Welcome to Amsterdam & embark riverboat
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Amsterdam. A transfer is included from Schiphol International Airport or Amsterdam Centraal Station to your riverboat; check-in time aboard ship is 4:00 PM for all guests. After a discovery briefing where you'll hear about your travels ahead, join us for a welcome reception followed by dinner aboard your riverboat
A Taste of Amsterdam and its Canals
Enjoy a private guided cruise aboard a canal boat along Amsterdam's 17th-century canals, the heart of the old city. Take in the houseboats along the waterways, the curving bridges, the historic houses that line the banks - and watch Amsterdam's many bicyclists zipping through the streets bordering the canals. Then you're off to an "Amsterdam Brews & Bites Adventure," a walking tour of local breweries and places to eat for sipping and tasting Dutch flavors. Drive to Nijmegen to reboard your riverboat.
Old Town Dusseldorf
Spend the morning sailing to Düsseldorf, enjoying a talk by your Tauck Director. After lunch, dock in Düsseldorf, a city with a thriving fashion and art scene, and disembark for a walking tour of Old Town, stopping to sample local craft beers. You'll also have free time in town; possibilities include checking out the modern buildings designed by some of the world's leading architects in the revitalized district along the Rhine, visiting Museum Kunstpalast, or strolling the city's high-end shopping street, Königsallee. Return to your ship for dinner.
Cruising along the Middle Rhine
Spend the day cruising along the Middle Rhine - "the Romantic Rhine" - passing countless castles and fortresses standing watch over the river. Your riverboat is surrounded by splendid scenery; lush vineyards cover the hillsides and historic towns line the riverbanks, seemingly unchanged by time. Enjoy entertainment onboard your ship this evening.
A day in Heidelberg
Dock in Mannheim this morning for a drive to Heidelberg on the Neckar River. A guided tour of Heidelberg Castle introduces you to the picturesque ruins of a pink sandstone edifice centuries old, sprawling high on a hill with breathtaking views of the river. Take a funicular down the hill to Old Town Heidelberg for a Tauck Exclusive beer-pairing lunch of local dishes at an award-winning brewery where you'll meet the brew master. Return to your ship and sail on this evening.
Exploring France's Alsace countryside
Your riverboat arrives in Strasbourg, a jumping off point for exploration of the Alsatian countryside. Blanketed with vineyards and dotted with historic wine villages, the Alsace has a unique personality - a blend of German and French influences - because for centuries the region has gone back and forth between the two countries. Since World War II, Alsace has been part of France, but the locals think of themselves as "Alsatian" first and foremost. Discovering this beautiful area for yourself, sip white wines, taste regional specialties, and stroll along cobbled streets, soaking up the history.
Mt. Pilatus and Lucerne
Dock in Basel this morning for a day in Switzerland. A drive brings you to the base of Mt. Pilatus for a gondola ride to the summit. Prepare to go from autumn to winter in less than half an hour! Take the world's steepest cogwheel train ride down the mountain, a thrilling experience through stunning scenery. Then it's on to the lakeside city of Lucerne for an orientation tour that reveals the Renaissance paintings inside the iconic covered Chapel Bridge and the poignant Lion Monument. You'll have some free time - a perfect opportunity for sampling Swiss chocolate. Back onboard ship, enjoy your captain's farewell reception followed by dinner this evening.
Lake Konstanz and Munich
Disembark your riverboat for a drive through Switzerland and Germany en route to Munich. Pause near Lake Konstanz for lunch as you please. You'll arrive at your chic hotel in Munich, not far from the historic Oktoberfest fairgrounds, in time to pop over and participate in the evening festivities, if you like. It might be a little rowdy because folks have been drinking all day, but if you decide to check out the scene, you'll find lots of happy people sporting lederhosen and dirndls in true Oktoberfest fashion, carnival rides and games, and plenty of Bavarian food, from bratwurst to glazed nuts and huge pretzels - not to mention local beers, of course.
The Original Oktoberfest
This morning get dressed up Bavarian style, in lederhosen or a dirndl, for a full Oktoberfest experience! There are "Oktoberfest" celebrations all over the world, but until you experience the festival in Munich, where the tradition began, you haven't really "done" Oktoberfest - a unique mix of beer consumption, Bavarian feasting, live brass bands, communal singing, and dancing. It all started in 1810 when a royal couple invited the citizens to their wedding festivities on the fields in front of the city. The event was so popular that it took on a life of its own. Today Munich's Oktoberfest is the largest festival in the world. Tauck has reserved seats for you in the center of the action, in one of the exclusive brewery tents for a three-course lunch, traditional Bavarian live music - including the Ein Prosit toasting song - and lots of fun. Word to the wise: the local breweries make an especially strong beer just for Oktoberfest, so pace yourself, or choose to drink a radler (half lemonade, half beer). A shuttle will run back to your hotel after lunch - or stay and enjoy the festival until evening. Gather with your fellow travelers for a farewell reception and casual dinner at your hotel tonight.
Tour ends: Munich. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included today to Munich Airport from Roomers. Allow three hours for flight check-in.