- David’s Blog
Christmas Markets pop up all over Central Europe during the first weeks of December. Each year, we feature a winter wonderland tour to Germany and Austria during the Christmas season. These outdoor markets feature unique decorations, beautifully handcrafted arts, and endless opportunities to sample some great food and countless varieties of glüwein, punch, and spiced drinks, served piping hot in souvenir mugs. But there is more to this tour than snow and markets! Enjoy visiting many destinations that, in the busy tourist season, are packed shoulder-to-shoulder with sweaty tourists. Traveling “off-season” means easy access to castles and sights in Salzburg, Schwangau, Rothenburg, Munich, Nürnberg, and more. There has never been a better time to visit Europe’s winter wonderland destinations.
Your Adventure Starts Here!
Salzburg - 2 nights
Reutte - 1 night
Rothenburg - 2 nights
Munich - 2 nights
Optional Single Supplement: $539
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Exploring Europe – 4036 Hidden Acre Rd. – Middleburg, FL 32068 FAX 800-570-1351
Sunday, Day 1: Munich Airport to Austria – Please arrange your flights to arrive no later than 10:30 a.m. local time at the Munich Airport (MUC). Meet your Exploring Europe guide and driver to begin your Christmas Market adventure at the Munich Airport. Enjoy a scenic journey through beautiful Bavarian countryside enroute to Austria. Our first stop is beautiful Mondsee, home of a small Christmas Market and the basilica made famous as the “wedding church” in the Sound of Music. Later, arrive at your Salzburg hotel followed by dinner at one of David’s favorite Salzburg restaurants. Driving: 3.5 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 2 nights in Salzburg. Dinner.
Monday, Day 2: Salzburg - This morning, enjoy a drive through the Saltzgammergut countryside visiting several sights made famous by the movie, The Sound of Music. Later, we will return to Salzburg to explore the Christmas Markets, the castle and the old town. Dinner and entertainment are left up to you tonight. You might consider taking a carriage ride, attending a concert or simply poking around the old town. Driving: 2.5 hours. Walking: moderate.
Tuesday, Day 3: Innsbruck and Tirol – Our journey today takes us to the western part of Austria known as the Tirol. Enroute, enjoy a visit in Innsbruck for lunch and a look around their Christmas Markets. Continue on a scenic journey to Reutte where you will have a relaxed evening and a grand gourmet dinner prepared by my friend Hermann, at his Tyrolean restaurant. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: light. Sleep 1 night in Reutte. Dinner.
Wednesday, Day 4: Castle Neuschwanstein and Rothenburg, Germany – After breakfast, we will take a short drive to the village of Schwangau. You will have an opportunity to enjoy the village atmosphere, hike in the spruce woodlands and enjoy the pristine lakeside. Also, enjoy a guided tour of Schloss Neuschwanstein, famous as the home of “Mad” King Ludwig II of Bavaria. This castle is the model upon which Walt Disney conceived “Cinderella’s Castle” at the Disneyland resort. Then, sit back and relax as we travel through Bavaria to the picture-perfect village of Rothenburg ob der Taüber. This village is charming any time of the year but at Christmas it is delightful. Enjoy the afternoon exploring the Christmas markets, visiting the shops and wandering the cobbled lanes. Later, let’s meet at our hotel for a fine Rothenburger feast. Driving: 5 hours. Walking: moderate to strenuous. Sleep 2 nights in Rothenburg. Dinner.
Thursday, Day 5: Rothenburg – You will have the entire day to do more exploring on your own in Rothenburg. Enjoy a wander in the castle gardens, a walk on the medieval-era town walls, plenty of shopping, wine tasting, and of course their little Christmas Market located on the town square. No driving. Walking: your choice. Dinner.
Friday, Day 6: Nürnberg and Munich – Today, we will travel to nearby Nürnberg, home of Germany’s most famous Christmas Market. The entire town square is filled with over 180 wooden stalls, loaded with homemade crafts, local food, mulled wine and Christmas cheer. Each stall is decorated with red and white cloth and has become the model for all other Christmas markets in Europe. Later, hop on the bus and travel to Munich. Once in the city, enjoy a walking tour of the sights with the remainder of the afternoon and evening to explore the Christmas Markets, churches and pedestrian-friendly shopping areas. Driving: 4 hours. Walking: moderate. Sleep 2 nights in Munich.
Saturday, Day 7: Munich - Enjoy an event-free day in town. You may want to visit the markets, Residenz Palace, a museum or just take in the holiday atmosphere. Tonight, we'll meet for a festive grand farewell dinner at one of our favorite restaurants. No driving. Walking: your choice. Dinner.
Sunday, Day 8: So Long, Farewell – Your tour ends this morning after breakfast. Munich’s airport and train station are nearby and are easily connected by subway, train or taxi. Your Exploring Europe tour leader will be available to assist with your transportation needs. Merry Christmas!
Itinerary subject to change.
Transportation by deluxe coach and/or minibus from the airport in Munich to your final hotel in Munich.
Seven night’s accommodation in traditional hotels, guesthouses, and B&B’s. All rooms have private en-suite baths.
Guaranteed Small group with 6-30 travelers.
All tips and gratuities to guides, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff.
All breakfasts and five of your dinners.
Water is included with all group meals. Sodas, wine, beer and other drinks are your responsibility.
Traditional and gourmet dining experiences at some of David's personal favorite restaurants. Eating well is a priority and you’ll enjoy fine regional fare featuring the best the locale has to offer.
All tours and admissions at no extra cost: Innsbruck orientation ▪ Rothenburg walking tour and orientation ▪ Castle Newschwanstein entrance and guided tour ▪ Salzburg orientation and walking tour ▪ Salzgammergut driving tour and notable Sound of Music sights ▪ Munich orientation walking tour ▪ Christmas Markets in Salzburg, Innsbruck, Munich, Rothenburg and Nürnberg ▪ traditional and fine dining experience in David’s top choice restaurants ▪ and much more (itinerary specifics are subject to change).
A fulltime Exploring Europe guide and local experts dedicated to bringing to life the historical and cultural experience of the tour destinations.
David’s printed tour handouts detailing each day’s itinerary and experiences.
Free luggage tags and David’s custom designed drawstring backpacks.
Our Unconditional Tour Price Guarantee that once locked in, with your deposit, will never change.
Comprehensive Travel Insurance providing full coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the moment you depart for your tour.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each David McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
$100 discount if making all payments by check, cash or bank draft. The $400 initial deposit may be made by credit card and still qualify for this discount.
Single rooms for solo travelers are available for an additional cost of $539.
This itinerary is subject to change.
Walking and Physical Activity: We have planned this trip to provide maximum tour experiences by foot, boat, and vehicle. The basic nature of Europe does require some degree of physical activity to get out and see the sights, especially in the countryside. To help you plan, we’ve included a daily projection of physical activity. Here is our key for our walking activity ratings:
Light – Walking done on level surfaces with some small hills and elevation gains. In most cases, the bus will drop-off and pick-up at nearby locations. Two miles or less of required walking during the day.
Moderate – Walking done on paved and gravel paths. To enjoy the full tour experience, some up and down hill walking is to be expected. Four to five miles of walking per day.
Strenuous – Walking done on rugged and rocky paths with some steps and stairs. Up to six miles of walking per day.
Your Choice – No matter what your walking ability, we will help you find alternative ways to enjoy and experience all Europe has to offer. To get the most out of our tours you should be able to operate at the light level everyday with spurts of moderate and strenuous.
THE BEST OF GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE – Probably my most favorite part of the tour – having someone else pick the restaurant!! Usually when I go to Europe with my husband we wander around in circles for a prolonged amount of time studying menus and trying to find the “perfect” place. Tedious and exhausting. It was so nice to just have the perfect restaurant already picked out. I know this is not an easy task to try to accommodate multiple people’s picky food preferences, so hats off to Dave for being up to the challenge. And every meal I had was delicious!! Dave knows what he’s doing. –Diana, Seattle, WA
THE BEST OF GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND – David’s tour ran very smooth. Great hotel rooms with breakfast each morning. He gave informative tours of the cities and areas we visited and then we had time on our own to visit in more detail or go shopping (my favorite activity anywhere). David was happy to stop along the way for photo opps and rest stops. We did check out some new sites with him. Each day was an adventure filled with great food, wine, and sites. Loved every moment of the trip. Planning next adventure with him now. –Elizabeth, Orange Park, FL
CHRISTMAS MARKETS IN GERMANY & AUSTRIA – This was my 5th tour with David to Europe and he never disappoints. This trip was different than the rest because it was focused around the Christmas markets…nevertheless, I had a fantastic time! David always finds a great balance of hitting the mandatory “touristy” locations and allowing us the freedom to go off on our own and explore the cities we’re visiting. – Tom, Atlanta, GA
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-DUBLIN – The diversity of our group form the newbie teenagers to the well-traveled ladies was great. I learned so much from both. Very thoughtful when coming to issues of courtesy to our hosts, money, customs of the country. David’s calmness was greatly appreciated. Walking right in line, not having to buy tickets was a great plus. Your guides of Dachau and the Louvre were right on and helped to make the visit much more enjoyable. Packing light paid off. I am glad I did not have to lug a lot of baggage the whole time. We had talked about wifi for the bus as a potential plus. Having brewed coffee and a refrigerator was great (on the bus). Newsletter good for whetting the appetite for traveling. More Museli! Never can get enough of it. The dining was all good. Nothing can replace the time at K&K in Salzburg. The restaurant was empty. Just a few people sharing food and conversation. The food was the icing on the cake for a wonderful experience all around. Salad with huge slices of parmesan cheese. Sea bass that was exquisite and apple tart. Trying to serve a group of 26 effectively is difficulty. I saw the waitresses really working to serve us well. Thanks again for an awesome trip. – Kent, St. Johns, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE – All meals were very good (much better than meals experienced on river cruise after tour with David.) Swiss dinner in Salzburg was favorite evening meal. My favorite was dinner in Salzburg with small group (not included in tour) Picnic in park at Eiffel Tower was unique & something not normally offered by tours. – Ramona, Sarasota, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE –Well worth the money spent!!! We enjoy going with David on trips, because we KNOW the food will be GREAT & the hotels will be nice! Really enjoyed the time in the “Paris neighborhood” where we shopped for our picnic. The cheese shop was amazing, as was the aged Sheep’s milk cheese from France that we purchased there! – Laurie, Jacksonville, FL
GERMANY-AUSTRIA-SWITZERLAND-FRANCE- The entire tour was an awesome experience! The organization, events, destinations, accommodations were all great and I believe the only way to tour Europe! Although each day we kept saying “It just keeps getting better”, I’d have to say that Paris was the best as there was so much to see and experience and the food was very good. I was very impressed with the amount of information David shared with us daily and how knowledgeable David is regarding each of the countries and the sites that we visited. – Donna, Jacksonville Beach, FL
Now that you’ve decided to join this tour, we are sure you’ll have some questions. Don’t worry, we are here to help you through each aspect of your tour from start to finish.
Join David as he shares impromptu moments from his travels in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Watching these short 60 second segments are a great way to experience David’s travel style and adventures. Watch David’s Explore Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
David and his team have answered many travel related questions and they are all tucked away on his blog. But, no need to go there, just type in a keyword in the search box at the top or bottom of this page (it’s the gray rectangle with a small magnifying glass icon) and you will get results for your query.
David’s newest blog describes his personal adventures in Europe, timely information and travel hints.
We are happy to answer your travel questions and give advice and suggestions. email@example.com or 800-570-1351.