The centerpiece of this vacation is a leisurely-paced cruise of the Rhine River. After winding past Holland's picturesque countryside, cruise through the medieval villages and towns, past breathtaking castles and hillside vineyards of Germany's romantic Rhine region with stops in Cologne, Konigswinter, Rudeshiem and Heidelberg. Following your lovely Rhine River cruise, disembark in Strasbourg and enjoy a leisurely walking tour of "Petite France" the city's Old Quarter and see the city's masterpiece, the stunning Cathedral of Notre Dame. Then you're off to travel along the Alsace Wine Route where sunshine, dry weather and fertile soil combine to produce seven varieties of wine including Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer. Other highlights include a river boat ride through the winding water canals of Amsterdam and a lesson on the art of cheese-making at a Volendam cheese factory. You'll explore Cologne's historic old town and Hohe-Strasse, a true shopper's paradise. A leisurely-paced walking tour of Lucerne highlights such medieval treasures as the Lion Monument, the covered Chapel Bridge, and the famous Water Tower. A visit to the Bernese Oberland Mountain range in the heart of Switzerland sets the stage for incredible views of the Alps.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Begin your Rhine River Cruise with an overnight flight to Amsterdam.
Day #2 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Tour Begins - Board Ship - Your tour begins in Amsterdam, land of waterways and bicycles. Board your cruise ship this afternoon, followed by welcome cocktails and dinner on board. This evening take a river boat ride through the romantic winding water canals of Amsterdam.
Day #3 Amsterdam - Volendam - After breakfast you may wish to explore the many beautiful streets of Amsterdam. This afternoon you will discover the quaint town of Volendam. While here you will visit a cheese factory and learn the careful art of cheese making. On your journey back to the cruise, you will pass by many beautiful windmills.
Day #4 Amsterdam - Nijmegen - Krefeld, Germany - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Your cruise continues through the picturesque Dutch countryside to Nijmegen. Later in the day, you sail into Germany and dock in Krefeld.
Day #5 Krefeld - Cologne - Konigswinter - The romantic scenery of the Rhine River unfolds as you cruise past the provincial capital of Dusseldorf and the medieval town of Zons. Mid-afternoon, you arrive in Cologne where you can explore the historic old town and Hohe-Strasse, a true shopper's paradise. Next, cruise past Bonn, the old university town and birthplace of Beethoven, and arrive in Konigswinter, where you dock for the night.
Day #6 Konigswinter - Rüdesheim - After breakfast, cruise alongside Koblenz, where the Rhine meets the Moselle River. Continue along the most beautiful part of the Rhine, typified by breathtaking castles nestled in hillside vineyards, and the legendary Lorelei Rock. Your final destination for the day is lovely Rüdesheim. Upon arrival, the "Winzerexpress" mini-train takes you to Siegfried´s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum for a fascinating guided tour. Next, enjoy a stop at a local winery where you will sample some of the local varieties. Enjoy leisure time to explore the city's medieval houses, or visit the famous Drosselgasse, renowned for its dance halls and bands.
Day #7 Rüdesheim - Speyer* - Sit back and relax as you enjoy a leisurely day cruising the upper Rhine, passing breathtaking scenery and charming towns. After lunch you will arrive in historic Heidelberg and enjoy a sightseeing tour of this beautiful city. After docking in Speyer, you are invited to the "Captain's evening."
Day #8 Speyer - Strasbourg, France - Disembark Ship - Colmar, France - Your cruise continues through Gambsheim and Iffezheim, two of the largest locks of the Rhine. Your journey leads you to the fascinating city of Strasbourg, where your river cruise ends. After disembarkation, enjoy a leisurely walking tour featuring the Old Quarter, known as "Petite France," and the stunning Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Day #9 Colmar - Alsace Wine Route - Today you visit charming villages of the Alsace wine route. First is the well-preserved medieval town of Riquewihr, filled with vintners’ houses dating back to the 15th century. Your next stop is Kaysersberg, a village offering historic houses and castles, as well as a 16th century fortified bridge. Tonight join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner celebrating the end of a memorable trip.
Day #10 Colmar - Tour Ends - Your tour ends in Colmar this morning.