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Christmas Markets of the Rhine

5 days From £1,395 £1,295 per person

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

Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

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.
Discover Koblenz and Bonn on fascinating guided tours.

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 & 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

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 Riva
MS Amadeus Silver II
MS Amadeus Silver III