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Switzerland River Cruises 2024/2025

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Switzerland Travel Guide

Switzerland may be landlocked, but its rivers are the veins that connect you to its very soul. Imagine gliding on a river cruise, where each bend reveals a new wonder: a landscape of green hills, peaceful towns, and mountains that touch the sky. It's not just about the scenery, though; it's a chance to experience Switzerland's heart. The Rhine and the Aare, among others, are more than just waterways; they're gateways to medieval towns, vineyard-clad slopes, and tales as old as time. What makes a Swiss river cruise unique? It's a blend of luxury and simplicity. You can feast on chocolate and cheese, yes, but also on views that haven't changed in centuries. There are no crowded beaches here, just the tranquility of the water and the whisper of history around every river bend. It's about soaking in the culture, history, and beauty of Switzerland at a pace that lets you savor every moment. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Switzerland river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

Switzerland Travel Guide
Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

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Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

Sail Date Operator Ship Departs Returns Length Price
Apr 17, 2024VikingViking IdiZurichParis12$6,799
Apr 17, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyZurichAmsterdam11$11,010
Apr 18, 2024TauckMS TreasuresGenevaBrussels11$7,190
Apr 19, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamBasel9$3,458
Apr 19, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como13$5,077
Apr 20, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como12$4,718
Apr 20, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamBasel8$3,099
Apr 20, 2024EmeraldEmerald DawnAmsterdamZurich8$9,090
Apr 20, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyZurichAmsterdam8$9,690
Apr 20, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyBaselAmsterdam8$9,690
Apr 21, 2024Avalon WaterwaysExpressionLucerneAmsterdam10$4,298
Apr 21, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaPrimaParisZurich15$6,659
Apr 21, 2024TauckMS InspireMilanAmsterdam11$7,590
Apr 21, 2024TauckMS EspritAmsterdamBasel15$8,790
Apr 22, 2024Avalon WaterwaysIlluminationAmsterdamLucerne11$4,407
Apr 22, 2024Avalon WaterwaysIlluminationAmsterdamBasel9$3,458
Apr 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysExpressionBaselAmsterdam8$3,349
Apr 23, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSienaAmsterdamZurich14$6,129
Apr 23, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaAmsterdamZurich18$8,029
Apr 23, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSienaAmsterdamZurich14$6,129
Apr 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysIlluminationAmsterdamLucerne10$4,048
Apr 23, 2024Avalon WaterwaysIlluminationAmsterdamBasel8$3,099
Apr 24, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaPrimaLuxembourgBasel8$3,599
Apr 24, 2024ScenicScenic JewelBaselFrankfurt8$9,490
Apr 24, 2024ScenicScenic JewelZurichFrankfurt8$9,490
Apr 25, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSienaAmsterdamBasel8$3,699
Apr 25, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaAmsterdamBasel12$5,599
Apr 25, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSienaAmsterdamBasel8$3,699
Apr 25, 2024EmeraldEmerald SunZurichAmsterdam11$13,410
Apr 26, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaLuciaAmsterdamZurich18$8,029
Apr 27, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaPrimaZurichPrague15$6,379
Apr 27, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaPrimaZurichPrague15$6,379
Apr 27, 2024VikingViking HildParisZurich12$5,999
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysPoetry IINiceAmsterdam17$7,927
Apr 28, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSienaZurichAmsterdam12$5,479
Apr 28, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaLuciaAmsterdamBasel12$5,599
Apr 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysIlluminationLucerneAmsterdam10$4,398
Apr 28, 2024UniworldSS VictoriaAmsterdamBasel8$5,499
Apr 28, 2024EmeraldEmerald SunZurichAmsterdam8$12,090
Apr 28, 2024EmeraldEmerald SunBaselAmsterdam8$12,090

Switzerland Travel Guide

Switzerland River Cruises Highlights

  • Rhine Falls: Near Schaffhausen, marvel at Europe's most powerful waterfall. Feel the mist on your face and hear the thundering water.
  • Chapel Bridge (Kapellbrücke): In Lucerne, walk across this 14th-century wooden bridge, complete with old paintings and a tower.
  • Château de Chillon: On Lake Geneva, visit this island castle for a trip into medieval times, complete with ramparts and dungeons.
  • The Grossmünster: Zurich's iconic twin-towered church offers not just history but also panoramic views if you climb to the top.
  • Munster Cathedral in Basel: A Gothic architectural gem, with its red sandstone walls and colorful roof tiles, plus city views from its spire.
  • Old Town Bern: The capital city's old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with medieval streets to wander and the famous Zytglogge clock tower.
  • United Nations Office at Geneva: Dive into global diplomacy with a guided tour of the European seat of the UN.
  • Mount Pilatus: From Lucerne, take a day trip to this mountain for breathtaking views and the world's steepest cogwheel railway.
  • Bahnhofstrasse: Zurich's main downtown street is a shopper's paradise, lined with boutiques, department stores, and cafes.
  • Kunstmuseum: Basel's fine arts museum houses a collection of paintings and sculptures from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Switzerland River Cruises Travel Tips

  • Switzerland has four official languages—German, French, Italian, and Romansh.
  • The Swiss Franc (CHF) is the local currency, so make sure to have some on hand, as smaller towns may not accept cards.
  • Include a good mix of casual wear for daytime explorations and something dressier for dinner on the cruise.
  • Don't forget comfortable walking shoes for city strolls, a waterproof jacket, and a hat or sunglasses for sun protection.
  • The days start early in Switzerland and people are usually up and doing things at the early hours of the morning.
  • You can drink the tap water; it is clean, and you won't have to keep buying bottled water.
  • The shop hours are sometimes all over the place, so make sure to check this out ahead of time. 
  • There are bikes that are laying around that you can pick up and use for free without having to worry about a thing. 

Switzerland River Cruises Things To Do

  • Tandem Paragliding
    Tandem Paragliding

    Paragliding is one of the most exciting excursions you can go on. When it comes to riding around, there are multiple places that allow you and someone else to get up above the mountain tops and take a look down. If you are in the area, this is worth the time.   

    Best Time To Visit

    The best time to do this is when it is warmer out and when it is not raining or snowing because you're going to be out and up in the elements.   

     

    You Should Know

    This brings you above the Swiss Alps, which is a once in a lifetime opportunity for most people. You can go with a small group of up to 10 people at a time.  
  • Mt. Pilatus Tour
    Mt. Pilatus Tour

    This tour is self-guided, so you can expect to walk along the trail and see the sights along the way for yourself. The tour goes across Lake Lucerne, which allows you to see the outside sights and not just the ones up the trails.   

    Best Time To Visit

    You should go to this attraction while it is warm out because it is more comfortable to walk through the paths, see everything, and it should not be raining to protect you from the elements.   

     

    You Should Know

    The tour itself takes around half a day, so be prepared to spend at least this much time away. You can take advantage of not having a guide by trying out the many different things along the way such as the gondola or cable car.
  • Lake Lucerne
    Lake Lucerne

    Lake Lucerne has a tour that takes you across the water to see the many places to the sides. This is a great way to take in the scenery, and also enjoy the nature and specific places that you can stop while on the cruise. You can rent a number of canoes, kayaks, or just walk around the lake.   

    Best Time To Visit

    Visiting the lake is the best when it is comfortable outside. When it is too hot or too cold, there is not much to do and it can become quite uncomfortable with the many ways to spend time on the water.  

     

    You Should Know

    The gondolas are one of the best ways to make your way around the lake, and definitely one of the most recommended for visitors.
  • Helicopter Skydiving
    Helicopter Skydiving

    If you are into doing something that gets your heart racing, then make sure to check out the helicopter skydiving that you can do. You can strap onto the guide and jump, or you can do so by yourself. Whatever you choose to do, this is definitely something that isn't for everyone but is exciting and worth it.   

    Best Time To Visit

    Those who want to do this should consider doing it when the weather is clear because this is the only time that they bring people up on the helicopter to take part in the excursion.  

     

    You Should Know

    This excursion can take up to two hours, so book in advance and be prepared. Make sure to listen because this can be quite dangerous if you don't do what they tell you correctly.
  • Glacier 3000
    Glacier 3000

    Look at panoramic views of the glacier on many different levels. You can take yourself on a tour throughout the area, look at the many shops along the way, but also take the time to walk down the largest bridge that brings you across the actual glacier.   

    Best Time To Visit

    This is usually an experience that is enjoyed during the winter or colder months of the year. This is because it is a glacier and it is best visited during this time.   

     

    You Should Know

    Make sure to book your trip in advance by buying tickets online to skip the lines. The activity can take up to three hours, so prepare ahead of time. Bundle up and keep warm because this can be a chilly experience to go on.
  • Zurich City
    Zurich City

    You can take a hassle-free trip to Zurich City and enjoy all the shops, sights, and other things to do within the square. They invite everyone to become a part of the city that is full of magic and life. If you want some history, check out some of the museums and older buildings.   

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit Zurich City when the weather is warmer and more comfortable. You can be sure to get more from the city this way. If it is too cold or raining, it is not as nice to walk through.  

     

    You Should Know

    This will take around a half of a day to get through. Bring some local currency with you to purchase some of the items that are in the shops.
  • Grimsel Canyoning
    Grimsel Canyoning

    Canyoning is not only great for physical activity, but it is also great for getting out there and seeing the sights around you. Located in Interlaken, you can find that the views from the canyons are incredible. You can go cliff jumping, take a dip in the clear water, or just walk around the canyons themselves.  

    Best Time To Visit

    This attraction should be seen during the warmer months out of the year because you can do more while at the canyon, however, the fall months when it is crisper might be more pleasant for walking.  

     

    You Should Know

    This is a popular excursion, so make sure to plan ahead and book your tickets. Keep more than a half a day open to do this trip because it will take at least a half of a day.
  • Vinorama Wine Tour
    Vinorama Wine Tour

    Everyone loves wine tours, and if this is something you are into, then you might want to take one the Swiss way. With a number of vineyards, you can bounce from place to place with ease. Taste and try each one, and pair with some of the finest chocolates. It is also one of the most recommended excursions and activities for locals and tourists alike, making it to the top of many people's lists.  

    Best Time To Visit

    You can go on a wine tour during any time of the year, especially since you can go inside the vineyards buildings to enjoy the food and wine.  

     

    You Should Know

    You will have to bring an ID to show that you are of legal age to drink. You can purchase spirits and other items directly from the vineyards.

Switzerland River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    Switzerland's central European location makes it a breeze to reach for river cruisers. Nestled amidst France, Germany, Italy, and Austria, the Swiss rivers flow into some of the continent's major waterways. Major cruise ships typically dock in Basel, which is effortlessly accessible due to its position on the Rhine River — a major artery that runs through the heart of Europe. Once you land in Switzerland, whether by plane, train, or automobile, Basel is your gateway. It's a hub that's well-linked to various international destinations, making it a prime starting point for your river journey. Here, the pulse of the river is met with state-of-the-art ports, welcoming you aboard your Swiss adventure.

  • Immerse Yourself in Swiss Culture

    Swiss culture is as diverse as its landscapes, with deep-rooted customs and vibrant festivals. Each region reflects the traditions of its neighbors— Germany, France, Italy, and Austria—yet with a distinct Swiss touch. Politeness and punctuality are the cornerstones of Swiss etiquette, so it's good practice to be on time and greet people with a friendly 'Grüezi' or 'Bonjour.'

    Festivals are a spectacular way to dive into Swiss culture. From the colorful Fasnacht in Basel, a pre-Lenten celebration with parades and music, to the L'Escalade in Geneva that commemorates a historic victory with chocolate cauldrons filled with marzipan vegetables. In autumn, don't miss Alpabfahrt, where farmers lead their cows down the mountains in a festive atmosphere with bells and flowers.

    These customs and festivals are an open invitation to experience the warm-hearted spirit of Switzerland. Join in, observe, and enjoy the sense of community that's an integral part of Swiss life.

  • Experience the Flavors of Switzerland on a River Cruise

    Switzerland isn't just watches and mountains; it's a culinary journey waiting to be savored. On your river cruise, you'll get to taste iconic Swiss dishes. Think rich cheese fondue, where you dip bread into a communal pot of melted cheese or raclette, another cheesy delight where the cheese is melted and scraped onto potatoes. Don't miss out on rosti, a crispy potato dish that's a national favorite.

    Chocolate is, of course, a Swiss staple, and you'll find it in abundance—from luxurious truffles to bars of all varieties. As for drinks, try the local wines, especially the white wines from the Swiss Alps, which are a delight with their unique alpine flavors.

    For an authentic dining experience, step off the ship and into a local 'Gasthaus' or tavern. Here, you'll mingle with locals and eat traditional dishes. Many towns along the rivers have farmers' markets where you can sample fresh produce and local specialties. And if you get the chance, join a chocolate or cheese-making workshop for an interactive taste of Swiss culture. It's not just about eating; it's about experiencing Swiss flavors that tell the story of the region's culture and traditions.

  • The Perfect Time for a Swiss River Cruise

    A river cruise in Switzerland requires careful consideration of the weather, as it significantly influences the cruising experience. During the Swiss summers, from June to August, the climate is warm and welcoming, with temperatures typically ranging between 20-25°C (68-77°F). This period is the high season for river cruising in Switzerland, with all activities in full operation. However, summer is also the most popular time for river cruising, so expect the waterways to be more crowded.

    For those seeking a more tranquil river cruising experience in Switzerland, the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) months offer an excellent alternative. During these seasons, the number of tourists decreases, and the weather remains mild, making it ideal for enjoying the natural beauty of Switzerland's blooming landscapes in spring or the vibrant fall colors along the riverbanks. While a light jacket may be necessary due to the cooler temperatures, the benefit of experiencing Switzerland's rivers with fewer tourists is a worthwhile trade-off.

    Winter river cruises in Switzerland, spanning from November to March, present a different appeal. The weather is chillier, and there's a possibility of snow, but winter cruises have their unique allure. Think of quieter river cruises, charming festive Christmas markets, and stunning views of snow-capped peaks. A winter river cruise in Switzerland is perfect for those seeking a cozy and serene experience, offering a peaceful and picturesque journey through Switzerland's beautiful landscapes.

  • Why Book a River Cruise in Switzerland?

    Booking a river cruise in Switzerland isn't just a trip—it's an all-in-one experience that offers incredible value for money. Picture this: your floating hotel glides from one stunning Swiss city to the next, unpacking only once. You wake up each morning to new sights, quaint villages, majestic mountains, and landscapes that look like they've been plucked straight from a postcard. It's about the unique coastal views that you can't get by train or car. Plus, there's the convenience factor—meals, accommodation, and travel are bundled into one neat package.

    Cruising also often gives you exclusive access to certain areas. Some docks are steps away from hidden gems that only local guides know about, and these excursions can deepen your understanding of Swiss life. What's more, some experiences are tailored just for cruise guests—think private vineyard tours, after-hours museum visits, or special culinary events that showcase the best of Swiss cuisine. It's these thoughtful touches that make river cruising in Switzerland not just a leisurely holiday but a journey into the heart of Swiss culture and natural splendor.

  • Ready to Book Your Swiss River Cruise?

    If you're looking for a vacation that combines relaxation with cultural enrichment, look no further than a Swiss river cruise. Glide along calm waters, with the Swiss Alps as your backdrop, and dock at charming ports that offer a treasure trove of experiences—from tasting local cuisines to joining in traditional festivals. Along the way, enjoy the convenience of unpacking just once and savoring a journey that brings you the best of Switzerland's scenic beauty and cultural gems. With something for everyone, whether you're a history buff, a foodie, or simply in need of a peaceful escape, a Swiss river cruise is a perfect choice. So why wait? Book your adventure today and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime on the serene waters of Switzerland.

Switzerland River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a Switzerland River Cruise?

    A Switzerland river cruise is a cruise that provides the visitor with a way to stay in a hotel-like setting but still have the ability to see many places throughout Switzerland. Usually, these cruises go down the famous Rhine River, giving you plenty to see and do. You can take advantage of the cruise that brings you many areas but allows you to keep your stay to the ship. It is almost like having two vacations in one. 

  • What’s Included in a Switzerland River Cruise?

    These cruises are all-inclusive. They provide meals, room, activities, and more. You can get the round trip from one port to another and stop in many places all for one price. Extras can be added to your amount which increases the price such as excursions, spa treatments, alcohol, and more. These are just extras though, and not necessary or mandatory for those who are taking a cruise. 

  • What’s the Best River Cruise for a Switzerland River Cruise?

    There are over 240 different cruises you can take to go through both Germany and Switzerland. They range from 5 days to 30 days, allowing you to choose how long you want to be gone. You get to customize your cruising experience with this. There are no right or wrong cruise lines to take, but the recommended ones from other cruisers are Avalon Waterways, Uniworld Boutique, and a number of others. You can choose which offers the best experience you're after.

  • How Much Do Switzerland River Cruises Cost?

    The cruise cost depends on how long the cruise is going to be for, where the ports are located, any extras and excursions you will add to the cruise, what cruise line you decide to use, and much more. The prices range from $3,988 to close to $8,000. This is per person, and usually, two people would share a cabin on the cruise ship. 

Learn More About Switzerland Cruises

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