Christmas Markets in a romantic setting have a long tradition. This Christmas Markets Self-drive tour combines all of the traditional beauty of Christmas Markets with cultural highlights!
Visit the Christmas Markets in Heidelberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Nuremberg, Dresden, Erfurt, Frankfurt and visit the impressive Wartburg Castle! If you have a week during Christmas time and you like to drive along the Castle Road to medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber and into the former East of Germany for a visit of the most popular Christmas Market in Dresden, to see hidden gems like Erfurt and for a visit of the “Wartburg” in Eisenach this is the right tour for you!
The tour includes a rental car with winter tires, a GPS and a comprehensive insurance package for your entire stay – from/to Frankfurt International Airport (see the tableau this is already included in the price of your tour). Here you find everything that is included in the price of this tour such as rental car, admissions, tours, accommodation, buffet breakfast.
Price per Person
|two sharing a double room||one in a single room||three sharing a triple room|
|US $ 1,599||US $ 2,799||US $ 1,379*|
*includes an upgrade from an executive size car to a luxury size car.
Would you like to submit your personal information so we can check availability for your specific travel dates for this beautiful tour? On our BOOKING INQUIRY page you find a form which you may use to forward your personal information:
View 8 Day Central Germany Christmas Highlights Self-Drive Tour (8S04) in a larger map
Day 1 Frankfurt to Heidelberg
Arrive in Frankfurt and pick up your rental car at Frankfurt International Airport or in Frankfurt City Centre. Start your Central Germany Christmas Highlights Self-Drive Tour towards Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a beautiful historic town located along the banks of the Neckar River and the most significant sight is certainly the ruin of Heidelberg Castle, which is towering above the city. Since your hotel is located right inside of the Old Town of Heidelberg it is easy to explore historic Heidelberg by foot. Your tour package will include walking tour suggestions for the Old Town. Along the walking tour you will see the Old Bridge from where you have a nice view of the Old Town and the Castle ruins above. You will also pass by the “Marktplatz” (market place) which is the main square of Heidelberg, the “Peterskirche” (St. Peter´s Church) and the historic University of Heidelberg. Heidelberg´s University was founded 1386 and it is the oldest University in Germany and with more than 30.000 students it is still one of the most important universities in Germany today.
If you want to enjoy a view over Heidelberg and the Neckar River you may want to walk up to the grounds of the castle ruins or – for a small fee, take the historic funicular up and down Heidelberg Castle. The historic Christmas Market is held on seven squares around the Old Town, featuring those typical stalls displaying Christmas handicrafts, local specialties. At night enjoy the splendid view of the illuminated castle.
Day 2 Rothenburg ob der Tauber
In the morning drive from Heidelberg along the Castle Road to Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of Germany`s most beautiful medival cities. Taking a walk thru this charming little town is truly a journey back in time. Rothenburg ob der Tauber was once a powerful free imperial town and its monuments, landmarks and buildings still bear witness to these days. Marvel at the half-timbered buildings and at town walls which have stood for hundreds of years, protecting the city since the Middle Ages. Visit the town’s most famous spot, the Ploenlein square, probably the most photographed place in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Also very interesting to see is the Spitalbastei Gate, created by Leonhard Weidmann, the Latin inscription on the gate reading: ” Peace to those who enter, health to those who leave”. The Gothic St. James Church is the town’s most prominent church, here you can take a minute and relax in quietness while you enjoy the beauty of the famous Altar of the Holy Blood and the Twelve Apostles Altar. Every step you take in this old town is a step thru history with yet another beautiful spot to be discovered around the corner.
Rothenburg also offers museums which are cultural highlights, such as the Doll and Toy Museum where the history of playthings is shown, as well as the Crime Museum, where the visitor gets an insight into the law and especially its execution during the last 700 years. A highlight will be the English-speaking tour with the Night Watchman which starts at 8pm (included). Before you join the tour you may want to visit the charming Christmas Market located right in front of the historic Town Hall (from where your tour starts).
Day 3 Nuremberg
Today you will drive from Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Nuremberg. The city’s history reaches back to the year 1050, its name “nourenberc” translating into “rocky hill”. Nuremberg’s famous landmark, the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), towers above the Old Town, which is protected by the 5 kilometers long city wall with its many towers.
When exploring the beauty of Nuremberg’s medieval Old Town, you can start at the Koenigstor (“Kingsgate”), from where the timber framed buildings, the Gothic Church of St. Lawrence and the Church of St. Sebaldus can be easily reached by foot. Right next to the Koenigstor there is the Handwerkerhof (craft center), here you will feel like you are back in the medieval times, there are craft workshops like they used to have a long time ago as well as a gingerbread bakery.
The Christkindles Markt in Nuremberg is one of the most popular ones in Germany. It is located on Hauptmarkt square, one can enjoy the delicious Nuremberger Bratwurst (sausages) while marveling at the beautifully decorated stalls offering local and traditional handicrafts and specialties in a medieval atmosphere.
The historic flair of Nuremberg with the Old Town surrounded by historic City Walls and the impressive Imperial Castle (which has never been conquered) encouraged Adolf Hitler during the Third Reich to choose Nuremberg as the location for their Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Within the monumental Congress Hall a museum and documentation center opened in 2001. Its permanent exhibition “Faszination und Gewalt” (Fascination and Terror) is concerned with the causes, connections, and consequences of the Nazi movement in Germany. So if you are interested in WWII and German Third Reich history you may want to consider this visit . Information about the Rally Grounds can be found in our blog “Documentation Center Nazi Rally Grounds”.
Day 4 Dresden
After breakfast drive to Dresden. On your way to Dresden you may want to visit Bamberg – the Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg is a rarity even by German standards, as the basic fabric of the Old Town is largely in tact, and over one thousand (!) buildings are land marked. A highlight in Bamberg is the New Residence and Rose Garden. Construction of the New Residence began in 1613 and the palace has over 40 state rooms featuring stucco-work ceilings, furniture and tapestries from the 17th and 18th centuries. Another main attraction in Bamberg is the Imperial Cathedral which was built in the 13th century. Take a look at the magnificent marble tomb of the founder and his wife, a masterpiece of the German sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider. And do not miss to take a look at the Bamberg Horseman. This statue most likely dates to the period from 1225 to 1237.
At your convenience continue your drive on to Dresden. Dresden – the river Elbe and the gently rolling landscape between Saxon Switzerland and Meissen determine the nature in which the city is embedded. The Dresden Elbe valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it extends some 18 kilometres along the Elbe river from Übigau Palace and Ostragehege fields to the Pillnitz Palace and the Elbe River island. The Dresden Elbe valley features a combination of landscape and culture which is crowned by the Pillnitz Palace and the centre of Dresden with its many monuments and parks.
Dresden is a modern city with lots of history inside, and as the inhabitants are known for their special charm, every visitor will feel welcome immediately. Again there is a great variety of interesting places to see, such as the “Frauenkirche” (Church Of Our Lady), the Dresden Zwinger, the Semper Opera House and the Royal Palace, to name just a few. There are magnificent promenades along the river Elbe which wait to be discovered as well as many museums and cultural highlights awaiting the interested visitor. The christmas market is located in the historic Old Town at the “Frauenkirche” (Church Of Our Lady).
Of course the Christmas Market in Dresden, the “Striezelmarkt” which dates back to 1434. It is located on the “Altmarkt” Market Square, located right in the historical city center of Dresden. A must try when you visit the Christmas Market in Dresden is the “Dresden Christstollen”, a local Christmas Cake, very delicious and famous and throughout Germany. The Striezelmarkt is also popular for its Christmas pyramids, smoking figures and candle holders from which are traditionally made in the nearby mountains of the “Erzgebirge“. At the Christmas Market in Dresden you also find the world’s tallest Christmas pyramid and the world’s biggest nut cracker.
Day 5 Weimar
Driving time from Dresden to Weimar on Day 5 of your Central Germany Christmas Highlights Self-drive Tour takes about two hours. Weimar is famous for its cultural heritage, home of many musicians, writers and poets such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. Your hotel is located in walking distance from Weimar Central Station. From your hotel a nice walk through the Carl-August-Alley will take you into the inner circle of the Old Town. The whole town can easily be visited by foot. Weimar is one of the most historic cities in Germany and it is as the place where Germany’s first democratic constitution was signed after the First World War, giving its name to the “Weimar Republic” period in German politics from 1919 to 1933. Adolf Hitler often visited the city – probably he liked the classic touch of Weimar seeing himself in the long tradition of German Classics. At the Hotel Elephant, which is located right at the market square, Hitler had the hotel room renovated for him. The room still exists and it has a balcony towards the market place from where he often greeted crowds.Among the many sights to visit in Weimar is the City Palace. Inside there are memorial rooms in honor of Christoph Martin Wieland, Johann Gottfried Herder, Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and also houses the Palace Museum with its large painting collection. If you plan to visit the Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (historical library) with its beautiful Rococo hall you will have to let us know in advance so we can purchase tickets for you, waiting time is up to 6 month. The Goethe National Museum, the Schiller House as well as the Liszt House are among sights to visit. The Market Place and the “Park an der Ilm”, a beautiful park located close to the Market place at the Ilm River, with Goethes Gartenhaus (Garden House). If you are interested in the architecture of the “Bauhaus” you may want to visit the Bauhaus Museum.
The Christmas Market in Weimar is located at the historical Market square, again a very romantic setting. And of course you have all the culinary delights the state of Thuringan has to offer. Do not miss to try a Thuringer Rostbratwurst, a Thuringian sausage, which Weimar is popular for. There is a great competition on who produces the best Thuringian sausage, Weimar or Erfurt, so you have to try (at least) one in Weimar and one in Erfurt, where you will be traveling tomorrow. And also in Weimar you find many traditional stands where you can purchase the beautiful Christmas decorations from the Mountains of the Erzgebirge.
Day 6 Erfurt
At your convenience drive on to Erfurt – driving time is less than 40 minutes. See where Martin Luther studied, bow heads where he prayed and walk the same medieval streets. At almost every turn, there’s a reminder of the man who launched the Reformation. Erfurt was the young Luther’s spiritual home. In 1505 he graduated from the University with a Masters in philosophy. It is said that a violent storm close to Erfurt that same year prompted him to become a monk at the Augustinerkloster (Augustinian Monastery) in gratitude for his survival. Martin Luther stayed there until 1511 and was ordained as a priest in St. Mary’s Cathedral. Even after he had left the city, he often returned to preach to enthusiastic crowds, in the university church (St. Michael’s) for example. It has been more than 500 years since Luther was a student at the collegium maius, the old Erfurt University’s main building, which is now being restored. The Augustinian Monastery, dating back to 1277, houses an exhibition that shows the life and work of its most renowned resident. You can visit Luther’s cell in addition to its impressive library with many rare books. Another important structure in Erfurt is the Barfusserkirche, or the black-friars’ “Church of the Barefooted.” Most of the church was destroyed in 1944, but even in the present condition the church is one of the greatest examples of German ecclesiastical architecture of the 14th and 15th centuries. Luther also preached here in 1529 before the Franciscan monastery was discontinued. Other significant sites for those interested in the Reformation and its leader are the Luther monument (next to the Merchants’ Church on the Anger road) and the “Haus Zum Schwarzen Horn” at Michaelisstrasse 48. This building housed Mathes Maler’s printing workshop, where many of Luther’s pamphlets were printed.
In Erfurt you will find one of the loveliest Christmas Market – located in the most beautiful historical setting at the “Domplatz” (at St. Mary’s Cathedral which creates a very romantic and unique Christmas Market atmosphere. Do not miss to try the Erfurt version of theThuringer Rostbratwurst (Thuringian sausage) and decide for yourself, which one is the best. You will find several grills where these delicious sausages are being served!
Day 7 Frankfurt
On your way to Frankfurt International Airport you may want to stop in Eisenach for a visit Wartburg Castle and at Frankfurt Chritsmas Market. In 1521, while fleeing from the wrath of the Pope, Luther took refuge in here after a fake kidnapping staged by his friend and protector, Frederick the Wise. Visit the Castle which for many is the most impressing Castle in Germany and stand in the very room where Luther translated Jerome’s Vulgate into the German New Testament. There are guided tours in English at the Wartburg. When you are finished, you can drive into Eisenach and visit the sights in the city center like the Luther House Museum with its fascinating displays about the time & culture of Luther and St George’s (Georgenkirche) Church connected with both Martin Luther and Johann Sebastian Bach. Speaking about Bach: the Bach House Museum is a must-see!
Continue to Frankfurt – a very modern metropolis which nevertheless offers many historic sites such as the Romerberg (hill of the Romans) with its beautifully restored timber-framed houses, of course the Goethe Haus where the world famous poet once lived, the Paulskirche, symbol for democracy and freedom in Germany, “Alt-Sachsenhausen“, where in Schellgasse number 6 you will find Frankfurt’s oldest timber-framed house which was built around 1291, to name only a few of Frankfurt’s historic landmarks.
The Frankfurt museum riverbank is one of the most important locations for museums in Germany and Europe. The exhibition buildings are lined up on both sides of the Main riverbank, several famous museums are to be found in the city centre. Visit the “Stadel“, the German Museum of Architecture as well as the Museum of Applied Art or the “Schirn Kunsthalle” to name only a very few. Don’t miss out on Frankfurt’s “Zeil“, a huge pedestrian zone where shopping is the name of the game. So, if you arrive early enough in Frankfurt, visiting this interesting metropolis is certainly worthwhile.
Frankfurt’s Christmas market is one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, its beginnings reaching back to the year 1393. The location on Roemerberg square is very romantic, the market attracts over 3 million visitors every year. Advent concerts and trumpet-playing from the tower of St.-Nicholas’s -Church are part of the daily program. in the evening return your rental car at Frankfurt International Airport. You will stay the night before your departure at an airport hotel which is connected right to the airport terminal (please note: if you do not fly out the next morning we can adjust this tour of course so you stay in the City Center).
Day 8 Frankfurt Int. Airport
Today your Central Germany Christmas Highlights Self-drive Tour ends at Frankfurt Int. Airport. Please let us know if you would like to extend your tour by adding a night or two – we will be happy to arrange this for you.Would you like to download an overview of the 8 Day Central Germany Christmas Highlights Self-Drive Tour (8S04) as a pdf to print it out or to forward it to a friend? Please download it right here:
This is already included in the price of your tour
|Day 1 - Frankfurt Int. Airport to Heidelberg/ Heidelberg||Hotel Holländer Hof (or similar if not available)||Executive size Rental car with GPS and a comprohensive insurance package for the duration of your tour|
|Day 2 - Heidelberg to Rothenburg ob der Tauber/ Rothenburg ob der Tauber||Hotel Goldener Hirsch(or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Heidelberg, English-speaking walking tour with the Night Watchman|
|Day 3 - Rothenburg ob der Tauber to Nuremberg/ Nuremberg||Hotel Victoria (or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Rothenburg ob der Tauber|
|Day 4 - Nuremberg to Dresden/ Dresden||Hotel Pullmann Dresden Newa (or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Nuremberg, optional stop in Bamberg on your way to Dresden|
|Day 5 - Dresden to Weimar/ Weimar||Hotel Kaiserin Augusta (or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Dresden|
|Day 6 - Weimar to Erfurt/ Erfurt||Mercure Erfurt Altstadt Hotel (or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Weimar|
|Day 7 - Erfurt to Frankfurt/ Frankfurt Int. Airport||Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Int. Airport (or similar if not available)||Buffet breakfast at your hotel in Erfurt, optional stop at Wartburg Castle on your way to Frankfurt Int. Airport|
|Day 8 - Depart Frankfurt Int. Airport/ Frankfurt Int. Airport||no hotel needed||Buffet breakfast at your hotel at Frankfurt Int. Airport|
The tour package we provide includes a day by day itinerary as well as all tickets, vouchers and information necessary to enjoy a great independent tour. It also contains general information about the cities you visit which you can downloaded from our website once your tour is confirmed.
This is not included in the price of your tour
- Airfare from/to your origin to/from Frankfurt International Airport
- all meals other than breakfast (which is included)
- gratuities (tips)
- parking fees
You have booked the tour already and would like to download the to-europe tour package for this tour now? Please download them right here:
8-DAY ROMANTIC ROAD CHRISTMAS TOUR We completed our tour and I wanted to thank you for the fine work you did in arranging everything for us. The car was the perfect size! As we went from Christmas Market to Christmas Market, the amount of gifts we purchased grew to the point where we had to purchase another suitcase to carry all the gifts home with us. All of the hotels were very well located. It was wonderful staying close to or in the old parts of the cities we visited. The weather was a bit difficult, being cold and snowy at times….We loved your suggested dining places and suggest that you include more of these in your tour information sheets for other cities. When there are two nights, it would be nice to have two separate restaurants to visit. In Wurzburg, we particularly enjoyed the Ratskeller. Also, I would suggest that in your tour information sheets that you include the German names for the places to visit either instead of or along with the English translation. The navigation system we brought with us did not have the English translations for any of the tour stops. Also, if we had to ask for help from people in the towns we visited, the German name would be very important. – Bob E.,Chicago, USA
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