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Christmas Markets of the Rhine

4.3 stars(17 reviews)
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Experience Germany’s renowned markets on a luxurious cruise

5 days From £895 £845 per person
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2023 Tour code: RLM24

About the tour

Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas as you float along the mighty Rhine, discovering fairytale Germany at the most magical time of the year. The twinkling lights and enticing aromas of Germany's renowned Christmas markets, the natural beauty of the Rhine Gorge, and a host of festive treats await and we experience it all from the luxury of our floating hotel.


What’s included


Day 1 - London and Cologne

We meet at our Departure Office in London St Pancras and depart by Eurostar to Brussels, continuing by train to Cologne. Here, we board our luxurious cruise ship, either the MS Amadeus Imperial or Silver II, which at this time of the year is bedecked in all its Christmas finery. We are treated to a welcome cocktail on board ahead of a delicious dinner.

Tonight, we settle in to the elegant surrounds of our ship as we set sail on the mighty Rhine towards Rüdesheim.

  • Dinner
Day 2 - Sailing the Rhine Gorge to Rüdesheim

We enjoy a sumptuous breakfast on board as we sail through the ancient landscapes of the Rhine Gorge. Soak up the breathtaking views of centuries-old castles, emerald green forests, and the imposing Lorelei Rock, a legendary rock which soars almost 500 feet out of the water. This geological monument has been the inspiration for countless myths and legends throughout the years, from tales of dwarves living under the rocks, to a siren who lures sailors to their deaths.

This afternoon, we arrive in the chocolate-box town of Rüdesheim, in the heart of the Rhine Valley. Rüdesheim is a quintessential German town surrounded by vineyards which produce the dry white wine the area is famous for. The half-timbered medieval houses and narrow cobbled streets of Rüdesheim evoke a wonderful sense of nostalgia, which is particularly evident at Christmas when the town comes alive with festive cheer.

Rüdesheim's unique Christmas markets are found in the town's historic centre and offer up an enticing variety of international goods from across 12 nations. You have some time to explore, wander amongst the stalls shopping for gifts, or treat yourself to a Rüdesheim Coffee, a delicious beverage made with local Asbach Uralt Brandy and served with whipped cream.

Be sure to stroll along the world-famous Drösselgasse, a vibrant street in the heart of the Old Town lined with quirky pubs, cafés, and wine cellars. Back on board, we enjoy a warming glass of mulled wine in the Panorama Lounge, accompanied by the joyful sound of Christmas carols. After dinner is served, the rest of your evening is at leisure in Rüdesheim - perhaps head back to the Drösselgasse and find a traditional pub to cosy up in for the night.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - To Koblenz

We bid farewell to Rüdesheim this morning and set sail for Koblenz, cruising back through the attractive scenery of the Rhine Gorge. Keep a look out for the striking Lorelei Rock as we enjoy a gingerbread making demonstration in the lounge this morning, discovering how this tasty festive treat is made.

We arrive in Koblenz after lunch, a beautifully preserved town which dates to the time of the Romans. On arrival, we embark on a guided walking tour of the town's most famous sights, seeing the monument to unified Germany at Deutsches Eck, or 'German Corner', and The Basilica of St. Castor, the oldest church in Koblenz. Following this, you have time to explore at your own pace. You could visit one of the popular wine taverns or explore the Christmas markets.

Back on board this evening, we enjoy a highlight of our holiday at a spectacular Christmas-themed gala dinner. Choosing from 2 delectable menus - traditional German or traditional British - we either immerse ourselves in festive cuisine with duck consommé, braised goose leg, and pear and marzipan strudel, or enjoy the home comforts of a traditional British Christmas dinner, complete with roast turkey, pigs in blankets, and Christmas pudding with brandy butter.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - To Bonn and Cologne

Leaving Koblenz this morning, we sail toward Bonn, birthplace of world-famous composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. On arrival, we step back in time with a guided tour of the winding, history-filled streets. We see the impressive Beethoven monument and lovely Hofgarten Park. We continue to the Minster - one of Germany's oldest churches, built between the 11th and 13th centuries - under the shadow of which sits Bonn's Christmas markets. The markets are delightful, transforming the city with the golden glow of their fairy lights. To add to the festivities, in December the town hall is transformed into an enormous Advent Calendar with a different window lit up each day throughout the month - a lovely sight to behold.

Back on board, we enjoy lunch as we sail back to Cologne. This afternoon, we enjoy a delightful Christmas-themed afternoon tea, sampling festive classics including mince pies, stollen, gingerbread, pigs in blankets, turkey and stuffing sandwiches, and of course, mulled wine.

On arrival in Cologne, you have free time to enjoy Cologne's magnificent markets. One of the gems in the crown of Germany's world-renowned markets, Cologne has an excellent 7 bustling markets to choose from, each with their own unique character. Its main and perhaps most impressive, the Cathedral Christmas Market, is found against the striking backdrop of Cologne's Gothic Cathedral and boasts around 160 wooden stalls draped in fairy lights and selling everything from wood-carved gifts and artisan soaps to delicious local delicacies. We enjoy a final dinner on board this evening.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Cologne and London

After breakfast this morning, we transfer by coach to the station. Travelling by rail, we journey to Brussels to join the Eurostar to London St Pancras, where our festive holiday comes to an end.

  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.




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4.3 stars4.3 / 5 · 17 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star

B Vasudaven

5 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021

Fantastic holiday filled with enjoyable activities, good food and fellowship. Well organised. Very helpful professional staff and crew. Only wish we had checked out a couple of hours later and had a 2 hrs city tour of Cologne on the last day . Very pleased.

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L Brobson

4 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021


Collected by Trustpilot


1 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021

I wish for a manager to contact me

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs Edwards We are pleased that we have been able to resolve the matter and look forward to seeing you on tour at the end of 2022. Best wishes Karen
1 comment

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Sue Edwards

5 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021

Due to COVID certain restrictions had to be adhered to but on the whole everything was good and the Amadeus was a beautiful ship with efficient friendly staff

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S Warden

4 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021

It is difficult to be overly critical as GRJ are operating in very difficult times, so it must be as frustrating for them as it was for us. Overall we enjoyed the trip very much. The ship was lovely and the staff and food was fantastic. The entertainment could have been better and the ship could maybe have made to look a lot more Christmasy. Due to restrictions and some Christmas markets having barely any market, I feel that more time should have been afforded to Cologne, which had fantastic markets and was a great cultural City to spend time in. Although travelling down the Rhine to Rudesheim was lovely, the place itself was disappointing without any markets to visit. In view of this GRJ did operate an alternative trip to Mainz, but the pick up and drop of points were unrealistic and meant that time to explore was limited. Under normal non COVID circumstances I am sure the Markets are amazing, but the markets in a couple of the stops were more or less non existent. Although not quiet the break we originally booked, it was still fantastic to get away from the madness and relax as we travelled down and up the Rhine.

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David Stevens re Salcombe PPC

5 stars

Submitted 22 Dec 2021

Good trip. Form filling only possible with the help from the guide. More help should have come from head office. Several phone call had to be made for assistance.

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Christmas Markets of the Rhine

Experience Germany’s renowned markets on a luxurious cruise


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