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Starting in late October, the cities and towns of Germany fall under a wintery spell. Snow begins to fall on rooftops, bright lights line streets and homes, and the cobblestone streets are blissfully clear of crowds. Start your winter season with our Heart of Germany river cruise and enjoy a European vacation like no other.
Soak in the striking landscapes as you cruise along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers… Admire the exquisite architecture of Würzburg and Regensburg … The discoveries in this enchanting corner of Europe are endless. In addition to exploring four UNESCO World Heritage Sites, your deluxe Germany cruise will also visit smaller medieval towns, such as Nuremberg and Heidelberg, that are as full of charm as they are history.
Traveling solo? Vantage is the only company in the travel industry whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, so you can experience these treasured destinations without paying a Single Supplement. Don't miss this scenic European river cruise — while steering clear of crowds — on this captivating off-season journey. Join us for a one-of-a-kind European river cruise and discover what makes Vantage’s cruise line the premier in deluxe travel.
Few cities are brimming with more holiday festivity than Munich, from joyful church bells and twinkling lights to the renowned Christmas market — one of the country’s oldest. Make Munich part of your holiday tour of Germany with our four-day extension and tour this Bavarian capital as it's dressed up for the holidays. You’ll take an included tour of this stylish city and also have plenty of time to search for gifts and goods at the Christmas market, where the local specialty is the Münchener Marzipan, and to discover Munich’s famed culture, food, and drink.
Board a flight to Munich, Germany
Grab your bags — it’s time to go! This evening, you’ll fly overnight to Munich.
Embark ship in Regensburg
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to the pier in Regensburg, where you board your ship and officially begin your cruise. Start things off right at the Captain's Welcome Reception.
Discover the historic gems of Regensburg
Cultural Connection: Begin the day learning about the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal during a lecture. Cultural Connection & Unforgettable Moment: Then, set off on a walking tour of UNESCO-named Regensburg, complete with a delectable culinary treat. A remarkable combination of charming history and a lively cultural scene, this city is full of medieval architecture, historic squares, and energetic pubs. After returning to the ship for lunch, you’ll have some time to explore at your own pace. Cultural Connection: Back on board this afternoon, enjoy a German language lesson before gathering for the Captain's Welcome Dinner.
Biking Opportunity: Explore Regensburg’s monuments and history, including Walhalla memorial hall, during a medium 14-mile route. Click here for details.
Navigating medieval Nuremberg
Today, visit the towering Schöner Brunnen fountain and the city’s incredible medieval castle on our “Medieval Nuremberg” tour. Back on the ship this evening, more evening entertainment rounds out another historical, and festive, day in Germany.
Wander the streets of romantic Bamberg
This morning we set out on foot to discover UNESCO-named Bamberg on a city tour. With its medieval structures and picturesque surroundings, this city is a true German masterpiece. Cultural Connection: We'll even have a chance to sample Glüwein, a mulled wine drink and regional favorite during the winter months. After the tour, enjoy some free time to explore this romantic city on your own. Enjoy scenic sailing in the afternoon. Cultural Connection: Back on the ship this afternoon, enjoy a lecture on Germany in the 21st Century.
Discover Würzburg, with an option to tour Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Arriving in lavish Würzburg today, you'll have a choice: Set out on a half-day tour of the Würzburg Residenz, a baroque European castle that is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by leisure time in the town. Or, you may join an optional tour of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a fabulously preserved medieval town.
Picturesque Rothenburg ob der Tauber features winding cobbled lanes lined with half-timbered houses, as well as massive towers and intact city walls around the Old Town where one can take in views over both the city and the Tauber valley. Known for its “eternal Christmas” atmosphere, the town’s various shops sell beautiful, handcrafted Christmas gifts and souvenirs all year round. Come December, the area comes to life with the famous Christmas Market, one of the most romantic markets in Germany. You’ll take a walking tour and pay a visit to the Christmas Museum; plus, you’ll enjoy some free time to explore the shops and take in the stunning views.
Unforgettable castle views in Heidelberg
After arriving in Frankfurt, you’ll set off for a tour of Heidelberg, a red-roofed town on the Neckar River and home to Germany's oldest university. Unforgettable Moment: Enjoy panoramic views from the plaza of imposing Heidelberg Castle, a Gothic-Renaissance ruin of red stone looming above the downtown and see the castles famed Heidelberg Tun, an immense wine barrel, now empty, with a capacity of some 58,000 gallons. Then, savor fantastic city views during a funicular ride back to the city's downtown area; active travelers can return on foot. After enjoying lunch in a local restaurant together, you'll enjoy some leisure time. Be sure to stroll along the pedestrian-only main street in the town’s center or explore its various squares — stop by the idyllic ice rink at Karlsplatz for the perfect winter activity.
At the confluence: Koblenz
Enjoy a relaxing morning of scenic cruising on the Rhine as you make your way to Koblenz, a city more than 2,000-years-old strategically set at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. From the wedge-shaped headland where the waters meet, known as Deutsches Eck or "German Corner," a giant equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I overlooks the united rivers. Upon arrival, you'll enjoy a walking tour of this charming town in the afternoon. Grab your boogie shoes this evening to enjoy a night of dancing onboard following dinner.
Auf Wiedersehen! Time to fly home
After breakfast, you’ll disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight home. Or, continue to your post-trip extension in Cologne.
You can’t help but be drawn to the twin towers of the great Cologne cathedral when you visit this ancient Rhine river city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But they're just a starting point for the many discoveries awaiting those who take the time to look a little closer. From intricate Roman mosaics discovered under busy squares to world-class museums, lively beer halls, and shops selling everything from the latest European fashions to melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, Cologne (Köln) provides endless rewards. And when you add this special extension to your river cruise, not only will transfers and a sightseeing tour all be arranged, you’ll be getting extra value for your international airfare!
Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.