Why you should celebrate Christmas in Europe at least once!
There are times in life when you know you are living a moment you will never forget.
They are few and far between but you can feel it when it happens. It might be a momentous life event, a serendipitous encounter or unexpected surprise, those intoxicating magical moments you wish you could live over and over.
While they differ for everyone of course, travel offers us all the chance to seek out some shared experiences that will also truly stay with us forever. For anyone living in the southern hemisphere, experiencing a white Christmas in Europe is one of those epic, unforgettable, indelible imprints.
Of the tens of thousands of travel choices you can make these days, this is one you have to do at least once in your life.
Strolling ancient, cobblestone squares surrounded by the gorgeous wafts of roasting chestnuts, the crisp air, joyous atmosphere, horse-drawn carriages, snow covered mountains ... you couldn't be further removed from the sweltering sun back home that has you constantly seeking refuge.
And you will be scratching yourself that it is really happening. It will be one of those moments.
This is about way more than just escaping the heat, this is a dreamy, otherworldly, soul-stirring nostalgic adventure. Suddenly, you are transported back to your youth and all those magical fairytale books and the childhood memories of Santa all rugged up and ready to leave the North Pole with his reindeer bound for your own chimney at home.
Albatross Tours was the first to offer Festive European tours 25 years ago and now we have a wide range of unique tour programmes that will immerse you into this fantasy land.
If you’re still not convinced this is something you need to do, here’s more compelling reasons why you should be speaking to one of our European specialists now to plan that trip you will genuinely never forget.
Relax and let someone else do all the work
Let’s face it, Christmas can be a stressful time. All that shopping, planning, cleaning … the risk that someone’s temper might flare up or something else go awry. Add the flies, mozzies and extortionately priced prawns...
Can you imagine the feeling of buckling your seatbelt as you settle into your seat and taxi down the runway ready for take-off leaving all that behind you? Not only do you avoid the effort and intensity of what Christmas at home can be, you are heading for a wintery wonderland where you’ll walk onto a centuries-old stage and let it all unfold in front of you with experts having planned your journey ensuring your first White Christmas is as good as it could possibly be.
And our tours have been designed to make sure you have all the free time you need to make your own discoveries along the way which at Christmas time, is even more important when you really want to unwind. Our sensibly-planned three, four, five and seven-night stays in character-filled hotels ensure you are able to travel at your own pace. We call it ‘My Time’.
Do a very different kind of Christmas shopping
Forget the department stores and the last-minute clamouring for presents, with a spicy gluhwein under your belt and a lovely warm scarf around your neck, take to the laneways and village squares to enjoy the charm and splendour of Europe’s Christmas markets as you do your shopping in an altogether more genteel environment.
Our German and Austrian Christmas Market escorted tour is a magical 10 days of festive celebrations beginning in Frankfurt and culminating in Munich. Along the way, you will have plenty of time to explore stunning fabled medieval towns and villages including Rothenburg, Innsbruck and Salzburg.
You’ll love the delightful Christmas Markets at Wurzburg at the start of the ‘Romantic Road’ and also Nurnberg, you’ll tour Mad King Ludwig’s Neuschwanstein Castle, the village of Oberammergau famous for its Passion Play and ride a cable car to Germany’s highest peak and much, much more.
We also have Christmas Market tours that explore Paris, Lyons and the French Alps en-route to Milan over 11 days and on our Berlin to Munich Bohemian Christmas Markets guided holiday will have you also enjoying stunning Prague, Saxon Switzerland, Dresden and Bamburg over a jaw-dropping 11 days.
Live the History
You really do walk into the past of time-honoured festivals and traditions that embody the true ‘spirit of Christmas’. To be honest, until you experience it for yourself, you won’t know what you have been missing.
Take for example our Austrian White Christmas tour where you’ll stay a chalet style hotel in the heart of St Wolfgang, visit Oberndorf where ‘Silent Night’ was first performed, be guided through the staterooms of the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace, and dress up and take a trip down the historic Berchtesgaden Salt Mines. The same tour includes a horse drawn cariage ride on Christmas Day, a visit to Salzburg's oldest restarant and four Christmas market visits!
Share the Christmas spirit with new friends
One of the great joys of group touring is the friends you make along the way … add the shared excitement of Christmas and the experiences and scenery you’ll collectively enjoy along the way and you might find you make friends for life.
Picture being part of the group that enjoys a typical Bavarian dinner in Munich on the first evening of your 11-day adventure that also has enjoying sitting down to a five-course Christmas lunch in an Italian castle.
The morning after your tour begins in southern Germany, you will head into Austria and onward to the village considered to be the most beautiful in the world, Hallstatt.
As you travel through the Tyrol and the ‘Sound of Music’ country, stopping for a tour of Mozart with a local guide, you'll also visit Swarovski’s ‘Kristallwleten’ (Crystal Worlds), Neuschwanstein Castle, Oberammergau, Kloster Ettal Monastery and then venture into Italy.
In one amazing experience after another, your group now has the Dolomites in sight and the vista in the village of Cison di Valmarino is soon filled by the 2000 year-old Roman fortress, CastelBrando where you‘ll spend four amazing nights including that unforgettable Christmas lunch.
As if all that wasn’t enough, on the Christmas in an Italian Castle tour, you’ll also get to explore Venice, the chic ski resort town of Cortina d’Amprezzo, Lake Garda and Milan.
If a tour like that doesn’t generate shared lifelong memories and great camaraderie among your fellow travellers, it’s difficult to know what would!
And lastly – because life was meant for great adventures
Need we say more? If you haven’t yet had a European Christmas, you are seriously missing out!