Christmas Markets of Europe

Get in the festive spirit as you navigate the width of Germany, the home of Christmas markets. Sip mulled wine and collect gifts as you enjoy the Rhine’s new wintery personality.

15 Days
Budapest to Amsterdam
From (GBP)
£ 3,795
£ 3,295
Dates & Pricing

2019 Budapest > Amsterdam

Get in the festive spirit as you navigate the width of Germany, the home of Christmas markets. Sip mulled wine and collect gifts as you enjoy the Rhine’s new wintery personality.
Five countries, four capitals, countless heritage highlights and the chance to visit some of Europe’s most enchanting Christmas markets. Introducing our extraordinary Christmas Markets of Europe tour, a 15-day river cruise whisking you from Budapest to Amsterdam via the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. This unforgettable journey marries exceptional sightseeing experiences with the joy of strolling among the stalls of an authentic festive market, for the ultimate seasonal getaway. Hike Buda Hill, linger long in the Christkindlmarkts of Vienna, and look forward to unearthing a rich depth of culture and heritage as you weave through central and northern Europe, from the enchantment of Bavaria to the contemporary cool of the Netherlands. Mainland Europe is famous for its sprawling, light-strewn Christmas markets, and nowhere is this festive magic more tangible than Germany. From Passau in the east to Cologne in the west, stroll among the traditional markets of Regensburg, Wurzburg, Miltenberg and Rudesheim, while enjoying captivating heritage sites such as the Bishops’ Residenz, Miltenberg’s gothic Merchant Hall, and the dramatic spires of the Kölner Dom. Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna aren’t without festive enchantment either, although cultural highlights including the Ringstrasse, Hungarian Parliament Building and Mirbach Palace make it difficult to tear yourself away from sightseeing. Your journey ends amid the canals of Amsterdam, and here you can enjoy an inspiring EmeraldACTIVE guided bike tour before your return flight home.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
EWXS
Duration:
15 days
Departure City:
Budapest
Return City:
Amsterdam

15 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - UK > Budapest

    Return economy flights from one of up to 15 UK regional airports are included in the price of your holiday. Please call us to check if we can offer your local airport.

    Welcome to Budapest! You will be met and transferred from the airport to your Emerald Waterways luxury river cruise ship. After boarding, enjoy some time at your leisure to explore Budapest. This evening, enjoy a traditional Hungarian dinner, then a Hungarian folk dancing and music performance on board.
    EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show & Budapest Evening Cruise

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Budapest

    Budapest is Eastern Europe’s liveliest and most cosmopolitan city. Enjoy a guided tour of the city sights including the Hungarian Parliament Building, the Buda Castle and the Chain Bridge linking Buda and Pest or an exciting hike on the Buda Hill. On your free time, stroll the Christmas market on Budapest’s main square near Váci Utca Street. This afternoon you will depart for Bratislava.
    EmeraldACTIVE: A guided active walk to Buda Hill

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Bratislava

    This morning we arrive at the city of Bratislava, capital of the Republic of Slovakia. Enjoy a sightseeing tour including the enchanting Old City with its Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and the Gothic Cathedral of St Martin. Alternatively, join an active guided hike to Bratislava Castle. Bratislava also charming Christmas markets throughout the city, which you can enjoy.
    EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Bratislava Castle
    EmeraldPLUS: Home Hosted Coffee and Cake with Slovakians

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Vienna

    Today, explore Austria’s capital beginning with a drive along the Ringstrasse, where we will see some of Vienna’s world–famous sights such as the Opera House, Burgtheater, Town Hall, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Then, you will have free time to sample the wonderful tastes of the Christmas markets of Vienna which are set up in 15 different squares in the city.

    DiscoverMORE: Visit to Schönbrunn Palace (extra expense)
    AND / OR
    DiscoverMORE: Exclusive Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Dürnstein - Melk

    In the morning we arrive in Dürnstein, one of the most enchanting villages of the Wachau wine region. This is the site of the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned after returning from the crusades in the 12th century. Thereafter, you will drive through the picturesque landscape of this district to the 900–year old Benedictine Abbey of Melk, which features Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture.
    EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike to Dürnstein Castle
    OR
    EmeraldACTIVE:
    A guided biking tour along the Danube River from Dürnstein to Melk

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Passau

    Cruise along the Danube this morning, in the afternoon we reach Passau. Cobblestone streets and graceful arcades welcome you in this beautiful city. On this afternoon’s walking tour, stroll through the ancient centre’s narrow alleys and see the hilltop Oberhaus Fortress from the town below. Visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a wonderful example of Baroque architecture and home to Europe’s largest church organ with more than 17,000 pipes. Passau’s annual Christmas market, or Christkindlmarkt, takes place in front of the St. Stephan Cathedral. Around 70 gingerbread-like stalls selling festive souvenirs, handmade gifts and delicious treats are illuminated by strings of twinkling fairylights, as the smell of Glühwein and fresh baking fills the cool air. Indulge on gingerbread as music groups and choirs take to the stage as the perfect accompaniment.

    DiscoverMORE: Tour to Salzburg (extra expense)

    *** Please note, you can only choose either included tour of Passau or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run at the same time.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Regensburg - Kelheim

    After breakfast we arrive in magnificent UNESCO World Heritage-listed city of Regensburg. On our guided walking tour, you’ll have the chance to see one of the oldest bridges crossing the Danube and see the city’s architectural highlights including the Old Town Hall. Regensburg is also home to one of the loveliest’ Christmas market of the German-speaking countries. With its many quaint wooden stalls, the market is located around the Neupfarr Church and the city Guard House, adorned by row-upon-row of twinkling lights. Taste your way through the narrow streets and hidden passageways, picking up a mug of delicious Glühwein and treating yourself to homemade gingerbread and cookies.
    EmeraldPLUS: Traditional Bavarian Band on board
    EmeraldPLUS: Visit to Thurn & Taxis Christmas Market

    DiscoverMORE: Excursion to Kuchlbauer Brewery (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Nuremberg

    Today, you will have a sightseeing coach tour of the historic city of Nuremberg. Your coach tour would pass by some of the historical parts of Nuremberg, such as the 900-year-old ramparts, the Nazi party rally grounds, where rallies were held from 1933 until 1938 among other sights.

    DiscoverMORE: Gingerbread Cooking Class (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  9. Day 9 - Bamberg

    This morning we arrive at Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage city. Boasting one of Europe’s largest intact medieval town centres, Bamberg is bursting with original character and charm. At the centre of the town is the largest preserved old quarter in Europe.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  10. Day 10 - Würzburg

    Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road”, Würzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. Join our guide for a walking tour of Würzburg followed by a visit to the Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour highlights the palace’s unique staircase, elaborate 18th century frescoes and the amazing 3–dimensional stuccowork.

    DiscoverMORE: Tour to Rothenburg (extra expense)

    *** Please note, you can only choose either included visit to Bishop’s Residenz or the DiscoverMORE option, as both tours run at the same time.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  11. Day 11 - Wertheim - Miltenberg

    Today we start from the stunning medieval glass-blowing town of Wertheim, where you have the opportunity to explore on your own. Then, travel by coach to the picturesque village of Miltenberg on the Main River. The village creates an imitable feeling of Bavarian life in the middle ages and the Old Town is lined with well–preserved half–timbered buildings. The gothic Merchant Hall is an impressive symbol of past affluence created by trade from river traffic.
    EmeraldACTIVE: Guided hike around Miltenberg area

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  12. Day 12 - Rüdesheim- Koblenz

    After breakfast arrive in Rüdesheim, one of Germany’s most popular towns. You will visit the Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. After the included visit, continue exploring and perhaps taste the famous “Rüdesheimer Coffee”, made with Germany’s most famous brandy Asbach Uralt.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  13. Day 13 - Cologne

    The ship sails from Koblenz in the early morning, cruising along the Rhine we arrive in Cologne. Seven markets transform picturesque Cologne into a winter wonderland over the Christmas period. Be sure to pay a visit to the stalls around the Alter Markt, Neumarkt, Rudolfplatz and the cathedral, beneath which you’ll locate the Christmas tree. Decorated mugs hold steaming hot Glühwein, and local vendors sell handmade sweets and local delicacies. Be sure not to miss the mesmerising ‘Stars at Night’ theme adopted around the Neumarkt, where looking up unveils a beautiful light display above your head. This evening, the captain will be delighted to welcome you to the Captain’s Farewell Gala Dinner.

    DiscoverMORE: Tour to Drachenburg (extra expense)
    OR
    DiscoverMORE: Football Stadium Tour (extra expense)

    *** Please note, you can only choose either the Drachenburg Castle or the Football Stadium Tour as both DiscoverMORE options run at the same time.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  14. Day 14 - Amsterdam

    The ship sails along the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal and into Amsterdam. This morning you will enjoy a glass top canal boat tour through Amsterdam’s canal. After the canal tour, enjoy free time to visit some of Amsterdam’s other famous attractions, such as the Rijks or Van Gogh Museums, or simply enjoy the lively atmosphere and watch the world go by.

    DiscoverMORE: Tour to Haarlem (extra expense)

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  15. Day 15 - Amsterdam > UK

    After breakfast, your tour concludes and you will be transferred to the airport for your ongoing flight.

    Your flight home is included in the price of your holiday. Please call us to check if we can offer your preferred airport.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

YOUR CRUISE INCLUDES
  • 14 nights on board an Emerald Waterways Star-Ship
  • Airport transfers to and from the ship
  • The services of an Emerald Waterways Cruise Director
  • Port taxes and charges
  • All tipping and gratuities

INCLUDED EXCURSIONS
  • Guided Tour of Budapest
  • Guided Tour of Bratislava
  • Guided Tour of Vienna
  • Melk Abbey Tour
  • Guided Tour of Passau
  • Guided Tour of Regensburg
  • Guided Tour of Nuremberg
  • Guided Tour of Bamberg
  • Visit to Bishop’s Residenz in Wurzburg
  • Walking tour of the medieval Bavarian town of Miltenberg
  • Visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum
  • Tour of Cologne’s Old Town
  • Glass Top Canal Boat Tour in Amsterdam

EmeraldPLUS
  • Budapest Evening Cruise
  • Traditional Hungarian Folklore Show
  • Visit to Thurn & Taxis Christmas Market
  • Home Hosted Coffee and Cake with Slovakians
  • Traditional Bavarian Band on board

EmeraldACTIVE
  • A guided active walk to Buda Hill
  • Guided hike to Bratislava Castle
  • Guided hike to Durnstein Castle
  • Guided bike tour from Durnstein to Melk
  • Guided hike around Miltenberg area

DINING HIGHLIGHTS
  • 41 superb meals including 14 Breakfasts (B), 13 Lunches (L), 14 Dinners (D)
  • Captain's Welcome & Farewell Gala Dinner
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board

Pricing & Availability