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The Mont Blanc Express and Rhine Cruise

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Soak up the Swiss culture in Montreux and uncover the majesty of the Rhine.

11 days From £3,095 per person
Operated by our sister company Great Rail Journeys

2023 Tour code: MAR23

About the tour

Soak up Swiss culture in Montreux from our 5-Star lakeside hotel. We also journey through the mountains to France on the Mont Blanc Express and enjoy a trip to Lavaux, where a vineyard tour and tasting reveal the unique local wines.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary:

Some departures run a reversed itinerary – View reversed Amsterdam - Basel itinerary (AMR23)

Itinerary: Amsterdam - Basel

You are viewing the reversed itinerary – switch back to itinerary (MAR23)

Day 1 - London and Montreux

We meet at London St Pancras and board the Eurostar to Paris, continuing by rail to Montreux, in Switzerland. Here, we stay at the 5-Star Fairmont Le Montreux Palace for three nights.

Day 2 - Wine tasting in Cully

After a free morning, we take the train to Cully, in the nearby Lavaux region, where terraced vineyards rise from the shores of Lake Geneva. We enjoy a tour of the surrounding wine estates from our seat aboard the charming Lavaux Express, a tractor-pulled road train that winds through the vineyards and surrounding villages. Admire panoramic views of the lush vines against the contrasting, turquoise waters of the lake before we arrive back in Cully for a visit to a local winery, where we enjoy a talk from the owner before a tasting of the excellent wines. We take the train back to Montreux where your evening is free. You could settle down outside a bistro for an al fresco meal and sample some iconic Swiss classics such as cheese fondue, raclette or crispy potato rosti.

Day 3 - The Mont Blanc Express

Boarding the Mont Blanc Express, we ride the length of this spectacular line across the French border to Chamonix. The route meanders through rows of vineyards before entering France. Passing through the charming landscapes of the Rhône Valley, the train climbs high into the mountains. Using a rack-and pinion mechanism, the we ascend past snow-capped peaks and deep valleys before reaching the Trient Gorge. On our approach to the Chamonix Valley, we're welcomed by the breathtaking sight of glistening glaciers and majestic Mont Blanc itself. There's some free time in Chamonix before we make the return journey.

Day 4 - Basel

After a relaxed morning, we take the train to Basel. Here, a coach transfers us to our 5-Star Amadeus cruise ship and we begin our unforgettable Rhine cruise.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Strasbourg

Our vessel sails into the charming French city of Strasbourg today. Strasbourg's position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second choice sees you travel into the famous Black Forest, passing through stunning fairytale panoramas.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Heidelberg & Speyer

We arrive in Speyer this morning, where there's free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately-owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit.

Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful university town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle that stands guard over the riverbanks, proudly looking over the town below.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Rüdesheim & the Rhine Gorge

Today we sail into the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production, especially of the dry Riesling variety. Perhaps walk along the river during your free time here this morning, before our ship departs for Koblenz.

This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer banks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway.

Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centrepiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world. We sail this evening into the enchanting city of Koblenz; you may wish to visit one of the famous wine taverns here.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - The Lower Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn

After an evening in Koblenz, we depart and discover the marvellous Lower Rhine, a stretch of river characterised by lush green meadows and postcard villages.

Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachensfelbahn railway. This rack railway rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Cologne

Today, we arrive into Cologne, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-year-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque town-houses. Tonight we enjoy a gala dinner with the captain.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 - Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train

We arrive in Amsterdam this morning where we have a choice of two excursions, the first is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the splendid Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through enchanting Dutch scenery.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 - London

We disembark the ship this morning and here your cruise concludes. Here, you are escorted to the railway station for your train to London, with your Tour Manager.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 1 - Amsterdam

Today, meet your Tour Manager and the rest of your group at London St Pancras before travelling on the Eurostar service to Amsterdam, where you'll be escorted to the ship. This evening, we enjoy a welcome cocktail before dinner this evening.

 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Amsterdam and the Medemblik Steam Train

Today we have a choice of two excursions, the first of which is a city tour of Amsterdam. One of the most popular of all the European cities, Amsterdam is as modern as it is historic, as young as it is old. From idyllic canals and large parks, to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a city that boasts something for everyone. The second option is an excursion to Hoorn where we board the splendid Medemblik Steam Train and enjoy a nostalgic trip through splendid Dutch scenery.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Cologne

This morning, we arrive into Cologne, we venture forth into this vibrant German city on a walking tour. We visit the resplendent cathedral, a centuries-year-old building which survived 14 aerial hits during bombing across the Second World War. We also wander through the many bustling squares, labyrinthine streets and see Romanesque town-houses.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - The Upper Rhine and the Drachenfelsbahn

We depart from Cologne this morning and discover the marvellous Upper Rhine, a stretch of river characterised by lush green meadows and postcard villages. Our Cruise Director provides us with the history of this area, and highlights points of interest. In the afternoon, we dock in Koenigswinter, where we embark on a journey on the Drachensfelbahn railway. This rack railway rises into the mountains and high into the forests for wonderful views across the Rhine- Westphalia region of Germany. In the evening, we indulge with a traditional gourmet dinner which features Spargelzeit, a kind of white asparagus which is famous in this area. (Please note, Spargelzeit depends on seasonal availability).

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Rudesheim & The Rhine Gorge

After free time to explore Koblenz this morning.

This afternoon includes one of the highlights of the tour as we pass through the glorious Rhine Gorge, one of the most beautiful sections of the river and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Sheer river banks rise up, towering over the river below, covered in deep forests and miles of green vineyards, lending an almost ethereal feel to the waterway. We enjoy a commentary from our knowledgeable Cruise Director during this passage.

Our lunch today sees us tuck into a wonderful themed buffet with a suckling pig as the striking centrepiece, and several smaller dishes from this part of the world making up the rest of the offerings. Weather permitting we'll enjoy our lunch on the sun deck as we take in the majesty of the glorious Rhine Gorge. 

This evening we sail to the classic German town of Rüdesheim am Rhein, known for its formidable wine production especially of the dry Riesling variety.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Speyer & Heidelberg

We arrive into Speyer on this morning, where you have free time to explore. This town is home to one of the largest privately owned collections of vehicles in the world, the Technik Museum Speyer. Featuring an entire jumbo jet, army vehicles, emergency vehicles, a submarine and much more, this museum is a treasure trove of vehicular delights and is well worth a visit. Later in the afternoon, we have an excursion to the delightful academic town of Heidelberg where we are treated to a guided tour. Heidelberg is famous for a magnificent ruined castle, proudly stood high above the town below, gazing down onto the river and the attractive town houses.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Strasbourg

Our vessel sails into the charming German town of Kehl today. Sat across the Rhine from Kehl is the beautiful city of Strasbourg, whose position on the German-French border has seen it change hands between the two nations frequently throughout history. Because of this, Strasbourg represents the best of both cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets.

You have two choices here. Your first option is a city tour of Strasbourg, uncovering its charm and history. Your second choice sees you travel into the famous Black Forest, passing through stunning fairytale panoramas.

Tonight is an opportunity to dress up in our finest as we enjoy a Gala dinner with the captain and crew.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - To Montreux

After a buffet breakfast, we disembark the ship in Basel and transfer by rail to Montreux. On arrival in Montreux check into our hotel, the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace.

Day 9 - The Mont Blanc Express

Boarding the Mont Blanc Express, we ride the length of this spectacular line across the French border to Chamonix. The route meanders through rows of vineyards before entering France. Passing through the charming landscapes of the Rhône Valley, the train climbs high into the mountains. Using a rack-and pinion mechanism, the we ascend past snow-capped peaks and deep valleys before reaching the Trient Gorge. On our approach to the Chamonix Valley, we're welcomed by the breathtaking sight of glistening glaciers and majestic Mont Blanc itself. There's some free time in Chamonix before we make the return journey.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 - Wine tasting in Cully

We take the train to Cully, in the nearby Lavaux region, where terraced vineyards rise from the shores of Lake Geneva. We enjoy a tour of the surrounding wine estates from our seat aboard the charming Lavaux Express, a tractor-pulled road train that winds through the vineyards and surrounding villages. Admire panoramic views of the lush vines against the contrasting, turquoise waters of the lake before we arrive back in Cully for a visit to a local winery, where we enjoy a talk from the owner before a tasting of the excellent wines. We take the train back to Montreux where your evening is free. You could settle down outside a bistro for an al fresco meal and sample some iconic Swiss classics such as cheese fondue, raclette or crispy potato rosti.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11 - Homeward bound

After breakfast, we make our way by rail to Paris where we catch the Eurostar service back to London St Pancras.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Drachenfelsbahn
Eurostar
The TGV
The Mont Blanc Express

Ships

MS Amadeus Queen
MS Amadeus Imperial
MS Amadeus Cara

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The Mont Blanc Express and Rhine Cruise

Soak up the Swiss culture in Montreux and uncover the majesty of the Rhine.

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