes, fresh-water fish and preserved fruits. It is perhaps desserts for which Austrian cuisine is most famous: From strudels made with all kinds of fruit and nuts to soufflés and elegant chocolate cakes such as the world-famous Sachertorte. Thick soups of veal, beef and venison flavored with cranberries, onion and paprika are popular, as is the renowned Wiener Schnitzel. Fish-lovers will find abundant options of wild trout, roast carp and crayfish. Czech food is typically large portions of veal, beef and potato dishes. Some of the world’s finest beers are produced here, including the original Budweiser and Pils.

Transportation

Round-trip flights arrive in Budapest and depart from Prague (or Munich on extension). Included transportation is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation. Budapest also has an all-inclusive transportation system with links between the metro, “green trains,” yellow trams and red trolleybuses. Purchase tickets from newspaper stands, vending machines or metro entrances. Vienna has a top-notch transportation system. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk for Sbahn (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. Prague is best explored on foot, but if you need to access the suburbs or transport to a hotel, trams and local buses are readily available.

Electricity

All destinations operate on the European standard 220 volts.

Time Zones

The Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST). When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm in Vienna, Budapest and Prague.

Currency

The euro (in Austria), Hungarian forint and Czech crown are the currencies you will be using on your tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available overseas, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly advise that you take debit/bank cards and credit cards, which can be used to withdraw cash at local banks, as needed. You can use most debit/credit cards at ATMs on the international networks Cirrus and Plus, but make sure to check with your home bank about withdrawal fees. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.

Tipping

At the conclusion of your tour, it’s 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.

See what our travelers say about this tour—all reviews are authentic and unedited.

Have you been on tour with us? Visit My Account to submit a review.

4 / 5

4 / 5

Traveled On: 12/6/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 4 / 5

Tour with a tour

The trip itself was fabulous. Paul is an excellent tour guide his insight and patience were outstanding. The only thing that marred the trip was the group within the group. there were 15 people from the New Orleans area who had a very loud tour leader. She often talked over Paul and was generally disruptive. If go ahead allows Tours within their tour they should make it clear that the go-ahead director is in charge

review photo
1 / 1
 

Dear Maureen, Thank you for taking the time to write this review. Here at Go Ahead, we are happy to offer a dynamic and extensive group travel program to help more people than ever explore and experience the world. This does mean that on some occasions you may find yourself traveling with a group of alumni, a family, a group of co-workers, you name it! Regardless of the composure of the group, the Tour Director is always the leader of the overall group and should be viewed as such. We regret to hear your feelings about the dynamic in your group, and we are sorry it affected your overall experience. We were happy to have had the opportunity to speak with you today, and thank you for discussing it with us further. We are very happy to hear that, despite this matter, you had a fabulous time on tour, and we hope to welcome you on another Go Ahead tour soon!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 26, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

best tour guide

Our guide was great and went above and beyond her job. Ildi was so kind to everyone. She was a person you would want as a best friend. Our tour had a bunch of great people and no one complained about anything. It was a great tour.

 

Hi Janette! Thank you for your glowing review. It’s wonderful to hear you felt a connection with your Tour Director. Our Operations Team carefully select each member of our network of professional Tour Directors around the world taking into account their knowledge of a destination as well as their people skills. We are so pleased you enjoyed your group and that your tour was a success! We hope to see you on another Go Ahead tour soon.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 14, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Trip of a lifetime!

I've taken many trips, but this stands out as one of the best. Superb guide (Ildi), excellent itinerary, and a valuable history about these cities during Nazi and Soviet occupation. I came home humbled and inspired. A dinner cruise on the Danube wasn't on the itinerary, but when our guide suggested it, we signed up and loved it. This is a great time to visit because of fewer tourists and the festive atmosphere. There's plenty of walking, so warm coats, hats, and scarves are recommended, as are rubber-soled boots or shoes for hilly, cobblestone streets. I appreciated having a full free day in each city as well as an unexpected visit to Bratislava, Slovakia. Bus rides through the countryside offered more views of this special area.

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1 / 6
 

Hi Beverly! Welcome home, and thank you for your wonderful review. We are thrilled to hear you had such a fantastic time on tour. We’re glad your guide was able to suggest some extra activities for you, such as a dinner cruise on the Danube. How fun! We agree this is a great time to visit Central Europe, and we also agree that it’s smart to bundle up and wear comfortable shoes. We’re glad you enjoyed your free time in each city. We try to keep a balance between structured time and free time so that you have the opportunity to explore as you wish. We thank you again for your review, and we hope to travel with you again in the future!

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | January 11, 2016

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/6/2015

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: MO

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tour Leader

The tour director was most knowledgeable, helpful and dependable.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: OR

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Excellent Adventure

This is the first tour my husband and I have taken as we normally drive ourselves. It was an amazing experience and we enjoyed our time very much. We had such an excellent guide with lots of energy and enthusiasm. We also really enjoyed our fellow tourists! The choices of stops, adventures, and city excursions were great and because our guide was so knowledgeable the history she was able to share was fantastic. We were so well taken care of that we are definitely going to book another tour. Thanks goahead for making our Christmas in Europe a dream vacation!

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1 / 1
 

Hi Rhonda! Sounds like you had a fantastic trip, we’re so happy to hear that! This tour certainly gives you a very special Christmas experience! Also, it’s great to hear you enjoyed your expert Tour Director. We are proud to work with such amazing and knowledgeable people. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell us about your experience, and we look forward to welcoming you on your next Go Ahead tour.

Posted by Daniela, Director of Quality Control | December 29, 2015

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: FL

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Christmas Markets

Just came back from this tour - wonderful trip! Tiring but worth it. I highly recommend the Christmas Markets. Definetly pack light, pack layers to wear and comfortable shoes. Lots of uneven cobblestones in every city. Dress for function, not fashion! Have earmuffs, scarf, coat, etc. Suggest a small backpack instead of a purse or inside pockets on your coat. We were warned about pickpocketers in each city but I never did experience or see anyone unsavory looking. I always felt safe in each place. Be prepared to walk a lot! My tracker tracked over 10 miles on one day excursion. I surprised myself, I was able to do it. We are 61-62 years old and kept up with the group. Worst part is the jet lag upon arrival but you adjust. Our tour director was great, very knowledgeable. You see so much, make sure you have your phone or camera. I took pics of all the food, it was all so good. I would do a tour again. I highly recommend this one.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/13/2015

Number of Past Tours: 3

From: TX

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

I really enjoyed this tour!

This was my 3rd tour with Go Ahead and I was not disappointed! The itinerary was great and I highly recommend the House of Terror optional. I was expecting to spend the trip just shopping in Christmas markets but there is so much more in this trip. While there was plenty of shopping, the amount of history I was able to learn on this trip was amazing. My tour director, Ildi, was phenomenal and was always available to help point me in the right direction when I was going somewhere alone. This is important to me since I am a young woman (in my 20s) traveling in a foreign country, it is helpful to have someone to point me in the right direction so I'm not wondering the streets for hours trying to get somewhere. The hotels were nice, clean, and comfortable. The hotels were not located in the city center but were always located near a tram/subway station and it never took more than 10 minutes to ride into the city center (only 2-4 stops to get to city center in each city). If you stay at the Lindner Hotel Castle Prague, there is a restaurant/bar in the monastery next door underground in a 13th century wine cellar where the monks brew beer, I highly recommend going here. This became a daily meeting place for friends I met on my tour! The included meals were 3 course with 1 glass of wine as advertised. I thought all of the meals were tasty however there was not an option of something else to eat if you did not like what was served. (They do offer vegetarian options.) This was a great tour and I am glad I went on it.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/1/2013

Number of Past Tours: 5

From: IN

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Great Tour and Director

Touring these cities at Christmas when they are lighted for the holidays was so special. Our Tour Director, IIdi, made the trip one to remember by personalizing it with stories, tips, and experiences. She took interested groups on additional walks in these beautiful cities; with the lights and architecture, especially at night, the tour was more of a wonderful dream than a real experience.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/1/2013

Number of Past Tours: 1

From: MA

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Tour Director was great

Tour ran smooth and small challenges were handled smoothly and with almost no negative impact to us travelers. She was fun, knowledgeable and entertaining.

5 / 5

5 / 5

Traveled On: 12/4/2011

Number of Past Tours: 2

From: OH

Tour Director: 5 / 5

Tour Value: 5 / 5

Old World Christmas Markets - I Highly Recommend

We took this city tour trip (Budapest, Prague & Vienna) in December for a number reasons - 1.) it wasn't going to be hot (nor was it unpleasantly cold), 2.) less tourists clogging the sites, and 3.) the idea of "Christmas Markets" intrigued us. All three cities and all three reasons were right on. Actually we had no idea what to expect with the Christmas Market thing and I'm happy to report that it was something we had never seen before. Anywhere there was a flat spot - vendors set up shop in small 8' X 10" Home Deport-like sheds and sold their Christmas themed wares and crafts. This could range from 20 booths in a square to a couple hundred on the lawn of the Vienna city hall. While yes there was a lot of mass produced type items - about every fifth booth featured a hand crafted / home made item not found anywhere else. Potters, jewelers, toy makers, weavers, ornament makers - if Christmas could be celebrated in a physical object - you could find it in the markets. As a special added bonus - about every 10th booth featured some sort of food item - we often picked our lunch or dinner up as we hop-scotched from food booth to food booth. And as an EXTRA added attraction - hot, mulled wine was sold at the end of each booth line in a decorated mug specially made for that particular market. The cities all beautiful, the people friendly and almost everyone spoke enough English that we NEVER had any kind of a problem getting around. The trolley system is delightful and helps maintain that "old world air" in all three cities. The night views with all the cathedrals and castles lighted up are spectacular. I very highly recommend this tour.

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