Christmastime in Germany and Austria – Vienna to Frankfurt

Resort: Christmastime in Germany and Austria - Vienna to Frankfurt
Operator: Avalon Waterways
Destination: Austria
Price From: £3043.00

Itinerary Details

Day 1 Vienna.

Fly to Vienna where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)

Day 2 Vienna.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s romantic capital shimmers with Baroque elegance and is renowned as the ‘City of Music’ for its association with many of the great composers including Beethoven, Mozart and Strauss. Explore Vienna on an included city tour and marvel at the lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ring Boulevard, and awe-inspiring St Stephen’s Cathedral. Later, absorb the wonderful festive atmosphere of the Adventszeit (Advent season) in the city’s idyllic ‘Christkindlmarkte’ Christmas markets. Browse colourful wooden stalls crammed with authentic Austrian handicrafts, savour the delcious scent of spiced mulled wine, and marvel at the magnificent Christmas trees laden with exquisite glass baubles and traditional decorations – a distinctive feature of the Viennese Christmas markets. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Drnstein – Melk.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Cruise through the stunning Wachau Valley, where so many excellent Austrian wines are grown and produced, and admire the lush, vineyard-cloaked river banks, picturesque castles and rustic villages en route to Drnstein, known for its distinctive baroque Stiftskirche with its blue and white faade. Above the town are the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. This afternoon enjoy an included visit to Melk and admire magnificent views over the Danube valley and picturesque Melk town from the glorious Benedictine Abbey. One of Europe’s largest monasteries, the Abbey is over 900 years old and dominates the town from its towering hilltop perch overlooking the river. Later sample some of the region’s best-known wines at an included wine tasting. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Linz – Passau.

Linz, Austrias third-largest city, straddles the Danube and is an important industrial town and busy river port. Perhaps join the optional full day excursion to Salzburg. This storybook city is a great place to soak up the wonderful Christmas atmosphere and a feast for the eyes with its charming cobbled streets, palaces and churches set beneath the imposing 11th century Hohensalzburg Castle. The excursion takes in the city’s fascinating historic centre, the famed ‘Sound of Music’ sights and the cheerful Christmas markets of Domplatz Cathedral and Residenzplatz. Dominated by a spectacular Christmas tree, the Christmas markets brim with festive treats such as hand-painted tree ornaments, wooden toys, nativity figures, and festive arts and crafts. Indulge in the tasty aroma of traditional gingerbread, toasted almonds, hot roasted chestnuts and warming mulled wine, and revel in the merry sounds of carols, choirs and festive songs. Later rejoin your ship in Passau. Ideally located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube, Passau is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets. St Stephens Cathedral houses the world’s largest church organ with more than 17,000 pipes. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Regensburg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage city and one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval towns. It is also home to Germany’s oldest restaurant, the 12th century Historische Wurstkche (Old Sausage Kitchen). Architectural highlights on your guided tour include the Old Town Hall and Porta Pretoria – gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179AD. During the festive season, the town centre comes alive with sparkling Christmas lights and a bustling Christmas market, overlooked by the fairytale architecture of towering church spires, medieval guardhouses and stately mansions. Colourful wooden stalls pack the market square and line the winding cobbled streets, offering up fine handicrafts and festive gifts such as nativity scenes, dolls, toys, puppets, pottery and paintings. Stroll through the markets to see artisans crafting their wares and enjoy the mouth-watering scent of freshly baked gingerbread, Christmas cookies and tempting Bavarian deliciacies. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Nuremberg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Nestled near Germany’s border with the Czech Republic, medieval walled Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during WWII but this beautiful town has gradually been restored to its former glory. Wonder at its mighty walls, fine gothic churches and elegant, timber-framed patrician houses, all festooned in festive lights and decorations, before heading to the stunning central marketplace. Every December, this charming square hosts Germany’s best-known Christmas Market – the ‘Christkindle’, whose origins date back to 1628. With over 200 pretty wooden stalls brimming with sparkling gifts, hand-crafted wooden ‘nutcracker’ toys and speciality foods, this wonderfully atmospheric market is steeped in festive spirit. Enjoy a tasty hot ‘glhwein’ – the local mulled wine, sample some tempting ‘Lebkuchen’ sweet treats, and savour the enticing aromas of cinnamon cookies, spiced biscuits and the region’s delicious soft gingerbread. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Nuremberg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing in Munich.
After breakfast, drive to Munich, where a Local Expert will show you highlights including the Olympic Stadium, Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz, the Old and New Town Halls and the Frauenkirche. The Christmas market is set on Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Nuremberg.

A day to relax and enjoy Nuremberg at your own pace. Stroll through the festively lit streets, write those last-minute postcards, or ask your Cruise Director for suggestions of things to do. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Bamberg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Look forward to exploring another stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site today as you disembark at Bamberg. Founded in 902 AD, this wonderfully preserved medieval town boasts over 2000 protected buildings and monuments set on the banks of the Regnitz River. This morning, admire the imperious ‘Kaiserdom’ cathedral and frescoed Town Hall straddling the river before viewing the winding streets lined with handsome houses and 18th-century mansions. At this time of year the whole town twinkles with Christmas lights and is decorated with delightful nativity scenes hand-crafted by local people. There’s more to enjoy after dinner this evening when you’re invited to sample some of Germany’s best-known beers. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Wrzburg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Framed by vineyard-cloaked hills, Wrzburg is known as the ‘Pearl of the Romantic Road’ and a regional hub for trade and wine. Its showpiece is the magnificent Bishops’ Residenz – a majestic 18th century baroque palace designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its breathtaking frescoes, vaulted chambers and spectacular Mirror Cabinet, a room encased in mirrored walls. This afternoon, travel to Rothenburg via the most scenic section of the famous ‘Romantic Road’, the spectacular route curling through Bavaria to the Alps. Regarded as one of Germany’s most beautiful medieval towns, Rothenburg still has well-preserved walls enclosing a storybook old quarter of gabled houses, fountains, cobbled passageways and gothic churches. Step back in time as you walk the enchanting streets and perhaps try a ‘schneeball’, the town’s famous snowball-shaped sweet, at its fantastic Christmas market. Although Rothenburg’s market runs throughout the year, it is especially impressive during the festive season. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Wertheim – Miltenberg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
This morning, enjoy free time to explore Wertheim. Threaded with winding streets and half-timbered houses, this charming town is renowned for its glassblowing, which in wintertime, specialises in producing exquisite glass Christmas tree baubles. Admire these marvellous decorations in Wertheim’s shop windows before strolling through its fairytale Christmas Market. Later, continue to Miltenberg – a medieval Bavarian village on the banks of the Main River that once thrived on income from its river traffic. Enjoy a guided walking tour of this picturesque town to admire its gabled medieval houses, slender cobbled streets and splendid Gothic Merchant Hall before learning how to bake the delicious soft cookies sold in local markets during and included baking demonstration. The town’s fabulous Christmas Market is within strolling distance of your ship. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Frankfurt.

Disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. (B)

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