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  • 12 Days Rhine Highlights from Cologne
  • Special offer from $4,899pp after GCash travel credits and Free Flights vouchers - 12 Days "Rhine Highlights from Cologne" European river cruise package with optional Swiss Alps scenic rail trip and Lake Como stay.
    • Return flights
    • 2 nights top-class accommodation in Frankfurt, Germany
    • Bus transfer to Cologne
    • 8-day, 4.5-star Rhine river cruise with Germany, Netherlands (Amsterdam), France and Switzerland
    • Train to Zurich, Switzerland
    • 2 nights staying in Zurich
    • Optional Bernina Express scenic rail trip from Chur to Tirano, Italy with 4 nights Lake Como for just $999
    Save more than 33% off typical retail. Limited availability. Enquire now.
    Amsterdam
    Amsterdam
    One of the most interesting cities in Europe
    • Frankfurt
      You will spend two nights in Frankfurt before your cruise - with the option to spend that time in Cologne instead
    • Lake Como, Italy
    • Lots of great excursions are offered but you can certainly venture out on your own if you prefer
    • Example of a similar river cruise package from SCENIC CRUISES. This shows the cabin-only price, no accommodation or transfers.
      The cabin grade on Scenic is slightly higher, but not significant enough. The cabins are larger than what Viking offers.
    • European river cruises suit all ages
      Mix with a range of nationalities
    • Cruise dining
      All meals are included. The day starts with a substantial buffet-style breakfast whilst lunch and dinner consist of a wide selection of courses. Dinner is generally served at your table, however on one or two occasions per week, we vary the seated dinner with large theme buffets. We offer a great mix of international dishes and specialities local to the area we are passing through. TIP: You can reserve your seat in the Restaurant as soon as you embark and that seat remains yours for the duration of your cruise.
    • Bernina Express train through the Swiss Alps
      * Bernina Express scenic train from Chur, Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to Tirano, Italy
      * Train from Zurich to Chur and from Tirano to Milan
      * 4 nights, top-class 4-star accommodation in central Milan with breakfast
      * Tours of Lake Como, Bellagio and Lake Maggiore over two full days
      * Flexible day to discover Milan
      $999 package (after GCash credits). See itinerary for more details.
    • French balcony cabin
      Note the amount of space
    • Cologne, Germany
      The starting point for your cruise
    • Basel, Switzerland
    • Amsterdam
      One of the most interesting cities in Europe
    • Ship entry
      Note the high standard of presentation
    • The Middle Rhine Valley
      Spectacular

    YOU PAY FROM $7,882pp $4,899 AFTER GCASH TRAVEL CREDITS & FFV

    Compare to Viking and Scenic cruises. They offer an 8-day river cruise for $4,500 to $6,000 for the CRUISE ONLY. Our price is from $4,899 including return flights, 4-nights Silver standard accommodation with breakfast and transfers with a main deck cruise cabin. Add just $670 per person for middle deck or $890 for the top cabin class. (Middle deck cabin shown.)

    Click/tap to compare

    • Example of a similar river cruise package from SCENIC CRUISES. This shows the cabin-only price, no accommodation or transfers.
    • Ship entry
    • French balcony cabin
    • Cruise dining
    • Example of a similar river cruise package from SCENIC CRUISES. This shows the cabin-only price, no accommodation or transfers.
      The cabin grade on Scenic is slightly higher, but not significant enough. The cabins are larger than what Viking offers.
    • Ship entry
      Note the high standard of presentation
    • French balcony cabin
      Note the amount of space
    • Cruise dining
      All meals are included. The day starts with a substantial buffet-style breakfast whilst lunch and dinner consist of a wide selection of courses. Dinner is generally served at your table, however on one or two occasions per week, we vary the seated dinner with large theme buffets. We offer a great mix of international dishes and specialities local to the area we are passing through. TIP: You can reserve your seat in the Restaurant as soon as you embark and that seat remains yours for the duration of your cruise.

    BOOKING ENQUIRY

    Trip Highlights

    Now from only $4,899 per person including return flights, main deck cabin, 4-nights' hotel accommodation with breakfasts, transfers and more. Compare to a Scenic or Viking River Cruises cabin at around $5,500 to $6,000 per person just for the river cruise.

    Your cruise ship offers very similar standards to Viking, Emerald, Scenic and other well-known brands here in Australia. If the idea of a European river cruise has ever crossed your mind, here is a great opportinity to bring that idea to life.

    Trip highlights:

    • Stay two nights in central Frankfurt on arrival
    • Visit four countries Germany, Netherlands (Holland), France and Switzerland
    • Relax and take in the beautiful scenery every day cruising along the Rhine River
    • See the famous Lorelei in the Rhine Gorge
    • Stop and explore places like Amsterdam, Koblenz and Mannheim in Germany, and Strasbourg, France
    • Enjoy two nights in central Zurich or Bern in Switzerland after your cruise staying in Silver to Gold standard accommodation
    • Option to extend to our Benina Express scenic train trip through the Swiss Alps and visit Lake Como over 5 days for just $999 per person

    * See full itinerary for details. Package price varies according to season and departure city.

    Global Escapes Travel

    In the style of most Global Escapes Independent Traveler itineraries, this is a perfect blend of self-guided adventure and forward-planning to ensure that the main elements are organised in advance allowing for plenty of time to relax and take in each place you visit.

    Member Pricing

    Getaway Cash (GCash) travel credits reduce the price of your trip from retail down to industry-wholesale. Free Flights Vouchers further discount your holiday.

    More Details | Travel Club Free Trial

    Not yet a member? Submit a booking enquiry for any package and we'll automatically register you for a 90-day free trial account with Getaway Cash travel credits to try us out.

    RETAIL VALUE

    $7,882pp

    GETAWAY CASH CREDITS APPLIED

    -$2,583

    YOU PAY*

    $5,299

    DISCOUNT OFF RETAIL VALUE: 33%
    FFV Valid AUSTRALIAN ESCAPES FREE FLIGHTS VOUCHER (FFV) PACKAGES
    USE FREE FLIGHTS VOUCHERS TO SAVE AN EXTRA $400 PER PERSON (YOU PAY $4,899)
    USE YOUR FREE FLIGHTS VOUCHERS TO GET THE LOWEST PRICE! REQUEST PRICING FOR YOUR TRAVEL DATES TODAY...

    * All prices are per-person on a twin-share basis and bookings are subject to availability. Price, Getaway Cash travel credit usage, Free Flights Voucher usage and deposit amount varies according to travel date. All prices are estimates only. A firm quote (travel plan) with payment terms will be submitted for consideration prior to agreement to proceed. Full booking terms and conditions are available here.

    Not yet a member?

    Simply submit a booking enquiry and we'll automatically provide you with a 3-month Travel Club Trial account. No payment is required and you get instant access to member prices.

    Inclusions

    "Along the Rhine Valley forested hillsides alternate with craggy cliffs and terraced vineyards. Idyllic villages appear around each bend, their half-timbered houses and Gothic church steeples seemingly plucked from the world of fairy tales."

    Legendary castles, vibrant cities and romantic wine regions: From the Rhine Knee near Basel to the plain of the Upper Rhine and the impressive gap where the Rhine breaks through the Rhenish Slate Mountains, down to the delta in the Netherlands, this Central European river opens up to you, displaying its variety of landscapes in their full beauty. You will visit some of the most interesting towns in four countries, as well as impressive architectural landmarks, vineyards, castles and ruins as far as the eye can see.

    This is a first-class travel itinerary that's fully flexible. Want more or fewer days or you want to include a special destination or activity? No problem, we’ll customise a travel plan for you.

    Package inclusions:

    • 2 nights' Silver standard accommodation in central Frankfurt with breakfast
    • Sight-seeing tour of Frankfurt
    • Bus service to Cologne in Germany
    • 8-day (7 night), 4.5-star river cruise from Cologne, Germany to Basel, Switzerland
    • Main deck cabin
    • First class train to Zurich, Switzerland (option of Bern or Lucerne)
    • 2 nights' Silver standard accommodation in central Zurich with breakfast
    • Lonely Planet guides for Amsterdam, Germany, and Zurich.
    • No fees to alter the itinerary (you just pay for the adjusted itinerary)
    • Comprehensive, printed itinerary
    • Personal travel consultant

    Optional:

    5-day Bernina Express and Italian lakes extension. You pay only $999 after GCash credits, normal retail $1,750pp. Inclusions:

    • Bernina Express scenic train from Chur, Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to Tirano, Italy
    • Train from Zurich to Chur and from Tirano to Como
    • 1 night accommodation in central Como with breakfast
    • 3 nights, top-class 4-star accommodation in Lenno, Lake Como with breakfast
    • 3 flexible days to explore Lake Como

    River cruise cabin class upgrade options:

    • Middle deck (with scenic windows): Priced according to travel dates.
    • Upper deck (with French balcony): Priced according to travel dates.

    Standard river cruise inclusions:

    • Generous breakfast buffet with coffee, tea and juices
    • Multi-course menus served at table for lunch and dinner
    • Optional light lunch buffet
    • Coffee, tea after lunch and dinner
    • Coffee, cake or midnight snack depending on the daily itinerary
    • Festive gala dinner
    • Welcome & farewell reception with the captain
    • Tables can be reserved on board
    • Cruise director and local tour guides
    • Audio headset system for all excursions
    • On-board entertainment
    • Luggage service from landing stage to cabin for embarking and disembarking
    • All port and passenger fees

    Exclusions:

    • Stop-overs not included. Great-value stop-overs can be arranged in Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai to break the trip there and back.
    • Very affordable cruise excursions and an alcoholic beverage package are available separately or you can pay-as-you-go (recommended).

    Cruise ship, cabin and general information:

    Your 4.5-star river-cruise ship is part of a large fleet operated by a cruise company that has been in operation for over 20 years. The ship is over 130 metres in length and meets the highest standards in design. The generous cabins offer all conveniences and a fantastic view of the banks of the Rhine. But not only the cabins: it does not matter where you are on this ship, the large panorama windows open up a fantastic river cinema. The European cuisine on-board is also superb.

    The cabins are furnished in style and comfort with an air conditioning system that can be regulated separately, shower, TV, telephone, hair dryer and safe. The deluxe cabins have an approx. size of 14.5 sqm. All cabins on the upper deck are equipped with floor to ceiling panorama windows that can be opened (French balcony).

    Train travel in Europe:

    IMPORTANT: You must be able to carry your luggage up and down train station stairs.

    Train travel is a great way to move between destinations in Europe. However, it requires that you be prepared for the fact that European train services are designed for locals not tourists.

    Train stations are typically designed with platforms at ground level and all people movement underground. There will sometimes be an escalator (or occasionally a lift) to take you from the underground area to your platform, however it will not always be the case. You might have to climb quite a number of stairs. The same applies on exiting trains, you might have to descend a long stairway. Keep this in mind when considering luggage size. Mid-size will work best.

    Carefully selected accommodation:

    Hotel standards

    Read about our accommodation rating standards and the methods used to assess quality.

    Fully customisable:

    This itinerary is fully customisable to suit your requirements. Your personal travel consultant is available to discuss changes and additions that will enhance your travel experience.

    Special value:

    Lonely Planet Logo

    Lonely Planet is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travelers. Lonely Planet authors are experienced, insightful travel experts. They personally research the places they write about - both in the first and in subsequent editions - and provide essential travel details along with a wealth of insider information and first-hand tips.

    Germany
    Switzerland
    Amsterdam

    You will receive these guides to help you gain the most out of your holiday. Recommendation: Take the time to read suggestions for things to see and do before you leave home. Take your Lonely Planet guides with you in your luggage.

    Travel Comfort inflatable footrests included:

    There's nothing worse when travelling on a long flight than not being able to lift your feet and get comfortable. Say "hello" to ultimate travel comfort for your legs and feet. We'll include 2 of these as a gift. You can thank us when you return.


    * All prices are per-person on a twin-share basis and bookings are subject to availability. Price and deposit amount varies according to travel date. If flights are shown as included then a flight cost provision (allowance) applies and is based on travel from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. Travel can be arranged from any other major centre and for any number of people. All prices shown are estimates only. A firm quote (travel plan) with payment terms will be submitted for consideration prior to agreement to proceed. Total price after member discount (using Getaway Cash credits and Australian Escapes Free Flights Vouchers if applicable) is generally payable as follows: Deposit on booking, balance 120 days prior to departure. Packages can be priced for families and groups on request. Standard (retail) price comparisons are with similar packages offered elsewhere or what would be payable by a non-member for the same package. Travel insurance if included is a provision only and may be declined on requestTravel insurance pricing if stated is based on comprehensive travel insurance for two travellers aged 69 years or less as at the date of departure from Australia. No recommendations or advice are given in regard to travel insurance suitability. Travel Directions Pty Ltd (t/as Australian Escapes Holiday & Travel Club) standard booking terms and conditions apply to all booking enquiries and bookings and are available here to view (or visit our website and go to either the "Booking Enquiry" or "About Us" menu item.)

    Your Itinerary

    This holiday is affordable quality all the way. Take the river cruise for example. Some cruise companies that are well-known in Australia charge up to three times the price and they will not customise the trip to suit you. We will custom-design your holiday around this cruise to give you exactly the experiences you want. The optional scenic rail trip from Chur, Switzerland to Tirano, Italy through the Swiss Alps is almost a must-do. This trip is the first part of our optional extension that takes you to the city of Como on the edge of Lake Como where you'll stay for one night. The next day you'll take a ferry to an idyllic lakeside hotel for three nights. From there you can take your time to discover this wonderful part of Italy.

    "People don't take trips, trips take people." - John Steinbeck

    DAY 1: ARRIVE FRANKFURT, GERMANY (2 NIGHTS)

    Arrive in Frankfurt and stay in the city centre at one of our featured hotels, the Residence Inn by Marriott where you can relax and unwind from your flight. Depending on arrival time, you can enjoy the city and spend the night out at a local restaurant.


    Frankfurt

    Frankfurt is home to one of the world’s largest stock exchanges and the gleaming headquarters of the European Central Bank, yet at its heart, Frankfurt is an unexpectedly traditional and charming city, with half-timbered buildings huddled in its quaint medieval Altstadt (old town), cosy apple-wine taverns serving hearty regional food, village-like neighbourhoods filled with outdoor cafes, boutiques and street art, and beautiful parks, gardens and riverside paths.

    DAY 2: FRANKFURT, GERMANY

    After your included breakfast head out for a guided tour of the city. There are numerous museums, leafy parks and cosy districts for you to discover with the aid of the expert guide. Plus you'll learn about dining options and things to do during the resty of the day and in the evenings.

    DAY 3: FRANKFURT - COLOGNE, GERMANY

    This morning you'll take a bus to Cologne. Here you'll meet up with your river cruise ship, your home for the next seven nights.


    Cologne, Germany

    Passengers are welcome to board the cruise ship from 3:00 pm. After comfortably settling into your cabin, we'll introduce our crew at a welcome cocktail. The details of our gala evening will be announced as well.

    DAY 4: AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS

    You can choose to explore the city on your own, using your Lonely Planet guide to point you in the right direction. Or take our optional walking tour through the centre of Amsterdam. Your guide will tell you about all the insights of this magical city.


    Amsterdam

    Amsterdam has been famous around the world for hundreds of years. It is a beautiful city, full of history, stories, legends, and places to explore. Walk past the canals and hear about the vibrant and sometimes tumultuous history of this Netherlands capital. From the city's most significant landmarks to everyday areas of interest, this walking tour has it all wrapped into one. Your guide will also explain many tips and insider hints at how to get around the city, local events, and the best places to go. Stay out until late if you wish because our ship will depart at midnight.

    DAY 5: NIJMEGAN, NETHERLANDS

    We dock at 8.00am and you can take the guided tour of this friendly town or explore it yourself. Nijmegen buzzes with energy and is a vibrant place to spend a few hours. This is the oldest town in the Netherlands with a compact medieval centre yet all the urban-cool of a big city. Historic cafes, specialist craft-coffee shops and a decent smattering of museums and monuments lace its streets that stagger gently from the 16th-century Lower Town by the banks of the Waal River to the older Upper Town.

    DAY 6: RETURN TO COLOGNE, GERMANY

    Head out this morning to discover Cologne. The city offers a mother lode of attractions, led by its famous cathedral whose filigree twin spires dominate the skyline. The city’s museum landscape is especially strong when it comes to art but also has something in store for fans of chocolate, sports and even Roman history. Cologne's people are known for their liberalism and joie-de-vivre. Tonight we cruise to Koblenz and dock at 10pm.

    DAY 7: KOBLENZ, GERMANY - MIDDLE RHINE CRUISING - RÜDESHEIM, GERMANY

    Koblenz is a park and flower-filled city that serves as both the northern gateway to the Romantic Rhine Valley and the northeastern gateway to the Moselle Valley, making it an ideal stopping-off point for your Rhine River cruise. Take the morning to enjoy the city.


    The Middle Rhine Valley

    Later today we cruise through one of the most famous and picturesque parts of the Rhine Valley called the Middle Rhine. Between Koblenz and Rüdesheim, the Rhine cuts deeply through the Rhenish slate mountains, meandering between hillside castles and steep fields of wine-producing grapes. This is Germany’s landscape at its most dramatic – forested hillsides alternate with craggy cliffs and near-vertical terraced vineyards. Idyllic villages appear around each bend, their half-timbered houses and Gothic church steeples seemingly plucked from the world of fairy tales. At the tip of a narrow breakwater jutting into the Rhine, a bronze sculpture of Loreley's famous maiden perches lasciviously atop a rocky platform.

    We dock in Rüdesheim at 7:30 pm. You then have the option to travel on the Winzerexpress train to "Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet" with 350 automatically playing instruments or spend the evning on board or out and about.

    DAY 8: RÜDESHEIM - MANNHEIM, GERMANY

    We leave Rüdesheim in the early hours of the morning and cruise through some more beautiful Rhine Valley country-side, stopping at Mannheim around lunch-time. Situated between the Rhine and Neckar Rivers, near their confluence, Mannheim has an energetic cultural scene and decent shopping in its busy city centre. Take the afternoon to wander the streets of the town centre or visit Mannheim’s most famous sight - the yellow and red sandstone Schloss, Germany’s largest baroque palace.

    DAY 9: STRASBOURG, FRANCE

    We arrive in Strasbourg at 7.30am so you'll have some free time to explore this magical town that walks a fine tightrope between France and Germany and between a medieval past and a progressive future. There's an optional visit to the cathedral of Notre-Dame. Tear your gaze away from that mesmerising Gothic cathedral for just a minute and you’ll be roaming the old town’s twisting alleys lined with crooked half-timbered houses à la Grimm. Strasbourg for you lots of contradictions and cross-cultural quirks.

    This afternoon we cruise into Switzerland where you'll witness some even more spectacular scenery. Tonight is our gala dinner and evening.

    DAY 10: BASEL, SWITZERLAND - ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (2 NIGHTS)

    We'll arrive in Basel in the morning and disembark after breakfast. Leave your bags at the train station and take the rest of the day to enjoy this lovely city.


    Basel, Switzerland

    Basel's position at the juncture of the French, German and Swiss borders adds to its multicultural appeal. It's easy to spend a day wandering the cobbled streets of the lofty and beautiful Altstadt in Grossbasel (Greater Basel) on the Rhine's south bank before crossing the Mittlere Brücke to Kleinbasel (Little Basel) for a more "everyday" vibe and riverside alfresco dining. This afternoon you catch a train to Zurich where you'll stay for two nights. (Optional: Stay at Bern or Lucerne.)

    DAY 11: ZURICH

    Culturally vibrant, efficiently run and attractively set at the meeting of river and lake, Zürich is regularly recognised as one of the world's most liveable cities. Long known as a savvy, hard-working financial centre, Switzerland's largest and wealthiest metropolis has also emerged in the 21st century as one of Central Europe's hippest destinations, with an artsy, post-industrial edge that is epitomised in its exuberant summer Street Parade. Your Lonely Planet guide is your best resource to discover this great town.

    DAY 12: RETURN TO AUSTRALIA (OR CONTINUE TO THE ITALIAN LAKES)

    It’s time to say farewell to Switzerland, the beautiful Rhine River and the cities and towns you've experienced on your European holiday. But, of course you can extend your holiday for a few extra nights.

    Optional:

    5-day Bernina Express and Italian lakes extension: You pay only $999 after GCash credits, normal retail $1,750pp.


    Bernina Express train through the Swiss Alps

    Includes:

    • Bernina Express scenic train from Chur, Switzerland through the Swiss Alps to Tirano, Italy
    • Train from Zurich to Chur and from Tirano to Como
    • 1 night accommodation in central Como with breakfast
    • 3 nights, top-class 4-star accommodation in Lenno, Lake Como with breakfast
    • 3 flexible days to explore Lake Como

    DAY 12: ZURICH - CHUR - SWISS ALPS - TIRANO - COMO (1 NIGHT)

    Early this morning you will take the train to Chur, Switzerland to then embark on a spectacular scenic rail trip through the Swiss Alps. On the highest railway across the Alps, the Bernina Express climbs up to the glistening glaciers before descending to the palms of Italy far below. Delight in the cultural and natural surroundings as you travel in style.

    After leaving the Bernina Express at Tirano, Italy, you can have lunch at an Italian Ristorante then later catch your connecting train to Como where you will spend the afternoon relaxing and taking in the local sights. Use your Lonely Planet guide for ideas.

    DAY 13: COMO - LENNO, LAKE COMO (3 NIGHTS)


    Lake Como, Italy

    After a delicious breakfast, take some time to explore local experiences you might've missed yesterday in Como before boarding a ferry to the picturesque village of Lenno on Lake Como. Lake Como is a destination with pure beauty, marvelous nature and breath-taking views, where you can walk, catch ferries all around, relax, explore and enjoy your Italian Lakes holiday.

    Lenno is an attractive town near the centre of the lake. After checking-in to your accommodation, visit the beautiful promenade on the edge of the lake. The small harbour and views across Lake Como to the forested hills across the lake are spectacular. There is a small beach at the end of the promenade where you can watch the sun set.

    DAY 14 & 15: LAKE COMO

    The next two days of your holiday can be spent relaxing at leisure. Your Lonely Planet guide will be invaluable for exploring and discovering the best places to visit, shop and eat.

    We reccommend taking some time to explore the town itself; there are two parts to the town centre, with the main centre near the church and just behind the harbour, and the small historic centre a few hundred metres to the south.

    Several beautiful villages are also in the centre of the lake including Bellagio, Menaggio and Varenna, which you can visit by ferry.

    DAY 16: RETURN TO AUSTRALIA

    Following a delicious breakfast, take a peaceful lakeside stroll before transferring by train to Milan via Como for your flight home. This optional extension is a wonderful addition to your holiday.

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