Christmas Markets on the Rhine River 7 night Luxury River cruise November 25-December 2, 2017

The Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland

Watercolor Boutique Travel invites you to join us on an enchanting 7-night Rhine River Cruise that takes you through the fabled Black Forest region and the Alsace region. You will begin your winter adventure in Amsterdam, amidst the city’s legendary canals and colorful holiday surroundings. You will also visit Heidelberg and Cologne, famous for its majestic Cathedral and bustling Christmas markets. Your trip will conclude in Basel, Switzerland, which is considered the country's cultural capital.

Day 1 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Embarkation

Arrive in charming Amsterdam and board your luxurious river cruise ship. Meet your fellow travelers tonight at the Welcome Dinner.

Day 2 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Canal Cruise and City Tour

The famous canals of Amsterdam await discovery on your city tour. Begin with a scenic canal cruise and see the tall narrow homes lining the water, the Skinny Bridge, and the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding during WWII. Next you'll walk to Begijnhof, known for its historic buildings, dating back to the Middle Ages and have some free time to explore. Later, enjoy a panoramic city tour which you'll see the Royal Palace, Westerkerk and stop for photos at a Dutch windmill before returning to the ship. This afternoon, you will depart for Germany.

Day 3 - Cologne, Germany - City Tour, Cathedral Visit, and Visit Christmas Markets

The ship arrives in Cologne around lunchtime. You will have a guided tour of the city, strolling through the Old Town and Cathedral Square, and visiting the fabled Gothic cathedral. This evening, you will experience one of Europe's largest and most renowned Christmas Market in Cathedral Square. The ship cruises overnight.

Day 4 - Rhine Gorge Rudesheim, Germany - Visit Christmas Markets and excursions

This morning, cruise through the picturesque Rhine Gorge, admiring its many castles and fortress ruins and the legendary Lorelei Rock. This afternoon you will arrive in the winemaking town of Rudesheim where you will have the option to take one of three excursions" wine tasting with local vintner, a gondola ride over the town to see the Niederwalddenkmal Statue, or a guided bike tour along the Rhine River to one of Germany's best wine regions. Later you'll have free time to shop at the town's Christmas Market and explore the Drosselgasse, the town's most famous and charming street, a narrow passage lined with shops and taverns. This evening, visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, home to a remarkabe collection of old robotic and self-playing musical instruments, or join us for some Rudesheimer Coffee. This ship sails overnight.

Day 5 - Mannheim-Heidelberg, Germany - Select excursions and Visit Christmas Markets

Arrive in Mannheim, where you have a choice between three excursions this afternoon. Your first option is a half-day excursion to the historic university town of Heidelberg, where you will visit the red-walled castle with its Great Vat (a 49,000-gallon wine cask) and enjoy beautiful views of the Neckar Valley and city below. You can also opt to visit the Mannheim Baroque Palace, intended to be the second largest Baroque palace complex in Europe. It was designed to highlight the important role of the Palatine Prince Electors i nthe Holy Roman Empire. There is a third option. You can enjoy a tour of Speyer, one of Germany's oldest cities, known for its cathedral, numerous churches and the medieval Altporte (Old Gate). You have time later to visit the local Christmas Markets. This evening, the ship continues onward to Strasbourg, France.

Day 6 - Strasbourg, France - Visit Christmas Markets and Choice of Three Excursions

Capital city of France's Alsace region, Strasbourg is situated on the Rhine at the German border. After arriving this morning, enjoy on of three excursions. The first options isa panoramic tour that will take you past the Orangery, the European Parliament and the Place de Repubique. Afterwards, explore on foot with a walking tour of the lovely "La Petite France" neighborhood, where you will see the Gothic cathedral with its famous astronomical clock, and have a chance to visit Strasbourg's famous Christmas Market- said to be the oldest and best in all of France. Your other options are a bike tour to the Old Town, or a hike that starts at the Orangery and makes its way to the cathedral. The remainder of the day is yours to spend as you wish. The ship moors in Strasbourg overnight.

Day 7 - Breisach, Germany - choice of two excursions

You have two exciting excursions to choose from today. The first is a walking tour of Riquewihr, a picturesque town renowned for its historic architecture and for its Riesling wines, followed by time at the town's Christmas Market. A second option is a walking tour of the beautiful towns of Breisach and Freiburg, where you will visit the historical city center and Freiburg's Munster, a Gothic cathedral constructed of red sandstone. You will also visit Christmas Markets here. Your third option is guided bike tour of Breisach that takes you through the Rheinau woods. Tonightm the ship cruises towards Switzerland.

Day 8 - Basel, Switzerland - Disembarkation

Disembark your cruise in Basel.

Lu Ann Haygood



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