Fairy-tale landscapes. Living history.
The Rhine is the chameleon of the world’s rivers. Sometimes it seems wild; indeed, in the past it was dangerous, particularly at the Lorelei rocks. At other times it appears vast, as when it joins the Moselle in Koblenz. The romantic meadows of Rastatt invite you to picnic after an afternoon of rowing. And at other times human beings have tamed the river and turned it into an ornamental companion for elegant riverside promenades in cities such as Basle. It’s the perfect match for Baroque and Gothic architecture, and it looks amazing in photos. But its true home is between wild cliffs and dense forests, and between knights’ castles and winemaking villages whose vineyards it has made fertile over the course of its history.
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description, including admission charges where applicable.
Total meals included:
Travel to Cologne and transfer to your A-ROSA ship for embarkation. There are many things to see in Cologne, and they are all overshadowed by the cathedral. Measuring 144.5 m long and 157.38 m high, this is the third-highest church building in the world. The view over Cologne, the Rhine and the surrounding areas makes climbing the south tower's 533 steps well worth the effort! The basilica of Great St Martin Church is another fantastic sight. The brightly coloured houses of Cologne's fish market seem to glow in front of it. Located a little bit away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, you can soak up the atmosphere of the old town here. During carnival season, locals sing "Das Herz der Welt, das schlägt am Rhein" ("the pulse of the world beats at the Rhine") - and when you get to know the people of Cologne, you'll have to agree with this sentiment. It's easy to get talking to people, and you'll soon find yourself drinking a Kölsch (the local beer) with the friendly, down-to-earth locals.
The state capital of Rhineland-Palatinate overflows with Rhenish joviality. This successful media centre, which began its career with nothing less than Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, is exceptionally friendly – not just during Määnzer Fassenacht (Mainz carnival), but all year round. Mainz likes to live up to its reputation as a wine city. Located halfway between Lake Constance and the North Sea, Mainz has countless historical buildings. One of these is Mainz Cathedral, which has one of Christianity’s richest church interiors. Among the most important pieces are the altars and the gravestones of certain archbishops. The bright, glowing stained-glass windows of St Stephen’s Church are truly stunning. They were created by none other than Marc Chagall.
With its idyllic location in Alsace and its exciting range of cultural amenities, Strasbourg is a tolerant, young and lively city. Close to the German border, it’s an economically important business location and a place that promotes innovation, ideas and creativity. The many small half-timbered houses in the city centre exude characteristic Alsation charm, and they’re the perfect place to try the local tarte flambée and wine. Once you’re done staring in amazement at Europe’s most famous cathedral, you’ll notice that Strasbourg Cathedral demonstrates both German and French cultural influences.
Another full day to explore the beautiful city of Strasbourg.
Basel is located at the point where Switzerland, France and Germany meet. The city has always been a major hub for European trade as well as a centre of cultural life. In a building by Renzo Piano, Fondation Beyeler exhibits a spectacular collection of classic modern works or one of its sensational special exhibitions. If you’d like to go for a swim in the Rhine, you can visit one of the two Badhysli, as the locals affectionately call the bath houses. Or, keep dry and listen to the wonderful tones of a historical organ in one of the city’s eight churches.
The picturesque town of Breisach lies on the Rhine Valley and is renowned for housing one of the largest wine cellars in Europe and for its historic cathedral, later in the afternoon arrive in Koblenz.
The ancient city of Koblenz is the gateway to the terraced vineyards and ruined castles of the Rhine Gorge. Perhaps take the cable car that connects to the hilltop Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.
After breakfast, disembark your ship and transfer to the airport for your return to the UK, or extend your stay in Cologne.
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