Grand cities blend in perfect harmony with their historic past and their progressive future. Zurich’s medieval houses, narrow lanes and town halls from the Renaissance period offer a striking backdrop to its trendy and ultra-modern metropolis. And Amsterdam’s Golden Age melds seamlessly with its lively cafés, exciting nightlife and glorious museums. Inspirational towns have given way to great stories, poetry and music—Heidelberg, where Mark Twain wrote “A Tramp Abroad.” Timeless traditions remain intact—from the making of Kölsch, Cologne’s legendary brew to the making of Rüdesheimer Coffee. Take a front-row seat on an enchanting journey that takes you along the Rhine and through its designated-UNESCO World Heritage Site with its 40 castles strung like pearls on its river banks and to magnificent cities and charming villages alike.
EMBARKATION – BASEL, SWITZERLAND. Embark the ship. Tonight, gather on board for a “Welcome Aboard” Wine Toast as you commence your wine-themed itinerary through some of Europe’s most enchanting and historic wine regions.
BREISACH, GERMANY. Breisach is your gateway to several different excursions, depending on your interests. Step back in time with a visit to the enchanting Alsatian town of Riquewihr, which looks almost the same as it did in the 16th century. On your walking tour, admire historic architecture as well as famous sights, such as the Dolder Gate. While there, enjoy a visit to a winery for a tasting of locally produced Alsatian wines. Alternatively, you may wish to go to Freiburg, founded in 1120 and home to the Freiburg’s Münster, a Gothic cathedral said to have “the most beautiful spire on earth.” You’ll visit a winery where you will have the opportunity to taste their locally produced wines, and then continue with a walking tour. Those wishing a more active excursion can cycle through the scenic countryside; or hike in the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions, as well as home to elaborate cuckoo clocks, striking half-timber houses, ruined castles and quaint towns. (B,L,D) *Please Note: Black forest hike is weather dependent and may only operate at certain times of year. Please refer to your final documents for details.
STRASBOURG, FRANCE. Strasbourg, the capital city of Alsace, offers flavors of both France and Germany because of its borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République. Then walk through its iconic UNESCO World Heritage “La Petite France” district, which appears to have been lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through these charming streets and past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock. For the active adventurer, you can take a guided bike ride through this captivating city and Parc de l’Orangerie. Later in the afternoon, be treated to a special Alsatian wine tasting of some of the region’s most delicious and notable wine. Discover how the Vosges Mountains provide the Alsace with ideal wine making conditions, and as such, Alsatian wines are not only delightful on the palate, but they’re also highly praised for their fragrant aromas, ranging from bright and fruity to crisp and spicy.
LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY – RÜDESHEIM. Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of three excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18th-century 49,000-gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher's Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and be rewarded with panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Altpörtel, Old Gate. Later in the day, sail to Rüdesheim where you can visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer Coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy.
RÜDESHEIM – RHINE GORGE – LAHNSTEIN. Your exploration of Rüdesheim continues with your choice of three excursions. Take a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal Statue, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the river. Afterwards, indulge your taste buds with a sampling of Riesling wines in the vineyards. If you prefer a more active adventure, you can join a guided bike ride through the town and along the Rhine River or hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards. During the afternoon, set sail along the scenic Rhine River Gorge with its fabled legends and many castles to Lahnstein where you’ll enjoy a visit to Lahneck Castle.
COLOGNE. Home to one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces, the Cologne Cathedral, this 2,000 year-old city is also a bustling cosmopolitan hotspot. Join a guided tour through the enchanting Old Town and explore the UNESCO-designated cathedral, where the remains of the fabled Three Kings—the Magi— are believed to rest. Conclude your visit in a local tavern where you’ll taste Kölsch beer. Alternatively, ride a bike along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten.
AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS. Amsterdam boasts amazing history, art, architecture, and museums, and you have a choice as to how you wish to explore it. The famous canals of Amsterdam await discovery on your city tour beginning with a scenic canal cruise followed by a walk to Begijnhof, known for its Middle Age buildings. For a different view of the city, you can join a tour of the Jordaan district, famous for its specialty shops, fashion boutiques and restaurants. (B,L,D)
*Depending on docking location, Jordaan Tour may not operate; therefore, an alternative tour will operate instead.
AMSTERDAM – DISEMBARKATION. Bid farewell to Amsterdam as you prepare for your flight home.