One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this winter wonderland journey along the Rhine River, which starts in Switzerland with stops in France, Germany, and Holland! Each town is festively lit and decorated and strains of Christmas carols fill the air.Board your vessel in Basel, Switzerland, then head for Breisach, Germany, the gateway to the Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. Here’s your first chance to explore a Christmas market offering many traditional items. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where you’ll visit the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe and its centerpiece is a giant Christmas tree. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and watch the skaters on the ice rink below. Stop in Mainz for a guided walk and visit the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Next up is the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. You’re sure to be enthralled by the life-size figures of Europe’s largest nativity scene on the Market Square. Pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge before arriving in Cologne—your last stop in Germany. Here, you’ll explore the 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral. Wander through the Christmas market, try some traditional Lebkuchen and get some inner warmth with a cup of Glühwein.As an exclamation point to this wonderful Rhine river cruise, you’ll spend time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”
Day 1 Zürich–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome receptionDay 2 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a woodcarver’s workshop; Christmas marketDay 3 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; Christmas marketDay 4 Excursion to Heidelberg–Mainz: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat in Heidelberg; Christmas market; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz; Christmas marketDay 5 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim and enjoy a special treat; Christmas market; cruise through the Rhine GorgeDay 6 Cologne: guided city walk; Christmas marketDay 7 Amsterdam: canal cruiseDay 8 Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning
In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.Special features and day of operation are subject to change. Christmas markets are open from the first weekend in December, depending on the location.