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Spectacular Switzerland with Romantic Rhine

16 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

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

Day 2 Zürich–Biel/Bienne–Neuchâtel–Geneva. 
Enjoy an orientation walk of Zurich’s OLD TOWN, Switzerland’s center of banking and commerce. Then, leave Zurich and start your Swiss adventure. You’ll quickly discover that Switzerland isn’t just home to the Alps, but also to some of the most beautiful lakes. First, stop at the foot of the Jura Mountains in the picturesque town of Biel, known as Bienne by French-speaking Swiss, famous for watch-making, and explore the HISTORICAL CENTER. Next, enjoy a scenic drive to lakeside Neuchâtel, dominated by the medieval cathedral and castle. Time to stroll along the lake promenade before continuing to stunning Geneva, the second-largest city in Switzerland, with its fantastic lakeside location and breathtaking panoramas of the Alps. (B)

Day 3 Geneva. 
During your guided sightseeing see the elegant buildings that house many international organizations, including headquarters of the International Red Cross and many United Nations agencies. You will also hear about John Calvin, the French theologian who helped reform the church in Geneva in the mid-16th century, visit the REFORMATION PARK with its International Monument to the Reformation and walk through the OLD TOWN to see St. Pierre Cathedral. Balance of the day is at leisure to further explore this fascinating city. An exciting optional lake cruise is available to make the most of your stay. (B)

Day 4 Geneva–Évian-les-Bains, France–Broc–Gruyère Area, Switzerland.
Enter France and follow Lake Geneva along the southern shore, stopping in the famous spa town of Évian-les-Bains, renowned for its mineral water and a popular holiday resort. A scenic drive returns you to Switzerland. Cross the Rhône, France’s largest river, which flows into Lake Geneva. See the vineyards, where some of the best Swiss wines are produced, then leave this “Swiss Riviera” and continue to Gruyère. Visit [LF] the magnificent CASTLE. Walk through eight centuries of architecture, history, and culture, and enjoy lunch with local specialties and a traditional dessert with meringue and double crème. Then, [LF] stop in Broc for a visit to MAISON CAILLER chocolate factory to taste this delicious Swiss specialty. Continue to your comfortable hotel in nearby Charmey. (B,L,D)

Day 5 Gruyère Area–Gstaad–Interlaken Area.
Leave the Gruyère area and enjoy a scenic drive to Gstaad, one of Switzerland’s most popular ski resorts, for an orientation of this pretty place. Then, continue to Interlaken. The town’s unique location, nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and surrounded by the world-famous Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains, guarantees spectacular views. Later, arrive at your charming hotel in Grindelwald and look forward to tomorrow’s included highlight: the Jungfrau excursion! (B)

Day 6 Interlaken Area. Excursion to the Jungfrau Massif.
[LF] An unforgettable trip to the high Alpine wonderland of ice and snow is the true highlight of a visit to Switzerland. At an amazing 11,332 feet, the JUNGFRAUJOCH is Europe’s highest railway station. Jungfrau’s 13,642-foot summit was first ascended in 1811 and in 1912 the rack railway was opened. There are lots of things to do here: enjoy the Alpine Sensation, the Panorama 360° Experience, the ICE PALACE, and take the elevator to the Sphinx Observatory. Also receive your JUNGFRAU PASSPORT as a souvenir to take home with you. The round trip to the “Top of Europe” by MOUNTAIN TRAIN will take most of the day. (B,D)

Day 7 Interlaken Area–Berne–Lucerne.
Arrive in the stately capital of Berne. See the BEAR PARK, enjoy the panoramic view of the city from the Rose Garden, and the OLD TOWN with the Clock Tower and the ornate, flower-adorned fountains. Leave the Berner Oberland and drive via Langnau in the Emmental Valley to picturesque Lucerne. Tonight is your chance to join an optional dinner excursion to a folklore party with yodeling and alphorn blowing. (B)

Day 8 Lucerne.
During your walking tour, admire Thorwaldsen’s impressive LION MONUMENT, dedicated to the 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. An exciting optional excursion is available to Mount Pilatus, and tonight, a farewell dinner awaits at a local restaurant for a proper auf Wiedersehen. (B,D)

Day 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 Amsterdam (Disembarkation).
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Zürich: arrive in Zürich, Switzerland; welcome dinner
  • Zürich–Biel/Bienne–Neuchâtel–Geneva: orientation walk of the Old Town; stop in Biel/Bienne to visit the historical center; arrive in Geneva
  • Geneva: guided sightseeing
  • Geneva–Évian–Les-Baines, France–Broc–Gruyère Area: stop on the French side of Lake Geneva; visit the castlein Gruyères town, followed by a special lunch with local specialties and double crème; chocolate tasting at Maison Cailler in Broc
  • Gruyère Area–Gstaad–Interlaken Area: orientation in Gstaad
  • Interlaken Area: excursion to the Junggrau massif
  • Interlaken Area–Berne–Lucerne: see the Bear Park in Berne, enjoy a panoramic view from the Rose Garden of Old Town
  • Lucerne: walking tour including the Lion Monument and Capel Bridge; farewell dinner at a local restaurant
  • Lucerne–Zürich–Basel (Embarkation): transfer to Zürich and Basel; 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 unique vacation gives you a chance to tour stunning Switzerland and enjoy a river cruise on the legendary Rhine River through France, Germany, and Holland.

Begin in spectacular Switzerland, where you'll enjoy the country’s beautiful mountains and lakes—with overnights in Zürich, Geneva, the Gruyère area, the Interlaken area, and Lucerne. The highlight of this tour is the time spent in the Interlaken area. The town is nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and surrounded by three mighty mountains: Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. From Interlaken, Globus has arranged an unforgettable rack railway trip to the "Top of Europe," a high alpine wonderland of ice and snow. Here, at the amazing Jungfraujoch, Europe's highest railway station at 11,332 feet, you can experience an audiovisual journey through the alpine world; stand on the observation platform to view the glaciers; and witness a panoramic view overlooking France, Germany, and Italy. A truly unforgettable experience! Also, visit the magnificent castle in Gruyères and walk through eight centuries of architecture, history, and culture. Geneva, Switzerland's most international and second-largest city, offers a fantastic lakeside setting and breathtaking panoramas of the Alps. Here, you'll have guided sightseeing of the city and a visit to the Reformation Park. Enjoy a chocolate tasting at the famous Maison Cailler in Broc; and stop in Gstaad, one of Switzerland's most famous skiing resorts and a popular destination for international celebrities. In Lucerne, enjoy a guided walking tour of the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge.

Embark on your river cruise in Basel, Switzerland, and head for Breisach, Germany. Here, you’ll find the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty, and home to 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. 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 once-in-a-lifetime vacation!
  • 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
Zurich: Sheraton Zurich
Geneva: Royal Manotel
Gruyere: Cailler
Interlaken: Sunstar Hotel
Lucerne: Grand Hotel Europe
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Imagery II or Avalon Tranquility II
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Zurich:
in single room $171-$308, in twin $91-$194

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 becomes 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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