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Magical European Christmas markets

Zurich – Liechtenstein – Bad Ragaz – Neuschwanstein Castle – Munich – Salzburg – Hallstatt – Vienna

A road trip through Central Europe’s most magical cities and villages during the Christmas winter wonderland, taking in four countries: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, and Austria.

Highlights: Christmas markets tours of 4 cities | Munich beer tour | Walking tours with female owned businesses and food focus in Zurich, Munich and Vienna | Stop over in postcard perfect Hallstatt | Princely winery visit in Liechtenstein | Visit of Neuschwanstein Castle (Cinderella Castle) | Christmas treats cooking class | Thermal luxury spa | Homemade Christmas goodies | Foodie safari in Vienna | 5* Luxury accommodation at iconic hotels | Gastronomic experiences

Activity level: Moderate, expect to walk 10,000-15,000 steps a day, and hike up to the castle

No mandatory single supplements* | 14 spots | Photographer onboard

*Prices per person, we pair you with another solo traveler

 

Trip Overview

  • 23rd November to 1st December 2024
  • 7th to 15th December, 2024

Mar Pages – Co-Founder, Solo Female Travelers

Payment plan

4,995 EUR pp sharing

Max. 14 guests

See inclusions

Book now


Itinerary highlights

Every day will be amazing!

  • Day 1: Arrival and welcome dinner
  • Day 2: Zurich walking history and Christmas markets tours
  • Day 3: Bad Ragaz natural thermal spa morning and Liechtenstein tour and winery visit
  • Day 4: Neuschwanstein Castle and Munich Christmas markets
  • Day 5: Munich walking tour with focus on history and women owned businesses and beer tour
  • Day 6: Salzburg Sound of music, Mozart and Christmas markets
  • Day 7: Hallstatt visit and Vienna Christmas markets
  • Day 8: Vienna’s history & architecture and foodie safari with cooking class
  • Day 9: Departure

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 : Arrive in Zurich and welcome fondue dinner

Make your way from the airport to the hotel by Uber or taxi, or grab the efficient train + tram system.

Our trip starts with a welcome briefing at our hotel overlooking the city skyline and river.

We will have an introduction to the week and your travel mates and then head over to a nearby alpine wooden hut for a welcome drink followed by a delicious fondue dinner.

Taste the best that Switzerland has to offer in the warmth of our cozy winter hut complete with traditional pickles and accoutrement.

We will dip bread and veggies into the gooey cheese and indulge, a great start to the week ahead!

Overnight at Sorell Hotel Zürichberg 4*

The Zürichberg Hotel is part of the Swiss female owned hospitality brand Sorell Hotels and is located up on the hill overlooking the city.

We will be staying in the new wing, where rooms are modern and spacious and have views either of the city or of the woods around it.

The hotel is a wonderful base in the Swiss city; easily reachable from the airport by taxi and a short tram ride away from the city center.

The outdoor terrace is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy panoramic views of Zurich and the indoor lounge is the best place to end the day, drink in hand.

Inclusions: Welcome fondue dinner with a welcome drink. Guests need to make their way to the hotel from the airport. Pick up can be organized via the hotel.

 


Day 2 : All about Zurich

Welcome to Zurich!

The Swiss financial capital will be our introduction to Christmas markets traditions in central Europe and help us ease into the winter wonderland ahead.

This morning, we will meet Samantha, our local guide in Zurich, and head out to catch the tram into the city for our morning walking tour.

Along the way, we will stop at various female owned businesses that represent various aspects of Swiss life and visit the Christmas markets before they become crowded with evening visitors.

We will try various Christmas treats such as sausages and rolls (very Swiss!) and a cup of gluhwein or mulled wine (isn’t that the reason why you are looking forward to the Christmas season?!).

Samantha will tell us all about Swiss traditions, especially as they relate to the Christmas celebrations and introduce us to Swiss culture and history as we walk the city center.

We will visit the market near the opera house and end our tour at a female owned and run patisserie / cafe with a social purpose where we will indulge in one more Swiss sweet: A cup of hot chocolate.

We will discuss why and how Switzerland became world renowned for its chocolate tradition as we sip our glorious cups of silky chocolate.

You will have the evening free to go back to the Christmas markets, venture to the other indoor market inside the train station or return to the hotel to relax and enjoy a drink by the fireplace.

Your tram ticket will be valid for the day so you can make the most of the city.

Overnight at Sorell Hotel Zürichberg

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, guided tour of Zurich with a local female guide, lunch at the Christmas markets including a cup of mulled wine and a cup of hot chocolate at a local cafe, tram day pass.


Day 3 : Thermal spa day and Liechtenstein

Today we leave Zurich behind and head over to the Swiss town of Bad Ragaz, famous for its natural hot springs.

Our morning will be spent at the most exclusive thermal spa in the area, which is part of a luxury wellness resort.

We will get changed into our swim clothes and spend a couple of hours at the various indoor and outdoor thermal pools.

You will have free time to enjoy lunch at the spa cafeteria on your own.

In the afternoon, we will depart towards the Principality of Liechtenstein, one of the few independent countries in the world that are headed by a Princess and not a Queen.

German-speaking Liechtenstein is a tiny country measuring just 25km long located in central Europe.

It is one of the few countries in the world that is double land locked, that is, it is landlocked by countries which are also landlocked.

We will checkin to the hotel first, leave our bags, and then head out for a visit.

By the hand of our local guide, we will explore the capital city of Vaduz with a focus on the women who made Liechtenstein what it is today.

We will visit the Treasury room whre you can see the Crown jewels and a unique collection of Faberge eggs, and finish at the Princely Wine Cellars Prince of Liechtenstein Foundation where the country’s Princess Marie von Liechtenstein is the sommelier, for a tour and wine tasting with nibbles.

Weather permitting, we will visit the vineyards that surround the cellar, and the beautiful cellars.

We will then head back to Vaduz and you will have the evening free for dinner. Our hotel is located in the main square so it is within easy walking distance to many restaurants.

There may be a winter chalet set up at the main square where you can try raclette, a do-it-yourself cheese dish prepared by heating cheese on candles or specifically built appliances, then scraping off the melted part over boiled potatoes.

You can also choose to eat at one of the local restaurants in town and try the typical cheese noodles famous of this part of Central Europe.

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, thermal pools entry ticket and towel, guided tour of Vaduz with a local female guide, winery visit and wine tasting with nibbles, transportation in private minibus.

Overnight at The Residence Hotel Vaduz 4*

The Residence Vaduz is a luxury privately and female owned hotel in the heart of the city center, right by the main square.

The hotel is the perfect location for our night in Liechtenstein and offers comfy, cozy and spacious rooms that have been recently renovated and have views over the square or the forest behind.

Breakfast is a glorious selection of home- and freshly-made local goodies.

 


Day 4 : Neuschwanstein Castle and Munich Xmas markets

After breakfast, we will leave Liechtenstein behind and cross Switzerland and Austria on our way to Germany.

There are no borders in this part of Europe, and it is easy to cross various countries without even noticing.

We will arrive at Neuschwanstein Castle mid-morning and we will hike to the top to see the castle up close and visit inside.

Important: The hike to Neuschwanstein Castle is uphill and takes between 30-40min depending on your speed and how long you stop for photos. In winter, the only alternative are the horse drawn carriages, but the queues are often longer than 1 hour and taking them would mean missing the tour.

Neuschwanstein Castle is a fairytale castle that is said to have inspired Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle.

Built in the 9th century by King Ludwig II of Bavaria to escape the buzz of the city, and honor German opera composer Wagner, whom he admired.

The castle is magical from the outside, with its location at the top of the hills overlooking the plains, its high round towers and pointy roofs, but its history is even more fascinating.

Ludwig II wanted to return to the Middle Ages and imagined the castle like the medieval German knights castles, truly a fairytale of princess, moats, dragons and honor spear fights.

The castle bankrupted the king, who financed the construction via his own income, and forced him to ask the parliament for a credit, who decided to depose him.

The king died in mysterious circumstances along with the head of the commission who was sent to depose him, and the castle opened to the public, incomplete.

We have arranged for a guided tour of the castle. These tours are provided by castle staff and are 30-min long. They provide access to some of the rooms, but the visit is limited.

You will then have free time for a casual lunch in town before we continue our road trip to Munich.

We will arrive in Munich in the late evening and checkin to our fabulous luxury female owned hotel, which you will have a very hard time leaving behind.

We will spend the evening on a guided walking tour of Munich and its Christmas markets with our local guide Barbara.

Our tour will start at the main square where evening concerts happen every day, and continue through the main streets.

We will enjoy some Christmas themed food and a cup of gluhwein to warm up as we hear more about German Christmas traditions from our Munich resident guide.

Overnight at Bayerischerhof Hotel 5*

Our hotel in Munich is often listed as the best luxury hotel the city has to offer.

This stunning property, mere minutes from the city center, is a prime example of classic European luxury infused with elegance and modernity and the touches of its owner, Innegrit Volkhardt, who is often seen at the hotel.

The hotel is spread over 9 floors with multiple restaurants, one with 3 Michelin stars, bars and lounges (including a tiki bar), a theater, an impressive lobby with a gingerbread house for the season, and the Falk’s Bar, the only surviving room of the WWII bombing in Munich city center.

The most appealing part of the hotel are the top floors, where we will enjoy champagne breakfast with city views under a glass roof or take a dip in the heated pool.

The spa is another fabulous option to spend your free time (that’s why we have it!).

Room designs were given to various internationally renowned artists and interior designers and come in various styles, from the cosy Laura Ashley rooms to the minimalistic Vervoordt rooms.

We know it will be hard to leave the hotel for the city when you are staying at such beautiful property, but we promise that Munich is worth it.

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, transportation in mini bus, guided visit of the castle, Christmas markets tour, food and wine.


Day 5 : All about Munich

Today will be all about Munich and Bavarian culture.

We will start with a lazy champagne breakfast at the hotel before heading out into the city on a walking tour with our local female guide Barbara.

We will learn all about Munich’s history, its role during the Third Reich, Nazi Germany and WWII.

On our way, we will visit some of the churches and enjoy rooftop views as we stroll through the pedestrian cobblestone streets of this historical city, capital of Bavaria.

Our walking tour will last about 3-4 hours and will be sprinkled with visits to female owned stores where we will learn more about German and Bavarian traditions.

You will have the afternoon free to go back to the hotel and enjoy the pool and spa or one of the many restaurants and bars.

We can’t visit Munich and not drink beer so we will meet again in the evening with our local expert Maxine for a beer tour that will start at the cozy Bavarian Beer museum.

The museum is housed in the 15th century Bürgerhaus, a rare surviving residential structure that the Augustiner Brewery Foundation financed, and houses cool artefacts and objects.

We will learn about the beer making process and the culture of beer in Bavaria as well as about the history of the Oktoberfest that fills Munich every year.

We will also taste a variety of local beers and enjoy a traditional meal at a cozy tavern.

After dinner, you can return back to the markets for some gluhwein or retreat back to the hotel.

Overnight at Bayerischerhof Hotel 5*

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, walking tour of Munich, beer museum tour and tasting, dinner at a local tavern with beer.


Day 6 : Salzburg

After another relaxed champagne breakfast at the hotel, we will leave Munich behind and cross the border and the countryside towards Salzburg.

The Alpine city of Salzburg is the postcard-perfect background to the 11th century Fortress Hohensalzburg, that overlooks the pretty UNESCO-listed Baroque city center.

Salzburg is also famous for its salt mining history, for being the shooting location of the Sound of music, and for being the birthplace of Mozart.

The town has a thriving music scene, with numerous festivals and events all year round.

We will arrive mid-morning and drop our bags before heading out for a walking tour of the city with our knowledgeable female guide Maxine.

Our tour will take us through the city’s gardens, the cobblestone streets and the Christmas markets spread around the pedestrian city center.

We will have lunch at St Peter Stiftskulinarium, a historic restaurant located within St Peter’s Abbey.

It’s said they’ve been serving food here for around 1,200 years, which would make the Stiftskulinarium one of the oldest inns in Europe.

But don’t expect traditional / classic food here. The restaurant is worth a visit for its eclectic decoration, its design and its lovely atmosphere, especially during Christmas, when each room has a different theme, and a bright fuchsia Christmas tree greets you at the entrance.

We will enjoy a traditional Austrian lunch with schnitzel, among the thick walls of the abbey.

In the afternoon, you will have free time to take the funicular to the top of the fortress for great views and stroll through the markets.

There is also small Christmas museum and an ice skating rink.

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, transportation to Salzburg in a minibus, guided walking tour of the city and lunch at St Peter Stiftskulinarium.

Overnight at Sacher Hotel 5*

The historical Sacher Hotel, part of Leading Hotels of the World, is located by the river banks, facing the Old town and the fortress in a privileged spot at the edge of Salzburg’s buzzing city center.

This family-owned but female-led hotel is one of the most exclusive properties in the world and offers the highest standards of luxury.

Rooms are spacious, elegant and tastefully decorated with art pieces and marble bathrooms. The minibar will be included in our stay and a fantastic breakfast spread.

As the original inventor, if contested, of the famous Sacher torte chocolate cake, the hotel offers slices of this sweet goodness at its cafe.


Day 7 : Hallstatt and Vienna’s Xmas markets

We will depart Salzburg after breakfast and drive to Hallstatt, about 2 hours away.

Hallstatt is an Alpine village on the banks of a lake that is as picturesque and as postcard perfect as it gets.

This village of 800 inhabitants is made of colorful wooden homes with pointy roof set on the side of a mountain that has recently become an Instageam sensation.

In the summer, you can barely walk through its narrow lanes because of the crowds. During the Christmas season, it becomes a winter wonderland of snow and frozen nature where time seems to stand still.

We will enjoy free time to explore the town, sit down at a cafe for a casual lunch and take as many photos as you want, it’s likely that we will be some of the only tourists around.

After lunch, we will leave Hallstatt behind and continue on our 3-4 hour drive to Vienna, which we will reach in the early evening.

We will check in to our luxury hotel in the city center and head out for a Christmas market walking tour with our local guide Maria.

Maria will walk us through four of Vienna’s most interesting markets, including one dedicated to handicrafts, one which is considered the oldest and one which sells some of the best gluhwein.

She will also share some of her homemade eggnog liquor and biscuits and invite us for dinner through the many markt stalls.

We will have another cup of gluhwein and local delicacies such as soup in a bread bowl, chestnuts and other goodies.

We will end the tour at Vienna’s largest and most popular market, located in front of the City Hall, where you will have free time to stay longer if you wish. Our hotel is just a few minutes away so you can return at anytime.

Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof

The Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof is located right in the middle of District 1, just a couple of minutes away from Vienna’s Hofburg palaces and museums, and famous Central Cafe.

This luxury hotel is one of the best places to stay in the city and has recently been fully renovated.

Rooms are comfortable and modern, and the hotel has a spa and wellness area with sauna and steam bath that is open to guests without appointment and the best way to warm up after a day touring the city.

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, transportation in our minibus, Christmas markets walking tour with food and wine.


Day 8 : All about Vienna

Our last day of the tour will be all about Vienna.

We will have a wonderful breakfast at the hotel and then head out with our local guide Maria for a morning walking tour of the historic city center which is just outside the hotel.

Vienna is a city of 1.7 million inhabitants, one of the largest and oldest in Europe and, at the height of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, one of the most important capitals in the world.

Often defined as an open air museum, with its many 18th-19th century grand palaces and buildings that seem to be coming out of a royal movie, Vienna is a center for the arts.

Maria will tell us all about the city’s ups and downs and its many famous scientists, musicians and intellectuals among whom are Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud.

We will learn about all the imperial palaces, the Gothic churches, its gardens, its many museums and the landmarks you can explore on your own in the afternoon.

We will finish at lunch time when you will have free time to explore on your own or return to the hotel to use the spa, and we will meet again in the early evening for a food safari with our local foodie expert, chef and book writer Bianca.

Bianca is an expert in Viennese and Austrian gastronomy and food history. During our food safari and cooking class, she will show us all the best spots for typical Austrian food and wine, with a sprinkle of Christmas magic and links to Austria’s history.

We will finish at a private spot we have reserved just for our group where we will follow Bianca’s guidance and make delicious ginger biscuits that we will enjoy right there to finish off a fabulous week together.

Overnight at Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof.

Inclusions: Breakfast at the hotel, walking tour of Vienna, food safari and dinner with wine, biscuit making workshop and transportation to / from dinner.


About Your Host, Mar

The trip will be hosted by a local female guide and by our Co-Founder, Mar Pages.

Mar is a long term expat and traveler from Barcelona who has visited 140 countries, about half of them on her own.

At Solo Female Travelers, she is in charge of designing our itineraries and curating exclusive experiences. She loves hosting our guests and showing them the most fascinating parts of the world.

Mar loves the Christmas spirit, the delicious snacks and sweets that make their way into the stalls in central European countries and tasting all the different kinds of glühwein!

Bonus: Our November 2024 trip will be accompanied by a professional photographer.


Inclusions

✔️ 8 Nights in shared twin accommodation in 4-5* hotels. Or upgrade to have your own room

✔️ All activities and entry tickets as mentioned in the itinerary

✔️ Private transportation in minibus

✔️ Daily Breakfast, 3 Lunches and 6 Dinners

✔️ Water during included meals. Alcoholic drinks during included dinners

✔️ Local female guides in Vienna, Salzburg, Munich, Zurich and Liechtenstein

✔️ Female host

✔️ Tips for all activities included (hotel staff, drivers, restaurants, bars)

Exclusions

✘ Optional activities not included in the program that you book yourself

✘ Meals not listed

✘ Transportation from and to the airport in Zurich and Vienna. Uber available.

✘ Visa, if required, we can provide invitation letters

✘ Travel & Medical Insurance (Required)

✘ Spa treatments or other items of personal nature

✘ Tips for the Guide (at your discretion)

Payment Info

Prices per person in EURO start at:

4,995 EUR

Payment Plan:

30% deposit to secure your spot (non refundable*)

Final balance due 90 days before departure

*The initial 30% is refundable if the minimum number of guests is not reached. By joining our trips you agree to our T&C.

The Solo Female Travelers difference – What makes us unique

All our tours follow the same values and philosophy that makes us who we are which you can find here.

Our European Christmas markets trip is primarily female powered with the only exception being the hotel in Vienna, which is part of a German hospitality group, the hotel in Salzburg which is family owned but female led, and the driver from Munich to Vienna.

We will stay at some of the best and most iconic hotels in central Europe, offering real pampering, and combine the Christmas spirit with nature, wellness and gastronomy.


Book NOW

Interested in joining us on this Christmas markets adventure? We are keeping the group to 14 guests maximum so don’t wait up. Select your package below and click the Book button, or pick a time to book a video call with us and get all your questions answered. Note: Please do not book any flights until the trip is confirmed.

Credit card payments carry a 3% surcharge. Wire transfer details are available via email: [email protected].

IMPORTANT: Due to the nature of the trip and the many traditional gastronomic experiences, we are unable to accommodate gluten free, vegan or lactose-free diets as well as severe food allergies. If you are vegetarian, please check with us before booking.

23rd November to 1st December 2024 (Photographer
onboard)

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7th to 15th December 2024

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Have questions? Pick a convenient time and date below to talk to us live, we’d love to meet you!


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Frequently Asked Questions

This is a trip of a lifetime and we know there are many things you’d like to know more about.

What are the COVID measures and how will you ensure everyone is safe?


We care deeply about the wellbeing of our guests and our trip follows all local regulations. We require guests who develop a cough or cold-like symptoms to use a mask and separate themselves from the rest of the guests. COVID testing is not mandatory though it will be encouraged.

What if I cannot travel because of COVID restrictions?

Payments are not refundable if the trip goes ahead. This is why we require all guests to purchase travel insurance that covers unforeseen circumstances that would prevent them from traveling.

In the event that the trip needs to be postponed for reasons beyond our control such as a global pandemic or COVID after the the 30% deposit is due, any payments made will be put towards a similar trip in the future.

We recommend checking with an aggregator such as Travel Insurance Master to compare quotes and coverage.

Do I need a visa for Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein or Germany?

There are not borders between these countries as they all belong to the Schengen zone. That means that if you need a visa, you will only need to get one from the country through which you enter the zone. We can provide the documentation necessary for your visa, if required. It is your responsibility to confirm your visa needs.

What is included in the trip?

All inclusions and exclusions are detailed in the section above. This trip includes 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 6 dinners, some of which are while standing in the Christmas markets. Our included meals are gastronomic experiences and previous guests have told us they preferred to have 1 not included meal a day to leave space for the included meal.

Can I have a room to myself?

All costs above are considered on a sharing basis with two guests per room in twin bedding; we will pair you with another solo female traveler on the trip. If you wish to have your own room, a single supplement applies.

Can special dietary requirements be accommodated?


Because of the nature of the trip, the classic gastronomy of the countries we visit and the many foodie experiences that are shared and involve dairy, eggs or meat, it is not possible for us to adapt the tour to suit veganism. If you are vegetarian, please consult with us before booking.

Severe allergies and lactose- or gluten-free diets cannot be accommodated on this tour. Please reach out to us to discuss your needs before booking.

I want to bring my partner to the trip

This is a female-only small group trip specifically designed for women traveling on their own. If you wish to travel with a female friend, partner, family member, etc. they are absolutely welcome, however we are not able to book male travelers on this trip.

I want to bring my daughter

How wonderful! If your daughter is above the age of 16, we will be glad to have her with us.

Will the guides be female?

Yes, this trip will be by a local, German-speaking female guide native to one of the 4 countries we visit. In addition, we will have local female guides in each of the cities: Salzburg, Munich, Vienna, Liechtenstein and Zurich.

What should I pack for this adventure?

The weather in this part of Central Europe at the end of the fall season can be unpredictable. Temperatures could be below freezing and there could be rain and / or snow, so pack warm, water proof clothing. Good walking shoes are a must.

What happens if I get sick?

The prospect of getting sick while alone in a foreign country is daunting, and this is why we require all our guests have comprehensive travel and medical insurance that includes international evacuation.

Should you fall sick, we will escort you to the nearest medical facility so you can get the help you need. All the countries we visit have excellent healthcare systems and we will never be far from top-notch facilities.

What travel and medical insurance should I get?

While the cost of medical healthcare in this part of Europe is affordable when compared to international standards of other developed nations, travel and medical insurance is mandatory to come on our trips and we recommend you get the most comprehensive coverage that includes international evacuation. Check an aggregator such as Travel Insurance Master to compare quotes and coverages.

Can I make various instalments for this trip?

Our payment plan includes 2 instalments: a 30% payment to secure your spot, and the remaining 70% payment 90 days before the trip. You can make any partial payment until the 70% is due.

Can I pay by credit card?

Yes payments can be made by credit card (additional fee of 3%) or by wire transfer.