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Prague to the Swiss Alps Aboard Royal Crown

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Departure Dates

  • Oct 12, 2017 - Oct 26, 2017


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Prague to the Swiss Alps Aboard Royal Crown

This unique itinerary is book– ended by two of Europe’s most memorable destinations—Prague and the Swiss Alps—connected by a scenic river journey from Regensburg to Basel, cruising the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers as well as the Main–Danube Canal. Romantic old–world villages set among winding rivers, vineyards and rolling hills are juxtaposed with cities emblematic of a rapidly transforming new Europe: the rebirth of Prague since the fall of the Iron Curtain; Nuremberg’s courthouse, the site of historic trials following WWII; and Strasbourg, where the European Parliament makes important decisions about the future.

Tour Map

Study Leader
Educated at Yale (BA 1958) and Harvard (MA 1959; PhD 1963), Thomas W. Simons, Jr., is currently a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. During a 35-year U.S. Foreign Service career, he specialized in East-West relations, serving in Poland, the USSR, Romania, and Washington, D.C. During the 1990s Simons was U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, and U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. He is the author of dozens of articles on Central and East European history and politics, and four books, including his most recent, Eurasia’s New Frontiers: Young States, Old Societies, Open Futures.

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Thursday, October 12 & Friday, October 13

Depart home on an overnight flight to Prague. Upon arrival, check in to the hotel. This evening gather for a festive welcome reception and dinner at Lobkowicz Palace, an impressive Renaissance chateau perched high above the river. InterContinenta l Hotel Prague (R,D)

Saturday, October 14

Discover the fairy tale–like setting of Prague’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, during a guided walking tour that showcases six centuries of architectural styles lining cobbled streets, an intricately decorated astronomical clock, and the iconic pointed spires of Tyn Cathedral. Also visit the haunting Old Jewish Cemetery and the 13th-century Old-New Synagogue within Prague’s Jewish Quarter, part of Old Town. InterContinental Hotel Prague (B)

Sunday, October 15

Visit the magnificent Strahov Library for a private tour of the collection of original prints and manuscripts. Continue to Prague Castle, a royal residence as far back as the 10th century and still the seat of the Czech government. Its walls encompass Renaissance-era St. Vitus Cathedral, an imposing structure that incorporates a unique mix of Gothic and Baroque elements, and the Old Royal Palace, one of the oldest parts of the castle, with its elongated throne room and soaring Vladislav Hall, once the site of coronation banquets and indoor jousting tournaments. Still within the walls, stroll along Golden Lane a charmingly quaint street that dates back to the 15th century. Inside the 11 historic houses that line the lane are period scenes depicting the life of the goldsmiths and other artisans who once lived and worked here; the upper levels contain a medieval armory and textile displays. InterContinental Hotel Prague (B,L)

Monday, October 16

Regensburg, Germany Originally a Celtic colony, Regensburg later became a fortress guarding the northern frontier of the Danube. The city is home to Dom St. Peter, one of the most impressive cathedrals in Bavaria and a fine example of Gothic style, with medieval stained-glass windows. Enjoy a tour through the old medieval quarter with its narrow streets and intimate squares lined with medieval buildings, followed by a performance by the Domspatzen Quartet. Embark the Royal Crown and begin your river cruise by transiting the Main-Danube Canal. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Tuesday, October 17

The second-largest city in Bavaria, Nuremberg is a treasure of medieval culture, as evidenced in its historic monuments, Gothic churches, and elegant patrician houses. A city tour includes the courthouse where the Nazi war crimes trials were held, and the parade grounds where many of the Nazi Party rallies took place during World War II. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Wednesday, October 18

Enjoy a morning tour of Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage site and perhaps the most perfect of all ancient German cities, with hills, canals, and splendid examples of Baroque and Gothic architecture. Visit the Altes Rathaus (old town hall), a picturesque mixture of rustic half-timbering and rococo elegance perched on a tiny island in the Pegnitz River; and the city’s great cathedral, featuring some of the most remarkable sculptures in Germany. Enjoy a private concert before rejoining the ship and cruising to Würzburg. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Thursday, October 19

Rising high above the Main River, the Würzburg Residenz Palace is one of the most stunning baroque buildings in southern Germany. In the 16th century, this medieval castle was converted into a magnificent palace with five grand halls, 300 bedrooms, a mirrored gallery, and a glorious, recently restored ceiling fresco by Giovanni Tiepolo. Enjoy a guided tour of the palace, followed by a private tasting of Franconian wines in the atmospheric, candlelit wine cellar. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Friday, October 20

Miltenberg’s strategic location on the Main River allowed it to develop into an important trading center in medieval times. This morning enjoy a walking tour of Miltenberg’s picturesque half-timbered houses, followed by an organ concert in nearby Amorbach’s Benedictine Abbey church. Return to the Royal Crown for an afternoon of cruising. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Saturday, October 21

After a morning of scenic cruising, arrive in Rüdesheim on the Rhine, a winemaking town in the Rhine Gorge (Upper Middle Rhine Valley) UNESCO World Heritage site. Enjoy a visit to Schloss Vollrads, a castle and wine estate that has been making wine for more than 800 years. Ten to 15 different wines are made from the single grape variety, Reisling, grown in this unique Rheingau terroir, a blend of climate, soil type, geomorphology, and other plants in the area. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Sunday, October 22
Heidelberg & Speyer

This morning take a guided walking tour along the winding baroque-style lanes of Heidelberg’s Old Town, home to a number of great poets and academics, world-famous castle ruins, and Germany’s oldest university, which dates back to 1386. Continue to Speyer to visit its acclaimed  Romanesque cathedral, whose monumental crypt was the chosen burial place for German emperors and kings for more than 300 years. Enjoy a piano concert while cruising to Strasbourg. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Monday, October 23
Strasbourg, France

Like many of the Alsace region’s border cities, Strasbourg has changed hands several times between France and Germany. Today, the city, which is the capital of Alsace and seat of the European Parliament, reflects both cultures linguistically, architecturally, and gastronomically. Strasbourg features a historic, UNESCO World Heritage–designated city center with 16th-century halftimbered houses and a Gothic cathedral built of red sandstone. Visit the European Parliament for a specially arranged tour and a guest lecture on European affairs. Then board small boats and meander along the canals of Strasbourg’s “Petite France,” as the former tanners’ and fishmongers’ districts are known. Royal Crown (B,L,D)

Tuesday, October 24
Basel, Switzerland

Disembark in Basel for a walking tour of its medieval Old Town. Steeped in Celtic-Roman history and situated at the crossroads of France, Germany, and Switzerland, much of the ancient city of Basel still stands well preserved. An important cultural center, Basel is home to Switzerland’s oldest university, where the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche taught. After lunch, transfer by motor coach to Interlaken, the main gateway to the mountains and lakes of the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa (B,L)

Wednesday, October 25

Board a cog railway for the spectacular ascent to the Kleine Scheidegg Station with views of the famous Eiger North Wall, as well as the Mönch and Jungfrau peaks. This evening enjoy a special farewell dinner. Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa (B,D)

Thursday, October 26
Interlaken  Zurich

After breakfast, transfer to the Zurich airport for flights home. (B)