If you’re looking for a unique holiday atmosphere somewhere a little off the beaten track, delve deep into history and enjoy the Germany’s medieval Christmas Markets of Hannover, Hamelin and Goslar. Enjoy time in the beautiful Harz Mountains and, of course, take in one of the German heavyweights of Christmas Market season, Cologne. You’ll be getting a fully-rounded festive experience touring the markets of Medieval Germany.
You will stay for three nights at the Wyndham Hannover Atrium Hotel, five miles from the heart of the city.
Overnight stays in Belgium will be in city-style hotels.
Local departure by coach, then to Belgium for an overnight stay.
We leave our hotel this morning and commence our journey to Hannover stopping en-route at the beautiful cathedral city of Cologne. Cologne’s history traces back more than 2,000 years when it was founded as a Roman colony. Today it has developed into a beautiful cosmopolitan city. <p> Advent magic spreads throughout Cologne at this time of year, when the idyllic Christmas markets open their gates to visitors. More than 150 stalls offer traditional goods and handcrafted gifts. Wonderful spicy aromas of cinnamon stars, baked apples and roasted almonds will fill the air and local wreath binders, glassblowers and blacksmiths will demonstrate their art.<p> Start at the Christmas market in Cathedral Square where you will find a fascinating array of high-quality arts and crafts, many gift ideas and delicious food and drinks, and a huge Christmas tree.<p> Continue onto the Old Town where the rustic ’Home of the Elves’ market takes place at the Heumarkt and Alter Markt. Traditional stalls and huts, pretty lanes and hidden Heinzelmännchen (house gnomes who are said to have done the work of the people of Cologne at night), and craftspeople demonstrating their skills, give this market its particular charm. <p> At Neumarkt you will find the Market of Angels with its charming chalets, twinkling lights shining from the trees, and high quality products. Just a ten minute walk from Neumarkt is the Village of St Nicholas at Rudolfplatz. Here the theme is the St. Nicholas Village which makes this market particularly popular with younger visitors. <p> In a picturesque setting overlooking the Rhine, the Cologne Harbour market at the Chocolate Museum will bring a maritime flavour to Christmas. With around 80 stalls this market is one of the largest in Cologne. Take in the lively atmosphere, and why not sample fish specialities or fine food and drink from around the world.<p> Finally, there is the the dynamically artful and attractively different Christmas market at Stadtgarten in the heart of the Belgian quarter. The Stadtgarten Christmas market traditionally only takes place in the afternoon. Whilst visiting Cologne be sure to indulge yourself in some typical culinary delights such as the famous ’Christstollen’ yeast cakes, ’Lebkuchen’ soft gingerbread cookies and Marzipan almond confections. Also try the mandatory ’Gluhwein’ a hot spiced wine in mugs perfect to warm chilly hands. <p> We leave Cologne mid-afternoon and continue our journey through Germany to our hotel in the Hannover area where we stay for the next three nights.
Location: Hamelin & Hannover
<p>We start this morning with an included visit to the quaint town of Hamelin, famous for the Pied Piper tale told to children around the world. The old town centre has been reconstructed with Renaissance and wood-frame buildings; all adding to the fairy-tale atmosphere that brings alive the legend of the piper who offered to rid the town of rats, and ended up stealing all the children! <p>During the advent season the town is illuminated with the lights from the Christmas market. Taking place in the middle of the beautiful Old Town, approximately 70 wooden stalls all decorated in the Christmas style invite you to browse for gifts. Sit back and relax in one of the cosy coffee shops or perhaps visit Hamelin Glassworks where you may have the chance to blow your very own colourful Christmas bauble assisted by the glass blower himself. <i>(Entrances to any places of interest are at own cost). </i> <p>We return to Hannover this afternoon where you will have the opportunity to explore the shops and Christmas market. Hannover is the capital of Lower Saxony and has had a long and special relationship with Britain since 1714 when Elector Georg Ludwig became King George I of England. Today Hannover offers visitors an array of interesting architecture and museums and a wealth of shopping opportunities with department stores, specialist shops and chic boutiques. <p>The Christmas market takes place in the historical old quarter around the market church. You will be spoilt for choice here with beautifully decorated stalls selling tree decorations, carved items and wooden toys. We return to our hotel later this afternoon arriving in time for our evening meal.
Location: Harz Mountains & Goslar
<p>Today we head to the beautiful town of Goslar, located on the north western slopes of the Harz Mountains. This former Free Imperial Town has over 1000 years of history. For centuries it was the favoured seat of government in northern Germany, and at the same time, a centre of Christianity. So much so Goslar was referred to as the ‘Rome of the North’. The view of the townscape with the steeples of the five large parish churches is impressive when viewed from the knoll upon which the Imperial Palace stands. <p>The many crooked, narrow, cobble-stoned streets in the Old Town are also interesting to explore. From the Kaiserpfalz you will find the impressive Romanesque Imperial Palace opens up to view. In the background is the Rommelsberg Mountain with the ore mines that only closed down as recently as 1988. Since 1992 the mine and the Old town of Goslar have been entered onto UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. <p>The traditional Christmas Market on the historic Market Square is a delight to visit. Many little booths entice visitors to sample the delicious-smelling Christmas delicacies. There will be free time for you to explore the festive market at leisure. Perhaps enjoy a hot mulled wine before returning to our hotel for dinner.
We say goodbye to Hannover and commence our journey south through Germany, crossing the Netherlands and finally into Belgium. We continue to our hotel for an overnight stay.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
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