1 Arrive in Munich.
Welcome to Germany. Transfers leave Munich airport for your hotel at 10:00 and 13:00. Meet your Travel Director at 15:00 for an orientation of the city that will show you all the city's major sights, culminating in the Marienplatz, with its soaring Town Hall and Glockenspiel. Here, the Christkindlmarkt will be in full swing, an entrancing festival of light and music. Your Travel Director will introduce you to one of the market stallholders for a taste of traditional Bavarian Lebkuchen and a fragrant cup of Glühwein. In the evening, join your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Dinner with wine. (DW) Stay: Munich Marriott Hotel.
2 Free time in the Bavarian capital.
Munich embraces the holiday season with a particular zeal, so the day is all yours to enjoy the vibrant festive markets that abound in this city. On crisp winter days, organ music and carols ring out from the ancient churches. If snow has fallen, the vast English Garden provides lovely winter vistas. Another option is to experience the romantic royal palaces of the Bavarian Alps. (B)
3 Lake Chiemsee, Salzburg and Innsbruck.
Travel alongside the tranquil waters of Lake Chiemsee on your way to Salzburg in Austria, where the spires and domes of the Old Town are often draped in snow come December. A walk with your Local Expert will show you Mozart's family home and the rosy hues of the 500-year-old Christmas Market in front of the cathedral. Head through the mountains to your Innsbruck hotel. Journey to the charming town of Hall in Tirol which boasts one of Austria's best-preserved historic centres. Soak up the unique atmosphere in a 700-year-old building and delight your palate with a medieval banquet and wine. (B/DW) Stay: AC Hotel Innsbruck.
4 Innsbruck at Leisure and Carriage Ride.
Enjoy a relaxed start and spend the morning at leisure. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere of the Old Town and Christmas Markets, set in front of the Golden Roof, graced by beautifully preserved medieval facades. Enjoy the delightful scenery and crisp, fresh air during your horse-drawn carriage ride, locally known as a Fiaker, through the countryside of Tyrol. (B)
5 The Black Forest via Lindau.
Travel through the Alberg tunnel, Austria's longest road tunnel, as you return to Germany and pause in the tiny island-town of Lindau. Walk through the maze of ancient streets down to the harbour. Across the lake, often shrouded in mist, look for the rising silhouette of snow-capped peaks. After time to explore, continue along the shores of the Bodensee to your hotel in the Black Forest for three fabulous nights. (B/DW) Stay: Steigenberger Hotel Stadt Lörrach, Black Forest.
6 Freiburg Sightseeing.
Visit Freiburg in the morning, a lively university city with a charming Christmas atmosphere. Walk from the medieval Münster through the heart of the historic old quarter, past colourful stalls offering a range of festive goodies from the Black Forest. (B)
7 Strasbourg and Alsace experience.
Cross the Rhine to the region of Alsace, wedged between the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains. This area has changed nationality four times since 1870! Arrive in Strasbourg, the City at the Crossroads, where the Christmas Market is the oldest and one of the largest in France. Spend time in a cosy neighbourhood of timbered fairy-tale buildings, with Christmas shops and a gingerbread bakery, warm with fragrant promise. Return to Germany and venture to a local restaurant for a delightful dinner of local specialties, accompanied by wine. (B/DW)
8 The Swiss City of Zürich.
Cross the Swiss border and head for Zürich where sightseeing includes the imposing Grossmünster, elegant Fraumünster, and winding alleys of the Old Town alongside the River Limmat. A highlight is Europe's biggest indoor Christmas extravaganza held in the main railway station, with over 160 wooden chalets and a three-storey Christmas tree, draped with Swarovski crystals. Toast to the culmination of your Yuletide journey during a festive Celebration Dinner with wine at a local restaurant. (B/DW) Stay: Mövenpick Hotel Zürich-Airport.
9 Depart Zürich.
Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before checking out. Complimentary transfers to the airport, by hotel shuttle, depart every 15 minutes. (B)