Extended European Christmas Markets Vacation – 2021
12 Day European Christmas Market Vacation: December 16 – 27, 2021
Visiting: ZAGREB – VARAŽDIN – BUDAPEST – BRATISLAVA – VIENNA – ČESKY KRUMLOV – PRAGUE
If you like our 10 Day Christmas Tour, you’ll love this extension with some added winter activities! Find yourself in a fairytale-like setting in some of the most beautiful, historic, and charming cities in Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Czechia. Enjoy bundling up for walking tours, sightseeing, and of course shopping in some of the oldest Christmas Markets in Europe!
Day 1 – December 16 ZAGREB
Unveil the secrets behind the old facades, discover the hidden courtyards and revive the stories from the past. We’ll give you a completely new perspective of the Zagreb City. Walking tour of Zagreb starts with the main square Ban Jelačić, Cathedral, Tkalčićeva street, the Stone Gate, Upper Town, historical center of the city, St. Mark’s Church with the famed multi-colored roof. Using funicular, close to the Lotrščak Tower, you can go down to the Lower town to see a part of famous Ilica street, the Croatian National Theatre, University and so much more.
- Arrival to Zagreb and meeting with your driver for a private transfer from Zagreb Airport to your centrally situated hotel
- Time at leisure and an overnight in Zagreb
Day 2 – December 17 ZAGREB
The Cathedral of the Assumption dominates Kaptol, its glowing towers you see off in the distance is the most immediately recognizable and commanding feature in town. It is an ornate and impressive wonder of neo-Gothic artistry. The cathedral was founded in 1093, heavily damaged in 1242 after various sieges by the Tartars, then again in 1625 after a wave of fires. But the bad luck goes on, in 1880 it was seriously damaged during an earthquake. In 1990 exterior renovations set in motion to battle against the wearing effects of time. Just up from the main square (Trg bana J. Jelacica) by the stairs, you will find the colorful Dolac market. To the back of the market square, there are the touristy stalls that sell souvenirs. But actually, the market itself is for the locals to buy fresh produce. Downstairs you will find the meat etc. sections.
St. Mark’s Church – In the highest area of historic Zagreb this church is characterized by its roof with red, blue, and white representing the coat of arms of Zagreb. The building was constructed by Venetian masters, even the baroque bell tower is an addition of the seventeenth century. Inside there are Gothic vaults and a choir designed by Ivan Mestrovic. The square where it is situated is a symbol of political life because here are the locations of the Sabor (Parliament), neoclassical building, and the Croatian government.
The Upper Town, which is the medieval core of the city, developed as two separate (and often warring) towns –Kaptol, the seat of the Bishop (where the imposing Cathedral now stands), and Gradec, the free town where tradesmen and artisans lived (proclaimed by King Bela of Hungary in the 12th century) merged in the 1770s to form the northern section of historic Zagreb. Following this, the city expanded south of today’s Trg Bana Josipa Jelacica (Jelacic Square) to the railway station and the Sava River.
Old Town Gate, at the top of Radićeva street (Upper Town). now a shrine to virgin Mary – the “Kamenita vrata” where you can light a candle or place a vow and, as the locals believe, your wish will be granted. Please be silent and respectful, even if just passing through the Gate. The portrait of Mary is said to be sacred because it is the only thing that survived the great fire in Zagreb in 1731. Near the Old Town Gate is the sculpture of St. George having slain the dragon. The other statue, him fighting the dragon, is located on the Marshal Tito’s Square near the Croatian National Theatre.
Strossmayer šetalište. (eng. Strossmayer’s walkway) In the summer, it is an outdoor scene for painters, musicians and other artists offering food, drinks, performances, and concerts.
The city’s Christmas Market started out as an underdog on the European stage but it has quickly become the undisputed champion, voted Europe’s Best Christmas Market three years in a row, stealing the crown from the continent’s most well established Christmas Fayres and Festivals.
The really special and exciting thing about Zagreb’s flourishing Christmas scene is that there are actually over 25 markets to choose from! And on this festive tour, we will take you to the best of them, fork in hand. Remember that Zagreb itself packs a thousand-year-old cultural punch with more museums than any other city in the world. We promise that by the end of your walk you’ll not only experience the tastes and smells of Christmas — including delicious samplings of festive donuts, traditional walnut or poppy cakes and warming mulled wine to accompany all that sugar — but you’ll also learn about our charming advent traditions and customs.
We will also visit a local craft stall that specializes in Christmas decorations, have a chat with the friendly vendor, and even give you a chance to have a go at making your own, personalized gift to take home. We’ll start our tour in Jelacic Square, which transforms itself into the largest and oldest Christmas market in Zagreb over the winter months. We’ll check out which concert, exhibition or show is on at the nearby European Square and admire the live nativity scene that is set next to the magnificent cathedral. We’ll then explore the Christmas markets of the old town where amazing gift ideas abound, including gingerbread hearts, wheat seeds, Christmas tree decorations, advent wreaths, and loads more. You’ll admire charming churches and hidden courtyards and delight in the amazingly festive atmosphere of the Fuliranje market, which literally translates as ‘fooling around.’
This is Zagreb at its best and a great place to mingle with the locals. But don’t spend all your money yet, as there are more amazing places and artisan stalls and food vendors to visit! How about exploring a secret tunnel that is now beautifully decorated for the winter months?!
Then we’re off to see the Secret Garden before heading to the loveliest and definitely our favorite park in the city, Zrinjevac (there are three different Christmas markets here alone!), which, together with an awesome-looking ice rink, provides almost endless foodie treats to tickle the taste buds.
Finally, it’s time to get your (rented) skates on and take an (optional!) turn around the rink and show us your best pirouette.
It will truly be the best and most festive day ever! Before you go, don’t forget to ask your guide for tips on what else there is to see and do in Zagreb during your stay. Merry Christmas!
OPTIONAL, not included: Skiing or snowboarding in Zagreb
Sljeme is a popular ski area on the slopes of Medvednica hill (1,035m), 15km from Zagreb. There are 5km of intermediate skiing on 5 runs at Sljeme, served by 4 lifts, with night skiing available. Sljeme is subject to weekend crowds.
- Breakfast at the hotel.
- Meeting with your guide for a private Christmas Tour of Zagreb. (Inclusions: Local English-speaking guide, 1 box of Croatian traditional donuts, 1 piece of walnut or poppy cake, 1 glass of mulled wine or some other typical Croatian wintertime hot drink, 1 local brandy and 1 local street food snack, 1 personalized gift, all entrance fees)
- Time at leisure to explore Zagreb further on your own
- Overnight in Zagreb
Day 3 – December 18 ZAGREB – VARAŽDIN – BUDAPEST
Romantic, intimate, brimming with holiday aromas and the fairy-tale atmosphere of the historical city center. The rich music, cultural and entertainment programs, the luscious and innovative culinary offer and the myriad activities for all taste buds and guests of all ages, make the holiday season even more merry and bright, and Varaždin an even more dazzling place to be.
If there is one city in Croatia whose charm lends itself to the festive Christmas spirit, it has to be Varazdin. The former capital of Croatia has a gorgeous and compact Baroque old town, whose timeless streets are the perfect backdrop to a winter celebration. Come in summer for Croatia’s largest street festival, Spancirfest, and you will fall in love with the city, but Advent in Varazdin is an altogether different experience.
The ambience of Varaždin old city is the perfect place to get that Christmas glow, but in an effort to make Christmas time their second-largest public event after the annual Špancirfest, Advent in Varaždin will take place in seven different locations around the city and will have more than 100 different programs to entertain visitors. Theatre performances, an ice skating rink, a city-wide gastronomic offer, concerts of classical music, Christmas choirs and sacred music all form part of the program, as do folklore events, arts & crafts, cinema screenings and large rock and pop concerts. For younger visitors, there’s a daily ride on Santa’s train, storytelling and Santa’s grotto in the Old Town and entertaining street performers including magicians. Look out
for the exhibitions on Uskoj street, a virtual Reality Magic Room, special events on Habdelić square and pretty decorations everywhere from Korzo and Gajeva Street to Stančić and Liberty Square.
Budapest’s beauty is not all God-given; man has played a role in shaping this pretty face too. Architecturally, Budapest is a treasure, with enough baroque, neoclassical, Eclectic and art nouveau (Secessionist) buildings to satisfy anyone’s appetite. Overall, though, Budapest has a fin-de-siècle feel to it, for it was then, during the capital’s ‘golden age,’ that most of what you see today was built. Nearly every building has some interesting or unusual detail, from art nouveau glazed tiles and neoclassical bas-reliefs to bullet holes and shrapnel scorings left over from WWII and the 1956 Uprising that still cry out in silent fury.
Located an hour’s drive north of Zagreb, Varaždin might just be the most underrated city in Croatia. Famous for its Baroque architecture and youthful energy, Varaždin might seem unassuming, but it will sink its claws deep into your adventurous skin through history, culture, and a whole lot more. Upon arrival to Varaždin meet the local guide for a private walking tour of the old town. Varaždin is a proud city of culture, and nothing showcases that better than its impressive roster of museums. The Old Town Castle is a tangible piece of Varaždin history, home to a mass of artefacts donated by some of the city’s most prestigious families over the years. The Varaždin City Museum tells the story of the town from the Counts of Celje to the modern age via every ruler in between. Varaždin also has an impressive collection of museums that some might refer to as unorthodox but transcend such flimsy descriptors. The Museum of Angels is home to a number of angelic pieces of art (as the name suggests), and the Museum of Firefighting belies its small size to impressively tell the proud story of firefighting in Varaždin. The city center of Varaždin is a veritable conveyor belt of graceful Baroque architecture, making its atmosphere an enjoyable one. Varaždin isn’t known as the Baroque capital of Croatia by sheer coincidence after all. There is a time-machine quality to entering the town center that can’t be ignored, but to refer to Varaždin as stuck in the past is doing it a disservice and then some. This is living history – and beautiful living history at that. The Sermage Palace is a magnificent building, but there is more to it than stunning aesthetics. The palace is home to the Gallery of Old & Modern Masters, an art gallery that does exactly what it says on the tin. This splendid gallery showcases the finest work of artists past and present, from the 15th century through to the modern age, each century as inspiring as the last. We round up the day with tasty lunch in one of the most favored Varaždin restaurants that boasts delicious local cuisine.
Recommendations on things to see and do in Budapest: Romance: A 19th-century funicular lifts you up to the Castle District, where narrow, cobbled streets lead to the soaring Matthias Church. Toast romantic Budapest with a glass of sweet Tokaj wine at a café on Fisherman’s Bastion nearby. Relaxing: Spa fanatics are spoiled for choice on Budapest city breaks. The Gellert Hotel’s opulent, turn-of-the-century bathhouse is just one of the more recent – the Romans and the Ottoman Turks all enjoyed a good soak in Budapest’s piping hot waters. Active types: Tired of the same old city tour? Leave tidy Budapest behind and get your jeans dirty crawling through the underground passageways of the Pálvölgyi-Mátyáshegyi cave system beneath the city.
OPTIONAL, not included: The “Hungarian Sea”, is the people’s name for the 50-mile long lake with silky green-yellow water in the middle of Transdanubia. Lake Balaton is one of Hungary’s most precious treasures and most frequented resorts. It is also the largest lake in Central Europe.
Fish and fish dishes dominate the cuisine in restaurants and inns around Lake Balaton. You must eat pike perch which is usually fried in oil or roasted. This tasty fish with its snow white meat has been a top delicacy here for many years. Fisherman’s soup also a good choice if you want to have a taste of the region’s gastronomy.
Other popular Hungarian dishes like goulash or paprika chicken are also offered in the lake-side eateries.
- Breakfast at the hotel and check-out
- Meet your driver for a private transfer from Zagreb to Budapest with an en-route stop in Varaždin.
- English speaking guide for a private walking tour of Old town Varaždin (entrance fees included)
- Lunch in a local restaurant in Varaždin (traditional Zagorje cuisine)
- Onward drive to Budapest and check into your centrally situated hotel
- Time at leisure and overnight in Budapest
Day 4 – December 19 BUDAPEST
During the half day sightseeing tour, we visit the most remarkable and historical sightseeing spots of Pest and Buda. On the Pest side we cover the Heroes’ Square, the City Park behind the square has many sights as well: the picturesque Vajdahunyad castle, Széchenyi Spa, Grand Circus, Zoo, Amusement Park, and the most famous Restaurant of Hungary Gundel. The Budapest sightseeing tour continues along the Andrássy Avenue (UNESCO World Heritage) where we pass by some mansions of former aristocrats, former Music Academy, and the Hungarian State Opera House. In the office quarter we see the St Stephen’s Cathedral and the magnificent neo-Gothic Parliament building. After crossing the Danube River, we arrive in the Castle District of Buda (UNESCO World Heritage), which used to be the capital of Hungary for several hundred years. In this historical part of Buda, you have chance to visit the neo-Gothic Matthias Church and take a view of the Danube and the Pest side from the Fishermen’s Bastion.
From fairy lights to wooden ornaments, from spiced mulled wine to roasted chimney cake, Budapest is a wonderfully festive place to celebrate the Christmas holidays. Yes, the air in Budapest is biting cold during this time of the year (which makes for some frosty sightseeing), but none of that seems to matter once you’ve warmed up over a hearty bowl of goulash or a steaming glass of honey mead. Budapest during the wintertime is magical.
OPTIONAL: Szechenyi Bath is the biggest and most popular of all the thermal baths in Budapest more than 100 years old. What is more, it is one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe too. The 18 pools in Szechenyi Bath is open every single day throughout the year, including national holidays when it’s an especially popular place to visit. Besides the outdoor and indoor geothermal pools, you can get massage treatments, enjoy the saunas, the gym, relax by the pools with some beer, wine or even taste the natural waters that supply the pools from over 1000 meters below the surface.
In the evening enjoy dinner on a Danube river cruise. Enjoy a relaxing night out in Budapest with this scenic Danube River cruise. Sip drinks including wine and choose an optional Hungarian buffet dinner. You’ll be entertained by live music as you admire the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Budapest panorama, which includes the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue. Take a night cruise on the Danube, enjoy a wonderful evening with a 4-course buffet dinner, live gypsy music, and admire the beautiful city scape draped in warm colors by the setting sun.
- Breakfast at the hotel Meeting with your driver & guide for a panoramic and walking city tour of Budapest
- Private city tour of Old Buda and Pest accompanied by an official English speaking guide/driver (entrance fees to sights not included) Danube cruise with music – See the beautifully refurbished Parliament in Pest, the elegant neo-renaissance buildings of the Castle Bazaar (also renewed in 2014) and the other prominent sights under the protection of the UNESCO’s World Heritage program
- Danube cruise dinner with music (Included: Brilliant 90-minute folklore show, 90-minute cruise along the Danube River, Buffet style dinner, 1 glass of red or white wine, 1 bottle of mineral water or 1 soft drink)
- Following dinner, you can enjoy the romantic night vista of illuminated Budapest from the upper deck of the boat
- Time at leisure and overnight in Budapest
Day 5 – December 20 BUDAPEST – BRATISLAVA – VIENNA
Known as Pressburg to German-speakers or Pozsony to Hungarian-speakers, Bratislava got its present name only 90 years ago. But the city has a long and proud history that dates back to pre-Roman times. The hillsides on the edge of the city have been home to vineyards for centuries, and close to Bratislava are wine towns where you can taste the best – and it is startlingly good! – that Slovakia has to offer. In the city itself there is plenty to see and do. Bratislava’s long history – as home to Celts, Romans, Germans, Hungarians, Jews, and of course Slovaks – means there is an impressive range of architecture, languages, and cuisine. The handsome homes of the Austro-Hungarian noble families who built palaces here dot the city, and many of them are now open to the public as museums and galleries. The castle, with its long and checkered history (it has been destroyed more than once), is now undergoing a major restoration. There are great views over the mediaeval old town and the Danube valley from its fortifications. Bratislava was once one of the most important centers of Jewish learning in Europe. A unique memorial to its most renowned rabbi, the Chatam Sofer, and the city’s Museum of Jewish Culture celebrate this heritage.
Vienna – a romantically imperial city. Vienna is a dream city for anyone with a romantic streak or an interest in history. Sightseeing opportunities are to be found in abundance. Wander along narrow, medieval alleyways or across imperial squares, view Schönbrunn Palace or the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) in the footsteps of Sissi and Emperor Franz Josef, and marvel at the majestic architecture along the Ring boulevard. Be inspired by an atmosphere steeped in history – which also boasts the comforts and infrastructure of a modern city!
Christmas Market Food Tour is a pleasant, enjoyable walk around the city center with a local foodie. Joining this winter tour gives you an unforgettable opportunity to taste fantastic Slovak cuisine, try authentic freshly made local dishes and hear the interesting stories behind them. You will learn about our comfort food preferences, why there might be a problem taking a bath around Christmas, what to we drink to warm up in winter and we will explain a bit about the odd food we enjoy on various occasions. We will show you the best spots on Bratislava Christmas Market and leave you feeling well sated and satisfied. A combination of a walking tour and a great relax at the Christmas markets with tasty, mulled wine and local grilled specialties. The guide can show you the best stands on the Markets, so you won’t miss anything from the Markets. At this tour you will see the Hviezdoslav square with the 1st part of the Christmas Markets including an ice rink in the Middle of the Markets, the Slovak National Theatre, the statutes of Cumil and Schoene Naci, the Main Square with the 2nd part of the Christmas Markets, the Michal’s Gate, the Venturska street and the St. Martins cathedral.
- Breakfast at the hotel and check-out
- Meet your driver for a private transfer from Budapest to Vienna with en-route stop in Bratislava for a visit
- Explore the best Christmas Markets in Bratislava with an English speaking guide that will show you the most beautiful places at the pedestrian zone of the Old Town.
- Christmas Market Food Tour of Bratislava (Included: English speaking guide, more than 7 food tastings, water, beer, shot of our favorite alcohol and coffee or tea)
- A final drive to Vienna will follow
- Upon arrival check into your centrally situated hotel
- Time at leisure and overnight in Vienna
Day 6 – December 21 VIENNA
Looking to bring back some genuine Austrian crafts and antiques from your travels? The Österreichische Werkstätten just might have the right souvenir for you. Look no further: Österreichische Werkstätten, located in Vienna’s elegant first district, offers authentic Austrian fashion accessories, jewelry and much more.
The collection also includes VER SACRUM, the famous pattern, designed by the master Josef Hoffmann himself in 1908. Today state-of-the-art technology and modern design are used to create handbags your friends will rival you for. Designs by Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann among other Viennese Art Nouveau artists are being used for silk scarves, shawls, and ties.
Don’t forget to check out the unique hand painted scarves and silk scarves selection, handmade leather bags and much more.
If you are looking for something more precious don´t miss the jewelry department, were – in Art Nouveau style – gold, silver, pearls and genuine stones are used to create unique pieces.
Panoramic and walking city tour of Vienna with a visit to the Christmas market tour
This tour will give you an overall impression of the most significant historical sights of Vienna. This 3-hours walking tour through Vienna’s historic city center gives you a great first impression of what the city has to offer and lets you experience all the most important sites. I just can’t have you visit Vienna and NOT see these places! We will start our tour at the Albertina Art Palace in which the art-loving sister of Marie Antoinette used to live. A beautiful classicist palace! Marie Antoinette and her sisters were Habsburg princesses and grew up in the Imperial Palace. A huge palace complex for the rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Next, we see the famous Ring Street, built around the old city center, with its stunning public buildings, like the parliament. A nice warm cup of Viennese coffee or tea is next on the list. I will teach you all about the 100 different Viennese coffee variations and then quiz you about them later on. We will continue our walk in the historic city center and possibly grab a Figlmüller Wiener Schnitzel to go. Our tour concludes at St. Stephan’s Cathedral. Recommendation: Ride through Vienna in a horse-drawn carriage – They are just as much a part of Vienna as St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Giant Ferris Wheel: the fiakers. For many tourists, a ride with the two-horse carriage is one of the highlights. There is almost no cozier way to explore Vienna’s attractions. Time at leisure to explore the city on your own, taste the offerings of the Christmas market, visit a museum, or do some Christmas shopping. Have a glass of Christmas punch, treat yourself to a spa, and explore the city´s museums – these are some great ways to make the best of a gorgeous Vienna in winter. A new luxury shopping area in the heart of the city offers a cosmopolitan shopping experience in the elegant setting of Vienna’s historic first district. The “Golden Quarter” includes the fashionable flagship stores of brands like Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Miu Miu, Roberto Cavalli, Prada, and Saint Laurent.
OPTIONAL, not included: Since Vienna hosts several excellent ice skating places this is the easiest winter sport to integrate into a city break. Most prominently, you can ice skate directly in front of Vienna’s City Hall during the festive Christmas market.
The ice rink is often extended to cover the full square, with several paths meandering across the park. Secondly, Vienna’s Ice Skating Association (Wiener Eislaufverein) runs a more than 6,000 square meter large rink between Wiener Konzerthaus and Stadtpark next to the city center. At both locations, you can rent ice skates. At a few hundred meters from key sightseeing spot Hundertwasserhaus, Prater park’s Jesuitenwiese (‘Jesuit Lawn’) hosts a tobogganing slope in the winter. Even if there is not much natural white, snow cannons provide for adequate coverage of the 30 to 60-meter long tobogganing.
Another recommendable tobogganing spot is in the middle of Kurpark Oberlaa, not far from Vienna’s most popular thermae and spa ‘Therme Wien.’
Probably the most romantic tobogganing stretch in Vienna is in the park of Potzleinsdorf Palace, northeast of the city center. Given enough snow, the lawn just next to the park entrance above the playground can be used for tobogganing. For a couple of Euros, a day you can rent a toboggan at the Fahrrad & Ski shop in Linke Wienzeile 124/128, close to Naschmarkt.
Ice curling – The ice stock sport is getting in fashion in Vienna again. The best places to do it are during Vienna’s ‘Wiener Eistraum’ event in front of Vienna City Hall, at the Christmas Market of Altes AKH (in the Old General Hospital) and at Badeschiff, a party and leisure boat mooring on the Danube Canal close to the city center. In general, time slots for a curling alley have to be booked in advance.
Cross country skiing – A mere 20 centimeters of snow is all that is needed for Vienna’s Snow Sports Academy to start tracing cross country ski trails at various locations in the city. Out of a total of eight trails, the most popular is in Prater park’s four-kilometer long avenue Prater Hauptallee, close to the Giant Ferris Wheel.
Cross country skiers who prefer perfect vistas, and a glass of wine, should head for Cobenzl hill in Vienna’s winery area of Grinzing. The trails are done in a way to also allow beginners to have safe fun. Cross country skis are available for rental at the Fahrrad & Ski shop in Linke Wienzeile 124/128.
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Meeting with your driver and an English speaking guide for Vienna’s must-see tour – a private walking tour of the city center, a panoramic and walking city tour of Vienna with a visit to the Christmas market tour
- Coffee and a cake at the historic Café Sacher
- Time at leisure and overnight in Vienna
Day 7 – December 22 VIENNA – ČESKY KRUMLOV
A town that reaches to the skies above a bend on the River Vltava, Český Krumlov is a pearl of Renaissance architecture and a place where the sumptuousness of the local castle, maze-like alleyways, richly decorated coats of arms of burghers houses, and wonderful floral gardens are harmoniously interwoven; at the same time, it boasts medieval pubs, ale-houses, galleries and graphite mines. Thanks to its unique preserved medieval core, Český Krumlov is included on the UNESCO list.
At the height of its fame, Český Krumlov could compete stoutly with the most important European royal courts, mainly thanks to the Rosenberg family, who chose the town as their residence. The Rosenberg’s gradually came to rule a large part of South Bohemia. Enchanted by the Italian Renaissance, they built a town and residence, and in so doing contributed to the prosperity of the entire region. One of the most famous members of the family was Petr Wok von Rosenberg, who gathered a remarkable collection of art and products of nature that rivalled that of Rudolph II at Prague Castle.
Among Český Krumlov’ s attractions are its Baroque theatre, which is one of the oldest preserved chateau theatres in Central Europe. Alongside the theatre building itself, visitors can view hundreds of decorations, costumes, and props, as well as an orchestra pit, theatre machinery and an extensive collection of original scripts. The theatre serves only as a working theatre museum today. However, a unique revolving auditorium, set against the natural backdrop of the Castle Park, offers unforgettable theatre performances beneath the night sky.
The Renaissance facades of painted houses, traditional artisan shops and medieval taverns create an inimitable labyrinth in which you’ll want to simply lose yourself. But there is more to the historical center than the past. Why not visit for instance the renowned Egon Schiele Gallery where you can discover Český Krumlov through the artist’s pictures? Another worthwhile stop is the Seidel Photographic Studio, whose unusual inter-war atmosphere will surprise you; it boasts an inexhaustible number of unique period photos, photo-postcards and glass negatives, while real experts on or admirers of the period between the wars will be taken with its functioning cameras, enlarging apparatus and equipped darkrooms.
Throughout the year Český Krumlov offers countless cultural events, such as FIDELIO classical music concerts, the Five-Petalled Rose Celebrations, an International Music Festival, and a festival of Baroque art.
Private walking tour of the Old Town Český Krumlov
This private tour takes up to 2 to 2.5 hours and includes the following: Renaissance town hall *Former Jesuit hall of residents*Jesuit’s garden viewpoint *House of Prelate* Gothic Church of St.Vit *Former Latin School* Renaissance house of Krcin *Former Town Brewery* Renaissance House *Old Mill* Barber´s House *Old Orphanage and Hospital* Cesky Krumlov Castle – 1st Castle courtyard* Bears´ Moat *Castle Tower* Mint and 2nd Castle courtyard *3rd and 4th courtyard* Aqueduct view bridge *Castle Baroque theatre* 5th Castle courtyard*Castle Gardens with Baroque Fountain and Rococo House. In addition to this tour, the Český Krumlov castle exterior tour. Time at leisure to explore the city on your own The coming winter season reveals a new facet of Český Krumlov: one filled with calm and poetry. The time of advent is filled with beautiful encounters, such as collective lighting of the Christmas tree, singing the Christmas carols, St. Nicholas present giving, and including the Postal Office of Baby Jesus. Live Nativity Play – a biblical story depicted in song and dance, accompanied by live music, presents a magical culmination of this pre-Christmas period. Advent weekends with Old Bohemian Christmas market where one can taste punch and sweet-smelling Christmas pastries will put everyone into a festive mood. We suggest that everyone but especially families with young children can kick off their Christmas Eve with Bear Christmas on the 1st Castle courtyard. Witness the lively culinary scene over dinner in one of many cozy restaurants
- Breakfast at the hotel and check out
- Meeting with your driver for a private transfer from Budapest to Český Krumlov
- Upon arrival accommodation in your centrally situated hotel
- Meeting with your guide for a Private walking tour of the Old Town Český Krumlov
- Return to the hotel for an overnight in Český Krumlov
Day 8 – December 23 ČESKY KRUMLOV – PRAGUE
Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, lies at the heart of Central Europe. An eventful history, fascinating sightseeing, and good value entertainment make this one of the true ‘must-see’ cities in Europe. Prague Experience brings all this together to form a single source of information, useful both to tourists and to people living in the city.
Prague (Praha in Czech) was the ancient capital of Charles IV’s Bohemian Kingdom and has played a pivotal role in the development of Central Europe since the Middle Ages.
Its epic history has produced a vibrant city of stunning buildings and lovely old squares, with the result that today Prague is one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
As visitors to Prague have increased, tourism has become of vital economic importance to the city.
The effects of tourism in Prague are mostly positive. Much of the post-communism reconstruction and regeneration of Prague has been driven by tourism, as ancient buildings have been transformed into fine restaurants and stylish hotels.
Key Prague Tourism Fact: In 1992 the historical center of Prague, all 866 hectares, was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register.
The city center of Prague is divided into five areas. These span both banks of the Vltava River, which runs through the heart of the city. On one side of the Vltava River is the Old Town (Staré Město), with the Old Town Square at its heart; the New Town (Nové Město), with Wenceslas Square at its heart; and the Jewish Quarter (Josefov).
On the other side of the river is the Lesser Town (Malá Strana), and higher up, the Castle District (Hradčany) which is dominated by Prague Castle. Charles Bridge is the main pedestrian crossing between the two sides of Prague.
The city center is denoted by the postal district Prague 1. Key Prague Tourism Fact: Prague has a compact city center. From Prague Castle on one side of the city center to Wenceslas Square on the other is just a 25 minute stroll (walking through the Lesser Town, across Charles Bridge and through the Old Town).
Stay in a hotel or apartment anywhere in Prague 1 (or close by in Prague 2), on either side of the river, and it is possible to walk around the whole city with ease, exploring all the sights and attractions on foot.
The Prague Christmas Markets are open daily at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square. A ‘winter wonderland’ awaits, for visitors to soak up the festive atmosphere, browse the stalls, and enjoy Christmas carols, hearty food, and local drinks. The main markets are held at the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square (5 minutes’ walk from each other).
There are also smaller markets at Republic Square, at Havel’s Market, on Kampa Island, and on the square in front of St. George’s Basilica at Prague Castle*. Christmas markets (Vánoční trhy) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic, and the Prague markets are the most impressive in the country. They light up the city, bringing locals and tourists together in a true ‘winter wonderland’ setting. The Prague Christmas Markets consist of brightly decorated wooden huts stocked with local handicrafts and traditional Christmas treats.
Among the many items on display are ceramics, jewelry, embroidered lace, wooden toys, scented candles, Christmas tree ornaments, hats and gloves, and puppets and dolls dressed in traditional costume. At the center of the Old Town Square is an Observation Bridge. Climb a small flight of steps to reach it and take in the expansive view over the market. While you can find some nice souvenirs at the stalls, to take home to decorate your house with or to use as Christmas gifts, the markets are about more than shopping. There is all manner of local food and drink to sample, much of it prepared and cooked in front of you. Popular food on offer includes: large hams roasted on spits (Pražská Šunka); terribly unhealthy but wonderfully tasty barbequed sausages (klobása); flatbread topped with garlic, cheese and ketchup (langoš); smoked meat dumplings (knedlíky plněné uzeným masem); sweet dumplings (sladké knedlíky); and pancakes (palačinky).
There is also a variety of cakes and sweets to choose from, such as hot, freshly made sugar coated pastry (trdelník) and spicy gingerbread (perníčky). For drinks, you can sample the famous Czech beer, such as Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen or Budvar. Or opt for a hot drink: mulled wine (svařák); hot chocolate (horká čokoláda); honey wine (Medovina); or grog, a mixture of rum, water, lemon, and sugar. Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine in your hand!
OPTIONAL, not included: The fun thing about Prague and its hilly elevation profile is the fact, that you can actually ski right in the center of the city when there´s enough snow. The Petřín cable car will take you up with your equipment – skies, snowboards, or bobsleds – for the price of a basic public transport ticket and you can ride down the Petřín hill as if you were in the mountains.
Cross-country skiing is also possible in Prague – fans of this sport like to train in the Hvězda game enclosure, where you can also visit the beautiful one-of-a-kind hunting castle from the Renaissance era. If you wish to find a real ski slope, the most popular Czech mountains Krkonoše are just a 2-hour drive away. The ski area of Monínec is even closer – just an hour drive south.
- Breakfast at the hotel and check out
- Meeting with your driver for a private transfer from Český Krumlov to Prague
- Check into your centrally situated hotel and explore the Christmas Market on your own.
- Time at leisure and an overnight in Prague
Day 9 – December 24 PRAGUE
After picking you up from your Prague hotel, we embark on a fascinating journey through time to learn of the people who have shaped the city, and to discover the places they built over the past 1000 years – Prague has over 4,000 monuments.We begin our tour with an introduction to the major historical areas of Prague: the New Town with Wenceslas Square at its heart, the charming Old Town, and the picturesque Lesser Town.
Next, we drive up to the castle for the highlight of the trip: a 75 minute walk through the Prague Castle complex to discover the major sights within.
We admire the grandeur of Saint Vitus Cathedral, the ancient architecture of the Old Royal Palace, the state apartments, the fortifications and towers, and other historic churches and national treasures. Finally, we enjoy the stunning views over the whole of Prague.
From Prague Castle we walk down to the Vltava River via a flight of steps (the steps are lengthy, but wide and deep, and so fairly easy to walk down).
We then stroll across the city’s historic river crossing, Charles Bridge, which presents yet more wonderful panoramic views. And we continue on through the Jewish Quarter (Josefov) and on to explore the Old Town.
As we journey around, we learn why Prague is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world.
The tour finishes at a convenient point in the city center, near the Old Town Square.
- Meeting with your guide for a sightseeing tour of Prague. The Prague grand city sightseeing tour (Included: Hotel pick up + Guided tour of Prague, including a walk through Prague Castle & St. Vitus Cathedral) 4 hours / Not included: Entrance fees to Prague Castle (can be paid on spot 250 CZK per person (approx. 10 EUR)
- Time at leisure to explore the city on your own
- Return to the hotel, overnight in Prague
Day 10 – December 25 PRAGUE
Whether you are a pure beginner who has never seen snow, or a superb gnar-shredder, you will love what we have in store for you. The winter sports resort Spindleruv Mlyn offers to demanding skiers & snowboarders 17 lifts on 28 km of slopes in the elevations from 700 m to 1,240 m: 10 km of blue / easy slopes, 16 km of red / intermediate slopes and 2 km of black / difficult slopes. Besides the wide selection of slopes, you will find in Spindleruv Mlyn area also fun tracks, a permanent racecourse, and a snow park. The winter sports resort is known also for alpine skiing and a great choice of cross-country trails. Upon arrival to the resort and when you gear up the non-experienced ones will be taken up by a professional instructor from the local ski school, who will teach them the basics of skiing or snowboarding. The experienced ones will get the ski pass and the map of the whole ski resort and may jump right into the snow adventure. You are invited for a good meal with a drink in a local Czech restaurant.
Skiing & Snowboarding trips to Spindleruv Mlyn Ski Resort
Biggest skiing area in Czech Republic with 27km of slopes, 120 minutes’ drive time from Prague
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Join us for a wonderful day trip to a winter sports paradise near Prague. (Included: pick-up & drop-off from/ to your hotel in Prague, round trip transfer in a heated van, Ski pass, ski school area for beginners, or all slopes for experienced, Instructor, English speaking teacher for beginners, Lunch or dinner with a drink, Skiing gear – ski, ski poles, boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, skiing pants, and jacket OR Snowboarding gear – snowboard, boots, helmet, goggles, gloves, snowboarding pants, and jacket) Duration: 13-14 hours
- Return to Prague for an overnight
Day 11 – December 26 PRAGUE
- Breakfast at the hotel and check out
- Meeting with your driver for a private transfer from your hotel to Prague Airport for a departure flight