A city of charming canals, elegant gabled houses, splendid museums and abundant bicycles, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam is a delight to explore. Its patchwork of waterways forms about 90 islands connected by 1,500 bridges. The legacy of the Dutch Golden Age lives on in gilded manses and in the lush paintings of Rembrandt and other Dutch masters that adorn the Rijksmuseum, The Netherlands' grand repository of art and cultural history. Discovering Amsterdam is a pleasure best pursued on foot; visitors line the tranquil canals and linger over Dutch pancakes, or take a stroopwafel to go.
Kinderdijk is a village community in the Alblasserwaard province. This corner of South Holland, part of the scenic Waal and Merwede regions, has long been shaped by Rhine Delta waters. Kinderdijk is most known for its 19 remarkably preserved 18th-century windmills. The charming hamlet is located amid low-lying polders, tracts of land reclaimed from the sea by the power of the windmills and enclosed by embankments, or dikes. This legendary place calls to mind the 1865 novel Hans Brinker, in which a heroic boy plugs his finger into a ruptured dike.
Cologne reveals its Roman heritage in its city layout and the ancient ruins that lie scattered through the town. Cologne's modern plazas and Hohe Strasse host welcoming shops, enticing restaurants and cologne boutiques. Of note is the city's 14th-century cathedral, a stunning example of Gothic artistry and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Having survived Allied bombs during World War II, the cathedral's imposing twin spires are visible for miles and its stained glass windows fill the interior with brilliant colored light. Its steps lead to a platform with astounding views.
The quiet German town of Speyer lies on the west bank of the Rhine. The city features a Romanesque imperial cathedral, burial place of eight emperors including some of the most famous Holy Roman Emperors. Speyer was once a major Celtic center that traded hands several times between the Romans and the Huns. The term Protestant originated here at the Diet of Speyer in 1529, when 14 free cities of Germany and six Lutheran princes protested the Edict of Worms that had banned the writings of Martin Luther and labeled him a heretic and enemy of the state.
The largest port on the Upper Rhine, Strasbourg is the cultural center of France's Alsace region. Thanks to its location at the border of France and Germany, it boasts a convivial mix of cultural influences. The well-preserved Old Town is enclosed on all sides by the little Ill River, with sites so compact that it is easy to explore the "island” on foot. And there is plenty to explore: cobblestone streets lined with wooden houses and intersected by picturesque canals. Indulging in Alsatian café culture is central to any visit here; enjoy coffee and cake amid lovely half-timbered houses.
Breisach is a gateway to the fabled Black Forest region, built on a basalt rock outcropping in the Rhine plain. It is located in one of the warmest parts of Germany, across the river from French Alsace, famous for its wine growing. But Breisach, too, can boast about its wine: it is home to Europe’s largest cellars, with a storage capacity of more than 160 million liters. The most prominent landmark of Breisach is the Romanesque-Gothic St. Stephen’s Cathedral, built between the 12th and 13th centuries. Its two towers are visible from throughout the city and from the Rhine.
Located where Switzerland, Germany and France meet, Basel reflects a fascinating blend of traditions. The city straddles the Rhine at the river's farthest navigable point, and an alluring cluster of old-town buildings huddles along the riverbank. Around Market Square, guild houses recall Gothic, Renaissance and baroque splendor; the red-sandstone Rathaus, or Town Hall, is the centerpiece. More than 40 museums of art and culture lend modern polish to its history-rich streets. And there is no more refined way to sample it all than over cheese fondue or croissants.
8 Days 6 Guided Tours / 4 Countries
Daily Shore Excursions: 6 included guided tours
Port Charges: Included on all itineraires
Working with Eric was a true blessing. As not seasoned river cruise travelers, he was readily available to answer questions and "hold our hands" when we were unsure of aspects of the trip. Thank you Eric!!
The trip was too short. We completely loved it but wish it didn't have to end. Every port we had a included tour and they were all so wonderful. The optional tours were also very good and not that expensive. The food was great, different that we are used to in the states but totally enjoyable. The entertainment was a piano player and guitar player in the lounge which was perfect for the setting. Our cruise director was not only there with us all the time but very entertaining as well. Never knew when he was joking or not so it made it fun. All ports were interesting and educational. The only thing was that it was very cold so coming from Florida it felt colder than we are used to since leaving NY. However, I would totally go with Viking again and use Affordable Tours. They were a really big help.
very competent and friendly staff
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