Experience the deep-rooted holiday traditions of Europe at its most festive time of year. Cologne’s Christmas Market with its impressive Gothic cathedral backdrop; the "Capital of Noël," Strasbourg, with its magnificent great Christmas tree; and Heidelberg’s Christmas Market nestled idyllically amongst the historic squares of the Old Town; are all timeless traditions handed down through the centuries. Cherish all the glory of the season in grand European style as you cruise two weeks along the Rhine onboard MS Amalucia.
Visit Zaanse Schanse windmills and village
Ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten
Enjoy Christmas traditions from all over the world at Rüdesheim Christmas Market
Explore Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe
The famous canals of Amsterdam await discovery on your scenic canal cruise. Tall narrow homes along the water, the beautiful wooden Skinny Bridge, and the Anne Frank House are some of the highlights you will see. Later in the day, set sail out of Amsterdam.
Enjoy cruising to Cologne, home to one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces, the Cologne Cathedral. Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town. Explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral and then visit one of Europe’s largest and most renowned Christmas Markets located in front of the cathedral. Alternatively, ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten, or visit a local tavern to taste Cologne’s traditional Kölsch beer and Reibekuchen—potato pancakes served with apple sauce.
Cruise through the castle-laden Rhine River Gorge before reaching the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Once in Rüdesheim, you have three choices of morning excursions. Wine connoisseurs will want to go to a wine cellar for a wine tasting. Those who wish to soar high above the vineyards can take a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue. Or, for a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour through the town and along the Rhine River. Later in the day, you have two more options. Visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum, home to a remarkable collection of self-playing musical instruments, or taste one of the town’s unique delights, Rüdesheimer coffee. Have plenty of time to enjoy Christmas traditions from all over the world at Rüdesheim Christmas Market.
You have the choice to explore two of Germany's historically rich cities, along with their festive Christmas Markets. Visit Heidelberg, a city that captures your heart with its mighty castle and historic university. While here, wander along with one of Europe’s longest pedestrian shopping streets, the Hauptstrasse, soaking up the Yuletide celebrations at the town’s Christmas Markets. Alternatively, you can explore one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Have time to visit its Christmas Market in front of the “Old Mint” (Alten Münze) in the famous Maximilianstrasse, with a view of the romantic imperial cathedral (Kaiserdom).
Strasbourg is even more alluring during the season of Advent. The Christkindelsmärik dates back to 1570, making it the oldest Christmas Market in France. Enjoy a panoramic bus tour that takes you past the Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament, and the Place de la Republique. Afterward, walk through the historic town center on the Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and through the lovely “La Petite France” district, where you see the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock and then visit the town’s famous Christmas Market. You can also choose to explore Strasbourg's different districts by bicycle. During the afternoon, visit Gengenbach Christmas Market, where the locals countdown to Christmas every year with a 24-day, larger-than-life Advent calendar.
Visit the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, beautifully dressed in her holiday finery with twinkling decorations and a lively Christmas Market. On your walking tour, admire the historical architecture, as well as famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. Alternatively, you may wish to visit Freiburg, founded in 1120, and home to Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone, as well as its enchanting Christmas Market. Those wishing a more active excursion want to cycle through the scenic countryside; or go on a tour to the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions and home to elaborate cuckoo clocks, striking half-timber houses, ruined castles, and quaint towns.
Day 10: Basel, Switzerland | Disembark | Lucerne
After disembarking your ship, go on a highlights tour of Basel before being transferred to Lucerne. Once in Lucerne, get acquainted with the city on a walking tour along with a visit to the Christmas Market before checking into your hotel.
Day 11: Lucerne
The iconic Lion Monument, which you can visit, was sculpted in memory of the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution in 1792. It has captured the hearts and minds of visitors for centuries, including Mark Twain, who praised it as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” Visit the spectacular medieval walls and towers dating back to the 13th century. Located around the Musegg Wall area, the towers rise high over the city, giving great panoramic views of Lucerne, the Reuss River, and the surrounding mountain scenery. There are a total of nine towers, including one featuring the oldest clock in the city. Afterward, soak up the festive atmosphere of this medieval gem wandering through its Christmas Market located at the Franziskanerplatz and enjoy the jovial atmosphere with a mug of holiday cheer, glühwein.
Day 12: Lucerne | Zurich
Cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne to Vitznau, where you can board a motorcoach for a scenic drive through the countryside to Zurich, which seamlessly blends its historic past with its progressive future. Once in Zurich, check into your hotel.
Day 13: Zurich
Join a walking tour of Zurich and as you do experience the magic of the city dressed in her holiday best. Visit Zurich’s Christmas Markets, including the largest indoor Christmas Market in Europe located in Zurich's Main Train Station. An absolute highlight is a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with thousands of sparkling Swarovski crystals.
Day 14: Depart Zurich
After breakfast, bid farewell to Switzerland and prepare for your return flight home.
Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!