As the year draws to an end, an air of tranquillity envelops Germany. Visitors from home and abroad flock to the markets to buy the local handicrafts, toys, Christmas-tree decorations and sample sumptuous local delicacies. Pervading the city air is the seductive aroma of Glühwein, hot chestnuts and gingerbread cake. Let us take you back to the Old World Germany!
Day 1 - Depart USA
Depart USA on your international flight to Frankfurt. Dinner and breakfast will be served on your flight.
Day 2 - Frankfurt
Early arrival Frankfurt Airport. Transfer to four-star city centre hotel. Unpack your bags for the next three nights. Enjoy the first sights and sounds of the enchanting Adventsmarkt (Advents market) as we take a walking tour of the Frankfurt city centre. Free time in the afternoon. Nearly three million people make their way each year to the center of the old city to a fair whose history likely reaches back to the 14th century. Stop into a local church to hear a concert, sip mulled wine, try a piece of torte and shop the festive market stands. Because only local tradesmen were allowed to offer their wares at the market like in many cities at the time, Frankfurt’s fair developed its own specialties — which can still be found at the market today. Among them are the Brenten (almond cookie made with a form), Bethmännchen (a kind of marzipan ball cookie), and Quetschenmännchen (prune figures). This evening we will cross the Main (“mine”) River to the medieval area of Sachsenhausen where we will enjoy a typical German meal including the famous Apfelwein (apple wine). Sing this evening at the Christmas markets.
Day 3 - Heidelberg
This morning we will depart by bus to Heidelberg. A must-see in Germany, the Heidelberg Castle sits above this quaint town located on the Neckar River. Our guide will take us on a short walking tour of the town and up to the castle. There will be plenty of time to experience the local Christmas Markets. Heidelberg boasts five different markets, each with its own theme. Return to Frankfurt in the afternoon.
Day 4 - Frankfurt
Free morning in Frankfurt. Perhaps you will join the guide this afternoon on a local train to a small village Christmas Market. Most towns have their own markets and they certainly exude their own charm. Perhaps there will be time to visit more than one! Evening concert in village church.
Day 5 - Cologne
This morning we will transfer to Cologne. Settle into the hotel for the next two nights. The cathedral spires tower over Germany's oldest city. No matter where you are in the city, the looming Dom beacons as a familiar landmark. Mix medieval streets with modern artsy stores and it will tickle your senses. To inspire your sense of taste and smell, a tour of a chocolate factory will follow our short walking orientation of the city. Lunchtime concert at the Dom cathedral in Cologne. Free time in the afternoon to explore the numerous Christmas Markets including the popular floating Christmas Market on the Rhine River. This evening dinner at the hotel.
Day 6 - Cologne
Enjoy an excellent brunch buffet in the romantic Christmas atmosphere on a three hour cruise past the winter panorama of Cologne’s Old Town. The rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 7 - Reudesheim / Frankfurt
After breakfast, we will take a local train towards Frankfurt via the Rhine River. The panoramas are stunning while around each bend castle ruins cling to vineyard-laden hills. We will stop in Ruedesheim with time to explore this quaint little village. Don’t miss the Droesselgasse winding up the hill with welcoming local craft stores and restaurants. Arrive back in Frankfurt late afternoon with enough time for last minute shopping. Farewell dinner at or near the hotel.
Day 9 - Return Home
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport. You will arrive home on the same day.
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