Each winter with the arrival of the holiday season comes a plethora of familiarities: sweet aromas from baked goods, colorful lights, and decorations, family traditions. It is easy to see why it is called the most wonderful time of year. What if you tried something a little different this season, though? Perhaps journey to the Christmas Markets of Europe or ring in your New Year aboard the rails of an iconic railway; try your hand at skiing in the Canadian Rockies or discover the beauty of Canada’s largest cities as they are decorated to greet the coming holidays. Join your traditions with those of the world with any one of the best holiday season getaways offered by Vacations By Rail.
1. Christmas in the Rockies
Spend Christmas surrounded by the snow-capped majesty of the Canadian Rockies with this 11-day Christmas in the Rockies tour. Your journey begins in Vancouver, where you are embraced by the liveliness that comes with Christmastime in the city. Twinkling lights and festive music add a unique ambiance to your independent sightseeing time. It is also in Vancouver that you board VIA Rail’s premier overnight train, the Canadian, for an overnight journey into the Canadian Rockies. You will see the alpine town of Jasper and the iconic hamlet of Lake Louise, with ample time to enjoy winter sports, the local spas and the quiet serenity of the landscape. Christmas is spent in Banff, which is located the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is surrounded by the lush evergreen forests and snowy mountains of Banff National Park. The seasonal amenities offered in each destination, the luxurious accommodations and the incredible views you will enjoy as you travel make this holiday trip one to remember for years to come.
2. European Christmas Markets
Spend ten days taking in the joyous atmosphere that can only be experienced in Europe’s Christmas Markets on this holiday tour. The journey takes you through two cities in Germany and two in Austria, all of which offer an amazing look at Christmas festivities in Europe. You will begin your tour in Nuremberg, where gothic cathedrals and medieval structures are further romanticized by sparkling lights, spiced aromas, and centuries-old traditions. From here, the tour moves by train to Munich, where you will be greeted by a massive Christmas tree and even more spectacular local arts, performances, and delicacies at the Christmas market. Moving to Austria, Salzburg’s Christmas markets are intertwined with amazing historic sites, beautiful buildings, and unmatched culture. The final stop of the tour makes what is perhaps the most diverse: Vienna. Here, you will have the opportunity to enjoy up to 20 Christmas markets while seeing some of the most special sites of the city illuminated in the colorful glow of lights. What an unbelievable holiday experience.
3. Pacific Northwest at Christmastime
Connect two of the Pacific Northwest’s most incredible destinations by train on the Pacific Northwest and Christmastime tour. Another one of the best holiday season getaways Vacations By Rail has to offer; this 7-day journey begins in the Emerald City, Seattle. Spend three days seeing the most popular sites throughout the city, Snoqualmie Falls, a winery and more. There are decorated trees and Christmas lights strung throughout the city, and there is even a Christmas tree made of lights atop the iconic Space Needle! From Seattle, you will travel to Vancouver via Amtrak’s Cascades. The scenic route will take you up the coastline, past islands, and through dense forests. As you arrive in Vancouver, another holiday wonderland awaits your exploration. In addition to taking a festive, Christmas light-illuminated walk along the famed Capilano Suspension Bridge and setting out on a full day tour that highlights the Gulf Islands and Victoria and the Butchart Gardens’ beautiful holiday displays, you will also have free time to enjoy the numerous Christmas markets that can be found all throughout the city. Take a gander at local crafts, taste traditional cookies, and holiday drinks, and find yourself lost in the spirit of Christmas on this tour.
4. Montreal & Quebec - Holiday
Six days is all you need to fall in love with two of Canada’s most exciting historic cities on our Montreal & Quebec - Holiday tour. You will enjoy guided touring through popular landmarks and locales in each destination, as well as free time to enjoy holiday festivities and pursue your interests independently. The journey begins in Montreal, which is transformed by the holidays, as white snow accentuates the varied architecture and thousands of twinkling lights illuminate the streets. You will see more than 200 points of interest on a guided tour through the city before moving to the next destination, Quebec. The charm of this French-inspired destination is undeniable and combined with the glow of colorful lights and the calm of the snow, it becomes one of the very best places to spend the holiday season. As you see the sites on your guided city tour, you will also enjoy beautifully decorated buildings and storybook-like ambiance. The European influences of Quebec City mean there are Christmas markets to explore and plenty of festive treats and activities to enjoy. Two great cities - one magical journey.
5. The Golden Eagle Danube Express - New Year in Vienna
Ring in the coming of the new year as you travel through Central Europe on the Golden Eagle Danube Express - New Year in Vienna tour. Over the course of 8 days, you will see cities such as Budapest, Vienna, and Prague and will enjoy views of lakes, national parks, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and more. Guided tours enhance your experiences throughout the journey, and you are also allotted leisure time to see the sites and festive markets on your own. Your trip begins in Budapest with two days of touring before boarding the Golden Eagle Danube Express bound for Keszthely. From Keszthely, it is onto Graz and then Vienna, where you will experience a wondrous New Year’s Eve celebration at the town hall. On New Year’s Day, the festivities continue with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the city and a concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Back on the train, move toward Prague, with a stop in Cesky Krumlov along the way. You will have a full day to enjoy Prague before the train moves back into Hungary - stopping in 15th century Kosice before arriving in Budapest. An iconic train, beautiful traditions, fantastic excursions and a mixture of lesser-seen and beloved cities: What a way to celebrate!
Whether you desire to travel within the United States, to Canada or through Europe, wintertime is filled with adventures when traveling on a tour from Vacations By Rail. Contact one of our Rail Specialists for your next holiday season getaway.