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Enchanting Christmas Markets Along the Rhine and the Danube

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Riviera River Cruises presents two itineraries perfectly created to absorb the spirit of the upcoming holiday season. Yes, there is no denying it, the Christmas season is only 4 months away so start making your holiday travel plans today!

The cities that Riviera's guests will experience are all famous for their charming, outdoor Christmas markets. Soak up the spellbinding atmosphere and view the inspirational gifts and tempting regional Christmas fare while strolling in the markets and, perhaps, enjoying a glass of warming Glühwein, or mulled wine. This delicious concoction is usually made with red wine heated with citrus zest and spices such as cloves and cinnamon. Sometimes it’s drunk mit Schuss, meaning a shot of rum or brandy has been added for extra punch!

Chritsmas drinks with orange and pine cones

The Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets

Discover the magical ambience of Germany’s traditional Christmas markets with their host of unique, inspired gift ideas, plus the stunning Rhineland in its wintry splendour on this four night sailing roundtrip from Cologne.

The festive period is a magical time to visit this picturesque part of Germany, and no country does it better. The historic Yuletide markets here are the ideal places to soak up the spellbinding atmosphere while seeking out unusual presents for friends and family back home.

One of the cruise highlights will be our passage through the magnificent Rhine Gorge; where the swifter current sweeps between the narrowing valley sides that tower above, the river twists and turns towards the famous Lorelei Rock, where legend has it, unsuspecting sailors were lured to their deaths by enchanting maidens.

Spend the afternoon wandering the markets of charming Rüdesheim, whose quirky, crooked houses and tiny streets provide the perfect chocolate-box setting for its Christmas market. Koblenz, dramatically situated at the confluence of the Rhine & Moselle Rivers, is a romantic’s dream where forest-covered hillsides dominate the skyline, whilst the lower slopes are strewn with the pretty, half-timbered buildings so typical of the Rhineland.

Discover Bonn, which served as West Germany’s capital from 1949-1990. Bonn is also famous for being the birthplace of Ludwig van Beethoven, and the house where he was born is one of the few old buildings in the city not to have been damaged during the war.

Arriving back in Cologne, the rest of the day is free to discover one (or all) of its seven Christmas markets.

The Danube's Imperial Cities & Yuletide Markets

Budapest, your embarkation and disembarkation port on this cruise, is a fascinating city full of atmosphere, but at this time of the year, the muted colours of its magnificent archaic spires and grand domes are especially captivating on the wintry skyline. The historic and palatial buildings, the superb Roman ruins and exquisite Art Nouveau architecture provide a truly impressive backdrop for the city’s acclaimed Christmas markets.

Enjoy spectacular cruising along the famously dramatic Danube Bend, where the river winds its way through a narrow twisting valley, flanked by high mountains and snow covered hillsides, before arriving to delightful Bratislava, Slovakia’s fast emerging capital. Wander the maze of streets, admiring the Christmas decorations until you reach the main square and the market with its cozy atmosphere; the sweet fragrance of cinnamon wafts on the air and hundreds of fairy lights twinkle among the branches of the Christmas trees. The pretty red and white stalls groan with inspirational artisan gifts, from decorations, wooden figurines or pottery.

There are few places that can so delightfully evoke the spirit of Christmas than Vienna – where the elegant imperial facades, their decorations glittering in the glow from a thousand Christmas lights, the sound of classical carols floating on the crisp air and the irresistible smell of candyfloss and roasted chestnuts is truly reminiscent of Christmas from a bygone age. There has been a Christmas market here since the Middle Ages and today there are more than 20 markets held over the festive period selling a huge range of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats.

Back in Budapest, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, and perhaps wander to the Vorosmarty Square in the very heart of Pest, with the rustic cottage-style wooden stalls loaded with their treasure troves of unique Christmas gifts. The scent of traditional honey cookies and mulled wine pervades the air as you browse the stalls, enjoying the friendly festive ambience or perhaps indulge in a slice of traditional chimney cake.

Return to the ship in time for tonight’s superb Captain’s Dinner.


• Luxurious staterooms and suites with beautifully appointed en-suite bathrooms and spectacular river views

• Exceptional dining from early risers’ breakfast to midnight snacks

• Welcome cocktails and dinner as well as the Captain’s Gala Dinner

• Fascinating tours and excursions with expert guides

• Services of Riviera’s cruise director and tour manager

• Complimentary tea, coffee and bottled water in each stateroom/ suite replenished daily

• All port charges and fuel surcharges

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Attention SOLO Travellers!

Riviera debuted its solo traveller itineraries on the Danube and Rhine Rivers in 2018 in recognition of increasing demand for solo cruises. It has since added new itineraries and departure dates on a regular basis and has some limited 2019 and 2020 space still available on all the European rivers, including their new program from Paris to Normandy on the Seine river. For complete details, click here.

In addition to the single-supplement-free departures, Riviera River Cruises makes a limited number of staterooms available with no single supplement on every ship and every departure throughout the year. Find your next vacation destination today! Click here for more information.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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