SOMETHING TO CONSIDER: TravelMaven offers a special rate at the Crowne Plaza in Toronto that includes one night's stay, free shuttle service and 10 days parking. Given that our return flight arrives in the evening, it might make sense for some to leave their car at the hotel on departure, and stay at the Crowne Plaza upon their return.
This TravelMaven small group walking tour features Christmas markets, castles, churches and beautiful German countryside. In addition to travel arrangements, charming hotels, walking tours and some meals with the group, guests will also have lots of free time to explore five Christmas Markets, sampling tasty treats & beverages, and picking up Yuletide gifts & keepsakes.
Christmas Markets & Castles is a ‘small group tour’ limited to 12 guests. This brings many advantages, including more flexibility and less time wasted. It is also designated as a ‘walking tour’, meaning participants must be able to walk several hours each day (i.e. 10,000+ steps), climb lots of stairs, and manage their own baggage at all times – including on and off trains.
The hallmark of every TravelMaven tour is the personalized service and flexibility that can only be found in a very small group. This allows us to adjust our schedule based on weather, add a stop if someone has a special interest, and even make unscheduled visits to cafés and restaurants. None of these things are possible for groups of more than 15 or 20 guests.
Come spend a long week with our small group exploring the quaint cities and towns of northern Bavaria. We’ll see historic sights, experience the regional culture, and hang out with the locals. Most importantly, we will visit Christmas markets in Frankfurt, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Coburg and Rothenburg ob der Tauber.
You know, the Germans have a word for which there really isn’t any good translation to English. Gemuetlichkeit refers to a place or occasion that is cozy, comfortable and inviting. Imagine a party or meal so wonderful that nobody wants to leave. That’s gemuetlichkeit!
On this tour, our goal is to discover and experience gemuetlichkeit - to savour what we see, hear, eat and drink. We will stay in historic hotels and pretend we’ve gone back to the fairytale days we read about in childhood. No global fusion cuisine. No rushing around - just lots of old fashioned, slow paced warmth, charm and tasty treats.
While most TravelMaven trips depart and return on weekends, this one travels midweek. That's because we recognize the Christmas season is busy for everyone, and this schedule means we are only only away from home for one weekend in early December.
Our recommended flight plan will depart Toronto on December 1 and return on December 9. Rather than travelling further our first day, we will stay one night in downtown Frankfurt, enjoying a Walking Tour along the Main River that ends in the Old City at the Christmas Market before returning to our hotel in the early evening.
The next morning, we'll head to the beautiful small city of Bamberg, famous for its beer hops and 11 breweries, and also home to a charming Christmas market. Bamberg is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its abundance of medieval architecture. We'll stay at the perfectly located Hotel Brudermuhl for 4 nights and make day trips to Nuremberg (largest Christmas market in Europe) and Coburg (childhood home of Prince Albert) to see the spectacular Veste medieval castle.
We'll also visit Wurzburg, centre of the Franconian white wine region, and home to the beautiful Wurzburg Residenz. Our final stop will be Rothenburg ob der Tauber, probably the most famous and photographed town in Germany, and home of its largest Christmas retailer, Kathe Wohlfahrt. Guests will have lots of free time to explore this medieval village and finish up any Christmas shopping.
On this trip, your biggest worry will be too much gingerbread, sausage, mulled wine or beer. After a week, we will return home ready to create our own amazing Christmas memories, armed with new ideas, decorations, treats and traditions from Bavaria, the most Christmasy place on earth! Hope you will join us.
HOTELS: 3 star (3)
LENGTH: One Week
GROUP: Max 12 guests
Walking Tour along Main River
Frankfurt Christmas Market
Train from Frankfurt to Bamberg
Hotel Brudermuhl, Bamberg
Walking Tour of medieval Bamberg
Bamberg Christmas Market
Nuremberg Imperial Castle
Nuremberg Christmas Market
Coburg Ehrenburg Palace
Coburg Veste Castle
Coburg Christmas Market
Wurzburg Residenz tour
Hotel Reichskuckenmeister, Rothenburg
Rothenburg Christmas Market
Nightwatchman Tour Rothenburg
Walking Tour of Fortifications Rothenburg
Private minibus to Frankfurt Airport
IntercityHotel (1 night), Hotel Brudermuhl (4 nights), Hotel Reichkuchenmeister (2 nights), breakfast daily, 3 lunches, 2 dinners, fees for all group activities, TravelMaven Concierges (Barry & Ursula), all ground transportation and all taxes.
This tour is guaranteed to depart. The Land Package is based on double occupancy and quoted in Canadian dollars. Your spot and price are guaranteed once we receive your $250 deposit.
Day 1 Depart Toronto
The recommended flight plan departs Toronto's Pearson Airport about 9 pm bound for Frankfurt.
Day 2 Frankfurt
After arriving mid morning, we will transfer to the IntercityHotel downtown. After some time to refresh and catch our breath, we will take a Walking Tour along the Main River that ends in the Old City at the Frankfurt Christmas Market, where we will enjoy our first Yuletide treats!
Day 3 Travel Frankfurt to Bamberg (B,L)
After an easy morning, we will catch a train to Bamberg. After transferring to our hotel, we will enjoy a group lunch before beginning a Walking Tour of medieval Bamberg. In the evening, we will have a free evening to explore the Christmas Market and find our dinner.
(B-breakfast; L-lunch; D-dinner
Bamberg Old City Hall
Day 4 Nuremberg (B,D)
On this day we will experience the extravaganza of Nuremberg. After a short train ride, we will enjoy a Walking Tour through the Old City and tour the Nuremberg Imperial Castle. Afterwards we will have several hours to explore the biggest Christmas Market in Germany. For those with an interest in trains, there's also an optional visit to the Deutche Bahn Rail Museum. After returning to Bamberg, we will enjoy a group dinner in the popular Hotel Brudermuhle restaurant.
Day 5 Bamberg (B)
This is a FREE DAY in Bamberg. Guests will be able to visit many of places seen on the Walking Tour, and explore the rest of this enchanting small city. Weekends are also a popular socializing time during the Christmas Market season, so the streets will be filled with locals out with their friends.
Day 6 Coburg (B,L)
This will be a busy day. First, we will take a 30 minute train ride to Coburg. Famous as the hometown of Prince Albert (Queen Victoria’s husband), Coburg is even smaller and more peaceful than Bamburg. Our first stop will be a guided tour of the Ehrenburg Palace. After a group lunch in the Munchner Hofbrau, will head up to the spectacular Coburg Veste medieval castle. After an extensive tour, we will return to the city centre to see the charming Christmas Market, followed by a train ride back to Bamberg.
Coburg Town Square
Day 7 Travel Bamberg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber via Wurburg (B,L)
After breakfast and check out, we will board our private minibus to travel to Wurzburg for a guided tour of the spectacular Residenz. After a group lunch in the palace's restaurant, will be head to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. If this place seems familiar, that’s because it inspired villages in Pinocchio, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Brothers Grimm, and Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. We will explore the town, enjoy the Christmas market, and take the famous Nightwatchman's tour.
Day 8 Rothenburg ob der Tauber (B,D)
This is a FREE DAY in Rothenburg, the perfect place for last minute shopping and savouring the Christmas atmosphere. In the morning, guests are welcome to join Barry for an optional Walking Tour of the city's fortifications. In the evening, we will enjoy our Farewell Dinner in the hotel dining room.
Day 9 Heading Home (B)
After breakfast and a leisurely morning to pack up, we will travel by private minibus to Frankfurt Airport to catch our late afternoon flight to Toronto, arriving in the mid evening.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber