Germany’s got loads of famous Christmas markets, which is why we’ve lined up so many German ports on our Yuletide Wonders itinerary. You’ll set sail from Frankfurt, home to one of the largest markets in the country, and tick off Speyer, Plittersdorf and Mainz. This is your chance to browse authentic German Christmas market stalls selling the likes of glühwein mugs, Bratwurst and lebkuchen aka gingerbread cookies. We’ve also included a stop in Strasbourg, France. Known as the ‘Capital of Christmas’, the festive period is big business here. The holiday market has been around since Medieval times, and the entire city gets dressed up in the spirit of the season. It’s small enough to see everything on foot, too. So, you can take pictures by the huge Christmas tree in Place Kléber, visit the cathedral’s impressive nativity scene, and warm up with a mulled wine from one of the wooden chalets selling food and drink, all in one day.
Find out more about our Yuletide Wonders itinerary
Another of our other Christmas market river cruise itineraries, Mistletoe and Rhine, is also packed with German ports. The first stop is Cologne, where several markets set up across the city, including outside the famous cathedral. Spend an afternoon picking up handmade gifts to the sound of holiday music from the fairy light-strung performance stage. And, when you’ve finished shopping, the market is just a few minutes’ walk from the city’s brewing houses, plus the Cologne Philharmonic Concert Hall. In Dussledorf, the next stop on your itinerary, there are seven markets to visit. You’ll then cruise to Koblenz, located in the Rhineland-Palatinate wine-growing region. Along with a tasty tipple or two, you can watch the rooftop advent calendar open at the town hall and sample some traditional German stollen from the market stalls.
Find out more about our Mistletoe and Rhine itinerary
If you want to spend Christmas on a river cruise ship, book our A Festive Fairy Tale itinerary. You’ll join the ship for a week-long cruise a few days before Christmas Day, and tick off a handful of German ports – with Strasbourg in France thrown in for good measure. In the spirit of the season, you can expect festive treats like mulled wine and Christmas carols throughout your sailing. Plus, you’ll be in Mainz on the 25, which is home to a huge nativity scene. Or, choose our Rhine Christmas Charms itinerary to spend the big day in Koblenz, where you can see the meeting point of the Moselle and Rhine rivers.
Find out more about our Rhine Christmas Charms itinerary and our A Festive Fairy Tale itinerary
Grab your party hats and welcome in the new year on one of our New Year’s Eve cruises with the obligatory countdown to midnight. Our New Year’s Rhine Celebration itinerary calls at seven ports and starts in Frankfurt. Things in this port are pretty modern, but don’t worry – you’ll get to see Germany’s traditional side on this itinerary, too. Rastatt is home to two time-stamped chateaus, while Mainz delivers on timber-clad houses straight out of a fairy tale. Or, celebrate on our A Rhineland New Year sailing. You’ll call at seven different ports including Cologne and Dussledorf, plus spend New Year’s Eve in Bonn and New Year's Day in Koblenz.
Find out more about our New Year’s Rhine Celebration itinerary and our A Rhineland New Year itinerary
Ready to cruise along Europe's famous rivers this Christmas?
See all these sights and more sailing with TUI River Cruises. If you're tempted to cruise at a different time of year, have a read of our article on the best river cruises we offer. Or, plan your festive cruise for next winter with our winter 2022 sailings.
Pssst. Head to the Discover homepage for our latest articles.
Author: Lizzie Butler
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