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Christmas Markets of the Rhine


Experience Germany’s renowned markets on a luxurious cruise

5 days From £945 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

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 of Germany's renowned Christmas markets, the beauty of the Rhine Gorge, and a host of festive treats await, and you experience it all from your luxurious floating hotel.


What’s included


Day 1 - London & Cologne

Meet at our Departure Office in London St Pancras and take the Eurostar to Brussels, continuing to Cologne. Here, you board your cruise ship, either the MS Amadeus Imperial, which at this time of the year is decked out in its Christmas finery. You are treated to a welcome cocktail on board before a delicious dinner. Tonight, settle into your elegant surroundings as you set sail on the Rhine towards Rüdesheim.

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.

Day 3 - To Koblenz

Bid farewell to Rüdesheim this morning and set sail for Koblenz, cruising back through the attractive scenery of the Rhine Gorge. You enjoy a gingerbread making demonstration in the lounge this morning, discovering how this tasty festive treat is made.

Arrive in Koblenz after lunch, a beautifully preserved town which dates to the time of the Romans. Discover the town's most famous sights on a sightseeing tour, seeing the monument to unified Germany at Deutsches Eck, or 'German Corner', and The Basilica of St. Castor, the oldest church in Koblenz. With some free time following your tour, you could visit one of the popular wine taverns or explore the Christmas markets.

Back on board this evening, enjoy a highlight of your holiday at a spectacular Christmas-themed gala dinner. Choosing from 2 delectable menus - traditional German or traditional British - either immerse yourself in local 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.

Day 4 - To Bonn & Cologne

Sail toward Bonn, birthplace of world-famous composer, Ludwig van Beethoven. Step back in time here with a guided tour, seeing the impressive Beethoven monument and Hofgarten Park. Continue to the Minster - one of Germany's oldest churches, built between the 11th and 13th centuries - which looks over Bonn's Christmas markets. The markets here are delightful, transforming the city with the golden glow of their fairy lights. To add to the festivities, in December the town hall is turned into an enormous Advent Calendar with a different window lit up each day throughout the month - a lovely sight to behold. Back on board, enjoy lunch as you sail back to Cologne.

This afternoon you enjoy a 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 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. Enjoy a final dinner on board this evening.

Day 5 - Cologne & London

After breakfast, travel by rail to Brussels to join the Eurostar to London St Pancras, where your festive holiday comes to an end.

Additional information

Departure times

On many of our UK & Ireland tours, you may check in at the first hotel on your itinerary anytime after 14:00; your Tour Manager will be available between 16:00 and 18:00. However, if you are arriving later, you can meet your Tour Manager before dinner from 19:00.


MS Amadeus Silver II
MS Amadeus Imperial
Christmas Markets of the Rhine

Experience Germany’s renowned markets on a luxurious cruise


Ashleigh Howe
Lynne Broadley
Simon Laverack