From the tree-lined canals of Amsterdam to the city of Basel, situated at the corner of three countries, the scenery changes before your eyes as this delightful cruise transports you along the beautiful Rhine. Vineyard-clad contours lead to mountains that raise their picturesque outlines against the sky, and the historic towns and villages along its embankments offer days full of history, art and local delicacies.
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home, for your journey to London Heathrow Airport and a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to Amsterdam. Upon arrival we transfer to MS Bellejour (4T), where you will be welcomed on board. This evening you may choose to take an evening cruise of Amsterdam’s famous canals, highlighting the different characteristics of the 17th and 18th century houses which line the banks - an ideal introduction to your holiday.
Day 2 - Amsterdam - Cruising the Rhine
This morning you have the opportunity to visit Zaanse Schans, a village created from some of the 600 traditional wooden windmills which filled the area in the 17th century. Have a glimpse into old village life and discover how these windmills helped to produce linseed oil, paint, snuff and mustard. Spend the rest of day settling into the gentle lifestyle of river cruising as we navigate the Rhine to Cologne. Tonight we enjoy a welcome reception followed by dinner.
Day 3 - Cologne
Enjoy a leisurely start to the day as we sail into Cologne. After lunch, we disembark in this city that proudly shows its history through its array of architecture, from nondescript post-war buildings to medieval churches and Roman walls. An optional excursion will show many of the cultural and historical sites including Great St Martin Church and the magnificent, Gothic cathedral. The largest of its kind in Europe, it is also the Shrine of the Magi, the fabled Three Kings. You have time to explore independently or take in one of the many museums, including House of Fragrances and the Chocolate Museum, before an optional evening excursion to experience German pubs and breweries, tasting the beer and traditional German food such as bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Day 4 - Cochem
We arrive in Cochem as we enjoy lunch on board. An optional walking tour then begins at the breathtaking turret-topped Reichsburg Castle which stands over the Mosel River. Take a coach up to this beautifully renovated hilltop castle for magnificent views and a tour through the different castle chambers, full of quirks and tales. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore Cochem at leisure. Maybe visit the remains of the old town wall and fortified towers or discover the lovingly kept gabled houses along the steep, twisting alleys.
Day 5 - Lorelei Rock - Rüdesheim
This morning we sail the beautiful, winding Lorelei Passage and pass the legendary Lorelei Rock; the scenery is utterly spectacular here as the narrowest part of the stunning Rhine. The wine-grower-express mini-train meanders from the ship, through the idyllic vineyards, dropping you off in the heart of Rüdesheim. Here you can visit the unusual Mechanical Music Museum, where you can listen to 350 mechanical music boxes, from small, delicate items to a gigantic piano orchestrion. Finish the day with an afternoon wine tasting at a local winery, and soak up the atmosphere in this charming town.
Day 6 - Mannheim (Heidelberg) - Speyer
We dock in Mannheim early this morning and, after breakfast, transfer to Heidelberg for an included tour through the Gothic streets of Germany’s oldest university town. The 16th century Student Jail was used to keep mischievous students off the streets for up to a month at a time! The tour takes in the impressive hilltop castle, a showcase of German architecture through the centuries. This afternoon, you may wish to take an additional optional tour to Speyer. A city with an ancient history, the Cathedral of the Salian Emperors is the burial place of eight emperors and is rightly considered one of the most beautiful Romanesque buildings in Europe. The vibrant Jewish community and seat of the Imperial Chamber Court are also revered.
Day 7 - Strasbourg
After breakfast, we set foot on French soil as we take an included walking tour and cruise of Strasbourg City. We take in the beautifully-preserved, historic centre classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the gorgeous half-timbered town houses that lean over the narrow cobbled streets and waterways of Petite France. This afternoon you have the opportunity to take an excursion to the wine region of Alsace. During the drive we see lush vineyards and flower-decked villages; and take guided tours through the quaint streets of the medieval town centres of Riquewihr and Ribeauvillé, before completing the day with a wine tasting in a local winery. We begin our final journey in the evening and sail towards Basel.
Day 8 Basel - London
We disembark and transfer to the airport for a direct, scheduled British Airways flight to London Heathrow Airport. On arrival you will be met and guided to your Titan vehicle, for the journey home.