Experience the holiday season on this festive river cruise vacation from Prague to Frankfurt. Your vacation begins in 1,000-year-old Prague with guided sightseeing that shows off the city’s best-known treasures and time to explore the impressive Old Town Christmas market. Also enjoy guided city sightseeing in Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, and the charming Bavarian village of Miltenberg. Other highlights: a beer tasting in Bamberg, a visit to Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz, and a traditional baking demonstration in the pretty Bavarian village of Miltenberg. And of course free time to visit the Christmas markets. What a fantastic way to start your holiday season.
Arrive In Prague, Czech Republic
Welcome to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. This fascinating city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires, and pinnacles highlighting its skyline
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time. See its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; Hradcany Castle Grounds; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the Christmas markets, where rows of brightly decorated wooden huts sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage. The beautifully decorated tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight.
Prague–Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation)
After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception.
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s 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 either a guided sightseeing tour and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “Nuremberg Trials” tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market is one of the most famous in the world. You’ll find 200 stalls offering traditional wares, including Nuremberg Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread), baked goods and sweets, Christmas decorations, ornaments, and more.
In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s 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. We’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers before you have free time to enjoy the Christmas market. In addition to candles and decorations, you’ll find many regional delicacies, like gingerbread and nut bread. Rejoin your ship in time for lunch. This afternoon, cruise along the Main River to Würzburg, and attend a fascinating onboard lecture to learn more about the European Union.
Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Würzburg 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 Bishop’s Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own—maybe visit the Christmas markets or join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. Be sure to try a Schneeball (snowball), a local specialty not at all suitable for a diet!
Early this morning, arrive in Wertheim. If you are up for an early breakfast, take a stroll afterward through the beautifully decorated medieval center, whose overlapping half-timbered houses are grouped along winding streets. Glassblowers have a long tradition in this town and, especially in wintertime, they produce decorations that hang on Christmas trees all over the world. 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 afternoon’s guided walk will acquaint you with the town’s delightful Marktplatz (market square), which centers around a renaissance-era fountain and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giant’s house), and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall. Depart for Frankfurt before dinner.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.