Christmas Markets: The Best of Saxony and Bohemia
Day 1 - Prague
Our enchanting Christmas journey through Saxony and Bohemia will begin amidst the cobblestoned streets of medieval Prague. After settling into our hand-picked hotel, we’ll get to know one another better over a delicious welcome meal. Here’s to the incredible adventure ahead! Accommodation: Grand Hotel Bohemia (or similar)
Day 2 - Prague – Melník – Dresden
After a hearty breakfast, we’ll begin with a locally guided walking tour of the city – complete with a visit to the festive Christmas market, of course. After taking lunch at our leisure, we’ll move on to Melník. Here, we’ll dive straight into proceedings with a tour of the hilltop castle – with plenty of time to stroll the grand rooms and browse the 17th-century map collection. The afternoon will see us arriving in historic Dresden, where we’ll enjoy a free evening to explore the city’s gastronomic delights or relax at our hand-picked hotel. Accommodation: Gewandhaus Hotel Dresden (or similar)
Day 3 - Dresden – Wackerbarth Castle – Dresden
This morning we’ll learn more about a Dresden Christmas tradition on a visit to a local Stollen bakery. The delicious seasonal treat is said to date back to 1329 – when the region’s bakers entered it into a competition organised by the Bishop of Nauruburg. Later, we’ll board a steam engine for a scenic ride along the Lößnitzgrundbahn railway. Our next stop? Wackerbarth Castle, where we’ll gain an insight into the winemaking process on a tour of the vineyards and wine cellar – sampling a tipple or two as we go, of course. We’ll round off the day back in Dresden, where we’ll savour some free time to explore the Striezelmarkt: Germany’s oldest Christmas market. With twinkling lights, bustling stalls and the scent of mulled wine in the air, there’s no better place to soak up the Christmas spirit. Accommodation: Gewandhaus Hotel Dresden (or similar)
Day 4 - Dresden – Freiberg – Seiffen – Neuhausen
After breakfast, we’ll bid farewell to Dresden and move on to Freiberg – where we’ll explore the Cathedral of St Mary on a guided tour. Then: our journey will continue as we make tracks to Seiffen, where there’s a visit to a handicraft manufacturer in store. Here, we’ll discover the stories and craft techniques behind traditional Ore Mountain folk art figurines – including delightful nutcrackers, Christmas pyramids and candle arches. Tonight, we’ll dine together at our hotel in Neuhausen. Accommodation: Schlosshotel Purschenstein (or similar)
Day 5 - Neuhausen – Annaberg-Buchholz – Karlivy Vary
At Annaberg-Buchholz, we’ll spend the morning delving into the area’s history at the Ore Mountain Museum – which showcases exhibitions dedicated to mining, the art of the late Middle Ages and the ancient crafts of potters, pewterers and trimmers. In the museum’s courtyard, we’ll find the entrance to the silver mine – where we’ll have the opportunity to gain a unique insight into silver mining history. After topping up our energy levels with a ‘Bergmansschmaus’ (a traditional miner’s snack), we’ll move on Karlovy Vary: our home for the next two nights. This evening, we’ll be free to seek out a local restaurant for dinner or relax back at the hotel. Accommodation: Boutique Spa Hotel Aqua Marina (or similar)
Day 6 - Karlovy Vary
Today we’ll step out into the streets of Karlovy Vary on a guided tour before setting our sights on the Hot Spring Colonnade (the home of the gushing Vrídlo geyser) – where we’ll go underground to see how the thermal water is drawn, distributed and regulated. Then: onwards to the Jan Becher Museum, where we’ll learn the history behind Becherovka, a famous Czech herbal liqueur. After a tasting session, the rest of the day will be yours to spend as you please (with the chance to use the spa and thermal springs) before we come together for tonight’s farewell dinner. Accommodation: Boutique Spa Hotel Aqua Marina (or similar)
Day 7 - Karlovy Vary – Pilsen – Prague
After leaving Karlovy Vary behind us, our first stop of the day will be Pilsen. Here, we’ll be lucky enough to visit the Pilsen brewery: where Pilsner Urquell beer was born 175 years ago. After touring the bottling facility and exploring the three brew houses, we’ll round off our tour in the historic cellars – where we’ll have the chance to taste the beer for ourselves. Back in the capital later this afternoon, we’ll say our goodbyes.
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