European River Cruises

Plying the rivers of Europe aboard a European river cruise is quite simply a magical way to travel!

A European river cruise might be the best option for you, if:
– You enjoy sailing and are interested in a small ship experience.
– Culturally-rich, engaging yet relaxed vacations  interest you.
– You prefer a mix of small charming villages and large cities.
– You seek destination immersion where you get to know your ports of call intimately.
– You desire a multi-city European vacation where you unpack once.
– You enjoy high-quality all-inclusive vacations.

Travelers who’ve never sailed aboard a river cruise, barge or canal cruise are often curious what the differences are between traditional cruising, river cruising and barge or canal cruising. One of the main highlights is discovering local gems that would be inaccessible to larger mega-cruise ships. River cruises, barge and canal cruises oftentimes provide quicker access to your port of call. When sailing aboard a canal  barge, you’ll oftentimes dock within walking distance of your destination!  One of the most intimate ways to experience Europe is sailing on a barge or canal cruise. You’ll surely  experience your destination in ways that larger cruise ships, even some river cruise ships, are unable to provide.

One of the other highlights of a European river cruise is the inclusion of truly remarkable sightseeing in the cruise cost. Different river cruise lines cater to different clientele and run the gamut from attracting active adventure seekers to those who prefer adventures of the culinary sort as well as historians, genealogy and heritage interest and more. With all of the special interest departures there’s surely a European river cruise sailing for you!

Numerous other benefits of European river cruises and canal  barging exist and I’d  be delighted to assist you in sorting through the many options. As a travel advisor I’m also here to share with you the reality of this form of travel including possibly weather disturbances such as water level changes among other tips.

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Map of Europe

Sample European River Cruises

Here is a sampling of some European river cruises . This is not a brochure of every option! Just some favorites. I’m happy to suggest a sailing that fits your budget and interests!

NOTE: If you are a single traveler, please contact me to see which cruise line is best for you!

Have a European river cruise  in mind?   Contact me and let me know!

European River Cruise Selection #1 – Rhine River Cruise

Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands

Many river cruise companies sail along the Rhine! The following is one of the most popular.

Viking River Cruises – The European river cruise champion to many, Viking is the largest and best-known river cruise line in the world winning multiple awards and accolades from Conde Nast Traveler readership. Their ships are known to be  relaxed and comfortable with a refined atmosphere.

Rhine River Cruise Highlights & Itinerary:

The Rhine River is located in middle Europe, within Germany and the Netherlands and features an outstanding array of historical and natural sites. Rhine River cruises are one of the most popular for a reason and will provide a variety of sightseeing pleasures from castles to villages, vineyards and just plain old lovely natural scenery!

Countries/Cities/Villages Visited:

Basel, Switzerland – the gateway to the Rhine! You will arrive in Basel and transfer to the ship allowing time to see the city before dinner onboard.

I highly recommend my clients arrive the day before to ensure nothing stands in the way of your cruise departure. Arriving  early allows you  time to wander the charming medieval streets  and linger in Marktplatz dating from the 1500’s! If interested in art and culture Basel  won’t disappoint as it is home to 40 museums .

Breisach, Germany – Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest. This breathtaking area abounds in lush natural landscapes complete with mountains, meadows, vineyards and of course, forest! Itinerary options include: visiting a cuckoo clock artisan, a glass-blowing workshop or a baking demonstration where you learn how to make the famous Black Forest Cake.

Strasbourg, France – Lovely Strasbourg is one of those numerous European cities that are steeped in the culture of more than one country; in this instance, France and Germany.

Itinerary highlights include: a walking tour of the charming Petite France area and the historic Tanners’ District; this  district  is nestled amid the petit Ill River and crisscrossed by quaint canal ways.  You will tour the magnificent Strasbourg Cathedral, which is one of Europe’s greatest Gothic cathedrals before returning to your ship.

Heidelberg, Germany – Heidelberg is home to Germany’s oldest university which dates back to the year 1386. Itinerary highlights include: a walking tour of the remains of Heidelberg Castle as well as a history-rich walking tour of the Altstadt (medieval town). You will journey through the beautiful Neckar River Valley and dine onboard during your afternoon cruising. Many passengers appreciate river cruises that feature sailing in the daytime. The views are outstanding and sitting on the deck, soaking in the sites are part of the pleasure of river cruising!

Rüdesheim, Germany – Your arrival in Rüdesheim is in the early evening affording you free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse. During your free time  you’ll discover  why this lively town is so popular with locals and visitors alike. One of the pleasures is relaxing at a quaint wine bar with a glass of locally-produced wine. If time allows you can opt to visit the Rheingauer wine museum.

Koblenz, Germany – Koblenz is situated along the most scenic section of the Rhine River! This area is overflowing with charm and grandeur with castles and fortresses galore. In fact this entire area of the Middle Rhine River Valley is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Itinerary highlights include: a tour of 700-year-old Marksburg Castle, the only castle in the Rhine Valley that was never destroyed! During your tour you will enjoy outstanding views from this castle situated atop a 550-foot forested perch.

Cologne, Germany – Cologne,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Germany’s fourth largest city and abounds in sites worth seeing. You can wander the impressive Old Town and soak in the city’s former Roman and Medieval history. Cologne is also home to the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Make sure to save some time to  enjoy a pretzel and beer at one of the lively Brauhäuser!

Kinderdijk, Netherlands – Sail along the Rhine to The Netherlands and Kinderdijk, another UNESCO World Heritage Site gem.

Itinerary highlights include: exploring the area dike and windmills, the largest concentration in The Netherlands. You’ll be able to see how the windmills work and their living quarters where the caretaker families live. An optional and highly recommended excursion would pair the windmill exploration with a Dutch cheese making experience! On this tour you’ll visit a dairy farm and  cheesemaker with opportunity to enjoy samples.

Amsterdam, Netherlands – Your Rhine River Cruise has come to an end and disembarkation occurs in lovely Amsterdam. Why not extend your stay and uncovering the local treasures here?

Contact me to begin planning your European river cruise!

European River Cruise Selection #2 – Danube River Cruise

Germany, Austria and Hungary

There are numerous Danube river cruise sailings! This is just one of the  lovely choices.

AmaWaterways – Formerly Amadeus Waterways, AmaWaterways is another solid and outstanding choice in the river cruise market.  It seems that  their past guests agree when you consider their many awards for excellence! If you are in search of active adventure or wellness travel, AmaWaterways should  be considered.

One of the features that sets AmaWaterways apart is the commissioning of their own ship building.  This applies to Europe’s Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Saone, Seine, Mosel and Main Rivers; they  charter a beautiful  ship to sail Portugal’s Douro River.

Legendary Danube River Cruise Highlights:

Immerse yourself in some of Europe’s most legendary cities with this well-appointed Danube itinerary. This cruise begins in Nuremberg, Germany and concludes in Budapest, Hungary with many medieval and imperial jewels along the way.  AmaWaterways’ Legendary Danube cruise offers ample opportunity to engage with your destination through walking tours, biking and hiking as well as the sampling of regional delicacies.

Countries/Cities/Villages Visited:

Nuremberg, Germany – Embarkation begins in the medieval city of Nuremberg where you can choose from different sightseeing options depending upon your personal interests.

Itinerary options include: a guided tour of the beautifully preserved medieval city, a WWII-themed tour or a food-based excursion. If opting for the food tour you’ll enjoy sampling traditional Franconian specialties such as the  delicious Nuremburger Bratwurst, Rot bier (red beer) and lebkuchen (gingerbread).

Regensburg, Germany – Regensburg is one of southeast Germany’s medieval gems! Its old town is officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, according to UNESCO, “Regensburg’s Old Town has been able to reserve its original medieval outline since the 14th century. The Old Town survived the Second World War in exceptionally good shape.”

Itinerary options include: a walking tour to discover the town’s layered history, a food-based tour sampling Bavarian specialties such as sausages, pretzels and local beer or a bike tour to uncover Neoclassical marble ruins.

Passau, Germany – Picturesque Passau may sound cliché but it’s so very true! This German town borders Austria and is nestled atop a peninsula that extends in no less than three rivers: the Danube, Inn and Ilz. Due to its strategic location Passau enjoyed wealth and prestige, which has been proudly on display, virtually untouched, for centuries in the Altstadt (old town).

Itinerary options include: a walking tour along Passau’s cobblestone streets admiring the Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture as well as St. Stephen’s Cathedral; a guided cycling tour along the scenic Danube, or a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus Fortress for stunning views overlooking the three rivers.

Melk, Austria – A quaint beauty, Melk is located near the picturesque Wachua Valley where Austria’s famous vineyards and postcard-perfect villages await. Melk is known for its magnificent Benedictine Abbey, another UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest and most impressive European monasteries.

Itinerary options include: a walking tour and visit of the abbey, or, should you opt for an active adventure, a guided bike tour will introduce you to the natural beauty of the Wachau Valley. A third option includes a walking tour along Dürnstein’s cobblestone streets to the well-preserved Baroque Stiftskirche (the local church).

Vienna, Austria – Vienna is Austria’s stunning capital known as the “City of Waltzes,” full of treasures to uncover. Vienna’s cultural scene is impressive and full of classical music, imperial architecture, coffee houses and bakeries, quaint wine taverns, and the charm of the Viennese people.

Itinerary options include: a city tour where the lovely sites of Vienna unfold, including the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs. Your tour concludes in Vienna’s historic city center, yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site with a tour of St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For those looking for more of an adventure opt for the Klosterneuburg Abbey bike tour; you’ll discover the 900+ year-old Baroque monastery nestled amid the oldest vineyard in Austria! The monastery wine shop offers tastings.

Budapest, Hungary – Majestic and grand are apt descriptors of Budapest! Fondly called the “Queen of the Danube,” Budapest is architecturally-rich, featuring numerous examples of baroque, neoclassical, Eclectic and art nouveau buildings. It’s a city that has a variety of ways to satisfy a variety of different travelers. Should you be interested in thermal spas, Budapest has them. Interested in the cuisine of Eastern and Central Europe? Budapest will more than satisfy! From Hungarian goulash to regionally famous baked goods. Looking for ways to celebrate your Jewish or Christian heritage? Budapest offers its Great Synagogue and plentiful churches.

Itinerary options include: a walking tour of the Great Market Hall full of vendors offering a variety of wares from food to souvenirs. Following your market visit you will see both the Buda (hilly) and Pest (flat) sides of the Danube. If interested in active adventure you can opt for the Castle Hill hike for enchanting views of the city-scape. Disembarkation will be the following morning. Why not extend your stay and uncover the plentiful treasures here?

Need assistance choosing the best river cruise? Let me know!

European River Cruise Selection #3 – Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy

This river cruise sailing focuses solely upon Italy.

Uniworld – Uniworld River Cruises offers another splendid option when considering sailing the waterways of Europe.  This river cruise line features unique itineraries with plenty of locals only-type experiences! Their ships are well-maintained with staterooms that are well-appointed and quite comfortable; each stateroom boasts luxurious touches such as cashmere/wool blankets and fine European linens.

Venice & the Gems of Northern Italy Highlights:

Uniworld’s river cruise itinerary allows the traveler to experience Venice and Northern Italy in a unique and very special way – from the water. This is quite fitting for a vacation in Venice but quite unique in terms of vacationing in the rest of Northern Italy.

This is an excellent cruise option for travelers looking to explore Northern Italy’s history, architecture, off-the-beaten-path locations, and of course, food and wine!

Cities/Villages Visited:

Venice – By the 12th century, Venice was the wealthiest and most powerful city-state in Europe! As you tour Venice with your cruise  historian you’ll begin to understand why. The waters here have graced the steps of this gorgeous city for 1,000 years and continue to mesmerize visitors.

Itinerary highlights include: a scenic cruise around the Venetian Lagoon and its islands as well as time at leisure to explore. Your first evening aboard with feature a special Captain’s dinner.

Chioggia – Chioggio, often called “Little Venice,” is a picturesque fishing village located at the southern end of the lagoon and is a lovely place to stop and explore.

Itinerary options include: a guided walk learning  the treasures of this charming village. If you enjoy biking, you’ll have the option for a scenic  ride along area beaches. For those looking for a truly local and special experience, try mussel harvesting with local fishermen in the lagoon.

Polesella (Bologna or Ferrara) – There are two fantastic options available to you from this next port of call! You can opt to spend a full day in Bologna or visit Ferrara. Bologna is known as the “culinary capital of Northern Italy,” and Ferrara is an impeccably preserved Renaissance city (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).

Itinerary options include: In Bologna learn how to make regional pasta during a  cooking class with lunch and enjoy a walking tour of this gorgeous city. In Ferrara, the option includes a medieval and renaissance-based walking tour highlighting Castle Estense  among other treasures.

Taglio di Po (Chioggia) – Picturesque Chioggia, founded in the 5th-century, will be revisited today as there are so many treasures to discover. During your visit you will enjoy a tour of this charming village’s specialty market where local delicacies are on display and the liveliness of the Italian people all around you.

Itinerary options include: a fish market tour with a local chef followed by a bragozzo ride (a boat particular to this area). On your market tour you will learn that this bustling fish market is one of the largest in Italy. You’ll also discover  how Chioggio was once considered Venice’s food pantry due to its farms that supplied Venetian kitchens.  In the evening a private after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica is available; having this magnificent church at your disposal without crowds is simply heavenly.

Venetian Islands of Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello – The Venetian lagoon is teeming with hundreds of small islands with three of the most famous being Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Each of these islands boast their own charm, history and cultural contributions. Burano boasts colorful fisherman’s cottages and traditional lace-making that has been practiced for 400 years; sadly lace making here is a dying craft but if visitors show interest the younger generation may see the benefit and continue this authentically Venetian handicraft. See it while you can with this specially arranged tour at a historic lace-making atelier!

The second Venetian island to visit is Mazzorbo known for its wineries where you will enjoy a wine estate tour and tasting. The vineyard here makes wine with Dorona grapes as they tolerate the salt air and produce a lovely golden wine.

Lastly you will sail to the island of Torcello which was settled even before Venice was founded! At one point Torcello was the most famous and powerful island in the lagoon but today only a few people call this island their home. You will join an art historian for a tour of the basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, the oldest church in the lagoon; this church features a stunning 11th-century mosaic of the Last Judgment.

Venice – The last day of your Italian river cruise focuses on Venice itself with either a culinary delight’s food tour of the Rialto market or a tour of the Accademia gallery with an art historian. Highlights of the Rialto food market include regional delicacies such as violet artichokes from the island of Sant’Erasmo, honey from local salt marshes, and the uniquely white asparagus from Giare all amid the hustle and bustle of Venetians. At the end of this gourmet tour you will enjoy a drink of Prosecco at a bacaro (a casual wine bar) along with a small snack.

If you choose to join the art historian on the privately guided Accademia tour you will view one of the greatest collections of Venetian Renaissance paintings in the world! The Accademia includes masterpieces by Bellini, Canaletto, Carpaccio, Tiepolo, Tintoretto, and Veronese among others and is certainly a highlight for painting-enthusiasts.

I cannot recommend this Italian itinerary enough! Contact me to ask about sailing dates.

European River Cruise Selection #4 –Grand France Avignon to  Paris

This itinerary focuses solely on France.

Uniworld – Uniworld River Cruises truly offers a 5-star sailing experience in France; this meticulously orchestrated itinerary enables you to immerse yourself in France from north to south. You will cruise three rivers and experience in-depth sightseeing along the entire route.

This itinerary provides numerous “once-in-a-lifetime” memories to treasure for years to come and is the perfect vacation for travelers interested in art, architecture, history, music, wine and exquisite cuisine.

Grand France River Cruise Highlights:

– Monet’s Giverny where you will explore the gardens and see his private collection of engravings.
– Kayak under the arches of the 2,000-year-old Pont du Gard outside of Avignon.
– Lose yourself in the music of baroque favorites during a recital in a 12th-century Viviers cathedral
– Visit Lyon’s celebrated Les Halles food market teeming with exquisite food, desserts and drink.
– The opportunity to play a round of golf at two historic French golf courses.

Cities/Villages Visited:

Arles or Tarascon – Arles is well-known for its Roman ruins and was so enchanting to Van Gogh that he painted 200 or so paintings in this beloved city. One of the highlights of ancient and equally charming Tarascon is its medieval castle and church.

Itinerary options include: joining a local historian for an informative walk around the medieval city of Arles! You’ll discover unique bits of history including the vary spot where St. Augustine, the man who brought Christianity to England, was consecrated as the first archbishop of Canterbury. You’ll also walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh past the Café de Nuit, still open and still the same shade of yellow it was when he painted it! Lastly, a visit to Arles wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the town’s picturesque farmers’ market, one of the best in Southern France.

Should you opt to visit Tarascon, you will explore the 15th-century castle which majestically rises from the Rhône River.  This stunning walk will take you from the castle through the small and charming town where plentiful examples of Provençal architecture can be seen  . As you explore you will see why even today Tarascon is associated with traditional folktales and fables dating back to prehistory.

Avignon – Breathtaking Avignon is one of southeastern France’s most impressive and charming cities along the Rhône River. It is a medieval walled city bursting with architectural jewels, splendid cafés and unique discoveries.

Itinerary options include: kayaking beneath a 2,000-year-old Roman aqueduct; a walking tour where you’ll learn why it was considered the city of Popes and uncover the history behind its UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. The main highlight of this option is the tour of the Palace of the Popes itself, which is sure to please history buffs and architecture aficionados.

Should you choose the magnificent Pont du Gard Roman aqueduct visit, you will uncover the secrets of how the first-century Roman engineers managed to supply much-needed water to Nîmes. In fact,  the water came all the way from Uzès—a distance of 30-miles. There’s no wondering how this marvel ended up on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list! This amazing engineering feat was constructed without mortar and 50,000 tons of limestone were transported for its construction. This expertly guided tour will disclose how they were able to accomplish this so well considering it has lasted beautifully for over 2,000 years!

A second highlight of this tour will be seeing the inscriptions these Romans made in the stone as they quarried the pieces and fastened them in place.

Viviers – The fairy-tale village of Viviers is the perfect location to encounter the essence of Burgundy. Artisans of traditional French culture and craft abound here amid a timeless atmosphere – approximately 1,600 years of history!

Itinerary highlights include: a superbly guided walking tour with a local expert who will make the history of this village come alive. You will walk along medieval cobblestone lanes and be shown the  12th-century St. Vincent’s Cathedral. Not only will you see this hilltop gem you will sit amid its splendor and listen to a local organist play for you—an enchanting afternoon!

Optional experiences  include: learning how a local potter crafts their wares; visit two local homes of different calibers (one is a mansion) but both equally enchanting; perfect your dance style during a local dance class or relax and enjoy an aperitif at a local establishment.

Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage – Discover why these two splendid French towns are synonymous with wine and chocolate along the Rhône River!  The two are conveniently connected by a flower-laden suspension bridge so sightseeing among both towns is quite easy. The two tour options available involve the local specialty—wine made primarily with Syrah grapes.

Itinerary options include: a vineyard hike for the truly adventurous! You will hike the steepest vineyard on the Rhône to uncover the splendid Hermitage wines and be rewarded with stunning views and a taste of this world-famous wine.

Should you opt to visit the twin villages of Tournon and Tain-l’Hermitage, you will still experience the world of fine wine. With the assistance of your local guide you will visit wine cellars, sampling the region’s famous Côtes du Rhône, Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage wines. Following your wine tasting you may browse the artisan shops and plan a tour of the Valrhona chocolate factory.

Lyon – World-renowned as a gourmet capital, Lyon will tantalize you with all it has to offer both gastronomically and visually/historically. Spectacularly located at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers, Lyon dates back 2,000 years to the days of Julius Caesar and offers an unrivaled French sightseeing experience for historians and gastronomes combined.

Itinerary options include: a bike tour along the rivers, past houseboats, outstanding views of the old town, and among gorgeous park-like greenery. This tour provides a unique way to explore while stepping outside the role of the tourist and living, if for a brief time, as a local.

A second optional excursion is a gastronomy tour where you will learn the history of Lyon’s cuisine while discovering some of the best bouchons (quaint and casual restaurants), specialty food shops and a stop at the famous Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse market. This market is truly special with local wares proudly displayed atop black marble countertops; it is at some of these gourmet purveyors that you will taste some famous Lyon specialties.

A third optional excursion centers on the local silk industry and its history. Your guided tour will enliven the UNESCO  old town passing through traboules (ancient passageways) which are the hidden shortcuts  silk weavers took to keep their delicate fabrics out of the elements. You’ll pass quaint bouchons serving authentic local fare, and even have the chance to see a Jacquard loom in use!

Mâcon (Beaune) – The capital of Burgundy’s wine route, Beaune is rich in history, stunning vistas, superb food, and world-renowned wine as well as its medieval hospital. In fact, Beaune’s  hospitality is a symbol of Burgundy’s past charitable nature and servanthood.

Itinerary options include: a tour of Beaune’s famous landmarks including Hospices de Beaune,  the monk’s vineyards and a tour of the farmers’ market. You may browse and purchase items for a picnic or have free time to linger at an outdoor café.

Should you opt for the Mâcon walking tour you will learn how the French flag was born in this riverport city many years ago. Originally, Mâcon was an epicenter of Celtic trading dating back 2,200 years ago. You’ll admire Roman bridges, cathedrals, artisan shops, cafés, and even a wooden house that predates the bridge!

Train to Paris – Your French river cruise in Burgundy ends at this point and you will board a high-speed TGV train bound for Paris. Once in Paris you will board the S.S. Joie de Vivre for a remarkable sailing along the Seine.

La Roche-Guyon, Vernon Giverny – The natural beauty of Northern France unfolds before you on this excursion to uncover the secrets of Monet! From an opulent chateau and gardens to the very landscapes that served to inspire Monet will be on display for you today. The charming hilltop Chateau La Roche-Guyon with sweeping views over the Seine will enchant you as you visit and learn of this area’s history.

Itinerary options include: a tour of Monet’s gardens at Giverny. You will learn that originally the land was once an orchard, which Monet transformed into a surreal floral heaven. You are free to wander the gardens and will also tour Monet’s home, complete with his private collection of engravings.

A second tour option includes a scenic bike ride; you will have the pleasure of  traveling country lanes connecting Vernon and Giverny (easy biking amid truly lovely scenery).  The bike route passes by the church and cemetery where Monet is buried as well as the Hotel Baudy where his friends would stay when visiting.

Rouen (Normandy Beaches) The somber history of D-Day comes alive today as you explore this significant and oft-emotional spot. You will travel to Omaha Beach and the American cemetery, where almost 10,000 US soldiers are buried, most of whom lost their lives during the infamous D-Day invasion.

Caudebec-en-Caux (Honfleur or Étretat) – Today features two choices—the first a Uniworld exclusive—a stunning links golf course with magnificent views, and the second—for those more interested in art than golf—a leisurely walk through the lovely Calvados countryside to  the fishing village of Honfleur along the coast. Honfleur has been loved by generations of artists and you will see why!

Rouen – Normandy’s capital of Rouen is a treasure that will surely please with its historic quarter that hasn’t changed since its medieval inception. It was  here that Monet painted the very spot where Joan of Arc was martyred; despite being attacked multiple times it remains beautifully intact. Numerous famous people have lived or died here including Richard the Lionheart and Monet himself.

Mantes-la-Jolie (Versailles) – The highlights of today center upon how and where some of France’s rulers have lived. Optional tours include a discovery of the Palace of Versailles secret apartments and a biking excursion to Marie Antoinette’s hamlet with Versailles gardens discovery.

Paris – There are so many things to love about Paris and no matter how many times you travel here there are always undiscovered treasures awaiting! If this is your first time in Paris, enjoy some of the main sites with a city tour or travel off-the-beaten-path to lesser-known highlights and local favorites.

If you have 2 weeks to explore France, this special itinerary shouldn’t be missed!

European River Cruise Selection #5 – Oberammergau, the Alps & the Rhine River

Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria

This is just one of the river cruises that feature Germany’s beloved and famous Passion Play in Oberammergau!

The play dates from 1633 when the Great Plague arrived in  Oberammergau. After so many precious lives were lost, the villagers made a promise to God that they would proclaim the story of Christ, should no more lives be lost ; it’s been in operation ever since.

Viking River Cruises – The European river cruise champion to many, Viking is the largest and best-known river cruise line in the world winning multiple awards and accolades from Conde Nast Traveler readership. Their ships are known to be  relaxed and comfortable with a refined atmosphere.

Oberammergau, the Alps  & Rhine Highlights & Itinerary:

The Rhine River is located in middle Europe, within Germany and the Netherlands and features an outstanding array of historical and natural sites.

Countries/Cities/Villages Visited:

Amsterdam, the Netherlands –After boarding your river vessel, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own.  Plenty of my personal recommendations will be provided!

Kinderdijk, the Netherlands – Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a large network of windmills , which you will learn all about.  One of the highlights  includes touring the inside of a working windmill.

Cologne, Germany – Cologne,  a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is Germany’s fourth largest city and abounds in sites worth seeing. You can wander the impressive Old Town and soak in the city’s former Roman and Medieval history. Cologne is also home to the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe. Make sure to save some time to  enjoy a pretzel and beer at one of the lively Brauhäuser!

Koblenz & Rüdesheim, Germany –Many opportunities exist for sightseeing in this  beautiful area! Choose to tour Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle or a walking tour of Koblenz itself.

Cruise the lovely Middle Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where ancient castles and fortresses overlook the river from their hilltop posts. Arrive Rüdesheim  and enjoy free time to explore! If time allows you can visit the Rheingauer wine museum.

Speyer, Germany – This gem of a town offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities! Tour the beautiful Speyer Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica.  Alternately, you may tour Heidelberg, the home of Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386.

Strasbourg, France –Lovely Strasbourg is one of those numerous European cities that are steeped in the culture of more than one country  – in this instance, France and Germany. Tour the city by foot or enjoy leisure time.

Breisach, Germany –Breisach is the gateway to the Black Forest! Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop to see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration, and learn how Black Forest Cake is made.

Basel, Switzerland & Innsbruck, Austria – A fantastic day awaits! Disembark your ship in Basel and set out on a breathtaking drive through an alpine landscape to Innsbruck. Along the way, enjoy a short stop in Vaduz—the quaint capital city of one of the world’s smallest and wealthiest countries, Liechtenstein. Cross the border into Austria and visit the medieval town of Feldkirch.

Upon arrival in Innsbruck, check in to your First-Class hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure to explore on your own.

Innsbruck, Austria – Ah, lovely Austria!! Today you’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of historic Innsbruck and explore the Old Town, where a wealth of imperial architecture awaits.

One of the wonderful excursions from here includes a cable car ride to the Nordkette for jaw-dropping panoramic views over the valley and the surrounding peaks of the Alps.

Oberammergau, Germany – Today you will set out on a scenic drive to Oberammergau where you’ll enjoy lunch and the famous Passion Play. It’s a great honor for Oberammergau’s residents to be a part of this moving and dramatic performance. During the intermission, enjoy a traditional Bavarian dinner at a local restaurant.

Extend your stay or depart for home with many fantastic memories to last a lifetime!

Contact me to begin planning your European river cruise!

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