This extraordinary 11-day “Grand Tour” of Europe features an incredible combination of river, rail, lake and mountain travel including five nights aboard the deluxe Amadeus Silver III. Journey through the Western heart of the Continent through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, cruising the most scenic sections of the fabled Rhine River. Study Leader Barbara Horlbeck on the July 17 departure
- Pricing from
Early booking SAVINGS of up to $2,000
- Trip Type
- Group Travel Tour, International Land & Rail Voyages, International River Voyages
- Departure Dates
- Jul 17, 2020 - Jul 27, 2020
Jul 18, 2020 - Jul 28, 2020
Jun 30, 2021 - Jul 10, 2021
Barbara Horlbeck, M.A., is an arts and culture professional with extensive global experience. She is a lecturer, writer, independent researcher and adjunct instructor of art history, and has developed and teaches college and university-level art history courses, including “Arts of the Islamic World” and “Arts of the Ancient World.” As Founder of Arts and Influences, Barbara developed the successful Food for Thought Lecture and Lunch Series and created a series of in-depth seminars covering a broad range of topics from “Arts of the Medieval World,” and “Arts of China, India and Japan” to “Collectors, Collections, and the Modern Museum.” As a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for nearly 20 years, Barbara has led tours for educators, specialists and the general public. She has traveled in nearly 40 countries, including five continents and the North Pole, as well as Iran, India, Pakistan and China. Barbara loves helping travelers develop a deeper understanding of our rich artistic and cultural legacy while, at the same time, placing works of art and architecture in their rich historical context.
- days 1-2
U.S./Amsterdam, the Netherlands/ Embark Amadeus Silver III
Depart the U.S. for Amsterdam. On arrival, enjoy a private cruise along the city’s UNESCO World Heritage‑designated canals, lined with distinctly Dutch 16th- and 17th‑century canal houses. Then, embark the deluxe Amadeus Silver III. Join your travel companions for the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner on Day 2.
- day 3
Arrive in one of Germany’s most ancient cities, founded as a Roman military outpost in 38 B.C. Since Charlemagne, Cologne has flourished as the Rhineland’s foremost mercantile and religious center, and it is the birthplace of the world‑famous original Eau de Cologne perfume. Explore the Altstadt (Old Town) and visit the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral). The nation’s finest example of High Gothic architecture, the Kölner Dom took six centuries to complete. Admire the cathedral’s lauded treasures, including medieval stained-glass windows, the bejeweled sarcophagus of the Shrine of Three Kings, the monumental, 10th‑century Gero Crucifix and richly carved 14th‑century choir stalls.
- day 4
Dock in historic Koblenz, strategically positioned at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, for a walking tour. Here, Germany’s Roman past dates to 9 B.C., during Augustus Caesar’s reign. From the landmark Deutsches Eck (German Corner), view the 19th‑century fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, the former residence of the powerful Archbishop‑Electors of Trier, across the Rhine River, and see the twin‑towered Basilica of St. Castor, built between the ninth and 13th centuries, showcasing the Rhineland’s distinctive Romanesque architecture. Cruise through the dramatic World Heritage-designated Middle Rhine Valley, where with nearly each bend in the river, terraced vineyards rise on steep slopes, medieval castles crown remote crags, and tranquil villages emerge along peaceful banks. See the famous Lorelei Rock—legend holds that a beautiful siren once lured sailors here with her enchanting song. Stop in Rüdesheim, the medieval heart of Germany’s wine country. Enjoy a tour aboard the whimsical Winzerexpress mini‑train, while traveling through bucolic vineyards en route to a private wine tasting, which highlights local Rieslings, including the crisp Klosterberg. Reboard the ship and cruise through pastoral Rheingau, Germany’s most famous wine‑growing region.
- day 5
Mannheim for Heidelberg
This morning, transfer from Mannheim to Heidelberg, where luminaries such as Goethe and Schumann once came to experience the intellectual atmosphere of Heidelberg University,
the oldest in Germany, founded in 1386. To many on the historical “Grand Tours” of Europe, Heidelberg epitomized Germany, nestled in the densely wooded valley of the Neckar River and alive with the spirit of Romanticism. On the walking tour, see the preservation of Heidelberg’s authentic Renaissance‑Baroque character, manifested in sites such as the eight remaining arches of the famous Alte Brücke (Old Bridge). Visit the stately ruins of Heidelberg Castle, a 13th‑century embodiment of the city’s medieval past perched above the river.
- day 6
The lively Alsatian city of Strasbourg fuses Old and New Europe with French and German influence. In the World Heritage‑designated Old City, cobblestone lanes weave around medieval houses, and the 13th‑century Ponts Couverts, bridges flanked by watchtowers, span idyllic canals. In Strasbourg, John Calvin first established a reformed parish; view remnants of the Reformation in St‑Pierre‑le‑Vieux, a simultaneum used by Protestant and Catholic parishioners. See the Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, whose graceful sandstone exterior, according to the poet Goethe, rises “like a most sublime, wide‑arching tree of God.” The Petite‑France district evokes a fairy tale, with its historic miller, tanner and fishermen’s quarter of half-timbered houses along the Ill River. Nearby, member nations of the European Union engage in the daily discourse of the European Parliament. Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner this evening onboard the ship.
- day 7
Basel, Switzerland/Disembark ship/Berne/Zermatt
Disembark the ship in Basel. Transfer across the bucolic Swiss countryside to Switzerland’s capital, Bern. Tour its beautifully preserved Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site framed by its signature 15th‑century arcades and the Aare River. Enjoy lunch in an 18th‑century High Baroque‑style granary, today a traditional Bernese restaurant. Journey from the Bernese Oberland to admire the UNESCO World Heritage‑designated Jungfrau, an imposing summit known as the “Top of Europe.” En route to Zermatt, admire the soaring Alps, Switzerland’s stunning archetype of snowcapped peaks, crystal‑clear glacial lakes and densely wooded forests. Upon arrival in Zermatt check in to the deluxe Hotel Schweizerhof Zermatt, located beneath the dramatic pinnacle of the iconic Matterhorn.
- day 8
Zermatt for Matterhorn
Ascend through pine and larch forests, crossing meadows ablaze with wildflowers and past distant peaks blanketed by snow, aboard the highest cog railway in Europe, the Gornergrat Bahn. Sweeping vistas of breathtaking Alpine scenery unfold from atop the 10,100‑foot summit, where the serrated profiles of the Matterhorn, the Liskamm and the Dufourspitze mountains and the vast Gorner Glacier extend beyond your periphery. Return to Zermatt at your leisure; enjoy stops including Riffelberg featuring a panoramic view of the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.
- day 9
Zermatt/Glacier Express to Andermatt/Lucerne
Wind through the heart of the Alps to Andermatt aboard the fabled Glacier Express, “the world’s slowest express train,” and delight in the surrounding natural beauty through panoramic windows along this ingenious rail route. Enjoy lunch in Andermatt before continuing to the Five-Star Bürgenstock Resort’s Waldhotel.
- day 10
Lucerne for Mt. Pilatus
The rugged grandeur of Mounts Pilatus and Rigi reflected in a deep blue lake make Lucerne a long-favored travel destination. Begin your walking tour surrounded by historic burghers’ houses in the Weinmarkt (wine market); then, see the Hofkirche (Court Church), an exceptional example of German Renaissance architecture, and the Lion Monument, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who gave their lives defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Walk underneath tableaus of Swiss history and mythology painted on the arched roof of the 14th‑century wooden Chapel Bridge, Lucerne’s most famous landmark, spanning the Reuss River. Reach Mount Pilatus’s 7000-foot summit by panoramic gondola for a 360-degree vista of central Switzerland’s unforgettable topography and lunch in a summit restaurant. Board the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, and descend nearly 5400 feet in less than three miles to Lake Lucerne. Cruise along its placid waters—the glistening namesake of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata,” surrounded by the magnificent Swiss Alps. Enjoy the Farewell Reception this evening in the hotel.
- day 11
Lucerne/Zurich/Return to the U.S.
Following breakfast, transfer to Zurich for your return flight to the U.S.
Please note: The July 18, 2020, departure will operate in the reverse direction.
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