Flowers tumble from baskets lining streets of half-timbered houses, and lights glint off quiet canals. A mighty river carries ships and cargo through a landscape shaped by time and history. The spires of medieval churches and castles appear around each bend in the river, and vineyards climb the verdant hillsides.
Cruise along the Rhine—Germany on one side, France on the other. Discover Alsace, whose dual French and German heritage has given it fabulous food and a winemaking tradition that goes back to the Romans. Marvel at castles that were once mighty fortresses and get an insider’s look at one of the only castles on the Rhine that has never been destroyed, Marksburg Castle. Visit historic cities, including ancient Cologne and picturesque Strasbourg; stroll through the fairytale towns of Riquewihr, Kaysersberg and Rüdesheim; and taste delightful white wines in the villages where the grapes are grown. Beethoven and Byron loved the romantic landscapes of the Rhine River, and the beauty that inspired them is still yours to experience.
Note: Some departure dates will operate in the reverse itinerary. The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise.
DAY 1: Amsterdam (Embark)
Arrive at Amsterdam Schipol Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship. The ship will set sail in the afternoon for your first port of call, Cologne.
DAY 2: Cologne
You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. A local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and magical secrets with you. Cologne is the largest and oldest city of the Rhineland and a cultural mecca, with more than 30 museums and hundreds of art galleries. A congenial atmosphere and a mix of ancient, modern and reconstructed buildings characterize the heart of the city.
DAY 3: Koblenz, Cruising the Romantic Rhine River, Boppard
No other river valley on earth boasts more castles than the Rhine, and today you’ll have an opportunity to experience real-life “Game of Thrones” ambiance deep within the medieval walls of Marksburg Castle. Not into dungeons and dragons? Get to know Koblenz, a historic town with a colorful past and eclectic architecture, and enjoy a walking discovery tour. Today brings you a plethora of Rhine delights. You begin in Koblenz, a 2,000-year-old town at the northern end of the most scenic section of the Rhine, where you’ll decide between two very different experiences, a walking tour of medieval Koblenz or explore one of the most extraordinary castles on the banks of the river—followed by yet another choice: You see a close up view of the beautiful region via bicycle, or once you arrive in Boppard, you can opt to take a leisurely stroll through the fascinating village.
DAY 4: Boppard, cruising the Romantic Rhine River, Rüdesheim
Experience Germany’s fabled Rhine River in one of two ways—an exclusive tasting of estate-grown Rieslings at Castle Vollards or an invigorating vineyard hike. Your floating hotel arrives in Rüdesheim, one of the most charming ports of call in the Rhine Valley. This city has a long history going back to Roman times and is famous for the Drosselgasse, a narrow, bustling lane of shops and wine bars, as well as its impressive Niederwald Monument, built to celebrate the re-establishment of the German empire in the late 19th century. You may opt to visit a renowned vineyard or, for a more active jaunt, take the long way shoreward from Niederwald with a vineyard hike that includes a stop at a unique museum.
DAY 5: Germersheim (Speyer)
Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously co-exist with modern day innovation. For something really unexpected, venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from wine vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious, and something you’ll experience with no other river cruise line. The ship docks in Germersheim, where you’ll have to choose between boarding a motorcoach to the nearby town of Speyer for a guided walking tour or taking in an exclusive tasting at a local vinegar estate.
DAY 6: Kehl (Strasbourg)
Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it via a canal boat or on foot with an insightful local expert, this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. Kehl, directly across the river from Strasbourg, will be your ship’s base while you explore the Alsatian capital, which is known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. You may choose to see Strasbourg via its historic canals (the way Strasbourg has been seen by its visitors through the centuries), which would give you an enlightening and relaxing overview of this historically important city. Or you may experience the historic core as the locals do, with an exclusive walking tour. If you’re feeling adventurous, take advantage of Uniworld’s bicycles or Nordic walking sticks and explore the banks of the river.
DAY 7: Breisach (Kaysersberg and Riquewihr or Colmar)
Look up “charming and “picturesque” in the dictionary and it could very well show images of today’s choice of destinations—two of Alsace’s best-known wine villages or a town some have hailed as the prettiest in the world. Is it really? See for yourself from our uniquely Uniworld perspective. A charming town dominated by a 17th-century hilltop cathedral, Breisach is your gateway to the Alsatian wine road. This is your launching point for one of two excursions along the celebrated route des vins, which hugs the foothills of the Vosges mountain range. You can visit Kaysersberg and Riquewihr, two of the most picturesque villages in the region, or take a tour of the larger town of Colmar, considered one of the most beautiful destinations along the wine road and the capital of Alsatian wines. If you’re interested in doing something a bit more physically challenging, you could stay in Breisach and walk or bike through the surrounding vineyards.
DAY 8: Basel (Disembark)
Disembark the ship. (Consider booking a post-cruise extension to lovely Basel and Lake Lucerne.)
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