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Glacier Express & Treasures of the Rhine

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You are viewing the 2025 itinerary. Select your departure year
20252026
11 days From $4,795 per person
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Soak up the most scenic parts of the Rhine with time at leisure in our ports of call followed by three nights in Switzerland and the iconic Glacier Express

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2025 Tour code: RXR25

About the tour

This scenic cruise along the River Rhine is a picturesque journey through captivating towns and cities. Glide past enchanting landscapes and explore the historical wonders of Heidelberg, the medieval charm of Strasbourg, and the breathtaking vistas of the Rhine Gorge.

Starting from Cologne, our journey upstream leads us to the delightful town of Koblenz. We delve into the allure of Heidelberg with a guided tour and meander through the winding alleys of Strasbourg lined with half-timbered houses. Along the way, we pause in lovely Rüdesheim to stroll through the famous Drosselgasse alley and savor the stunning scenery as we cruise at a leisurely pace.

Our amazing experience ends with a journey aboard the legendary Glacier Express, one of the world's finest rail experiences, and we spend three nights in the alpine towns of Zermatt and Chur, immersing ourselves in the beauty of the Swiss mountains.

Unforgettable Experiences

Explore Cologne
Explore Cologne
Immerse yourself in the city’s cheerful streets, where history blends with modern life. Wander through cobblestone pathways to the famous Gothic cathedral, a timeless masterpiece with intricate details, soaring arches, and stunningly designed windows.
Romantic Rhine Gorge
Romantic Rhine Gorge
Sail through this enchanting UNESCO World Heritage site where spellbinding castles emerge, verdant forests stretch as far as the eye can see, and vineyard-clad slopes cascade down to the water's edge. We also drift by the dramatic Lorelei Rock, steeped in myth and legend.
Drachenfelsbahn Cog Railway
Drachenfelsbahn Cog Railway
Reach the summit of the majestic Drachenfels on the exhilarating Drachenfelsbahn cog railway. A journey of unparalleled beauty, we wind gracefully up the rolling slopes as the majestic panorama of the Rhine Valley gradually unfolds.
Historic Heidelberg
Historic Heidelberg
Visit the ‘Jewel of Germany’ on a guided tour, delving into the highlights of this picturesque riverside city as we stroll through the historic Altstadt and visit the imposing Heidelberg Castle, perched majestically atop the verdant hills overlooking the city.
Discover Rüdesheim
Discover Rüdesheim
Explore this charming town and the famous Drosselgasse, a quaint narrow alleyway lined with traditional pubs and wine cellars. While here, choose between a fabulous wine tasting or visit the marvelous Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet.
Enchanting Strasbourg
Enchanting Strasbourg
Venture into the Black Forest, an ancient woodland where towering trees shrouded in mist create an otherworldly atmosphere and discover Strasbourg’s grand architecture, cobblestone streets, and meandering canals.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To Cologne where we board our luxurious ship

Our vacation begins this morning as we meet at London St Pancras before boarding the Eurostar to Paris. From here, we travel to the city of Cologne where we board our magnificent ship, the luxurious Amadeus Imperial, and settle into our home on the river. Our friendly crew warmly greet us with a welcome cocktail as we get ready to immerse ourselves in the wonders of the Rhine. We then gather for our first dinner onboard, savoring the beginning of our cruise experience.

Day 2 - Exploring Cologne

After breakfast, we enjoy a leisurely tour of Cologne and wander through its cheerful streets and squares. We admire the Romanesque townhouses before visiting the city's impressive Gothic cathedral which is the largest in Northern Europe. The intricate spires and magnificent stained glass windows of this UNESCO-listed landmark are captivating as we marvel at the grand architecture.

Later this morning, we set off on our first sail. Drifting upstream past Bonn, we begin to see the first signs of lush green hills as we arrive in the enchanting town of Königswinter. Here, we journey on the Drachenfelsbahn railway.

This fabulous cog railway rises high into the forests, passing the fairytale Drachenfels castle - whose name translates as 'Dragon's Rock', inspiring many of the dragon-related legends still heard today. We experience wonderful views across the Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany as we climb higher. We then head back to our cruise ship for dinner onboard.

Day 3 - Picturesque Koblenz and quaint Boppard

There's time at leisure this morning to explore Koblenz, once a Roman stronghold. We recommend strolling to Deutsches Eck at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers where you'll be surrounded by inspiring vistas including the mighty Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. We then begin sailing again after lunch, arriving in the picturesque town of Boppard later this afternoon.

There's time at leisure for exploration before dinner this evening. As you wander the cobblestone streets you'll find the town's Roman legacy echoes through its architecture. Admire the half-timbered houses which lead to delightful vineyards scattering the surrounding hills and discover well-preserved Roman fortifications, including the historic town walls and the Roman tower.

If you're up for a bit of adventure, take the chairlift up to the Vier Seen Blick (Four Lakes Viewpoint). From here, you'll be enveloped with panoramic views of the Rhine Valley and the surrounding countryside.

Day 4 - The enchanting Rhine Gorge and charming Rüdesheim

Our morning is spent leisurely onboard, sailing through delightful river landscapes including a highlight of our cruising experience - the romantic Rhine gorge. This section of the Rhine is renowned for its spectacular views and the best place to witness them is from the top deck of our ship. The riverbanks plunge deeper here, and we wind around bends surrounded by endless miles of lush green vineyards, ancient castles, and picturesque riverside towns. As we sail, we hear the fascinating story of the legendary Lorelei Rock which soars almost 500 feet out of the water.

After lunch, we dock in captivating Rüdesheim where we travel through steeped vineyards aboard a land train, arriving in the center of the renowned wine town. Here there's a choice of excursions, each promising a delightful insight into the town. You could experience why the town is famous with a fantastic wine tasting, savoring the finest local varieties. Alternatively, you could visit Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet and discover Europe's largest collection of finely tuned mechanical instruments.

After dinner this evening there's time to explore the town's cobbled streets at your own pace and see the charming half-timbered houses, quaint shops, and enticing wine bars in the Drosselgasse alley.

Day 5 - Traditional Heidelberg and lovely Speyer

After a morning of relaxed cruising and lunch onboard, we arrive in the city of Mannheim. From here we journey by coach to charming Heidelberg for a guided tour. The picturesque university town is known for its lovely Old Town and stunning riverfront which is perfect for a relaxing stroll. Our tour includes a visit to the magnificent ruined, red sandstone castle that towers over the city, providing amazing views of the surrounding forests, river, and cityscape.

Alternatively, you could stay on board and later, take in the sights of the historic German city of Speyer and its famous cathedral at leisure before dinner this evening.

Day 6 - A scenic sail to Strasbourg

Today we enjoy a full day cruise to the French city of Strasbourg. Relax onboard as we pass diverse landscapes and fantastic natural beauty along the Rhine. We arrive in Strasbourg later this afternoon and after dinner, you can experience the city's unique character at leisure. Sitting near the border, Strasbourg perfectly represents the blending of French and German cultures The enchanting old town is well worth a visit, and here you'll discover timber-framed houses, cobbled streets, and the iconic Cathedral, all creating a fairytale ambience.

Day 7 - The enchanting Black Forest or striking Strasbourg

After breakfast, you have a choice of two wonderful excursions. The first is a magical trip into the Black Forest, to witness stunning fairytale panoramas. Experience the beauty of Germany's largest nature park filled with rolling hills, picturesque villages, dense forests, and meadows dotted with wildflowers. As you explore this fairytale setting, you'll learn about the enchanting history and folklore of the region.

Alternatively, you could enjoy a city tour of Strasbourg, where you'll discover its fascinating history, admire its grand architecture and experience its unique character. The city sits on the French-German border and blends the best of the two cultures, with colorful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. On our tour, we visit the UNESCO-listed cathedral and the quaint La Petite France district.

Following your excursion, we return to our ship for lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to discover more of Strasbourg and you could join our coach into the old town. The picturesque capital of France's Alsace region offers a captivating evening of history and culture, whether you choose to wander the charming streets or relax with a beverage at one of the inviting cafés or wine bars.

Day 8 - To wonderful Zermatt

We enjoy our last breakfast onboard this morning before we disembark in Strasbourg. From here, we journey the scenic rail route to Zermatt. Here, we check into our wonderful hotel for two nights in this stunning, car-free mountain village. Sitting at the heart of the Swiss Alps, it has wonderful views of the surrounding alpine peaks including the mighty, Matterhorn mountain.

Day 9 - The beautiful Gornergrat Mountain Railway

A journey on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway awaits us today. This cog railway trip ascends the Gornergrat, to its summit - the second-highest railway in Europe. As we reach the top, stunning views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and valleys below are revealed. From here, we enjoy magical views of the surrounding mountains including the imposing Matterhorn.

After lunch surrounded by the views of Gornergrat, we return to Zermatt and discover more of this wonderful resort on a guided tour. Strolling through the traditional streets we're surrounded by wooden chalets and shops selling traditional Swiss products as our guide shares the history of Zermatt giving us a deeper understanding of the beautiful resort. The rest of your day is at leisure to enjoy the scenery and tranquility.

Day 10 - The iconic Glacier Express and charming Chur

Today, we board the magnificent Glacier Express. Our panoramic journey takes us through undeniably Swiss scenes of green meadows, dense, evergreen forests and snow-capped mountains, ambling along the beautiful Rhine Valley aboard 'The Slowest Express Train in the World'. We spiral up the mountains, crossing vast viaducts, burrowing through tunnels and rising above the clouds on our way to Chur.

As we arrive and check into our hotel, you can explore the rich history, culture, and sights of Switzerland's oldest village, before dinner this evening. Wander the Altstadt - the Old Town - to discover the authentic restaurants and relaxed bars that add to the town's lovely atmosphere.

Day 11 - Homeward bound

After breakfast, it's time to bid farewell to lovely Chur. We make our way to the railway station and head towards Zurich airport where you catch your flight to the US.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Trains

Drachenfels Railway
Eurostar
The Glacier Express

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial