This trip was over two nights, three days and included Eurostar from St. Pancras to Brussels, then Deutches Bahn from Brussels to Cologne. We had tours of the Maritim Hotels in Bonn, Frankfurt and Cologne and stayed overnight in the Maritim Bonn and Frankfurt. Guided tours of each of the cities were included along with opportunities to sample local food and drinks.
The tour of Bonn city centre included seeing Beethoven’s house and the old town hall.
Transfer by rail to Frankfurt main station. The Maritim Hotel Frankfurt is around a 10 minute walk from the station.
In the evening we had a bus tour of Frankfurt including the riverside museum area on the opposite side of the river to the city. From here you get to appreciate the so called ‘Main-hatten skyline’. The tour culminated in a visit to the main Christmas market at the Römerberg. We then enjoyed a traditional meal with apple wine at Dauth-Schneider, a social restaurant with seating at long tables where pork, goose and potatoes are popular.
The next morning we walked the short distance to the main station for the transfer to Cologne.
The Maritim Hotel Koln is similarly situated close to the main rail station. On arrival we walked along the Rhine, past the Koln Dom (cathedral) to the hotel where we were given a tour.
From here we had a walking tour of Cologne old town. As well as seeing the Farina eau de cologne house, established 1709, we had a brief look inside the cathedral and then made our way to the Christmas market at the Neumarkt. We were treated to another German meal - this time of cold ham, sausage and cheese.
Throughout our visit we sampled the local Glühwien (German mulled wine) and apple wine. I particularly enjoy trying new beers and was pleased to be offered a dark wheat beer in Bonn.
From Cologne we boarded our train to Brussels and onward to London.
Of the three cities visited, the Christmas markets in each offered similar wares. There are the usual displays of Christmas decorations, food stalls and fairground rides. However, for me, Cologne offered something different in that certain stall holders that have to demonstrate how their products are made.
The rail services were both excellent. Eurostar offered a comfortable journey each way. The outbound trip was in Standard Premier (first class) which gave us a continental style breakfast with coffee. The return was in Standard class (second class). For me, there was little difference between the two classes and I would be more than happy to travel Standard again.
Similarly, we travelled on Deutches Bahn (the German national rail operator) first class outbound and second class inbound. Again, I would be perfectly happy in second class.