Christmas Markets of Germany & France Itinerary

DECEMBER 6-16, 2022

9 Spaces Available

Many of our current Christmas traditions have their origins in Germany—from the Christmas tree and the rituals of holiday decorations to gingerbread houses and the Advent calendar.  Another German custom is the Christmas market.  With roots in the Middle Ages, modern day Christmas markets are some of the most magical events of Europe.   

 

Wine-Knows will visit several of the most highly regarded Christmas markets in Germany and France. Each one different from the other, the markets will vary from Europe’s oldest Christmas market to a fairy-tale French village Christmas market.  These enchanting yuletide venues are filled with hand-made artisanal gifts, food specialties made only at Christmas-time, local wines, and a plethora of Christmas décor.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

• Travel to 8 of the best Christmas Markets in Germany & France

•  Cultural visits to the Nuremberg Trial Museum, Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Heidelberg Castle, and the United Nations World Heritage
    (UNESCO) city of Strasbourg, France

•  Stops at top German & Alsatian wineries

•  Michelin-star dining

 

December 6, 2022 Welcome to Berlin!

 

Morning:  The tour begins in Germany’s capital of Berlin—the morning will be free.  (It is strongly recommended that participants arrive at least one day prior to allow for any missed air connections, and to include time for adjusting to jet lag.)

Afternoon:   Berlin has nearly 80 Christmas markets spread around the city, however, we’ve picked two favorites to visit on this trip.  Our first market is located in the heart of downtown on one of the city’s most beautiful squares.  Surrounded by the Berlin Concert Hall and flanked by two historic churches, this Christmas market is certain to enthrall.  In addition to its dazzling setting, it is known for its unique handmade products, especially jewelry.

Evening:  Tonight’s dinner will be at a wine-bar known for its creative healthy cooking.

 

December 7, 2022 Brandenburg Gate & Checkpoint Charlie

 

Morning:  Today we’ll have a private professionally led walking tour of downtown Berlin which will include sites such as the Brandenburg Gate & Checkpoint Charlie, Germany’s famous Parliament building, the Holocaust Memorial, and Hitler’s Bunker.

Afternoon:  Next, we’ll visit another of the city’s famous Christmas Markets.  Decorated in the style of the early 1900’s, this market is especially popular with children.  In addition to a gigantic Ferris wheel and a large ice-skating rink, there’s a small farm with animals.

Evening:  We’ll dine tonight at a charming small family-owned-and-operated restaurant located outside the center in an upscale Berlin neighborhood. 

December 8, 2022 Dry White Wines & Holiday Treats

 

Morning:   Off we go by private motor-coach, heading southeast toward the Czech Republic border to the city of Dresden.   In route we’ll stop at our first winery—dry whites are the stars of their show. 

Afternoon:   Dresden is a European jewel, hidden from view during its 40 year lifespan under Communistic East Germany.  Before that it suffered an even bigger misfortune—the old town was completely destroyed by Allied bombers. But Dresden’s triumphant rise from the rubble is inspiring.  There will be free time after arrival to explore this meticulously restored gem.

Evening:   Dinner will be feature German-European fusion cuisine.

December 9, 2022 Germany’s Oldest Christmas Market

 

Morning:    We’ll begin the day with a professionally guided walking tour of the sites in the heart of Dresden including the spectacular Royal Palace and the Opera House.

Afternoon:  Dresden’s Christmas Market is Germany’s oldest.  The entire afternoon will be free to explore its many magical treasures.

Evening:   This evening is a free night.  Consider dining at the Christmas Market which features a plethora of regional dishes only prepared during the holidays.

December 10, 2022 Bavaria & Richard Wagner

 

Morning:/Afternoon Today we head west to the legendary city of Nuremberg, home of the renowned Nuremberg Trials for war crimes. We’ll stop for lunch in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth, home of musician Richard Wagner.  Founded in 1194, Bayreuth offers an opportunity to view a Christmas Market in a town off the beaten path.

Evening:   Tonight will be in a small Mediterranean restaurant known for its quality cooking.

December 11, 2022 Nuremberg Trials

 

Morning:   This will be a day you won’t forget.  Today we’ll visit the Nuremberg Court/Museum where the Nazi trials were held. 

Afternoon:  Next, a visit to Nuremberg’s Christmas Market—Nuremberg’s Old Town has been completely transformed into “Christmas City.”

Evening:   Tonight’s dinner will be at restaurant with modern German cooking—a kind European fusion.

 

December 12, 2022 Red Wine Country

 

Morning:    Say auf wiedersehen to Nuremberg for next we’ll travel to the area of Germany’s most prestigious red wines on the banks of the stunning Neckar River.

Afternoon:  After lunch we’ll visit to one of the region’s most wine respected producers. Then, onward to the glorious city of Heidelberg.  One of the world’s oldest student towns, Heidelberg is home to Germany’s most well-known university.

Evening:   Dinner will be at a spot in the heart of the old town known for quality products.

December 13, 2022 Santa’s Paradise in Heidelberg

 

Morning:    Today we’ll visit Heidelberg’s castle with a private tour guide.

Afternoon:   Heidelberg is a fairytale town any time of year, but during Christmas it transforms into a holiday paradise.  This afternoon we’ll explore its uber magical Christmas market.  We’ll wander through the enchanting alleys of the Old Town, filled with scents of roasting chestnuts, hot mulled wine, grilled sausages in every size and shape, along with fresh cut pine….all against the romantic backdrop of the castle.  Think adult Disneyland at the holidays. 

Evening:   Tonight we’ll enjoy a synthesis of Greece & Germany gastronomy.

December 14, 2022 France’s Gastronomique Marché de Noel

 

Morning:    We’ve planned this trip’s itinerary strategically to end in France’s enchanting Alsace region.  Passed back and forth many times between Germany and France over the last five centuries, Alsace is filled with small story-book Hansel and Gretel villages.  Oh, yes…Alsace’s wines are also absolutely stunning!  Our first French Marche de Noel is in Strasbourg, France.  This city is not only a United Nations World Heritage site (UNESCO), but is one of the gastronomic capitals of France.  Strasbourg is also home to perhaps the most beautiful Christmas market in all of Europe. 

Afternoon:   We’ll stop at France’s most prestigious linen factory, Beauville, a fabulous place to buy exquisitely designed napkins, towels and tablecloths.  Next, a private wine-tasting at one of the most revered producers of Alsace wine.

Evening:  Dinner will be at a traditional French restaurant in our fairytale village of Colmar.

December 15, 2022 Michelin Star Nirvana

 

Morning & Early Afternoon:  Today is free to enjoy the village in which we’re staying, Colmar.  The historic section, said to have inspired the setting for the movie The Beauty and the Beast, boasts cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered medieval and Renaissance buildings that were untouched by war.  At Christmas-time the entire old center of Colmar is decorated in full holiday regalia, turning it into a veritable open-air “Christmas City” theatre.  Christmas markets are spread throughout this enchanting town.

Late Afternoon:   In celebration of our final day we’ll travel to a nearby wine village. This producer has received countless international awards for his complex white wines.

Evening:   Alsace has more Michelin star restaurants per square mile than anywhere on the planet (except downtown Paris).  Tonight we’ll dine at one in Colmar. Our farewell extravaganza dinner will be a dressy affair so wear your holiday best. 

December 16, 2022 Joyeux Noel & Au Revoir

 

Morning:    Enjoy your last Christmas specialty breakfast goodies as the tour ends today.  Strasbourg airport is nearby with connections to many European gateway cities.  There is also has a high-speed train to Paris for those who may want to sneak in a visit to the City of Light during the holidays.  Wine-Knows will be happy to consult on your post-trip plans.

FAQS

The tour begins in downtown Berlin on December 6, 2022 at approximately 3pm. It is strongly advised that all participants arrive in Berlin at least one day before to avoid any missed air connections & to help in adjusting to jet lag.  (Wine-Knows will be happy to arrange for early arrival accommodations).

Group airfare has purposefully not been included to allow maximum flexibility in arrival & departure options. You may go early & stay over after the trip concludes. Wine-Knows Travel, Inc. provides land only arrangements and does not provide airfare.

Our groups are composed of people from diverse occupations, singles & couples, men & women, a mix of young & old, well-seasoned international travelers as well as novices.  All have a common interest in food & wine.  The majority of participants on our tours are repeat clients or their referrals.  In addition, each tour participant is a non-smoker. 

One of the hallmarks of the Wine-Knows’ brand is seeking out those oh-so-special spots to stay.  We typically look for historical properties that ooze old-world European charm.  However, since many cities in Germany were rebuilt in a modern style after WWII, Wine-Knows will be adding a couple of contemporary hotels into this trip’s mix.  The majority of accommodations are 5 star, but there are also a few 4 star properties.  All hotels will be strategically located in the heart of the town’s center, so Christmas markets, sight-seeing, & shopping will be just out your front door.

Below are hotels that we are planning to use for this trip:

  • Berlin:  This 5 star property, which once belonged to the Berlin Opera, has become a pitch perfect luxury hotel.  Once used to store costumes & stage sets, it has been transformed into 200 design-savvy guest rooms which offer sumptuous linens & marble bathrooms.  Amenities include a spa & gym.
  • Dresden:  Located next to the city’s phenomenal castle, this recently built 5 star hotel’s architecture cleverly blends in with the historic buildings surrounding it.  Bedrooms are the epitome of functional elegance & comfort.  The hotel’s spa is located in its 15th century stone cellar with medieval vaulted ceilings.
  • Nuremberg:  Think contemporary for this stop.  A 4 star property, this recently built completely non-smoking hotel has all of the modern bells & whistles:  fitness center, rooftop terrace, and even an indoor pool.  Like all of our hotels, it’s located within walking distance of the city’s famous Christmas market.
  • Heidelberg:  This benchmark 5 star hotel has been in the same family for 150 years. Kings & Queens, as well as countless celebrities have been guests.  Dripping with old-world charisma, it features 100 luxurious rooms and is renowned for its superb service.  Amenities include a spa, pool & gym.
  • Colmar:   Built in 1565, this iconic half-timbered building is an historical monument.  It was converted from a mansion to a 4 star hotel after World War II.  Located directly on the river, the 30 room property is decorated with antiques but has been upgraded with all 21st century conveniences.

The Christmas Markets offer a unique cornucopia of regional food items only available during the holidays.  There will be grilled Christmas sausages in every size and shape, specialty cheeses, a mind-boggling array of holiday-centric cakes & cookies, as well as a plethora of labor-intensive Christmas breads. 

 

All dining experiences have been mindfully selected. Meals will be special culinary events, ranging from a Michelin-star restaurant to a wine bar.  Traditional German food can be heavy, thus the focus will be on more healthy contemporary cooking with use of local, fresh products.  Mediterranean style restaurants will also be sprinkled into the mix.  In France, we’ll dine on classical French cooking, including a Michelin star restaurant.

Participants must in good physical health and be able to keep up with the pace of the group.  The tour often requires climbing two or more flights of stairs in wineries, walking distances of up to 3/4 mile (1200 meters) at a moderate gait, and negotiating cobble-stone streets and other irregular surfaces including dirt, gravel and/or wet surfaces.   Participants will be required to carry their own hand luggage and personal items.  Concerns over any aspect of the tour’s physical requirements should be addressed with Wine Knows before placing the trip deposit.      

The tour will be business casual during the day. Men need to bring a sport coat (tie optional) for the more formal dining experiences, & women should plan a similar level of attire (cocktail dress or fancy pantsuit) for these evenings.  A heavy coat is mandatory (preferably water repellant), but layers are the key.  Weatherized shoes are critical.  Also, don’t forget gloves and a hat.  Some of our hotels have gym and/or indoor swimming pools so plan accordingly if you plan to use these services. 

December in Germany & Alsace, France can be cold.  Berlin, the most northern city we’ll visit, averages 30-40 degrees during the day.   Alsace (our southern-most destination), average 35-45 degrees in the daytime.  Snow is unusual during December at all of our locations, but travelers should be prepared for some snow and even rain. 

The price is based upon double occupancy.  Should you wish to share a room, every attempt will be made to find you a roommate (most of the time we have been quite successful in doing so), however if we are unable to find you a roommate, you will need to pay the single supplement of $1,360 US.

We have provided free time as detailed in the itinerary.  Furthermore, it is not mandatory that you attend all of the planned experiences, although most of our clients do!  This is your trip—if you would rather sleep in, shop, or simply chill out at a café, then do it!

Yes.  We accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com).  Since PayPal charges us a fee, this fee must added to the cost of the trip. 

TOUR PRICES

Tour Dates*

Registration prior to February 1, 2021:

Registration after Feb 1, 2021: 

Dec 6-16, 2022

$5,475

$5,691

  • All activities listed in the itinerary
  • Double occupancy accommodation in 4 and 5 star hotels
  • Daily full breakfast
  • 9 dinners with wine (2.5 glasses per person)
  • All taxes & gratuities  
  • Airfare
  • Beverages other than 2.5 glasses of wine with dinner
  • Single room supplement ($1,360)
  • A Deposit of $1,500.00 US is due at the time of booking.
  • A second installment payment of $1,200.00 US is due by August 2, 2021.
  • The third installment of $1,200 is due by February 1, 2022.
  • The final payment is due by July 1, 2022.
  • There will be a $100.00 US charge for late payments.
  • Please make all checks payable to Wine Knows Travel, Inc. Trust Account.

Refund/Cancellation Policy.

  • A non refundable fee of $300 US, applies for all cancellations.
  • Cancellations received prior to April 1, 2021 will be fully refunded less the cancellation fee.
  • A 75% refund of the remaining funds will be made to those who cancel between April 2, 2021 and September 1, 2021.
  • A 55 % refund of the remaining funds will be made to those who cancel between September 2, 2021 and January 1, 2022.
  • A 25% refund of the remaining funds, if any, will be made to those who cancel between January 2, 2021 and July 1, 2022.
  • There will be no refunds for cancellations after July 1, 2022.
  • Trip cancellation insurance is *strongly recommended* and can be purchased for a nominal premium.

State of California Seller of Travel # 2091232-40