Tour Leader: Kathy McNeil (1st tour) & Kathie Wylie (2nd tour)
United States - Iceland - Munich
Tour participants travel to the nearest airport/gateway to Germany and check in for a flight by United Airlines or Lufthansa German Airlines to Munich Germany. These are direct overnight flights which arrive in Munich the following morning.
Morning Arrival in Munich. You will be met by your illustrious Bavarian tour guide Maximilian Bukszpan. Transfer to the traditional 4-star Hotel Platzl, located in the heart of the city. Hotel Platzl is located in the historic old town between famous Hofbrauhaus the Viktualienmarkt and Marienplatz, where the Christkindlmarkt takes place.
Spend time this afternoon with Max exploring the Christkindlmarkt. The traditional Christmas Market at Marienplatz dates back to the 14th century and is considered the most original and authentic in Munich, where about 40 such markets take place annually.
Rest and relax at your hotel before a “Welcome to Germany” dinner at Hofbräuhaus, “The World‘s most famous Tavern” – built in 1589 and accommodates up to 5,000 revelers. Have fun! (D)
GERMAN TOUR GUIDE: Maximilian Bukszpan is the Bavarian expert tour guide who will meet the group on arrival in Munich and stay with the group until you leave Munich for Iceland. “Max” is a native “Münchner” who has traveled the world. For the last 20 years he has offered his services as private tour guide throughout Bavaria, – including Munich, Rothenburg and Nuremberg.
ICELAND TOUR GUIDE: Eythor Bjorgvinsson is born and raised in the Westman Islands. Eythor operates a tour company by the name of Icepath ahd have successfully done so for the last 15 years. Eythor holds a adventure guide deiploma from Thompson Rivers University in Canada. Eythor will join the group on arrival at Keflavik Airport and stay with the group until you depart back to the United States.
Munich-Neuschwanstein Castle & Linderhof Palace day tour
Today visit the fairy tale castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, created by Germany’s 19th-century King Ludwig II. Admire Bavaria’s magnificent scenery as you journey to Linderhof, Ludwig’s rococo-style hunting lodge and last home. Take the interior tour of Linderhof before continuing to Neuschwanstein. Upon arrival at Neuschwanstein you will see a picture book castle of turrets and chambers that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Maximilian will be in his element during this tour where his local knowledge will be of great value. Lunch at Alpenstuben then return to Munich and the Hotel Platzl.
You are on your own for dinner. (B, L)
Munich – Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Proceed from Munich along the Romantic Road for further adventures. Visit Fortress Harburg for a guided tour of one of the oldest, original fortresses in Europe. Your next stop is historic Dinkelsbuhl. Tour Dinkelsbuhl then enjoy lunch at the Deutsches Haus, known as one of the most beautiful hotels in southern Germany. The final phase of today’s journey takes you to Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Check in at Hotel Altes Brauhaus located in the midst of the medieval walled town, surrounded by winding cobbled streets. Dinner at nearby Restaurant Glocke – one of the best in town. (B,L,D)
Rothenburg to Nuremberg
You will be enjoying an early Christmas in Bavaria and all the wonderful festivities that are described on these pages. It is a fact, however, that you will be traveling in the middle of winter, when mother nature may not always accommodate.
The morning is free, and you may decide to take off on your own to explore this lovely city – described by many as the most beautiful in Germany. You also could join Maximillian for a tour to the Christmas Market while others may sign up for a quilt class with Susan Nagy. Lunch is on your own.
Depart Rothenburg for the short drive to Nuremberg, Bavaria’s 2nd largest city after Munich. Upon arrival in Nuremberg check in to the Park Inn Hotel ****located in the heart of the city. (B)
Take a tour of Nuremberg – Max is in charge. Proceed to the infamous former Nazi Party Rally grounds of immense proportions that stand as vivid testimony of the megalomania of the National Socialist regime. Visit Courtroom 600 at the Palace of Justice, the site of the “Nuremberg Trials”, where Nazi war criminals were sentenced to death by the International Military Tribunal in late 1945.
Enjoy a walking tour through Old Town Nuremberg. Once a center of the Holy Roman Empire, and a cradle of the German Renaissance Explore the enchanting Old Town with its fantastic regional food and drink, and the greatest Christmas Markets in Germany.
Dinner at Zum Gulden Stern will be the perfect finale to your Germany visit. (B,D)
Nuremberg – Munich – Iceland Northern Lights
Depart Nuremberg for Munich Riem Airport. Say your goodbyes to Maximilian. Checkin for your flight to Iceland by Icelandair. You will arrive in the afternoon at Keflavik Airport, Iceland. Your Iceland guide, Eythor Bjorgvinsson will meet you upon arrival at Keflavik. Eythor will be your guide for your entire stay in Iceland. Drive 2 hours to Southern Iceland and arrive at cozy Hotel Laekur. Your hotel is located in the perfect place to observe the Northern Lights – away from all city lights. Enjoy a hearty “Welcome to Iceland Dinner”. Before turning in after an eventful day you have a choice between a seat at the bar, sauna or outdoors hot tub – a perfect place to gaze at the spectacular Northern Lights. (B,D)
Geysir Geothermal Area – Gullfoss – Reykjavik
Drive to Geysir Geothermal area, where you will see any number of bubbling, spouting and boiling hot springs in eerie moonlike landscapes. Visit Geysir, the first geyser for which all geysers are named. See Strokkur geysir erupting every 4-8 minutes. Drive on to nearby Gullfoss, the majestic waterfall, one of the world´s most scenic. Lunch at Friðheimar Farm an amazing greenhouse complex, followed by a horse show that provides an insight into the story of the remarkable Icelandic horse breed. Enjoy a “Meeting with the Horses.” Continue to the Thingborg Wool Center where you can buy beautiful Icelandic sweaters, scarfs, mittens, etc.
The final drive will take you to Reykavik, Iceland’s lively and colorful capital. Check-in to the Center Hotel Plaza on Main Street, within walking distance to shopping and attractions. Dinner at Geysir Bistro located around the corner from your hotel. (B,L,D)
Breakafast at Hotel Plaza and be off with Eythor for a tour of Reykjavik and see all the major city attractions. The afternoon is free without a program. You might wish to try an Icelandic hot dog for lunch; a treat with a difference. Ask for a hot dog with everything – absolutely superb and a must do while in Reykjavik.
Your “Farewell to Iceland” dinner will be served at Matarkjallarinn (the Food Cellar). This is a popular meeting place for locals, “where Food is for the Body and Music for the Soul”. (B,D)
Reykjavik – Blue Lagoon – Return Home
Breakfast at the Center Hotel Plaza and then depart Reykjavik for Reykjanes Peninsula, where both the Blue Lagoon and Keflavik Airport are located. Arrive at the Blue Lagoon for a optional visit and dip (2 hours) in this spectacular outdoor spa oasis. Tour members who opt not to visit the Blue Lagoon will proceed to Keflavik Airport and early check-in for their flight to the United States.
There is lots of interesting shopping as well as a wide choice of restaurants for lunch to enjoy prior to your afternoon flight to the various destinations in the U.S. and Canada. (B)