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The Best of Austria & Switzerland with Romantic Rhine

18 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Vienna, Austria. 
Welcome to Vienna! At 6 pm, meet your Tour Director and traveling companions for a special welcome dinner with wine at your hotel. (D)

Day 2 Vienna. 
Start your guided sightseeing with a visit to magnificent SCHÖNBRUNN PALACE. Then, drive along the Ringstrasse, pass the State Opera House, the Jewish quarter, and stop at the Hofburg Palace, winter residence of the Austrian imperial family. Marvel at the impressive courtyards, famous HELDENPLATZ, and awesome St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Balance of the day is at leisure and you can choose from our exciting optional excursions to enhance your stay. (B)

Day 3 Vienna–Melk–Mondsee, Salzburg.
Enjoy a leisurely DANUBE CRUISE along the prettiest part of the river. Afterwards, catch glimpses of historic Melk Abbey, and continue through the romantic Salzkammergut lakeland, made famous in The Sound of Music movie. Stop in Mondsee to visit the PARISH CHURCH, which was used for the wedding scenes, and continue to Salzburg. During your guided walking tour admire exquisite MIRABELL GARDENS, the Great Festival Hall, St. Peter’s Monastery, and magnificent RESIDENZ SQUARE, where some scenes of The Sound of Music movie were filmed. Also take pictures of Mozart’s birthplace in the charming Getreidegasse. [LF] A special dinner and Salzburger Nockerl (sweet dessert soufflé) has been prepared for you at the famous St. Peter Stiftskeller restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 At Leisure in Salzburg. 
Today is your chance to join an optional excursion to spectacular Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s Eagles Nest. (B)

Day 5 Salzburg–Innsbruck–St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Enter the Tyrolean Alps and stop in the capital of crystal, Innsbruck. Enjoy a pleasant walk through its quaint medieval lanes to Emperor Maximilian’s GOLDEN ROOF. Next, a scenic drive into the Swiss Engadine, considered by many as the most beautiful mountain area in the world with its deep-blue lakes, airy larch forests that turn golden in the fall, mountain peaks exceeding 12,000 feet, and quaint villages with massive white stone houses in the characteristic Grisons style. The rest of the day is at leisure in ritzy St. Moritz. (B,D)

Day 6 St. Moritz–Chur–Zermatt.
Drive through exhilarating Alpine scenery. At Chur, [LF] board the first-class panoramic coach of the world-famous GLACIER EXPRESS TRAIN, which connects two of Switzerland’s most famous skiing areas: St. Moritz and Zermatt. Enjoy your first-class ride with panorama windows and admire thundering waterfalls, impressive peaks, glacial ice fields, and tiny villages as you pass through the Valais, a region known for its great mountain resorts and excellent wines. Lunch will be served on the train. This afternoon you are in Zermatt, a picturesque cluster of rustic chalets beneath the majestic Matterhorn. (B,L)

Day 7 At Leisure in Zermatt.
An entire day at leisure gives you the possibility to join a spectacular optional excursion to the Klein Matterhorn for breathtaking panoramic views of the Matterhorn and the Alps. (B,D)

Day 8 Zermatt–Berne. 
Board the MOUNTAIN TRAIN to Täsch and motor through the lower Rhône Valley to the shores of Lake Geneva. Here, enjoy a highlight visit to CHILLON CASTLE, the 12th-century water fortress immortalized by poet Lord Byron. Arrive in Berne for your overnight stay. (B)

Day 9 Berne–Interlaken–Lucerne. 
Your guided tour starts with a stop at the Rose Garden for a panoramic view of the city. Walk through the beautifully preserved medieval Old Town, witness the hourly parade of painted figures at the Clock Tower and marvel at the ornate, flower-adorned fountains. Stop at the BEAR PARK, symbol for the name of the town. Next is Interlaken, where you can take pictures of the towering Jungfrau, then continue across Brünig Pass to picturesque Lucerne. An optional evening is available to a folklore party with yodeling and alphorn blowing for a first-hand impression of Alpine merrymaking. (B)

Day 10 Lucerne. 
On your walking tour this morning, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the fallen Swiss Guards who protected the Royal House of France during the French Revolution, and ornate patrician houses of the walled Old Town. Then, cross the famous covered CHAPEL BRIDGE to the Jesuit church. Afterwards, shop for watches, and you may wish to join an optional excursion to Mount Pilatus. This evening, [LF] enjoy a PRIVATE BOAT CRUISE on the fjord-like lake, followed by a farewell dinner at a local restaurant to celebrate the success of your Swiss vacation. (B,D)

Day 11 Lucerne–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation).
Your Globus tour ends today with a late-morning transfer by coach to Basel, where your Avalon ship is docked for embarkation. Please reconfirm all transfer details directly with your Globus Tour Director while on tour. (B,D)

Day 12 Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest.
Excursion to the Black Forest. Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST region, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. The area got its name because the pine forests are so dense, local residents described them as black. The most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks! You may opt to visit the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the open-air Vogtsbauernhof Museum to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago. (B,L,D)

Day 13 Strasbourg, France. 
Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. On your walking 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. Explore Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. This afternoon, an optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available. (B,L,D)

Day 14 Excursion to Heidelberg, Germany–Mainz. 
This morning, an excursion takes you to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university, which was founded in 1386. Visit the ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, it holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor on top of it! In the afternoon, arrive in Mainz, which today is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. The Altstadt (Old Town) has many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz is a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here. During a GUIDED WALK, you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. (B,L,D)

Day 15 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz. 
This morning, dock in pretty Rüdesheim, a typical Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries, and enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT. Downstream from Rüdesheim is the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured sailors to their doom. Then, arrive at the place where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet—the Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with its impressive statue of German Emperor William I. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of 2,000-year-old Koblenz, which reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. (B,L,D)

Day 16 Cologne.
One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine, and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (B,L,D)

Day 17 Amsterdam, Holland.
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion. (B,L,D)

Day 18 Amsterdam (Disembarkation).
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Vienna: arrive in Vienna, welcome dinner
  • Vienna: guided sightseeing, visit Schönbrunn Palace and Heldenplatz
  • Vienna–Melk–Mondsee–Salzburg: visit the church from The Sound of Music in Mondsee; in Salzburg guided walking tour, visit Mirabell Gardens and the Residenz Square; dinner with the wine at the St. Peter Stiftskeller
  • Salzburg: day at leisure
  • Salzburg–Innsbruck–St. Moritz, Switzerland: walk through the Old Town to the Golden Roof
  • St. Moritz–Chur–Täsch–Zermatt: Glacier Express train to Zermatt
  • Zermatt: day at leisure
  • Zermatt–Berne: guided visit of Chillon castle
  • Berne–Interlaken–Lucerne: guided walking tour in Berne, stop at the Rose Garden and the Bear Park, take pictures of the Jungfrau massif
  • Lucerne: walking tour, private cruise with a drink and farewell dinner at a local restaurant
  • Zürich–Transfer to Basel (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
  • Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a woodcarver’s workshop or visit a Black Forest open-air museum
  • Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
  • Excursion to Heidelberg–Mainz: guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat in Heidelberg; visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz
  • Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Koblenz: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim and enjoy a special treat; cruise through the Rhine Gorge; guided walk in Koblenz
  • Cologne: choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk
  • Amsterdam: canal cruise
  • Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning
All This Included
This amazing vacation offers the best of both worlds: a land tour of Austria and Switzerland—two of Europe's most scenic countries—and a river cruise on the legendary Rhine River with stops in France, Germany, and Holland!

If you're a fan of palaces and castles, you'll enjoy a visit to Vienna, Austria’s Schönbrunn Palace, once the home of the Habsburg family. Stand in awe as you hear the stories of this royal family's home. And in Switzerland, you'll enjoy a visit to romantic Chillon Castle, a well-preserved, medieval castle on the shores of Lake Geneva. If spectacular scenery is your interest, you'll be thrilled with a ride on the world-famous Glacier Express train, where you'll travel first-class with panoramic windows to admire the thundering waterfalls, impressive peaks, glacial ice fields, and tiny villages on your way to Zermatt, Switzerland. Other scenic highlights include a Danube cruise along the prettiest part of the river on your way to Salzburg; a private boat cruise on the fjord-lake in Lucerne; a scenic drive into the Swiss Engadine, considered the most beautiful mountain area in the world; and more. Some sightseeing highlights include The Sound of Music Parish Church in Mondsee, a walk through the Old Town in Innsbruck, and the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge in Lucerne.

After this land tour of the historical sights, castles, palaces and spectacular scenery, you’ll embark your cruise ship in Basel, Switzerland, for an exciting river cruise along the Rhine River! In Breisach, Germany, find the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. In Strasbourg, France, be amazed by the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and the fascinating astronomical clock. Stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and stop in Mainz for a guided walk and a visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. In the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum. Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam, offers world-famous museums and an abundance of restaurants amongst the classic architecture and charming canals. See the treasures of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” A perfect ending to this fabulous land and river cruise adventure!
  • 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 hotel-style beds
  • Headsets for shore excursions
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Personalized room options & excursions
Accommodations on this Tour
Vienna: Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen
Salzburg: Crowne Plaza Salzburg The Pitter
St. Moritz: Laudinella
Zermatt: Pollux
Berne: Holiday Inn Bern Westside
Lucerne: Grand Hotel Europe
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Imagery II
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Vienna:
in single room $135-$163, in twin $75-$103

Extra nights per person in Amsterdam:
in single room $235-$305, in twin room $135-$170
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades available.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • Port charges of $168 are not included.
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included on Avalon portion only. 
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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