The Rhine – From Sea to Source

An Aerial View of Arnhem, Holland  - © NBTC
Bernina Express - Chur to Tirano - © swiss-image.ch/Marcus Gyger
Boppard in the Middle Rhine region
Boppard riverside
Bridge across River Rhine in Schaffhausen
Steamship Goethe leaving St. Goar - © Alan Heywood
Mainau Island, Lake Constance
Hook of Holland - © Hook of Holland Tourism
Old town of Chur - © swiss-image.ch/Markus Buehler-Rasom
Rhine Falls at Schaffhausen
River Rhine, Cologne
Schaffhausen, Switzerland - © Capricorn Studio
Source of the River Rhine near the Oberalp Pass, Switzerland - © Switzerland Tourism
Glacier Express - © swiss-image.ch
Lake Thun - © swiss-image.ch
Tropical Gardens at Insel Mainau, Lake Constance

Holiday Highlights

  • Wonderful scenery throughout the tour
  • All travel by train or boat
  • Old paddle steamer cruises on Rhine and Lake Thun
  • River cruise to Stein am Rhein and cruise on Lake Constance
  • First Class Bernina and Glacier Express train journeys through the Swiss Alps
  • All overnight stays in historic old towns
  • First class Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited travel in Switzerland
  • 14 Days From £2,390pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Thursday 7 June to Wednesday 20 June 2018

The mighty Rhine is still an important waterway for the transport of goods and includes some impressive scenery along its length. We follow its course from the North Sea to its source in the Swiss Alps. This tour includes stops at a tropical garden, waterfalls, lakes and high mountains!

ITINERARY

Day 1 – From London to the Netherlands

Depart from London St. Pancras with the mid-morning Eurostar train to Brussels, then by connecting service to Roosendaal and Arnhem for a 2-night stay.

Day 2 – The North Sea

A day trip to the Hook of Holland where the Rhine enters the North Sea. Return to Arnhem for an opportunity to explore the city and visit the John Frost Bridge, site of the famous ‘Operation Market Garden’ in the Second World War.

Day 3 – Boppard

We continue via Cologne to the riverside town of Boppard for a 2-night stay. Boppard is situated in one of the most scenic parts of the Rhine Gorge and makes an ideal centre.

Day 4 – On the River

We take a trip on the paddle steamer “Goethe” up-stream to Rüdesheim, passing numerous castles, vineyards and the Loreley Rock. Arriving mid-afternoon, there is time to look around Rüdesheim before returning to Boppard by train along the east bank of the river and Koblenz.

Day 5 – We reach Switzerland

Continuing south to Basle, we change trains at the city’s Badische Bahnhof and follow the northern (German) bank of the Rhine via Waldshut to Schaffhausen, just over the border in Switzerland, for a 3-night stay.

Day 6 – River Cruise to Stein am Rhein

We take a river cruise to Stein am Rhein where there is time for lunch before returning to Schaffhausen by train and a visit to the beautiful Rhine Falls.

Day 7 – Insel Mainau - The Flower Island

The Rhine flows through Lake Constance and we take the train to Romanshorn to connect with a lake sailing to Insel Mainau, an island close to the city of Konstanz and renowned for its sub tropical gardens. After a visit to the gardens and a short ferry transfer to Kreuzlingen, we return by train to Schaffhausen.

Day 8 – Chur

Morning train to Zürich with connection to Chur in eastern Switzerland, where we stay for 3 nights. Our hotel is in the pedestrianised old town, just a short distance from the station. Chur is the home of the UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railways and this afternoon there is time to take the train to Arosa, climbing up the spectacular valley of the Plessur, a tributary of the Rhine.

Day 9 – Bernina Express

We cross two major European watersheds as we take the famous Bernina Express train across the Alps to northern Italy. Starting in the valley of the Rhine, we climb via a series of amazing spirals and hairpins to the Albula Pass where a tunnel takes us into the valley of the River Inn, a tributary of the Danube. From here we climb once more to the summit of the Bernina Pass where water from a lake flows two ways – north to the Inn and, eventually, the Black Sea and south to the River Po and the Mediterranean.

Day 10 – To the Source

Two arms of the Rhine join upstream from Chur. We follow the Hinter Rhine by train to Thusis, then by postbus to the San Bernardino Pass and on to Bellinzona. We then take a train up the Gotthard main line to Göschenen and continue by narrow gauge train to the summit of the Oberalp Pass, the source of the other arm of the Rhine, the Vorder Rhine. Return by train to Chur.

Day 11 – Glacier Express

Another chance to see the spectacular line up to the Oberalp Pass as we ride the Glacier Express train, once famously described as the “slowest express train in the world” – but who would want to rush through such beautiful scenery? Passing through the Furka Tunnel, we are now in the valley of the River Rhône. Changing at Visp, we cross the Alps yet again (or rather tunnel under them on this occasion) and find ourselves on the shore of beautiful Lake Thun. We have a 2-night stay in the town of Thun.

Day 12 – Bernese Oberland

Full day excursion by rail to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, then by cable car to Mürren for spectacular views of the mountains Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Returning to Interlaken down the valley of the River Lutschine (a tributary of the Rhine), we change to a paddle steamer for the journey back to Thun.

Day 13 – Basle and Cologne

By main line train to Basle where we change for our service to Cologne, following the river once more.

Day 14 – Home Again

High speed service to Brussels to connect with Eurostar to London, arriving early afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Hotel Haarhui, Arnhem

Bellevue Rheinhotel, Boppard

Hotel Bahnhof, Schaffhausen

Hotel Freieck, Chur

Hotel Holiday, Thun

Ibis Köln am Dom, Cologne

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Wonderful scenery throughout the tour
  • All travel by train or boat
  • Old paddle steamer cruises on Rhine and Lake Thun
  • River cruise to Stein am Rhein and cruise on Lake Constance
  • First Class Bernina and Glacier Express train journeys through the Swiss Alps
  • All overnight stays in historic old towns
  • First Class Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited travel in Switzerland

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £2,390
Single room supplement: £495
Deposit for this holiday: £100
   
Rates of exchange used are as at 1st August 2017

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