Magical Christmas Markets

December 1, 2024 - December 11, 2024
Apply Now

Journey Overview

Join us as a fellow traveler on a magical journey through Old World Christmas markets. You are sure to delight in the enchanting atmosphere of select Christmas markets large and small in Germany and France. For the first half of our Magical Christmas Markets journey we will stay in the wonderful city of Weimar, Germany at the incredible Hotel Elephant located on the town square with the Christmas market just outside the front door of our hotel. From Weimar, we will venture to Christmas markets in places like Erfurt and Leipzig. To begin the second half our journey we will travel to captivating Strasbourg, France where we will embark on a delightful, all-inclusive river cruise along the Rhine River. Our ports of call will allow us excursions to several Christmas markets as well as wonderful cultural attractions such as the Gutenberg Museum and a music box museum. Our Magical Christmas Markets journey features wonderful food, great wine, culture, and of course, will be highlighted by the sights, sounds, and smells of magical Christmas markets.

Your Host for the Journey

Mike Malone is the founder and CEO of National Tour Association and Faith Travel Association member Purposeful Journeys. Mike serves as a member of the Faith Travel Advisory Group. Mike spent a decade in marketing and sales before serving two decades as a parish pastor. He has developed and taught university courses in history, delivered public lectures, and presented at international academic conferences. Mike holds an undergraduate degree from Valparaiso University, a Master of Divinity from Concordia Seminary–St. Louis, and graduate degrees from Saint Louis University and the University of Chicago. Mike, and his wife, Kathy, have been married almost 25 years. They have two sons, Patrick and Sam. Patrick has worked as a marketing specialist at Purposeful Journeys for several years. He attends Valparaiso University where he studies business and engineering. Sam is a Midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. Mike and Kathy also count their little three-pawed, 14-year-old Easter as part of the family


Become a Journey Host

If you are interested in hosting a purposeful journey like this one, click the button below to Share Your Dream. Or, if you want to learn more about what it means to Be a Host, click the button below

Day 1 – Wheels up!
Sunday, December 1, 2024

Magical Christmas Markets fellow travelers depart on an overnight flight to Germany.

Day 2 - Willkommen! Welcome to Germany!
Monday, December 2, 2024

Upon our arrival in Germany, we will travel to our beautiful four-star hotel where we will have time to unpack, relax, or maybe even explore a bit before we gather for our spectacular welcome dinner. D

Day 3 - Germany’s Center for Music
Tuesday, December 3, 2024

Today, we travel to Leipzig where we will explore the rich musical and cultural heritage of this incredible city. After lunch, we will tour the renowned St. Thomas Church where Johann Sebastian Bach provided his musical leadership of for nearly three decades. St. Thomas Church is also recognized as a key rallying point during the fall of the Berlin Wall. After lunch, you may choose to explore more of Leipzig’s rich musical heritage by visiting nearby sites on the Leipzig Music Trail. You will also want to explore the city center of Leipzig and the Christmas Market.

B, L

Day 4 - Medieval Majesty
Wednesday, December 4, 2024

After a wonderful breakfast, we will travel a short distance to Erfurt, Germany. Erfurt was situated at the economic crossroads of the medieval world, and remains today a thriving city. We will visit the Augustinian monastery where Martin Luther lived as a monk in the in the early sixteenth century.  Our exploration of this fascinating town will include some shopping on the famous Merchant’s Bridge which is the oldest inhabited bridge north of the Alps. In the afternoon, enjoy free time to explore one of the best Christmas markets in Germany situated near the stunning Erfurt cathedral. We will return to Weimar for a fantastic dinner at a local restaurant. B, L, D

Day 5 - Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Beautiful Things
Thursday, December 5, 2024

Today, we will visit the city of Wittenberg where Martin Luther lived, wrote, preached and taught for much of his life. Our time in Wittenberg will present opportunities to visit fascinating places such the Castle Church and City Church as well as the house where the Luther family lived for many years. Wittenberg features the unique Market of Beautiful Things as well as a Christmas Market on the square, among other Wittenberg cultural attractions. We will enjoy dinner in Wittenberg before returning to Weimar.

B, L, D

Day 6 - Time to Set Sail
Friday, December 6, 2024

We will check out of the beautiful Hotel Elephant after breakfast.  We will travel to Strasbourg, France where we will begin our Rhine River Christmas market cruise. After settling into our cabins, we will be offered a welcome cocktail as we are introduced to our crew. Then, after a wonderful dinner on board, we can enjoy an evening of celebration that includes a taste of Christmas in the form of Bredeles—Alsatian holiday cookies.  We will cruise through the night. B, L, D

Day 7 - Romantic Rhine and Rüdesheim
Saturday, December 7, 2024

We will wake up to sights of dramatic ruins, scenic vineyards, and majestic fortresses as we cruise along the Rhine River before visiting the picturesque village of Rüdesheim. This medieval village is lined with narrow, cobblestone streets and half-timbered homes. There we will enjoy Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet showcasing 350 self-playing, mechanical music boxes and the Rüdesheim Christmas market featuring one of the largest nativity scenes in Europe. After dinner, you may take a walk down the Drosselgasse, lined with numerous cafés and bars where we will also be offered a taste the exquisite Rüdesheimer Kaffee. B, L, D

Day 8 - Gutenberg Bible and Christmas Carousel
Sunday, December 8, 2024

In the morning, we cruise to Mainz where we will tour the city and sights such as the magnificent 1,000-year-old Saint-Martin’s Cathedral and the Gutenberg Museum, which houses two copies of the Gutenberg Bible. We will enjoy free time to visit the colorful Christmas market with its larger-than-life Christmas carousel before heading back to the ship. After our tour of Mainz, we will enjoy lunch on the ship and spend our afternoon cruising to Gambsheim. Tonight we will enjoy our festive gala evening onboard our ship. We will cruise through the night. B, L, D

Day 9 - Crystalware, Alsatian cuisine, and Markets
Monday, December 9, 2024

Once we arrive in Gambsheim, we will depart for Wingen-sur-Moder where we will visit the Musée Lalique to learn about crystalware-genius René Lalique. The instantly recognizable style of Lalique was a major influence in the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements. We return to our ship where we will enjoy lunch onboard as we cruise to Strasbourg. Once we arrive in Strasbourg, we are free to explore and admire the lights around the city as well as  to visit several Christmas markets. We will be greeted with a glass of mulled wine when we return to the ship and a night in port. B, L, D

Day 10 – Frankfurt’s Market
Tuesday, December 10, 2024

We will enjoy breakfast onboard our ship on the last morning of our cruise before we disembark. Once we depart our beautiful ship, we will travel to Frankfurt, Germany and time permitting, we will explore the Christmas market in Frankfurt before checking into our hotel and gathering for a wonderful farewell dinner.

B, D

Day 11 - The Formal End to Our Journey Together
Wednesday, December 11, 2024

The memories you make will indeed last a lifetime. We hope your conversation, and therefore your journey, will continue with your new friends. Our journey concludes, formally, with the departure of our flight home.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included



The purpose of this fun, fascinating encounter with Christmas traditions will be to prepare us for a wonderful Christmas celebration when we return home.

Our time in Germany and cruise on the Rhine will feature the rich history of cities with a medieval past, interactions with artists and craftspeople in a wide variety of Christmas markets, and stunning scenery. Our excursions to museums, churches, and historic sights highlight religious ideas that were birthed in Germany as well as music, artistry, and craftsmanship.  Enhancing our delectable tastes of history, culture, and cuisine we enjoy engagement in Christmas traditions and unforgettable gastronomic experiences on land and on the ship.

Our Philosophy

We hope you will measure the quality of your journey, not by the quantity of sights you see, but by the invaluable experiences you absorb.

Balance of stimulating experience, serious reflection…
…and just plain fun.

One word describes our intention for your journey: balance. We believe each place we visit should relate to whole story, the arc of a narrative. We believe in creating journeys formed and shaped as narratives; journeys that are serious, purposeful, and fulfilling with time to reflect with fellow travelers or alone while providing opportunity for experiences that are just plain fun.

Expert interaction and rich personal encounters

Rather than a trip led by a tour guide trained to disseminate information from a script, we endeavor to seek experts to lead you on a journey who are available as a resource for as much depth as you desire or to leave you to your own reflection.

One beautiful base location

Too often, group travel can leave you feeling like you are part of a herd of a large group of strangers hustled from sight to sight, packing and unpacking everyday of your trip. With us you will usually stay in one beautiful location that serves as a base for our excursions. Changing hotels as few times as possible during a journey allows greater opportunity to experience people and culture.

Meticulously planned; yet flexible journey

How does a trip become a journey? Carefully selected excursions that form a narrative, staying in one beautiful base location, with time and flexibility for reflection, and activities that are just plain fun.

Cuisine as a delectable complement to culture and conversation

Cuisine, and the wonderful dining experiences we share in an eclectic array of venues, provide a delectable complement to your rich encounters with the culture and the delightful conversation you enjoy with fellow travelers.



Flight Information

As a fellow traveler, you will have the flexibility to choose how you will join your cohort to formally begin your journey. Purposeful Journeys marks the formal beginning of your journey with the welcome reception and dinner at our destination hotel. You will have three options to join your cohort of fellow travlers. Below are the options for joining your cohort with the primary advantage for each option:

  1. Join Your Cohort on Our Group Flight: On most journeys, Purposeful Journeys will arrange a group flight from a major airport in closest proximity and convenience for the majority of the cohort. The group flight will include a transfer from the destination airport to the hotel.
    Advantage: This is often the most cost effective and certainly the most convenient option.
  2. Meet Your Cohort at the Destination Airport: For a number of reasons, you may want to choose a flight other than the group flight and still meet your cohort in time to transfer from the destination airport to the hotel. Fellow travelers who choose this option will incur an additional cost for the transfer from the destination airport to the destination hotel.
    Advantage: Fellow travelers may find a balance between the convenience of choosing their own flight from an origination airport other than the airport where the group flight will depart while still taking advantage of the group transfer to the destination hotel.
  3. Meet Your Cohort at the Destination Hotel: As a fellow traveler, you may want to choose to meet your cohort at the destination hotel in time for the formal beginning of your journey with the welcome reception and dinner.
    Advantage: This option offers fellow travelers the most flexibility. Fellow travelers will need to weigh the flexibility of this option with what will likely be additional costs.

Group flights will usually be announced between 60 and 120 days prior to departure of your purposeful journey. Fellow travelers will be kindly requested to choose the option for meeting their cohort to formally begin their journey soon after group flight arrangements are announced.


We will stay at the beautiful Hotel Elephant in Weimar, Germany for the first half, land part of our journey. We will be sailing with CroisiEurope on a river cruise for the second half of our journey.

Ground Transportation

Ground transportation by deluxe travel coach will be provided throughout the journey. Transfers to and from the arrival flight into and departing flight from Europe may be provided as specified in the final itinerary.


Most meals are included in this purposeful journey. Dining in Europe tends to be as much of a leisurely event as a means of taking sustenance. Meals provide time for us to relax, to take in the culture, and discuss all that we have seen and experienced as fellow travelers that day. See the current, tentative itinerary for details.

Sightseeing and Events

This purposeful journey includes entrance fees to attractions as specified in the final itinerary. All excursions on our river cruise are included.




Discounts Available:
  • PriceLand Only Cost—$4,150 (Please be sure to check for current discounts and incentives!) Current Discounts and Incentives:
    • Ask about the host discount of up to $300
    • Settle your balance in full by the due date of your first payment and receive a discount of $150
    • Make payments by check instead of credit card and receive a discount of $150.

Your journey includes:

  • Deluxe coach transportation throughout your itinerary
  • Double occupancy hotel room ($1100 single supplement)
  • Meals as specified in the final itinerary
  • Admission fees as specified in the final itinerary
  • Only goods, services, or activities as explicitly included in the General Terms and Conditions.

Your journey does not include:

  • Airfare to and from  the destination city
  • Gratuities for service staff, coach driver(s) and guides
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, after dinner drinks
  • Travel insurance
  • Any goods, services, or activities expressly excluded in the General Terms and Conditions.

When approved as a fellow traveler. . .

…you will receive an invoice for the journey and a remittance schedule from Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC along with a link to a password protected page on our website that will offer details and updates about your journey.

Remittance Schedule:
  • Payments due as specified in your remittance schedule.
  • Final payment must be received no later than the date specified on your invoice and remittance schedule.
General Terms and Conditions

Malone Clan Expeditions, LLC will administer your journey. You must accept the General Terms and Conditions at the time you submit your application. Please refer to the General Terms and Conditions for any applicable additional fees that may apply in certain situations and circumstances such as any deviation from the group flight itinerary or your requirement of a single room.

We cordially invite you to apply to join us as a fellow traveler

Our journey application process has changed. We now offer Cancel-For-Any-Reason (CFAR) travel insurance for about the cost of Basic travel insurance. We no longer collect any deposit at the time you submit your application.

Your application now requires a decision on travel insurance. Your application will not be deemed complete until you have either declined to purchase NTA Travel Connect travel insurance or paid your travel insurance invoice. Once you complete your application form, you will receive a quote from Purposeful Journeys for CFAR travel insurance. Your quote will be about the cost of Basic Travel insurance. You will also receive a more detailed explanation about NTA Travel Protect travel insurance. By using this process Purposeful Journeys can guarantee that fellow travelers purchase their CFAR travel insurance policy within the 14-day window allotted for purchasing CFAR travel insurance. You may also decline your purchase of travel insurance.

We are delighted you are taking the step of submitting your application to become a member of a journey with us. We look forward to notifying you of your acceptance as a fellow traveler.

Ask a Question

You can contact us to ask a question here.

Contact Us

Plan Your Journey

Learn about detail such as the weather, baggage rules, currency exchange rates and other details to help you plan your journey.

Plan Your Journey
Fellow Travelers

If you are a fellow traveler on this journey, find important relevant information here.

Fellow Travelers
Travel Insurance

We now offer a new travel insurance benefit. You can now purchase a Cancel-For-Any-Reason travel insurance policy for about the cost of a Basic travel insurance policy. Learn more by clicking the link(s) below:

Our New Travel Insurance Benefit

Learn More about NTA Travel Protect

Stay in Touch

Stay in touch form information about destinations as well as the latest travel news and research.

Sign up For Mailing List

Make a Payment

You can make a payment toward the cost of your journey here.

Pay Now

Copyright 2024 © Purposeful Journeys | All Rights Reserved