Dec '23 - How many Christmas markets is too many Christmas markets?

Hi friends, me again! I am not sure if our next Euro trip will involve a Disney trip (although if we can finagle DLP, you betcha I will be there) but there has been some increased chatter here around international travel so I’m looking for some advice if anyone has it. Europa Park is also on my short list so maybe it could be a theme park related trip…

We are planning to go to Germany/Italy/Switzerland/Austria (some combo of these) for Christmas of this year. We currently have December 26-31 booked in the Dolomites in Italy (red map dot). I’m looking to fill the time roughly before that (Dec 15-26) and after that (Jan 1-4) somewhere relatively nearby. We also need to stay close-ish to Germany for Christmas, so no Paris or Vienna for those couple of days. I honestly feel like I’m playing tetris with the dates because we are hamstrung between the holiday and the Italian piece. I also don’t want to move around 10 times. We will most likely be flying in and out of Munich.

Does anyone have a hidden gem that might interest us somewhere on this map? The Scots on here helped me SO much with our Scotland trip and I never, ever would have gone to Arran (our absolute favorite place in the world) without them. Thanks in advance!

Currently on the table:
Vienna (I studied abroad here but it might just be too far to go)
Nuremberg (supposedly has the best Christmas market)
Garmisch-Partinkirchen or Seefeld (ski areas)

[Dec update: We are doing Munich, Garmish-Partenkirchen and Italy! Itinerary posted]


Nearly 40 years ago we did a 2 week tour of parts of Europe in October. It was cheap and provided the transport between points of [their] interest. At those points of interest we’d branch off on our own.

One very favorite place was Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland. In October it was nicely uncrowded. The weather was lovely for walking. The tour was staying 3 or 4 days in Lausanne but I wanted to see the Schilthorn so DH and I bailed for the weekend. I was glad to experience the Schilthorn but fell in love with that valley.

Another place I liked was Innsbruck. I was particularly interested in the flood museum which was, unfortunately, closed. Due to flooding of the Inn. :smirk: TripAdvisor lists several other neat museums. Also, Innsbruck was like a family reunion - so many small-ish, round-ish bald fellows in white shirts at lunch places. My dad’s, dad’s, dad’s, etc, dad left Bavaria for North America.

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We love Tirol region in Austria, especially for skiing. Kitzbühel is one of the most beautiful resorts there, always worth a trip, especially for adults only (Hotel Tiefenbrunner right in the old town has tons of Austrian charm and a great spa). The past few years for family trips we’ve preferred to head to “Kinderhotels” (there are many in Austria, Germany and Switzerland) that offer amazing kids activities and free child care. In the Zillertal valley, we particularly love the Stock Resort and Mia Alpina Resort (the latter especially with younger kids/babies).

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I should have mentioned our first foray into Switzerland was Wengen which is right here. Total agreement about love for the valley. I could very easily be convinced to go back here again.

Thank you for these names! I will look at these. I love Kinderhotels! I wish this concept was a little more prevalent in the US. We stayed at one in Scotland.


I see Mannheim and Heidelberg are on your map. DH has made numerous trips to Mannheim for his job over the years. I was fortunate enough to tag along on his last trip. Mannheim is unusual for German cities in that its city center’s streets and avenues are laid out in a grid. The resulting address system for businesses there is very odd, until I got used to it. Those blocks have numbers, such as P4, and then all the places on it are numbered around the perimeter of that block. P4 8 is Alter Simpl, a good restaurant.

DH also spent a lot of time in the Modena, Italy area. Your trip sounds fascinating!


Despite sharing this sentiment I was not unhappy to instead travel/camp for weeks at a time every summer around the US and Canada with a couple of grandkids. Great times and good memories.


Excellent eye. My mother in law lives in Heidelberg (as did DH for half of his childhood) and my sister in law lives in Mannheim. Both great places.

This will be our first dip into Italy with a second, larger trip on the horizon in the next few years.


I’ve been to Lucerne and Zurich a few times. Both are great!

Also - have you spent any time in Munich before? Or have you just used it as a hub? I stayed there a few nights and there are some really cool sites and the old town is beautiful.

Keep us posted on what you decide. I always love following along!!


Yes! We’ve been to Munich a couple of times. DH’s closest cousin lives there. We’ve only been pre-kids though. It is definitely on the list for this trip. BMW World is calling the boys’ names! And I’m drooling now thinking about the Viktualienmarkt…

This is what I have right now but it’s still not feeling right. We did bookends of Paris but this feels a little Munich heavy and I wish I could squeeze another city in without a ton of travel.



My time in Switzerland was limited to the summer, but I recommend Schaffhousen or Konstanz as nice ‘hidden gems’ on the Swiss/German border. You can couple them with trips to the Schwarzenwald for a nice few days.

In Munich, I recommend the Residenz Museum. If your kids haven’t seen them yet, the castles of Ludwig that aren’t Neuschwanstein are great, especially around Christmas - Herrenchiemsee and Linderhof, and even Hohenschwangau (his childhood home).

Nuremburg is definitely worth the trip, and it doesn’t take very long by train. It’s the best Christkindlmarkt any time of year, especially near the actual holiday.


Funny I googled this to see where it was on the map and there are Linderhof condos in NH where we have stayed a few times. Definitely a sign that we should check it out in person! Looks very close to Garmisch.

The kids haven’t seen it but I did prefer Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein for sure. It’s annoying because I definitely want to do ALLLLL the Christmas stuff but I do think that Lake Constance would be way better in summer. So many decisions! Thank you for the tips!

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Update that we’ve landed on Garmisch-Partenkirchen! We went through many cities but ultimately found a very cute apartment here that’s right on a main pedestrian walkway. Can’t wait!!



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I have nothing to contribute to this except to say I LOVE your world travels!


I want to be in this picture!


Thank you! I will take lots of pictures. I hope we have decent snow.

It’s so hard planning these trips because I don’t have the support that I have here!


I hope you do!!


I need more help again!

We have lodging booked but flights are becoming frustrating. We are looking to go from Boston to Munich and are open to exploring alternate airports in either area. We got spoiled with our daytime flight to London last year and how much it helped with jet lag. JetBlue now goes to London and Paris so I’m taking a look at those options.

UK folks - how easy/hard would you say getting from London to Munich might be? I think it would be a combo Eurostar and then continental train ride? London at Christmas time sounds like an exciting layover option! (Still trying to squeeze DLP in there maybe.) @hodg @missoverexcited @Nicky_S @sanstitre_has_left_the_building Thank you!

For any train travel question, anywhere, I highly recommend the website For your specific question, check out this link: How to travel by train from London to Germany | London to Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg. The Eurostar to Paris route, followed by Paris-Munich, is one of several options outlined in detail (with timetables and photos of trains).

It’s not the fastest and probably not even the cheapest way to travel that route, but definitely the most environmentally friendly and with young kids it’s probably the most relaxed (I will always choose trains over flying if it’s a reasonable option).

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Holy cow, thank you! This is quite detailed. I think I might have gone on here for DLP train travel but this is incredible.

I need to see how many days this might realistically take. Both Brussels and Paris would be cool to stop at as well. But a ferry is also quite an interesting option.