- 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.
Travel Insurance providing coverage for emergency medical, baggage loss, and trip delay from the day your tour begins.
$50 Tour Alumni discount for each David McGuffin tour you’ve taken prior to 2018.
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.
Submit your review
Germany, Austria and Switzerland Tour - April 2018 - This tour was a breath of fresh air. After being on several tours with a wake-up time before dawn and on and off a bus until evening, I felt that I did not miss out on anything in any of the places we visited, while still having some time to process everything we saw and have time to relax. David did an excellent job of making sure we got to see the highlights of each place and then made recommendations for other sites to see on our own. It was nice to have 2 days in most places, one day guided and the second open for us to choose our own adventures. He was available for advice and questions. The hotels we stayed at were very comfortable. The food was excellent.
Most memorable to me was Vienna and Switzerland. Would definitely tour with him again.
Christmas Markets- December 2017 - This tour was everything we dreamed about-snow, enjoyable travel companions, hotels, delicious food and a good mixture of shopping and touring. It was so exciting waking up to each day’s adventures!! One of our "wow" moments was being at all the different places from the Sound of Music. Would have liked to see inside of the house after just viewing the movie. But just seeing places where the movie was made was special. Also Kathe Wolfart store in Rothenburg!!
We have done some travel in the past and David and Charlotte were two of our favorite tour guides. Both, caring and professional. And they made us feel so comfortable touring in a foreign land. Peter, our driver, was a fantastic driver and we were so glad he joined us for meals.
We were happy with all our rooms at the hotels, however, we found the folded duvets unique but we slept well every night. Everything was so clean.
Our favorite meal was the Italian restaurant in Munich. We were so pleased with cities and restaurants. This tour lived up to all our expectations!!
Christmas Markets Tour - This was a fantastic trip - very informative and a lot of fun with a GREAT group of people! My favorite wow moment was the snow covered mountains in Austria followed closely by the little Christmas market outside of Salzburg at Hellbrunn. It was snowing and we got photos with snow-covered Christmas trees.
Our bus driver, Peter, was an absolutely fantastic person even if his English was not very good. Of course, his English was a heckuva lot better than our German!
Meals were really good for the most part. A couple of the hotel breakfasts - especially the one in Salzburg - left a little to be desired. I had questions about what some of that "stuff" was and whether it was intended for human consumption or not! The Italian dinner on our last night was the absolute best meal. All dinners were good, but that was outstanding.
The hotels were great once you got used to the fact they like small bathrooms in Europe!
Christmas Markets - I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip with David McGuffin's Exploring Europe. This group was a bit larger than I had expected (30+) but it was a group that mixed well together. David and Charlotte highlighted exactly what I wanted to see and experience in the markets, with enough history about the area and architecture of what we'd see. Hotels were very comfortable and the food was excellent with some farm to table offerings as well.
Although the Castle Neuschwanstein was interesting, the WOW was the scenery and views from around the castle. The smaller towns like Rothenburg and Reutte and Innsbruck were the ones I favored.
David was right. If you followed his suggestions regarding packing, a winter trip CAN be packed in one carry-on and backpack. You might be sick to death of your clothes, but it can be done! I enjoyed reading the papers regarding the cities we'd be in giving an overview. The maps were also helpful.
I loved the hotels. Breakfasts provided were outstanding. Even though our group was larger than I had expected, it was easy to join others at their tables. Lots of fun people. Meals provided were delicious.
The Best of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland - The tour was outstanding. All the trip was wonderful. We enjoyed it completely. The mountains in Switzerland were amazing.
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.
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