2019 Daily Itinerary for the Christmas Markets Landcruise

You’ll have ample opportunity to stroll through and shop at the panoply of items offered in the various Christmas Markets we visit on this tour.

This is the day by day itinerary for our 2019 “Two Rivers” Christmas Markets Landcruise.  The blue section immediately following is the optional Vienna pre-tour extension, the green section in the middle is the main tour, and the blue section at the bottom is the optional Prague post-tour extension.

The main page explaining the tour and with the joining form is here.

Thursday 5 December (or sooner) : Travel to Vienna

You can choose your preferred airline and flights to get to Europe and join the tour.

If you are planning to enjoy the full three night optional pre-tour extension, then you should probably consider flying to Vienna today, so as to arrive, after an overnight flight, tomorrow.

Of course, you can fly earlier to Vienna if you like, or to elsewhere in Europe, and then fly on to Vienna on Friday, or take a train, or get there any other way it suits you.

Also, if you are limiting yourself to only one or two nights in Vienna, you’ll leave home not today but the next day or two that follows.

Friday 6 December (or sooner) : Arrive Vienna

St Stephen's Cathedral in the heart of Vienna in mid-winter. We've never seen it like this during our many visits, but it is such a beautiful picture we thought we'd feature it.

If you started your travels from North America or various other countries yesterday, you’ll probably arrive into Vienna some time today.

We can arrange a meet and greet/transfer at the airport, or you can simply take a taxi or Uber ride from the airport to your hotel.

Trains and buses also offer regular service in the the heart of the city.

Saturday 7 December : Vienna

A fiaker (horse-drawn carriage) with a typical Vienna street scene behind.
The famous statue of Johann Strauss jr, the "Waltz King", alongside the Ring Road that circles central Vienna.

We’ll follow the wishes of the group members, but expect to arrange a city sightseeing tour for half a day today.

Although we’ve been to Vienna countless times, we always learn and discover something new with the various different tours and guides on the half day tours.

We know some of you would like to attend a concert of some sort during our time in Vienna.  We can help you with that if this is something you’d like to do.

The balance of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish.  We can suggest some things for you to do, or you can do your own thing.

Sunday 8 December : Bratislava

One of the side streets radiating out from Bratislava's main square
A quirky sculpture on the sidewalk in Bratislava, purporting to show a worker emerging from a sewer manhole.

Today we are suggesting a visit to Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, and only an hour’s travel by train or bus from Vienna.

Bratislava is a lovely city, situated on the Danube, but sadly, most of the Christmas Market river cruises go past Bratislava at about 1am and don’t stop for a visit.

Of course, if you’d prefer, you’re welcome to stay in Vienna, and if there is somewhere else you’d rather go, that is a possibility too.

Monday 9 December : Vienna to Munich

Linz would be a lovely place to stop for lunch on the way to Munich.

We hope you’ve enjoyed your time in and around the glorious stately city of Vienna.

Today we travel on to Munich.  It is an easy and attractive train journey of just over four hours, and with no need to change trains on the way.

However, as a bonus, we can add a stop in Linz on the way to Munich.

Linz is a lovely city, and like so many of Europe’s loveliest cities, is located on the banks of the Danube River.  It sadly gets little attention by most of the river cruises, but we can spend as long as we like in Linz.  It is a charming town with a wonderful historic center, and a great Christmas market.

We’d leave our luggage in lockers at the train station while enjoying a walking tour of the historic center of the city, then return to the train station and complete our journey to Munich.

This is the end of the optional pre-tour.  Please now scroll down to Monday 9 December in the main tour (green) section to continue the tour itinerary.

Sunday 8 December (or sooner) : Travel to Munich

You can choose your preferred airline and flights to get to Europe and join the tour.

If you are leaving from North America, and wish to arrive into Munich for the official tour start date on Monday 9 December, you should start your travels today.

Note that we recommend arriving into Europe and getting close to Munich a day or more earlier so as to have spare/emergency time up your sleeve.  So you might choose to leave home a day or two prior to today.

Monday 9 December (or sooner) : Arrive Munich

Fountains play in front of Munich's Palace of Justice.

Today is the official tour start day, although the only activity for today is making your way to our hotel in central Munich.  We can arrange a transfer from the airport if you wish, otherwise there are regular taxis, Uber, trains and buses.

We recommend that if you’re not planning on doing any of the pre-tour activities, you should still plan to arrive into Munich a day or more prior to today, so you have some “just in case” time up your sleeve, and/or a day or so to relax after the travel to Munich and jet lag from the time zone changes.

Of course, if you’re arriving more than one day early, why not fly to Vienna for part or all of our pre-tour, too!

If you were on our pre-tour (see the blue bordered section above) today is the day you’ll travel from Vienna to Munich.

Tuesday 10 December : Munich City Sightseeing

Munich's city hall (Rathaus) and Marienplatz square in front of it. When we visit, there will be a Christmas market in front of the building.
The huge sprawling BMW complex in Munich.

This morning we’ll enjoy a half day city sights tour around Munich, seeing some of the historic old city, and going slightly out of the center to see some of the newer parts of the metropolis, too.

The afternoon is yours to enjoy as you wish.  We’ll be on hand to suggest places to visit and things to see/do.

Auto enthusiasts might enjoy a guided tour of the BMW factory.  If you’re a BMW owner, sometimes your dealership can arrange a special VIP tour for you.

There’s also an interesting aviation museum on the outskirts of the city.  And, of course, many other museums in the city itself.

Wednesday 11 December : Oberammergau, Wieskirche, Neuschwantstein

A stunning interior picture of Wieskirche.
Classic Bavarian architecture in Oberammergau.
Instantly recognizable as Neuschwanstein Castle.

We’ve a full day of activities today.  We’ll head out in the morning and travel south, first to the tiny town of Oberammergau, best known for its once-every-decade “Passion Play” involving most of the people in the small town, all performing for free.

Then we visit a stunningly beautiful church in the Rococo style, Wieskirche, or as it is formally known, “The Pilgrimage Church of Wies”, now justifiably on the World Heritage List.

Then it is on to the small town of Hohenschwangau, where you can choose to visit either the most famous of the “Mad King Ludwig” castles, Neuschwanstein, or the less well known and not quite so over the top Hohenschwangau Castle.

One more thing today.  We’ll enjoy a traditional Bavarian style dinner in a famous Munich Beer Hall this evening.

Thursday 12 December : Ingolstadt and Regensburg

A larger courtyard at twilight at the Thurn und Taxis Palace Christmas Market in Regensburg.
This unassuming green building in Regensburg is the oldest restaurant in the world.
A cozy inner courtyard at the Thurn und Taxis Christmas Market.

Yesterday we went south, today we go north, traveling first to Ingolstadt, where we’ll see the Danube River closer to its source than the traditional river cruises ever go (they branch off onto the canal to Nuremberg).

After time in Ingolstadt, we then follow the Danube downriver to the gorgeous town of Regensburg, with its well-preserved medieval center justifiably on the World Heritage List.

Regensburg has what is thought to be the oldest continuously open restaurant in the world – the Old Sausage Kitchen.  It also has my personal favorite of all Europe’s Christmas Markets, set in the grounds of the majestic Thurn und Taxis Palace.


Friday 13 December : A Free Day

Start a collection of souvenir Gluhwein mugs from the many different Christmas markets we'll visit.

Today is the “landcruise” equivalent of a regular cruise’s “day at sea”.

We’ve nothing formally planned, but we can help you with your choice of many different places to go and see.

Maybe you might want to go to Nuremberg (a quick one hour train ride), or further afield to Stuttgart (almost 2 1/2 hours by train), or perhaps to nearby Augsberg, or to further away Passau or even Rothenburg.

More somberly, there are fascinating tours to nearby Dachau and other places of Nazi significance.

We’ll probably offer a tour option as well, depending on what people generally want.

Saturday 14 December : Lindau and Vaduz

Vaduz Castle in Lichtenstein.
Lindau as viewed from Lake Constance.

Today’s a “bring your passport” day.  We travel first down to the lovely old town of Lindau, on an island in the middle of Lake Constance, which forms the border between Germany and Switzerland.

We then continue on to Vaduz, the capital city of the tiny Principality of Lichtenstein, giving you a chance to add another country to your growing list of countries you’ve visited.

Sunday 15 December : Berchtesgaden and Salzburg

We can't promise snow on our tour, but scenes like this one looking over Berchtesgaden are so much more beautiful with a light dusting of snow. Let's hope for some.
Salzburg has a distinctive city skyline, and the river Salz in the foreground. You can take a cable-car up to the top of the castle if you wish.
If you have a feeling of deja vue in scenes like this it is because they were featured in the Sound of Music. When we visit, there'll be a Christmas Market filling this square.

We save some of the very best for today, our last full day of the main tour.  Mind you, with so many wonderful experiences, it is very hard to say what exactly is best!

Another day with international travel, but your passport isn’t quite so necessary today.

We first go to Berchtesgaden, nestled in the Alps that lie between Austria and Germany.

After time in Bertesgaden, we hop over into Austria, where we spend time in one of my absolutely most favorite of all towns/small cities in Europe – glorious Salzburg, a town that oozes culture and class everywhere you look.

This evening we will have our official “Farewell Dinner” in a local Munich restaurant.

Monday 16 December : Main Tour Ends

A close-up of a statue in the Marienplatz, Munich.

This morning marks the end of the main tour.

Hopefully you’ll be continuing with us on to Prague today.  Please continue reading the next section for details of our optional post-tour extension.

Please click here to return to the main page for more information about our 2019 Christmas Markets tour, or continue reading for the optional post-tour extension to Prague, or click the golden up arrow on the right to jump to the top of this page.

Monday 16 December : To Prague via Cesky Krumlov

The World Heritage listed town of Cesky Krumlov is nestled in the bend of the Vltava (Moldau) river.

We travel up to Prague today, going first to the lovely World Heritage listed town of Cesky Krumlov where we’ll enjoy a tour its narrow winding medieval streets and a chance for a lovely traditional Czech style lunch in your choice of a number of different restaurants.

After lunch, we continue on Prague, where we’ll be taken to our historic hotel for the next some nights (your choice how long), with a brilliant location just around the corner from the central square and Christmas markets.

Tuesday 17 December : Prague City Sightseeing

A beautiful view over the Moldau River to the castle and St Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
A controversial Frank Gehry designed building, the 1996 "Dancing House" sits awkwardly alongside its Art Nouveau neighbors.
The gypsy musicians at our cellar restaurant this evening.

This morning we’ll enjoy a guided tour of Prague’s central historic city area – a World Heritage listed feature, including walking over the famous Charles Bridge and seeing the Astronomical Clock.

The afternoon is free for you to enjoy as you wish – perhaps some shopping or just general wandering around the meandering streets in the old city.

This evening we have arranged a wonderful dinner in a very distinctively styled underground cellar/restaurant, complete with a gypsy band performing traditional music of the region.

Wednesday 18 December : Free Day or Tour Ends

This square becomes the main Christmas market in Prague. Our hotel is just behind the church.

Some people might choose to return home today, giving them still a week prior to Christmas for any last minute Christmas shopping (hint – buy gifts for people from the Christmas Markets we’ll be visiting, or shop online and have Amazon boxes awaiting your return!).

Alternatively, with another full day in Prague, we can suggest a number of fascinating experiences and tours to consider.

Thursday 19 December : End of Extension

You could continue your travels in Europe and take a train somewhere, or stay longer in Prague, or of course fly home now.

While you don’t have to go home today, this is the end of our tour extension.

You’re welcome to have us extend your stay in the lovely Prague hotel, or to have us recommend and help you with any additional travel arrangements in Europe.  We’d love to help make this as wonderful and memorable for you as possible.

Please click here to return to the main page for more information about our 2019 Christmas Markets tour, or click the golden up arrow on the right to jump to the top of this page.

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