Christmas in the Alps
Celebrate the holidays in Bavaria, Germany and Austria
December 10-19, 2018 • 10 Days • $3290**
**With New Traveler Discount: $2890
Offering winter walks and activities amidst the gorgeous Alpine areas of Europe!
**New Traveler Discount: New Travelers receive a $400 discount on this international tour!
This rich Yuletide experience in Bavaria, Germany and northern Austria was designed with the assistance of Hildrun Mathies, one of our favorite national guides. We are thrilled to offer you another edition of this Christmas-themed Adventure in December 2018.
Christmas in the Alps starts in Munich, where we experience our first taste of Bavaria’s iconic Christmas markets. It’s doubtful, in fact, whether any other region in the world decorates for and celebrates Christmas with more flair and enthusiasm than the Bavarians. Our guide, Hildrun, is currently a resident of Munich, but in actuality, she’s a small-town mountain girl from the Austrian Alps. One of the abiding delights of this Christmas adventure is our two-night stay in the lovely alpine hotel Hildrun’s family operates in the remote, Austrian, alpine town of Mittelberg. Salzburg, one of our favorite European cities, is the last stop on the tour with 3 nights to soak in the charming Yuletide delights of this supremely walkable city of music, Mozart’s hometown.
We offer this tour every 3-4 years on average, and so it will be a little while till you see Christmas in the Alps on our schedule again – we hope you can join us for our next departure in 2018!
- Train travel between Munich and Nuremberg (roundtrip)
- All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
- Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations
- 14 meals: All breakfasts and 5 dinners as denoted (BD)
- 3 official walks, plus 3 guided walking tours as listed below
- Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
- Cultural and historical expertise of our national guide throughout
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a fee: $490.
- Guided Munich city tour by coach
- Guided Munich walking tour
- Guided Nuremberg walking tour
- Christmas cookie-baking demo – Mittelberg
- Torchlight after-dinner stroll – Mittelberg
- Neuschwanstein Castle guided tour – Hohenschwangau
- Christmas traditions presentation – Mittelberg
- Horse & Carriage Ride in Partnach
- Hike in Partnach Gorge (weather permitting)
- Guided Salzburg walking tour
- Guided Sound of Music tour by coach – Salzburg
- Silent Night Chapel – Oberndorf
- More fun stops than we can list!
- Bavaria National Museum and Nativity Scene Collection – Munich (Day 2)
- Salzburg Fortress Dinner and Classical Music Concert – Salzburg (Day 7)
“Great locations, capable tour guides who have figured out all the important details about getting there, what to bring, etc., etc. Lots of value added that we wouldn’t have found or done on our own.”
-Jean L; Davis, CA
“Excellent, well organized walking (sightseeing) guides.”
-Phil K; Sunnyvale, CA
“WAI [Walking Adventures International] well organized; good communication, great hotels and restaurants; quick adaptation to sudden events; really flexible approach to touring.”
-Karen S; Portland, OR
“The quality of your tours – Best bang for your buck.”
-Carol Y; Fairborn, OH
“Trustworthy company with consistent quality of tours, guides – overall experience.”
-Lee P; Rockville, MD
“Well planned and executed – Every major highlight or points of interest are included – Walking with interesting folks – Learning history, cultural, geographical…etc.”
-Craig & Jane W; Pittsburg, CA
“The leaders, the walks – were fabulous – enjoyed all of them, the history – know so much more than when I started and other participants I liked a lot.”
-Anne S; Boise, ID
“Walkers make great traveling companions and WAI [Walking Adventures International] guides do all the preparatory work to make it a great experience.”
-John F; Anchorage, AK
“Extremely organized and something for everyone, super walks, information and great fellowship.”
-Rowena M; Bedford, IN
“Good information ahead of time, enjoyable fellow travelers with same goals and enjoyment of walking and other activities, well informed always, lots of variety in walks and activities and freedom to opt out of walks if necessary.”
-Gail R; Vancouver, WA
“Well planned tours, good combination of walking and sight-seeing… I feel like we’re traveling with friends.”
-Jane M; Matthews, NC
“One of the things I enjoy most about WAI trips is reconnecting with walkers from previous trips.”
-Kate Q; Spokane, WA
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
YOUR GUIDE Team
Walking Adventures Guides
Scott and Ruth Burk have been leading travelers on Walking Adventures for the past several years, sharing highlights of European and American destinations with fellow Adventurers! Always on the lookout for the best viewpoint or hole-in-the-wall café, they enjoy finding the hidden treasures along those paths less traveled. While at home in the Pacific Northwest, they are passionate about their family, enjoy hosting soirees, and for several years now have helped to raise guide dogs for the blind.
Hildrun Mathies is one of our favorite overseas guides! She has a wealth of knowledge and experience, with a Master’s Degree in Art History and Religious Science; fluency in English, French, Spanish, and her native German; and over 20 years of experience guiding groups through central Europe. But it is Hildrun’s special blend of in-depth knowledge, lighthearted presentation style, passion for sharing, and her commitment to making the travel experience the best it can be for her travelers, that makes a trip with her so memorable.
Click on each day to see more details.
Day 1-Dec 10: Arrive Munich, Germany (D)
The Christmas in the Alps Adventure begins today in Munich, capital of the German state of Bavaria. Our hotel is located near the Rosenheimer Platz train stop, just under a mile from the Marienplatz, the main square in the heart of old Munich. Since travelers arrive throughout the day, our first group activity is a pleasant walk from our hotel through old Munich on our way to a welcome orientation and dinner in the heart of this historic city. We look forward to imbibing the special yuletide ambiance of southern Germany and Austria together!
Day 2-Dec 11: Activities in Munich (B)
We explore Munich this morning on a 2-hour guided coach tour taking us by such Munich icons as Nymphenburg Palace, Olympic Park, BMW World, and Prinzregentenstreet. Later this morning, a walking tour with local guide, Hildrun Mathies, focuses on old Munich, passing the Viktualienmarkt (food market), Hofbräuhaus, St Peter’s Church, and finishing at the Glockenspiel on the Marienplatz. The balance of the day is free to enjoy on your own: browse Christmas markets, take in the ice rink scene at Karlsplatz, or people watch while you stroll the main pedestrian street.
Or consider joining us for an optional walk (2 mi roundtrip) to the Bavaria National Museum to browse the largest collection of nativity scenes in the world. Estimated price: 7 EURO.
Day 3-Dec 12: Activities from Munich (B)
Following a relaxing, hour-long train ride from Munich, the spirit of Noel greets us in Nuremberg, Germany. Bavaria’s second largest city hosts one of Germany’s most popular Christmas markets. Enticing smells of mulled wine and rum punch, roasted almonds, local bratwurst and gingerbread fill the air. On our walking tour with Hildrun, we visit the heart of the city with its unique market square, half-timbered houses, beautiful fountains, and gothic style churches, all located within the medieval city walls. In fact, the entire town lies in the shadow of the towering imperial castle, a favored residence of emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. A combination of guided activities and free time concludes with a train ride back to Munich.
Day 4-Dec 13: Munich – Mittelberg, Austria (BD)
Oberstdorf Walk – 12 km, rated 2B
We head south by coach this morning through pastoral, pre-alpine Allgäu landscapes to our first official walk from the town of Oberstdorf, Germany. The route explores the lovely Trettach Valley, divided by a coursing alpine stream and surrounded by peaks of the Allgäu Mountains. We arrive in Mittelberg this evening, remotely situated in Austria at the end of the Kleinwalsertal Valley, accessible only by a single road routed through Germany! Our accommodations here are the lovely chalet-style hotel belonging to the family of our Austrian guide, Hildrun. After check-in, explore this lovely building, or join Hildrun’s family for a pre-dinner Christmas cookie-baking demo. The after-dinner treat is a memorable, torch-light stroll through delightful Mittelberg.
Day 5-Dec 14: Activities from Mittelberg (BD)
Neuschwanstein Castle is a classic sight linked forever with Bavaria and King Ludwig II. We’ve explored the castle often in summer, but we now experience this iconic landmark during a wintertime visit! Following the castle tour, and time for lunch and an afternoon exploration in the nearby village of Füssen, we return to Mittelberg through lovely pre-alpine countryside, bedecked with venerable villages, each boasting its own statuesque, onion-domed church. This evening we look forward to a post-dinner presentation by Hildrun on Christmas traditions in Bavaria and Austria.
Day 6-Dec 15: Mittelberg – Salzburg, Austria (BD)
Partnach Ice Gorge Walk – 4 km, rated 1B (unsanctioned)
Our route takes us east this morning through the scenic valleys and alpine passes of the Austrian Tyrol. We pass Germany’s tallest peak, the Zugspitze (9730 feet) en route to the 1936 Olympic Stadium outside the town of Garmisch. Weather permitting, a horse & carriage ride through town will be followed by a hike through the frosty, icicle-draped winter wonderland of Partnach Gorge. Leaving Garmisch, we continue east to Salzburg, our home for the next four nights. Upon arrival, we explore the surroundings of our hotel on a leisurely stroll to dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 7-Dec 16: Activities from Salzburg (B)
Abtenau Walk – 8 km, rated 2B
This morning, we drive an hour south of Salzburg for a delightful walk through Lammertal Valley from the quiet alpine town of Abtenau. Following free time for lunch in Berchtesgaden, Germany, an area known for its rich salt deposits and equally rich Bavarian heritage, we return to lovely Salzburg, where the remainder of the afternoon and evening is free to explore the city’s many delights.
Or consider joining us for an optional culinary and musical delight this evening at the majestic Salzburg Fortress. Taking a funicular high above the city, we enjoy an exquisite candlelit dinner in the panorama restaurant, followed by a one-of-a-kind Christmas concert in the historic great hall of the 900 year-old fortress. Estimated Price: 65 EURO.
Day 8-Dec 17: Salzburg area (BD)
Salzburg – city of music, birthplace of Mozart in 1756, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 21st century! We explore the city on foot this morning, visiting renowned sites like Mirabell Gardens – the best place to view the green copper domes and church towers of the old city; picturesque Getreidegasse shopping street with its medieval-era wrought-iron signs; and St. Peter’s Monastery. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to discover more of the many charms of Salzburg, including its wonderful Christmas markets. This evening’s dinner takes place in one of the oldest restaurants in Europe, the Peterskeller, a Benedictine monastery where Emperor Charlemagne is said to have dined in the year AD 803.
Day 9-Dec 18: Salzburg – Freising, Germany (B)
Our final morning in the “City of Mozart” starts with a guided Sound of Music coach tour. The beloved story of the von Trapp family combines historic Salzburg, the breathtaking scenery of the Salzkammergut region, the stately Church of Mondsee, and renowned Salzburg musical and cultural centers such as Nonnberg Abbey, the Palace of Leopoldskron, and Hellbrunn Palace. Our tour takes on a decidedly Christmas theme this afternoon as we drive north to the village of Oberndorf. The iconic Silent Night Chapel is famous as the setting where the beloved Christmas carol Silent Night was first performed in 1818. From Oberndorf, we say farewell to Austria and drive to the town of Freising, near the Munich Airport, where you may make final preparations for tomorrow’s flight, or consider a final Bavarian experience with an optional dinner at Weihenstephan, said to be the oldest brewery in the world.
Day 10-Dec 19: Depart from Munich (B)
We bid Bavaria adieu this morning with a short taxi transfer to the Munich airport. Our Christmas celebrations at home will forever be impacted by the spirit of Christmas in the Alps.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
We are now accepting registrations. Call us to save your spot with a $500 registration. A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this tour.
General Tour Conditions and Registration Form
First Time Traveler Savings
In appreciation for joining us for your first Walking Adventure, we offer new travelers a $400 credit on this international tour!
Group Travel Credit
If you are part of a Group, remember that your full deposit of $500 is still required to hold your spot on this Adventure. Your group leader is responsible for submitting your name in writing to us before you register, qualifying you for the Group Travel Credit, but a full deposit is needed to officially reserve your place. Your Group Travel Credit will be reflected on your final statement.
Check out more information on the Group Travel Program.
How is airfare arranged?
The official start point for this tour is in Munich, Germany, and the finish point is in Freising, Germany. Travelers will fly into and out of Munich’s International Airport (airport code MUC). We recommend that you contact Debbi Custer, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving the Adventure Advice flyer!
As noted in the brochure, two optional excursions are available during this Adventure: Bavaria National Museum and Nativity Scene Collection (Day 2) and Salzburg Fortress Dinner and Classical Music Concert (Day 7). Please let us know by September 1, 2018 if you are interested in either of these activities. You will be able to pay on site for Bavaria National Museum, but we will need to pre-pay for the Salzburg Dinner and Concert several weeks in advance.
What about the walks?
Walks on this Adventure are guided walks and we generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1-800-779-0353.
We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:
1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.
A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.
Walking in the winter!
Winter walking can be an oxymoron, but also a glorious combination, as we discovered during our 2013 and 2015 Adventures. We are planning for backup activities or routes in the event of weather surprises, but hoping for the best—a light dusting of snow that has fallen long enough before we arrived to have been cleared off of our paths!
Please be aware that we are offering fewer official walks on this tour than is our norm – just 3 official walks are featured on Christmas in the Alps. This is partly because of the risk of weather interfering, and partly because we are using walking regularly throughout the program to enjoy the Christmas sights of Bavaria and northern Austria.
WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the Insuremytrip.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.
Other options include:
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insured International
NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. The final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a fact sheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! We now offer a “pay-by-check” discount. Travelers paying their final balance by check or money order will receive a 1% discount on the amount due. The discounted amount will be printed on your final billing statement. About 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.
We’re excited to present this third-edition WAI Christmas trip. This part of Europe takes great pride and pleasure in their heritage of celebrating Christmas with style and tradition. We invite you to help us discover Christmas in the Alps 2018!