TUI Rhine Gems 2021 River Cruise
On this itinerary, you’ll travel along the UNESCO-ticked stretch of the Rhine that’s inspired artists, authors and composers for centuries.
This itinerary starts in Germany’s financial hub, Frankfurt. The cosmopolitan city’s nicknames – Manhattan and Chicago on the Main – might lead you to think it’s modern through and through. But you couldn’t be more wrong. Its centrepiece is a carefully reconstructed old town, known as Romerberg, which is fit-to-bursting with timbered buildings. Plus, there’s the 54-acre Palm Garden, which opened in 1871, and a whole district of museums.
Settings like Koblenz’s don’t come around often. The city’s a meeting place of mountains and rivers and the Rhine and Moselle rivers come together here, too. The waterfront’s dotted with UNESCO-stamped forts and palaces, while fairy tale castles christen the hilltops on the edge of town. And the surrounding valleys are teeming with terraced vines and world-class wineries. You can take a cable car up to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for spectacular views over the city and its two rivers. When you arrive at the fort, you can explore its many museums, as well. Alternatively, catch a bus to Schloss Stolzenfels. This hilltop-castle-turned-palace is super-grand, which is fitting considering it’s played host to guests like Queen Victoria.
Mannheim, in south-west Germany, blurs the line between classic and contemporary. It’s nicknamed the City of Squares, because of its American, grid-like layout. You’ll find quirky start-ups and an industrial bar scene in Jungbusch. Elsewhere, the grassy lawns of Friedrichsplatz are home to the Wasserturm – a century-old Romanesque tower – and Baroque architecture can be seen in the form of the Jesuit Church and Mannheim Palace. You can get a taste of Italy and the Orient in the Luisenpark. Gondoletta boats bob along the waterways, afternoon tea’s served in the Chinese Garden and there’s a huge tower for panoramic views. Nearby, you’ll find the Old Observatory, which dates back to the 1700s and was visited by Wolfgang Mozart in its pomp.
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 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.
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 city of Speyer’s over 2,000 years old. It overlooks the Rhine, and is crammed with churches and a big cathedral. At its centre there’s a square that used to be a fish market. Today, there’s a fountain with a big fish sculpture in the middle to mark its historic importance. You can also visit the clock tower, which has got two ornate clock faces. Head inside to climb to the top of the tower and you’ll find far-stretching views across the cityscape. Back on the ground, head to one of the city’s many wine bars for a glass of locally produced vino.
You’ve come full circle today, as you arrive back in Frankfurt. Disembark after breakfast on board and trasnfer to the airport for your flight to the UK.
|22 August 2021||£899|
- Upgrade to All Inclusive from £252pp
- Direct flights from a range of UK airports with 20kg luggage allowance
- 7 nights on board TUI Maya
- 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)
- Free WiFi (signal permitting)
- £120pp Experience Credit per 7 days
- All tips and port charges
- Koblenz hilltop fortress & scenic cable car
- Walking tour of Koblenz
- Koblenz tourist train & wine tasting
- Mannheim walking tour with ‘Bertha Benz’
- Heidelberg city tour & castle
- Speyer city tour
- Exploring the Black Forest
- Half-day trip to Colmar
- Strasbourg city tour
- Lucerne city tour
- Sightseeing tour of Basel
- Colmar city tour
- Walking tour of Breisach & wine tasting
- Walking tour of Speyer
- German wine route and tasting session
- Heidelberg Castle & city tour