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Christmas Markets of the Rhine

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5 days From £1,295 per person
4.5 stars(86 reviews)
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Rail & Cruise

Experience a magical Christmas cruise along the Rhine, indulging in the enchanting landscapes of the Rhine Gorge, exploring charming towns like Rüdesheim and Koblenz, and savouring festive delights from unique Christmas markets

2024 Tour code: RLM25

About the tour

Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas as we sail along the beautiful Rhine, discovering fairytale Germany at the most magical time of the year. As we sail, watch the quaint towns along the Rhine come to life with a warm glow of twinkling lights, transforming each stop into a mesmerising winter wonderland.

Breathe in the enticing scents of mulled wine, spiced gingerbread, and roasting chestnuts at Germany's Christmas markets - each one a treasure trove of handcrafted ornaments, delectable treats, and unique gifts. Stroll through the charming stalls, admiring the craftsmanship of local artisans and savouring the rich tapestry of flavours that define the season.

Drifting through the stunning Rhine Gorge, admire majestic castles perched on hill tops and soak up awe-inspiring natural beauty. Indulge in festive treats, from traditional German delicacies to international Christmas favourites, expertly crafted by onboard chefs. Each meal is a culinary celebration, complemented by carefully selected wines and accompanied by the gentle lull of the Rhine as it carries you through this winter wonderland.

Unforgettable experiences

Rhine Christmas Markets
Rhine Christmas Markets
Soak up the festive atmosphere and Christmas markets of Cologne, Rüdesheim, Koblenz, and Bonn, visiting quaint town squares and indulging in the tantalising scents and tastes of Christmas.
Mulled Wine
Mulled Wine
Enjoy a glass of mulled wine as we listen to festive carols on our ship.
Gingerbread demonstration
Gingerbread demonstration
Take part in a gingerbread baking demonstration.
Koblenz
Koblenz
Discover Koblenz and Bonn on fascinating guided tours.

What’s included

Itinerary

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.

Includes
  • 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.

Includes
  • 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.

Includes
  • 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.

Includes
  • 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.

Includes
  • 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.

Train

Eurostar

Ships

MS Amadeus Silver II
MS Amadeus Silver III
MS Amadeus Riva

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Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 86 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (58)
  2. 4 stars
    (22)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (3)

Melanie Gold

5 stars

Submitted 25 Dec 2023

This 4-city cruise was a great introduction to the Rhine and the fabulous German Christmas markets. Food was excellent, the stateroom felt luxurious, the walking tours informative, and for travelers who speak only English, there are no language barriers. Most helpful was our Great Rail Journeys coordinator, who gave me such helpful advise when I opted to spend an additional day in Germany and return to the UK on my own.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Melanie, Thank you for your review and that fantastic photo! That is wonderful to hear! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

Neil from Gloucester

5 stars

Submitted 25 Dec 2023

Lovely holiday cruising Rhine visiting markets and enjoying scenery. The staff on board the ship were very good. The gentleman who took us to the ship and brought us back was amazing, especially when train was cancelled in Cologne he still managed to arrange first class train travel home at very short notice - well done Gordon.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Roche, Thank you for your review. That is brilliant to hear! I will make sure to pass your praise across to our Tour Management team for Gordon! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

Sue O'Connor

4 stars

Submitted 24 Dec 2023

The Amadeus and crew were professional and attentive throughout. I’ve always loved German Christmas markets Cologne was the best on this trip The cruising was scenic and peaceful If you want a short Christmassy break consider this trip

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mrs O'Connor, Thank you for your review. That is brilliant to hear! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

CustomerDuncan Elder.

4 stars

Submitted 24 Dec 2023

Up and down the Rhine was great. A train strike was a problem (Brussels to Cologne). Dietary requirements were a problem...at first. Overall, the trip was fantastic.

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Elder, Thank you for your review. I am sorry that your tour was affected by rail strikes, but I am glad to hear that you still had a fantastic time on your tour! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

MR ANDREW REID

5 stars

Submitted 24 Dec 2023

Excellent trip fantastic ship and service really enjoyed the whole product

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Reid, Thank you for your review. That is brilliant to hear! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

David Panther

4 stars

Submitted 24 Dec 2023

Lovely holiday, food was first class as was the accommodation, unfortunately had to endure a 5 1/2 hour coach journey which did spoil it somewhat as the holiday was with great Rail journeys!

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Mr Panther, Thank you for your review. It is a shame that you needed to travel via coach, but I am glad that you still had a lovely holiday! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

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