Christmas Market in Vienna

Essential Central Europe Christmas Markets

Sail down the beautiful rivers
Sail down the beautiful rivers

Traveling during this time of year means that one can enjoy fewer crowds in the most popular museums and sites, revel in the festive atmosphere of the holiday season and, of course, sample delicious local specialties such as gingerbread, stollen and sausages! Shop for unusual hand-crafted gifts such as wooden toys and unique hand-blown glass.

Please note that most Christmas markets open late in November and finish on either December 24 or 26. Some may stay open later, but, for the most part, the markets are for the Advent season. They are often open all day and into the evening, but they look better and are most lively in the evenings, when the locals join in the festivities after work. Many markets have great food and some have wonderful concerts. We are happy to share a complete list of each city’s markets prior to your travels.

Download a PDF itinerary here.

ITINERARY

PRICING FROM

$7,225 per person, based on two guests traveling together. Please contact Exeter International for specific pricing and availability.

Day 1
Arrive in Budapest | Arrive in Budapest Budapest Parliament

Upon arrival into Budapest, your Exeter International driver will be waiting for you outside of customs and baggage claim. Please note that no airfare is included in your trip cost.

You will be transferred to the historic and perfectly located hotel, in the center of Pest. On the way to the hotel, you will see sights of historical significance, including St. Stephen’s Basilica, a cross between Neo- Classical and Renaissance-style architecture completed in the late 19th century.
Over the centuries, Budapest flourished as a crossroads where East meets West in the heart of Europe. Ancient cultures such as the Magyars, the Mongols and the Turks have all left an indelible mark on this magical city. Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube River, are characterized by an assortment of monuments, elegant streets, wine taverns, coffee houses and Turkish baths. Upon arrival at your hotel, enjoy the rest of your day at leisure. One of the most enchanting Christmas markets in Budapest is literally right outside your door. The square in front of St. Stephen’s Basilica is always a personal favorite. It features a small ice skating rink and a gorgeous Christmas tree. There are generally light shows every hour on the façade of the basilica.

Exeter Services
Airport Transfer
Hotel
Aria Budapest

Day 2
Budapest | Budapest

Enjoy a morning at leisure to recover from jet lag or perhaps to enjoy some of your hotel’s spa.
Early this afternoon meet your driver and guide to explore the other side of the city—the hilly Buda side. First head up to Gellert Hill for sweeping views of the city. If you’re interested in the mineral baths, you can make a quick stop at the Gellert Hotel here to see their gorgeous art nouveau baths.
Afterwards, head to the castle district anchored by Buda’s historic Royal Palace, the former Hapsburg palace during the 19th century and rebuilt in the Neo-Classical style after it was destroyed during World War II. There are some parts of the castle that are open to the public, as they contain museums and galleries. If you’d rather dive into fine art today instead of Christmas Markets, spend some time in the Hungarian National Gallery. You will find works of Hungarian artists, but also European masters from 1800 to the present, including works be
Cezanne, Pissarro, Monet and more. A stroll through the castle area, known as Varhegy, will take you to the Fisherman’s Bastion for the most impressive views over Pest, across the Danube. Here you’ll see the Matyas Church, a Neo-Gothic reconstruction dating from 1874 and in which many organ and choral concerts can be heard. Today you will visit one of the small Christmas markets favored by locals in Obuda (Old Buda). This market generally features ice skating, a pretty and nostalgic carousel and, often, advent concerts.
The remainder of the afternoon is yours at leisure. You could choose to remain here and journey back to your hotel on your own, or head back to your hotel with your guide and driver.

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
This evening meet your guide for an evening exploration. All of this evening will be on foot so plan for comfort when walking. Tonight you will have an introduction to a uniquely Budapest scene – Ruin Bars. The historyfilled Jewish Quarter is where this all began and that’s where you will walk. Hidden inside unrestored (ruined) buildings are popular bars, restaurants and clubs that appeal to people of all ages and interests. These became what is today known as Ruin Bars. Each has its own theme and some are more elegant, some more rustic and some simply crazy!
Have drinks at perhaps the most famous ruin bar of all – Szimpla Kert. This spot opened in 2002 in a converted factory and today it has evolved into bars, a restaurant and, on weekends, even a farmer’s market! Then visit Anker’t – a completely different vibe as it’s got a large open-air section. It has a more minimalist design but extends even further inside to include bars, a dance hall, food stalls and more.
Your visits will include a ruin bar that’s become a great Mediterranean restaurant, Mazel Tov. It’s a more upscale evolution of the ruin bar scene, except with very high quality food and drinks. Dinner tonight includes three courses along with local wines, beer, coffee, tea, soft drinks and water. After this, stroll with your guide back to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure.

Exeter Services
Vehicle, Driver & Guide (4 Hours); Evening Guide (3 Hours)
Hotel
Aria Budapest

Day 3
Budapest | Budapest

Late this morning you can explore the beauty of Central Pest with your guide. Your guide will take you to the Budapest Market Hall. Built by Eiffel in the 19th century, the covered market boasts soaring metal columns, high walkways and beautiful produce shops. More than being a place where one can purchase some handcrafted and typical Hungarian souvenirs, it’s a market where locals go to purchase their produce and meats – a meeting place for many and a place where you can enjoy authentic local flavor.
Afterward, just a short distance away, is the largest Christmas Market in Budapest in Vörösmarty Square. You will find countless food stalls, craft vendors and more. Afterwards, take the short drive to Hero’s Square and see the Millennium Monument, designed to commemorate Hungary’s Millennium Celebrations in 1896, though not completed until 1929. It marked Budapest’s high point of its development in the history of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. As you drive today, you will see Andrassy Boulevard. Driving this beautiful boulevard will give you a glimpse into the stunning architecture that Budapest is known for, especially the beautiful art nouveau buildings that have been preserved.
Continue on to the picturesque little town of Szentendre. Located only about 30 miles north-west of Budapest, Szentendre possesses something of a Mediterranean atmosphere and has been favored by artists as a haven in which to live and work since the early 1900’s. Today about 100 artists still live and work here. You will find several museums and exhibitions devoted to the life and work of Szentendre-based artists. Your guide will take you in any that are of interest. It’s also the location of a beautiful little Christmas Market with local artists and producers. Don’t miss the beautiful nativity scene on the main square.

Exeter Services
Vehicle, Driver & Guide (6-8 Hours)
Hotel
Aria Budapest

Day 4
Budapest- Vienna | Budapest- Vienna Christmas Market in Vienna

This morning your driver will meet you at your hotel for the transfer to the station to meet the express train (2.5 hours) to Vienna. First class tickets are included. Early afternoon arrival into Vienna, where your private driver will welcome you and transfer you to the hotel in the very center of the city.
Your documents from Exeter International come with a voucher for a Vienna Pass. You can redeem this next to the State Opera and have complimentary admission to over 60 sites in and around Vienna – many with lineskipping
privileges.
The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Vienna has dozens of Christmas markets and one of our favorites is just a block away from your hotel. We will share a complete list prior to your arrival. Vienna is a city whose history stretches back over 2,000 years. Over 600 years of Vienna’s history was intrinsically tied to the Hapsburg Empire. The landscape of much of the city today can be contributed to the rule of Empress Maria Theresia and Emperor Franz Joseph. Today Vienna is a unique blend of imperial traditions and stunning architecture. Guests can enjoy a multitude of museums and galleries and endless options for classical music and opera. From its world class shopping to its cozy coffee houses and wine taverns, Vienna has something for everyone!

Exeter Services
Station Transfers with Assistance
Hotel
Sans Souci

Day 5
Vienna | Vienna Hofburg

This morning your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby. Today you will explore Vienna’s First District with your guide. This is the very heart of the city center and all of the touring is on foot. During your walk this with your guide, you will see the soaring St. Stephens Cathedral with its iconic ceramic tile roof. Your guide will take you through the interior of the cathedral and, if you have the energy, you can climb to the top of the steeple for a spectacular view over central Vienna!
Also – just behind St Stephens Cathedral is a cute little Christmas market – an easy walk for you to revisit this evening. Before visiting the Hofburg Palace complex, you’ll have a quick visit of the Hapsburg Imperial Crypt in the Capuchin Church. You’ll have a quick introduction to the entire Hapsburg ruling family before continuing.
Afterwards, you can continue on your walking tour of the Hofburg Palace complex. Today the focus is on the Hofburg Treasury. This is, arguably, the most important treasury of the world. It’s home to two priceless imperial crowns. You will also find Burgundian treasure from the 15th century as well as the treasure from the Order of the Golden Fleece. Two items are legendary – what was once believed to be the horn of a unicorn, actually a narwhal tooth, and what was once believed to be the Holy Grail, a late antiquity agate bowl. When you exit the Hofburg, as time allows, your guide will show you some of the most famous coffeehouses of Vienna. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own.
Note: If you have a fascination for royal history, you might want to venture back to the Hofburg on your own to see the private living quarters of Empress Elisabeth (Sisi) and Emperor Franz Joseph. These 24 rooms show the lifestyle of the monarchy at the turn of the century, including Sisi’s exercise room. Sisi herself is almost a cult figure in Vienna and you will find her likeness, generally featuring the famous diamond stars in her hair, all over town. An exhibition dedicated to her life and untimely death by assassination is part of the Hofburg Palace ticket. Alternatively, your guide can take you here instead of the Treasury. It’s your choice!

Exeter Services
Guide (4 Hours)
Hotel
Sans Souci

Day 6
Vienna-Palace or Foodie Option | Vienna-Palace or Foodie Option Schonbrunn Palace - Vienna, Austria

Vienna —- Palace Option
Enjoy this morning at your leisure to indulge in your hotel’s spa, or perhaps to explore the nearby Museums Quarter. Your guide will meet you this afternoon.
Option 1: Belvedere Palace & Klimt

Today, meet your guide and board the local tram with your guide to head to the nearby Belvedere Palace and Gardens. This palace, built as the summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy, is situated on a gently sloping hill. The two main palaces (upper and lower) are linked by formal French gardens and both now house wonderful art collections. Today you will focus on the Upper Belvedere, which holds a wonderful collection of 19th and 20th century art, including the best Klimt collection in the world. The grounds of Belvedere Palace hold a beautiful Christmas Market.
Option 2: Schönbrunn Palace & Gardens
This morning meet your guide and hop on the efficient metro for a visit to the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the summer home of the Hapsburgs. This is possibly the busiest site in all of Vienna and admission is via timed entry with your guide. The design of Schönbrunn is bound largely with the personality of Maria Theresa, one of the Hapsburgs’ greatest Empresses. The palace stands today as a combination of Austrian Rococo and Classic Baroque symmetry. Today you will see the highlight rooms of the palace. Schönbrunn is the site of one of our favorite Christmas markets and it’s a local favorite, too!

Exeter Services
Guide (4 Hours)
Hotel
Sans Souci

 

Vienna- Foodie Option

Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
This morning your local food insider will meet you in your hotel lobby. Today you will have a tour using public transport (and walking) of her favorite local markets and unique Vienna food producers. These aren’t big productions, but local family-run businesses, away from the typical tourist spots. During the walk, you will not only taste samples of the food, you will learn more about Austrian every day life and food culture. The tastes today will be a balanced mix of sweet, savory and liquid. Have a special request?
Simply let us know and we’ll make sure it’s incorporated.
This afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy some of the city’s museums, shops and cafes on your own.

Exeter Services
Food Insider (3-4 Hours)
Hotel
Sans Souci

Day 7
Vienna- Prague | Vienna- Prague Prague, Czech Republic

This morning your driver will meet you for your transfer to the station to meet your express train to Prague (five hours). First class tickets are included. This route may also be covered via private car and driver with stops in the countryside at additional cost.
Late afternoon arrival into Prague, where you will be met by your driver for your transfer to your hotel in the city center.
Perhaps more than any other city in Europe, Prague has kept its pre-modern charm. Spared the destruction of the Second World War, the ancient structures of the city still exist in their original state. Prague is a walking
city as it was designed over many centuries for the pedestrian and the horse. The inner city lacks major avenues as found in Paris or Rome, giving the city its unique character. Prague features several lovely Christmas Markets. Just a short walk from your hotel on Kampa Island, you will find Havel’s Market, popular with locals and guests alike.

Exeter Services
Station Transfers with assistance
Hotel
Aria Prague

Day 8
Prague | Prague Strahov Library - Prague, Czech Republic

This morning your guide and driver will meet you for an overview drive of some of Prague’s top sites. Drive by the famous Dancing House and through the historical area of Vysehrad, with its 10th century fort. You will also observe modern local Czech life with a drive through the bustling residential area of Vinohrady, once covered by vineyards. You will then head towards the Castle District and Hradčany.
Exeter International Extraordinary Experience
Today you have a VIP visit to the Strahov Monastery. Here, you will be invited into the two main halls of the library (the Philosophical Hall and the Theological Hall). These two halls are always viewed by the public through the narrow doorways at the end of each room, but you will be allowed to enter the rooms to walk alone among the ancient books and artifacts.
Included today will also be a visit to the Prague Castle complex. This castle, designed with courtyards inside of courtyards, is a fascinating view into the lives of the Czech monarchy. You might want to step into the towering and wonderfully Neo-Gothic St. Vitus Cathedral inside the complex. If time allows, we love a visit to the Lobkowicz Palace. The audio guide that you will use is recorded by Mr. William Lobkowicz himself, an American who reclaimed his lost family property. The tour will give you an insight into their life and their collection of paintings, decorative art, music scores (one with Mozart’s own handwritten
notes), arms and armors. Don’t miss the original score of Beethoven’s Eroica!

St. George’s Basilica, in the castle complex, is also the location of a lovely little Christmas market. Your day will end in the Malá Strana or Little Quarter, which is best known for the Wallenstein Palace and Church of St. Nicholas. Also, it is here in the Malá Strana that you will find many charming restaurants and unique shops full of Bohemian glass and the marionettes that are so famous in Prague.

Exeter Services
Vehicle & Driver (3 Hours); Guide (6 Hours)
Hotel
Aria Prague

Day 9
Prague | Prague Charles Bridge - Prague, Czech Republic

Enjoy your morning at leisure. This afternoon your guide will meet you in your hotel lobby and will and take you through Prague’s storybook Old Town. You’ll want to see the beautiful expanse of the Charles Bridge but it’s a more magical experience to visit it very late or very early on your own, when it’s free of the souvenir stands and tourists. Your guide will give you a quick lesson of Prague’s history, evident in every building and small passage way of this 800 year old city. Be sure not to miss the fairytale-like Old Town Hall Tower (1364) that stands above Old Town Square- you can even go to the top of the tower for a splendid view over the district and the picturesque Christmas market.
Finally, you will enter New Town- which is new because it was only founded in 1348! Here you can visit Wenceslas Square, were over the many centuries demonstrations of civil discontent have taken place. At the top of the square you will see the imposing building of the National Museum and the Monument to St Wenceslas, the patron of the Czech lands, by sculptor Josef Myslbek.
As you stroll, our guide will point out some of the interesting sculptures in Prague. There are several thought provoking and somewhat controversial sculptures around the city. You get little slices of Czech history and, in some cases, some interesting political commentary, too! Old Town is the site of our favorite Prague Christmas market and you will see wonderful local crafts, have the
opportunity to try delicious street food and, if you like, indulge in hot mulled wine.

Exeter Services
Guide (4 Hours)
Hotel
Aria Prague

Day 10
Prague | Prague Prague, Czech Republic

This morning, after check-out, your driver will meet you in the lobby of your hotel for your transfer to the airport to catch your onward flight.

Exeter Services
Departure Transfer

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