Get in the festive spirit as you navigate the width of Germany, the home of Christmas markets. Sip mulled wine and collect gifts as you enjoy the Rhine’s new wintery personality.
Itinerary also travels in reverse.
Welcome to Budapest! You will be met and transferred from the airport to your Emerald Waterways luxury river cruise ship. After boarding, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore Budapest. This evening, enjoy a traditional Hungarian dinner, then a Hungarian folk dancing and music performance on board.
EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show & Budapest Evening Cruise
Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a guided tour of the city sights including the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest or an exciting hike on the Buda Hill. On your free time, stroll the Christmas market on Budapest’s main square near Váci Utca Street. This afternoon you will depart for Bratislava.
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided active walk to Buda Hill
This morning we arrive at the city of Bratislava, capital of the Republic of Slovakia. Enjoy a sightseeing tour including the enchanting Old City with its Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin. Alternatively, join an active guided hike to Bratislava Castle. Bratislava also charming Christmas markets throughout the city, which you can enjoy.
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Bratislava Castle
EmeraldPLUS: Home Hosted Coffee and Cake with Slovakians
Today, explore Austria’s capital beginning with a drive along the Ringstrasse, where we will see some of Vienna’s world–famous sights such as the Opera House, Burgtheater, Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Then, you will have free time to sample the wonderful tastes of the Christmas markets of Vienna which are set up in 15 different squares in the city.
DiscoverMORE: Visit to Schönbrunn Palace (extra expense)
AND / OR
DiscoverMORE: Exclusive Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss (extra expense)
Dürnstein - Melk
In the morning we arrive in Dürnstein, one of the most enchanting villages of the Wachau wine region. This is the site of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after returning from the crusades in the 12th century. Thereafter, you will drive through the picturesque landscape of this district to the 900–year old Benedictine Abbey of Melk, which features Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike to Dürnstein Castle
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided biking tour along the Danube River from Dürnstein to Melk
Cruise along the Danube this morning, in the afternoon we reach Passau. Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcome you in this beautiful city. On this afternoon’s walking tour, stroll through the ancient centre’s narrow alleys and see the hilltop Oberhaus Fortress from the town below. Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to Europe’s largest church organ with more than 17,000 pipes. Passau’s annual Christmas market, or Christkindlmarkt, takes place in front of the St. Stephan Cathedral. Around 70 gingerbread-like stalls selling festive souvenirs, handmade gifts and delicious treats are illuminated by strings of twinkling fairylights, as the smell of Glühwein and fresh baking fills the cool air. Indulge on gingerbread as music groups and choirs take to the stage as the perfect accompaniment.
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Salzburg (extra expense)
*** Please note, you can only choose either included tour of Passau or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run at the same time.
Regensburg - Kelheim
After breakfast we arrive in magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Regensburg. On our guided walking tour, you’ll have the chance to see one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube and see the city’s architectural highlights including the Old Town Hall. Regensburg is also home to one of the loveliest’ Christmas market of the German-speaking countries. With its many quaint wooden stalls, the market is located around the Neupfarr Church and the city Guard House, adorned by row-upon-row of twinkling lights. Taste your way through the narrow streets and hidden passageways, picking up a mug of delicious Glühwein and treating yourself to homemade gingerbread and cookies.
EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Bavarian Band on board
EmeraldPLUS: Visit to Thurn & Taxis Christmas Market
DiscoverMORE: Excursion to Kuchlbauer Brewery (extra expense)
Today, you will have a sightseeing coach tour of the historic city of Nuremberg. Your coach tour would pass by some of the historical parts of Nuremberg, such as the 900-year-old ramparts, the Nazi party rally grounds, where rallies were held from 1933 until 1938 among other sights.
DiscoverMORE: Gingerbread Cooking Class (extra expense)
This morning we arrive at Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage city. Boasting one of Europe’s largest intact medieval town centres, Bamberg is bursting with original character and charm. At the centre of the town is the largest preserved old quarter in Europe.
Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”, Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. Join our guide for a walking tour of Würzburg followed by a visit to the Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour highlights the palace’s unique staircase, elaborate 18th century frescoes and the amazing 3–dimensional stuccowork.
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Rothenburg (extra expense)
*** Please note, you can only choose either included visit to Bishop’s Residenz or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run at the same time.
Wertheim - Miltenberg
Today we start from the stunning medieval glass-blowing town of Wertheim, where you have the opportunity to explore on your own. Then, travel by coach to the picturesque village of Miltenberg on the Main River. The village creates an imitable feeling of Bavarian life in the middle ages and the Old Town is lined with well–preserved half–timbered buildings. The gothic Merchant Hall is an impressive symbol of past affluence created by trade from river traffic.
EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike around Miltenberg area
After breakfast arrive in Rüdesheim, one of Germany’s most popular towns. You will visit the Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. After the included visit, continue exploring and perhaps taste the famous “Rüdesheimer Coffee”, made with Germany’s most famous brandy Asbach Uralt.
The ship sails from Koblenz in the early morning, cruising along the Rhine we arrive in Cologne. Seven markets transform picturesque Cologne into a winter wonderland over the Christmas period. Be sure to pay a visit to the stalls around the Alter Markt, Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz and the cathedral, beneath which you’ll locate the Christmas tree. Decorated mugs hold steaming hot Glühwein, and local vendors sell handmade sweets and local delicacies. Be sure not to miss the mesmerising ‘Stars at Night’ theme adopted around the Neumarkt, where looking up unveils a beautiful light display above your head. This evening, the captain will be delighted to welcome you to the Captain’s Farewell Gala Dinner.
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Drachenburg (extra expense)
DiscoverMORE: Football Stadium Tour (extra expense)
*** Please note, you can only choose either the Drachenburg Castle or the Football Stadium Tour as both DiscoverMORE options run at the same time.
The ship sails along the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal and into Amsterdam. This morning you will enjoy a glass top canal boat tour through Amsterdam’s canal. After the canal tour, enjoy free time to visit some of Amsterdam’s other famous attractions, such as the Rijks or Van Gogh Museums, or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere and watch the world go by.
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Haarlem (extra expense)
After breakfast, your tour concludes and you will be transferred to the airport for your ongoing flight.