Travel back through centuries as you walk along cobblestone streets through grand cities and historic towns bedecked with twinkling Christmas trees and lined with wooden huts gleaming with handcrafted treasures. Iconic Christmas Markets are plentiful and are on full display for your pleasure: Budapest’s Vörösmarty Square, where all products sold in the market are guaranteed as traditionally handmade; Vienna with its impressive Christmas Markets that seem to majestically appear around every corner; Nuremberg’s festive Christkindlesmarkt, the largest and oldest Christmas Market in Germany; and Regensburg’s Christmas Market at Thurn and Taxis Castle, considered one of Bavaria’s most beautiful and romantic are yours to explore.
Visit The Great Synagogue, the largest Synagogue in Europe
Explore the illuminated Rathaus, Vienna’s largest Christmas Market
Take a guided bike ride along the Danube and through the scenic Strudengau Valley
Sample some of Bavaria’s specialties-beer, sausage and pretzels in Regensburg
Once the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire (along with Vienna), Budapest is one of Europe’s most regal and storied cities—and many of its most iconic sights can be seen right off the banks of the Danube. Today’s tour takes you to another side of Budapest to the Jewish Quarter, where there are some real treasures. The Great Synagogue, the largest Synagogue in Europe and the second largest in the world, located in Dohány Street represents the beating heart of this quarter. Other prominent attractions include the Holocaust Memorial, a weeping willow tree with the names of Hungarian Jews killed during the Holocaust inscribed on each leaf; and the Shoes on the Danube, a memorial to the Budapest Jews who were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen between 1944 and 1945.
Check out of your hotel to board your luxurious ship. During the evening, be treated to a special illuminations cruise around Budapest’s famed Parliament building as at night, the city virtually glitters as these landmarks are awash in lights.
Home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Buda Castle quarter in Castle Hill and Heroes’ Square, Budapest offers an unmatched combination of culture, tradition and even a secret labyrinth of caves and caverns under the city. Your city tour begins with a visit to the vibrant Great Market Hall brimming with vendors selling everything from food to souvenirs. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. Afterwards, you’ll visit Vörösmarty Square, the oldest, richest and the most spectacular of all the Christmas markets in Budapest.
The “City of Waltzes” offers a treasure trove of gems just waiting to be discovered. Join a tour showcasing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs before concluding in Vienna’s historic city center. Afterwards, you'll visit the Rathaus (Town Hall) Christmas Market. If you prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride along the Danube. During the afternoon, visit the Karlsplatz (Artisans) Christmas Market, a local favorite, and the market at Schönbrunn Palace with a giant sparkling Christmas tree. Cap the day off with "Vienna by Night" Christmas Markets at the beautifully decorated Maria Theresaplatz Christmas Market, set amongst the world-renowned sights of Vienna's majestic Ringstrasse, and at the illuminated Rathaus, Vienna’s largest Christmas Market.
High on a rocky outcrop lies the Melk Abbey, one of Europe’s most revered Baroque monasteries. Visit this magnificent Benedictine Abbey, which now houses a museum chronicling its history and a famous library with countless medieval manuscripts. Alternatively, go on a guided bike ride along the Danube and through the scenic Strudengau Valley.
Join a walking tour of this 2,000-year-old city, noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s. Go in search of Bavarian-style crafts at the Christmas Market. Alternatively, you can travel through the serene Austrian Alps to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart. Your full-day excursion in Salzburg includes a walking tour of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, its magnificent cathedral and Christmas Market, which is a feast for the senses. For the active adventurer, join a guided bike tour along the Danube.
Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join a guided walking tour showcasing the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria before visiting the Old Town Christmas Market. As an alternate option, sample some of Bavaria’s specialties—beer, sausage and pretzels. Or bike to Walhalla where you will see the neo- Classical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. Later in the day, you’ll be treated to one of Bavaria’s most beautiful and romantic Christmas Markets at Thurn and Taxis Castle, where you can watch artisansmake their unique arts and crafts.
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise as the ship crosses the Continental Divide via the Main- Danube Canal to Nuremberg. Join a city tour of WWII highlights and then walk through Nuremberg’s cobblestone streets to the Imperial castle and 900-year-old city ramparts. Alternatively, you can taste your way through the city with a Franconian specialties tour, which introduces you to Bratwurst, Rotbier (red beer) and Lebkuchen (gingerbread). Later, you can visit Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt (Christmas Market), one of the world’s largest and most famous Christmas Markets. Stroll along as the aroma of mulled wine and gingerbread fill the air and browse through over 100 red and white canvas-topped booths offering an assortment of unique treasures, toys and seasonal goodies.
Day 10: Nuremberg | Disembark | Prague, Czech Republic
Disembark the ship and board a motorcoach to Prague. En route, you’ll enjoy some more time exploring another one of Nuremberg’s colorful Christmas Markets. Later you will take a scenic drive through the Bohemian countryside as you transfer to Prague, and check-in to your hotel.
Day 11: Prague
The fairytale city of Prague always enchants, but it really sparkles even more during the holiday season. Prague offers a collection of Art Nouveau, Baroque, Renaissance and Gothic architecture, which you’ll get to see on your tour. You will see Rudolfinum, the National Museum, Wenceslas Square and the Dancing House, as well as visit 1,000-year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus before walking over the romantic Charles Bridge to the Old Market Square, where you will find the capital’s famous Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and the statue of Jan Husek. You will then have free time to explore Prague’s renowned Christmas Markets -in the Old Town Square.
Day 12: Prague
Beer has a long and illustrious history in the Czech Republic with the first brewery known to have existed in 993. Pilsner Urquell was created in 1842, being the first pilsner ever made, whilst Budweiser came into being in the city of Budweis. Beer is a core part of the country’s national identity, so much so the Czechs are the biggest consumers of beer in the world. The country is home to more than 100 breweries with a combination of big names and micro establishments offering a huge range of styles, so join a Czech beer tasting and discover for yourself what makes the Czech’s beer some of the very best in the world.
Day 13: Depart Prague
Bid farewell to Prague and you prepare for your flight home.
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23 hours ago
Personal knowledge of the trip I was considering. Patience with our figuring out which dates we could travel.
1 day ago
Clara and Rhenee were gracious and available. Phone contact is so important to answer questions and discuss all aspects of trip. If not immediately available they scheduled a time to speak.
They were knowledgeable, honest, realistic and very friendly. They are both very professional and take their role seriously.
1 day ago
Jason has been wonderful. He is full of information and was very willing to listen to what was of interest to us.
3 days ago
The ability (of Kassandra) to tailor a guided trip to my exact preferences is very valuable to me, as well as the ability (of Kassandra) to provide expert guidance on destinations and travel dates. I also appreciate the ability of the backup staff (Maria Ignacio, Exito Travel) to coordinate all the details to make the travel logistics easy for the customer.
3 days ago
Our Costa Rica trip was amazing! Kassandra planned everything and the excursions, hotels, overall organization were outstanding. Everything worked out smoothly, the excursions guides were knowledgeable allowing us to see so much of the fauna and flora of the country. The hotels were great as well, all in fantastic locations and with beautiful views.