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This winter, see the charming places where many of the great Christmas-time traditions originated. Begin in Munich and enjoy a tour highlighting the landmarks of this energetic city, including Nymphenburg Palace and Marienplatz Square, cultural center of the city, dominated by the impressive Town Hall and its ornate Glockenspiel. Spend the rest of the day enjoying the festive spirit at the Christmas Market.

Admire the fairytale Linderhof Palace and visit Oberammergau, then cross into Austria and journey to Innsbruck to view the 15th century Golden Roof, an iconic symbol of the city, and the Wilten Basilica. Travel to the tiny storybook Principality of Liechtenstein and its capital Vaduz, then view the thunderous Rhine Waterfall in Schaffhausen. Head north for the Black Forest region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty.

Enjoy an excursion to the Alsace capital of Strasbourg, starting at the stunning Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, housing one of the finest astronomical clocks in existence. Explore the magical La Petite France district, home to quaint shops and charming bistros, and the Place Kleber, heart of France’s largest and oldest Christmas market, the Marches de Noel. Stroll the stalls that stretch as far as the eye can see, with artisans showing off their hand-crafted wares and streets aglow with lights.

Head for charming Heidelberg and wander around the imposing red sandstone ruins of mighty Heidelberg Castle. Enjoy a cruise on the scenic Rhine River, seeing stunning vistas of hilltop castles, terraced vineyards and villages of timber-framed houses along the course of the river. Pass the mighty Lorelei rock, rising vertically from the waters, and stop along the route for wine tasting at a local vineyard, before returning to Mainz. Lastly, walk through the Christmas market with festively decorated stands offering Christmas specialties of home-made garlands and straw stars, tree decorations, wooden toys, carvings, ceramics, candles and much more.