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Top of Europe & The Majestic Rhine Cruise

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10 days From $3,495 per person
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From the “Top of Europe” to the dramatic Rhine Gorge, a route of extreme beauty beckons on this memorable rail and cruise vacation.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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$200 off any 2024 or 2025 River Cruise. Plus enjoy a free cabin upgrade on any 2024 River Cruise. Offer only available by phone.

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2024 Tour code: MER24

About the tour

Natural beauty abounds in Central Europe, and you have a front-row seat to some of its finest examples on this 10-day voyage. Immerse yourself in the mountaintop wonders of the Swiss Alps before plunging deep into the valleys below to the river-carved scenery of the Rhine region. Timeless cities and picturesque landscapes guide your river cruise, putting you amongst the deep history and rich culture that only Europe can offer.

Unforgettable Experiences

Interlaken
Interlaken
Stay in beautiful Interlaken, surrounded by Swiss mountains and Alpine meadows.
Ice Palace, Jungfraujoch
Ice Palace, Jungfraujoch
Travel on the spectacular Jungfrau Express to Jungfraujoch, the ‘Top of Europe’, enjoying jaw-dropping 360 views of snow-capped peaks before entering the magical Ice Palace.
Cities of the Rhine
Cities of the Rhine
See the highlights of the glorious Rhine from our luxurious cruise ship, visiting Heidelberg and Speyer, Rüdesheim, Koblenz and Cologne.
The Rhine Gorge
The Rhine Gorge
Sail through the lush scenery of the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site defined by fairytale castles, green forests and the legendary Lorelei Rock.
Drachenfels Railway
Drachenfels Railway
Enjoy a fabulous rail excursion on the Drachenfels Railway to the summit of the Drachenfels mountain with wonderful views across the shimmering river and beyond.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Switzerland

An eclectic mixture of ultra-modern architecture and colorful historic buildings greet you as you arrive in Switzerland's gleaming financial capital, Zürich. Transfer on your own from the airport to the train station, where you can use your open railway ticket to travel to Interlaken at your leisure. The journey between the cities takes approximately two hours, so plan accordingly for any sightseeing you hope to do in either location. When you arrive in Interlaken this evening, head to the four-star Hotel Metropole to meet your Tour Manager and tour group, then join them for dinner in the hotel's restaurant. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Jungfrau Express

Your railway adventure sees you to Europe's highest railway station, Jungfraujoch, on the incredible Jungfrau railway. We begin on the Bernese Oberland Railway, trundling through the foothills of the Alps from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen, through flower-filled pastures and past pretty villages. We then join the Wengernalp Railway to continue our ascent through ever-changing scenery to Kleine Scheidegg, where we finally board the Jungfrau Railway. The train plunges into a tunnel through the Eiger and Mönch mountains after leaving Kleine Scheidegg and arrives at Jungfraujoch, the "Top of Europe," located 11,332 feet above sea level, in just 35 minutes. Enjoy plenty of free time at the summit station to explore the Ice Palace and admire the stunning scenery. Overnight Interlaken.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 - Ship Embarkation in Strasbourg

After a leisurely morning in Interlaken, we depart the city by train. Our route sees us to Basel, and then we switch trains and continue to Strasbourg on the French-German border. This beautiful city sits alongside the Rhine River and is where we begin our river cruise experience. We board our luxurious Amadeus ship this evening and enjoy a welcome cocktail before a delicious Swiss-themed dinner. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Strasbourg

Our vessel arrives at the charming German town of Kehl today, situated just across the Rhine from Strasbourg, a city whose multicultural influences make it a joy to discover. You have two choices here, the first of which is a guided city tour. Uncover its centuries of history and unmatched charm while exploring cobbled streets lined with colorful half-timbered houses. Alternatively, you could join an excursion along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, which ventures through southern Germany's fairytale panoramas and into the Black Forest. Before returning to the water, you will have free time in the charming spa town of Baden-Baden. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Speyer & Heidelberg

A night of sailing brings us to the port in Speyer this morning, a medieval city perched proudly on the left bank of the Rhine. Disembark with time to explore at leisure. This town is home to the world's most extensive vehicle collection, the Technik Museum Speyer, which features a jumbo jet, a submarine, emergency vehicles, and much more. It also features a treasure trove of historical sites, including the Old Gates. Later this afternoon, an excursion takes us to Heidelberg for a guided tour. This city is famous for its universities and has a magnificent ruined castle as its crown jewel. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Rüdesheim & the Rhine Gorge

We moor in the classic wine town of Rüdesheim am Rhein this morning. This destination is awash in natural beauty, with dramatic riverside scenery and rolling Riesling vineyards. Your time here is at leisure to walk along the river or to wander into the town, where half-timbered houses and charming narrow lanes abound. The ship departs for Koblenz later this morning, with breathtaking scenery on the horizon. Our route ventures through the remarkable Rhine Gorge, one of the river's most beautiful sections and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Look up at the sheer riverbanks and the deep forests, vineyards, and ancient castles that top them. Our Cruise Director narrates our journey through this stretch, adding stories and facts that enhance your understanding of this magical region.

But the views are only some of the things you can look forward to this afternoon. As we sail, savor a themed buffet lunch with a suckling pig centerpiece and several smaller regional dishes. Weather permitting, lunch will be served on the sun deck to allow you to savor the views and the cuisine simultaneously. As we arrive in Koblenz later today, enjoy time to visit wine taverns and explore at leisure. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - The Lower Rhine & the Drachenfelsbahn

Gaze upon the Lower Rhine's postcard-perfect villages and lush scenery as the ship sets sail from Koblenz. Enjoy invaluable commentary about the local history and visible points of interest from our Cruise Director as we drift toward Koenigswinter. We alight on arrival in this picturesque Rhine town and embark on a journey aboard the Drachenfelsbahn. A rack railroad with over 140 years of history, the Drachenfelsbahn presents indulgent panoramas over Germany's Rhine-Westphalia region, including its rugged mountains and beautiful forests. This evening, enjoy a traditional gourmet dinner featuring Spargelzeit, a type of white asparagus unique to this region. (Note: This seasonal ingredient may not be available at certain times of the year.) Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Cologne

A calm night of sailing takes us to the vibrant city of Cologne, beloved for its 600-year-old university. We venture forth into this destination for a guided walking tour of its most impressive sights. Our first stop is the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site cathedral, a Gothic masterpiece that towers 515 feet above Cologne. In addition to being the second-tallest church in Europe, this holy structure holds the acclaim of surviving 14 aerial hits during WWII. Continue through Cologne's buzzing city squares and winding streets in search of Romanesque townhouses and other remnants of bygone eras before returning to the ship. This evening is an opportunity to dress in our finest for a Gala dinner with the crew and captain. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Amsterdam & the Medemblik Steam Train

Wake to the delightful scenery of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam. This elegant city is modern and historic, young and old. Each turn reveals a new aspect to admire, from idyllic canals cutting through the city and large parks filled with flowers to funky art galleries and futuristic architecture. You have your choice between three excursions today:

Your first choice is a guided city tour highlighting modern landmarks and historic sites alike. The second choice takes you to Hoorn, where you can join the Medemblik Steam Train for a wonderful afternoon filled with nostalgia and quintessential Dutch scenery. Finally, you could select a half-day excursion to the Floriade Expo, the world-famous horticulture show that has showcased flora in unique ways once a decade for the past 60 years. Visit exhibitors from countries around the globe, meander through the colorful arboretum, and immerse yourself in Dutch culture while you see how beauty and innovation intertwine. Overnight ship.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Tour Conclusion

After exploring the Rhine from Strasbourg, Germany, to Amsterdam, your cruise on the majestic Rhine River concludes this morning. Enjoy a final breakfast amongst your fellow travelers on the ship, then disembark and make your way to Amsterdam's airport or railway station to begin your journey home.

Includes
  • Breakfast

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.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotel

Hotel Metropole, Interlaken

Hotel Metropole, Interlaken

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Trains

Drachenfels Railway
Jungfrau Railway
TGV

Ships

MS Amadeus Imperial
MS Amadeus Star

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Reviews

2.0 stars2.0 / 5 · 1 review

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RIESBERG, MICHAEL

2 stars

Submitted 01 Jul 2023

Amadeus Cruise was superb and the Great Rail Journeys part was superb. With the Vacations by Rail part…the guide was great but Vacations by Rail did not organize the rail trips well at all. We were floundering at train stations and many of the sections did not have reserved seating. We also had to lug bags up the stairs to second level of trains. Fortunately my wife and I are physically solid.

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