Christmas Markets of the Rhine

Architecture, history and natural beauty are ever-present on this wonderful journey down the Rhine, beginning in the Dutch capital and sweeping up Cologne, Koblenz and the Black Forest on its route.

8 Days
Amsterdam to Zurich
From (AUD)
$ 4,095
Dates & Pricing

2024 Amsterdam > Zurich

Discover Europe’s most popular river cruises

A classic journey on the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers promises spectacular landscapes, rich culture, and fascinating history, where world-class cities are complemented by romantic towns.
Cruise through the heart of Europe’s finest cities, many of whom host large traditional Christmas markets. There’s nothing quite like taking a Rhine River cruise at Christmas time, as you’ll be able to take advantage of the hundreds of stalls all selling ideal Christmas presents for the folks back home.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
8 days
Departure City:
Return City:

8 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Amsterdam

    Welcome to Amsterdam, a postcard-worthy destination of picturesque canals, quintessential cafés and innovative galleries that showcase contemporary art and the works of world-renowned artists, such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt.

    You’ll be met at the airport by a member of our friendly team and transferred to your contemporary Emerald Cruises Star-Ship. After boarding, you'll enjoy some free time to explore the narrow-cobbled streets and gabled houses of the Dutch capital at your leisure.

    This evening, join your fellow guests for dinner on board.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Amsterdam

    Board a glass-top canal boat for a tour down the Dutch capital’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal system, passing historic merchant houses that reflect the bygone era of the Dutch Golden Age, a time when the Dutch empire was once considered among the most influential in the world. Throughout the town, you’ll marvel as you explore the delightful Christmas stalls, each surrounded by people in their finest knitwear, drinking hot mugs of mulled wine and indulging in their favourite festive foods.

    Included Excursion

    Canal cruise

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Cologne

    Seven idyllic Christmas markets effortlessly transform the postcard-worthy city of Cologne into a winter wonderland over the Christmas period. Following your guided tour of the city, you’ll have the opportunity to wander the markets at your leisure, perhaps visiting the ornate stalls beneath the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cologne Cathedral, where you can drink traditional glühwein out of beautifully decorated mugs.

    Included Excursion

    Guided tour of Cologne's Old Town

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Koblenz

    Included Excursion

    Today, we’ll take you into the heart of Koblenz, an ancient city pulled from the pages of a German fairy tale. Enjoy the picturesque backdrop of vineyards and snow-topped mountain ranges as your local guide takes you through open cobbled squares and down narrow streets. Your tour will include the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers at the German Corner and idyllic panoramic views of the Rhine from Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

    Included Excursion

    Walking tour of Koblenz & a visit to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress


    Moselle Valley & Cochem Castle visit (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Ludwigshafen – Heidelberg

    Your guided tour of Heidelberg’s rich history includes a wine tasting session and a visit to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, which overlooks the Rhine River and a red-roofed skyline. Some of the most successful painters of the Romantic era drew inspiration from Heidelberg Castle, including British artist William Turner, who depicted images of the ruins in several of his paintings. Afterwards, stroll down the cobbled streets of the Old Town, touching on the Church of the Holy Spirit and the oldest university in Germany.

    Included Excursion

    Guided tour of Heidelberg

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Kehl – Strasbourg

    This morning, we will dock in Kehl, and you will be transferred by coach across the river to Strasbourg, the storied capital of France’s Alsace region. Your guided tour of Strasbourg will include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Grande Île, the historical centre of the city, known for its medieval half-timbered buildings, old tanning houses, Baroque sandstone buildings, and charming canal system. Afterwards, you will have the opportunity to visit one of its most charming Christmas markets to enjoy traditional German Christmas treats and to shop for presents and stocking-fillers.

    Included Excursion

    Guided tour of Strasbourg


    Evening concert at Bruchsal Palace (extra expense)


    Alsace wine route wine tasting (extra expense, only available on select dates)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Breisach

    Today, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Rhine town of Breisach. Entrenched between two countries, it’s also known as the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest region. In the afternoon, enjoy a scenic drive through the Black Forest Highlands on your way to the Hofgut Sternen complex located at the foothill of Ravenna Gorge, a place where history and tradition merge. It was here that in 1770 Marie Antoinette stopped with 52 beautifully decorated carriages on the way to her wedding to King Louis XVI.

    As part of your EmeraldPLUS programme, you’ll also have the chance to see the postcard-worthy Christmas market situated underneath the 40-metre-high Ravenna Viaduct. Be amazed by the magical aroma of Black Forest specialties and unique handcrafted regional products sold there.


    Guided visit to the Christmas Market at Ravenna Viaduct

    Included Excursion

    Guided tour of Breisach

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Basel – Zurich Airport

    After breakfast, bid farewell to your fellow guests and your Star-Ship as you are transferred to the airport, taking memories of quintessential German villages and the magic of Christmas with you.

    Please book your flight to depart out of Zurich after 11:30 AM.

    This itinerary is a guide only and may be amended for operational reasons such as high and low water. As such, the cruise may operate altered from that stated above. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

  • 7 nights on board an Emerald Cruises Star-Ship
  • Airport transfers to and from your Star-Ship
  • The services of an Emerald Cruises cruise director
  • Port taxes and charges
  • All tipping and gratuities

  • Canal cruise
  • Guided tour of Cologne's Old Town
  • Walking tour of Koblenz & a visit to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
  • Guided tour of Heidelberg
  • Guided tour of Strasbourg
  • Guided tour of Breisach

  • Guided visit to the Christmas market at Ravenna Viaduct

  • 20 delectable meals including 7 breakfasts (B), 6 lunches (L), 7 dinners (D)
  • Including a Welcome and Farewell Reception & Dinner
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board

Pricing & Availability