Day 1 Zrich – Basel.
Fly to Zrich where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship in Basel for 12 nights. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 Strasbourg.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region, is influenced by the culture of both countries. It is also the seat of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. A local guide will show you the highlights, such as the Gothic Cathedral, the lovely Petite France District, Place Klber and Place Gutenberg, with its statue of the inventor of the printing press. Strasbourg is also home to the Kronenbourg Brewery. An optional excursion into the Alsace region is available. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany
This morning an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386. With a Local Guide, visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. See the 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! Enjoy the afternoon relaxing on board as you head for the River Main. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Frankfurt
Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing of Frankfurt or excursion to Seligenstad.
This morning you have the choice between GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Frankfurt, or joining an excursion to Seligenstadt. Frankfurt on the Main is a city of superlatives: it is the largest financial centre in continental Europe, home to the European Central Bank, and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, one of the world’s largest. The city is a centre for culture, commerce and education, and hosts the world’s largest motor show as well as the world’s largest book fair. It has two major botanical gardens, one of which is Germany’s largest. Seligenstadt is one of the oldest towns in Germany.The city’s most important building is the Einhard Basilika, on which Pope Pius XI bestowed the honorary title of ‘minor basilica’ in 1925 (B, L, D)
Day 5 Karlstadt
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Enjoy a leisurely morning of cruising on the gentle Main River and reach historic Karlstadt after lunch. Enjoy GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of this interesting town which was once an important player in the wine growing industry. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Wurzburg
Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz
Arrive in Wrzburg during breakfast. Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Wrzburg, also known as the ‘Pearl of the Romantic Road’, makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own, or maybe join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Kitzingen
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Situated on the Main east of Wrzburg, Kitzingen is Bavaria’s biggest wine producer. GUIDED SIGHTSEEING shows you the city’s best-known sights such as the Fallerturm (Crooked Tower) and your Local Guide will recount some of the more delightful myths surrounding the founding of the city. (B, L, D)
Day 8 Nuremberg
Included today: Choice of guided city sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once had as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose either a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialised NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. During free time, be sure to make a wish at the beautiful fountain on the Hauptmarkt (main square). Legend says your wish will come true if you turn its gold ring three times. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Regensburg
Included today: Guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstkche; beer tasting
This morning, arrive in Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brcke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included snack at the Historische Wurstkche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Herewhere the locals congregatefeel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Tonight, enjoy a tasting of some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (B, L, D)
Day 10 Passau
Included today: guided walk
Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK, or maybe join the full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or Cesk Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Drnstein, Austria
Included today: Guided walk, see the Stiftskirche
This morning is dedicated to the beautiful and romantic Wachau Valley, where so much of the excellent Austrian wine is grown and produced. Stop in Drnstein, whose baroque blue and white Stiftskirche stands right on the river bank and join a Local Expert for a GUIDED WALK. Afterwards, there is free time to explore this small town on your own, before you head for Vienna (B, L, D)
Day 12 Vienna.
Also known as the ‘City of Music’, Vienna inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedralto name just a few of the sights your Local Guide will show you during your INCLUDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Krntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a classic Viennese caf. An optional concert is available during your stay (B, L, D)
Day 13 Vienna
Return travel to the UK. (B)