Those wishing to visit the best Christmas markets in Europe and experience Old World European culture, will relish the opportunity to travel from the Queen of the Danube, Budapest, to the City of Canals, Amsterdam. Follow the route of emperors, kings, and queens on a magnificent European journey on three rivers and through five countries.
Budapest Christmas Markets
DAY 1 & 2
Spend the evening on board cruising around Parliament Building as the city turns on all her dazzling lights.
Discover the Queen of the Danube on your city tour beginning with a visit to the Great Market Hall followed by a panoramic tour of both the Buda and the Pest sides of the river.
Passau walking tour, bike tour or castle hikes
Discover the City of Waltzes on a city tour showcasing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and St. Stephen’s Cathedral before concluding in Vienna’s historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride along the Danube. Later in the day, enjoy leisure time in Vienna or cycle to Klosterneuburg Monastery on a bike tour
Melk, Benedictine Abbey OR Danube bike tour
Set sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley to Melk and visit its magnificent Benedictine Abbey. Alternatively, join a guided bike tour.
Passau, Walking tour, Passau bike tour or Passau Castle hike
Discover the 2,000-year-old city of Passau in one of three ways. Enjoy a walking tour and marvel at Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Guests looking for a more active morning can choose between a guided bike tour along the Danube River or a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus Fortress for panoramic views overlooking three rivers. During the evening, enjoy a festive Christmas celebration.
Regensburg Walking tour, Bavarian specialties tasting or Walhalla bike tour
Explore one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, Regensburg, on a guided walking tour showcasing the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria.
As an alternate option, sample some of Bavaria’s specialties—beer, sausage, and pretzels. And for a more active adventure, bike to Walhalla where you will see the neo-Classical white marble temple.
Nuremberg, Cruise Main-Danube Canal or Nuremberg City Tour
DAY 7 & 8
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise as the ship crosses the Continental Divide via the Main-Danube Canal to Nuremberg.
Once in Nuremberg, join a city tour of WWII highlights and then walk through Nuremberg’s cobblestone streets to the Imperial Castle and 900-year-old city ramparts.
Nuremberg Munich Excursion
During the morning, travel by train to Munich, the capital of Bavaria and one of Germany’s largest cities, often given the nickname, Germany’s secret capital.
Enjoy a walking tour that begins at the town center, the most famous square and the heart of the city. You will see the famous Glockenspiel, with its 43 bells and 32 life size figures portraying two scenes of Munich’s history, including a wedding and jousters depicting a dance celebrating the end of the plague.
Also, see the Frauenkirche, the “Cathedral of Our Dear Lady.” Later in the day, enjoy a panoramic tour through the city and back to the train station for your return to Nuremberg.
Bamberg Walking tour & beer tasting, bike tour or specialties tasting
Explore enchanting Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in one of three ways. Join a guided walking tour of this medieval gem to see its cathedral, Old Town Hall, and elegant old mansions.
Taste your way through the city sampling smoked beer, licorice root and Hornla pastry, a local favorite whose recipe dates back to 1427. And for those wishing to explore the town more actively, hop on a bike for a guided bike tour along the Main River and to its quirky quarters beyond the town center.
Würzburg City Tour and Residenz Palace tour or Würzburg bike tour
Nestled along the Romantic Road in the middle of Germany’s largest wine producing region lies Würzburg.
Join a walking tour of this beautiful city bursting with Baroque splendor. You’ll then visit its crown jewel, the Baroque Residenz Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features an opulent interior, including a grand fresco by Tiepolo.
For those who wish a more active adventure, join a guided bike ride through Würzburg and along the Main River.
Wertheim Walking tour, Main River bike tour or Pretzel bakery visit and tasting
Miltenberg Walking tour
Wertheim’s old town center still features half-timbered houses and the Gothic architecture of the Stiftskirche, its oldest Protestant church.
You may either join a guided walking tour through the historic city center or learn the art of pretzel making with a visit to a local bakery. For those seeking a more active adventure, take a scenic bike ride through the Main River Valley.
Later in the day, set sail to Miltenberg, the “Pearl of the Main River.” While on your walking tour, you’ll discover why this medieval town seems to leap from the pages of a fairytale with its 14th- and 15th-century half-timbered, gabled houses, the famed Crooked House; and the venerable Royal Inn, which has been a working hotel since the 17th century. Spend the evening ringing in the New Year with a special onboard celebration.
Rüdesheim Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum, Vineyard hike or Wine tasting
Rhine Scenic cruising
Cruise from the meandering Main River to the captivating Rhine River en route to the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Once there, you will have a choice of three excursions.
Wine connoisseurs will want to go on a wine tasting with a local vintner. Alternatively, visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, home to a remarkable collection of old robotic and self-playing musical instruments; or get more active with a hike through the vineyards.
Later in the day, set sail through the captivating UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river.
Christmas Markets in Europe
Cologne Walking tour and Cathedral visit, or Kölsch Beer tasting
Once in Cologne, join a guided tour through the Old Town and explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral. Continue on to the Cologne Rathaus, Germany’s oldest town hall, the Overstolzenhaus and the Festival Hall.
For a different view of the city, visit a local tavern to taste its famous Kölsch beer, only made in Cologne, and Reibekuchen, potato pancakes typically served with apple sauce.
Amsterdam Christmas Markets, Canal Cruise & City Tour or Jewish Heritage tour
day 14 & 15
View Amsterdam on a scenic canal cruise followed by a walk to Begijnhof, known for its Middle Age buildings.
For a different view of the city, join the Jordaan District tour or the Jewish Heritage tour. The Jordaan District tour begins at the Westerchurch and takes you past the Noordermarkt, the Karthuizerhof and the 9 streets; afterward, you’ll stop in a local café for a hot beverage and Dutch apple pie.
The Jewish Heritage tour begins with a visit to the 17th-century Portuguese Synagogue and the Jewish Historical Museum chronicling the history of the Jewish community in Amsterdam.
This Christmas river cruise is a unique opportunity to visit 5 countries on 3 rivers reaching across European cultures,
and of course the best Christmas markets in Europe, from Amsterdam to Budapest.