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Rhine Christmas Markets

Itinerary, Prices and Dates


Amsterdam to Basel 8 Days

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Tauck's Christmas market cruise along the Rhine, is the perfect way to capture all the magic of Christmas Markets in Germany and France. Along with all the inclusions that are part of every Tauck river cruise, these tours wow you with special holiday touches like an onboard tree-trimming party... glühwein and other seasonal treats aboard the riverboat... a traditional European Christmas dinner with all the trimmings... special evenings of onboard Christmas themed entertainment... visits to markets in cities like Aachen and Colmar that other cruises don't visit... walking in the footsteps of celebrities at the Kurhaus casino in Baden-Baden... a lecture on Alsatian storytelling traditions in Strasbourg... a buscuit making demonstration and a visit to the fanciful Siegfried's Mechanical Music Museum in Rüdesheim... a traditional German lunch in Heidelberg and much more!

What's Included

  • 7-night, all inclusive, luxurious river cruise
  • Transfers to and from airport and ship
  • Unlimited complimentry drinks onboard including fine wine, champagne, premium spirits beer and soft drinks, bottled water, tea & coffee
  • Multiple dining venues including a main dining room, aft bistro and al fresco dining on the sun deck
  • Open seating and flexible dining times
  • All cabins with twin or double beds, shower, hairdryer, toilet, TV and telephone
  • Included shore excursions with English speaking guides, as per itinerary (subject to change)
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio headset system on all excursions
  • All gratuities included
  • Onboard entertainment and insightful lectures
  • Services of 4 Tauck directors on board

Day 1: Cologne

Map of the Rhine, Main & Moselle Rivers
Map of the Rhine, Main & Moselle Rivers

Transfers are included from the Köln / Bonn Airport to your ship, where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Guests enjoying a pre-stay in Köln will receive a transfer from the hotel to the riverboat. If you arrive earlier, you might choose to go into the city to see the Weihnachtsmarkt at Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), nominated by the trade press as one of the most beautiful markets on a European Christmas Market tour – and perhaps have your first taste of the traditional glühwein that is so much a part of the holiday scene. Back onboard the riverboat, meet your Tauck Directors and cruise mates at the captain's welcome reception followed by dinner tonight.
Included Meals D

Day 2: Historic Cologne & tasty Aachener Printen

After a guided tour in Köln (Cologne) and brunch aboard the riverboat, set out on an excursion to Aachen, a town that is home to a special Christmas market tour highlight – and as a history sidelight, it's the town where Charlemagne established his seat of power over a millennium ago. Today, Aachen is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Said to be one of the largest in Germany, Aachen's Weihnachtsmarkt unfolds in the squares and streets surrounding the Gothic-and-Baroque Aachen Town Hall, built on the foundations of Charlemagne's palace. The aroma of cinnamon and coriander lead you to what's special here - the town’s unique pastry, Aachener Printen. Back aboard ship, take part in our tree-trimming party after dinner tonight as the riverboat cruises to Koblenz overnight, then on to Rüdesheim.
Included Meals B L D

Day 3: Romantic Rüdesheim & Mechanical Music

Enjoy a morning aboard the riverboat as you cruise along the Rhine to Rüdesheim. Do a bit of exploring at the city's Weihnachtsmarkt near the pier before walking or riding a mini-train (weather permitting) to Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett for an unexpected musical treat; here, housed in a 16th-century castle, you'll find one of the world's largest collections of whimsical mechanical musical instruments, some centuries old. It wouldn't be the holiday season without holiday cookies; a cookie-making demonstration may give you some ideas to take home – and the results you'll sample are especially good when accompanied by Rüdesheim coffee, infused with local brandy. Spend some free time on your own, then return to the riverboat to enjoy dinner aboard ship and continue your cruise.
Included Meals B L D

Day 4: Christmas happenings in Heidelberg

Dock this morning for a full-day trip to Heidelberg. Home to Germany's oldest university, Heidelberg has been a dynamic place since sometime in the 5th century… and a lot happens here, especially during the holiday season. Begin your day with a guided visit to the ruins of Heidelberg Castle (Heidelberger Schlöss), which has kept watch over the town below for many centuries, revealing what castle life might have been like there long ago. A funicular ride leads to a walking tour of the medieval Old Town, and a visit to Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets, sprawling across five city squares aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Wind up your day with a traditional German lunch – with award-winning beer – at a local restaurant. Reboard the riverboat to continue your cruise.
Included Meals B L D

Day 5: Christmas in Baden-Baden & the Black Forest Luxury Motorcoach Transfer

Christmastime in the Black Forest has a magic all its own, as you'll see today after docking for an excursion to Baden-Baden. This famous Black Forest spa town has welcomed people seeking its healing waters ("baden," in fact, means "to bathe") since Roman times... as well as the wealthy elite who have frequented its Belle Èpoque casino, the Kurhaus, for more than a century. Following a walk through Baden-Baden's delightful Christmas Market, visit the adjacent Kurhaus, which Marlene Dietrich called "the most beautiful casino in the world." After lunch back aboard the riverboat or on your own in town, the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you please. Join your Tauck Directors for a Discovery Briefing before dinner aboard the riverboat this evening.
Included Meals B L D

Day 6: Storytelling traditions & more in Strasbourg

A local guide joins you aboard the riverboat to tell the story of storytelling in France's Alsace region, before heading out for a walking tour through ancient Strasbourg's Christmas market, the biggest and oldest in all of France. Home to the European Union and in a sense the “Capital of Europe,” Strasbourg would also like you to think of it as the “Capital of Christmas.” The setting of its Marchés de Noël (as Christmas Markets are called in most cities in France), around the Gothic Cathedral de Notre-Dame, is breathtaking; after your visit, you can return to the riverboat or explore on your own and have lunch in Strasbourg, one of the best Christmas Market tour towns in France! Enjoy a live musical performance aboard ship after dinner tonight.
Included Meals B L D

Day 7: Yuletide in the Alsace – Riquewihr & Colmar

It’s easy to imagine that you’re in the middle of a fairy tale as you browse through the intimate Christmas Market of the romantic Alsatian village of Riquewihr, all lit up for the season. Have lunch here and, if you wish, sample some of the fine local wines before continuing on to Colmar. With your local guide, visit Colmar's Marchés de Noël in its city center, a living museum where Christmas takes on a special meaning among crooked houses on crooked lanes, Renaissance structures and ancient buildings. Please join us this evening for the captain’s farewell reception followed by dinner aboard the riverboat – sharing more memories of your Rhine holiday cruise over a mug of steaming glühwein with the new friends you’ve made – as the ship makes its way to Basel, Switzerland and Tauck's Christmas Market tour concludes.
Included Meals B L D

Day 8: Tauck's Christmas market tour ends in Basel

Your Christmas market tour ends in Basel, Switzerland. Transfers are provided from the riverboat to EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg; guests enjoying a post-stay in Basel will receive a transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please allow three hours for airport check-in.
Included Meals B

Alternate Itinerary


Day 1: Basel

Map of the Rhine, Main & Moselle Rivers
Map of the Rhine, Main & Moselle Rivers

Your cruise begins 4:00 PM in Basel. Transfers are included from EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg to the riverboat where embarkation begins at 4:00 PM. Guests enjoying a pre-stay in Basel will receive a transfer from the hotel to the ship. If you arrive earlier than 4:00 PM, you might want to go into the city to see the Christkindlmarkt – said to be the largest and most traditional in Switzerland – and perhaps have your first taste of the traditional glühwein that is so much a part of the Christmas market scene. Back on board the riverboat, meet your Tauck Directors at a discovery/welcome briefing, and enjoy a casual captain's welcome reception followed by dinner – and one of the best Christmas market tours begins!
Included Meals D

Day 2: A day of Christmas festivity in the Alsace

Tauck's Christmas Market tours northbound along the Rhine begin with an excursion to the romantic village of Riquewihr, France, set between the Vosges Mountains and the vineyards in the Alsace near the German border, where not much has changed since its early days as a winzerdorf (wine village). This little medieval town still looks much as it did in the 16th century and it's easy to feel like you're in the middle of a fairy tale; while you're here, you might want to buy a special Christmas ornament to add to the riverboat's on-board Christmas tree. Have lunch in Riquewihr, known for its fine, locally produced Riesling and other Alsatian wines. With its ancient buildings, half-timbered houses, Renaissance structures and crooked houses on crooked lanes, being in the city center of Colmar is almost like walking through a wonderful living museum; seeing Christmas traditions unfold in such a setting as you browse Colmar's Christmas market is unforgettable. Back aboard the riverboat, join us for dinner, then celebrate with your fellow travellers at our tree-trimming party as you help decorate the riverboat's Christmas tree, a highlight of all Tauck Christmas Market tours!
Included Meals B L D

Day 3: Strasbourg & the Christkindlmarkt

Strasbourg would like you to think of it as the "Capital of Christmas" and it is, after all, the "Capital of Europe" in a sense – being the home of the European Union. Before a walking tour through this ancient French Alsatian city, whose entire center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, gain some insights about storytelling traditions with an expert local guide during a lecture aboard the riverboat. The setting of Tauck's Christmas market tours – around Strasbourg's Gothic Cathedral de Notre-Dame – is breathtaking. After a walking tour of the Christkindlmarkt, you'll have leisure time to explore on your own – and have lunch in town or return to the riverboat on one of the shuttles that will run between the city and the dock for most of the afternoon. Back aboard the riverboat, join your Tauck directors for a discovery briefing before dinner, and enjoy a live musical performance aboard ship tonight.
Included Meals B L D

Day 4: A Black Forest Christmas in Baden-Baden Luxury Motorcoach Transfer

The riverboat docks for an excursion to Baden-Baden; this famous Black Forest spa town is the ideal setting for a winter fairy tale at Christmastime. The tempting aromas of glühwein and gingerbread linger among the labyrinth of stalls in the Weihnachtsmarkt. With its natural springs reputed to have healing powers, Baden-Baden has long attracted the wealthy elite, who come to take the waters and play in the magnificent Belle Epoque casino, the Kurhaus, adjacent to the Christmas Market; get a taste of what being one of “the in-crowd” feels like as you visit the complex. Discover more of Baden-Baden on your own, perhaps indulging in more gingerbread and glühwein. This evening, your riverboat sets off for Speyer, from which you'll travel to Heidelberg tomorrow.
Included Meals B L D

Day 5: The spirit of the season in Heidelberg

A day in Heidelberg promises both holiday cheer at its Weihnachtsmarkt and insights about life here past and present. A tour of Heidelberger Schloss high above the city reveals the ruins of this mighty medieval castle and a sense of what it might have been like to live there so long ago. A funicular ride leads to a walking tour of the city’s Old Town and Heidelberg’s Christmas Markets, winding up with a traditional German lunch – featuring award-winning local beer – in the heart of the city. Spend some free time in the hometown of Germany’s oldest university before catching up with the riverboat for tonight’s cruise.
Included Meals B L D

Day 6: Music, sweet treats & more in Rüdesheim

After a leisurely morning spent cruising along the Rhine and enjoying your riverboat's amenities as you please, there's more Weihnachtsmarkt fun waiting for you in the romantic town of Rüdesheim in the Rhine Valley. After a stroll through the Christmas market near the pier, walk or ride a mini-train (weather permitting) to Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett, a museum featuring an impressive collection of mechanical musical instruments, some dating back centuries, housed in the Bromserhof, a 16th-century castle. A cookie-baking demonstration shares secrets of traditional treats like lebkuchen and stollen, which are very tasty when accompanied by special Rüdesheim coffee laced with local brandy. After some free time, return to the riverboat for dinner; maybe you'll want to take a stroll ashore later.
Included Meals B L D

Day 7: Aachener Printen or Cologne

Spend the morning cruising, arriving in Köln (Cologne) in the early afternoon. You can choose to stay in Köln for a guided tour of this historic cultural center of the Rhineland – with its Christmas Market adjacent to the Gothic, twin-spired Kölner Dom – or head out on an excursion to Aachen. As you explore Aachen’s Weihnachtsmarkt, follow the seductive smells of cinnamon, coriander and ginger to the town’s unique holiday pastry, Aachener Printen; it tastes as good as it looks! Join us for the captain’s farewell reception followed by dinner tonight... and you may want to raise one last cup of glühwein and toast the wonderful time you've had discovering Christmastime along the Rhine.
Included Meals B L D

Day 8: Homeward bound

Tauck's northbound Rhine Christmas market tours end in Köln (Cologne). Fly home anytime. Transfers are included from the riverboat to Cologne / Bonn Airport. Guests enjoying a post-stay in Köln will receive a transfer from the hotel to the airport. Please allow three hours for airport check-in. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home.
Included Meals B


  • Included Meals  Included Meals - B: breakfast, L: lunch, D: dinner.

  • Tour or Transfer by Luxury Motorcoach  Transfer or Tour via Luxury Motorcoach

MS Inspire, Savor, Grace & Joy



Luxurious River Cruise Ships

Tauck exclusively charter these fabulous river cruise ships from Swiss operator Scylla. Designed to offer luxurious and elegant accommodation throughout with a contemporary European style. Tauck vessels carry fewer passengers than other comparablly sized ships, with more large suites on board. All of which contributes to an intimate, club like atmosphere on board

Onboard Features & Facilities

  • Spacious contemporary cabins and suites, most with French balconies
  • Full deck of suites
  • Sun deck with tables, chairs, loungers, jacuzzi and putting green
  • Elegant dining room with flexible dining times
  • Main Lounge with full-service bar and dance floor
  • Rear bistro, Arthur's, for alternative informal dining
  • Al fresco dining on the sun deck weather peritting
  • Fitness center and massage*
  • Complimentary Internet and Wi-Fi
  • Bicycles
  • Complimentary 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar
  • 24-hour reception service
  • Elevator
  • Boutique*
  • Guest laundry*

* Payable locally.


Deck Plan

Tauck Inspiration class - deck plan
Click image to zoom


Luxurious cabins and Suites


All Cabins Feature

  • Hotel style beds that can be made up as twin or large doubles
  • 400-thread-count satin bed linens made from the finest combed cotton
  • Puffy white duvets and pillows of very fine mako cotton, with a hypoallergenic 90% down filling
  • 100% cotton blankets, temperature balancing and so soft to the skin
  • Thick pillow-top mattresses that lull you to sleep
  • Private marble bathrooms with Molton Brown bath and body products
  • Absorbent Terry cloth Robes, slippers and fluffy towels
  • Individual climate control
  • Telephone, safe, minibar & hair dryer
  • TV with complimentary movie and entertainment options
  • Generous built-in closets

Category 7 Suite, Diamond Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 7

Additional Features

  • Size: 300 sq.ft.
  • Two floor-to-ceiling French balconies
  • Separate seating area with table, couch and 2 chairs
  • Large bathroom separate bath and shower
  • Breakfast room service
  • Coffee machine
  • Breakfast room service
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Pullout couch can provide accommodation for 2 children

Category 6 Cabin, Ruby Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 5 & 6

Additional Features

  • Size: 225 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 5 Cabin, Ruby Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 5 & 6

Additional Features

  • Size: 225 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 5 Cabin, Diamond Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 3 & 4

Additional Features

  • Size: 190 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 4 Cabin, Ruby Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 3 & 4

Additional Features

  • Size: 190 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 3 Cabin, Emerald Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 2

Additional Features

  • Size: 225 sq.ft.
  • Extra large loft style windows
  • Raised seating area with 2 chairs and table

Category 2 Cabin, Ruby Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 2

Additional Features

  • Size: 150 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 1 Cabin, Emerald Deck

Tauck Inspiration Class - Cat 1

Additional Features

  • Size: 150 sq.ft.
  • High level twin windows
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

MS Esprit, Treasures, Swiss Jewel, Swiss Sapphire & Swiss Emerald



Luxurious River Cruise Ships

Tauck exclusively charter these fabulous river cruise ships from Swiss operator Scylla. Designed to offer luxurious and elegant accommodation throughout with a contemporary European style. Tauck vessels carry fewer passengers than other comparablly sized ships, with more large suites on board. All of which contributes to an intimate, club like atmosphere on board

Onboard Features & Facilities

  • Spacious contemporary cabins and suites, most with French balconies
  • Full deck of suites
  • Sun deck with tables, chairs, loungers, jacuzzi and putting green
  • Elegant dining room with flexible dining times
  • Main Lounge with full-service bar and dance floor
  • Rear bistro, Arthur's, for alternative informal dining
  • Al fresco dining on the sun deck weather peritting
  • Fitness center and massage*
  • Complimentary Internet and Wi-Fi
  • Bicycles
  • Complimentary 24-hour specialty coffee and tea bar
  • 24-hour reception service
  • Elevator
  • Boutique*
  • Guest laundry*

* Payable locally.


Deck Plan

Tauck Jewel class - deck plan
Click image to zoom


Luxurious cabins and Suites


All Cabins Feature

  • hotel style beds that can be made up as twin or large doubles
  • 400-thread-count satin bed linens made from the finest combed cotton
  • Puffy white duvets and pillows of very fine mako cotton, with a hypoallergenic 90% down filling
  • 100% cotton blankets, temperature balancing and so soft to the skin
  • Thick pillow-top mattresses that lull you to sleep
  • Private bathrooms with Molton Brown bath and body products
  • Absorbent Terry cloth Robes, slippers and fluffy towels
  • Individual climate control
  • Telephone, safe, minibar & hair dryer
  • TV with complimentary movie and entertainment options
  • Generous built-in closets

Category 7 Suites, Diamond Deck

Tauck Jewel Class - Cat 7

Additional Features

  • Size: 300 sq.ft.
  • Two floor-to-ceiling French balconies
  • Separate seating area with table, couch and 2 chairs
  • Large bathroom separate bath and shower
  • Breakfast room service
  • Coffee machine
  • Breakfast room service
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Pullout couch can provide accommodation for 2 children

Category 6 & 5 Cabins, Diamond & Ruby Decks

Tauck Jewel Class - Cat 5 & 6

Additional Features

  • Size: 183 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 3 & 4 Cabins, Ruby Deck

Tauck Jewel Class - Cat 3 & 4

Additional Features

  • Size: 150 sq.ft.
  • Floor-to-ceiling French balcony
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 2 Cabins, Emerald Deck

Tauck Jewel Class - Cat 2

Additional Features

  • Size: 183 sq.ft.
  • High level twin windows
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Category 1 Cabins, Emerald Deck

Tauck Jewel Class - Cat 1

Additional Features

  • Size: 150 sq.ft.
  • High level twin windows
  • 2 chairs, side table and desk

Unique Dining Experiences

Food is a important part of each day on tour and Tauck make every effort to ensure each meal is an experience built around you, whether on board or ashore. Unusually for River cruises the main dining room offers flexible dinning times for dinner rather than one large sitting for the entire ship, and a choice of dining venues onboard.

The Compass Rose, surrounded by panoramic windows, is the main dining room and serves guests for breakfast, lunch and dinnner.

Arthur's at the aft of the ship is a more casual, bistro style dining venue featuring a 180° opening glass wall. Classic favourites for lunch and dinner and alternative lighter breakfast are available.

A number of itineraries also include fantastic dining experiences off the river boat. Whether a trendy city restaurants or exclusive evening in a private royal palace you can rest assured you will have an experience to remember.

Al fresco dining is also available on the sundeck when the weather is fine.

Complimentary snacks are served from 10am to midnight with fresh fruit and cookies always available.

Tauck tours are truly all-inclusive with unlimited complimentary beverages onboard, including quality wines, premium spirits and champagne as well as coffee, tea, water and soft drinks.

Any special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice.


The Tauck Standard

How you see the world matters... and on Tauck’s river cruises, you can expect to see the sights a bit differently than you would with anyone else. We explore Europe’s great waterways from the Rhine and the Danube to the French Rivers, Rhône and Seine. The custom-designed riverboats of Tauck's Destination Fleet are spacious and comfortable, welcoming you to an onboard experience characterized by the Tauck Difference – all-inclusive river cruises featuring personalised cruising enhanced by those "little Tauck touches;" our intimate, club-like atmosphere onboard, and the uncommon access to exclusive cultural experiences on our included excursions ashore, ensuring experiences as memorable as the places you visit... not simply what other travellers see and do. We also feature special Solo Traveller Savings on all of our river cruises; have a special program for group travel; and are the only river cruise line with dedicated multigenerational family cruises. We invite you to explore our cruises and find the one that’s perfect for you… and discover river cruises that go beyond the ordinary...

DepartShipCat 1Cat 2Cat 3Cat 4Cat 5Cat 6Cat 7

Dates in blue denote cruises boarding in Basel

Please call for latest prices and availability or Request a Callback ...

Prices are per person based on two sharing and are subject to availability at time of booking. Operators reserve the right to amend published prices prior to a confirmed booking being made.


Extend Your Stay

Why not extend your stay with a few days in Cologne or Basel to explore what these beautiful cities have to offer.

Please call 0800 471 4754 for further information and assistance.

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