2024 Christkindl Markets

A special tour designed and hosted by Gerhard Meng, highlighting the famous holiday markets of Germany, Lorraine (France), Luxembourg, and The Netherlands

Join us on our 37th annual Christmas trip as we return to many of our all-time favorite markets. The German Christkindlmarkt (Christmas Market) dates back hundreds of years and the markets still work their magic today, turning town squares and narrow lanes into a wonderland for all. Brightening the short winter days, the markets are an enchanting blend of the season’s edible and decorative symbols. Join the carolers at the giant lighted tree in front of the town hall. Savor traditional delicacies of Lebkuchen (gingerbread) and fruitcake, roasted chestnuts, mulled wine, and grilled sausage. Marvel at the various special Christmas exhibitions and nativity scenes in the museums, galleries, and shops. Take home gifts of beautifully hand-crafted treasures, ornaments, wooden nutcrackers, tinsel angels, and brightly painted boxes.

Our hotels have been chosen for their individual character, central location, ambiance, hospitality, service, and value. We know that the ideal hotel can make you feel comfortable, cheerful, and at home. All hotels will be within short walking distance of the Christmas Markets, shops, museums, and other local attractions. Dinners are assured to be fresh and savory, reflective of the region, and served in a comfortable setting that allows you to share the day's events with your fellow travelers.

I will share with you the places I have been to many times and have grown to love – quaint villages, ancient castles and fortresses, beautiful countryside, and interesting museums. We'll forget the hurried, worried world and set our own pace as we learn the culture and meet the people. The tour's focus will be on quality and service, and I will be there to take care of every detail.

Gerhard Meng
Director, Gerhard’s Odysseys

DAILY ITINERARY – December 1st to December 11th, 2024

Sunday, December 1st – Trier
Welcome to Germany! Two transfers from Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) to Trier – about a 2¼ hour ride to the hotel. Unpack, unwind, and delight in 4 nights at the newly refurbished Park Plaza Hotel. All our rooms have been upgraded to the superior category. The town’s pedestrian zone is only a 2-minute walk from the hotel, with an abundance of small shops, cafes, pubs, and restaurants. Explore the award-winning Christmas market where delicious white or red mulled wine is presented by Germany's first “Glühwein Queen”, who was crowned at the opening ceremony. Get into the festive spirit by listening to the seasonal brass-band music, browsing the stalls for beautiful craft items, and indulging in some freshly made regional specialties from the Christmas bakery!
Hotel Park Plaza Trier

Monday, December 2nd – Trier
Walking Tour of Trier, Germany’s oldest town. Founded by the Treveri Celts in the 4th Century BC, it was conquered by the Romans 300 years later and renamed Augusta Treverorum (The City of Augustus among the Treveri) by Emperor Augustus himself. Our local guide will take us to the Old Roman baths and the Porta Nigra – a gateway acclaimed to be the finest Roman relic in Germany. On the medieval Main Market and in front of the imposing cathedral admire the festive wooden houses that conjure up a romantic flair amidst the Roman monuments. The town is the birthplace of Karl Marx (1818-1883), and the family home is now a museum. The afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own. In the evening we have our “get-acquainted” reception and special dinner.
Hotel Park Plaza Trier

Tuesday, December 3rd – Trier
Morning stop at the Villeroy and Boch factory and outlet store where you’ll find attractive arrays of porcelain, glass, crystal, cutlery, gift articles, and accessories. We then cross the border into the Lorraine region of France and head to Metz. The Metz Christmas Market spans 5 sites and is France’s second most visited market (after Strasbourg). At the confluence of the Moselle and Seille rivers, the town is a hidden pearl with great bistros, restaurants, shopping, and markets. Our local guide will share details and highlight the lofty Gothic Cathedral of St-Étienne, whose most-renowned feature is its expanse of stained glass, hence the nickname, “The Good Lord’s Lantern”, with windows from the 13th through the 20th centuries, including Chagall's masterpieces.
Hotel Park Plaza Trier

Wednesday, December 4th – Trier
We tour the Moselle River Valley with one magnificent vineyard after another, including the renowned wine villages of Trittenheim, Piesport, and Bernkastel . One of the most celebrated wine growing centers, the region boasts the largest single vineyard in Germany. Almost 95% of the vines are Riesling grapes, which produce a dry white wine. In the afternoon we cross the border into the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and venture into the aptly named capital, Luxembourg City. The market has a varied selection of handmade products, festive decorations, and regional culinary delights. We’ll pay a visit to the American Cemetery and Memorial where over 5,000 American casualties of WW II’s Battle of the Bulge lie buried, including General George Patton, Jr.
Hotel Park Plaza Trier

Thursday, December 5th – Münster
Three nights at city-center Atlantic Hotel with its extraordinary architecture. All our rooms have been upgraded to the deluxe category. From the hotel, a 2-minute walk takes you to the first of several nearby Christmas markets. En route to Münster, we’ll stop in Kӧln (Cologne) for lunch and a walking tour. Our guide will show us the famous 13th Century Gothic Cathedral. Upon completion in 1880 it was the tallest building in the world. Great shopping and dining at the various Christmas markets scattered throughout the city. For a unique experience you can visit the Chocolate Museum, featuring approximately 2,000 exhibits, making it a memorable visit for anyone with a fondness for Theobroma cacao, aka food of the gods.
Atlantic Hotel Münster

Friday, December 6th – Münster
Morning walking tour of Münster to discover the local highlights. The afternoon is free to experience some or all of the around 300 stalls that make up the city’s 5 Christmas Markets, each featuring a different historic backdrop in the heart of the Old Town. The oldest and largest market is nestled under a romantic canopy of lights in the courtyard of the town hall. Münster’s Prinzipalmarkt, or main historic marketplace, is surrounded by 48 gabled buildings, including the distinctive town hall and the municipal wine house. Visit the Pablo Picasso Art Museum, Germany’s only museum dedicated to the artist. In the evening, we’ll attend a Christmas concert in one of the town churches.
Atlantic Hotel Münster

Saturday, December 7th – Münster
A short trip on our coach takes us through agricultural fields and past traditional farms to Enschede, in the Netherlands. This is the center of the Dutch cotton spinning and weaving industry and its canal harbor serves as a link with all of Holland and Germany. After exploring the town and the Christmas market, we’ll visit East Holland’s largest art museum, Rijksmuseum Twenthe, which takes you on a voyage through time from the Middle Ages up to Modern Art. Another time-travel option is to voyage through the local Grolsch Brewery and sample Holland’s second national drink. As the saying goes, “Nothing beats a cool glass of Grolsch beer!” We will then stop in the small village of Denekamp, dating to the 10th century, which features a 17th century castle and a working windmill from 1747.
Atlantic Hotel Münster

Sunday, December 8th – Marburg
Three nights at 5-Star Vila Vita with large and comfortable rooms. Today we’ll immerse ourselves in a world of legends as we travel part of the German Fairy Tale Route. Focused on the Brothers Grimm, the 600-kilometer (373 miles) itinerary meanders through key places where the brothers lived and worked, as well as areas linked to their remarkable fairy tales. In Kassel we’ll visit the new Grimm World Museum (Grimmwelt) and in Marburg we’ll learn where they got the inspiration for many of their German folktales. First published in 1812, the stories have been translated into most languages. The original building that inspired Grimm's drawing of Rapunzel's Tower is near Marburg.
Vila Vita Rosenpark

Monday, December 9th – Marburg
Morning walking tour of Marburg with our local guide. This is one of Germany’s finest small cities, with a maze of narrow streets and medieval buildings, crowned by an impressive 11th century castle. Primarily a university town, the presence of 15,000 students gives it a relaxed and lively atmosphere. In the Marktplatz, we will find a lineup of half-timbered houses and the Christmas market. The 16th century Rathaus is one of the most superb half-timbered structures anywhere in Germany, with a lovely gabled Renaissance staircase tower. It is surrounded by cafes, pubs and restaurants. The afternoon is free for independent exploration.
Vila Vita Rosenpark

Tuesday, December 10th – Marburg
This morning we journey through forestland and cross the border into what was once East Germany and behind the Iron Curtain. Savor the scenic beauty, customs, and architectural jewels of this area. We will stop in Eisenach for sightseeing and lunch. Martin Luther hid out in Eisenach's Wartburg Castle for 300 days during which time he translated the New Testament into German. We’ll have lunch in the castle, followed by a tour of the castle. Afternoon walking tour in town, with leisure time to explore the market. The city was the birthplace of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685), and his former residence is now a museum dedicated to his life and works.
Vila Vita Rosenpark

Wednesday, December 11th – return to USA
Three transfers to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) – about a 1¼ hour trip to the airport. The journey ends as we regretfully bid farewell to Europe and jet back to North America, arriving home the same day.
If you have time you may wish to stay in Frankfurt an extra night or two.

PRICE PER PERSON: $3,995 land cost ($695 single room surcharge)

  • 10 nights in outstanding, traditional, and first-class hotels in central locations.
  • 19 meals – buffet breakfast daily, seven taste-tempting specialty dinners, including the Welcome and Farewell dinners, and two lunches unique to the region.
  • A glass of wine, beer, or a soft drink with dinner.
  • Get acquainted reception at the beginning of the tour.
  • Transport by private luxury motor coach with Florian, our skilled driver.
  • Daily complimentary beverage on the coach. Water, beer or soft drink.
  • Personalized tours of most towns visited with local guide and entrance fees.
  • All gratuities, taxes and service charges to restaurants, hotel staff and local guides.
  • Porterage and handling of luggage at all hotels.
  • Other additional features mentioned in the itinerary.
  • A careful balance of free time to pursue your own interests.
  • Hosted by Gerhard & Darlene.
  • Special feature: A brisk pre-breakfast or after dinner walk for those who would like to start or finish the day with exercise.


RESERVATIONS: Notify us that you wish to join the tour. Your space will be reserved, and a sign-up packet will be forwarded with registration form and an invoice for deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit, an information packet will be forwarded with further confirmation of your reservation and details to help prepare for the tour. Full and final payment is due 95 days prior to departure.

AIR TRANSPORTATION: Airfare is not included in the tour price. We suggest arriving a day or two prior to the tour start to enjoy extra time in Heidelberg. We recommend a minimum of one hour and 30 minutes connecting time (time between flights) at all airports. Contact us for more information.

EXTRA NIGHTS: Contact us for details.

SPECIAL NOTE: When traveling in December you should expect seasonal ice and snow. Some of the sites we visit will require walking some distance on uneven cobblestone sidewalks and stairs. You should be able to walk two or three blocks from the coach parking into the town center at a pace that is comfortable for most of the group – or plan to take a taxi (at your cost). Our coach is not equipped to accommodate wheelchairs or walkers.

View the Tourist Office Web sites for some of the destinations we visit. Travel Resources