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Glacier Express & The Rhine in Flames

11 days From £3,495 per person

Experience the sensational Rhine in Flames display on a luxurious cruise along the Rhine before boarding the iconic Glacier Express for incredible alpine views in the Swiss Alps.

2024 Tour code: GFR24

About the tour

Showcasing the enchanting landscapes of the Rhine, the spectacular Rhine in Flames display, and the incredible panoramic views that the Glacier Express is famed for, this is a rail and cruise holiday that combines the amazing sights from both river and land.

Experience the spectacular scenery of the UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge and sail past charming riverside towns as you explore the renowned beauty of the Rhine region. Explore timeless Heidelberg and visit idyllic Strasbourg before staying in the alpine towns of Zermatt and Chur. Round off your holiday with unrivalled views of the majestic Swiss Alps aboard the legendary Glacier Express.


What’s included


Day 1 – To Amsterdam where we board our luxurious ship

Our holiday begins this morning as we meet at London St Pancras. Aboard the Eurostar we head to Amsterdam, where our magnificent ship awaits us.

After a welcome cocktail this evening, we enjoy dinner accompanied by a wonderful performance from a traditional Dutch Sea Shanty choir - the perfect start to our c

  • Dinner
Day 2 – Discover vibrant Amsterdam

We head into Amsterdam for a guided tour this morning. From idyllic canals and large parks to contemporary art galleries and futuristic architecture, this is a lively city that's as modern as it is historic. On the tour, you'll see some of the city's most iconic landmarks, including the Rijksmuseum and Dam Square.

During a delightful lunch on board, we continue sailing to Cologne, embarking on our first relaxing cruise of the holiday.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 – Lively Cologne and The Rhine in Flames

This morning we arrive in Cologne for a walking tour of the city. As we explore its vibrant streets and lively squares, we admire the Romanesque townhouses before visiting the city's impressive Gothic cathedral which is the largest in Northern Europe. The intricate spires and magnificent stained glass windows of this UNESCO-listed landmark are captivating as we marvel at the grand architecture.

This evening is a highlight of our cruise - the spectacular Rhine in Flames procession. This event is a stunning procession of illuminated boats, fireworks and music along the Rhine River. It's a breathtaking display of colours, lights and sounds that brings together locals and visitors alike to celebrate summer nights with a sense of magic, romance and community.

As we're a part of the spectacle, our boat is decorated with brilliant lights in preparation. We have the best seat in the house, from our ship, and we celebrate as the sky lights up, the city is illuminated, and the river shimmers with vibrant colours. At the end of the procession, we sail towards Königswinter where we moor.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 – The magical Middle Rhine and the wonderful Drachenfelsbahn

We bid farewell to Cologne this morning, setting off on our journey upstream. After breakfast, we head to the top deck as we sail by the historic city of Bonn, once a proud Roman settlement and the illustrious birthplace of the legendary composer, Beethoven.

Continuing upstream, we begin to see the first signs of lush green hills as we arrive in the enchanting town of Königswinter. We enjoy lunch onboard before our journey on the Drachenfelsbahn railway.

This fabulous cog railway rises high into the forests, passing the fairytale Drachenfels castle - which is said to have been the inspiration for the castle in Disney's 'Sleeping Beauty'. We experience wonderful views across the Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany as we climb higher. During lunch onboard our ship in the late afternoon, we set sail. Look out for the impressive Deutsches Eck monument as we approach Koblenz, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle. We moor within easy walking distance for you to explore the beautifully illuminated riverside at leisure before dinner.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 – Picturesque Koblenz, the enchanting Rhine Gorge, and charming Rüdesheim

There's time at leisure this morning to explore Koblenz, once a Roman stronghold. We recommend strolling to Deutsches Eck where you'll be surrounded by inspiring vistas including the mighty Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. After lunch, we commence a highlight of our cruising experience - sailing through the romantic Rhine Gorge.

This section of the Rhine is renowned for its spectacular views and the best place to witness them is from the top deck of our ship. The riverbanks plunge deeper here, and we wind around bends surrounded by endless miles of lush green vineyards, ancient castles, and picturesque riverside towns. It's also one of the narrowest points of the river with one of the strongest currents.

As we sail, we hear the fascinating story of the legendary Lorelei Rock which soars almost 500 feet out of the water. This monument has been the inspiration for countless myths and legends, and we hear of them as we sail by.

We then arrive into the captivating town of Rüdesheim, famous for its delicious white wine, especially the dry Riesling variety. Wander its cobbled streets at your own pace and see the charming half-timbered houses, quaint shops, and enticing wine bars in the Drosselgasse alley before dinner back onboard our ship.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Lovely Speyer and traditional Heidelberg

After breakfast, we step ashore in Speyer this morning and take in the sight of this historic German city and its cathedral. In the afternoon, we journey to the picturesque university town of Heidelberg, known for its lovely Old Town and stunning riverfront which is perfect for a relaxing stroll.

Here, we enjoy a guided tour including a visit to the magnificent ruined, red sandstone castle that towers over the city, providing amazing views of the surrounding forests, river, and cityscape. We return to our ship later for dinner and a restful overnight sailing.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – The enchanting Black Forest or phenomenal Strasbourg

Today, there's a choice of two wonderful excursions. The first is a magical trip into the Black Forest, to witness stunning fairytale panoramas. Experience the beauty of Germany's largest nature park filled with rolling hills, picturesque villages, dense forests, and meadows dotted with wildflowers. As you explore this fairytale setting, you'll learn about the enchanting history and folklore of the region.

Alternatively, you could enjoy a city tour of Strasbourg, where you'll discover its fascinating history, admire its grand architecture and experience its unique character. The city sits on the French-German border and blends the best of the two cultures, with colourful half-timbered houses and cobbled streets. On our tour, we visit the cathedral and the quaint La Petite France district.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 – To wonderful Zermatt

We enjoy our last breakfast onboard this morning before we disembark in Strasbourg. From here, we journey the scenic rail route to Zermatt. Here, we check into our wonderful hotel for two nights in this stunning, car-free mountain village. Sitting at the heart of the Swiss Alps, it has wonderful views of the surrounding alpine peaks including the mighty, Matterhorn mountain.

  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 - The beautiful Gornergrat Mountain Railway

A journey on the Gornergrat Mountain Railway awaits us today. This cog railway trip ascends the Gornergrat, to its summit - the second-highest railway in Europe. As we reach the top, stunning views of glaciers, snow-capped peaks, and valleys below are revealed. From here, we enjoy magical views of the surrounding mountains including the imposing Matterhorn.

After lunch surrounded by the views of Gornergrat, we return to Zermatt and discover more of this wonderful resort on a guided tour. Strolling through the traditional streets we're surrounded by wooden chalets and shops selling traditional Swiss products as our guide shares the history of Zermatt giving us a deeper understanding of the beautiful resort. The rest of your day is at leisure to enjoy the scenery and tranquillity.

  • Breakfast
Day 10 – The iconic Glacier Express and charming Chur

Today, we board the magnificent Glacier Express. Our panoramic journey takes us through undeniably Swiss scenes of green meadows, dense, evergreen forests and snow-capped mountains, ambling along the beautiful Rhine Valley aboard 'The Slowest Express Train in the World'. We spiral up the mountains, crossing vast viaducts, burrowing through tunnels and rising above the clouds on our way to Chur.

As we arrive and check into our hotel, you can explore the rich history, culture, and sights of Switzerland's oldest village, before dinner this evening. Wander the Altstadt - the Old Town - to discover the authentic restaurants and relaxed bars that add to the town's lovely atmosphere.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 11 – Homeward bound

After breakfast, it's time to bid farewell to lovely Chur. We make our way to the railway station and head towards Paris where we catch Eurostar bound for London St Pancras. Here, we say goodbye to new friends and fellow travellers.

  • 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.


Drachenfels Railway
The Glacier Express


MS Amadeus Star

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Cruise in Europe 2024

Cruise in Europe 2024

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