Christmas Markets Tour – 2013
King Ludwig II's Castles and the Bavarian Christmas Markets
Marvel at the fascinating Christmas markets of Germany and Austria, do as much or as little Christmas shopping as you wish, and still see many of the features of the Bavarian Castles tour. Highlights include the Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee castles, Innsbruck, Fussen, Kempten, Oberammergau, Munich, Nymphenburg, Hofbrauhaus, and Wieskirche - the Church in the Meadow.
Board your flight from your home destination to Munich, Germany.
This itinerary assumes this to be an overnight flight.
Air fare independently arranged.
Day 2 – HOPFEN AM SEE
Arrival in Munich, Germany. Your flight should arrive at the Munich Airport by 11:15 a.m. at the latest for the complimentary transfer at noon.
When the group is complete we head south to your home away from home in HOPFEN AM SEE, on the lake near Fussen (Füssen or Fuessen in German). Our home base here at the southern end of Germany's famous Romantic Road is within hiking distance of Neuschwanstein in the beautiful Bavarian Alps.
You are staying in a typical local "landhaus", where you are a friend, not a tourist. Your rooms are very gemuetlich, decorated in Bavarian country style, all with cable TV, telephone, refrigerator, extra sitting area, balcony, and a great mountain view.
Your local expert, Astrid Baur, will take you out for a Bavarian dinner on the Lake Promenade tonight.
> Your tour includes: Transfer from airport
to hotel, three-course welcome dinner with menu choices, one beverage,
coffee or tea after, overnight at Landhaus Koessel in Hopfen am See
Landhaus Kossel (Kössel / Koessel)
Day 3 – NEUSCHWANSTEIN, HOHENSCHWANGAU
Today we focus on NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE (Schloss Neuschwanstein in German), Germany's most famous castle.
First we go to Marienbruecke (Mary's Bridge) sitting high above the Poellat Gorge, where we can take the best pictures of the castle. (If Mary's Bridge is closed because of ice or snow on the path, you will be taken to another lookout where you can take wonderful pictures of Neuschwanstein.)
From there we walk downhill for our inside tour of Neuschwanstein. Afterwards there's time for lunch and a stroll on Lake Alpsee, where young Ludwig learned to swim.
In the afternoon we visit SCHLOSS HOHENSCHWANGAU, the castle built by his father Maximilian, where Germany's fairy tale king spent much of his childhood, and where he dreamed about his future castles. Local guides in both castles.
Tonight we will have a gourmet dinner in one of Bavaria's oldest restaurants.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door
transportation, entrances and guided tours of Neuschwanstein and
horse carriage, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 4 – WIESKIRCHE, LINDERHOF, OBERAMMERGAU
Our first stop today is the famous WIESKIRCHE, or Church in the Meadow, one of the few buildings in Bavaria that are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
On to SCHLOSS LINDERHOF, Ludwig's beautiful hiding Castle deep in the forest where he spent more time than in his other Castles. There's time for lunch on the grounds before we visit the inside of the castle, and afterwards there's time to explore the beautiful gardens on your own, before we go on to ...
OBERAMMERGAU, a pretty village known for the Passion Play (every 10 years, next time in 2010!), a tradition which derives from a vow made by the inhabitants in 1633 that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague then sweeping the region they would perform a passion play every ten years. Oberammergau is also known for its Lueftlmalerei (painted houses) and woodcarving.
Best Christmas shopping!
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, entrance and guided tour of Linderhof, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 5 – HERRENCHIEMSEE, BAD TOLZ
Today we focus on King Ludwig II's largest castle, HERRENCHIEMSEE, which he built on an island in Lake Chiemsee after a visit to Versailles. Herrenchiemsee was Ludwig's most expensive project, he stayed here only about one week.
Boat and horse carriage rides to the castle and local guide for inside tour.
On the way back we stop in the beautiful town of BAD TOLZ (Bad Tölz or Bad Toelz in German). Bad Tolz became famous for its spa. It also features colourful painted buildings.
There's time to relax before we join the locals tonight for great atmosphere and food at a local brewery.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door transportation, boat and carriage rides, Herrenchiemsee tour, dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Day 6 – MUNICH, including NYMPHENBURG and HOFBRAUHAUS
We go to MUNICH (München or Muenchen in German, sometimes Munchen on the net) and first visit SCHLOSS NYMPHENBURG (Nymphenburg Palace), the summer residence of the Wittelsbacher family, the place where Ludwig II was born, and the Martallmuseum, containing many of Ludwig's elaborate carriages.
An orientation Tour of Germany's Secret Capital features the Olympic Stadium, Olympic Tower, Leopoldstrasse, Schwabing, Ludwigstrasse, Odeonsplatz, Koenigsplatz, Karlsplatz and ends by the Residenz and the Opera, where we get off and continue the last few meters on foot to Marienplatz, the very heart of Munich, known for the carillon in the Town Hall.
It is here where you find one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. Enjoy the atmosphere, find your Christmas gifts and ornaments and have some Gluehwein and Gingerbread. You have plenty of time on your own for shopping, more sightseeing (lots of suggestions) or enjoying the city from a rooftop cafe.
In the evening we have tickets for dinner and a show at the HOFBRAUHAUS (Hofbräuhaus), Munich's most famous beer hall. You will see a traditional Bavarian dance show with alphorn blowing, yodelling and polka, while having dinner and a stein of beer.
> Buffet breakfast, door-to-door
transportation, Munich Palace entrance, Munich orientation tour,
Hofbrauhaus dinner and show,
Day 7 – INNSBRUCK
Today were are heading towards INNSBRUCK, the Capital of Tyrol in Austria.
First we visit the famous Swarovski Kristallwelten in Wattens, then we enjoy a walk through the quaint medieval lanes of Innsbruck, see the little Golden Roof in front of the Austrian Alps, the fine Baroque Church, and take a guided tour through the Hofburg, built by Empress Maria Theresia as a summer residence away from hot and stuffy Vienna.
Enjoy Innsbruck's famous Christmas Market, admire the setting of this beautiful town, and get more Christmas shopping done.
Dinner on your own tonight. How about wiener schnitzel in a typical Tyrolean Restaurant?
> Breakfast buffet, door-to-door transportation, Kristallwekten entrance, Hofburg guided tour, Landhaus Koessel
Market at the Golden Roof
Day 8 – FUSSEN, KEMPTEN
Today we focus on FUSSEN (Füssen), an old Roman Town on the Lech River. Walk its narrow streets and lanes and enjoy the details your local guide provides.
Afterwards enjoy a hot Gluehwein and homemade applestrudel in one of Fussen's cosy cafes.
This afternoon we take a short ride to KEMPTEN an old Roman City, about 20 miles away from Hopfen. Admire the baroque Residenz, have free time for great shopping, and spend time on Kempten's gemuetliche Christmas Market followed by a great dinner in Kempten.
> Breakfast buffet, door-to-door transportation, Fussen walking tour, three-course dinner, Landhaus Koessel
Kempten Christmas Market
Day 9 – RETURN
Time to say "Auf wiedersehen".
Transfer to Munich Airport for your return flight home.
Your flight should not leave Munich before 10:30 a.m.
> Buffet breakfast, transfer to airport
- All features as per itinerary, departure guaranteed
- Door-to-door transportation (all modes). Leave the navigating to us.
- 7 breakfast buffets
- 6 three-course dinners with menu choices, one beverage, and coffee or tea after dinner
- 7 nights' accommodation
- All entrance fees, taxes, and local guide fees paid
- No hidden extras, no optional excursions – already included
- Maximum group size of 30 people, fewer on most tours
- The tour language is English only.
- There is no packing and unpacking, as we stay at the Landhaus Koessel every night.
- The days are well planned to offer you many highlights, but you are never rushed.
Ideal combination of free time and planned activities.
- Skip the lines at must-see attractions.
- All visits are inside, not drive-by. Learn the stories that bring old buildings to life.
- You will see not only the highlights but also the spots where only the locals go.
- Tour director – Let our experts make every day and destination fascinating!
- Satisfaction assured – backed up by our money-back guarantee.
Complete printable itinerary in PDF format: Christmas Markets Tour Itinerary
Hohenschwangau and Hohenschwangau Castle
Hotel – The Landhaus Koessel
The Landhaus Koessel is located on Lake Hopfen, near Fussen, with beautiful scenery and mountain views of the Bavarian Alps.
You stay in Bavarian Country Style rooms, which are very spacious, with extra sitting areas, balconies, cable TV, direct-dial-telephones, coffeemakers, mini-bars, and hairdryers. You will feel at home immediately. High speed internet is available. For more information please see the Landhaus Koessel English-language page.
Find out for yourself what makes this particular place in the Alps so special that King Ludwig wanted to spend the rest of his life here.
The Landhaus Koessel
2008 Tour at Linderhof
Kempten Christmas Market
Marienplatz Market, Munich
Munich Christmas Market
There are more pictures in the In Depth section below. The Gallery has larger images of destinations, and Groups has photos of participants in past tours.
Christmas Markets Tour In Depth
Larger Pictures of Castles, Communities and Regional
Images of Christmas Tour features, contributed by past guests and from public domain sources
Detailed Itinerary Destination Maps
3-page printer-friendly PDF including:
- Christmas Markets Tour Destinations map from the top of this web page,
- Detailed maps with Christmas Markets Tour destinations marked by day (2 pages), and
- Fussen Area map, highlighting the locations of the castles.
Links to Sources of More Detailed Information
Clickable links to detailed articles on major Christmas Markets Tour itinerary features
Pictures of Previous Tour Groups and Participants
Photos from recent year Christmas Markets Tours
Other website pages, shared with other tours, also provide in depth information.
Notes on the distinguishing features of the various tours offered.
What's so special about these tours? How do they differ from each other?
Comments from participants in this and other Castles tours.
Clickable links to air and rail travel resources, currency and time conversion, etc.
Additional comments on this and other Castles Tours are provided on a separate References Page .
Comments, experiences and recommendations from guests on past tours are featured in our References Video .
Cost and Date Information
Complete printable itinerary in PDF format >
The Christmas Markets Tour is offered on the following basis:
Tour prices are for the land segment only. Air fare is not included.
Prices are per person, in U.S. dollars,
based on double occupancy.
Single Occupancy is available for a Single Supplement charge of US $ 200.
A child 8 to 16 years old sharing a room with two adults receives a 30% reduction on this tour.
Guaranteed Departure: The Christmas Markets Tour is guaranteed to
as scheduled and will not be cancelled due to a low level of participation.
A deposit of US $ 300 per person is required to secure a reservation.
Christmas Markets Tour – 2013
Your overnight international flight leaves ...
December 7, 2013
Available - Book now
US $ 2,299
US $ 2,499
US $ 1,609
Private Tour Option
Do our dates not work for you? We can arrange the tour for you or your party as a private tour. Same
itinerary as above in a private limousine
or van, with bilingual, professional private guide / chauffeur. Prices per individual are the same as for the regular group tour, plus a US $ 200 per day
private tour premium for the group. This private tour is available for the 2011 Christmas season. Please send an e-mail to confirm availability.
Reservation details and materials >
The "Bavarian Castles Tour" (King Ludwig II's Castles and
the Bavarian Lakes) shares much of the itinerary
of the "Christmas Markets" Tour detailed here. Full details are provided on the Bavarian Castles Tour page.
Dates for all current multi-day Castles tours >
Contact the Tour Director, Astrid Baur, in Germany (Eastern Time + 6 Hours)
U.S. Phone: (202) 580 - 8732 / German Phone: 011 - 49 - 171 - 546 68 39