Three Amazing Destinations for Christmas
Yes, I know Christmas is over but I just want to tell you about my dream vacation, three amazing destinations for Christmas. And in my case it was the best thing to do after my last day of my working life. If you are a lover of all things Christmas this will be the trip for you. Picture this—twelve days in three of the most beautifully decorated Christmas destinations ever — Colmar, France; Munich, Germany and Salzburg, Austria.
Colmar is a charming small town in Alsace, situated close to the borders of Germany and Switzerland. Nestled among the vineyards it is characterized by the most beautiful traditional half-timbered houses, canals, floral displays (even in winter) and beautifully decorated for Christmas everywhere. It is the capital of the Alsation wines and has 1000’s of years of amazing history and yet it is wonderfully preserved from the ravages of time. Only 30 minutes away by train, you will find Strasbourg, which houses France’s largest Christmas markets. But my favorite day was our day trip to some of the small towns surrounding Colmar. Bergheim and Kayserburg are both so quaint, each one with its own Christmas charm.
After a five hour train ride from Colmar we arrived in Munich, Germany. After a short transfer by taxi to our hotel we found ourselves in the heart of the old city, Marienplatz, the central public square. Munich has a population of 1.4 million people but we were so comfortable away from all the hustle and bustle surrounded by historic buildings, magnificent churches and museums. The most spectacular site is the huge real Christmas tree in the square gleaming at night with 2500 lights. And everywhere you turn throughout the square and surrounding areas are Christmas markets where you can find some of the most interesting crafts and tasty delicacies, and of course every market has it’s own Gluewein. My favourite was the Medieval Market where all the crafts people are dressed up in medieval costumes. The highlight of our stay in Munich was our cooking class and dinner when we helped prepare our own traditional Bavarian dinner. It was so much fun and with the help of our chef we prepared a delicious meal.
Leaving Germany we traveled an hour and a half by train to Salzburg, Austria, a city of art, culture and a unique history; and member of the UNESCO World Heritage List. Our hotel for our time here was in the historic downtown district. A quaint, charming hotel that I instantly fell in love with. This area lends itself to walking and that we did, every day. Salzburg is surrounded by mountains and high above is the emblem of the city for all to see, the Hohensalzburg Fortress, built in 1077. Travelling up by funicular you can see for miles and miles around you. Salzburg is also the birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart, the Salzburg Festival and of course you can find all things from the Sound of Music. And just a little smidgeon of trivia for you…the song Silent Night comes from Salzburg and was first sung on December 24, 1818, 200 years ago. The words were written by a Salzburg priest, Joseph Mohr and the melody by another Austrian, Franz Gruber. Among all the beautiful palaces, churches and museums you will find Christmas everywhere in Salzburg. The lights, the decorations, the Christmas markets with their crafts and culinary treats, together with all the folk traditions, are a sight to behold. Our highlight in Austria was a visit to the historic home of Professor Josef Wallnig where we were treated to a tour of his home and our own private concert by himself and a young opera singer with the most enchanting voice.
Sadly, this was the end of our twelve days in Europe. As I said in the beginning, if you are a lover of Christmas or even if you’ve lost your love of Christmas and are looking for it back, I definitely recommend a trip like this. The tour was put together by two of the most travel savvy people I know, Kathy and Charley Wood of European Experiences, european-experiences.com. This was our fifth trip with them and they have never disappointed us yet. I know they are doing this trip again in 2018. Maybe you should check it out.
And look for another blog post, coming soon, about another highlight of my dream vacation—Christmas in London.
Fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
Do you have a dream vacation that you have been on? Or a dream destination that you are just waiting for…one day? I’d love to hear about it. Do share!!