Our Signature European Antique Tour
Fall Antiques Extravaganza — Shopping for Antiques, Vintage, Industrial and Design Objects Along Europe’s Hottest New Antique Trail, September 2018
A Bargain Hunt in Europe’s Attic — Shop off the grid where Americans never venture and buy where European dealers and designers buy…
Our Fall Antique Tour: 11 nights/12 days. Hand-picked historical hotels and inns… Tons of shops, wholesalers, barns and galleries plus three outstanding antique markets… The UNESCO World Heritage City of Bamberg, the Imperial City of Leipzig plus the nooks and crannies of Northern Bavaria, Eastern Germany and Belgium… Cultural and historical highlights, regional cuisine, luscious wines and one-of-a-kind beers. Featured in USA Today, Country Living and Australian House and Garden…
Think Safari! You’ll be part of a small group of simpatico, like-minded adventurers on a brisk, fun trek along the hidden back roads and byways of Central Europe and rural Belgium. Our fall antiques tour is designed to help you get the best out of your travel experience. We’ll be shopping for antiques, vintage, industrial, decorative arts, design objects, art, collectibles and other treasures way off the beaten path.
It’s Antiques Roadshow, “European Style”
Choicest Antique Fairs and Markets
We’ve timed our antique tour so you’ll be able to comb Germany’s top flea market as well as one of the best and largest antique fairs on the continent — it’s held only one day every year! You’ll shop at Germany’s best markets, which attract buyers from France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. We’re stretching the itinerary so you’ll also be able to visit choice antiques and design destinations in Belgium, where we’ll focus on the Flemish-speaking center and north of the country.
Shops and Large Dealers
We make it a point to include mom-and-pop antique shops, private collectors and dealers as well as larger venues and wholesale sellers in all our trips. Our travelers love this. It means you’ll see an immense variety of antiques, vintage items, art, estate finds and other objects at all points on the price spectrum — low-cost, mid-range and up-market. You’ll see Baroque and Biedermeier… Elegant and glam… Industrial Chic, Midcentury Modern, Country, and rustic, Modernism and Functionalism… Louis Philippe, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Black Forest… Paintings, sculpture and folk art… Edgy, offbeat, retro, found objects, kitsch, farm and kitchen… Clothing, linens and vintage textiles…Lighting, toys, dolls, books and ephemera… Everything you can imagine! Come with a friend, fellow dealer, collector or designer, family member or someone special who shares your passion.
We’ll start out traversing the old kingdoms of Franconia, Saxony and Thuringia. The area was home to outstanding artisans, furniture makers and artists. Virtually every one of the pioneering design movements held sway in this part of Europe, including Neo-Renaissance, Wiener Werkstätte, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Cubism, the Bauhaus style, Postwar Modernism and other styles. Antiques, estate treasures, design objects, art, décor, and other finds backed up in people’s houses, attics, cellars and barns for decades because there was no antiques market. An antiques trade has gradually emerged, but the market is still underdeveloped. You’ll find an immense selection of treasures to choose from. This is Europe’s Attic, and it’s emerging as the continent’s hottest new antiques, vintage and design circuit. We’ll also be traversing the antiques capitol of western Europe, Belgium. Stops include Brussels, Antwerp and several dealers in remote areas of central and western Flanders as well as Tongeren, the oldest town in Belgium, which has over 40 antique shops within its city walls. Our fall antiques getaway is designed to help you get the best out of your travel experience. Group container shipping is available on a shared-cost basis and it’s a good choice, whether you’re buying for your own use or for resale. Want to buy a lot? We can also arrange a solo container just for you.
The cities, small towns and villages on the circuit we’ve mapped out for this tour offer the most pocketbook-friendly antiques shopping we’ve found anywhere, which makes it a great area for a bargain hunt. As you would guess, prices at higher-end shops in the cities tend to be more than in the countryside, but even small shops offer bargains, so we won’t overlook them. The large dealers who cater to the trade usually have very reasonable prices. With the strong dollar, your budget goes even further. In addition, most of your purchases will be tax-free, so you’ll be paying less than local buyers.
You will be staying in small, comfortable boutique hotels and inns, many of them family-owned. We make it a point to carry the antique theme over to our choice of accommodations, so many of our hotels are located in historic and architecturally-significant buildings, such as city manor houses, castles, lodges or abbeys. All rooms have a private bathroom, including either a shower or bathtub. As you are aware, most hotel rooms in Europe are smaller than in North America. And your hotel may be missing a fitness center, ice machine, gift shop or some of the other features large U.S. hotels have, but it will have a “story” to tell. One night you may be sleeping in an Gasthof (inn) built in the Middle Ages which backs onto the city wall. Another night you may lay your head down in a former bishop’s palace or a 19th-century mill. You might be staying in a 16th-century castle one night, and a Medieval monastery another. We want you to know that we do not rely on brokers or incoming agents to make our hotel arrangements. We hand-select every one of the hotels and inns we use ourselves, balancing important factors, including comfort, atmosphere, location and price.
- Solo travelers, couples, or family and friends traveling together — dealers, designers, collectors or people new to antiques
- Start and end in Frankfurt
- Includes coordination, full itinerary, airport transfers, ground transportation, guide, hotels, nine meals, taxes and road-use fees, technical assistance, prep materials and much more
- Fully escorted by an experience dealer
- Two of Europe’s best and least-known markets, plus dealers, shops and choice trade sources
- Comfortable, hand-picked accommodations in small hotels and inns
- Optional group shipping
- Discount for two people traveling together
- Optional room sharing; single rooms available
$3495 per traveler (double occupancy); $345 single supplement.
Fluctuation in the price is possible, pending discussions with our coach company, but the final price will be in this range and will be available before the trip is confirmed.
This trip is a hands-on safari, not a white-glove affair. We’ll be visiting antiquing venues every day. Since we keep the group size small, we can be flexible and offer options that you would not get on large tour. We’re often able to tweak the schedule and add impromptu stops, stay longer at a shop or market or arrange extra activities if the group is interested. Need some “me time?” We’ll do our best to help you arrange a museum visit, concert or other activity that is not part of the core tour.
Day 1 Franconia, Northern Bavaria and the Vogtland (Germany)
We’ll pick you up at Frankfurt airport (or at your hotel if you’ve arrived the day before and spent the night in Germany). We have Franconia (northern Bavaria) in our sights for the first day, and will be visiting wholesale dealers and farmsteads in the countryside, north of Nürnberg. Lots of smalls, furniture, decorative arts and collectibles. Time permitting, we’ll have a private shopping opportunity at the home of a top linen and antique textile collector.
Day 2 Saxon Hill Towns in the Erzgebirge, Grünhainichen, Southeastern Saxony
The former East Germany is one of Europe’s richest antique hunting grounds. We’ll be exploring the antiques trail in remote hill towns and villages that time forgot. The first stop will be at a dealer who has multiple floors of antiques, smalls, decor, art, industrial and utilitarian antiques and estate finds in an 18th century mill. Prices are very reasonable. Another cute-as-a-button shop features folk art, items with original paint, Christmas antiques and collectibles as well as vintage linens. We’ll be making other antiquing stops later, and will finish the day, trawling for bargains in country warehouse.
Day 3 Leipzig
On to Leipzig! All-day bargain hunting at Germany’s biggest and best antiques and collectibles market. Leipzig is the best-kept secret on the European antiques scene. It attracts buyers from France, Belgium, Holland, Italy and other hotspots, but it is virtually unknown in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere outside Europe. Sellers set up in two huge hangar-like halls and a rambling outside park area at the old Communist-era tradegrounds. Art, antique furniture, estate finds, vintage treasures, collectibles, high-end, mid-market and low-cost antiques, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, decor, collectibles, country and rustic, Black Forest, industrial, textiles, vintage clothing, ceramics, ephemera, dolls, Christmas items and much more. One of our travelers compared it to the fabled antiques market in Massachusetts: “It’s like Brimfield on Steroids!”
Pfaffenhofen, Masing, Schweitenkirchen, in Bavaria
We’ll get an early start for the Pfaffenhofen market, a large high-quality antique fair in southern Germany that is one of the country’s best. Dealers from all over southern Germany and neighboring countries make the trek to Pfaffenhofen to sell. You’ll see decorative arts and smalls, furniture, collectibles, folk art, vintage items and estate finds of all kinds. Time permitting, we will visit a small flea market in Schweitenkirchen and a small market in Masing. Update: We may forego the Munich leg of the trip, because we are adding Belgium to the itinerary. We will update you on this after finalizing the itinerary with our coach company.
Day 5 Munich area and Upper Bavaria
In Munich, we’ll start out with a visit to the region’s largest antique center, in the Garching neighborhood, followed by a stop at two 20th-century dealers, if there is interest. Ride to Belgium.
Day 6 Flanders
Antiquing at wholesale and retail dealers in Antwerp, the port town of Belgium, the antiques capitol of western Europe. We’ll crawl antiques row for treasures and fine-tune the search with medium-size shops and warehouses in line with your interests.
Day 7 Flanders
The Brussels antique market and small-town antiquing in central Belgium is the focal point for for today’s hunt. We’ll visit small shops and country dealers in Lokeren, Sint-Niklaas, Bonheiden and other villages and towns in Flanders. Smalls, collectibles, furniture, estate finds, art, textiles, folk art, ceramics and decorative arts of all kinds.
Day 8 Flanders
Country dealers in central and west Flanders, including the antiques capitol, Tongeren, Turnhout, Hamont-Achel, Lommel and maybe as far west as Maastricht. We’ll be seeing decorative arts and smalls of all kinds, furniture, art, estate finds, country and industrial items, collectibles and much more.
Day 9 Flanders
Final stops at dealers in western Flanders, including Hasselt and Sint-Truiden, then ride to Bamberg.
Day 10 Bamberg
The medieval city of Bamberg is one of northern Bavaria’s most fascinating towns, and UNESCO has declared it a world cultural treasure. Today’s market is among the best in the country and it’s absolutely unique because it is held only one day per year. Dealer space is coveted and sells out far in advance. The market spills out across the old town, filling streets, squares and alleys with an unbelievably rich and diverse melange of antiques, decor, estate items, art, vintage items, collectibles, jewelry, toys, lighting, ceramics and everything you can imagine. We’ll spend the better part of the day bargain-hunting and re-group in the afternoon for the trip back to the Frankfurt area.
Day 11 Frankfurt Area and Return
We’ve spent the night east of Frankfurt, and will bring you to the airport for your return flight.
The itinerary is subject to change, depending on the availability of dealers, shop times and other factors. This is a popular trip and the size of the group is limited. Reserve now if you would like to join us this fall on the Antique Trail!
HOW TO RESERVE YOUR TOUR It’s easy. Click on the button below, fill out your reservation online and click “Send.”