7 DAYS OF MAGIC: CHRISTMAS CRUISE ON THE RHINE
A Christmas river cruise on the Rhine is a ‘dream come true’ trip. This fascinating 7 day river cruise, with free-flowing quality red and white wines from Europe’s famous wine regions, is a unique gem.
Special onboard entertainment includes lectures, cooking demonstration, onboard music performances and nightly music by the Amadeus Duo in the Panorama Bar. And of course each city on the way encompasses its own treasures.
Let’s dive into some of them.
1. Cologne, the Picasso Treasure
Image source: Wotif
Image source: CAPL
Image source: Thousand Wonders
Your adventure starts in Cologne, a 2,000-year-old city spanning the Rhine River in western Germany - the region’s cultural hub.
Before you take off, spend some time in the city visiting Cologne Cathedral – a Grand Gothic cathedral with twin spires. It is absolutely stunning!
Initially, the medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the holy relics of the Three Kings and be a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. The most celebrated work of art in the cathedral is the Shrine of the Three Kings, which was commissioned by Philip von Heinsberg, the archbishop of Cologne from 1167 to 1191. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as a the city’s most recognisable masterpiece.
Imhoff-Schokoladenmuseum (the Imhoff Chocolate Museum) is of course impossible to miss when in Cologne. Hans Imhoff (1922-2007), a passionate maker of chocolates, had a long-held dream: a chocolate museum with a fountain of unending streams of chocolate. The result is not quite a Wonka Chocolate Factory but very close.
Cologne Cable Car is a lot of fun, however it might be a little chilly in winter. Museum Ludwig is definitely worth a visit. If you don’t have enough time to explore all the works of Pop Art, Abstract and Surrealism, and one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe, you absolutely must check out the building – itself a masterpiece of modern art.
2. Koblenz, the Restored Beauty
Image source: CroisiEurope
Image source: Wiki
Image source: Wiki
Koblenz is an adorable city that is definitely worth visiting. It nicely mixes its historic heritage with the modern present. It was the capital of the Prussian Rhine Province in 1824–1945. After World War I it was the seat of the Inter-Allied Control Commission for the Rhineland in 1919 - 1929. Although most of Koblenz was destroyed in World War II, many of its historic buildings have been restored, the reconstruction giving the city a spacious, modern appearance.
A few things to admire here: Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Baldwin Bridge and the Middle Rhine Museum.
If you’d like to learn more about things to do and see in Koblenz before your departure, get in touch with our team.
3. Christmas Mass in the Dome of Speyer
Image source: Rudiger
Image source: Framepool
After passing the Lorelei, a 132 m high, steep slate rock on the right bank of the river Rhine in the Rhine Gorge at Sankt Goarshausen, you’ll embark on a walking exploration of Speyer with a visit to the Christmas markets.
You’ll be able to attend Christmas mass in the Speyer Cathedral. Somewhere in the 1020s Konrad II started construction of a cathedral with the goal of building the biggest church of his era. It remains the world's largest surviving Romanesque church today.
Apart from the beautiful Christmas markets, Speyer is known for its Old Gate (Altpoertel) - one of the original 68 towers in the old walls and gates. Today it is one of the most architecturally significant of the remaining city gates in Germany. This is definitely worth a peak!
4. Afternoon in Strasbourg
Image source: Boris Stroujko
Image source: Historylines
Originally a Celtic village, under the Romans it became a fort built on marshy lands. It was captured in the 5th century by the Franks, who called it Strateburgum, from which the present name is derived.
It’s been an important city ever since! Strasbourg now plays a major role as a business, commercial, and cultural centre. It is the seat of a number of European institutions and bodies including the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights.
Directly opposite the French city of Strasbourg, you’ll find Germany’s most important link to France - Kehl. It's pretty awesome to walk over a bridge and be in a different country. By the way, the first permanent bridge between Kehl and Strasbourg was completed in 1338.
5. Mainz, the Hometown of Printing
Image source: Pedro Szekely
Image source: Framepool
Mainz is known for its old town, with half-timbered houses and medieval market squares. Our walking tour of Mainz includes Gutenberg Museum, which is one of the oldest museums of printing in the world. History buffs will be beyond themselves!
Mainz was founded as a military post by the Romans in the late 1st century BC and became the provincial capital of Germania Superior.
Mainz Cathedral or St. Martin's Cathedral is a 1000-year-old Roman Catholic cathedral. The main altar is an intricate piece of design. The onsite museum features gold-plated relics and sculptures. The cathedral is in fact one of the city's most prominent landmarks.
Wood Tower is another great local landmark to check out. It looks amazing, and most importantly, like the Iron Tower, the Wood Tower was used as a watchtower. It was badly damaged in World War II and accurately reconstructed in 1961 for the two-thousandth anniversary of the city. It currently houses various organisations and clubs.