Grand Christmastime Cruise from Vienna to Zurich

Resort: Grand Christmastime Cruise from Vienna to Zurich
Operator: Avalon Waterways
Destination: Austria
Price From: Contact for latest offers

Itinerary Details

Day 1 Arrive in Vienna, Austria (Embarkation)

Vienna, Austrias capital, is known as the City of Music and inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. This afternoon, board your cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

NOTE:
Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
(D)

Day 2 Vienna

Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, this is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedralplus, countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Visit the delightful Christmas market and savour the sounds and smells of holiday cheer. Be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight. (B, L, D)

Day 3 DrnsteinMelk

This morning, arrive in Drnstein in the heart of the Wachau valley. Standing on the banks of the Danube, the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue faade is without a doubt the landmark of this small town. A Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of Englands King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Then, sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk in the early afternoon. The magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY dominates the town and is one of Europes largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Youll be captivated by the splendour of the church with its frescoed ceilings. This evening youll be able to sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of this region. (B, L, D)

Day 4 Passau, Germany

This morning, you may wish to join an optional full-day excursion to Salzburg to see some of the popular Sound of Music sites, find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night carol, and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening or stay on board and relax as you cruise to Passau, located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets, lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephens Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the worlds largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Regensburg

Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germanys best preserved medieval cities. The only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights included on your GUIDED WALK are the 13th-century Old Town Hall and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brcke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstkche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germanys oldest restaurants. The afternoon is free to visit the Regensburg Christmas market. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sausage, roasted almonds, and gingerbread create a memorable atmosphere. Before dinner tonight well introduce you to some of Germanys FAMOUS BEERS! (B, L, D)

Day 6 Nuremberg

Spend a relaxing morning cruising before reaching Nuremberg. Although 90% of its Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose from an included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at the citys medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights, and the Christmas market is one of the biggest in Germany, featuring 200 stalls selling traditional wares and foods. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Nuremberg. (Disembarkation) Excursion to Munich. (Embarkation).

After breakfast, disembark the vessel which has brought you to Nuremberg and drive to Munich, where a local expert will proudly show you the sights of the Bavarian capital. An inspiring mix of historic buildings and impressive architecture, youll see the Olympic Stadium, 1,000-foot-high Television Tower, Nymphenburg Palace, MARIENPLATZ in the historic heart of the city with the Old and New Town Halls, and the gothic Frauenkirche. Later, theres free time to explore on your own. The traditional Christmas market is located on the Marienplatz, with aromas of toasted almonds, roasted chestnuts, and gingerbread filling the air and the strains of alpine Christmas music coming from the town hall. At the nearby Rindermarkt, youll find the Kripperlmarkt, one of the largest markets in Germany to specialize in mangers and other nativity accessories. And dont leave Munich without paying a visit to the famous Hofbruhaus for a stein of beer! Return to Nuremberg in the late afternoon and embark on the ship which will take you to Basel. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Nuremberg

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

Day 9 Bamberg

In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditionsIn the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditionsIn the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditionsIn the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditionsIn the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditionsIn the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! At this time of year, especially interesting are the nativity scenes built by local residents and exhibited throughout the town. Enjoy the Christmas market, where, in addition to candles and decorations, youll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Wrzburg, and attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the European Christmas traditions (B, L, D)

Day 10 Wurzburg

Known as the Pearl of the Romantic Road, Wrzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The city makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOPS RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your ownmaybe visit the Christmas markets or join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. Be sure to try a Schneeball (snowball), a local speciality not at all suitable for a diet! (B, L, D)

Day 11 Frankfurt. Excursion to Rdesheim

After breakfast this morning, a comfortable coach ride takes you to the pretty little town of Rdesheim, a perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. A visit to SIEGFRIEDS MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise! Afterwards, well offer you a SPECIAL TREAT and then theres free time to explore. The entire town transforms itself into one large Christmas market, offering products and specialities from a number of nations, all presented in a distinctive manner. Youll be spoiled by the selection of shops offering a vast variety of Christmas presents and decorations. In the Market Square youll find Europes largest nativity scene, with life-size figures. In the afternoon, return to Frankfurt. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Miltenberg

Tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, the picturesque Bavarian village of Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. This afternoons GUIDED WALK will acquaint you with the towns delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centres around a Renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giants house) and the gothic splendour of the Merchant Hall. Depart for Frankfurt before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 13 Excursion to Heidelberg – Mannheim

This morning an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. Visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. Youll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the Worlds Largest Wine Barrel. At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! At this time of year, an ice rink is set up at the foot of the castle, and stalls offer Glhwein, Bratwurst, and other tasty treats. The Christmas market itself is scattered over five town squares, and youll find a wide array of crafts and regional delicacies. Rejoin your ship in Mannheim, and the afternoon is yours to do as you please.There is plenty of free time to shop for Christmas decorations or gifts at the Mannheim Christmas market. (B, L, D)

Day 14 Strasbourg, France

Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your GUIDED WALKING TOUR you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Klber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. Dating back to 1570, the traditional Christmas market is one of the oldest and finest in Europe. Located around Place de la Cathdrale and Place Broglie, its centrepiece is a giant Christmas tree. As you stroll through the festively decorated and illuminated streets youll notice the pleasing aromas of mulled wine, sweets, spice cakes, and biscuitsa truly magical atmosphere! This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine region is available. This evening, enjoy an on-board WOODCARVING demonstration. (B, L, D)

Day 15 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germanys BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents once described them as black. Theres no better setting for this time of year than when smoke curls from the chimneys of the traditional Black Forest houses with their long sloping roofs, connoting images of warm and festively decorated interiors. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. This afternoon theres free time in Breisach to visit one more Christmas marketor you may join an optional excursion to Colmar in Frances Alsace region. (B, L, D)

Day 16 16 Basel Switzerland (Disembarkation)

Your holiday ends after breakfast. (B)

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