Christmas Tours in Europe

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<p>Seeking information on organized Christmas Tours in Europe. I would like to know of specfic Tour Companies that offer Christmas Tours of Europe. Has anyone personally participated in such tours? </p>

We went to Munich for our own Christmas market tour and had a fabulous time. We stayed near the train station and went out to Nurenburg and Bamburg by train in one day, which both have large Christmas markets. Nurenburg being the most famous. But mainly we just went to all the many neighborhood Christmas markets around Munich and loved them all.
Munich just sparkles for Christmas and all the main plazas have their own separate markets. Dallmyr fine foods market is a delight for goodies and we tried to have the roast pork dinner in each of the main beer halls - Weisse Brau House off Marinaplat was the best and we went back twice.
Everyone is out and about, drinking their gluhwein and dressed all like puffy elves in the snow and cold. Lots of seasonal goodies to sample and just wonderful Christmas decorations to buy. We stayed in the modest Bristol Hotel which is only a few blocks from the train station and legendary for its lavish buffet breakfasts, but also for its a bit seedy neighborhood bars but we had no problems here at all and loved the central location that allowed us easy access to the trains and the excellent public transportation and access to the airport so no "tour" was necessary.
I would almost like to do this again every holiday season it was so wonderful.

Correction, we stayed at the Astor Hotel on Schillerstrasse in Munich, but the Bristol Hotel is part of the same family ownership I believe and it gets very good reviews too. The Astor was a few blocks closer to the train statin.

I took one of Grand Circle Travel's river cruises down the Danube over Christmas a few years ago and had a wonderful time: a few nights pre-trip in Prague (a fantastic time of year to be in Prague, without the tourist hordes), followed by the cruise to Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. GCT runs many Christmas tours in Europe, mostly river cruises- check their website: www.gct.com.
It's not a small-group tour, though - there were ~100 people on our ship. I mostly avoided the group tours and toured the cities on my own - you dock either right in the city or, in Vienna, near a tram stop, and it was very easy to explore on my own. It was nice not to have to pack and unpack, too.
There are a number of things I'm not wild about regarding OAT/GCT, but not the trips themselves. This one was excellent as well.

Latest flyer from Vantage shows an Xmas tours cruise. Have not personally used Vantage but have heard good words
about them.

Dear TravelCenturian,
It appears that our travel interests are very similar. Thank you again, not only for the information on The Cotswolds, but now the information on Christmas in Europe. After doing some research on Munich and the surrounds this sounds like an ideal place to visit. Although I have been to Munich 3 times in the summer, it would be interesting to observe the happenings in December. Nurnberg sounded like a great place as I have never been there. Marilyn

Dear VeleVele,
Thank you for your information on Grand Circle and Oats. I will check into both of these.
Marilyn

Geoff_rather
thank you for your information on Vantage. I am not familiar with the name so will do some research.
Marilyn

Many great indoors things to do in Munich during the winter. So without knowing what you have already seen, I can suggest mainly because they are indoors: The royal Residenz was fabulous. We got tickets for the Opera. Everyone is out and happy in all the main beer halls and share tables. Took the tram out to Nymphynberg Palace and of course Dachau.
One day we just rode the trams around as a couple of the lines are famous as a grand tour of the city (17/15????) - it had just snowed and this brought another whole dimension to the city. The one indoor event we would not recommend is the sadly uncared for Deutches Museum which at one time was state of the art, not bad but not as dazzling as German science and technology deserves.
We did an excellent and sobering walking tour of former Nazi/Hitler history sights around town. Didn't have time to get to the museums which are worth it too.
But it seemed Munich really came alive at night when all the lights glowed and the people were out and about shopping on the streets and the store windows glowed with twinkling displays. There was just an overall feeling of good German gemutlichkeit in the middle of winter that made Munich feel local and especially loved. Felt safe even in our tatty hotel neighborhood by the train station.
Good warm boots, and a heavy coat with nice warm layers underneath got us through in great comfort with ear muffs, gloves and scarfs and we could be out for hours. It can be a damp cold so having good boot liners like felt are a bonus to keep you out there walking around and standing at the Christmas market wine festivals.

Dear Travel Centurian,
Your new comments about winter activities in Munich were well-received. I should have thought to ask you about tram rides around the city as this is one of my favorite things to do. While I taught in China - 4 semesters of English as a Second language to university students (writing) - I often would hop on a bus, get lost, find my way again, and find another bus. It was so much fun. Also, I have not been to the royal Residence, the opera, or Nymphynberg Palace. The Deutsch Museum was a disappointment to me too. Dachau is sobering and my two times there made it even more so. Time is passing quickly and it is important for me to make a decision very soon. Munich definitely is worth visiting during the Christmas season. Thank you. Your enjoyment of your time in Munich is very evident. Marilyn

Viking River cruises do a fabulous job! Very few Americans aboard, mostly Europeans and we found that especially wonderful. Just thinking about it, makes me long for hot mulled wine and gingerbread. Viking includes ALL lunches as well as "shore excursions" so it is a very good value for the money.

Dear taxtracker,
Thank you for your input on Viking River Cruises; I will look into this.
Marilyn

The Munich Royal Residenz was one of the best "castle/palaces" I have visited - really stunning art and jewelry collection. This was a surprise for us and we expected it to the the usual string of dreary rooms, but those Wittelsbachs knew how to live. That and the Royal Palace in Naples rank as my favorite royal home visits. Oops, Linderhof for King Ludwig also counts for its eccentric intimacy as well

Dear TravelCenturian
Thank you for your recent posting. I will make note of your suggestions. I have only seen the grand, grand hotel in Fusen, Bavaria of Mad King Ludwig and the outside of Linderhof. Both are stunning.
Marilyn