Day 1 Arrive in Zürich, Switzerland. Transfer to Basel (Embarkation)
Welcome to Switzerland! Your river cruise vessel is docked on the Rhine River in Basel, where France, Switzerland, and Germany meet. Meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)
NOTE: Flights into Zürich must arrive before 3 pm. Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
Day 2 Strasbourg, France
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. In fact, on your included SIGHTSEEING TOUR you will discover Europe at its most quintessential. Visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the middle of medieval Strasbourg, featuring a statue of the inventor of the printing press. An optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany, founded in 1386. With a Local Guide, visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. See the GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it! Enjoy the afternoon relaxing on board as you head for the Main River. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 Frankfurt
This morning, you have the choice between GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Frankfurt or joining an excursion to SELIGENSTADT. Frankfurt on the Main is a city of superlatives: it is the largest financial center in continental Europe, home to the European Central Bank and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, one of the world’s largest. The city is a center for culture, commerce, and education, and hosts the world’s largest motor show as well as the world’s largest book fair. It has two major botanical gardens, one of which is Germany’s largest. Seligenstadt is one of the oldest towns in Germany. The city’s most important building is the Einhard Basilika, on which Pope Pius XI bestowed the honorary title of “minor basilica” in 1925. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Karlstadt
Enjoy a leisurely morning of cruising on the gentle Main River and reach historic Karlstadt after lunch. Enjoy GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of this interesting town, which was once an important player in the wine-growing industry. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Würzburg
Arrive in Würzburg during breakfast. Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, also known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own, or maybe join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 Kitzingen
Situated on the Main River east of Würzburg, Kitzingen is Bavaria’s biggest wine producer. GUIDED SIGHTSEEING shows you the city’s best-known sights such as the Fallerturm (Crooked Tower). Your Local Guide will recount some of the more delightful myths surrounding the founding of the city. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 Nuremberg–Roth
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose either a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. During free time, be sure to make a wish at the beautiful fountain on the Hauptmarkt (main square). Legend says your wish will come true if you turn its gold ring three times. Alternatively, join a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of nearby Roth. This delightful Bavarian town, with its half-timbered houses and market square, is also an industrial center for textile manufacturing. Take pictures of Schloss Ratibor, an ancient hunting lodge built in 1535, with a most picturesque inner courtyard. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 9 Regensburg
Enjoy another pleasant morning of sailing before arriving in Regensburg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Tonight, enjoy a tasting of some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 10 Passau
Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK, or maybe join the full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or to Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 11 Dürnstein, Austria–Vienna
This morning is dedicated to the beautiful and romantic Wachau Valley, where so much of the excellent Austrian wine is grown and produced. Stop in Dürnstein, whose baroque blue and white Stiftskirche stands right on the river bank. Join a local expert for a GUIDED WALK. Rejoin your ship for lunch and enjoy a leisurely cruising afternoon. This evening, arrive in Vienna, Austria’s capital. Known as the “City of Music,” it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss, An optional concert is available during your stay. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 12 Vienna
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Vienna, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—to name just a few of the sights your Local Guide will show you during your INCLUDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a classic Viennese café. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 13 Vienna (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
This river cruise vacation touches four countries, from Zürich, Switzerland, to Vienna, Austria, on three rivers, and the impressive Main Danube Canal—truly an adventure!
Strasbourg, France, sits on the border of France and Germany and perfectly blends the cultures of both countries. See the city’s historical charm with visits to the red-sandstone cathedral, with its ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock, and the charming La Petite France District. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, then head for Frankfurt on the Main River for guided sightseeing which shows you the best this center of culture, commerce, and education has to offer. Würzburg, Germany, known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” is surrounded by sloping hills covered with vineyards. In addition to the beautiful scenery, this city offers historical treasures like the baroque Bishop’s Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. In historical Nuremberg, marvel at the thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications. Regensburg, Germany, is a fascinating medieval city that history buffs will love with its 1,300 listed buildings of “historical interest” and architectural wonders, such as the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall) and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley where many of Austria’s famous wines are produced and stop in the charming town of Dürnstein, where you’ll take a guided walk and see the wonderful baroque Stiftskirche.
This fabulous European river cruise vacation ends in Vienna, Austria—the “City of Music.” There is plenty of sightseeing in Austria’s magical capital and your local expert will show you the must-see sights. In your free time, stroll along the pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse with its many shops and stop by a classic Viennese café for a piece of decadent Sachertorte (chocolate torte).
Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés; Welcome dinner; Daily Afternoon Tea; Daily Night Fare; Farewell dinner; Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel
Included excursions with Certified Local Guide.
Sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection Beds
Headsets for shore excursions
Professional Cruise Director