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Sail along the romantic Rhine
The Rhine Valley is adored for its unforgettable scenery, delicious wines and beautifully preserved medieval towns. Regarded as the heart of rural Germany, a cruise along this idyllic river will take you through Western Europe's most picturesque destinations, including the magical Black Forest.
On this eight-day cruise you'll stop at the French city of Strasbourg, from where you could choose to explore the irresistible wine country of the Alsace, or learn about World War II history at the Maginot Line fortifications on optional excursions. You'll visit magnificent sights like Heidelberg Castle and Cologne's twin-steepled Gothic cathedral, and explore the romantic vineyards in the hills above Rüdesheim.
You'll end your journey in Amsterdam, where a canal cruise will show you the city's iconic townhouses, or you can explore by foot or by bike the historic windmills and pretty wooden houses of Zaanse Schans.
Times Subscriber Exclusive Offer
Times subscribers can save up to £600 per couple* (discount is included in the listed price) and all other readers can save up to £500 per couple* when booking a 2019 departure before September 21, 2019. Times subscribers click here to redeem your discount code.
Reasons to book
Explore the magical Black Forest
Sailing with Avalon
Exploring the Rhine
- Return flights
- Seven-night full-board river cruise on the Avalon Vista, Expression or Panorama - dependent on departure date
Choice of excursions including:
Guided Black Forest tour with butter-making demonstration
Tour of Heidelberg castle
Entry to the Gutenberg museum in Mainz
Coffee or wine-tasting in Rüdesheim
Walking tour of Cologne
Canal cruise in Amsterdam
Gratuities and port charges
Times subscribers: £1,515* pp
Non-Times subscribers: £1,565* pp
*See below for more details.
Day1Embark in Basel, SwitzerlandBasel, Switzerland
Enjoy dinner and explore the ship on your first night on board. Cruise this evening to Breisach.
Day2Breisach, Germany - Black Forest excursionBreisach, Germany
Explore on your own this afternoon taking a bike from the ship or hiking up to St. Stephan's cathedral. Visit the charming village of Colmar on a guided tour of its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings, or join a full-day guided excursion to the magical Black Forest to experience the Vogtsbauernhof open-air-museum, visit an authentic water mill and see a traditional Bavarian butter-making demonstration. You'll cruise to Strasbourg this evening.
Day3Strasbourg, FranceStrasbourg, France
You may choose to join a optional excursions to the splendid Alsace wine country, or to the historic Maginot line - an impressive installation of pre-WWII defensive fortifications designed to protect the eastern border of France. Alternatively, enjoy a free afternoon sampling the local cuisine in place Kléber, or pay a visit to one of Strasbourg's many wonderful museums. You'll then cruise overnight to Ludwigshafen.
Day4Ludwigshafen and Mainz - Heidelberg CastleLudwigshafen, Germany
Enjoy a guided tour to Heidelberg Castle to see the ruins of the magnificent renaissance treasure towering above the city, and its famed great vat, the "world's largest wine barrel," or join your Avalon adventure host for a hike up Philosophers' Way for an inspiring view of the city below.
In Mainz this afternoon, you'll get to enjoy a guided city walk including a visit to the Gutenberg Museum to see the captivating history of printing. Plus, enjoy live entertainment on board your ship this evening whilst docked in Mainz.
Day5Rüdesheim - Rhine gorgeRudesheim, Germany
Take a guided tour of the incredible mechanical music museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience; then, based on your departure, enjoy either a coffee tasting or a wine tasting excursion or a hike with your Avalon adventure host to explore the picturesque hills and vineyards of Rüdesheim.
Relax on the sky deck for an afternoon cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge to Koblenz. Sail past the legendary rock of the Lorelai - where the Siren of mythology sang songs to lure ill-fated sailors.
Here in Koblenz, where we'll also dock overnight, you can take a guided city walk amid ancient fortress walls, towers, squares and monuments.
Join a guided walk with your Avalon adventure host this morning, or take a guided city walk of Cologne - with its soaring twin-steepled Gothic cathedral - or choose a guided walking tour of Cologne's important Jewish heritage sites. Don't miss the chance to enjoy free time over a glass of Kölsch pale lager - locally brewed for over 100 years. This evening and overnight you'll cruise towards Amsterdam.
Spend the day in quaint and colourful Amsterdam, filled with canals and crooked houses. Here we have a range of activities on offer. Take a guided canal cruise exploring the iconic waterways and sights of Amsterdam, or join a guided optional excursion to Zaanse Schans to see historic windmills and charming Dutch houses. You might take an optional guided bike excursion through the Dutch countryside, or spend free time strolling at your leisure through the galleries and cafes of Amsterdam. You'll dock here overnight.
Day8Amsterdam (disembarkation)Amsterdam, Netherlands
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning in Amsterdam. After that you'll disembark the ship and make your way home.
66 spacious suites and wall-to-wall panoramic windows make this River cruiser one to remember
Avalon Panorama accommodates 166 passengers. A unique Suite Ship, it was the first of its kind in the industry with two full decks of suites featuring a wall-to-wall panoramic window that transforms the living space into a unique open-air balcony. The suites' full-size seating area is ideal for quiet moments to yourself, or is spacious enough to host a private cocktail party for new found friends. The clever positioning of the bed ensures superb river views when you wake and retire.