Christmas in Eastern Europe

  • The perfect winter getaway
  • Festive markets in Eastern Europe with all kind of traditional specialties
  • Traditional dinner in the city known as “Little Paris”
  • Palaces, museums, and amazing historic and contemporary buildings
  • Atmospheric market with traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and workshops

Day 1: Arrival in Bucharest

In the afternoon, after your arrival in Bucharest, you will meet your English speaking tour guide. Your guide will drive you to your accommodation for check-in and later in the evening you will enjoy a traditional dinner in the old town at Manuc’s Inn (included), followed by a walking tour to a completely pedestrian area, with the remains of the princely fortress of Vlad the Impaler, the 16th century palatine church in Byzantine style, and the Stavropoleos church, an architectural jewel of the 18th century, in typical Wallachian style, with important oriental influences in external decoration.

Acommodation in Bucharest.

Day 2: Christmas Market in the city known as “Little Paris”

The snow transforms Bucharest in winter and allows you to see a completely different side of one of the best cities in Romania. Gone is the outdoor furniture from the streets, replaced by piles of snow instead! Everything slows down in Bucharest in winter, and while it’s definitely cold, there are plenty of wonderful places to warm up. Try one of the cosy tea houses, or Carturesti Carusel, a huge bookstore. Cismigiu Park is like a winter wonderland, covered in snow, and it has an ice-skating rink in the middle of it too!

Christmas celebrations in Romania begin after St Andrew’s Day (30 November), when Romanians ward off ghosts and marauding vampires with cloves of garlic. At the festive market in Bucharest, reindeer sleigh-rides and handicrafts, including masks, traditional Romanian costumes and musical instruments, count among the highlights. As does “chec cu nucă” – panettone laced with rum and studded with candied walnuts.

Plum brandy and gingerbread also feature prominently, but pride of place is reserved for the humble pig. Out of respect for a long-standing tradition, many Romanian families still slaughter a pig on Ignat Day (20 December) every year.

If you want to explore further, consider the Palace of Parliament, which is the second biggest building in the world after the Pentagon, or visit one of the charming churches during the day or night.

Acommodation in Bucharest.

Day 3: Bucharest – Sibiu, Christmas market

The fair – organized by Sibiu City Council in partnership with the Embassy of Austria – lasts more than a month (until January 3, 2021), offering visitors a wonderful shopping experience full of magic and culture.

As always, the Christmas market is set in Sibiu’s awe-inspiring Grand Square (Piata Mare), in the heart of the city, and that’s probably a big part of its charm. Being surrounded by such magnificent Baroque architecture makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time into a smaller, cozier Vienna.

The atmosphere is particularly special at night when the stalls and the beautiful Christmas lights are twinkling all around Sibiu Old Town, creating a lovely winter scene straight out of a Dickens novel. Moreover, Sibiu is cuddled right in the heart of Transylvania, between three groups of mountains, which means snowfall is a common occurrence during this time of year, giving the city a truly festive, Christmassy feel. Rest of time at leisure.

Acommodation in Sibiu.

Day 4: Sibiu-Budapest

After our orrival in the stunning capital city of Budapest, you will be transferred to your accommodation and the remainder of the day is at leisure. You may try a cake and coffee at Gerbeaud coffee shop or try one of the goulash specialties on Vaci Street. Dinner on your own. Accommodation in Budapest.

Day 5: Budapest – City tour and Christmas market

The capital city of Hungary straddles the Danube River. The hilly Buda side gives beautiful views over the flat side of Pest, dominated by the enormous Parliament Building. Budapest in winter still provides a chance to see the main sites of the city and experience the Ruins Pubs at night, quirky bars set up in abandoned buildings across the city.

This city tour will take you on the tree lined Andrassy Avenue to the magnificent Heroes’ Square. The area around it is worth a stroll. Continue to the hustling and bustling Central Market (an Eiffel Company project), a show in itself and a great place for buying quality Hungarian souvenirs.  After visiting some of the main interest, like the Parliament, the Fine Arts Museum, the Hungarian National Museum.

A trip to one a dip of the numerous Roman Baths is a Budapest must do (optional). There is nothing quite like tiptoeing over the freezing tiles to take in the thermal outdoor pool at the Szechenyi Baths as the sun goes down. Not to mention the Chimney Cake, or Kurtoskalacs, cake wound around a cylinder and baked over hot coals, before being dusted with sugar and sometimes walnut or cinnamon! Acommodation in Budapest.

Day 6: Budapest-Ljubljana, Christmas market

Famed for the extravagance of its Christmas lights, the Festive Fair, held in the Slovenian capital makes a perfect winter getaway. Wander through the streets sipping medica (warm honey schnapps) or kuhano vino (mulled wine), past willow trees that shimmer with frost, and stalls selling smoked sausages and traditional gifts. Expect ice rinks, street theatre and decorative crib scenes in many of the city’s chapels.

Processions take place across Ljubljana so be sure to keep an eye out for Old Man Frost (Dedek Mraz), Slovenia’s version of Father Christmas. Acommodation in Ljubljana.

Day 7: Ljubljana- Wien, Sightseeing tour

Vienna, home of artists like Mozart and Beethoven, palaces, museums, and amazing historic and contemporary buildings. In the winter these sites can all still be enjoyed, and viewed from one of the many horse-drawn carriages dotting the streets.

After our arrival, enjoy a sightseeing tour, listen to your driver’s fascinating commentary about the city’s history, architecture, culture, and local life. Along the way, admire the city’s iconic landmarks including Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the Vienna State Opera.

Once again there are numerous Christmas markets in the 6 weeks before the event, so many so you couldn’t choose a favourite, although the one outside the Rathaus had the most delicious filled donuts the size of my head!

Acommodation in Wien.

Day 8: Wien Magic of Advent

From mid-November to Christmas, Vienna’s prettiest squares transform into magical Christmas markets. The aroma of Christmas bakery items and hot punch creates a pre-Christmas atmosphere.

One of the most well-known Christmas Markets is the traditional “Vienna Magic of Advent”, which turns the City Hall Square into a shining fairytale land. Christmas gifts, tree decorations, sweets and warming drinks are awaiting you as well as a carousel and craft fun Christmas Workshops for kids. The trees of the surrounding City Hall park are festively decorated and radiate in a sea of lights – a Viennese experience, you’ll definitely don’t want to miss!

Another hot spot before Christmas is the cultural and Christmas market in front of Schönbrunn Palace. It offers sheer romance in front of an imperial backdrop, and is converted into a New Year’s market after Christmas. The atmospheric market offers traditional handicrafts, hand-made Christmas decorations, Christmas concerts and workshops.

Acommodation in Wien.

Day 9: Vienna – Prague

Right after breakfast, we continue our journey with another day stop in Prague. In the afternoon, our tour starts from the top of the Old Town Tower, one of the best ways to see the city from above at any time of year, but at Christmas it is especially beautiful as you can see the Christmas markets and their happenings from a birdseye view.

After we will descend in Mala Strana (the Small City) and on the Carol bridge, one of the oldest and well-known bridges in Europe, we will then arrive in the labyrinth of streets in Stare Mesto (Old City) to end the tour in the Old Town Square at the famous Clock Astronomical. Acommodation in Prague.

Day 10: Prague – The city of spires

Christmas markets (Vánoční trhy) are a key ingredient of the festive magic in the Czech Republic, and the Prague markets are the most impressive in the country. They light up the city, bringing locals and tourists together in a true ‘winter wonderland’ setting.

When it’s freezing cold outside, there is nothing better than tucking into some warm, stick-to-your-bones comfort food. And Czech food is the epitome of comforting! You may try an authentic Pražská šunka, aka Prague Ham, beer goulash or vetrnik, a vanilla cream choux pastry sandwich.

Later in the evening you may take a stroll from the Prague Dancing House down to the Charles Bridge for magical views, as the whole city lights up in an amber glow with the combination of Christmas lights and the cities’ usual radiance!

Acommodation in Prague.

Day 11: Prague- Bratislava

Folk dancers and musicians take to the stage in Bratislava’s main square to celebrate a distinctly Slovakian Christmas. Browse among stalls offering traditional straw or metalwork decorations, and šúpolienky – charming figures in peasant dress, crafted from dried corn husks. A glass of Slovakian medovina (mead) is sure to keep your cheeks rosy. Save room for a plate of lokše – decadent potato pancakes fried in duck fat and filled with sheep’s cheese or sauerkraut – or for warm crepes sprinkled with sugar and poppy seeds.

Almost every day, a rich program of culture awaits you at the several stages that have been set up, together with magical decorations throughout the city to leave smiles on everyone’s faces.

Acommodation in Bratislava.

Day 12: Bratislava- Krakow City tour

At our arrival in Krakow, enjoy a city tour to the Wawel Castle and the Old Town, or head to the Jewish Quarter (Kazimierz) to explore and see what was once Oskar Schindler’s Factory, and is now a really great museum about Krakow in the lead up to and during the war.

In the evening, don’t miss trying the Pierogi! A 24-hour pierogi place is not far from the Old Town Square, with the menu consisting of colour paper hung on clipboards strung along the wall. They have both savoury and sweet options, and I am sure you can easily eat every meal there without complaint (optional).

Acommodation in Krakow.

Day 13: Krakow – Christmas market

The magnificent renaissance-era Cloth Hall provides the backdrop to Kraków’s Christmas market, a warren of tents that jostle for space with colourful szopki (nativity scenes) and barrels filled-to-the-brim with mulled wine.

Along with the annual szopki competition, gifts and handicrafts are the main draw here. Exquisite cut-glass decorations, Baltic amber jewellery and woollen slippers from the Polish highlands make wonderful stocking fillers. Don’t miss the stalls in the Cloth Hall itself where hand-carved wooden boxes and delicate Krakowian lace-work count among the highlights.

Acommodation in Krakow.

Day 14: Krakow- Liov (Lviv)

From early December, the streets of Lviv echo to the sounds of kolyada (Ukrainian Christmas songs) as carol singers wind their way between the garlanded wooden houses in the city’s central square. Watch processions of children in peasant costume carrying hunting horns and didukh – sheaves of wheat which pay tribute to Ukraine’s agrarian heritage and symbolise a family’s ancestors.

Enjoy a piece of medivnyk (spiced honey cake) or pumpushki (doughnuts) buried under a snowstorm of icing sugar and wait for the main event: the spectacular puppet shows for which the city is famous. Every year on Christmas, bibles stories are played out in front of the city hall using giant wooden puppets, some as tall as two metres, illuminated by fireworks displays, and smouldering braziers.

Acommodation in Liov.

Day 15: Departure from Liov (Lviv) Airport

End of your winter holiday through Eastern Europe.

Included services 

  • Fully customizable itinerary: make this tour your dream tour and customized it the way you want for no extra charge
  • Transportation by private, air-conditioned car/minibus/bus (according to the number of participants)
  • Flexibility: you decide when to start and make changes in the daily itinerary
  • 14 nights accommodation with breakfast and one traditional dinner, according to the program
  • Entrance fees to museums included in the program
  • Car expenses: Gasoline, parking and road tolls
  • English speaking driving-guide the whole time
  • Airport transfer: at arrival and departure
  • Internet: Free wifi in all our vehicles
  • Beverages: Bottles water in the car

 

Excluded services 

  • Phone calls and other personal expenses
  • There is an extra pay for single supplement
  • Meals others than specified
  • Flights to and from Romania
  • Photo & Video fees
  • Personal insurance

 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • We offer standard accommodation. Upgrade and downgrades are available based on your budget
  • Limites wheelchair access

 

Eastern European Experience, the organizing tourism agency will not be held liable if the places visited are closed without prior notice.

Adult (18-90 years) / person:

2690 Euro/pers – for a group of 2-3 people

2100 Euro/pers – for a group of 4-7 people

Fully customizable itinerary: make this tour your dream tour and customized it the way you want for no extra charge

Free Cancellation up to 24 hours in advance

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