TUI A Festive Fairy Tale 2021 River Cruise
Exciting adventures await you on this delightful Christmas time river cruise along the incredible Rhine and Main rivers, stopping off at fairy tale towns and cities along the way.
You might hear Frankfurt referred to by another name – Mainhattan, alluding to the city’s setting on the Main River, as well as its futuristic skyline. But, mixed in with the new, there are timber houses and red-brick churches. Lots of the city was damaged in World War Two, but it’s since undergone a huge restoration project. Römerberg square’s now lined with traditional, Medieval-style buildings. Palmengarten is Frankfurt’s version of Kew Gardens, with zones dedicated to rainforest, sub-Antarctic and desert plants. And the 200-year-old Städel Museum houses artworks by Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt. Get a feel for Frankfurt on the Ebbelwei Express tram, which does a circuit of the city, rattling past the zoo and Römerberg.
Settings like Koblenz’s don’t come around often. The city’s a meeting place of mountains and rivers and the Rhine and Moselle rivers come together here, too. The waterfront’s dotted with UNESCO-stamped forts and palaces, while fairy tale castles christen the hilltops on the edge of town. And the surrounding valleys are teeming with terraced vines and world-class wineries. You can take a cable car up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for spectacular views over the city and its two rivers. When you arrive at the fort, you can explore its many museums, as well. Alternatively, catch a bus to Schloss Stolzenfels. This hilltop-castle-turned-palace is super-grand, which is fitting considering it’s played host to guests like Queen Victoria.
Tucked in to a curve in the Rhine River, Mainz takes the top spot as the capital of Germany’s wine country. Taverns stocked with world-renowned Riesling reds can be found around the town’s collection of squares, which each have their own individual style. Over in the Markt square, brightly coloured souvenir stalls are hemmed in by a border of Baroque-style houses. And the Kirschgarten area’s loaded with traditionally German, half-timbered houses and restaurants – the former of which date back to the 16th century. At the centre of it all sits the thousand-year-old Mainz Cathedral. History buffs can explore the tombs, where princes and archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire are buried. And the treasury’s packed with displays showcasing a collection of ancient artwork.
Mannheim, in south-west Germany, blurs the line between classic and contemporary. It’s nicknamed the City of Squares, because of its American, grid-like layout. You’ll find quirky start-ups and an industrial bar scene in Jungbusch. Elsewhere, the grassy lawns of Friedrichsplatz are home to the Wasserturm – a century-old Romanesque tower – and Baroque architecture can be seen in the form of the Jesuit Church and Mannheim Palace. You can get a taste of Italy and the Orient in the Luisenpark. Gondoletta boats bob along the waterways, afternoon tea’s served in the Chinese Garden and there’s a huge tower for panoramic views. Nearby, you’ll find the Old Observatory, which dates back to the 1700s and was visited by Wolfgang Mozart in its pomp.
Plittersdorf has one of the handiest settings around. It sits on a stretch of the Rhine, just a stone’s throw from France, as well as Germany’s Black Forest. The town is like a green, riverside suburb of Rastatt, which is 10 minutes’ drive inland. On a day out here, you can wander its pair of palaces or head to the park. Drive for another 10 minutes, meanwhile, and you’ll reach the charming town of Baden-Baden. It’s the temple-like thermal baths that put this place on the map – everyone from Queen Victoria to Victoria Beckham has paid a visit. Plus, you can sense that France is just across the border, thanks to its relaxed café culture, chic shops and Versailles-inspired casino.
Kehl’s often referred to as Germany’s gateway to France, thanks to its setting on the border. The Bridge of Europe spans the gap between Kehl and the French city of Strasbourg, and there’s a pedestrian bridge – the Passerelle des Deux Rives – where you can sit on a terrace that’s half in France and half in Germany. Strasbourg has a fairy tale old quarter with pretty Medieval monuments, cobbled streets and ornate buildings. In comparison, Kehl’s a quieter character, but it has its own appeal for shoppers and foodies. As it’s changed hands between France and Germany so many times over the years, there’s a unique blend of the two nations’ cuisines.
Rudesheim’s a little town in the heart of Germany’s wine country. It’s part of the Rhine Gorge, a 65-kilometre-long, fortress-filled UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gothic, 16th-century houses line the water’s edge. And this is backed by a hillside sprinkled with walking trails for hikers, castles for historians and vineyards for wine-lovers. In fact, some of the biggest vineyards in Germany are found near here. Stick about in the centre of town, and you’ve got plenty of shops and bars to nip in and out of, plus a collection of museums focusing on toys, musical instruments and wine. Don’t miss the Niederwald Monument. The ride up to this giant, 100-year-old statue serves up incredible views of the town down below.
Your journey ends today in stunning Frankfurt.
|23 December 2021||£999|
- Upgrade to All Inclusive from £210pp
- £120pp excursion credit per 7 days
- Direct flights from a range of UK airports with 20kg luggage allowance
- 7 nights on board TUI Isla
- Airport transfers - to and from your ship
- Full board plus - breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Tea, coffee and juices with breakfast
- Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
- Barbecues on deck (weather permitting)
- 1GB of Wi-Fi per cabin, per week
- All tips and port charges
- Koblenz hilltop fortress & scenic cable car
- Walking tour of Koblenz
- Koblenz tourist train & wine tasting
- Walking tour of Mainz & Gutenberg museum
- Eberbach Monastery & wine tasting
- Mannheim Walking Tour with ‘Bertha Benz’
- Heidelberg City Tour & Castle
- Speyer City Tour
- Exploring the Black Forest
- Half-day trip to Colmar
- Strasbourg City Tour
- Winzerexpress & Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet
- Winzerexpress, Cable Car & Old Town
- Rudesheim Wine-tasting