Austrian Christmas Markets & Swarovski Crystal World
Explore the many Christmas markets of Innsbruck; discover the how the Tyrolean’s celebrate Advent in the candle and fire-lit streets of Rattenberg; travel across a snowy plateau on a horse-drawn sleigh; marvel at the innovative brilliance of Swarovski crystal at Swarovski Crystal Worlds and enjoy a schnapps-tasting session in a 500 year-old cellar on this four day tour to Austria.
We spend three nights at the delightful, 15th Century 4* Hotel Plankenhof in Pill, just outside Innsbruck and the tour price includes breakfast and dinner each night as well as entrance to all sights and events.
Christmas Market lovers are spoiled for choice on this tour. We begin with an afternoon in the charming medieval old town of Hall, home to an Advent market specialising in traditional handcrafts and culinary delicacies. As well as offering ample opportunities for festive shopping, Hall also puts on a programme of seasonal events including musical evenings and street entertainment.
The region’s capital Innsbruck boasts six different Christmas Markets and guests on this tour will have time to browse in each of them. You will be able to visit Maria-Theresien Strasse’s market, for example, with its sparkling sea of modern Christmas lights, then soak up the traditional Tyrolean atmosphere at Marktplatz and Nikolaus Market before sampling local delicacies in the charming Wiltener Platzl Market.
Rattenberger Advent, in the tiny town of Rattenberg, is Tyrol’s most romantic market. Taking place on all four Sundays in Advent, it is a celebration both of the season and the region’s traditional culture and is filled with stalls selling local, seasonal foods and crafts. However, rather than being lit with fairy lights, the entire town is illuminated with fires and candles and, as you browse the stalls or enjoy a glass of mulled wine, you will be joined by a group of travelling players telling the story of the Nativity.
Swarovski Crystal World was built in 1995 in celebration of the 100th anniversary of this world famous crystal company. Consisting of a large landscaped park with a crystal cloud and mirror pool, plus 16 fantastical chambers designed by internationally acclaimed artists, designers and architects, it is a unique and magical museum. Guests travelling with us will be treated to an extended tour in the company of a personal guide, followed by an aperitif in the VIP lounge and a delicious two course seasonal lunch at Daniel’s restaurant. You will also be presented with a special Swarovski Crystal Worlds Gift Bag.
Tyrol is home to many pretty Alpine towns and our tour takes you to three of the best. Hall boasts the region’s largest medieval centre which, come Advent, blazes with Christmas lights. Rattenberg, the smallest town in the Tyrol, also has a beautifully preserved medieval townscape. Tucked between a 10th Century hilltop fortress and the banks of the River Inn, Rattenberg is known as a centre of traditional glassblowing. Our tour takes in a visit to the 70 year-old Kisslinger Glassblowing shop where guests can watch craftsmen blow glass objects in the traditional way. (It may also be possible to take part in a workshop where you will be taught to blow your own Christmas bauble. Please note, this is subject to availability and carries an extra charge.)
Café-Konditorei Hacker, famous for its Apple Strudel, is another local institution and the owner’s strudel-making demonstration is not to be missed – not least because everyone is given a piece of freshly made strudel to taste at the end.
With its mix of historic and contemporary buildings, cosmopolitan culture and Alpine views, Innsbruck is an exciting and varied city. Our tour includes a two hour guided tour taking in the key sites from the imposing, 16th Century Imperial Palace and magnificent Golden Roof with its 2, 657 fire-gilded copper tiles, to Zaha Hadid’s iconic Bergisel ski jump.
No trip to this region would be complete with a glass of Schnapps or two and the Plankenhof Hotel, where this tour is based, has its very own Schnapps museum. Guests on our tour will be treated to a fascinating talk and tour of the museum, which is located in a 500 year-old vault beneath the hotel, followed by a Schnapps tasting.
The Alpine village of Axams is known as ‘one of the pearls of the mountain plateau’ and, come the first snow fall of winter, it is transformed into a magical, festive wonderland. We have arranged for guests on our tour to travel across this Christmas card scene on the back of a horse-drawn sleigh. A warming glass of Glühwein awaits when you return approximately an hour and a half later.
Depart London Gatwick for Salzburg
Transfer to Hotel Plankenhof, Pill
Afternoon at leisure in Pill
Dinner at the hotel
Transfer to Swarovski Crystal World
Lunch at Daniel's Restaurant, Swarovski Crystal World
Visit to Rattenberg for Christmas Bauble blowing demonstration, apple strudel demonstration and sightseeing
Dinner at the hotel
Horse-drawn sleigh ride in Axams
Christmas markets and sightseeing in Innsbruck
Sunday Silent Advent in Rattenberg
Schnapps tasting and tour at hotel
Dinner at the hotel
Depart Innsbruck for London Gatwick
30/11/2018: Gatwick Terminal S - Salzburg | 07:15 - 10:15 | BA2652 British Airways Economy Plus
03/12/2018: Salzburg - Gatwick Terminal S | 11:05 - 12:10 | BA2653 British Airways Economy Plus
1 handbag/laptop bag (40x30x15cm)
1 additional cabin bag (56x45x25cm)
1 hold bag up to 23kg
Additional information about baggage can be found at https://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/baggage-essentials
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Our ATOL number is ATOL 6545. ATOL Protection extends primarily to customers who book and pay in the United Kingdom.
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From London Gatwick: £815.00
Prices are based on two people sharing a twin or double room
Single room supplement £45.00 per night
- Return Economy Plus flights from London Gatwick to Salzburg
- 3 nights dinner, bed and breakfast at 4* Hotel Plankenhof, Pill
- Services of an ECT tour manager
- All coach transfers mentioned in the tour programme
- Visit to Hall for the Advent Market and musical performance
- Exclusive tour of Swarvoski Crystal Experience, including VIP lounge and aperitif
- Swarvoski lunch menu at Daniel's Restaurant
- Schnapps experience at Hotel Plankenhof
- Visit to Rattenburg for traditional Christmas experience
- Demonstration and talk at Kisslinger Glassblowing shop
- Strudel demonstration and tasting at Cafe Konditorei-Hacker
- Sleigh ride in Axams with glass of mulled wine
- Guided city tour of Innsbruck