Christkindlmärkte along the Danube River

Program Overview

Celebrate the enduring magic of the Yuletide season on an enchanting 7-night river cruise to enjoy Europe’s most beloved Christmas markets. Discover magnificent settings where cobblestoned streets strung with colorful lights meet festive market stalls of handcrafted ornaments, fine wooden toys, and irresistible holiday treats. This unique itinerary brings the old-world charm of the holidays to life in a vivid celebration of history and culture. Be inspired by some of Europe’s most noteworthy landmarks—Mozart’s birthplace in Salzburg, the 900-year-old Abbey of Melk in the legendary Wachau Valley, and the glamorous imperial monuments of Hapsburg Vienna. Enhance your journey with the Munich and Vienna Optional Extension.

*This departure operates in the reverse order.

Christmas Market in Nuremberg

Program Details

November 29 to December 7, 2024 (Amadeus Queen) December 6 to 14, 2024* (Amadeus Queen)
From approximately $3,145 plus air View Terms & Conditions
  • Watch Christmas folklore and traditions come to life as you visit holiday markets in Germany and Austria on this 7-night river cruise along the Danube River.
  • Celebrate the timeless magic of an Old-World Yuletide season and the ancient customs of Advent in central Europe.
  • Browse the intricately crafted ornaments hanging in wooden kiosks festooned with colorful lights, sip Glühwein; and savor irresistible holiday treats like roasted chestnuts and freshly baked gingerbread.
  • Explore the authentic Old-World ambiance of Germany’s most famous Christkindlmärkt in historic Nuremberg.
  • Delight in the holiday pageantry of Salzburg, Passau, and Regensburg.
  • Immerse yourself in the nostalgia and romance of Vienna’s classic open-air Christmas markets.

Day 1 - Depart home city

Day 2 - Nuremberg, Germany/Embark Amadeus Queen

Day 3 - Nuremberg

Day 4 - Regensburg

Day 5 - Passau

Day 6 - Linz for Salzburg, Austria

Day 7 - Melk/Dürnstein

Day 8 - Vienna

Day 9 - Vienna/Disembark ship/Return to home city

This program also operates in reverse order.

View detailed program itinerary >

Amadeus Queen

Exclusively Chartered, Deluxe River Boat

The elegant and meticulously crafted Amadeus Queen, features all the comforts of a refined and traditional hotel. Its 72 stylish staterooms and suites are among the most spacious of any European river boat (188 to 284 square feet). Suites include a private balcony, and select staterooms feature a unique floor-to-ceiling window that lowers to French-balcony height at the touch of a button.

Learn more about the Amadeus Queen >

Munich Optional Extension

From Nuremburg, enjoy a leisurely drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber—known for its classical half-timbered medieval houses—and Reiterlesmarkt, the picturesque Rothenburg Christmas Market. Savor lunch in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, then continue to Munich on the banks of the River Isar. Enjoy excursions to the baroque Nymphenburg Palace and the magical town of Neuschwanstein. Accommodations are for 3 nights in the Bayerischer Hof Hotel.

Vienna Optional Extension

Discover layers of history and Christmas traditions in Vienna, renowned for its architecture and walkable city center. Visit the Hofburg Palace in Old Town, the former winter residence of the Hapsburgs, and Belvedere Palace—built by Prince Eugene of Savoy as a summer home. Tour the Austrian Gallery, filled with collections from the Middle Ages to the present day, and enjoy a private Mozart concert at Sala Terrena. Explore the traditional Christmas Market in front of Vienna’s City Hall and the Spittelberg Christmas Market in the revitalized heritage district.

Depending on your chosen departure date, optional extensions may be a Pre-Program or Post-Program.

Optional Extensions are available at an additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

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Program Itinerary

Days 1 Depart home city

Depart your home city for an overnight flight.

Day 2 Nuremberg, Germany/Embark River Boat

Arrive the next day in the storied city of Nuremberg, where you will embark the Amadeus Queen. Attend the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner on board this evening.

Day 3 Nuremberg

Explore the historic center of Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city. Divided by the River Pegnitz, its medieval city walls and imperial castle complex are straight out of a fairytale. Behold the medieval, Gothic‑style St. Lawrence Church, damaged during the World War II and later masterfully restored. In the Hauptmarkt, see the Frauenkirche, or Gothic church, and the Schöner Brunnen fountain. Spend the afternoon at leisure and visit Germany’s most famous Christmas Market, known for preserving Nuremberg’s famous rostbratwurst and Nürnberger lebkuchen gingerbread. 

Day 4 Regensburg

This morning, enjoy a walking tour of medieval Regensburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an architectural testament to the city’s history as an important trading center. Even though it suffered repeated bombing during World War II, most of its medieval structures survived. Festooned with pine boughs and sparkling lights, the city features four enchanting Christmas Markets—each purveying distinctive handmade pottery, carved figures, and Bavarian delicacies. 

Day 5 Passau

Admire graceful arcades, cobblestone streets, and the breathtaking Baroque cathedral of St. Stephan. Visit the Christmas Market in front of that iconic cathedral with time to explore at your own pace. Shop the stalls and taste the gingerbread and other aromatic treats with the splendor of the city all around you. 

Day 6 Linz for Salzburg, Austria

Begin your discovery of historic Salzburg with a walking tour of its UNESCO-inscribed old town. See St. Peter’s Cemetery, The Residenz Palace, and the Festival Halls as you stroll along the 12th century Getreidegasse shopping boulevard. You will also walk past Mozart’s birthplace at Getreidegasse No. 9 before arriving at the Mirabell Castle Cathedral for a private Mozart string quartet concert. Marvel at the majestic Dom Cathedral as you walk to Salzburg’s Christmas Market in Cathedral Square to enjoy a lunch of local specialties. Conclude your tour with a visit to the 11th century Fortress of Hohensalzburg, the largest, fully preserved fortress in central Europe.

Day 7 Emmersdorf/Melk/Dürnstein

Visit Melk’s famous Benedictine abbey, one of the most significant Baroque‑style building complexes in Europe. Providing a sweeping panorama of the Lower Alps and Danube River below, the abbey’s elaborate cloister has been ruined and then rebuilt several times and contains such artistic treasures as original frescoes, statuary, and medieval manuscripts. From there, we cruise to the lovely village of Dürnstein, situated in the heart of Wachau Valley wine country. Visit the uniquely situated Dürnstein Abbey, which began in 1372 as a small chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary. High above the town, see the ruins of Künringer Castle, where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned on his way back from the Third Crusade. Enjoy a short organ recital at the cathedral in Dürnstein. 

Day 8 Vienna

Discover the Gothic beauty of St. Stephen’s, or Stephansdom, on a visit to a structure that represents eight centuries of architectural history. Explore the UNESCO‑inscribed Schönbrunn Palace, the Hapsburg’s extravagant summer residence. Learn more about these extravagant rulers as you stroll palace hallways and enjoy free time in the gardens, followed by a visit to the Schönbrunn Christmas Market. Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner
this evening. 

Day 9 Vienna/Return to home city

Disembark the river boat and transfer to the airport for a flight back to your home city.