Strasbourg & the Black Forest Christmas Markets 2014
A festive rail break in the pretty town of Gengenbach
Depart from London on the Eurostar to Paris and enjoy a scenic journey through Germany, before reaching the charming town of Rastatt where you will stay for the next four nights. Guided excursions over the next three days give you the opportunity to browse the Christmas Markets of the Black Forest in Gengenbach, and Strasbourg, and really immerse yourself in the festive spirit.
Day 1 - London to Rastatt
We set out on a Eurostar departure from St Pancras International to Paris, where we board the high-speed TGV to Strasbourg. We continue over the German border to the charming Baroque town of Rastatt by coach and check in to the 3* superior Best Western Hotel Rastatt for a four night stay. We dine together in the hotel this evening.
Day 2 - Black Forest and Gengenbach
Today we travel along the entire length of the historic Murgtal Valley Railway, from Rastatt to Freudenstadt. The picturesque route takes us past small towns and villages of whitewashed houses, over bridges and through countless tunnels as we travel through the tree-covered hills of the northern Black Forest. After free time to explore Freudenstadt, we catch another train, travelling on one of Germany's most spectacular railway lines through some of the Black Forest's most beautiful scenery. Our destination is Gengenbach, known as a 'pearl of the Black Forest towns' thanks to its picturesque, medieval town centre, the remains of its defensive wall and some truly beautiful architecture. During your time here you can explore Gengenbach's Christmas Market. The market is in front of the 200-year-old Town Hall, which transforms into the world's largest Advent Calendar. We return to Rastatt by train this evening.
Day 3 - A day at leisure
Today you are free to explore Rastatt and the surrounding region at leisure. You could perhaps visit the town's two fabulous Baroque palaces.
Day 4 - Strasbourg Christmas Market
Today we travel by coach over the French border to Strasbourg, the attractive capital of Alsace. The city has changed hands several times and both German and French influences can be seen in abundance. The Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the ancient heart of the city, with the vast main square, Place Kléber, at its centre. Strasbourg's historic Old Town is dominated by the spectacular Notre Dame Cathedral, with its famous astronomical clock. During the afternoon and early evening in Strasbourg you will have plenty of time to experience the city's historic Christmas Market, which has been held outside the cathedral since 1570. Lanterns and sparkling decorations illuminate the shop-fronts at this time of year, while themed stalls twinkle with fairy lights and the smell of glühwein fills the air.
Day 5 - Rastatt to London
We depart by coach to Strasbourg. Here we join the high-speed TGV to Paris to connect to the Eurostar for London.
These meals, where shown, are included in the price of your holiday.
Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.
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All prices are per person and assume full occupancy of the room.
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Enjoy the German Christmas Markets in the Black Forest
An escorted holiday to the Christmas Markets of the Black Forest removes the stress of planning your own trip, leaving you free to relax, enjoy the scenery and take full advantage of the Christmas cheer. Do not miss Gengenbach's Town Hall, which is transformed every year into an enormous Advent Calendar. Each day, one of its 24 windows is illuminated with a festive image, counting down the days to Christmas.