GERHARD'S ODYSSEYS

Christmas Markets of Austria, Germany & Switzerland
Vienna – St. Wolfgang – Salzburg –  Füssen – Lucerne

wiesbaden-Nurnberg

Join us on our 31st annual Christmas trip as we return to many of our favorite markets. The German Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) dates back hundreds of years and today the markets still work their magic, turning town squares and narrow lanes into a wonderland for all. Brightening the short winter days, the markets are a magical blend of the edible and decorative symbols of the season. Join the carolers at the giant lighted tree in front of the town hall. Savor traditional delicacies of gingerbread and fruitcake, roasted chestnuts, and grilled sausage. Visit the many special Christmas exhibitions and nativity scenes in the museums, galleries, and shops. Take home gifts of beautifully hand-crafted treasures, ornaments, wooden nutcrackers, tinsel angels, and brightly painted boxes.

Our hotels have been chosen for their individual character, central location, ambiance, hospitality, service, and value. We know that the ideal hotel can make you feel comfortable and at home. All hotels will be within short walking distance of the Christmas Markets, shops, museums, and other local attractions. Dinners are assured to be fresh and savory, reflective of the region, and served in a comfortable setting that allows you to share the day's events with your fellow travelers.

I will share with you the places I have been to many times and have grown to love -- quaint villages, ancient castles and fortresses, beautiful countryside, and interesting museums. We'll forget the hurried, worried world and set our own comfortable pace as we learn the culture and meet the people. The tour's focus will be on quality and service, and I will be there to take care of every detail.

DAILY ITINERARY – November 25th to December 5th, 2018

Sunday, November 25th – Vienna
You will be met at the Vienna Airport for transfer to our luxury hotel in the city center. Option of arriving a day or two early and enjoying more time to explore -- visit several of the endearing Christmas markets, as well as some of the famous nearby museums. One of Vienna’s most charming markets is the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt, a fifteen-minute walk from our hotel. Strolling along Kärntner Straße, the most famous shopping street in central Vienna, you’ll catch a glimpse of the renowned St. Stephen's Cathedral, just a ten minute walk from the hotel.
Hotel Bristol Vienna.
Vienna Christmas Markets

Monday, November 26th – Vienna
This morning we tour Vienna, one of Europe’s most dynamic cities and home of the waltz, the Spanish Riding School, Sacher Torte, and the Vienna Boys’ Choir. Our coach tour will acquaint us with this center of classic music, art, theater, and history. Walk through the courtyards of the Hofburg, Vienna's Imperial Palace -- one of the biggest palace complexes in the world. Afternoon free time for independent exploration of Vienna's 700-year-old Christmas Market, department stores and boutiques. Evening get-acquainted dinner party.
Hotel Bristol Vienna.

Tuesday, November 27th – St. Wolfgang
We drive through the Wachau, a well-known wine-growing region, praised for its beautiful landscapes. Stop in Steyr, Austria’s official Christkindl town. Walking the cobbled lanes and courtyards with our local guide, we’ll learn the town’s history and be impressed by the medieval architecture. The town's castle, provides an atmospheric backdrop to the Christmas market with local arts and crafts. In St. Wolfgang we have a three-night stay at the Romantik Weissen Rӧssl, setting of the famous 1931 operetta, The White Horse Inn.
Hotel Im Weissen Rӧssl.
St. Wolfgang Christmas Market

Wednesday, November 28th – St. Wolfgang
Today we experience a magical part of Austria as we pass by scenic lakes and mountains filmed in the Sound of Music. Numerous beautiful villages and towns punctuate the bucolic landscape. We’ll stroll through Hallstatt, a historic village that is listed as a UNESCO "World Cultural and Natural Heritage" site. Along the lake shores, the houses are seemingly stacked one on top of another – so picturesque, in fact, that they have even built a replica of Hallstatt in China. Visit a small workshop specializing in regional, old-fashioned, yet timeless Christmas wares.
Hotel Im Weissen Rӧssl.

Thursday, November 29th – St. Wolfgang
On our drive to Salzburg, we'll stop in the village of Oberndorf to visit the Silent Night Chapel, where "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" (Silent Night, Holy Night) was sung for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1818. A local guide will introduce us to Salzburg's most important highlights. Explore intriguing courtyards and narrow gingerbread ornamented streets. See Mozart’s birthplace, now a museum. Great selection of ornaments, crafts, toys, and jewelry at one of the oldest Advent markets, dating back to 1500.
Hotel Im Weissen Rӧssl.

Friday, November 30th – Füssen
Our coach takes us along the foothills of the Alps, the limestone chain of mountains shared between Austria and Bavaria. As we approach the ski town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, we’ll have spectacular views of Germany’s highest peak, the Zugspitze. The 1,100-year-old town has always been a destination for winter and summer activities. After a short introductory walk, you will have time for the festive Christkindl Markt and lunch at one of the many cafes. On route to Füssen, we will stop in Oberammergau, world-famous for its woodcarvers, Lüftlmalerei (wall paintings that make solid walls appear to melt away into scenery), and the spectacular performance of the Passion Play, once every decade.
Hotel Hirsch.

Saturday, December 1st – Füssen
Morning sightseeing tour of Füssen, with free time for shopping and lunch. In the afternoon, join us for a trip to nearby Neuschwanstein Castle, King Ludwig’s magnificent castle set on a hilltop of stunning mountain scenery. We’ll also have a look at Hohenschwangau Castle – outside views of the castles only. Visit the smallest of the three royal castles, Linderhof Palace, which was built by King Ludwig during the 19th century as a hunting lodge. Ludwig decided that it should be a New Versailles, so it was turned into a splendid Rococo palace in the ornate French style.
Hotel Hirsch.

Sunday, December 2nd – Lucerne
On our journey to Lucerne, we’ll stop for sightseeing and wander through the Christmas market in Feldkirch (Austria). The market is considered to be the prettiest in this region where Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein meet. Lunch at medieval Schattenburg Castle, with Schnitzel that is claimed to be one of Austria’s best. Only a short drive to Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein, and then on to Switzerland. In the distance you can catch of glimpse of Heidiland. Picture stop at Walensee, one of the largest lakes in Switzerland.
Renaissance Lucerne Hotel.
Lucerne Christmas Markets

Monday, December 3rd – Lucerne
Lucerne is always a favorite because it embodies the storybook image of an enchanting Swiss town with its covered bridge, spires, and turrets. We’ll explore with our local guide. See the old Chapel Bridge, with its timber ceiling, upon which scenes depicting the history of Lucerne are painted. Afternoon at leisure for shopping and visiting the local markets. The largest can be found at Franziskanerplatz, with 70 or so festively decorated stalls offering a host of wares and special gift items. You should also visit the market at the railway station and the craft market with unique products, made by hand.
Renaissance Lucerne Hotel.

Tuesday, December 4th – Lucerne
Travel to Interlaken, located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the heart of the magnificent Jungfrau Region. Our local guide will introduce us to the history, customs, building styles, and life in general in Interlaken and the nearby villages. We travel by train to car-free Wengen, a picture-postcard village nestled amongst the famed peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. Lunch at one of our favorite Alpine restaurants. Farewell party and dinner to bid farewell to fellow tour members.
Renaissance Lucerne Hotel.

Wednesday, December 5th – return to USA
Depart from Zurich airport, and jet back to North America. Travel time to the airport is approximate sixty minutes. Take note of our detailed airport transfer schedule. Or – enjoy a day to explore Zurich, with a night at the Hilton Airport Hotel.

PRICE PER PERSON: $3,380 land cost ($490 single room surcharge)
TOUR COST INCLUDES:

❄ 10 nights in outstanding, traditional, and first-class hotels in central locations.
❄ 19 meals – buffet breakfast daily, seven taste-tempting specialty dinners, and two lunches, unique     to the region, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners.
❄ Get acquainted reception at the beginning of the tour.
❄ Transport by private luxury motor coach with Florian, our driver.
❄ Personalized tours of most towns visited with local guide and entrance fees.
❄ All gratuities, taxes and service charges to restaurants, hotel staff and local guides.
❄ Porterage and handling of luggage at all hotels.
❄ Laminated luggage tags and tour information packet.
❄ Other additional features mentioned in the itinerary.
❄ A careful balance of free time to pursue your own interests.
❄ Hosted by Gerhard & Darlene.
Special feature: A brisk pre-breakfast or after dinner walk for those who would like to start or     finish the day with a bit of exercise.

GROUP SIZE IS LIMITED TO 29 GUESTS MAXIMUM

RESERVATIONS: Notify us that you wish to join the tour. Your space will be reserved, and a sign-up packet will be forwarded with registration form and an invoice for deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, an information packet will be forwarded with further confirmation of your reservation and details to help prepare for the tour. Full and final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

AIR TRANSPORTATION: Airfare is not included in the tour price. We suggest arriving a day or two prior to the tour start to enjoy extra time in Vienna. Contact us for additional information.

EXTRA NIGHTS: Special rates are available at the hotels used at the start and conclusion of the tour. If you wish to arrive in Vienna a day or two early, the rate of $295 per double room ($240 single) will apply at the Bristol Hotel. $280 per double room ($190 single) for the Hilton Airport Hotel in Zurich. A buffet breakfast, taxes and service charges, and airport – hotel transfers are included. All additional nights are confirmed on a space-available basis.

If you join us in Zurich, we will have a city tour on Wednesday. You will see why it has earned the award-winning title of “city with the best quality of life.” Bahnhofstrasse is one of the most fashionable shopping streets in Europe and in the distance, you can admire the snowy peaks of the Alps overlooking the waters of Lake Zurich.

View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. https://www.christmastrips.com/pages/travelresources.php

TOP

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

Christmas tripsChristmas tripsChristmas trips

View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. https://www.christmastrips.com/pages/travelresources.php

TOP