Arrive Brussels / Embark ship in Brussels
Tour begins: 4:00 PM. A transfer is included from Brussels Airport to Tauck's riverboat, docked on the River Rhine. Join us for a discovery briefing, followed by a cocktail reception and dinner aboard ship.
Explore Brussels and Antwerp
Start your morning with guided sightseeing; have lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Antwerp. With a history dating back to the Middle Ages, the port city of Antwerp was one of Europe's most important cities in the mid-16th century. Home to the artist, Peter Paul Rubens, it welcomes with cobblestone charms, a riverside fortress, guildhalls and a Gothic cathedral that took almost two centuries to build. Join a local guide for historical walking tour of the Old Town or choose a beer tasting tour. Re-board your ship in Antwerp and enjoy dinner onboard at your leisure.
Gorinchem & an island castle
Voted "the most beautiful fortified town in the Netherlands," Gorinchem was founded in 1,000 AD, fortified in the 13th and 14th centuries, and today boasts the largest fully intact fort in the Netherlands. Join our local guide for a walking tour of its historic heart, viewing its charming canals, the well-preserved Renaissance-style and medieval architecture, and pretty parks and gardens. Explore as you wish this afternoon, before joining us for a Tauck Exclusive reception and dinner at Slot Loevestein. Set in a nature reserve on a private island, the 14th-century castle has served as a prison, residence and toll taker, reigning unrivaled over its strategic location where the Maas and Waal rivers come together. Tonight it will be yours to enjoy as the island and castle are open for Tauck guests only.
Discoveries in Düsseldorf
Spend a leisurely day sailing the Rhine, enjoying the ship's amenities and various onboard activities with your Tauck Directors. Arrive in the late afternoon in Düsseldorf, one of Germany's wealthiest cities, known for its charming Altstadt (Old Town) and avant-garde architecture. Walk off the riverboat into town for your choice of a walking tour focused on the city's history, architecture and culinary traditions, along with some tasty local treats; a bicycling excursion along the city's Rhine River waterfront; or a craft beer tour that visits a number of breweries to offer a sampling of the varieties of dark Altbier the region is known for. Dinner is at leisure onboard the riverboat this evening.
Cruise the Middle Rhine Valley
Spend a leisurely morning cruising through the Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage region renowned for iconic landscapes crowned by castles and fortresses, along with terraced vineyards established more than 1,000 years on the steep slopes of the valley. The strategic location of this dramatic stretch of the Rhine between Bingen, Rüdesheim and Koblenz reflects its importance as a transportation route; the sixty small towns, terraced vineyards and the castles ruins found here reflect how prosperous this trade route once was since prehistoric times. Your Tauck Director provides commentary as you glide past vine-covered, terraced slopes, and rocky bluffs, sharing the stories of the Lorelei Rock and ancient castles standing watch onshore. Arrive in Boppard this afternoon for a guided e-bike ride* or an orientation walk and a gondola ride. Enjoy dinner and musical entertainment onboard ship.
A palace or city tour in Mannheim
Disembark ship in the "chessboard city" of Mannheim, laid out in a grid formation in the 17th century, for a choice of included excursions. Join a local guide for a walking tour of modern-day Mannheim, rebuilt after WWII. See some of the city's internationally renowned wall mural art; visit Little Istanbul to learn about the importance of Turkish immigrants in German culture, and taste local specialties along the way. Or, visit 18th-century Mannheim Palace, one of the largest baroque palaces in Europe, reconstructed and restored after it was partly destroyed in World War II, on a guided tour. Join us for the Chef's Signature dinner on board tonight as the ship sails toward Strasbourg.
Stories in Strasbourg
Spend the morning in Strasbourg, disembarking for a choice of excursions after breakfast. Blending Franco-Germanic culture, architecture, and ambiance, this Alsatian city is nestled on the Rhine across the border from Germany and boasts a compelling and complex history. Join a local guide for an epicurean-inspired walking tour of its city center, along with tastings of wine, cheese and other Alsatian specialties. See its Gothic-inspired Notre Dame Cathedral and half-timbered houses and explore its Petite France quarter, criss-crossed by canals and a swing bridge reminiscent of days gone by. Or do as the locals do and explore the sights by bicycle as your local guide leads the way. Have lunch onboard your riverboat as it sails for Basel.
Chillon Castle & Montreux
Arrive in Basel this morning and disembark ship. Your destination today is Montreux Switzerland, where you will stay in an elegant lakeside resort for the next three nights. Visit Chillon Castle en route to your resort, set in one of the most spectacular settings in Switzerland and renowned as among the best-preserved medieval European castles. On a locally guided tour, view some its 40 rooms, including the Castellan's Dining Hall, with walls depicting painted family crests. Enjoy dinner at leisure tonight in Montreux.
Internationally famous as a terraced wine-growing region on the shores of Lake Geneva, the Lavaux region is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that dates back to the 12th century when Cisterian monks built miles of terraces and walls on sloping glacial terrain for the purpose of cultivating wine. Explore the vineyards on a choice of excursions that includes a mini-train tour of the vineyards, a visit to one of the area's quaint villages and a wine tasting at a local cooperative wine cellar; or a gentle walk on unpaved paths through the vineyards, ending with a wine-tasting at a local winery. Enjoy free time for lunch on your own along the shores of Lake Geneva, and enjoy a beer tasting after lunch showcasing famed Belgian ales. Spend the remainder of the day at leisure in Montreux; your hotel is located in the city center, with landmark sites and dining venues a short walk away.
Freddie Mercury or Glacier 3000
Montreux has been a favorite lakeside resort destination since the 19th century when artists and writers sought inspiration in its peaceful surroundings and scenic Alpine beauty. Ever since, it has been a magnet for the rich and famous, musicians included, who head here for its mild climate, hilltop Old town, and premier jazz festival. Take a virtual walk with a local guide who shares insights on Queen, Freddie Mercury and the time the band spent here, using a tablet to view a collection of videos and photos that were not available to the general public, and listen to the music they made here. Or, venture to Glacier 3000 for an Alpine adventure that truly makes your spirit soar. Ride a cable car to the summit for time to enjoy the attractions at the top. Walk across the PeakWalk by Tissot, the only suspension bridge connecting two peaks in the world, amidst head-turning scenery of the Matterhorn, Mont-Blanc and Jungfrau, and experience a wonderland of glacier fun as you wish. Join us for a farewell reception and dinner tonight at your elegant hotel.
Tour ends: Montreux. Fly home anytime; a transfer from your hotel, Fairmont Montreux Palace, is included to Geneva Airport, or Geneva or Montreux train station. Allow three hours for flight check-in.