Fall for the undeniable charms of medieval Germany with its wealth of picturesque towns and villages on our brand new cruise for 2018.
- Return flights
- Visit to Mainz – capital of the Rhineland and once home to Gutenberg
- See the attractive medieval towns of Wertheim & Miltenberg
- Enjoy a guided tour of elegant Würzburg
- Discover the Romantic Road plus picturesque and beautifully preserved 16th century Rothenburg
- Guided tour of medieval Bamberg, one of Europe’s most beautiful small cities
- Tour of Nuremberg – steeped in modern and ancient history
- Visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Regensburg
- Price includes full-board from dinner on your arrival day until breakfast on your final day
- Services of a cruise director and tour manager
You fly to Frankfurt, where your comfortable coach transfer awaits to take you to your ship in Mainz for the start of your great Bavarian adventure. Be welcomed aboard by the dedicated crew, taking in the air of anticipation and excitement as you explore the luxury surroundings that you will call home for the next 7 days. Settle into your exceptionally well equipped cabin, then get acquainted with your ship and your fellow cruisers while you look forward to a delicious first night dinner to start your cruise off in style.
After breakfast, whether you decide to take breakfast in bed or set yourself up for the day at the plentiful buffet, enjoy a morning exploring pretty Mainz, the capital of Rhineland-Palatinate and an important Roman city for 500 years. The 12th century Dom St Martin is a quintessentially Romanesque cathedral that mustn’t be missed – look out for the elaborate tombstones especially. And if one stunning church isn’t enough, romantic St Stephen’s is charming from the outside, but boasts a truly remarkable interior, and will reward visitors with illumination in the incredible bright blue light that floods through the stained glass windows – a masterpiece by great artist Marc Chagall.
For lovers of books and those keen to delve into the dusty chapters of history, the Gutenberg Museum is a must as it is home to two very rare Gutenberg Bibles, the first books ever printed. You can even try out Gutenberg’s 15th century book printing technology for yourself in the Druckladen print shop – you’ll agree it’s a tricky skill to master!
Of course, as Mainz is also at the very heart of Germany’s winelands, it would be rude to leave without sampling a local drop. Discover wonderfully olde worlde taverns among the pastel-clad and timber criss-crossed buildings of the Old Town or, if beer is more your tipple of choice, the vaulted chambers of the Eisgrub-Brau beer hall are a fine place to sample a mug of the local dark beer.
As the day progresses into afternoon, find yourself back aboard your elegant vessel, cruising by the mesmerising scenery along the banks of the Main River. Watch transfixed as evening encroaches and darkness falls upon the lush green landscape that surrounds you on all sides.
Awake refreshed from your comfortable overnight cruise and peek out of your cabin window to find yourself greeted by a change of scenery. You’re moored in pretty Miltenberg, one of Germany’s best preserved medieval villages, and a labyrinth of winding alleys and lanes beg exploration. Backed by dense, emerald-green forest, this picturesque stop off has something of a fairytale feel and comes complete with its very own castle nestled into the lush, tree-clad hillside.
Admire the impressive gatehouse, which stands like a proud guardian to the village, and wander across the charming market place, lined by traditional ‘fachwerk’ buildings, instantly recognisable by their grids of timber framing. The story goes that locals were allowed unlimited free wood from the surrounding forests, hence the abundance of this architectural style! The trickling fountain, ornately carved from stone and complete with dancing cherubs, and the intricately detailed Gasthaus Zum Riesen, which claims to be Germany’s oldest tavern, are highlights of this gorgeous square.
In the afternoon, pass under Miltenberg’s red brick bridge and continue cruising to Wertheim, navigating the gentle meandering bends that characterise the River Main. Relax and take in the scenery while sipping your choice of tea or coffee (complimentary, naturally) or maybe something a little more fortifying from the bar. Or watch the riverside scenes slip by from the privacy and comfort of your sumptuous cabin, many of which have French balconies allowing for incredible unhindered views.
While Wertheim is completely off the main tourist trail radar, it’s a delightful surprise to those who happen upon it on a Main River cruise, and all the better for its peaceful untouched quality. Pass the fishing boats riding at anchor whilst admiring the muted colours of the sage green, palest lilac and buttercup yellow houses opposite. A russet-walled 12th century castle overlooks the Old Town, surveying the church spires and turrets, and the patchwork of multicoloured buildings below. Peruse the quaint and colourful market square – looking out for the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Zobelhaus, a sure contender for the narrowest house in rural Germany!
This evening it’s another delectable dinner, well-earned from all that discovery, and an overnight cruise to mesmerising Würzburg.
Würzburg is quite a marvel, contrasting with the quaint towns and villages that you’ve encountered on your adventure so far. This elegant Bavarian city, founded in the 10th century as the centre of the kingdom known as Franconia, sits resplendent and impressive on the banks of the Main. Neat blocks of grand pastel buildings are peppered with the spires and domes of the city’s many churches, chapels and cathedrals.
The true jewel in Würzberg’s illustrious crown however is the Residenz, a truly stunning example of a Baroque palace that whisks you back in time to a more romantic age. This morning we have a tour of the city and then a delicious lunch served on board, followed by a gentle cruise to Bamberg. Alternatively, you may take the option of a tour to Rothenburg, along the whimsical Romantic Road, which has Würzburg at its head. Perfectly named, in view of the romantic sights which pass by as you travel further into this German fairy story. Arrive at spectacular 16th century Rothenburg, crowning a hill the views over the meandering river below are astonishing. Explore its narrow cobbled streets lined with tall gabled half-timbered houses surrounded by perfectly preserved medieval walls, before re-joining the cruise as it glides its way towards the wonder that is Bamberg.
Another new day, another breathtaking vista when you draw back the curtains in your cabin. Bamberg is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful small towns in the whole of Europe, and UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site by way of confirmation. Planned by Emperor Heinrich II in the 11th century as a Franconian capital as grand as Rome, Bamberg sits on seven lush green hills, akin to its Italian inspiration. Join the guided tour and take in the historic Old Town and impressive multi-spired cathedral. Although perhaps the most noticeable and intriguing landmark is Bamberg’s Old Town Hall, which sits on an island in the middle of the sublime river, flanked by bridges either side. From here you can also see the riverside fishermen’s houses known as Little Venice. On leaving delightful Bamberg, we join the Rhine-Danube canal a superb feat of German engineering which, as its name implies, guides us to that other great central European artery, the sublime River Danube. But before that and after lunch it’s the steady meander to Nuremberg. Take the afternoon to enjoy the ship’s five star facilities, while taking in the magnificent undulating landscape that you venture deeper into. Indulge in afternoon tea and perhaps chef’s special patisserie, while being sure to leave room for the evening’s splendid dinner.
Wake in Nuremberg, having glided effortlessly through the night, and choose either to join the guided tour or explore at your leisure. History buffs will find this Bavarian city intriguing for its association with the Second World War, as the site of many pre-war Nazi rallies and then, later, the International War Crimes Tribunal. However, it’s impossible to hold this unfortunate blighted past against Nuremberg, when faced with its picture-perfect streets, enchanting castle (rebuilt after WWII bombings) and breathtaking landmarks, including the Church of St Lawrence, a towering example of stunning Gothic architecture, and the intricate Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) which boasts a working mechanical clock and overlooks the bustling Hauptmarkt Square with its legendary golden fountain. Taste the fairytale on market days with a bite of Nuremberg’s famous gingerbread, perhaps purchasing a stash to spice up the biscuit tin back home!
Rest in luxury back aboard the ship after a busy morning of exploration and discovery, and press on through Germany’s rural heart towards Dietfurt for a peaceful overnight mooring.
As we sleep, the ship silently slips its moorings, cruising past Kelheim we join one of Europe’s most gorgeous rivers, immortalised in verse, song and music, the majestic River Danube. Passing hills which seem to roll on endlessly for miles, we arrive at our final destination, Regensburg. Once Roman, and mercifully spared any war damage, the city is just wonderful and your heart literally lifts as you first catch sight of the city’s iconic Old Stone Bridge. Roam this UNESCO World Heritage Site freely in the afternoon, perhaps visiting the Altes Rathaus (old town hall) complete with medieval torture chamber in the cellar! It’s impossible to miss the imposing cathedral of St Peter, which towers over the colourful Domplatz in all its Gothic glory, and Thurn und Taxis Palace, with its pristinely kept grounds, is a romantic highlight.
After a grand final evening aboard the ship that’s become your home over the last week, undoubtedly spent reminiscing your personal highlights with new friends, you make your departure to Munich airport, taking with you a storybook full of magical memories of your fairy-tale cruise along two of Europe’s most iconic rivers.