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Christmas Markets of Germany, Switzerland & Austria

with Budapest extension
  • Duration: 14 or 16 days
  • Group size: 15-38
  • Reviews: 26
Uncover the stunning scenery and seasonal traditions of three countries.

Get a full view of the idyllic villages and cosmopolitan capital cities of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Discover delightfully distinct style and substance in each destination, from the festive Christmas markets of Munich to the Art Nouveau elegance of Vienna. Swiss mountains and the Bavarian forest, German beer and Austrian wine—this tantalizing trio of countries has something for everyone.

Your tour package includes
  • 12 nights in handpicked hotels
  • 12 breakfasts
  • 6 dinners with beer or wine
  • 9 guided sightseeing tours
  • Expert Tour Director & local guides
Included highlights
  • Alpine Christmas markets
  • Heidelberg Castle
  • the Black Forest
  • Lake Lucerne
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
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Day-by-day itinerary
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Overnight Flight1 night
Day 1: Travel day

Board your overnight flight to Frankfurt today.

Heidelberg Region2 nights
Day 2: Arrival in the Heidelberg Region via Frankfurt
Included meal: Dinner

Welcome to Germany! After arriving in Frankfurt, transfer to the Heidelberg Region to meet your fellow travelers at tonight’s welcome dinner.

Day 3: Sightseeing tour of Heidelberg & Christmas market visit
Included meal: Breakfast

Immerse yourself in the romantic cityscapes and Baroque architecture of Heidelberg on a guided tour.

• Wander through Heidelberg’s elegant Market Square in the city’s Old Town

• Explore the grounds of Heidelberg University, the oldest university in Germany

• Take a funicular ride to the city’s rose-colored hilltop castle for panoramic views of the Old Bridge and the Rhine River below

• Spend free time exploring the city's festive Christmas markets

Lucerne Region2 nights
Day 4: Lucerne Region via Rhine Falls & the Black Forest
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

On the way to Switzerland, journey to the thundering Rhine Falls and through the Black Forest, the setting for many of the Grimm Brothers’ famous fairytales.

This evening, sit down to an included dinner with your group.

Day 5: Sightseeing tour of Lucerne
Included meal: Breakfast

Get an up-close look at the lakeside city of Lucerne, Switzerland’s idyllic Alpine town, on a guided sightseeing tour.

• Pass hand-painted facades along the cobbled streets of the Old Town

• View the Lion Monument, a tribute to the Swiss Guards who sacrificed their lives in Paris during the French Revolution

• See the Jesuit Church, the first large Baroque building of its kind to be built in Switzerland north of the Alps

• Cross the medieval Kapellbrücke, a covered wooden footbridge spanning the Reuss River, and view the Water Tower

Enjoy a free afternoon in the Lucerne region or add an excursion.

Mount Pilatus
Excursion (additional cost)
Austrian Alps Region1 night
Day 6: Innsbruck via Liechtenstein & Christmas market visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel into Liechtenstein, a tiny Alpine principality dating back to the Holy Roman Empire. Then, continue on toward the wintertime wonderland of Innsbruck, where you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour.

• Visit Liechtenstein’s capital, Vaduz, and pass the royal family’s hilltop castle, still in use as a royal residence

• Arrive in Innsbruck, site of two winter Olympic Games

• See the famed Golden Roof and the City Tower in Innsbruck’s historic Old Town

• Pass the Hofburg, a former Hapsburg Imperial Palace, and walk into its cobblestoned courtyard

• Enter the Baroque Cathedral of St. James

• Enjoy one of the season’s most enduring traditions as you sip mulled wine, browse winter ornaments, and wander among wooden stalls at some of Alpine Europe’s most beautiful Christmas markets

Later, sit down to an included dinner with your group.

Munich2 nights
Day 7: Munich via Neuschwanstein
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Travel through the mountains of Bavaria en route to Munich, Germany. Along the way, stop for a guided tour of Neuschwanstein, the fairy-tale retreat of “Mad” King Ludwig II.

• Step inside Neuschwanstein Castle

• Take time to explore its stalactite grotto, artifacts, and murals

Sit down to an included dinner with your group this evening.

Please note: The pathway up to the castle entrance is a steep hill and winter months are prone to inclement weather.

Day 8: Sightseeing tour of Munich & Christmas market visit
Included meal: Breakfast

Get to know the Bavarian capital on a guided tour.

• Travel past the Englischer Garten and fashionable Schwabing district

• Enter the Nymphenburg Palace, the Baroque home to past Bavarian royalty

• Walk from Odeonsplatz through the nearby Hofgarten to view the Residenz, once home to the Wittelsbach dukes of Bavaria

• Explore Marienplatz, Munich’s medieval heart, and see the famed Glockenspiel

• Get introduced to the city’s Christmas markets, the most festive seasonal tradition

• Explore the stalls in search of treasures to take home

Salzburg2 nights
Day 9: Transfer to Salzburg & Christmas market visit
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Head to Salzburg, Austria—a city famed for its churches and musical history—where you'll spend the afternoon browsing the stalls of the Christkindlmarkt, or Christmas market. Cap off the festive occasion with a tasting of traditional mulled wine and cookies.In Salzburg, sit down to an included dinner with your group.

Day 10: Sightseeing tour of Salzburg
Included meal: Breakfast

Join a local guide for a walking tour of Salzburg this morning.

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

• See the Kapitelplatz, Residenzplatz, and Alter Markt, 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.

Mozart Concert & Dinner
Excursion (additional cost)
Vienna3 nights
Day 11: Vienna via Melk Abbey
Included meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Stop in Melk for a guided tour of the town’s Baroque abbey. Explore its Baroque pavilion, library, and chapel before continuing your drive through the Austrian countryside to Vienna. This afternoon, your Tour Director will introduce you to Vienna’s Christmas markets.

Later, sit down to an included dinner with your group.

Day 12: Sightseeing tour of Vienna
Included meal: Breakfast

Get transported back to the Age of Empires on a guided tour of Vienna.

• Step inside Belvedere Palace, home to the world's largest collection of paintings by artist Gustav Klimt, and admire the palace's impressive gardens

• Travel down the Ringstrasse, passing the Parliament building, Vienna State Opera, and Kunsthistorisches Museum

• See the grand Hofburg Palace, the Hapsburg’s preferred winter residence

Enjoy a free evening in Vienna or add an excursion.

Traditional Viennese Heurigen Evening
Excursion (additional cost)
Day 13: Free day in Vienna
Included meal: Breakfast

Enjoy a free day in Vienna or add an excursion.

This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

Bratislava
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 14: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

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

Extension to Budapest

Truly a tale of two cities, Budapest is a merger between Buda and Pest, two towns separated by the Danube River. Now known as "the Pearl of the Danube," Budapest is a peaceful yet progressive metropolis, offering plenty of shopping, as well as specialty Hungarian foods and wines.

Budapest2 nights
Day 14: Sightseeing tour of Budapest
Included meal: Breakfast

Travel to Budapest today, then discover the major landmarks of both sides of the city—Buda and Pest—with a local guide.

• Trace this nation’s stormy history at Heroes' Square

• Tour the lavishly decorated interior of the 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

• Get into the holiday spirit at Budapest’s Christmas markets, where you can enjoy public theater, folk dances, live music, and traditional food

Day 15: Free day in Budapest
Included meal: Breakfast

Spend a full free day in Budapest or add excursions.This evening, enjoy a farewell drink as you celebrate your trip with your fellow group members.

Budapest: A Walk Behind the Iron Curtain
Excursion (additional cost)
Budapest Home-Hosted Dinner
Excursion (additional cost)
Flight Home
Day 16: Departure
Included meal: Breakfast (excluding early morning departures)

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

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Dates and prices
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8 Departures
Tour prices are per person, before flights, and based on two travelers per hotel room.
Nov 26–Dec 9, 2019
Extension available
$2,849
Only 8 spots left!
Dec 10–Dec 23, 2019
Extension available
$2,849
Featured
Nov 24–Dec 7, 2020
Extension available
$2,949
Dec 1–Dec 14, 2020
Extension available
$2,949
Dec 8–Dec 21, 2020
Extension available
$2,949
Nov 23–Dec 6, 2021
Extension available
$2,949
Nov 30–Dec 13, 2021
Extension available
$2,949
Dec 7–Dec 20, 2021
Extension available
$2,949
Reviews
4.6 average
Too long and some days walked 8 miles and did 132 stair steps. Exhausting
by 2nd time traveler 

Paula, the tour guide was outstanding. Tour was A LOT of walking to view the towns etc. Much was crammed in to too little time. Every single day we had to be up at 6:30 am. Very well organized by Paula. She always had our tickets etc. She knows a ton of information about the area. Most other ...

Read more +
Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/17/2018

Dear Donna, Our Tour Directors play a key role in ...

Beautiful but just Average
by 2nd time traveler 

The itinerary was nice except for the 1 night only in Innsbruck which should have been 2 nights and reduce the 3 nights in Vienna to 2 nights. We were there with a free day on Sunday with everything closed! Heidelberg hotel was not a good start to the trip. The hotels in Lucerne and Vienna were wha...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/17/2018

Dear Traveler, Thank you for your review. We under...

Trip of a Lifetime!
by 2nd time traveler 

This was my first trip to Europe and it was simply amazing! Very well organized. Thought of every detail. Our tour director Paula was wonderful! She was full of interesting facts and information. There was enough free time in the tour that you could go out on your own adventures and the guided...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 12/17/2018

Dear Alonda, First of all, we want to thank you fo...

by 4th time traveler 

Loved it- I want to return for a Summer visit.

Dream come true.
by 2nd time traveler 

I was celebrating a significant birthday and chose to take a holiday rather than have a party. I am so glad I did! My husband and I had a wonderful time, met some great people and saw some awesome sights. The Christmas markets lived up to expectations and many mulled wines were sampled as well as gi...

Go Ahead Tours replied on 01/02/2018

Welcome home Lindsay! We are so happy to hear tha...

Our reviews are authentic and unedited.
Hotels, flights, & FAQ

Here's the nitty-gritty—where you’ll stay, how you’ll get there, and what to know about your destination before you go.

Hotels

We handpick every hotel to strike the balance of comfort, location, and local charm. Specific accommodations will vary based on your departure date, but these are frequently used hotels for this tour and we're confident you'll be satisfied.

Leonardo Royal Mannheim

This modern hotel is located in Mannheim’s Friedrich Square. Guests enjoy cabaret, a fitness center, a terrace restaurant, and a bar. Nearby, you’ll f...

Hotel Innsbruck

This historic hotel is located in central Innsbruck. Guests enjoy an indoor pool, spa, and restaurant and bar. Nearby, you’ll find the downtown shoppi...

Holiday Inn Munich City Centre

This centrally-located hotel is located in the heart of Munich. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi and an on-site restaurant. Nearby, you’ll find the Au-Haidhaus...

Arcotel Castellani

This contemporary hotel is located in Salzburg city center. Guests enjoy free WiFi, a mini bar, and air conditioning. Nearby, you'll find ARCOTEL Cast...

Falkensteiner Margareten

This stylish hotel is located near the city center. Guests enjoy a restaurant, spa, and fitness center. Nearby, you’ll find the Schönbrunn Palace, Vie...

Danubius Hotel Astoria City Center

This historic hotel is located in Budapest’s city center. Guests enjoy Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a lobby bar. Nearby, you'll find the Hungarian Nat...

Hotel Bellevue-Terminus

This urban hotel is located in Engelberg. Guests enjoy a restaurant, cafe, and lounge. Nearby, you’ll find Engelberg Abbey, Eugenisee Lake, and views ...

Flights

Round-trip flights are one more thing we handle to make your journey as smooth as possible. Our team of travel experts will find the best flight itinerary for you at a competitive rate, thanks to our partnerships with top airlines.

Add our airfare package and you'll get:
  • Round-trip flight for your tour
  • Airport transfers at your destination
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  • 24/7 support from our dedicated service team
  • Options for arriving early, staying longer, or requesting an upgrade
  • Flexible rebooking options if your tour itinerary changes
  • Find out more about flights
FAQ
Print FAQ
Passport & visa requirements
  • This tour visits Germany, Switzerland, and Austria (plus the principality of Liechtenstein on the transfer and Hungary on the tour extension). In order to enter these countries, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of reentry.
  • We recommend having at least one blank passport page for entry stamps.
  • There is no visa 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.
Tour pace
  • You will walk for about 2 hours daily across moderately uneven terrain, including paved roads and cobblestone streets, with few hills or stairs.
  • Travelers should be healthy enough to participate in all included walks without assistance. Adding optional excursions may increase the total amount of walking on your tour.
  • You should feel comfortable managing your own baggage at times.
  • If you have any mobility concerns or physical restrictions, please contact our Customer Experience Team.
Transportation & arrival information
  • Round-trip flights booked through Go Ahead Tours arrive in Frankfurt and depart from Vienna (or Budapest on the tour extension). A representative from Go Ahead Tours will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival.
  • Transfers to and from the airport at your destination are included for travelers who have purchased their flights through Go Ahead Tours. Travelers who purchase their own flights may request airport transfers with Go Ahead Tours for an additional cost.
  • All other included transportation on this tour is by private motor coach.
Baggage allowance
  • Airlines have varying weight restrictions on baggage. 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 baggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that our travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other transfers, which may include train connections or flights.
  • One carry-on bag of 45 total inches (length + width + height) is also permitted.
  • Make sure you label your baggage and keep valuables, medication, and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & packing tips
  • Winters in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria are generally cold. To ensure you’re comfortable for outdoor sightseeing and celebrations, we recommend packing a coat, hat and gloves, as well as rainwear.
  • We also suggest packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered.
  • A sturdy pair of walking shoes, sneakers, or winter boots is recommended for sightseeing.
  • You may want to pack dressier attire if you plan to visit a high-end restaurant or attend a special performance.
Health
  • There are no major health risks associated with traveling to any of the countries on this tour.
  • At least 60 days prior to departure, check with your doctor or healthcare provider for the latest updates and entry requirements, or visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website at [cdc.gov](https://www/cdc.gov).
  • If you have medication that you take daily, be sure you have enough for each day of the tour as well as any possible delays encountered.
  • If you have dietary restrictions and/or food allergies please notify Go Ahead Tours at least 30 days prior to departure by logging in to your account and updating your traveler info. To update this information closer to your departure date, please call our Customer Experience Team.
Cuisine
  • German food is hearty and substantial. Among the specialties are dumpling stews, sauerkraut, sausages, smoked cheeses, and dark breads. Bavaria produces some of the world’s purest beers, and white German wines are exceptionally good.
  • Swiss food is varied and sophisticated, and some popular dishes include sausages, breaded veal fillets, freshwater fish, and cheese dishes such as fondue and raclette. Be sure to try Swiss chocolate, which is among the world’s finest.
  • Austria is known for its savory Wiener schnitzel and excellent wild trout, carp, and crayfish. Save room for dessert—especially the strudels of fruit and nuts and elegant chocolate cakes, such as the world-famous Sachertorte.
  • On the tour extension, Hungary claims goulash as its national dish, but also is known for excellent salamis, cheeses, nut-flavored pancakes, freshwater fish, and preserved fruits.
Electricity & air conditioning
  • All destinations visited on this tour operate on the European standard 220-240 volts and use Types C or F plugs with two small, round pins. You may also use a Type J plug with three small pins in Switzerland.
  • We recommend packing a universal adapter, as well as a voltage converter if you plan on using your own hairdryer or other device without a built-in converter.
  • The strength of the air conditioning in European hotels is often not as strong or as cool as what you might be used to in the U.S. or Canada. When air conditioning is available, it is usually regulated seasonally and controlled centrally by the hotel.
  • Your hotels may provide hairdryers, irons, and other small appliances. However, these amenities cannot be guaranteed.
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, though some charges may apply. In more remote locations, internet access may be limited and is not guaranteed.
  • There is no Wi-Fi on any of the motor coaches.
  • Please contact your mobile service provider for information on roaming charges.
Time zones
  • All destinations visited on this tour are one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and six hours ahead of Eastern Time (ET).
  • When it’s noon in New York, it’s 6pm on tour.
Currency
  • You will use the euro in Germany and Austria and the Swiss franc in Switzerland (plus the Hungarian forint in Hungary on the tour extension).
  • 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.
  • Inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
  • International banks and businesses primarily accept debit and credit cards that work with the EMV chip system. If you do not already have at least one debit or credit card with a chip in it, we strongly recommend requesting one from your bank prior to your tour.
Tipping
  • At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity in local currency. Please keep current exchange rates in mind.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7USD to $10USD per person per day for your Tour Director and the equivalent of $3USD per person per day for your driver.
  • If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD per local guide.
  • Tips can only be paid in cash.
Purchasing excursions on tour
  • Most optional excursions will be available for purchase while you are on your tour.
  • Your Tour Director will only accept cash (in USD only), Visa, or MasterCard as payment for optional excursions.
  • Please be advised that if you pay for an excursion by credit card while on tour, it may take up to three months for your card to be charged.
  • Some optional excursions may only be purchased in advance. See page four of your tour itinerary for more information. International travel is, by its very nature, unpredictable. We must therefore reserve the right to change this itinerary, without advance notice, to meet with local conditions at the time of travel. We appreciate you understanding. Please refer to our website for Terms & Conditions, dates, and prices.