Discover the wonders of the Rhine on an 11-day journey, including a 7-night river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam and 3 nights ashore to experience the 2020 Oberammergau Passion Play with Tauck!
Along the river Rhine… where mountains rise abruptly from the water’s edge, ancient castles perch aloft, keeping watch over comings and goings, gentle valleys and ancient winelands lure, spas give respite, cathedrals speak to powerful times, plains and woods catch the eye, and a river travels, connecting centuries of history, cities of the arts and crossroads of thought. It happens once, every ten years… when, as they have for nearly four centuries, the citizens of a little village in the Bavarian Alps come together to create a unique and moving performance event that travelers all over the world come to see… On this cruise, you become part of the experience when you witness the power and pageantry of the Oberammergau Passion Play. The Rhine Valley is nirvana for authors, artists and travelers of every interest. Here, mountains rise abruptly from the water’s edge, ancient castles perch aloft, gentle valleys calm, age-old winelands lure, spas give respite, cathedrals inspire, plains and woods catch the eye, and a great river runs through it – connecting centuries of history and culture. Experience it your way in riverside villages, country retreats and centuries-old cities during a choice of included shore excursions. Discover the heritage and beauty of the River Rhine on our 7-night Basel – Amsterdam river cruise aboard one of Tauck's intimate riverboats. Visit the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, exploring regional delights in the historic cities, towns and countryside linked by the Rhine. Set your own pace with choices along the way: castle visits, bicycling, mountain heights, a spa resort and more.
Journey today to Basel, Switzerland, to embark your riverboat for the start of your cruise; check-in for all guests aboard the riverboat is 4:00 PM. Meet your riverboat crew for a welcome briefing, then join us for a welcome dinner this evening.
Welcome to Switzerland! If you choose to join our excursion to Lucerne, the lakeside “city of lights,” landmarks include the Kappelbrucke, a covered wooden footbridge crossing the Reuss River that dates back to the 1330s, an octagonal Water Tower once used as a prison, narrow lanes and lovely squares. In Altstadt Lucerne, narrow cobblestone lanes lead to town squares lined with houses painted with frescoes. From town, you’ll head out for the heights of Mt. Pilatus aboard the world’s steepest cogwheel train, climbing from Alpnachstad at the edge of Lake Lucerne to the very top (Oberhaupt) – nearly 7,000 ft. high. Alternatively, you may prefer the pleasures of lunch and a wine tasting along the Alsatian wine route. If so, you’ll head to Château Haut-Koenigsbourg, originally built in the 1200s on a rocky promontory high above the French Alsatian plains. Burned, abandoned and restored to its former glory in 1899, the castle presents a picture of a mountain fortress of the Middle Ages; after your visit, head to the French Alsatian town of Riquewihr for lunch and a wine tasting. Regardless of your choice, your day ends in Basel, at the “Three Corners” where France, Germany and Switzerland meet at the Rhine – a major crossroads of travel and thought since the 15th century. An orientation tour reveals parks, dozens of museums and art galleries, and chic restaurants; the Rhine Promenade; 14th-century Münster Cathedral; and state-of-the-art buildings by internationally acclaimed architects like American Frank Gehry and Japan’s Yoshio Taniguchi.
You’ll wake docked on the Rhine this morning, surrounded by the hills of southern Alsace, many checkered with vineyards. The day begins in the Alsatian cultural capital of Strasbourg, France. It is home to the charming canals and half-timbered houses of La Petite France, stately city residences, a Gothic cathedral, and plenty of winstubs, traditional Alsatian beer pubs. After a morning of sightseeing in Strasbourg, you may choose to stay in town to explore on your own; go for a bicycle excursion through Strasbourg with a local guide; or travel to the German spa resort town of Baden-Baden, on the edge of the Black Forest – where you can either take a walking tour then enjoy free time in this famed spa town, or choose to visit Caracalla Spa, a day devoted to wellness and relaxation. The spa resembles a glass temple, with facilities that include whirlpools, waterfalls, counter-current pools, massage jets and turquoise pools of warm water sourced from natural springs. Add in a sauna complex with both hot and cold rooms (some wellness treatments at additional cost) and you’ll feel re-energized at the end of your visit. Return to the ship for dinner and an evening of cruising.
Sightseeing in Köln (Cologne) begins with a guided tour of the immense twin-towered Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), whose construction took a mere six centuries. Completed in 1880, UNESCO declared this Gothic “Dom” a World Heritage Site in 1995, recognizing its cultural value as “a testament to the longevity of faith.” You’ll explore this intimately scaled city by coach and on a walking tour. Following lunch aboard the riverboat, depart Köln in the early afternoon as your river cruise sails toward its final days in the amazing Dutch capital, Amsterdam.
In a city indelibly linked to water, it’s fitting that your day begins with a cruise on its 17th-century grachten (canals) which fan out in crescent-shaped rings from the northern waterfront. On the drive to board your canal boat, you’ll get an orientation to the city, which at its heart feels more like a village than the compact center of a cosmopolitan city. Landmarks include Centraal Station, built at the end of the 19th century and still a place in constant motion – with people, bicycles, trams and buses; De Waag (Weigh House), once a fortified gate that today houses a popular outdoor café; and the Mint Tower, a gate in the city wall (circa 1400) that marks the intersection of two canals, tram paths, a pedestrian-only shopping street, and the city flower market – an ever busy, ever interesting crossroads. Aboard the canal boat, you’ll glide beneath curved bridges carrying walkers and cyclists – sometimes trams and cars – and by narrow merchant homes, whose goods were once pragmatically stored on the upper floors. After a guided visit to the famed Rijksmuseum – home to many works by Rembrandt and other old Dutch Masters – and lunch onboard, spend a free afternoon as you please in Amsterdam. Return to your riverboat for tonight's farewell reception followed by dinner, then live music in the lounge – a fitting finale to an fantastic week on the River Rhine!
Tauck's newest Basel – Amsterdam river cruises end in Amsterdam. Disembark your riverboat this morning by 9:00 AM. A transfer is included from the riverboat to Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport or Centraal Station. Fly home anytime. Allow 3 hours for flight check-in. For guests wishing to spend more time in Amsterdam, ask at booking about extending your stay with an additional hotel night at Tauck’s hotel.
Note: Rows highlighted in green below are guaranteed departures
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