Germany Christmas Markets
Berlin – Görlitz – Seiffen – Annaberg – Weimar – Lauscha – Frankfurt
Join us on our 34rd annual Christmas trip as we return to many of our all-time favorite markets. The German Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) dates back hundreds of years and the markets still work their magic today, turning town squares and narrow lanes into a wonderland for all. Brightening the short winter days, the markets are an enchanting blend of the season’s edible and decorative symbols. Join the carolers at the giant lighted tree in front of the town hall. Savor traditional delicacies of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and fruitcake, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and grilled sausage. Marvel at 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, cheerful, 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 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 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.
Director, Gerhard’s Odysseys
DAILY ITINERARY – December 1st to December 13th, 2021
Wednesday, December 1st – Berlin
We will meet you at the new Berlin airport (BER) for transfer to our hotel located in the heart of the city. There will be time to stroll through the Christmas Market before our get-acquainted evening reception. You have the option of arriving a day or two early and visiting more exciting markets, as well as some of the famous nearby museums. At the hotel all our rooms are upgraded to the category “Garden Deluxe”.
Westin Grand Hotel Berlin
Thursday, December 2nd – Berlin
Berlin offers more than 60 markets, with at least one Christmas Market in each of its twelve districts. One of the most charming markets is at the Gendarmenmarkt, just a five-minute walk from our hotel. A great selection of culinary temptations and stage shows await, including jazz, choral, and Gospel performances. Take time to explore some of the great museums. There are more than 170 to choose from, including the world-famous Museum Island with the Pergamon Museum. The Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie are all within easy walking distance of our hotel.
Westin Grand Hotel Berlin
Friday, December 3rd – Görlitz
Traveling south, we‘ll stop at one of the small, regional Christmas markets in the Spreewald. This is a unique region criss-crossed by hundreds of small rivers. Our hotel in Görlitz is in a Renaissance building dating back to 1528. The town has over 3,500 architectural monuments spanning 500 years, most of which have been lovingly restored to wow visitors. With its exceptional architecture the town has been used as a movie location for many films. You will discover some of these locations as you become acquainted with “Görliwood”.
Romantik Hotel Tuchmacher
Saturday, December 4th – Görlitz
With our local guide we walk the town’s narrow lanes, picturesque arcades, secluded courtyards and squares. The town hall is a stunning landmark of the city, the earliest parts of which date back to the 14th century. Admire the two clock faces and massive cross-vaults across the entranceway. A short walk takes us to the Altstadtbrücke (bridge). Walk across it and you enter Poland, into the town of Zgorzelec. There are no signs marking German or Polish territory and most definitely no border checkpoints. The nearby Christmas market features local craftsmen selling pottery wares and other handmade products.
Romantik Hotel Tuchmacher
Sunday, December 5th – Görlitz
Today’s bus excursion takes us to Jelenia Góra, Poland. Before World War II it was part of Germany and was known as Hirschberg (Deer Mountain). The beautiful ornate town square is encircled by Baroque houses, and in the center stands the 17th century town hall. Also dating from the 17th century is a stone fountain with a figure of Neptune in front of the town hall. From here it is only a short walk to the remnants of city walls, Gothic and Baroque churches, and other interesting architecture with many buildings dating from the 18th to 20th centuries. At the small Christmas market you will find traditional handmade Polish handicrafts.
Romantik Hotel Tuchmacher
Monday, December 6th – Annaberg
We travel to Bautzen, a medieval gem with many towers and old city walls. We’ll take a stroll through the town center with our local guide to discover medieval alleys, boulevards, and pubs with over 1,000 years of history. The Christmas Market is located in front of the 18th century town hall. Featured is the town’s traditional blue and white pottery and finely decorated Sorbian Easter eggs. In the afternoon we’ll stop at RATAGS, a workshop of authentic and distinctive wooden handicrafts. All items are designed locally and produced here in the workshop.
Hotel Wilder Mann
Tuesday, December 7th – Annaberg
Annaberg has one of the prettiest markets in the region and is only a few steps from our hotel entrance. Our guided tour includes a visit to St. Anne’s Church, dating back to 1499. We will be entertained with a short organ concert. Afternoon at leisure to visit the museums and enjoy the large market, making sure to take a time out for coffee and the tasty local Stollen. Option of joining us on the local bus, to visit nearby Schwarzenberg and its old-fashioned Christmas market. At dusk, you will marvel at the lights or Schwibbogen in every house window and the exquisitely decorated streets, reveling in the coming of Christmas.
Hotel Wilder Mann
Tuesday, December 8th – Annaberg
This morning we travel through the snow-covered Erzgebirge Mountains and stop at Wendt & Kühn for a tour and factory shopping options. The best-known figures are the angels, with their characteristic green wings and eleven white dots. The traditional artistry has been passed down through generations. In Seiffen, the wooden toy-making center of Germany, you will find an assortment of wooden ornaments, including horsemen, light angels, and Christmas pyramids. In the afternoon, we visit the town of Marienberg and the workshop of Horatzscheck Kunsthandwerk. You have the option of staying behind in Seiffen, and our coach will transfer you to our hotel later in the day.
Hotel Wilder Mann
Thursday, December 9th – Weimar
This morning we venture into the Czech Republic and explore Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad); a very beautiful spa city noted for its 13 thermal springs. In the 19th century the resort was the place to be and be seen. After our sightseeing tour we’ll enjoy a traditional Czech lunch and the famous Krušovice beer. Tonight's hotel, back in Germany, has a rich 300-year history as a social and intellectual meeting point, and Bach, Wagner, Goethe and Tolstoy were regular guests. All double and twin rooms have been upgraded to deluxe category.
Friday, December 10th – Weimar
This morning our local guide will escort us through the sights of the historic old town. Weimar was the seat of Germany's post-World War I government and the birthplace of modern architecture following the famous Bauhaus movement of the 1920s. Immerse yourself in one the Cultural Capitals of Europe and use your afternoon free time to continue exploring some of the museums, galleries, palaces and parks on your own. Several years ago the Christmas Market was voted the "World's Best Christmas Market". After dinner we visit the local theater for an Advent concert.
Thursday, December 11th – Weimar
We drive to the glass-making center of Lauscha. Christmas tree ornaments and glass art will be available at factory prices. The annual “Kugelmarkt” (bauble market) is celebrated this weekend, and the town center is transformed into a huge Christmas market with stalls and shops. On Hüttenplatz and along the Glasmeile the glass comes to life and you can see Christmas baubles, pinecones and bells becoming exquisite pieces of art. On our return trip to Weimar, we stop at the Ino Schaller Papier Mache factory. It was founded in 1894 and is still operated by the same family.
Sunday, December 12th – Frankfurt
We’ll stop at one of the villages on our route for a stroll through a small and unique market. Arrive in Frankfurt with time to wander through the Christmas market. The large tree in the central square sparkles with 4,000 lights, 150 golden bells, and a multitude of red bows. Visit the Goethe Haus and one of the many fascinating museums – each specializing in subject matter ranging from art and architecture to movies and natural history. Foremost among them are two important art collections - the Liebieghaus and the massive collection of the Städel Museum.
Frankfurt City Hilton
Monday, December 13th – return to USA
Pack up your happy memories. The journey ends as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America from Frankfurt International Airport (FRA), arriving home the same day.
PRICE PER PERSON: $3,695 land cost ($575 single room surcharge)
TOUR COST INCLUDES:
- 12 nights in outstanding, traditional, and first-class hotels in central locations.
- 23 meals – buffet breakfast daily, eight taste-tempting specialty dinners, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners, and three lunches unique to the region.
- A glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink with dinner.
- Get acquainted reception at the beginning of the tour.
- Transport by private luxury motor coach with Florian, our skilled driver.
- Daily complimentary beverage on the coach. Water, beer or soft drink.
- 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.
- Evening concert in Weimar.
- 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 26 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 Munich. We recommend a minimum of one hour and 30 minutes connecting time (time between flights) at all airports. Contact us for additional information.
EXTRA NIGHTS: Special rates are available at our hotel in Berlin, prior to the tour start – $270 per double room ($230 single). Rooms are booked in Garden Deluxe category. Cost includes buffet breakfast, taxes and service charges, and airport to hotel transfer. All additional nights are confirmed on a space-available basis.
SPECIAL NOTE: When traveling in December you should anticipate seasonal ice and snow. Some of the sites we visit will require walking some distance on uneven cobblestone sidewalks and stairs. You should be able to walk two or three blocks from the coach parking into the town center at a pace that is comfortable for most of the group – or plan on taking a taxi (at your cost). Our coach is not equipped to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers.
View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. Travel Resources