Wine Festivals of the Rhine & Moselle Spirit of the Rhine River Cruise
Join Saga’s brand new luxury ship, Spirit of the Rhine, for a very special 13-night cruise along the idyllic Moselle and Rhine rivers, timed to coincide with some of Europe’s biggest and most vibrant wine festivals.
Your cruise begins in historic Trier - where Germany’s wine heritage began - where you can enjoy an included tour revealing its Roman heritage, and enjoy an overnight mooring in Piesport. Your next night is spent in Bernkastel before a two-night mooring in Traben-Trarbach from where you can make two trips to the annual wine festival in Kröv. Cruise on to Cochem, from where you can explore iconic Reichsburg Castle and enjoy a wine tasting. Alken and Winningen are your next stops while you’ll spend two nights moored in Koblenz, where the two stately rivers converge. You might like to explore the town and the looming Ehrenbreitstein Fortress on an optional excursion before cruising on to Oberwesel and then sampling the atmosphere at the annual wine festivals in Boppard and Königswinter. An afternoon and evening in Amsterdam, where you can choose between an included tour of the city and its canals and a food-themed walking tour, is a fitting finale to a holiday which promises to be a treat for all of your senses.
Join wine critic and TV personality Jilly Goolden on this tantalising 13 day wine themed cruise!
Jilly is a well-known wine critic, journalist and television personality. She co-presented BBC’s Food and Drink programme for 18 years, before branching out into other genres, including antiques and travel. Jilly Goolden will enjoy a tasting with the guests, join vineyard excursions ashore, as well as delivering some interesting talks on board.
Travel to Amsterdam and embark Spirit of the Rhine. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner on board as you depart early this evening bound for Düsseldorf.
Arrive in Düsseldorf after lunch and this afternoon look forward to joining an included walking tour of the city’s famous Altstadt – Old Town – a square kilometre full of churches and art, plus more than 250 bars, restaurants and cafes in the heart of the city.
Join an expert guide on a stroll through the picturesque lanes and discover why the Gothic St. Lambertus church has a twisted tower, how The Rider statue of popular elector Jan Wellem came about, where Heinrich Heine was born, and how tailor Wibbel gained fame.
Return to your ship for dinner before cruising through the night towards Koblenz.
Included Excursion: Dusseldorf city tour
Early this morning arrive in Koblenz, nestled at point where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and inbetween the famous wine regions of the Moselle and the Middle Rhine – renowned for their Rieslings and among the oldest in Germany.
Discover the attractive riverside promenade and several historic churches, all set beneath the gaze of the looming Festung Ehrenbreitstein citadel on top of the hill, which you can visit on an optional excursion this morning. The fortress also houses a museum dedicated to the wines of the region and the 2,000 year heritage of winemaking in the Rhineland Pfalz.
Late this afternoon cruise on to Oberwesel where your arrival at dinner coincides with the traditional Rhine in Flames celebrations. Every year, this illuminated ship parade and fireworks spectacular takes place at some of the most scenic locations on the Middle Rhine and, as you’ll remain moored here for the rest of the evening, you can observe the passing flotilla and enjoy the firework display. Plus there is usually plenty of celebrating going on ashore – particularly wine tasting, live music and dancing. Perhaps seek out a tasty slice of Zwiebelkuchen – a traditional savoury onion tart – and wash it down with some local Federweisser (new wine).
Celebration: Rhine in Flames
Optional Excursion: Koblenz & Ehrenbreitstein Fortress
Your cruise has also been timed so you are able to spend the day enjoying the Oberweseler Wine Market Festival.
Head to the market place late this morning to find stalls and booths offering local wares and perhaps enjoy live music on the promenade at lunchtime. The highlight of the day is sure to be this afternoon’s 90-minute grand parade from the train station to the north end of town and culminating back in the market place where the procession is greeted by dignitaries from neighbouring towns and Oberwesel’s very own wine witch.
Late this afternoon set sail once again, bound for Bingen, where you’ll have time to explore ashore after dinner and enjoy some of the festivities at the 68th annual Bingen Wine Festival – the longest running on the Rhine which will take place across 11 days in September 2021. Be sure to seek out the local speciality, Ice Wine, which gets its name from a grape which flourished despite a particularly harsh frost in 1830.
Celebration Experiences: Oberweseler Wine Market Festival & Bingen Wine Festival
Enjoy this morning at leisure in Bingen, which has several historic buildings of interest, such as Ehrenfels Castle which overlooks the town and the fabled Mouse Tower, a stone tower which stands on an island where legend has it the cruel Bishop of Mainz was imprisoned and eaten by mice.
Set sail before lunch and cruise through the afternoon to arrive in Winningen before dinner. Enjoy an evening at leisure wandering the narrow streets of half-timbered buildings in the pretty wine village.
Enjoy a free morning in Winningen before cruising on to Alken before lunch.
Enjoy an afternoon at leisure in another picture postcard small town, with quiet lanes packed with Tudor architecture. Perhaps stroll on the riverside promenade before returning to your ship for dinner.
Leave Alken in your wake at breakfast and cruise through the morning to Cochem.
With the romantic backdrop of neo-Gothic Reichsburg Castle, Cochem is understandably one of the most visited places on the Moselle. An optional excursion is available to the castle, which sits atop a hill cloaked entirely in vines. Although most of the castle was rebuilt in the 19th century, the original 11th-century keep still survives. The excursion will also visit a local vineyard for a wine tasting. Another optional tour explores the town by land train. Remain moored here overnight.
Optional Excursions: Cochem, Reichsburg Castle & wine tasting and Cochem Noddy Train
You’ll have until lunchtime to explore Cochem independently before sailing through the afternoon past the glorious sweeping forest and vineyard-clad bends of the Moselle to reach the picturesque wine town of Traben-Trarbach this evening.
Perhaps sample some of the local delights this evening as you remain moored here for the next three nights.
The ‘twin towns’ of Traben-Trarbach straddle the Moselle and are linked by a bridge.
Arrive late afternoon and spend the next two nights moored in what was once the second-largest wine-trading centre in Europe, after the French city of Bordeaux. You will be struck by Traben-Trarbach’s contrast with the half-timbered architecture of other Moselle wine villages. Many of its buildings are in a smart art nouveau style, known in Germany as Jugendstil. These include a number of grand villas built for wealthy wine merchants by the Berlin architect Bruno Möhring.
The steep slate slopes around Traben-Trarbach produce exquisite wines which are celebrated each year at the Federweisser (Young wine) Festival. Your cruise has been timed so you can look forward to attending the opening of this year’s festival this evening. After dark, dignitaries will gather at the City Tower for a ceremony to kick-off the celebrations featuring a choral rendition of the traditional Weinlieder followed by live music. Sample some of the local produce – new and old – and be sure to keep an eye out for the fabled Federweisser Fairy!
Look forward to a full-day packed with fun, food, music and of course, more wine.
The festivities will continue both in the open air and in the underground cellars of Traben-Trarbach while the occasion will be marked by a ceremonial grape planting. Central to the festival is the interesting Mittelmosel Museum – a stately Baroque villa in Trarbach built for the merchant family Böcking. The house was built around 1755 and escaped the great fire which swept through the town 102 years later. It features more than 20 showrooms of art, furniture and an extensive collection on the history of Traben-Trarbach including Roman relics.
Celebration Experience: Traben-Trarbach federweisser festival
You’ll be cruising again before breakfast and if you head to the sun deck, the fresh autumn air might help clear any fuzzy heads this morning.
After breakfast arrive in Bernkastel, which is one of the most prominent wine-growing towns in the Moselle. Though the Mosel Wine Festival, with its vintners parade, fireworks and Wine Queen pageant, take place at the start of September in Bernkastel, the whole region remains in festive mode throughout the month so be sure to seek out a dash of the local riesling before you set sail again at lunchtime, arriving in the historic village of Piesport, on the north bank of the river, later this afternoon. You remain moored here overnight so perhaps seek out a tavern after dinner and sample an authentic Piesporter light white wine.
Set sail for the final time over breakfast and cruise through the morning to spend an afternoon in Germany’s oldest city, Trier, founded in 16BC by Emperor Augustus.
Trier lies in the heart of Germany’s oldest wine region, the Moselle, which is home to many fine white wines and its location close to the steep banks of the Moselle River was the location the Romans first chose to plant their vines. Trier retains many relics of its illustrious past, as you will discover on an included tour to see the spectacular Porta Nigra, one of the best-preserved Roman city gates in the world, the city walls and cathedral.
Should you wish to explore independently the oldest winery is the Vereinigte Hospitien, which still features one of the original Roman walls, while the wine cellar of the renowned producer Bischoefliche Weingueter is located under the pedestrianised area of the city centre. Spend the last night of your holiday moored in Trier.
Included excursion: Trier city tour
Disembark Spirit of the Rhine after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return journey to the UK.
|Date||Price from (pp)|
|9 September 2021||£2,299|
- Low deposit of only £99pp
- VIP door-to-door travel service
- Optional travel insurance or a discount of £54 if not required†
- A selection of return transport including UK flights, Eurostar or coach travel (subject to availability and some may carry a supplement)
- 12 nights on board Spirit of the Rhine
- 35 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 12 dinners
- All gratuities on board
- Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
- Saga cruise director & Saga cruise escort on board
- 4 included excursions & experiences