The Rhine & Moselle 2018 (Zürich to Amsterdam)
13-day River Cruise with Avalon Waterways
Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation)
Welcome to Switzerland, home of the Matterhorn and the majestic Alps! Transfer by motorcoach to Basel, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)
NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest
Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty with its forests of thick pine trees. The area got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents described them as black. Surely, the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. You may opt for a visit to the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the OPEN-AIR MUSEUM of Vogtbauernhof to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Strasbourg, France
This morning, wake up in Strasbourg. Situated on the border of France and Germany, this city blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is, without a doubt, an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your WALKING TOUR, you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. Optional excursions to the Alsace wine region or to the Maginot Line are available today. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany
Enjoy a leisurely morning in Speyer and explore the town at your own pace. Located on the left bank of the Rhine, Speyer was a bishopric and boasts a Romanesque cathedral with six imposing towers and the finest and largest crypt in Germany. This afternoon, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, which was founded in 1386. Visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge
Pretty Rüdesheim is a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Here, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. Enjoy an afternoon relaxing on board. The confluence of the Moselle and Rhine is at Koblenz and here you enter the Moselle River, some 312-miles long, rising in the Vosges Mountains of northeastern France and entering Germany at Trier. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Koblenz
Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the Middle Rhine region. Here, join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the city, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. Alternatively, opt to visit nearby SAYN MANOR HOUSE, belonging to counts of the same name. This afternoon, enjoy some free time in the city (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Bernkastel
The entire Moselle Valley is famous for its beautiful and tranquil scenery, and in the middle of this region is the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its well-preserved half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages. Enjoy a GUIDED WALK that includes the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style Town Hall and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. Wine growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. This afternoon enjoy a TASTING of some of these well-loved German wines. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Thionville, France
Today, the choice is yours. Join and an excursion to METZ, a city with a rich history and many cultural and architectural gems; or alternatively, history buffs might prefer to participate in the excursion to a nearby area of the MAGINOT LINE, which stretched from Switzerland to the Belgian border. The line was composed of huge fortresses with smaller defense posts or simple blockhouses. Return to your vessel in time for lunch. The afternoon is free with the possibility to join an optional excursion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Remich, Luxembourg. Excursion to Luxembourg City–Grevenmacher. Excursion to Trier, Germany
Because of its location and natural geography, Luxembourg City has been a place of strategic military significance throughout history; the first fortifications were built as early as the 10th century. The city center occupies a picturesque site, perched high on precipitous cliffs that drop into the narrow valleys of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will acquaint you with this city whose layout is complex as it is set on two levels, straddling hills and dropping into the two river valleys. At the head of the Moselle Valley is Trier, Germany’s oldest city. Some say Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated over a thousand years before the Romans arrived. Many Roman remains have survived, including a 20,000-seat amphitheater; the Porta Nigra, the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement, which still gives access to the town’s center; imperial baths; and the Roman Bridge, Germany’s oldest bridge with stone pilings dating from 144-152 AD—all evidence of this once grand Roman city. Trier also offers pleasant market squares, Germany’s oldest Christian church, and a cornucopia of architectural styles—Roman, baroque, neo-classicism, renaissance, and gothic. A choice of GUIDED CITY SIGHTSEEING or the more history-focused "ROMAN TRIER" guided tour, followed by some free time, gives you the opportunity to discover this magnificent town. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 Beilstein–Treis-Karden. Excursion to Eltz Castle
A leisurely day today–free time this morning to explore the quaint little town of Beilstein. This afternoon, visit medieval ELTZ CASTLE, still owned today by a branch of the family who lived there in the 12th century. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Cologne
Early this morning, arrive in Cologne. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or a JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! Before lunch, set sail for Holland and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of cruising. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Amsterdam
This morning, dock in Amsterdam. Set out to discover the treasures of this city by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” The afternoon is free to explore on your own or to join one of a number of optional excursions on offer. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends after breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
River Cruise Highlights
Cruise: deluxe 12-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
Zürich–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a local woodcarver’s workshop or visit a Black Forest open-air museum
Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
Speyer. Excursion to Heidelberg: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat
Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; special treat; cruise through the Rhine Gorge
Koblenz: choice of guided sightseeing or visit Sayn Manor House
Bernkastel: guided walk; onboard wine tasting
Thionville, France: choice of excursion to Metz or to the area of the Maginot Line
Remich, Luxembourg. Excursion to Luxembourg City–Grevenmacher. Excursion to Trier, Germany. guided sightseeing of Luxembourg City; choice of guided sightseeing in Trier or “Roman Trier,” see the Porta Nigra
Treis-Karden: excursion to Eltz Castle
Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk
Amsterdam: canal cruise
Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning
Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
Attend a Cuckoo Clock Carving Demonstration, and enjoy an onboard Accordion Music Presentation.
All This Included
Embark on this exciting river cruise in Basel, Switzerland, and explore everything the Moselle and Rhine Rivers have to offer as you stop at interesting and unique cities in France and Germany—and end in lively Amsterdam, Holland.
At the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border sits Breisach—known to be the gateway to Germany’s famous Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where a local expert will show you the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, then head for the charming Rhine Valley wine town of Rüdesheim. Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, considered the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River, and see ancient castles standing majestically on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Visit Koblenz, strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, before coming to the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages still standing! Here, you’ll go on a guided walk through the delightful marketplace and see the renaissance-era Town Hall and taste some of the famed Moselle wines! Enjoy guided sightseeing in picturesque Luxembourg City with its 10th-century fortifications and complex layout. Visit medieval Eltz Castle, then sail back into the Rhine and explore the magnificent city of Cologne, Germany, which straddles both sides of the Rhine River.
Your river cruise vacation ends in marvelous Amsterdam where there is much to see! Discover the treasures of this popular, historic city on a canal cruise which takes you through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés; Welcome dinner; Daily Afternoon Tea; Daily Night Fare; Farewell dinner; Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection Beds
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide.
Sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Headsets for shore excursions.
Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
Accommodations on this Tour
Glattbrugg: Moevenpick Zurich Airport
Cruising: Cabin onboard the Avalon Artistry II or Avalon Visionary
Amsterdam: Moevenpick Amsterdam City
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Zürich:
in single room $150, in twin room $100
Extra nights per person in Amsterdam:
in single room from $235 to $305, in twin room from $135 to $170
Gateway for arrival is Zürich, Switzerland.
Port charges: $288
Cabin upgrades are available.
Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.
Arrival flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm.
Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.