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 Oberammergau Passion Play (2022) 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.
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 river travels ahead, please join us for a welcome reception followed by dinner aboard your riverboat to celebrate the start of a fantastic journey.
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 – a drive to the old university town of Utrecht brings you back to your riverboat, and cruising through the idyllic Dutch countryside begins!
Overnight your riverboat crosses into Germany; after a full morning of cruising and lunch onboard, you'll arrive in Köln (Cologne), a city made a capital of a Roman province in 50 AD. Sightseeing 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 a bit of free time, travel to a Tauck Exclusive private reception and family-style local farm-to-table dinner at the Ehreshoven Foundation's Ecolut-Center, a modern venue in the countryside dedicated to forest sustainability. Rejoin the riverboat tonight in Köln to continue your cruise.
Your riverboat arrives this morning in Koblenz. The city's roots go back to the Middle Ages, when its location made it a powerful one as the controller of trade along these major waterways. You may choose a morning of guided exploration of Koblenz, or a bicycling excursion* along the Rhine-Lahn cycle path. If you choose to explore Koblenz, your orientation tour includes a walk to Deutsches Eck – the "German Corner," where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet – and a visit to Aldstadt (Old Town), a mix of delightful town squares, tucked-away corners, medieval churches, baroque residences and cozy wine taverns. Should you choose to go bicycling (a countrywide passion in Germany), you'll follow easy riverside trails through forest, meadows and Riesling winelands, taking in views of the passing pleasure boats and freighters. After lunch aboard the riverboat, the entire afternoon is spent cruising through the quiet Rhine River Valley, past small cities, churches, ancient walls and castles; enjoy dinner and other activities aboard the ship tonight.
Following a morning's cruise, arrive in Speyer early in the afternoon – a town that thrived on river trade in the 10th and 11th centuries, when construction on its double-domed cathedral began. Today, you have a choice of exploring Speyer or Germany's oldest university town, Heidelberg. If you choose Speyer, begin at the impressive Technik Museum – dedicated to every form of technology that moves, from vintage cars to the Russian BURAN space shuttle. Then walk to Speyer Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its natural glass windows and roof made entirely of stone. Or choose an excursion to Heidelberg, where narrow lanes, shops and pubs housed in 17th-century structures in the Altstadt are kept lively by the cadence of student life. Visit the romantic ruins of Heidelberg Castle, of which Mark Twain wrote in A Tramp Abroad; the schloss is an imposing ensemble of buildings from different architectural periods; from its terrace and gardens, the sweeping views impress along with the feel of 600 years of history. Return to the ship for a cocktail reception followed by the Chef's Signature Dinner onboard.
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 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 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.
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, 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. 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 – a major crossroads of travel and thought since the 15th century. An orientation tour reveals parks, museums, galleries, and restaurants; the Rhine Promenade; 14th-century Münster Cathedral; and modern buildings by architects like Frank Gehry and Yoshio Taniguchi. Join us this evening for the captain's farewell reception followed by dinner aboard ship.
Disembark your riverboat this morning by 9:00 AM. Today you'll journey through Switzerland to Germany and the Bavarian Oberammergau region, in anticipation of tomorrow's spectacle of the Passion Play. Arrive mid-afternoon for a two-night stay.
Note: Rows highlighted in green below are guaranteed departures
|Wed May 18, 2022
|Sat May 28, 2022
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|Wed Jun 29, 2022
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|Wed Jul 13, 2022
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|Wed Jul 27, 2022
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|Wed Aug 31, 2022
|Sat Sep 10, 2022
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