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European Christmas Markets Tour – 2021

per person

10 Day European Christmas Market Vacation: December 18 – 27, 2021

Visiting: ZAGREB – VARAŽDIN – BUDAPEST – BRATISLAVA – VIENNA – ČESKY KRUMLOV – PRAGUE

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!

Click the TOUR PLAN tab above to see the 10 Day Christmas Market Tour.

If you have more vacation time and want to do some skiing as well as Christmas Market shopping, our Extended 12 Day Christmas Market Tour might be to your liking!

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    Day 1 (December 18 ) 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 Zagreb City. Walking tour of Zagreb starts with the main square Ban Jelačić, Cathedral, Tkalčićeva street, the Stone Gate, Upper Town, the 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 the famous Ilica street, the Croatian National Theatre, University and so much more.
    • Arrival in Zagreb and meeting with your driver for a private transfer from Zagreb Airport to your centrally situated hotel
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Zagreb
    2
    Day 2 (December 19) 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 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.
    • Breakfast at the hotel.
    • Meeting with your guide for a private Christmas Tour of Zagreb.
    • 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!
    • Time at leisure to explore Zagreb further on your own
    • Overnight in Zagreb
    3
    Day 3 (December 20 ) 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 ambiance 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 leftover from WWII and the 1956 Uprising that still cries out in silent fury.
    • 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.
    • Upon arrival to Varaždin meet the local guide for a private walking tour of the old town.
    • We round up the day with tasty lunch in one of the most favored Varaždin restaurants that boast delicious local cuisine.
    • Onward drive to Budapest and check into your centrally situated hotel
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Budapest
    4
    Day 4 (December 21) BUDAPEST
    • Breakfast at the hotel
    • Meeting with your driver & guide for a panoramic and walking city tour of 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 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 a chance to visit the neo-Gothic Matthias Church and take a view of the Danube and the Pest side from the Fishermen's Bastion.
    • Time at leisure to relax at the hotel and explore the surroundings of the hotel.
    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. Recommendation: In the evening you can enjoy dinner on a Danube river cruise.
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Budapest
    5
    Day 5 (December 22) 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 medieval 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!
    • Breakfast at the hotel and check-out
    • Meet your driver for a private transfer from Budapest to Vienna with an 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 in the pedestrian zone of the Old Town.
    • 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 do 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.
    • The final drive to Vienna will follow
    • Upon arrival check into your centrally situated hotel
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Vienna
    6
    Day 6 (December 23) 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.
    • Breakfast at the hotel
    • Meeting with your driver and an English speaking guide for a panoramic and walking city tour of Vienna with a visit to the Christmas market tour
    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.
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Vienna
    7
    Day 7 (December 24) 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.
    • 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
    • In addition to this tour, the Český Krumlov castle exterior tour.
    • Time at leisure to explore the city on your own
    • Return to the hotel for an overnight in Český Krumlov
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    Day 8 (December 25) 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.
    • 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.
    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 drinksThe 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*.
    • Time at leisure and overnight in Prague
    9
    Day 9 (December 26) PRAGUE
    • Meeting with your guide for a sightseeing tour of 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 discover the places they built over the past 1000 years - Prague has over 4,000 monuments.
    • Time at leisure to explore the city on your own
    • Return to the hotel, overnight in Prague
    10
    Day 10 (December 27) 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
    11
    Extension with Skiing Available!
    European Christmas Markets Tour, December 18 - 27, 2021 package includes:
    • ALL PRIVATE and ENGLISH SPEAKING GUIDES AND DRIVERS
    • VAT TAX INCLUDED
    • 24hr concierge and in Croatia assistance
    • Private transfer from Zagreb Airport to Zagreb in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle
    • 2 nights Hotel 4* in Zagreb, 4 double rooms, BB basis
    • 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)
    • Private transfer from Zagreb to Budapest with en route stop in Varaždin in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle
    • 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)
    • 2 nights in Hotel 4* in Budapest, 4 double rooms, BB basis
    • Private city tour of Old Buda and Pest accompanied by an official English speaking guide/driver (entrance fees to sights not included)
    • Private transfer from Budapest to Vienna with en route stop in Bratislava in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle
    • 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)
    • 2 nights in Hotel 4* in Vienna, 4 double rooms, BB basis
    • Private transfer from Budapest to Český Krumlov in a modern air-conditioned vehicle
    • English speaking guide for a private walking tour of Old Town Český Krumlov
    • 1 night in Hotel 4* in Český Krumlov, double room, BB basis
    • Private transfer from Český Krumlov to Prague in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle
    • 2 nights in Hotel 4* in Prague, 4 double rooms, BB basis
    • 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
    • Private transfer from your hotel to Prague Airport in a modern, air-conditioned vehicle
     Program does not include:  
    • Meals and drinks not mentioned above
    • Airfare, Travel Insurance
    • Additional excursions and / or services not mentioned in the program
    • Anything listed as Optional is not included and can be added at an additional cost
    • Personal expenses (internet, telephone, mini bar etc.)
    • Tips and porterage services