Start by exploring the canal-laden city of Amsterdam, with its neat rows of buildings and rich history. Then it’s off to Germany, where you’ll discover not only the grand city of Cologne but charming villages like the winemaking hamlet of Rüdesheim and the university town of Heidelberg. Enjoy cruising through the UNESCO-designated Rhine Gorge, where 40 castles are strung like pearls along the river banks. Cross the border into France’s Alsace region in enchanting Strasbourg and take in spectacular panoramas of the Swiss Alps before spending time in Italy’s haven for the rich and famous, Lake Como. Encompassing the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Italy, as well as iconic landmarks and majestic mountain landscapes, this distinctive itinerary is truly a dream come true.
Wander through the charming capital of the Netherlands
Visit Cologne's Cathedral, one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces
Cruise through the captivating UNESCOdesignated Rhine Gorge
Check out of your hotel and, before transferring to your ship, visit Zaanse Schans, observing life as it used to be lived in the Netherlands. Authentic windmills, houses, and shops were relocated to this picturesque area, creating a typical 17th to 18thcentury village.
Enjoy cruising to Cologne. Join a guided tour through the Old Town and explore the UNESCOdesignated Cologne Cathedral, one of Germany’s most revered Gothic masterpieces. Continue to the Cologne Rathaus, Germany’s oldest town hall, the Overstolzenhaus, and the Festival Hall. For a different view, visit a local tavern to taste its famous Kölsch beer, only made in Cologne, and reibekuchen mit apfelmus, potato pancakes typically served with applesauce. Active adventurists will want to join a guided bike ride along the Rhine and through the historic Stadtgarten.
Cruise through the captivating UNESCOdesignated Rhine Gorge, the most stunningly beautiful stretch of the river before reaching the winemaking town of Rüdesheim. Join a wine tasting to discover the flavors of the town’s iconic vineyards. Or drink up the stunning views by soaring high above the vineyards with a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal. For a more active adventure, hike through the town’s beautiful vineyards or join a guided bike tour along the scenic Rhine River. Later in the day, let Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum charm you with its remarkable collection of selfplaying musical instruments; or taste one of the town’s special delights, Rüdesheimer coffee, ceremoniously made with brandy, coffee and whipped cream.
Ludwigshafen is your gateway to a choice of four excursions. Visit Heidelberg, the perfectly preserved medieval city nestled in the Neckar River Valley along Germany’s Castle Road. Discover the iconic red sandstone Heidelberg Castle and Great Vat, an 18thcentury, 49,000gallon wine cask. For a more active adventure while in Heidelberg, join a guided hike up the Philosopher’s Path, aptly named during the Romantic Period, and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Alternatively, you can visit one of Germany’s oldest cities, Speyer, known for the largest Romanesque cathedral in Europe—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—and the medieval Old Gate, Altpörtel. Or pedal along the river Neckar to the picturesque medieval city center of Ladenburg and enjoy some free time to explore the shops.
Strasbourg offers flavors of both France and Germany because of its borderline location. Enjoy a panoramic tour past the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie, the European Parliament and the Place de la République before walking through its iconic “La Petite France” district, lifted straight from the pages of a fairytale. Wander through charming streets past the Cathédrale de Nôtre Dame with its famous astronomical clock. Alternatively, take a guided bike ride through the city and Parc de l’Orangerie.
Enjoy getting to know Basel, Switzerland’s third-largest city. Long an important university, banking and trade center, Basel’s glorious past is still evident in its medieval town hall, richly decorated market square and exquisite 18thcentury patrician homes. Tour the city by foot or on a guided bike tour that takes you through three countries: Switzerland, France and Germany. Later in the day, visit Lucerne, known for its Lion Monument – the figure of a dying lion carved into a hillside in memory of the Swiss Guards massacred during the French Revolution in 1792 – which Mark Twain described as “the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world.” You’ll also see Lucerne’s spectacular medieval walls and towers, dating back to the 13th century.
Day 10: Basel | Lake Como | Disembark
Disembark the ship and transfer to Lake Como, Italy, stopping in Lucerne, Switzerland along the way where you will enjoy a brief tour and free time for lunch. Once in breathtaking Lake Como, nestled at the foot of the Alps, check into your hotel for the evening.
Day 11: Lake Como
Be treated to a walking tour of Lake Como, a former glacial lake and popular resort area for the rich and famous since Roman times. Gaze at the azure waters and impressive villas that line the lakeside from the hills above and perhaps recognize the scenery from such Hollywood blockbusters as Ocean’s Twelve and Casino Royale.
Day 12: Lake Como
Let the wind tousle your hair as you board your boat for a scenic ride along Lake Como to its stunning pearl, Bellagio. This intimate village offers postcardperfect views whether you choose to stroll along the lakeside or venture up the hill to its cobbled streets. Browse the shops or sample the local fare at Bellagio’s restaurants before returning to the boat.
Day 13: Lake Como
Bid farewell to Lake Como and prepare for your flight home.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!