Christmas Markets of Bavaria, Switzerland & Austria

Saturday 9th December to Sunday 17th December 2017
9 - Days


Prices from: £1870


Traditional Christmas Markets and stunning Alpine splendour are the emphasis of this tour, as you explore land and lake in Bavaria, Switzerland and Austria.


Departure Date: 09-Dec-2017
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You’ll enjoy chartered rides on nostalgic ships, classic mountain railways, streamlined railcars and narrow gauge steam trains. From the Augsburg Christkindlesmarkt in Germany to the frozen Krimml waterfalls in Austria, your tour takes in scenic cruises on Lake Constance, a mountain ascent to the summit of the Zugspitze, private travel on the ‘Churchill’ Red Arrow electric railcar and a narrow gauge steam highlight on the 32 km long Zillertalbahn. With a backdrop of bustling Advent markets, in towns shimmering with illuminations and filled with the rich aromas of Christmas fare, it’s a wonderful way to celebrate the festive period, so book now for a holiday not to be missed!

Saturday 9th December
Fly to Munich, Augsburg Christmas Market
After a direct flight to Munich you have a coach transfer to Augsburg, with plenty of time left in the late afternoon and early evening to immerse yourself in the seasonal atmosphere of the Augsburg ‘Christkindlesmarkt’. For the next three nights you’ll be based here, at a centrally located hotel in Augsburg’s historic Old Town.

Sunday 10th December
Steam at the Amstetten - Gerstetten Local Railway, Ulm Christmas Market
In the morning you transfer by rail with DB service trains to the town of Amstetten, for a private steam charter on the 20 km long standard gauge branch line through rural scenery to Gerstetten. Your train will be hauled by a DB Class 75 2-6-2 tank engine and photo stops and run pasts will be staged en route, lunch will be at a typical German inn. After the return journey on the railway you’ll visit the Christmas Market in the nearby city of Ulm, adjacent to the huge Gothic Ulm Minster, a centuries-old church with Germany’s highest church spire. In the evening you return to your hotel in Augsburg by DB service train. (B L)

Monday 11th December
Mountain magnificence at the Bayerische Zugspitze
After breakfast you transfer direct to the famed ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and embark on a spectacular rack and pinion railway journey to the summit of the Zugspitze Germany’s highest peak. You travel on the railway’s oldest train set, hauled by a beautiful vintage electric locomotive from 1930. The train’s original wooden coaches, with upholstered brown leather seats, are a reminder of the early days of the railway. At 19.9 km long, the Zugspitzbahn is Germany’s version of the more famous Jungfraubahn in Switzerland. Nowadays, your privately chartered heritage train is one of the few ways to the make the ascent locomotive-hauled rather than on a modern unit. You’ll have ample time at the summit to take in the spectacular views and have lunch. Afterwards you can either descend by aerial cableway back down to Garmisch, or again take the old heritage train on the rack railway. After the return to Garmish you transfer to the quaint little town of Murnau, which once inspired numerous Modernist artists and painters, for afternoon cake and coffee. In the early evening you return to Augsburg for another evening of leisure in the city. (B)

Tuesday 12th December
Scenic Cruise on Lake Constance aboard vintage vessel
In the morning you transfer direct by EuroCity train to the beautiful resort of Lindau on Lake Constance. Sip on a complimentary coffee or tea in your stylish Swiss dining car as you pass through the Western Bavaria countryside hauled by double-headed Class 218 heritage diesel locos. Known as ‘Rabbits’, due to their exhaust shafts, these diesel hydraulic locomotives are similar to the Western hydraulics in the UK so popular with enthusiasts. You’ll arrive in Lindau at midday and have time to look around the local Christmas Market in this medieval town, located entirely on a lakeside island with a landmark stone lighthouse in its harbour. In the afternoon you’ll enjoy a magical seasonal cruise on Lake Constance as the sun sets over the Swiss and Austrian Alps and the shoreline becomes illuminated by beautiful Christmas lights. A sumptuous buffet dinner will be served aboard your vintage motor vessel ‘Schwaben’, an elegant, white-funnelled triple-decker from 1937, as you cruise. (B D)

Wednesday 13th December
Scenic Rhine cruise in Switzerland; private charter on legendary SBB Red Arrow
In the morning you have a short transfer to Rorschach in Switzerland across Lake Constance with the beautiful 1939 Austrian flagship ‘Austria’. In Rorschach the legendary, streamlined ‘Churchill’ Red Arrow electric railcar, in which Sir Winston Churchill was famously conveyed in 1946 on a state visit, awaits you. Experience the fantastic open cabs of this dynamic railcar as you get to sit next to the driver for a unique forward-facing perspective. ‘Churchill’ takes you along the scenic Swiss shores of Lake Constance via Arbon and Kreuzlingen, past hilltop castles and idyllic wetlands, before following the River Rhine via Stein am Rhein to the fortress city of Schaffhausen. In its medieval Old Town, you again change your mode of transport and board the vintage motor vessel ‘Konstanz’ from 1925. Refreshments will be served on the ship as you enjoy a 4-hour scenic afternoon cruise on the Rhine, retracing by water much of journey you just made by rail. You arrive later in the German city of Constance, famous for its wonderful Christmas Market and magical nocturnal Advent illuminations. You’ll have free time to savour the delights of the Christmas Market before returning to Lindau on a DB service train in the evening. (B L)

Thursday 14th December
Steam in the Austrian Alps; Arlberg Route to Innsbruck
Today you visit the westernmost part of the Austrian Alps in Vorarlberg, as steam returns to the centre stage of your holiday. You will have the opportunity to experience one of Austria’s distinctive narrow gauge routes as you travel over the 5 km long Bregenzerwaldbahn from Bezau to Schwarzenberg. Though short, this preserved line is distinctly mountainous and spectacular throughout, passing over two impressive viaducts. You’ll lunch at the railway station in Schwarzenberg before the historic tank engine takes you back to Bezau, pausing for numerous photo stops en route. Then, in the early afternoon, one of the most famous and spectacular railway routes in Europe awaits you, as you travel in First Class on an Austrian Intercity train over the steeply graded, mountainous Arlberg route through the Alps of Tyrol to Innsbruck. This is part of the journey that the Orient Express also makes on its way from Paris to Venice. As you travel past tall peaks, imposing castles and deep valleys, the beauty of Austria unfolds before you. You arrive in Innsbruck in the afternoon, with ample time to spend at leisure in the city’s elegant old town at the Christmas Market there. Accommodation for the next three nights is at an elegant, centrally located hotel in the city centre of Innsbruck. (B L)

Friday 15th December
Steam at the Zillertalbahn in Tyrol
Today you visit one of Austria’s best known narrow gauge railways as you enjoy a private charter hauled by an ornate tank locomotive on the 31.7 km long Zillertalbahn, a 760 mm gauge independent railway running along the valley of the river Ziller from Jenbach to Mayrhofen. Jenbach station is one of the few stations in the world to be served by lines with three different gauges. From here your narrow-gauge train turns southwards, and enters the broad valley floor. The lush, flower-filled meadows and verdant farmland span in both directions to the base of the snow-dusted peaks further off. Your journey continues past clusters of classic Tyrolean villages, with traditional wooden Alpine chalets, frescoed buildings, and decorative churches. After an unforgettable journey on this magnificent railway, your train arrives among the charming cobbled streets of Mayrhofen, Photo stops will be staged en route and there is a nice buffet lunch arranged at an inn in Mayrhofen before your return journey. In the evening you can relax again in nearby Innsbruck. (B L)

Saturday 16th December
Steam at the Pinzgau Railway and Krimml waterfalls
You get to enjoy another day of Austrian narrow gauge steam in the heart of the Alps today, as you first take an OBB service train from Innsbruck via Kitzbuehel to the lakeside town of Zell am See. There you change onto a privately chartered narrow gauge steam hauled by the beautiful 2-6-2 tender locomotive 73-019, built in Budapest in 1913 for the Bosnian Railways. Considered a high speed narrow gauge locomotive, this highly refined racehorse is now the only operational member of its class and truly unique. You make numerous photo stops during the 52 km long journey from Zell am See to the branch line terminus at Krimml. There you have lunch at the station inn before visiting the local waterfalls, which at this time of the year form quite a natural spectacle, as they are partially frozen. You return from Krimml to Zell am See by steam and enjoy complimentary apple strudel on the charter train. From Zell am See the return to Innsbruck is once again by OBB service train. (B L)

Sunday 17th December
Innsbruck to Munich via the Karwendel Line; Return to London
This morning you travel from Innsbruck to Munich by service train via the scenic line through Mittenwald and Garmisch. At Munich Hbf you transfer to Munich Airport, from where you return on a direct flight to London. (B)


Details

Price

  • Tour price £1995
  • Single supplement £235
  • Ground only (Augsburg – Innsbruck) £1870

All prices shown are per person

Price Includes

  • 8 nights with breakfast
  • 5 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All charters as detailed in the itinerary
  • The services of a tour manager

Meals included each day are shown as:
B = Breakfast - L = Lunch - D = Dinner

 

Map feature coming soon!