Uncover the majesty of the Rhine, climb to the highest railroad station in Europe, and experience a journey of a lifetime on board the Glacier Express.
About the Tour
Watch as the romance of the Rhine region and beauty of the Alps unfold on this 14-day European voyage. Begin in Amsterdam, where you board the Amadeus Silver III. This ship is our home for the next seven nights and our ticket to the dramatic scenes along the Rhine River, including the Rhine Gorge and the Lower Rhine. Stops in Cologne, Rüdesheim, Speyer, Heidelberg, and Strasbourg offer unique tastes of the local culture through guided tours, optional excursions and free time to explore.Upon disembarkation in Basel, begin your explorations of Switzerland, one of the most scenic and dynamic countries in Europe, has an essence that leaves visitors wishing for more. Your adventure here includes extraordinary destinations and memorable rail excursions. Sightsee your way through cities including Bern, Zermatt and St. Moritz. Gaze upon the Alps from the highest railway station in Europe. Marvel at the snow-capped peak of the Matterhorn. Find yourself surrounded by breathtaking landscapes around every bend as you travel through the country on the Glacier Express. Your adventure along the Rhine and through Switzerland concludes with a final rail journey from St. Moritz to Zürich.
This itinerary is also available from Zurich to Amsterdam based on your travel preference.
- First Class rail travel on Swiss rail network
- Three scenic rail excursions: Jungfrau Railway, Gornergrat Railway and Glacier Express*
- Hotel accommodations for 6 nights
- 27 meals, including a 3-course meal on the Glacier Express
- 7-night cruise on board the Amadeus Silver III
- Visits to Heidelberg, Speyer, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne, Strasbourg and Amsterdam
- Sail through the Rhine Gorge, an UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Sightseeing in Heidelberg and Strasbourg
- Bern walking tour
Day 1 - Amsterdam
Arrive in Amsterdam at your leisure and make your way to the ship. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before dinner. Overnight ship. (D)
Day 2 - Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train
After breakfast this morning, we have a choice of two excursions, the first of which is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks, to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through splendid Dutch scenery. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Cologne
Arriving into Cologne this morning, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, centuries-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque townhouses. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - The Upper Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn
We depart from Cologne this morning and discover the marvelous Upper Rhine, a stretch of river characterized by lush green meadows and postcard villages. Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachenfelsbahn railroad. This rack railroad rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany. In the evening, we indulge in a traditional gourmet dinner which features Spargelzeit (seasonally), a kind of white asparagus which is famous in this area. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Rüdesheim and the Rhine Gorge
You have free time here this morning to explore Koblenz. This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer riverbanks rise, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway. We enjoy a commentary from our knowledgeable Cruise Director during this passage.
Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centerpiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world making up the rest of the offerings. Weather permitting we'll enjoy our lunch on the sun deck as we take in the majesty of the glorious Rhine Gorge.
This evening we sail to the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production especially of the dry Riesling variety. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Speyer and Heidelberg
We arrive into Speyer this morning, where you have free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately-owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful academic town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle, proudly stood high above the town below, gazing down onto the river and the attractive town houses. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Strasbourg
Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colorful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.
You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second alternative sees you travel along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße into the famous Black Forest of Germany, passing through stunning fairytale panoramas.
Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a Gala dinner with the captain and crew. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Disembarkation and on to Bern
After a buffet breakfast, disembark the ship in Basel and transfer by rail to Bern. On arrival, make your way to your hotel and settle in for an evening at leisure. Overnight Bern. (B)
Day 9 – Bern and the Bernese Oberland
Get acquainted with the compact capital city of Bern with a walking tour this morning. The excursion showcases the historic town center, which charms visitors with its cobbled streets and ancient limestone buildings. Enjoy looks at the clock tower, colorful fountains, medieval arcades and the House of Parliament, amongst other sites. Later, continue by train to the car-free town of Wengen. This Bernese Oberland locale is renowned for its stunning alpine atmosphere, which includes rugged vistas and beautiful timber chalets. Take some time to soak in the postcard-perfect surroundings upon checking in at your hotel. Overnight Wengen. (B)
Day 10 - Jungfraujoch
Board the Wengernalp Railway this morning to begin your jaunt to the top of Europe. This railway is known to be the longest cog wheel rack and pinion railway in Switzerland and takes you from Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg. Upon arrival, the tour continues up Jungfraujoch aboard the Jungfrau Railway. This railway is a marvel of ingenuity and engineering and showcases the region’s mountainous panoramas. Your destination is the summit of Jungfraujoch, where views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers overtake the observation deck. You may also visit the ice palace or peruse the Top of Europe shops. Overnight Wengen. (B)
Day 11 - To Zermatt
Soak in the picturesque surroundings of Switzerland as your train travels between Wengen and Zermatt. The journey takes approximately 3 hours to complete. As you arrive in Zermatt, check-in at your hotel and then begin your exploration of this car-free village. Visitors admire the outdoor offerings of Zermatt, as well as the ease of walking through the village. One of the highlights of Zermatt is Old Town, which features over 30 Walsner houses that date back up to 500 years. You may wish to learn the history of the town by visiting the Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Day 12 - Gornergrat Railway
Behold one of the most iconic mountains in the world as you climb the Gornergrat today. Board the Gornergrat Railway in Zermatt city center and marvel as the world’s first fully-electric cog railway climbs to the summit. During the ride, take in views of local flora and fauna, and keep your eyes peeled for marmots and chamois. The most spectacular sight of the journey, though, is that of the Matterhorn. As you return to Zermatt after the excursion, the remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy this scenic town. Overnight Zermatt. (B)
Day 13 - Glacier Express* to St. Moritz
There is no better way to experience Switzerland than aboard the Glacier Express - Europe’s slowest express train. The train moves at a leisurely pace, experiencing the charming chalets and the beautiful countryside. During the 7 1/2-hour journey, take in the views from the panoramic windows of the train and enjoy a delicious three-course meal. Make your way to your hotel upon arrival and then spend the evening enjoying the amenities of this luxury resort town. Overnight St. Moritz. (B, L)
*The Glacier Express closes for the season on 11 October. The 14 October departure will use standard Swiss rail system equipment for the journey from Zermatt to St. Moritz
Day 14 - Zurich
Depart St. Moritz by rail this morning and continue back to Zürich for your onward journey or return flight home. (B)
Hotel are centrally-located 4-star properties such as Hotel Allegro, Bern; Sunstar Alpine Hotel Wengen, Wengen; Hotel Alpenhof, Zermatt; and Hotel Crystal, St. Moritz. Rail tickets are issued in First Class. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities.
MS Amadeus Silver III
The MS Amadeus Silver III is an enchanting vessel and excellent floating hotel, cruising along the rivers of northern Europe. Charming interiors, impeccable service and 5-star catering make this ship one of the finest ways to experience the natural and human beauty of the European rivers as you relax, sleep and dine against spectacular backdrops and wonderful scenery. Enjoy the serene tranquility that only river cruising can bring on board the MS Amadeus Silver III.
Amenities on board include a restaurant serving international and domestic food, a panoramic bar with specially designed windows, a fitness suite and a hair salon. On top of the ship is the Sun Deck with deck games, loungers and deck chairs. Each cabin has a television, an en-suite bathroom, a walk-in wardrobe and a minibar. The suites all have walk-out exterior balconies.
Travel on the Drachenfels Cog Railway, that starts at the bottom of Königswinger and takes us up 722 feet to the top of Drachenfels Mountain, and past Schloss Drachenburg - a stunningly beautiful villa that is said to have inspired the castle in Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty'. On arrival at the top of the mountain, you will see the ruins of Burg Drachenfels, a castle that was built in the 12th century, and destroyed 500 years later. The line started running in 1883, using steam-powered trains, changing to electric traction in 1953, and continues to run today.
The wonderful train journey up to Jungfraujoch is the highlight of a number of our holidays and includes travel on the Bernese Oberland Railway, the Wengernalpbahn and the Jungfrau Railway. Providing visibility is good, passengers not only enjoy spectacular views from Jungfraujoch, but also throughout the journey itself. The sections that follow describe each stage of this journey in turn.
Gornergrat Mountain Railroad
The Gornergrat Mountain Railroad runs for just less than six miles from the pretty town of Zermatt to the summit of the Gornergrat some 10,135ft above sea level. It is the highest railroad in Europe to run and mostly in the open air (the Jungfrau Railroad runs to a higher point but is predominantly in a tunnel).
This train winds its way through the Swiss Alps, traveling through 91 tunnels, and crossing 291 bridges. Relax and enjoy the view through the panoramic windows at your seat, or take in a drink at the bar. You'll have views of snow-capped mountains, canyons, narrow valleys, and rushing waters.
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