Experience the holiday season on this festive river cruise vacation from Prague to Frankfurt. Your vacation begins in 1,000-year-old Prague with guided sightseeing that shows off the city’s best-known treasures and time to explore the impressive Old Town Christmas market. Also enjoy guided city sightseeing in Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, and the charming Bavarian village of Miltenberg. Other highlights: a beer tasting in Bamberg, a visit to Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz, and a traditional baking demonstration in the pretty Bavarian village of Miltenberg. What a fantastic way to start your holiday season.
Day #1 Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic. Welcome to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires and pinnacles highlighting its skyline.
Day #2 Prague. Prague is a 1,000-year-old city preserved in time. See its best-known treasures such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, once the envy of all of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the Charles Bridge. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books, and stroll through the Christmas markets. Rows of brightly decorated wooden huts sell Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarené víno (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage from one of the stalls. The beautifully decorated tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight. Christmas is the most important family holiday of the year in most Eastern European countries, and the Czechs begin their preparations and celebrations on December 4 with the Feast of St. Barbara. (B)
Day #3 Prague–Nuremberg, Germany (Embarkation). After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)
Day #4 Nuremberg. Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it was restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches and elegant patrician houses. Nuremberg hosts Germany’s most famous Christmas market, which dates back to 1628; the Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations. The city’s traditions include famous Lebkuchen, toy making, and metal working. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Bamberg. Medieval Bamberg is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour takes in its breathtaking cathedral, the Old Town Hall straddling the Regnitz River, and serpentine streets with charming houses and 18th-century mansions. At this time of year the town is decked out for Christmas. Especially interesting are the many nativity scenes that are built by local citizens and exhibited throughout the town. Today we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (B,L,D)
Day #6 Würzburg. Known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Wurzburg is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. The magnificent BISHOP’S RESIDENZ is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon is free to explore more of the city and wander at your own pace through the beautifully decorated wooden booths of the Christmas market. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Wertheim–Miltenberg. This morning, stop in Wertheim, whose overlapping half-timbered houses are grouped along winding streets. Glassblowers have a long tradition in this town and, especially in winter, they produce ornaments that hang on Christmas trees all over the world. Marvel at the tasteful Christmas decorations in the shop windows and stroll through the charming Christmas market. In Miltenberg, you’ll discover a picturesque Bavarian village that thrived on income from river traffic. Its cultural wealth and affluence are reflected in the beautiful medieval and renaissance homes and the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall shown to you during your guided walk. The town center is within walking distance of the ship, as is the Christmas market. Before lunch, learn how to bake a local SOFT COOKIE specialty. (B,L,D)
Day #8 Frankfurt (Disembarkation). Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Departure flights should not leave before 8:30 am. (B)