Your European holiday begins with a stay in Como and Lucerne, with a special excursion up Mount Pilatus for spectacular Swiss Alpine panoramas. In Como, an included guided walking tour features the charming historic district, the Gothic Town Hall, the impressive Duomo and a boat ride on the lake. In Lucerne, your guided walking tour, includes the Lion Monument, the Chapel Bridge and a special highlight excursion to stunning Mount Pilatus.
Board your Avalon vessel in Basel, Switzerland, then head for Breisach, Germany, the gateway to the Black Forest, an area of unrivalled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. Here’s your first chance to explore a Christmas market offering many traditional items. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where you’ll visit the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Strasbourg is home to one of the oldest and finest Christmas markets in Europe and its centrepiece is a giant Christmas tree. Choose between a visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and watch the skaters on the ice rink below or a a guided walk in Mainz with a visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Next up is the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. You’re sure to be enthralled by the life-size figures of Europe’s largest nativity scene on the Market Square. Pass through the dramatic views of the Rhine Gorge before arriving in Cologne—your last stop in Germany. Here, you’ll explore the 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral. Wander through the Christmas market, try some traditional Lebkuchen and get some inner warmth with a cup of Glühwein. As an exclamation point to this wonderful Rhine river cruise, you’ll spend time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”