FEATURED EXCURSION: Nuremberg city tour with Christmas Market
During the Middle Ages, Nuremberg was the preferred residence of emperors. On your guided excursion, visit Kaiserburg, the castle that rises high above the city and that housed every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Continue along cobblestone streets to one of the most famous examples of 14th-century German ironwork, the Beautiful Fountain in Market Square. Finish the day shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts at the festive Christkindlesmarkt, the largest and oldest Christmas Market in Germany. The best way to experience this market’s two hundred wooden stalls is with a warm cup of sweet-and-spicy glu¨hwein in hand to keep you nice and toasty. In this fine medieval setting, you can also enjoy authentic Nuremberg gingerbread and bratwurst. Shuttles will run between the market and the ship in the afternoon. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Bamberg Nativity Walk with Christmas Market
Wander with your guide through the curious narrow alleyways that wind through Old Town on your way to the scenic Bamberg Cathedral and New Residence. As you stroll, you’ll see parts of Bamberg’s famous Krippenweg (Nativity Walk), which links 40 churches, museums, and public spaces displaying Nativity and New Testament scenes. Some of the figures in these scenes were carved hundreds of years ago. You’ll have time to explore the treasures waiting in the local Christmas Market, which is actually four markets: the traditional market on Maxplatz, another featuring medieval cultural programs in the courtyard of Geyersworth Palace, and two focused on local arts and crafts. You may also wish to browse through the delightful shops that are beautifully decorated for the holiday.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Full-day Rothenburg with walking tour and Christmas Market
After the ship docks in Kitzingen, you’ll travel along parts of the “Romantic Road” to Germany’s best-preserved walled city, Rothenburg. The moment you step out of the motorcoach, you will understand just what makes this route so romantic. Rothenburg is truly a fairytale gem, with its medieval stone walls still enclosing the old city. You’ll get a glimpse of the way life was lived in the Middle Ages as you walk past half-timbered houses topped with picturesque red-tile roofs on your way to one of Germany’s oldest and most celebrated Christmas markets, Reiterlesmarkt. One local seasonal treat that shouldn’t be missed is the schneeball, or “snowball,” made from strips of sweet dough that are fried and covered in powdered sugar or chocolate. You will also want to visit Käthe Wohlfahrt’s original Christmas shop and stop in at a delightful museum that displays toys that date to the 17th century.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Würzburg Residenz with Christmas Market and exclusive Franconian “Village Day”
The town of Würzburg owes many of its most notable monuments to the ambitious building programs of the wealthy prince-bishops of the Schönborn family, who controlled the town in the 17th and 18th centuries. Their spectacular episcopal residence is just one of your destinations today. The opulent Würzburg Residenz is an extraordinary baroque palace and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 300-room palace took nearly 60 years to complete and contains the world’s largest ceiling fresco (created by Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo), as well as what is often described as the most beautiful staircase in the world. You’ll also visit the town’s two-hundred-year-old Christmas Market for one-of-a-kind presents and souvenirs. Later in the day, share some homemade seasonal treats with a family in an idyllic German village.
FEATURED EXCURSION: Wertheim walking tour with mulled wine and Christmas Stollen demonstration
Join your local guide for a walk through the town of Wertheim, where you can look across the Main River to Bavaria before continuing to the Pointed Tower. Stop in at the historic Wertheim Market Square, which is lined with half-timbered buildings and shops selling artisanal glass and Franconian wines in round bottles. Then enjoy a cup of mulled wine and a Stollen (traditional German fruitcake) baking demonstration by a master baker in a private village wine estate.
FEATURED EXCURSIONS: Choice of Frankfurt walking tour with Christmas Market or exclusive “Taste of Christmas” walking tour
On the last full day of your journey, dive into the energy of sophisticated Frankfurt with your guide, roaming from its historic heart, Römer Square, to its landmark skyscraper, Main Tower. Take an elevator to the top of the tower for a view of the 50 skyscrapers that reveal the importance of this European hub, which people from 200 nations call home. An enormous lighted Christmas tree marks Römer Square, the beating heart of Frankfurt, where you’ll find pretty timber-framed houses surrounding a famous Christmas Market. Explore the area on foot with your guide and then amble on your own through the market. Or opt instead to explore the spectacular 10-story Zeil shopping mall and the Kleinmarkthalle with a local guide, who will introduce you to the delectable tastes of the season. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.
Disembark the ship and transfer to Frankfurt International Airport for your flight home.