Christmas: East & West
A Winter Tour Of Europe Combining Touring in two distinct regions of Europe - the choice is your to join us for either the East, the West or Both.
Part 1: Christmas In The West
8 Days, 1st to 8th December 2022, Nuremburg To Frankfurt
Visits: Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Rothenburg, Wertheim and Frankfurt
Part 2: Christmas In The East
9 Days, 18th to 16th December 2022, Bucharest to Bucharest
Visits: Bucharest, Sibiu, Brasov and Prahova Valley
Part 1: Western Europe: Nuremberg to Frankfurt
Day 1 : Nuremberg - Arrive & Embark: Arrive into Nuremburg, meet & greet on arrival and transfer to your river cruise vessel.
Day 2: Nuremberg: For an over-the-top, old-world holiday extravaganza, look no further than Nuremberg, which boasts the largest and grandest Christmas market in all of Germany and that's really saying something. The Gingerbread Capital of the World pulls out all the stops during the holidays, as you'll see for yourself on a panoramic tour guaranteed to put you in a festive mood. You could not ask for a more perfect place to begin an exploration of Christmas traditions than Nuremberg. The people of Nuremberg hold their Christkindlesmarkt very close to their hearts. The iconic Christkind, with her white-and-gold dress, long blond curls and golden crown, has been the symbol for the Christmas Market for many decades. During Advent, she is the most important representative of the city; every year she opens the Christmas Market by declaring: âWelcome, young and old, to my little community of wood and cloth. While this markets splendor is fleeting, the joy it brings is eternal And with that declaration, the market festivities begin in a town that is famous for its gingerbread and long toy-making tradition.
Day 3: Bamberg: The fact that Bamberg still exists today is something of a miracle, given that it survived WWII bombing virtually unscathed. It's a superb example of a medieval German city, one compact enough to explore on foot with a local expert. Youâ'll also have free time to visit not just one but four Christmas markets. The UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg, unlike most German cities, was largely undamaged by bombing during WWII. This fact, combined with the city's prosperous thousand-year history, means that Bamberg has one of the largest intact old-town centers in Europe, so the medieval layout and architecture that was a model for other towns throughout Central Europe remains for you to see and experience.
Day 4: Kitzingen (Rothenburg), Wurzburg: Rothenburg looks like something straight out of the pages of a storybook, with its medieval walls, cobbled streets, Gothic churches and Hansel-and-Gretel houses. Join a local expert for an insightful walking discovery tour, and then wander amongst the stalls at one of Germany's oldest Christmas markets. Your ship docks in the Bavarian town of Kitzingen in the morning, and after breakfast you'll take a ride along the Romantic Road, once a medieval trade route, to Rothenburg. The minute you step down from the motorcoach in Rothenburg (also known as Rothenburg ob der Tauber), you'll know why the route, which links picturesque and well-preserved old towns, is called the Romantic Road. Rothenburg is right out of a storybook: Wide medieval walls still enclose its charming core of Gothic churches and gabled houses.
Day 5: Wurzburg: One of the best ways to embrace a different culture is through encounters with local residents, which you'll experience today in a typical Franconian village. Make new friends over hot drinks and homemade seasonal treats, then head off to see the Wurzburg Residence, a baroque-style palace famous for its gigantic ceiling fresco. Later, visit the town's renowned Christmas market for some one-of-a-kind gifts for friends back home (or yourself!). The town of Wurzburg owes many of its most notable monuments to the ambitious building programs of the wealthy prince-bishops of the Schonborn family, who controlled the town in the 17th-and 18th-centuries. Their spectacular episcopal residence is on your schedule for today, as is a delightful encounter with the residents of a Franconian village.
Day 6: Wertheim, Cruising the Main River: Get a taste of life in the Middle Ages at a remarkably well-preserved German village, where you'll meet a local butcher and baker (and perhaps even a candlestick maker) on a guided walking tour. Be sure to fortify yourself with a mug of mulled wine and a slice of delicious stollen before visiting the town's charming Christmas market. Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers, Wertheim (or Wertheim am Main) is a lovely village dating back over a thousand years. It epitomizes the friendly, slow-paced, small-town atmosphere of many German villages; here, residents greet each other by name as they do their daily shopping for fresh bread and sausage in tiny shops. On your guided walking tour of the village, you'll hear a lot about daily life in Wertheim, as well as facts about the town and its history. Its many well-preserved medieval buildings complete with low doors, tiny rooms and insufficient lighting attest to the inconveniences of life in the Middle Ages.
Day 7: Frankfurt: Frankfurt is known as the Manhattan of Europe, a financial powerhouse with soaring skyscrapers as well as traditional Old Town architecture. Experience both aspects of the city today, with time to browse the local Christmas market, one of the best on the Continent. Other options include a âTaste of Christmas walking tour featuring all sorts of sugary and savory treats or an excursion to the Christmas market in Wiesbaden. You'll wake up to the pulse of one of Germany's most flourishing cities, Frankfurt. Its cosmopolitan citizens hail from more than 200 nations, and its soaring skyscrapers are home to major European transportation and financial institutions, among them the European Central Bank. A special Captain's Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
Day 8: Frankfurt (Disembark): Depart your cruise and Transfer to the Airport for your onward or homeward bound Flight.
Western Europe Package Includes:
DINING: All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients. 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners. Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions. Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners. Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water EXCURSIONS: 6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts, Guided “Taste of Christmas” and “Village Day” programs, State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all shore excursions, Use of Nordic walking sticks. ACCOMMODATIONS: 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the regal River Queen, Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options, Free Internet and Wi-Fi access,. EXPERIENCES: 1 country: Germany, 2 UNESCO World Heritage sites, Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager, All transfers on arrival and departure days, Captivating onboard local entertainment, Exclusive Generations Family Program on a select December departure
Part 2: Eastern Europe: Bucharest to Bucharest
Day 1: Arrival Bucharest: Pick up from the airport and drive to the hotel. Dinner and accomodation available at Radisson Blu – a 5 star designer hotel in the Bucharest city center, perfectly situated near the Romanian Athenaeum Concert Hall and the Old City’s attractions.
Day 2: A glimpse of Bucharest – Old Town Tour and historical sites: Bucharest’s history extends on more than 5 centuries and the city offers a incredible blend of European culture. Its evolution received a big influence from the Otoman Empire, from the French Revolution, from Communism and now from the West. In just a few hours, you will experience the urban atmosphere of narrow streets with Beaux Arts buildings and elegant cafés, the blocks that remind of communism and the simplicity of rural art and life in one of Europe’s largest open-air museums – the Village Museum. See the Arch of Triumph, a monument inaugurated on 1st December 1936 which glorifies the bravery of the Romanian soldiers who fought in the First World War. Visit the Village Museum, one of the world’s most interesting ethnographical parks in open air. Here you can see 50 complete homesteads, churches, windmills and even sunken houses from rural Romania. Let us take you through a trip in time and history – tell you the story why Bucharest was called “Little Paris”or “Paris of the East”. You will also pass by The Revolution Square, one of the city’s most important squares, surrounded by emblematic buildings such as The Athenee Palace Hilton Hotel, built in 1883 next to the Romanian Athaeneum, the Royal Palace-National Museum of Fine Arts, the National Library, King Carol The 1st Statue, etc. We pass through the vibrant streets of Bucharest’s historic centre, with their numerous shops, bars, restaurants and clubs placed in beautiful nineteen century buildings and we have lunch at the famous Caru cu Bere. The restaurant opened its doors in 1879, it has traditional food and shows the interior of an historical monument built in the style of “German Romanticism” with Gothic details. We go back to the hotel on our Champs Elysees – Calea Victoriei street, where you can find historical buildings and eclectic architecture and also brand shops. The afternoon is free and dinner will be in the city center. Accommodation at Radisson Blu hotel.
Day 3: A glimpse of Bucharest – past and present presidencies: We will start the day with a visit to the Palace of Parliament, also called the House of People, built between 1984-1992, a must do in Bucharest. It’s construction was started by our communist, totalitarian leader Nicolae Ceausescu and was finished after his death. We will go from the story of the house to the story of the Romanian communism and how it influences the development of the country. The building is the largest administrative building in the world with a height of 84 m, an area of 365,000 m 2 and a volume of 2,550,000 m 3 (a larger volume than the Keops pyramid in Egipt). In terms of weight, the Palace of the Parliament is the heaviest building in the world, weighing in at around 4,098,500 tons. We will also visit the Cotroceni National Museum - the old Royal Palace, built in 1895 at the orders of King Carol I. In 1991 the palace became the headquarters of the Romanian Presidency and the old wing of the ensemble was opened to the public as Cotroceni National Museum, envisioned as an insight into past ages. You will see the rooms decorated to the whims of Marie, the English wife of Carols heir, his nephew Crown Prince Ferdinand in French Revolution, German Renaissance, Neo Romanian styles. You will also be able to view her astonishing art collection and see the story of the Romanian monarchy unfold in front if your eyes. Lunch will be served at Hanul Boierilor – Casa Soare, a Neo Romanian villa close to the Palace of Parliament. The afternoon will be dedicated to the Bucharest Christmas Market with its mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and traditional souvenirs and dinner will be served in the Old Town. Accommodation at Radisson Blu hotel.
Day 4: A glimpse of Romanian country, villages and nature: Departure from Bucharest. We will drive on Olt Valley, towards Sibiu. We will make the first stop on the bank of Olt river, and visit a beautiful and traditional orthodox monastery Turnu. The church was built around the XVII th century and it is an oasis of peacefulness at the foot of the mountains, in Cozia Natural Park. On the way to Sibiu we will visit two beautiful villages, Cisnadie and Cisnadioara, once enhabited by the german population. Now, one can see the strong german influences in the construction of the houses and the beautiful fortified churches. In Cisnadioara we will visit the oldest Romanesque style church in Romania, believed to have been built by the order of the Cistercian monks brought to Romania in the XIIIth century. It stands atop a 100-meter high hill, surrounded by circular fortifications, with a defensive turret above the entrance. Some of the original walls have been preserved to this day. Lunch will be served in a traditional old german orchard in Cisnadioara and in the evening we will arrive in Sibiu. Dinner and accommodation in Sibiu, at Doubletree by Hilton.
Day 5: Explore the beautiful city of Sibiu: Enjoy a relaxing day visiting the beautiful city of Sibiu. The first official record of this city, built by Saxons, dates from 1191. Sibiu quickly became an important city, one of the seven cities that gave Transylvania its German name Siebenbürgen (literally “seven citadels”). In 2007 was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007, along with the city of Luxembourg and in 2008 was ranked as "Europe's 8th-most idyllic place to live" by Forbes. One of the reasons may be that the historical center has a pretty medieval look: two storey houses with red roofs (their windows called “eyes”), cobbled alleys, evangelical churches and defense towers. The city tour will take us from The Big Square (the main trading spot for centuries) to the Small Square, to the famous Liar’s Bridge (an iron bridge that got its name after all the promises that the soldiers said to the young ladies), The Brukenthal Museum, The Prisoner’s Well, The Museum of Pharmacy. And what good is a tower if you can’t climb it? Get ready to see Sibiu from up above, from The Council’s Tower or from the highest building in town: The Evangelical Church. Its tower is 73 meters tall and the observation point is 55 m above ground. We have lunch at one of the lovely restaurants in the main square and then we drive to the ASTRA Museum of Traditional Folk Civilization. The museum is dedicated to old crafts and traditions and comprises over 300 houses and other buildings situated in a magical forest with over 10 km of picturesque paths and walkways. The evening catches us at the beautiful Christmas organized in the city center and we have dinner in the city center. Accommodation in Sibiu, at Doubletree by Hilton.
Day 6: Discover more of Transylvania and Fagaras regions: After breakfast we drive towards Brasov. We will start the day with a tour of the citadel in Fagaras, a citadel that was never conquered. From the 14th century it belonged to the princes of Wallachia, as a gift from the King of Hungary and between the 15th and 18th century the city was known as the “city of princesses” - the residence of the wives of the princes. Fagrass citadel was used during the 1950s as a prison for opponents and dissidents against the communist regime; it is currently a museum and library. We will find out how the Saxons, the Romanians and the Hungarians lived and thrived together in this area (at the beginning of the 20th century there were 6,579 inhabitants: 51% Hungarians, 33% Romanians and 16% Saxons) and we will taste the local cuisine in a beautiful restaurant called Casa Terra - home of a gourmet chef. We arrive to Brasov in the afternoon, reach our hotel and have dinner at a local restaurant in the city center. Accommodation in Brasov, at Hotel Kronwell.
Day 7: Explore the amazing city of Brasov: Brasov, as the other fortified cities, was built to defend the border of Christianity. It is said that on the site of the village of Brașov, the Teutonic Knights built Kronstadt – the city of the crown. Although the crusaders were evicted by 1225, the colonists they brought in remained and formed a town along with the local population. The town quickly expanded and became a trades’ town, known for its crafts guilds. We start the day with a city tour that includes highlights like: The Black Church (the biggest gothic church in all Eastern Europe), The Rope Street (the narrowest street in Europe), The Synagogue. We will stroll through the historical city center and then we will exit through one of the city gates (like Ecaterina’s Gate) and go up, to see The White Tower, The Black Tower and Brasov’s defense system. After lunch we drive to one of the highlights of the day and of the trip – the famous Bran Castle, also known as Dracula’s Castle. Does it deserve its spooky reputation? You will see for yourselves.. Dinner and accommodation in Brasov, at Hotel Kronwell.
Day 8: A journey through Prahova Valley: First thing after breakfast, we will drive to Sinaia, also called The Pearl of the Carpathians. Sinaia is a beautiful mountain resort, famous, among other things for the Peles Castle, former residence of King Carol. It was built during 1883 and 1885, in a Neo-Renaissance style. The royal family would spend six months of the year over at Sinaia and the castle was a residence for them until 1947, when the communist regime nationalized the property. Starting 2007, the castle is property of King Mihai I (our last king and one of the few alive leaders from the second WW), being managed as a museum and national institution by the Romanian State. We will visit the castle and then we will drive to a nice restaurant in the area, which benefits from an amazing scenery: mountains and forests as far as the eye can see. Later on, we will drive to Azuga for some wine tasting at a famous winery that is the provider of sparkling wine for the royal family since 1892. In the afternoon we will drive back to Bucharest. Accommodation at Radisson Blu hotel.
Day 9: Departure Bucharest: Today is free until your transfer to Otopeni airport for your onward or homeward bound flight.
Eastern Europe Package Includes:
• Inbound Airport Transfer by private air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle • Outbound Airport Transfer by private air-conditioned, non-smoking vehicle • Accommodation in a double room in following hotels: Bucharest: Hilton, Mariott, Radisson Blu, Sibiu: Hilton, Brasov: Kronwell Hotel • Licensed English-speaking guide services • Entrance fees at museums, churches and castles, winery. • Parking fees, toll costs, and other road related expenses
Eastern Europe Package excludes:
• Romanian Visa and/or Valid passport fees • International Flights • Travel and Medical Health Insurance • Any porter-services • Meals and/or drinks unless specifically mentioned • Any other optional services • Any personal purchases • Customary gratuities to guide and driver