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.

What's included

  • VIP private home pick-up service
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Services of a cruise director
  • Accommodation
  • Selected meals
  • Wine & beer with lunch and dinner
  • Excursions
  • Gratuities on cruise
  • All airport and port taxes

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 savour Christmas delicacies like waffles, gingerbread, sweets, and Swiss raclette.

EVENING CRUISE TO BREISACH

Day 2 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

  • Meals included:
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

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 guided tour to the magical Black Forest to experience local traditions and the vibrant Christmas mood.

This afternoon 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.

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. Savour 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

More cruises like this

Christmastime - Prague to Basel

from £3,691 per person

  • 11 days
  • Price based on 07 Dec 19
  • 2 dates available

Celebrate this magical time of year with a Christmastime river cruise vacation starting in the Czech Republic, on through the heart of Germany, and ending in Switzerland. Prague, the beautiful Czech capital, is set on the banks of the Vltava River and a Local Guide will be proud to show you the famous sights. The Christmas market offers rows of brightly decorated wooden huts selling ornaments and Czech handicrafts. Explore to your heart’s content and try a traditional hot sausage from one of the stalls. Board your ship in Nuremberg, Germany, host to one of the oldest Christmas markets. Get into the holiday spirit as you stroll through the illuminated Old Town. 200 stalls sell traditional German Christmas wares and seasonal delicacies. In delightful Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you’ll find nativity scenes built by local citizens throughout the town. Learn about holiday traditions as you cruise to Würzburg, and here walk through the halls of the ornate Bishop’s Residenz—home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Learn how to bake a traditional cookie before arriving at one of the charming small towns with half-timbered houses that are dotted along the Main River. In Rüdesheim on the Rhine River, see Europe’s largest nativity scene with life-size figures. Visit Heidelberg Castle, which towers magnificently over the city, before cruising to Strasbourg, France. This time of year, the historic charm of the city is mixed with the festive aromas, sights, and sounds—creating a truly magical atmosphere! Visit the gothic cathedral with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Breisach, Germany—gateway to the famous Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, before ending in Basel Switzerland.

Christmastime - Frankfurt to Vienna

from £4,601 per person

  • 12 days
  • Price based on 02 Dec 18
  • 1 date available

This European Christmas cruise is a very special holiday river cruise takes you to many beautiful and historical cities of Germany and Austria. And the views along the way can’t be outdone—quaint villages and castles festively decorated as you cruise down the Main and Danube Rivers. Board your ship In Wiesbaden, and sail along the Main, dotted with charming small towns with half-timbered houses and narrow streets. Take a guided walk of one of these picturesque Bavarian villages—sure to be even more appealing lit up with festive lights and decorations. In Würzburg, visit the ornate Bishop’s Residenz, then stroll through the Christmas markets while you sip Glühwein (hot mulled wine). Continue your Christmastime river cruise to Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the many nativity scenes exhibited throughout the town are sure to delight. On to Nuremberg where, after your guided tour, you are free to visit the Christmas market—one of the most famous in the world. Visit Munich, the Bavarian capital, where a local expert shows you the sights. The traditional Christmas market is located on the Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air. Enjoy a guided tour in Regensburg, then continue to Melk and experience the splendour of its Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s most architecturally-breathtaking monasteries, and enjoy a tasting of traditional Austrian cookies. Finally, in Vienna, the capital and treasure of Austria, go on a culinary walk through the Christmas markets to taste some of the traditional fare. A perfect ending to a festive river cruise showing you some of the best that Germany and Austria have to offer this time of year!