Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and Bohemia


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    From the fairytale spires of Prague to the bustling markets of Dresden and the twinkling Christmas lights of Karlovy Vary, this is a tour that explores the festive traditions, history and Yuletide beauty of Germany and the Czech Republic. And with the chance to discover magnificent castles, delicious local produce and scenic railways along the way, it’s sure to be a trip to remember!

    Highlights

    • Explore the Striezelmarkt in Dresden
    • Discover traditional Ore Mountain Christmas decorations with a handicraft manufacturer
    • Enjoy the famous spa and thermal springs of Karlovy Vary

    Itinerary

    Saxony and Bohemia Christmas Market mapDay 1 – Prague – Melnik – Dresden
    After meeting the group amidst the cobblestoned streets of Prague, we’ll begin with a walking tour of the city (complete with a visit to the Christmas market, of course). Later, we’ll move on to Melník. Here, we’ll dive straight into proceedings with a tour of the hilltop castle – with plenty of time to stroll the grand rooms and browse the 17th-century map collection. The afternoon will see us arriving in historic Dresden, where a welcome dinner awaits us at our hotel. (D)

    Day 2 – Dresden – Wackerbarth Castle – Dresden
    This morning we’ll learn more about a Dresden Christmas tradition on a visit to a local Stollen bakery. The delicious seasonal treat is said to date back to 1329 – when the region’s bakers entered it into a competition organised by the Bishop of Nauruburg. Later on, we’ll board a steam engine for a scenic ride along the Lößnitzgrundbahn railway. Our next stop is Wackerbarth Castle, where we’ll gain an insight into the winemaking process on a tour of the vineyards and wine cellar (and of course, try a sample). We’ll round off the day at the famous Striezelmarkt in Dresden (Germany’s oldest Christmas market). With twinkling lights, bustling stalls and the scent of mulled wine in the air, there’s no better place to soak up the Christmas spirit. (B)

    Day 3 – Dresden – Freiberg – Seiffen – Neuhausen
    After breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to Dresden and move on to Freiberg – where we’ll explore the Cathedral of St Mary on a guided tour. Then our journey will continue as we make tracks to Seiffen, where there’s a visit to a handicraft manufacturer in store. Here, we’ll discover the stories and craft techniques behind traditional Ore Mountain folk art figurines – including delightful nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids and candle arches. Tonight, we’ll dine together at our hotel in Neuhausen. (B, D)

    Day 4 – Neuhausen – Annaberg-Buchholz – Karlovy Vary
    At Annaberg-Buchholz, we’ll spend the morning delving into the area’s history at the Ore Mountain Museum – which showcases exhibitions dedicated to mining, the art of the late Middle Ages and the ancient crafts of potters, pewterers and trimmers. In the museum’s courtyard, we’ll find the entrance to the silver mine – where we’ll have the opportunity to gain a unique insight into silver mining history. After topping up our energy levels with a ‘Bergmansschmaus’ (a traditional miner’s snack), we’ll move on to Unterneudorf – where we’ll board a steam train to Oberwiesenthal, enjoying fantastic views of the surrounding landscape along the way. Our final stop of the day will be Karlovy Vary. (B)

    Day 5 – Karlovy Vary
    Today we’ll step out into the streets of Karlovy Vary on a guided tour before setting our sights on the Hot Spring Colonnade (the home of the gushing Vrídlo geyser) – where we’ll go underground to see how the thermal water is drawn, distributed and regulated. Then, onwards to the Jan Becher Museum, where we’ll learn the history behind Becherovka, a famous Czech herbal liqueur. After a tasting session, the rest of the day will be yours to spend as you please (with the chance to use the spa and thermal springs) before we come together for tonight’s farewell dinner. (B, D)

    Day 6 – Karlovy Vary – Pilsen – Prague
    After leaving Karlovy Vary behind us, our first stop of the day will be Pilsen. Here, we’ll be lucky enough to visit the Pilsen brewery: where Pilsner Urquell beer was born 175 years ago. After touring the bottling facility and exploring the three brew houses, we’ll round off our tour in the historic cellars – where we’ll have the chance to taste the beer for ourselves. Before we return to Prague, we’ll have just enough time to step inside the Cathedral of St Bartholomew (which boasts the Czech Republic’s tallest spire) – where we’ll take in spectacular views across the city from the galleries. Back in the capital later this afternoon, we’ll say our goodbyes. (B)

    Tour Inclusions

    • 5 Nights hotel accommodation
    • 8 Meals: 5 Breakfasts, 3 Dinners

    BR- BEHCMPP

    Images courtesy of BackRoads Touring