A European Christmas

Includes Premium Plaza Airport Lounge access*

Accommodation Car Hire Cruise Escorted Tours Fly Package Transfers

21 Nights from $ Per Person

Back-Roads Touring Co

  Fly Cruise

  Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Germany

  21 Nights

  PARULGX


Description

From the fairytale spires of Prague to the bustling markets of Dresden and the twinkling Christmas lights of Karlovy Vary, this is a tour that explores the festive traditions, history and Yuletide beauty of Germany and the Czech Republic. And with the chance to discover magnificent castles, delicious local produce and scenic railways along the way, it's sure to be a trip to remember!

When it comes to quaint medieval villages, atmospheric Christmas markets and traditional crafts and cuisine, there’s nowhere quite like Alsace. On this tour of the region’s most magical Christmas sights, we’ll stay in charming Eguisheim – the perfect base from which to explore all that this heart-stealing area of France has to offer. Expect delicious meals, twinkling lights and an abundance of Christmas cheer.

Your picturesque European river cruise begins on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland. You’ll sail to Breisach—with your choice of a visit to Badische Winzerkeller, or an excursion to the Black Forest. Sail to the city of Strasbourg, France, along the way, and on to the wine village of Rüdesheim through the spectacular views of Rhine Gorge. The modern and charming city of Frankfurt is also on your route along the Rhine River, and you’ll sail on the Main River to visit an authentic Main river village on your way to Würzburg. Take a guided tour of Bamberg, before reaching Nuremberg where your cruise ends. Your grand scenic cruise of Germany brings the beauty and charm of its cities and villages to life. From Switzerland to Bavaria, your German cruise will stay a beautiful memory for years to come!

Your Fly, Stay, Tour & Cruise Package Includes:

  • Economy class flight from Sydney to Prague, returning from Munich
  • Private transfer from Airport to Hotel
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Prague including breakfast
  • 6 day Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony & Bohemia tour with Back-Roads Touring
  • Includes 5 nights in boutique accommodation, 8 meals, premium mini-coach transportation + more
  • Private transfer to Airport
  • Economy class flight from Prague to Basel
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Basel including breakfast
  • 5 day A Traditional Alsace Christmas tour with Back-Roads Touring
  • Includes 4 nights in boutique accommodation, 8 meals, premium mini-coach transportation + more
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Basel including breakfast
  • 8 night German Grandeur cruise onboard Avalon Imagery II, Basel to Nuremberg
  • Includes 23 meals, select beverages & touring, deluxe outside accommodations + more
  • 1 day intermediate car hire
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Munich including breakfast
  • Port charges, fees, gratuities onboard your cruise & airline taxes

Extend your flights and stay longer - talk to our travel experts about more options!

 

Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony & Bohemia:

The Back-Roads Difference:

  • Explore the Striezelmarkt in Dresden - Germany's oldest Christmas market
  • Discover traditional Ore Mountain Christmas decorations with a handicraft manufacturer
  • Enjoy the famous spa and thermal springs of Karlovy Vary

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Prague - Melnik - Dresden

After meeting the group amidst the cobblestoned streets of Prague, we’ll begin with a walking tour of the city (complete with a visit to the Christmas market, of course). Later, we’ll move on to Melník. Here, we’ll dive straight into proceedings with a tour of the hilltop castle – with plenty of time to stroll the grand rooms and browse the 17th-century map collection. The afternoon will see us arriving in historic Dresden, where a welcome dinner awaits us at our hotel.

Accommodation: TBC

Meals: Dinner

Day 2 - Dresden - Wackerbarth Castle - Dresden

This morning we’ll learn more about a Dresden Christmas tradition on a visit to a local Stollen bakery. The delicious seasonal treat is said to date back to 1329 – when the region’s bakers entered it into a competition organised by the Bishop of Nauruburg. Later on, we’ll board a steam engine for a scenic ride along the Lößnitzgrundbahn railway. Our next stop? Wackerbarth Castle, where we’ll gain an insight into the winemaking process on a tour of the vineyards and wine cellar (and of course, try a sample). We’ll round off the day at the famous Striezelmarkt in Dresden (Germany’s oldest Christmas market). With twinkling lights, bustling stalls and the scent of mulled wine in the air, there’s no better place to soak up the Christmas spirit.

Accommodation: TBC

Meals: Breakfast

Day 3 - Dresden - Freiberg - Seiffen - Neuhausen

After breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to Dresden and move on to Freiberg – where we’ll explore the Cathedral of St Mary on a guided tour. Then: our journey will continue as we make tracks to Seiffen, where there’s a visit to a handicraft manufacturer in store. Here, we’ll discover the stories and craft techniques behind traditional Ore Mountain folk art figurines – including delightful nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids and candle arches. Tonight, we’ll dine together at our hotel in Neuhausen.

Accommodation: TBC

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 4 - Neuhausen - Annaberg-Buchholz - Karlovy Vary

At Annaberg-Buchholz, we’ll spend the morning delving into the area’s history at the Ore Mountain Museum – which showcases exhibitions dedicated to mining, the art of the late Middle Ages and the ancient crafts of potters, pewterers and trimmers. In the museum’s courtyard, we’ll find the entrance to the silver mine – where we’ll have the opportunity to gain a unique insight into silver mining history. After topping up our energy levels with a ‘Bergmansschmaus’ (a traditional miner’s snack), we’ll move on to Unterneudorf – where we’ll board a steam train to Oberwiesenthal, enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding landscape along the way. Our final stop of the day will be Karlovy Vary.

Accommodation: TBC

Meals: Breakfast

Day 5 - Karlovy Vary

Today we’ll step out into the streets of Karlovy Vary on a guided tour before setting our sights on the Hot Spring Colonnade (the home of the gushing Vrídlo geyser) – where we’ll go underground to see how the thermal water is drawn, distributed and regulated. Then: onwards to the Jan Becher Museum, where we’ll learn the history behind Becherovka, a famous Czech herbal liqueur. After a tasting session, the rest of the day will be yours to spend as you please (with the chance to use the spa and thermal springs) before we come together for tonight’s farewell dinner.

Accommodation: TBC

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 6 - Karlovy Vary - Pilsen - Prague

After leaving Karlovy Vary behind us, our first stop of the day will be Pilsen. Here, we’ll be lucky enough to visit the Pilsen brewery: where Pilsner Urquell beer was born 175 years ago. After touring the bottling facility and exploring the three brew houses, we’ll round off our tour in the historic cellars – where we’ll have the chance to taste the beer for ourselves. Before we return to Prague, we’ll have just enough time to step inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew (which boasts the Czech Republic’s tallest spire) – where we’ll take in spectacular views across the city from the galleries. Back in the capital later this afternoon, we’ll say our goodbyes.

Meals: Breakfast

A Traditional Alsace Christmas:

The Back-Roads Difference:

  • Learn traditional French recipes at a hands-on cooking class in Ostheim
  • Browse the stalls of the Alsace region's most enchanting Christmas markets
  • Discover the beautiful 'Magic of Lights' illuminations in Colmar

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Basel - Ungersheim - Eguisheim

After meeting the group in a festively decorated Basel, we’ll hit the road to France: where our five-day exploration of the Christmas traditions of Alsace will begin. Our first fairytale destination will be Ungersheim. This fascinating village is home to Alsace Ecomuseum – France's largest open-air museum – and will be filled with beautiful trees and wreaths at this magical time of year. This storybook village is France’s largest open-air museum, and it will be filled with beautiful trees and wreaths at this special time of year. While we’re here, we’ll meet a local craftsman – who’ll reveal the secrets behind the perfect Christmas decorations at an included workshop. Then: it’s onwards to our hotel in Eguisheim, where a delicious welcome dinner awaits us. What a start to the trip!

Accommodation: La Ferme du Pape (or similar)

Meals: Dinner

Day 2 - Eguisheim - Ostheim - Eguisheim

Today we’ll set our sights on the quaint village of Ostheim – where we’ll roll up our sleeves for a traditional French Christmas cooking class. Using fresh seasonal produce, a local chef will show us how to recreate some delectable dishes – and when we’re done, we’ll have the chance to eat our creations for lunch. Later on, the afternoon will be yours to spend exploring the medieval village of Eguisheim (and its enchanting Christmas market) as you please. Enjoy a cup of mulled wine, stock up on gifts to take home or simply browse the stalls – what you do this evening is up to you!

Accommodation: La Ferme du Pape (or similar)

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 3 - Eguisheim - Ribeauvillé - Riquewihr - Eguisheim

On this morning’s agenda: a stop at the ‘strolling fiddlers’ town’ of Ribeauvillé, where we'll embark on a guided tour of the town's medieval Christmas market. With three castles and scores of Christmas trees bedecked with coats of arms and banners (not to mention troubadours, storytellers and fire jugglers), this unique market is like something out of a fairytale! After taking some time to explore, we’ll switch our focus to another Christmas market in Riquewihr, where we’ll have some free time to wander through the quaint narrow streets and past half-timbered houses, moving from hut to fascinating hut. And then? We’ll come back together to visit a local wine cellar, where we’ll have the opportunity to indulge in a wine tasting session. À votre santé!

Accommodation: La Ferme du Pape (or similar)

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 4 - Eguisheim - Strasbourg - Colmar - Eguisheim

First today: we’ll hit the road to Strasbourg, where we’ll step off the tourist trail on an included visit to the Cave des Hospices wine cellars. After a tasting and guided tour led by a local wine producer, we’ll have time to take a look around the city before we climb back aboard the mini-coach and move on to lovely Colmar – where we’ll discover the town’s mesmerising coloured illuminations (known as the ‘Magic of Lights’). Later on, we’ll take our seats in St Matthieu Church for a heartwarming Christmas concert. With Christmas hymns ringing in our ears, we’ll return to Eguisheim for one last group dinner.

Accommodation: La Ferme du Pape (or similar)

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

Day 5 - Eguisheim - Orschwiller - Basel

This morning we’ll bid farewell to Eguisheim and make tracks to Orschwiller, where we’ll visit the 12th-century Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle – taking the time to wander the courtyard, spiral staircase, beautifully refined rooms and artillery platform for a unique glimpse into the fortress’ history. Before we return to Basel, we’ve one more stop to make: a local brewery, where we’ll toast the end of our adventure with a beer tasting session. Then: time to go our separate ways.

Meals: Breakfast

German Grandeur Cruise Itinerary:

Date

Itinerary

11 Dec 20

Basel

12 Dec 20

Breisach

13 Dec 20

Strasbourg

14 Dec 20

Speyer

15 Dec 20

Mainz

16 Dec 20

Main River Village

17 Dec 20

Wurzburg

18 Dec 20

Bamberg

19 Dec 20

Nuremberg

20 Dec 20

Nuremberg

Terms and Conditions

*Conditions apply. Subject to availability and change without notice. Prices listed are in Australian Dollars, based on twin occupancy/travel, unless otherwise stated. Prices/Offers are correct at the time of distribution. Full travel supplier booking conditions apply.

Prices listed are based on twin occupancy in Australian Dollars, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking and shown in the lowest outside categories available at the time. Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 30 October 2019 and can be withdrawn without notice. *Airport lounge pass is limited to one voucher per person and grants 1 x 3 hour visit to airport lounges operated by Premium Plaza Lounges in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane only. Lounge access will be confirmed only on full payment of trip, is non refundable if cancelled and does not have a monetary value. Airfares are based on economy class flights from Sydney and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions, please call us for prices from other cities. Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge. Other travel conditions may apply, contact our travel team for more details.

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