Christmastime in Alsace & Germany - Basel to Frankfurt

This Christmas river cruise begins in Switzerland and takes you down the Rhine River to France and Germany, with beautiful passing landscapes and quaint villages festively lit and decorated—a unique and unforgettable way to celebrate the season!

Board your ship in Basel, Switzerland, then stop in Breisach, considered the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest. An area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. There is no better setting than at this time of year when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses. Strasbourg, France, located on the border with Germany, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. The city is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe—dating back to the 16th century. Take in the aromas of mulled wine, spice cakes, and biscuits. Bask in the holiday atmosphere as you visit Strasbourg Cathedral, a gothic masterpiece made of red sandstone, and containing ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock.

You’ll go on an excursion to Heidelberg, Germany, to visit the fascinating ruins of Heidelberg Castle, towering magnificently over the city. This time of year, an ice rink can be found at the foot of the castle and the Christmas market is spread over five town squares. Delight in the holiday cheer with Glühwein (hot mulled wine), bratwursts, and other regional delicacies. There’s plenty of time to find just the right Christmas present amongst the array of crafts, Christmas decorations, and gifts before this magical European river cruise ends in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Your cruise at a glance

  • Breisach
    • Excursion to the Black Forest and time to enjoy the town’s traditional Christmas markets.
  • Strasbourg
    • Guided sightseeing with a visit to La Petite France district and the Gothic cathedral.
  • Heidelberg
    • Visit to the castle, led by a guide, and time to explore the seasonal street markets.

Christmas markets

Itinerary

Multiple itineraries are available:

Day 1 UK - Basel, Switzerland (Embarkation)


Travel to Basel where you will be met and transferred to your ship.

Welcome to Switzerland!

Stroll through the city centre, enjoy the festive illumination and savor Christmas delicacies like waffles, gingerbread, sweets, and Swiss raclette.

EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 2 Breisach, Germany

  • Meals included:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Excursion to the Black Forest.

History, Artistry, and the Beautiful Black Forest.

Discovery

We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.

Join a full-day guided tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood.

You may choose to join a guided optional excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings.

Alternatively, spend your afternoon leisurely browsing Breisach’s lovely Christmas market to sample bretzels, mulled wine, and Black Forest cake.

OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO STRASBOURG

Day 3 Strasborg, France

  • Meals included:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

A Gothic Cathedral, Heaven’s Time, and Joyeux Noël.

Classic

Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.

Come along for city sightseeing, including the city’s gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District.

You may choose to join a guided optional excursion to beautiful Alsace, for an afternoon in a French wine-country village. Savor the warmth and glow of Christmas tradition by spending your free time this afternoon wandering the French winter markets of Strasbourg. Take in the lights, music, and the pleasures of the season.

EVENING/OVERNIGHT CRUISE TO SPEYER

See dates and prices

Notes

Note: Christmas markets usually operate from late November until the third week in December, depending on location.

CHOICE

Avalon has designed included activities with a choice of experiences. We invite you to select the tours, activities, and events that interest you most, so you can experience your cruise your way. There are three types of included shore excursion on every Europe cruise:

Classic

Your local expert is ready to guide you through the history and heritage of local destinations. You’ll marvel at the legends, lore, and spectacular architecture of iconic and historic sites.

Discovery

We’ve found inspiring and interactive activities to speak to your interests - from cooking classes, to painting workshops - to immerse yourself in each culture you explore.

Active

Embark on energetic excursions to keep you in motion and on the go - from a guided jogging tour of Amsterdam, to biking, paddling, and hiking your way through scenic locales.

Prices & cabin details

Choose departure airport and date for prices

Date

Staterooms available

Price per person

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