8 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM ZÜRICH TO AMSTERDAM
One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this exciting journey along the Rhine River, which begins in Switzerland and stops in France, Germany, and Holland!
Board your vessel in Basel, Switzerland, then head for Breisach, Germany, located at the foot of the Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border. Here you’ll find the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and the fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and stop in Mainz for a guided walk and a visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Next up is the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and a visit to the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum to see the impressive collection of historical self-playing instruments. You’ll pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Last stop in Germany is Cologne—a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral.
As an exclamation point to this wonderful Rhine river cruise, you’ll spend time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. There is much to do with the world-famous museums and abundance of restaurants amongst the classic architecture and charming canals. 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.”
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN ZÜRICH, SWITZERLAND. TRANSFER TO BASEL (EMBARKATION)
Welcome to Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn and the majestic Alps! Transfer by motorcoach to Basel, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. NOTE:Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
DAY 2 BREISACH, GERMANY. EXCURSION TO THE BLACK FOREST
Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. The area got its name because the pine forests are so dense, local residents described them as black. The most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks! You may opt to visit the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the open-air Vogtsbauernhof Museum to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago.
DAY 3 STRASBOURG, FRANCE
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. On your walking tour, you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Explore Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available.
DAY 4 EXCURSION TO HEIDELBERG, GERMANY–MAINZ
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university, which was founded in 1386. Visit the ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, it holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor on top of it! In the afternoon, arrive in Mainz, which today is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. The Altstadt (Old Town) has many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz is a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here. During a GUIDED WALK, you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM.
DAY 5 RÜDESHEIM–RHINE GORGE–KOBLENZ
This morning, dock in pretty Rüdesheim, a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured sailors to their doom. Then, arrive at the place where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet—the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with its impressive statue of German Emperor William I. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of 2,000-year-old Koblenz, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments.
DAY 6 COLOGNE
One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years!
DAY 7 AMSTERDAM, HOLLAND
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion.
DAY 8 AMSTERDAM (DISEMBARKATION)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.