Christmas cheer & Alpine charm
Surrounded by the Dolomite Mountains dotted with slumbering vineyards, and with its festive market deservedly earning it a reputation for as a fantastic Christmas destination, delightful Merano is the perfect base for a memorable holiday, completed by some wonderful included and optional excursions.
WHAT DOES THE PRICE INCLUDE?
Fly to Venice, meet your Tour Manager and head north across the Veneto. En route you'll pass historic Trento and journey into the Alto-Adige, where the villages become increasingly Austrian and, despite this being Italy, German is widely spoken. Settle into your hotel in Merano, and enjoy dinner this evening.
Day Two (Christmas Eve)
Today brings opportunities to rest and relax at your hotel, or perhaps to take a stroll into the centre of Merano, a celebrated spa town that was once the favoured refuge of Austrian Empress 'Sissi'. Enjoy a morning visit to the town's wonderful Christmas market, where the aromas of gluhwein and delicious apfel strudel, and the sound of Christmas music waft through the air. Wander from stall to stall, each laden with traditional handicrafts or regional delicacies, and perhaps taste smoked raw pork, local cheeses or a slice of schlossbeck a traditional country-style bread.
An optional excursion today heads north across the Brenner Pass to Tyrolean capital Innsbruck, where highlights will include elegant Marie-Theresien-Strasse and the city's historic Altstadt.
Return to the hotel to begin your Christmas celebrations.
Day Three (Christmas Day)
A memorable day includes a morning visit to Bolzano, known as the 'Italian Capital of Christmas' for its picture-postcard streets and alleyways, and famed as an important wine-producing town.
There may be the chance for a morning coffee and slice of traditional apfel strudel in a cafe, before you return to the hotel, to enjoy a traditional Christmas Turkey lunch. In the evening, enjoy a celebration gala with music to round off a perfect Christmas Day.
Day Four (Boxing Day)
Today, enjoy your second included excursion, spent amongst the majestic Dolomites, cloaked in their winter raiment. As well as the chance to enjoy some of Europe's most dramatic scenery, there'll be a chance to soak up the warmth of some of the Alto-Adige towns and villages along the way.
A final optional excursion is to Romeo and Juliet's fair Verona, on the banks of the River Adige. Wander the maze of medieval streets and the marbled Piazza Bra that sits in the shadow of the vast Roman amphitheatre, before you return to the hotel for a last evening.
Bid farewell to your hosts, and transfer back to airport for the return flight.
European closing times
Shops in Europe will generally close from early afternoon on Christmas Eve until 27th December. Included tours and excursions have been chosen for their scenic or historic value.
Hotel transfer times
The transfer time from the airport to your hotel is approximately 3 hours.
Combining hotel transfers
We sometimes need to combine transfers to and from your hotel. We always try to keep any wait to a minimum, but you may be asked to wait at the airport for up to an hour, while other incoming flights arrive, before the transfer to your hotel. Similarly, we may need to transfer you back to the airport up to three hours before your flight home departs.
If you have notified us of any special requirements, please check that they have been noted and acknowledged. This is especially important with any dietary needs you may have.
The majority of our tours involve a certain amount of walking, including a short walk from the coach stop to the town, attraction or venue you're visiting. If you are bringing a wheelchair, please let us know at the time of booking so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
Occasionally, for operational reasons, we may have to change the order of the excursions on your holiday. The final day-by-day itinerary will be confirmed on your Final Travel Documents, which you will receive approximately three weeks prior to your departure.
Please note that for two people travelling together on one booking, or a single traveller, one piece of hold luggage is included. Additional hold luggage may be purchased at the time of booking at a cost of £40 per bag.
Foreign Office travel advice
Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice to find out the latest Foreign And Commonwealth Office travel advice for your holiday destination, as well as information about passports and visas.