TUI Rhine: Chateaux & Gateaux 2021 River Cruise
The name says it all for this one. You’ll journey from Germany’s wine country and idyllic Black Forest to the super-pretty French city of Strasbourg and Basel, in Switzerland.
You’ll start your trip with a day in a true metropolis. Architecture-wise, Frankfurt is a contradiction. You’ll need to crane your neck to clock the glistening, glass skyscrapers in the financial district. But the city’s crown jewel is its pretty-as-a-picture square, known as Römerberg. Here, half-timbered houses huddle around a Medieval church. On the nearby riverfront, things fast-forward into the 21st century again. The Sachsenhausen area’s home to art museums, restaurants and apple wine pubs.
Today’s split in two – you’ll spend the morning in Koblenz and the afternoon and night in Boppard. Koblenz is where the Moselle and Rhine rivers meet – a viewpoint and statue of Germany’s first Emperor mark the spot. There are forts and castles to explore, too, which are perched above the city. Late afternoon, you’ll cruise into Boppard, via the famous S-shaped bend. You’ve now officially entered wine country, so you can spend the evening dipping into local taverns.
You’ll pull into Rudesheim around lunchtime. This place has a prime spot in the UNESCO checked Rhine Gorge. Most visitors find themselves along Drosselgasse – a narrow cobbled street packed-out with wine taverns, restaurants and shops. It’s a full-of-life place, so you can expect oom-pah bands and dancing. Alternatively, you can head up to the hilltop Niederwald Monument. There’s the option of walking up the vineyard-blanketed slopes or taking the cable car to the top.
One of Germany’s oldest cities is on the cards today. Founded by the Romans in 12 BC, Speyer is littered with landmarks. Unlike lots of German towns, this place survived the Second World War relatively unscathed, which means its huge 11th-century cathedral is still gasp-worthy. It’s planted itself right at the end of Speyer’s main street, where it fights for attention with the pretty pastel-painted buildings, bustling cafés and boutiques.
Kehl’s often referred to as Germany’s gateway to France, thanks to its setting on the border. The Bridge of Europe spans the gap between Kehl and the French city of Strasbourg, and there’s a pedestrian bridge – the Passerelle des Deux Rives – where you can sit on a terrace that’s half in France and half in Germany. Strasbourg has a fairy tale old quarter with pretty Medieval monuments, cobbled streets and ornate buildings. In comparison, Kehl’s a quieter character, but it has its own appeal for shoppers and foodies. As it’s changed hands between France and Germany so many times over the years, there’s a unique blend of the two nations’ cuisines.
The German town of Breisach sits on a vineyard-tangled edge of the Rhine. Its buildings, each with a red roof, stretch up to the Gothic turrets of St Stephen’s Church – the town’s pièce de résistance. Breisach’s particularly popular with fans of wine and history. From its authentic Medieval appearance and quaint cobbled streets, you’d never know that 85% of Breisach was flattened during World War Two and then later restored. And the Kaiserstuhl hills, 20 minutes’ drive north, are known for producing some of Germany's finest reds. The Black Forest’s also an hour’s drive away. These densely packed woods bring to mind fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, and are a great place for keen walkers to explore.
The cosmopolitan city of Basel’s settled in the north-west corner of Switzerland, very close to the borders of France and Germany. The Medieval old town’s a must-visit, thanks to its social market square. It’s dominated by a 16th-century, red-brick town hall and is the setting for a farmers’ market on weekends. Nearby, you’ll find Basel’s 12th-century Gothic cathedral. It rises majestically above the Rhine, has far-reaching city views, and contains the tomb of the 16th-century Dutch scholar Erasmus of Rotterdam. Around a 10-minute walk from here is Steinenvorstadt. Affectionately known as cinema road, this street is where you’ll find all of Basel’s cinemas. It’s also a great place to grab a drink or an ice-cream and watch the world go by.
Unlike modern Zurich, this place has just two skyscrapers to its name. Here, the emphasis is on culture and history, with Switzerland’s oldest university and more than 30 museums. Plus, head up to Cathedral Mount to check out Basel Minster and the tomb of Dutch scholar Erasmus. You’ll get sweeping views of the old town from up here, too
|8 August 2021||£1,399|
|17 October 2021^||£1,119|
- Upgrade to All Inclusive from £196pp
- Direct flights from a range of UK airports with 20kg luggage allowance
- 7 nights on board TUI Isla
- Airport transfers - to and from your ship
- Full board plus - breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Tea, coffee and juices with breakfast
- Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
- Barbecues on deck (weather permitting)
- 1GB of Wi-Fi per cabin, per week
- £120 excursion credit, per person, per 7 days
- All tips and port charges
- Walking tour of Koblenz
- Koblenz tourist train & wine tasting
- Hilltop fortress & Scenic cable car
- Walking tour of Boppard
- Hammes Winery & tasting
- Rudesheim walking wine tour
- Winzerexpress & Siegfried's mechanical music cabinet
- Walking tour of Speyer
- Half-day trip to Heidelberg
- Germany wine route & tasting session
- Uncover the best of Baden-Baden
- Villages of the Black Forest
- Colmar city tour
- Tour of Strasbourg
- Walking tour of Rastatt
- Exploring the Black Forrest
- Walking tour of Breisach & wine tasting