Arrive In Zürich, Switzerland
Transfer to Basel (Embarkation). Welcome to Switzerland. (Dinner)
Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
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 with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents described them as black. Surely the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. You may opt for a visit to the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the OPEN-AIR MUSEUM of Vogtbauernhof to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, wake up in Strasbourg. Situated on the border of France and Germany, this city 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, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, 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. 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. An optional excursion to the Alsace wine region is available today. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Excursion To Heidelberg, Germany–Mainz
This morning an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. 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! Rejoin your vessel in time for lunch, and sail to Mainz. Strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers, Mainz is Germany’s largest and most important wine market and is also the birth place of Gutenberg, father of modern printing. There is time to explore on your own: stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town) with its many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz, a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Pretty Rüdesheim is a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Here, 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. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere. 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 waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing on board. The confluence of the Moselle and Rhine is at Koblenz and here you enter the Moselle River, some 312-miles long, rising in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France and entering Germany at Trier. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Disembark after breakfast for an excursion to the venerable episcopal city of Trier. At the head of the Moselle Valley, Trier is Germany’s oldest city. Some say Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated over a thousand years before the Romans arrived. Many Roman remains have survived, including a 20,000-seat amphitheater; the Porta Nigra, the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement, which still gives access to the town’s center; imperial baths; and the Roman bridge, Germany’s oldest bridge with stone pilings dating from 144-152 AD—all evidence of this once grand Roman city. Trier also offers pleasant market squares, Germany’s oldest Christian church, and a cornucopia of architectural styles—Roman, baroque, neo-classicism, renaissance, and gothic. A choice of GUIDED CITY SIGHTSEEING or the more history-focused “ROMAN TRIER” guided tour, followed by some free time, gives you the opportunity to discover this magnificent town. Trier’s most famous son was socialist revolutionary Karl Marx. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Because of its location and natural geography, Luxembourg City has, throughout history, been a place of strategic military significance, the first fortifications having been built as early as the 10th century. The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will acquaint you with this city whose layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two river valleys. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
The entire Moselle Valley is famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery, and in the middle of this region is the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its well-preserved half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK that includes the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style Town Hall and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. Wine growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. Perhaps visit the local Wine Museum to learn more about the history of the region’s wine. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the Middle Rhine region. Here, join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the city, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. Later, enjoy some free time in the city; alternatively, opt to visit nearby SAYN MANOR HOUSE, belonging to counts of the same name. Later, your ship sails to Königswinter, located at the foot of Drachenfels mountain, where you remain docked this evening. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Early this morning, arrive in 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 a GUIDED CITY WALK or a JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! Before lunch set sail for Holland and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
This morning, stop in Kinderdijk, a quintessential Dutch scene with its 19 splendid windmills standing on reclaimed polder land between the Rivers Lek and Noord. Windmills have become a symbol of Holland, and a visit to one of these WINDMILLS will explain their function as pumps when the water was drained from the polders around 1740. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
North of Amsterdam and situated on the Ijsselmeer is Hoorn, a charming town that gave its name to Cape Horn, the southernmost point of South America. Choose from a GUIDED WALK of this town or an excursion to Edam, whose cheese of the same name has become famous worldwide. A GUIDED WALK shows you the Old Town center, which still has lovely characteristic Waterland houses. You’ll also see the Beemster Polder, the first in the Netherlands that was reclaimed from a lake and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Rejoin your ship and sail to Amsterdam. Set out to discover the treasures of this city by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
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*some dates feature reverse itinerary.
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13 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM ZÜRICH TO AMSTERDAM
This exciting river cruise vacation has it all! Arrive in Zürich and transfer to your ship, which is docked in Basel. Then, head north on the Rhine and enjoy guided sightseeing in Strasbourg, Cologne, and Koblenz. See the Roman ruins at Trier, Reichsburg Castle above charming Cochem, and the unique Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim. Sail past the legendary Lorelei rock and through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, visit pretty Bernkastel, and a windmill in Kinderdijk, and enjoy excursions to majestic Heidelberg and to Germany’s legendary Black Forest.
Avalon Waterways Rhine & Moselle