Chestnuts roasting on an open fire; Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Snug in downy coats and laden with bags of Nutcracker marionettes, marzipan and gaily coloured mittens, the spirit of Christmas has never glowed brighter than tonight. Feeling the crunch of snow under foot and warmed by cinnamon spiced mugs of mulled wine, a childlike wonder is illuminated on every rosy cheeked face.
For all round efficient, safe touring, all well organised to interesting, and inaccessible or difficult places - Captain's Choice can't be bettered.
Joan Lawrence - Ancient & Holy Lands, 2016
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Well so are we – and departing Australia on Emirates this evening, we can look forward to experiencing the kind of festive season they sing about in the carols, some of us perhaps for the very first time.
Among sparkling fairy lights, snug scarves and crackling fires, arriving into frosty Frankfurt this afternoon feels like we have stepped into the home of Christmas. Settle into Villa Kennedy, a true bastion of the city established in 1902 for three nights. We indulge in an outstanding dinner in house by Chef Fulvio Pierangelini, raising our glasses to celebrate a magical festive season.
Wrapping up warm after breakfast, we embark on a walking tour of Frankfurt, on our way to Paulplatz where stalls, song and sausages make up one of the most famous Christmas Markets in the world. After lunch at Romerplatz, shopping is likely to be on the agenda for this afternoon.
We look forward to a Welcome Dinner overlooking the city at the elegant Main Tower Restaurant.
This morning, we're all aboard Germany's fastest train, the aptly named ICE express riding in First Class straight into a fairytale. It’s easy to see why Heidelberg inspired the German Romantic movement. We might choose to buy some unique souvenirs from the charming market.
Back in Frankfurt, we enjoy dinner in the quaint cider taverns of Sachsenhausen, where we taste the city's famous apfelwein.
It's 'auf wiedersehn' to Frankfurt this morning as we depart for Wurzburg. With the Reisdenz Palace as a backdrop, this Bavarian icon is the perfect backdrop for a morning's exploration. The afternoon takes us to Nuremberg, a city of art which hides a past as dark as its beer. Settling into the Le Meridien Grand Hotel, we wait until tomorrow to discover it.
Nuremberg boasts one of Germany’s most famous markets. We continue our Christmas shopping before a tour of the old town and Castle. No doubt we have worked up an appetite for lunch at a bratwurst restaurant.
Along the so called ‘Romantic Road,’ the walled towns of Rothenburg and Dinkelsbuhl are sure to fill us with more Christmas spirit. Could this be the prettiest market yet?
Our meal at the Eisenhut Gastronomy restaurant showcases the very best in German fare, before we walk off lunch with a private guided walking tour of Dinkelsbuhl.
It's Christmas Eve, so we soak up the festive atmosphere in Marienplatz. After a walking tour, we celebrate the cream of Bavarian gastronomy at the Hofbrauhaus.
Crossing to Austria on the way to the quaint Austrian town of Hof Bei Salzburg, we live the dream of spending Christmas in a castle at Schloss Fuschl. It’s like you’ve stepped into a Christmas card for the next three nights.
A lavish dinner at the Castle Restaurant affords unparalleled views of the festive pastoral. We've even lined up a very special Christmas gift just for you. After, all in this part of the world, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day.
If you indulged a little too much last night, a jaunt to the nearby city of Salzburg is sure to brush the cobwebs away. We spend the whole day exploring this charming city, culminating in a special Christmas dinner serenaded by Mozart at the Baroque Hall.
It’s your choice how you choose to indulge yourself this Boxing Day.
After a relaxing morning, the impeccable Austrian capital of Vienna awaits. We step off the train into a place where old world graces trump the frenetic pace of modern life. Opened in 1875, The Grand Hotel Wien upholds this sentiment, widely regarded as the first Viennese five star hotel.
Walking through Vienna, we fall for the charms of St Stephen’s Cathedral and lose ourselves in the Museum Quarter. Following in the footsteps of Trotsky, we enjoy lunch at Cafe Central, a local institution since 1826, before exploring the Schonbrunn Palace.
This evening, our muse is Sigmund Freud, who found inspiration and repast at the Grinzig Taverns, where dinner is served.
Will you spend your last day in Vienna's premium boutiques finding a steal in the sales, or venture out of town on a tour?
You couldn’t ask for a better accompaniment to dinner than the waltzes of Strauss and compositions of Mozart played by the Salonorchester Alt Wien at Vienna Kursalon.
Bound for Eastern Europe this morning, Prague is a scenic train ride away through snow frosted forests and pretty towns. On arrival, we are welcomed into the old town where the Four Seasons Hotel Prague awaits, just a short stroll from the Charles Bridge.
Looking back on the year no doubt it’s been a good one. We round off the last hours with a walking tour of charming Prague. A light lunch in the Old Town Square precedes a free afternoon to reflect on the past year.
In a fizz of Champagne bubbles and fine dining, we head to Lobkowicz Palace to welcome the New Year with a Czech twist. A truly magical night begins with cocktails under the stars on the Palace's heated balcony overlooking the city. We're in prime position to enjoy the fireworks at midnight.
Last night may have been a late one, so you'll welcome a choice of how you'll spend the first day of 2018.
With suitcases bursting full of Christmas presents to give those at home – thank goodness our team will carry them for you – we get ready to board our flight home on Emirates later this afternoon.
Arriving home is an excuse to celebrate the festival season all over again and give out the most authentic presents in the family!
Imagine a trip where you won’t have to lift a finger, or worry about bringing your wallet.
All meals are included with your tour price along with beer, wine and soft drinks. Dining experiences can range from Michelin-starred restaurants to intimate local eateries.