Along the beautiful, undulating valleys of the Rhine, Germany holds some stunning towns which embrace the spirit of Christmas with an abundance of tradition. Spend time in the cities of Koblenz, Frankfurt and Rüdesheim and stroll through old cobbled streets and magnificent squares full of wooden stalls, glowing under thousands of tiny lights and exuding the inviting aromas of roasting nuts, traditional bratwurst and glühwein. Browse for gifts that stem from intriguing local customs, or relive your youth on an old carousel and see the figurines that create Rüdesheim’s life-size nativity scene.
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your journey to Dover, where we take a break before boarding our coaches, for the Channel crossing to Calais and onward journey to Cologne. Upon arrival, embark MS Serenade 1 (4T), where light refreshments are available. There may be an opportunity to spend time at a Christmas market in Cologne - there are several to choose from through the city, including one in the shadow of the glorious Cologne Cathedral - before a welcome cocktail and dinner this evening before we set sail.
Day 2 - Koblenz
Koblenz is a beautiful town whenever you go, but in December, the half-timbered dwellings look even more romantic under the glow of Christmas lights. Located amongst some of the best vineyards in Germany, Koblenz offers some delicious wines, and equally delicious red or white Glühwein to accompany your Christmas market experience. The market is one of the largest in the area, and includes a bakery where German Christmas cakes and biscuits, including stollen, are available. Be sure to look out for the Schängel Fountain and see the Baroque town hall, which is turned into a unique advent calendar. You may like to take a break from the festivities with a visit to a charismatic castle or Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Europe’s second largest military garrison sits high above Koblenz, offering beautiful views of the town and river, and holds interesting museums on history and folklore. We sail late evening.
Day 3 - Frankfurt - Mainz
A leisurely morning as we sail to Frankfurt, docking as we enjoy lunch. This large city is known for modern skyscrapers housing powerful business hubs, however the city’s heart still cherishes tradition. Amidst the historical sights of Frankfurt’s beautiful old town, wooden stalls and elaborate decorations, the music from an historic wooden carousel, the scent of baked apples and the taste of chestnuts, gingerbread and marzipan treats create a wonderful Christmas atmosphere. Try honey wine on St Paul’s Square, find unique arts at the Roemerhallen (Roman Halls) and search for the unusual Quetschemännchen, colourful figures made of nuts and dried fruit which young men used to send to the girls they admired. We return to our ship to take dinner as we sail to Mainz, docking here later tonight.
Day 4 - Mainz - Rüdesheim
In modern times, Mainz is home to the parliament and the prime minister of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. But it has also preserved a small, but charming old town, full of winding alleys and beautifully crafted half-timbered houses. We take an included walking tour to learn about this 2,000-year-old town and it’s most influential citizen, Johannes Gutenberg, whose introduction of movable type printing to Europe is widely considered a world-changing invention. We return to MS Serenade 1 to take lunch while we sail to Rüdesheim. Docking early this afternoon, you have the remainder of the day to explore this stunning, traditional town. Head to Drosselgasse; the popular cobbled lane in the heart of the half-timbered old town is full of traditional cosy wine taverns, shops and, at Christmas time, 120 stalls offering traditional gifts and foods from around the world, from Finland to Mongolia. Try some Rüdesheim Coffee, made with locally distilled brandy and whipped cream, find traditional gifts of brightly-painted nutcracker men and visit Europe’s biggest nativity scene on the market square. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s dinner on board.
Day 5 Cologne - UK
After breakfast we board our waiting coaches for the return journey to Calais and Channel crossing. Upon arrival in Dover, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.