Castles Along the Rhine
Find inspiration in the romantic, soul-stirring beauty of the fabled Rhine. Flowers tumble from baskets lining streets of half-timbered houses, and lights glint off quiet canals. A mighty river carries ships and cargo through a landscape shaped by time and history. The spires of medieval churches and castles appear around each bend in the river upon the verdant hillsides. Cruise along the Rhine for eight days—Germany on one side, France on the other.
Castles Along the Rhine
Find inspiration in the romantic, soul-stirring beauty of the fabled Rhine; from either Basel to Amsterdam OR from Amsterdam to Basel. Flowers tumble from baskets lining streets of half-timbered houses, and lights glint off quiet canals. A mighty river carries ships and cargo through a landscape shaped by time and history. The spires of medieval churches and castles appear around each bend in the river upon the verdant hillsides. Cruise along the Rhine—Germany on one side, France on the other. Discover Alsace, whose dual French and German heritage has given it fabulous food tradition that goes back to the Romans. Marvel at castles that were once mighty fortresses and get an insider’s look at one of the only castles on the Rhine that has never been destroyed, Marksburg Castle. Visit historic cities, including ancient Cologne and picturesque Strasbourg; stroll through the fairytale town of Rüdesheim. Beethoven and Byron loved the romantic landscapes of the Rhine River, and the beauty that inspired them is still yours to experience.
Who will enjoy this cruise: For Eight Days, romantics who love the picturesque and the historic will find medieval castles, splendid cathedrals and scenes that have inspired great poets, painters and composers alike.
Generations Family Program (select sailings): Share the enchantment of this region with the special young people in your life (4-17 years of age). These cruises not only feature unique, fun-filled adventures for families to enjoy together, they’re also packed with culturally and historically significant experiences designed to spark creativity and lifelong learning. What a wonderful World History Lesson!
Note: The 8-day itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise. This sailing can either be taken from the south to the north or from the north to the south. Either way ALL ports will be on the itinerary and accessible.
DAY 1: Basel (Embark): Arrive at EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship. Important Note: Airport services and transfers to the ship will take place on the Switzerland side of the Basel-Mulhouse Airport. Be sure to enter Customs on the Switzerland side, as guests cannot return to the Switzerland side after they have exited the airport from the France side. Note: For Arrival, Departure and Transfer details, please talk with TravelKatz for those arrangements.
DAY 2: Breisach (Kaysersberg and Riquewihr or Colmar): Look up “charming and “picturesque” in the dictionary and it could very well show images of today’s choice of destinations—two of Alsace’s best-known wine villages or a town some have hailed as the prettiest in the world. Is it really? See for yourself from our uniquely Uniworld perspective. A charming town dominated by a 17th-century hilltop cathedral, Breisach is your gateway. This is your launching point for one of two excursions along the celebrated route des vins, which hugs the foothills of the Vosges mountain range. You can visit Kaysersberg and Riquewihr, two of the most picturesque villages in the region, or take a tour of the larger town of Colmar, considered one of the most beautiful destinations. If you’re interested in doing something a bit more physically challenging, you could stay in Breisach and walk or bike through the surrounding countryside Choice of Alsatian “Village Day” or Colmar city tour
Generations Excursion: Storybook Village Saunter – This excursion is a Generations program sailing. Spend the afternoon onboard, simply enjoying the views from the ship’s lounges or decks and sampling some of the ship’s amenities. Relax on the Sun Deck or relax with a massage. A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.
DAY 3: Kehl (Strasbourg): Strasbourg is invariably described as quaint, a rather overused word that in this case is perfectly apropos. Whether you see it via a canal boat or on foot with an insightful local expert, this historic town with its cobbled lanes, half-timbered homes, giant stork nests and impossible-to-resist pastry shops will win your heart. Kehl, directly across the river from Strasbourg, will be your ship’s base while you explore the Alsatian capital, which is known as the “Crossroads of Europe” for its strategic location halfway between Paris and Prague. You may choose to see Strasbourg, which would give you an enlightening and relaxing overview of this historically important city. Or you may experience the historic core as the locals do, with a walking tour. If you’re feeling adventurous, take advantage of Uniworld’s bicycles or Nordic walking sticks and explore the banks of the river.
Featured Excursions: Choice of “Do as the Locals Do” Strasbourg walking tour or Strasbourg panoramic tour with cathedral and Old Town walk
Generations Excursion: Canals, cobblestones and cathedrals – This excursion is a Generations program sailing. You have the afternoon to see more of Strasbourg on your own.
DAY 4: Mannheim (Speyer): Expect the unexpected in Speyer, where ancient treasures harmoniously co-exist with modern day innovation. For something really unexpected, venture into a spooky, candlelit tasting room to sample flavorful elixirs made from vinegars. Utterly unique and surprisingly delicious, and something you’ll experience with no other river cruise line. The ship docks in Mannheim, where you’ll have to choose between boarding a motorcoach to the nearby town of Speyer for a guided walking tour or taking in an exclusive tasting at a local vinegar estate. Choice of Speyer walking tour or Private Doktorenhof vinegar estate visit and tasting
Generations Excursions: Kletterwald Climbing Forest Submarines & Space Shuttles – This excursion is a Generations program sailing.
DAY 5: Rüdesheim, Boppard: Your floating hotel arrives in Rüdesheim, one of the most charming ports of call in the Rhine Valley. This city has a long history going back to Roman times and is famous for the Drosselgasse, a narrow, bustling lane of shops and wine bars, as well as its impressive Niederwald Monument, built to celebrate the re-establishment of the German empire in the late 19th century.
Featured Excursion: Boppard village stroll – “Let’s Go” hike from Rüdesheim to Assmanshausen
Generations Excursions: Cable Car Climb to Niederwald Heights Fairytale Rheinstein Castle – This excursion is a Generations program sailing. Cruising out of Rüdesheim you’ll enter the sublimely beautiful Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Byron described it as “a work divine, a blending of all beauties.” Turner painted it. Wagner used it as inspiration for his opera Götterdämmerung. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this scenic 40-mile stretch of the Rhine features a stunning, castle-dotted landscape that many 19th-century composers, painters and poets considered the embodiment of an ideal romantic spirit. Each bend and twist of the river affords new delights: Steep riverbanks are graced with picturesque towns, and hilltops are crowned by fairytale castles. Each one of those castles tells a tale: of great families raising fortresses against each other, of warfare and ruin and rebuilding through the centuries. Some castles have been entirely reconstructed; others tower above the water in majestic ruin, still an inspiration for romantics. You won’t want to miss the scenery as you sail into Boppard. Later, join your Cruise Manager for a village stroll highlighting stately riverfront homes and the traces of Boppard’s fascinating Roman past.
DAY 6: Cruising the Romantic Rhine River, Koblenz: No other river valley on earth boasts more castles than the Rhine, and today you’ll have an opportunity to experience real-life “Game of Thrones” ambiance deep within the medieval walls of Marksburg Castle. Not into dungeons and dragons? Get to know Koblenz, a historic town with a colorful past and eclectic architecture and enjoy a scenic bike ride. As you come upon Koblenz, you’ll sail past Deutsches Eck (German Corner) with its historic monument to Kaiser Wilhelm I, at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers.
Featured Excursion: “Let’s Go” biking the castles – Choice of Koblenz walking tour or Marksburg Castle visit
Generations Excursions: Medieval Marksburg Koblenz Scavenger Hunt – This excursion is a Generations program sailing.
DAY 7: Cologne: You simply cannot visit Cologne without paying homage to its most notorious site, the Gothic masterpiece that serves as the city’s cathedral. A local expert will show you favorite haunts around the Old Town and share some of the cathedral’s most intriguing and Magical secrets with you. Cologne is the largest and oldest city of the Rhineland and a cultural mecca, with more than 30 museums and 100s of art galleries. A friendly atmosphere and a mix of ancient, modern and reconstructed buildings characterize the heart of the city.
Featured Excursion: Cologne walking tour with Cologne Cathedral
Generations Excursion: Gothic Cathedrals and Gargoyles – This excursion is a Generations program sailing.
DAY 8: Amsterdam (Disembark): Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for your flight home. Alternatively, you may continue your adventure with our optional post-cruise Amsterdam extension to the United Kingdom.