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Avalon Waterways Highlights of Germany
13 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM MUNICH TO BASEL
Willkommen in Deutschland—welcome to Germany! On this spectacular cruise vacation, enjoy one of Germany’s largest cities, Munich, and many of its charming villages and towns, with picturesque scenery along the way. Visit King Ludwig’s most famous castle—Neuschwanstein, the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle—and spend time in delightful Oberammergau. Explore and savor beer tasting in Regensburg, a beautifully preserved medieval city where you’ll visit one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Enjoy a picturesque Bavarian village with medieval homes, and visit Heidelberg and its famous castle. Explore La Petite France district in Strasbourg. Cruise through the Rhine Gorge, the most dramatic part of the river, and drive through the garden-like landscapes of the Bavarian Alps. This is just a sampling of the scenic wonders and delightful destinations awaiting your discovery!
Day 1 - Arrive In Munich, Germany
Welcome to Munich! The day is free to start exploring.
Day 2 - Munich
Munich, capital of Bavaria, offers a small-town feel with its pedestrian- and bike-friendly atmosphere. With its historical museums, splendid English Garden, traditional cafés, and delightful shops, Munich has plenty to see and do. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you the highlights of this fascinating city, including Nymphenburg Palace, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs; MARIENPLATZ with its Old and New Town Halls; and the gothic Frauenkirche, a prominent landmark for Munich. Then, enjoy time on your own in this vibrant city. Watch the famous Glockenspiel, recreating a royal wedding from the 16th century; enjoy the pedestrian zone; linger at an outdoor café; or visit St. Peter’s, the oldest church in town. Or, maybe relax alongside the locals at one of the Biergärten or breweries to sample Bavarian beer specialties. (Breakfast)
Day 3 - Munich. Excursion To Neuschwanstein & Oberammergau
This morning, a full-day outing takes you into the garden-like landscapes of the Bavarian Alps and for a visit to King Ludwig’s fairytale NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, situated high above the village of Hohenschwangau. Continue to Oberammergau, famous for its once-a-decade production of the Passion Play. Enjoy free time in this small town to stroll along the streets and admire the typical Bavarian houses, many beautifully painted with scenes from fairytales. (Breakfast)
Day 4 - Munich–Passau (Embarkation)
Enjoy a free morning in Munich, then, in the afternoon, drive to Passau, ideally located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. Join your Local Guide for an included WALKING TOUR through this charming town of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets before boarding your river cruise vessel. Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg, which will end in Passau with embarkation on your ship. Meet your crew at a welcome reception this evening as you set sail for Regensburg. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 5 - Regensburg
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Nuremberg
Today, enjoy a relaxing morning of cruising before arriving in Nuremberg. Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Choose from an included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG TRIALS” tour. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Kitzingen
Kitzingen is the center of the wine trade in the region known as Franconia. Join your LOCAL GUIDE for a visit of this city on the river Main. See the city’s main landmark, the leaning tower with its distinctive crooked roof, and the renaissance Town Hall, built in 1563 and formerly used as a watch tower and prison. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Würzburg
Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. The afternoon is free for you to explore or shop, or you may wish to join an optional excursion to the medieval walled city of Rothenburg on the “Romantic Road.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 - Main River Village
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 - Boppard–Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim
This morning, arrive in Boppard on the left bank of the Rhine. After breakfast, a GUIDED WALK will acquaint you with this town, which saw its beginnings as a Celtic settlement, then a Roman stronghold, and today as a spa center and a popular tourist destination. During lunch, sail southward through the most dramatic part of the river, the RHINE GORGE, before arriving in Rüdesheim, the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 - Excursion To Heidelberg
This morning, relax on board before joining an afternoon excursion to HEIDELBERG, home to the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386. With a LOCAL GUIDE, visit the imposing 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, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 - Strasbourg, France
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, here, on your included 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. Also spend time exploring 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. A choice of optional excursions is available this afternoon; a trip into the Alsace wine region in France may strike your fancy, or on the other side of the river in Germany, the Black Forest beckons. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 - Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Departure flights should not leave Zürich airport before 10 am.
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