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Take a European river cruise during the holidays this year and enjoy a unique holiday experience that you'll remember for the rest of your life. One of the most popular reasons to visit Europe during the winter are the Christmas Markets, which first began springing up during the Late Middle Ages. Today, visitors can wander aisles of festively decorated stalls that feature carved nutcrackers, old-fashioned toys and dolls, delightful handicrafts and other unique gifts. You can sample local holiday treats like decadent pastries, piping hot mulled wine, gingerbread and sausages.
AMA Waterways - Christmas on the Danube
Day 1 ARRIVE IN PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
Arrive in Prague and check-in to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free to explore this beautiful and historic city.
Day 2 PRAGUE
Your morning sightseeing tour reveals why Prague is considered one of Europe’s most attractive cities, with a historic city center that is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see Rudolfinum, the National Museum, Wenceslas Square and the Hundertwasser Dancing House. Next, visit the 1,000 year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus before walking over the romantic Charles Bridge to the Old Market Square, where you will find the capital’s famous Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church and the statue of Jan Husek. You will then have free time to shop at Prague’s renowned Christmas Market with its tempting assortment of handicrafts, toys and local delicacies. (B)
Day 3 PRAGUE - NUREMBERG, GERMANY - EMBARKATION
Depart Prague after breakfast and drive through the pastoral countryside to Nuremberg. Visit the world’s largest Christmas Market, with over 100 red and white canvas-topped stalls offering unique crafts, toys, dollhouses, carved angels, freshly baked gingerbread, mulled wine and other seasonal delights. Tonight, gather on board your ship for a Welcome Dinner. The ship moors in Nuremberg overnight. (B,D)
Day 4 NUREMBERG - CONTINENTAL DIVIDE
Enjoy a guided morning tour of this historic city with its fabulous Gothic churches, 900-year-old city ramparts, the house of artist Albrecht Dürer, Imperial Castle, and the Justice Palace courtroom where the War Crimes Tribunal sat in 1946. Following your tour, you will have free time to visit the city’s fabled Christmas Market and enjoy some hot mulled Glühwein – the souvenir mug is yours to keep! (B,L,D)
Day 5 REGENSBURG
Arrive in Regensburg after breakfast and enjoy a guided walking tour of this exquisitely preserved medieval city. Marvel at the beautiful churches, the homes of wealthy families, and one of Germany’s oldest bridges across the Danube. Your tour ends with a visit to a Christmas Market, with its festive stalls adorned with fir branches. This evening, you will enjoy a visit to the exclusive “royal” markets at the Thurn and Taxis Palace, a very traditional handicraft Christmas Market where you can watch craftsmen at work. (B,L,D)
Day 6 PASSAU
After breakfast, you have three choices for how to spend the day. The first is a walking tour of picturesque Passau, a fairytale city founded more than 2,000 years ago, known for its fortifications and town squares like Rathaus, Domplatz and Residenzplatz, as well as St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ. Afterwards, take some time to explore the town’s Christmas Market. Guests looking for a more active morning may instead join a guided bike tour from Passau to Erlau. Your third option is a full-day excursion to Salzburg, birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music.” You will have time to visit Salzburg’s beautiful Christmas Market, renowned for local handicrafts and one-of-a-kind holiday presents, as well as a stop at the Christmas Market in Linz on the way back to the ship. (B,L,D)
Day 7 MELK, AUSTRIA – VIENNA
Today’s guided walking tour takes you to Melk’s magnificent 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest Baroque monasteries. You will see the famous library that inspired novelist Umberto Eco to write The Name of the Rose. You may also opt for a guided bike tour along the scenic Danube instead. During lunch, the ship cruises through the romantic Wachau Valley en route to Vienna, the “City of Music,” arriving this evening. You will have the chance to visit both the Maria Theresienplatz and Rathaus Christkindlmarkt markets tonight. The ship moors overnight in Vienna. (B,L,D)
Day 8 VIENNA
This morning, you will have a chance to savor the Baroque elegance of Romantic Vienna through your choice of one of two different excursions. The first option is a panoramic tour of Vienna that guides you past the majestic Opera House, the former Imperial Palace of the Hapsburg Emperors, Parliament, Town Hall and Vienna University. Afterwards, you will visit Vienna’s historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Graben and the World Famous Spanish Riding School. The second option is a walking tour of Vienna’s hidden treasures that takes you to secret places and sights like Anker Uhr, a whimsical Art Nouveau clock. Afterwards, spend some time enjoying the Christmas Market and holiday festivities at the Town Hall. Later, you can visit the Schönbrunn and Karlsplatz Christmas Markets, or join a guided bike ride to Klosterneuburg Monastery. The ship departs late this evening for Hungary. (B,L,D)
Day 9 BUDAPEST, HUNGARY
Your morning excursion includes sightseeing in the cities of Buda and Pest spread over both banks of the river. You will see famed Heroes’ Square and Castle Hill, home to Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and spectacular views of the Danube. Afterwards, take some time to explore the twinkling Christmas Market in the main square. After dinner, the ship will sail a special Illuminations Cruise past the city’s glittering riverfront. The ship moors overnight in Budapest. (B,L,D)
Day 10 DISEMBARKATION - DEPART BUDAPEST
Your cruise comes to an end as you prepare for your homeward flight. (B)
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See the full itinerary below and call our travel expert for dates & pricing on this itinerary. Cruise AMA Waterways for less!
*Some dates may feature reverse itinerary.
Famous European Christmas Markets
Nuremberg. This market has 180 wooden stalls selling baked goods, roasted bratwurst, handcrafted toys and unique gifts such as Nuremberg Plum People - folksy figurines made from dried prunes.
Vienna. The Austrian capital's glimmering City Hall makes for an unforgettable backdrop to its 700-year old markets. Tempting aromas and the cheerful sounds of international choirs fill the air.
Strasbourg. Here you will find the largest and most famous Christmas market in France. Founded in 1570 and located near a magnificent cathedral, it is popular among the locals and visitors alike.
Budapest. With more than 100 stalls, this market strictly enforces a handcrafted only policy. It's the perfect place to find a unique gift for the person who has everything.Type your paragraph here.