Christmas River Cruise to Alsace and the Black Forest on the Rhine River

Cruise along the Rhine and explore the black forest, a land where Christmas traditions are deeply rooted in history. Stroll through the aisles of the Christmas markets, beautifully illuminated and brimming with the gourmet fragrances of mulled wine and gingerbread. You will also be seduced by the heart-warming atmosphere in Colmar, a city of art and history with an exceptional heritage. Join us for a memorable journey full of magical discoveries and the Christmas Spirit!


Day 1 - Arrive Zurich, Switzerland

There is nothing more festive than the Christmas Markets of France and Germany where Christmas traditions date back centuries. Our Christmas River Cruise to Alsace and the Black Forest begins in Zurich, Switzerland. Upon arrival, we will check in to our hotel and meet our Tour Director. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Perhaps you will want to get into the holiday spirit by strolling along Zurich’s best shopping street, the Bahnhofstrasse, or exploring Altstadt, Zurich’s Old Town with one-of-a-kind shops, medieval churches, and cafes.

Day 2 - Zurich - Strasburg, France

We have some time in Zurich this morning before we head to Strasbourg and embark on our ship, the M/S L’Europe. Art lovers might want to head to the Zurich Museum of Art which includes works by van Gogh, Monet, Marc Chagall, Picasso, Rembrandt, and Domenichino. Chocolate lovers will not want to miss Max Chocolatier in Old Town and Sprungli’s flagship store on Bahnhofstrasse in the heart of downtown.

This afternoon, after settling into our comfortable cabins, we will meet the crew at a welcome cocktail reception that is followed by dinner and an evening of entertainment. This vessel only has 90 cabins that are spread over three decks. Onboard there is a restaurant with large windows, a lounge/bar with a dance floor, and a sun deck.

Day 3 - Strasbourg - Breisach - Freiburg

This morning will be spent cruising down the magnificent Rhine River. We’ll reach Breisach, Germany late this morning and enjoy lunch on board. Afterward, we’ll leave for the mountain village of Breitnau located in the Black Forest. Our shore excursion today is a visit to a cuckoo clock factory. Here you will find some of the most beautiful hand-craved cuckoo clocks for sale in the Black Forest, and watch how they are made. Our tour continues to the lively university town of  Freiburg where we will have time to explore our first Christmas Market. You’ll be amazed by the incredible diversity of traditional arts and crafts found in this Black Forest community such as Christmas decorations made of blown and acrylic glass, colorful wooden toys, figurines, Black Forest Finches, decorations, and everyday items meticulously hand-carved from olive wood. If you have worked up an appetite indulge in mulled wine, steaming hot chestnuts, and almonds. We’ll return to our vessel in Breisach and enjoy the holiday ambiance on board, dinner, and an evening of entertainment.

Day 4 - Breisach - Ecomuseum of Alsace - Colmar

This morning we will head to Ungersheim, France. Our first stop is at the Ecomuseum of Alsace, the largest outdoor museum in France that is set up like an Alsatian village of the early 20th century. This museum is especially interesting to visit during the holidays because it is festooned with traditional decorations giving visitors a glimpse of how the season was celebrated in yesteryear and how many traditions are still honored today. After lunch, we’ll continue on to the fairytale village of Colmar where Christmas is truly a magical experience. Twinkling lights, colorful wooden chalets, and the scent of mulled wine and cinnamon will guide you along the charming lanes of the six Christmas markets spread throughout the old town center. We’ll return to our vessel for dinner and an evening of entertainment. Our ship will cruise to Strasbourg through the night. 

Day 5 - Strasbourg - Frankfurt, Gemany

This morning enjoy one last buffet breakfast on board before disembarking at 9:00 a.m. to make our way to the “global city” of Frankfurt located on the Main River. This historic city not only has one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and is the home of the German poet, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, but it also hosts one of Germany’s most sought-after and largest Christmas Markets. This afternoon we check into our hotel and the rest of your day is at leisure. For museum lovers, explore Museumsufer, or Museum Embankment where you will find 12 museums spread out along the Main River in historic homes and palaces. Among the highlights are the Stadel Museum, the Jewish Museum, the Icon Museum, and the Frankfurt Archaeological Museum.

After comfortably settling in, we head to a local restaurant for dinner.

Day 6 - Frankfurt

After breakfast, we begin our day with a city tour of Frankfurt that takes visitors through historic parts of the city and several neighborhoods. The rest of the day is spent on your own exploring Frankfurt’s, Christmas Market. This market is one of the oldest in Germany that dates to 1393. Today just about the entire city celebrates the holiday season. Festively lit and decorated wooden huts are clustered together in spacious squares, along city streets, and tucked into quiet courtyards. The huts are filled to the brim with everything from homemade ornaments, wooden toys, and local specialties, to huts that sell gluhwein (hot spiced wine), roasted almonds, and sausages. The main square of Romerber in Old Town is the focal point of all holiday festivities.

Day 7 - Frankfurt - Munich

After breakfast, we say goodbye to the city of Frankfurt and head to Munich. Along the way, we will stop at the city of Nuremberg to visit their Christmas Market known for its handmade Christmas decorations, gingerbread, Spekulatius almond cookies, and original Nuremberg bratwurst. Lunch is on your own at the Christmas Market. After lunch, we will depart for Munich and upon arrival check into our hotel. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore Bavaria’s capital city which has it all from castles and museums, historic buildings with ornate facades, to one of Europe’s oldest pedestrian areas, the Maximilianstrasse where you will find shops, cafes, and more. 

Day 8 - Munich

This morning, after breakfast at our hotel, we will have a city tour of Munich. After WWII, city leaders decided to preserve Munich’s original street plan and to recreate its Neo-classic, and Neo-Gothic building facades. Today, this majestic city has amazing buildings, winding streets, squares, and gardens, as well as a collection of world-class museums, and an ardent beer-drinking culture! After our city tour, we will have the rest of the day at leisure.  Munich’s Christmas Market, the largest and oldest in Germany, is located on Marienplatz Square against the Gothic backdrop of Old Town with its towering Christmas tree. The village stalls are enchanting and offer many old-world handmade crafts plus mulled wine and sausages Just up the street from Marienplatz is the famous Nativity scene market (Krippler Market) on Neuhuserstrasse. 

Tonight we will have a farewell dinner where we can share the joy of the season with our fellow travelers.

Day 9 - Depart Munich

After breakfast, you can transfer to the airport anytime.

Tour Details

Hotel / Lodging
(or similar)

1-Night Zurich
3-Nights M/S L'Europe
2-Nights Frankfurt
2-Nights Munich

M/S L'Europe

Named after the “Old Continent” and symbol of unity, the M/S L'Europe is an elegant standard ship that sails on the Rhine and the Danube, meeting the many wonders offered by these two romantic rivers.

Sheraton Hotel Zurich

Experience Zurich as you have never experienced it before! Sheraton Zurich Hotel is the perfect starting point for a stroll through the area and its trendy shops and bars. Sheraton brings people together.

The Westin Grand Frankfurt

Enter The Westin Grand Frankfurt and discover an urban retreat where a well-being-inspired philosophy contrasts with the city’s dynamic pace. Located at the crossroads of historic and modern Frankfurt.

Hilton Munich City

In the heart of Munich and a five-minute walk from the Deutsches Museum.


M/S L'Europe


15 Meals: 8 Breakfasts | 2 Lunches | 5 Dinners
Open Bar M/S L'Europe (premium drinks extra)

Trip Highlights

Refined French Cuisine
Welcome Cocktail
Free Wi-Fi In Lounge & Bar
Headsets For Excursions
Strasbourg, Frankfurt and Munich Christmas Markets
Onboard Activities

Upcoming Departures

Tour DatesAvailabilityDeparture Points 
Check back soon for upcoming departures, or call us at 1-800-426-4324 for more information!

If you like this tour, you may also like...

Iceland In-Depth featuring the Northern Lights

  7 Days      14 Meals      Next Departure: April 21 2024

The Blue Lagoon.
  • Tour of Iceland with Roundtrip Motorcoach
  • 6 Nights 4-star Hotel Accommodations
  • 12 Meals: 6 Breakfasts / 3 Lunches / 5 Dinners
  • More…

Essential Galapagos Islands

  8 Days      18 Meals

Up Close & Personal With Incredible Wildlife.
  • 6 Day/5 Night Galapagos Islands First Class Cruise
  • 2-Nights 5-Star Accommodation Quito
  • 18 Meals
  • More…

Egypt Explorer

  12 Days      24 Meals      Next Departure: March 17 2024

Cruising the Nile River.
  • Roundtrip International Airfare
  • Airport Transfers Egypt
  • Intra-Egypt Flight
  • More…
  • Chris S., Massachusetts
    “Our meals were fantastic and eating at the Grand Hotel, the Skylon Restaurant, the Bavarian Inn, the Island House and the Ventosa Vineyards were ALL excellent experiences! Our hotels were great as well. Thank you so much for pulling this all together for us!”

Ready to Book?

1-800-426-4324 Inquire Now