Rhine River Cruise: Basel to Amsterdam

On this river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam there’s a fairytale moment lying in wait for you just beyond the next river bend. Enjoy guided city tours & an exclusive private tour of a Baroque palace.

8 Days
Zurich to Amsterdam
From (USD)
$ 4,395
Dates & Pricing

2020 Zurich > Amsterdam

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers, the Rhine meanders through a storied landscape dotted with castles, vineyards, and medieval towns.
On an 8-day cruise, journey to four countries linked by this fabled waterway, discovering their intertwined histories and cultures. Set out from Switzerland to encounter Strasbourg’s charming half-timbered houses, glide along Amsterdam’s iconic canals in the Netherlands, and marvel at Germany’s magnificent castles and cathedrals from Heidelberg to Cologne. Pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—a UNESCO World Heritage site of stunning natural beauty—and take in panoramic views while biking along the river. As we sail these storied waterways, enjoy the freedom and flexibility to tailor the itinerary to your interests, choosing from a variety of available excursions at each port of call—and benefit from the insights provided by the National Geographic Expert and the National Geographic photographer who accompany us on the journey.
Tour Map
Tour Code:
8 days
Departure City:
Return City:

Selected Itinerary

David Stone

National Geographic Expert, Daniel Stone

Departure date: July 15, 2020
Daniel Stone is a National Geographic contributing editor and a professor of environmental science at Johns Hopkins University. For the magazine, he has covered archaeology in the German Alps, urban design and planning in the Netherlands, and the historic preservation of Western Europe's classic architecture. He has circled the world on assignment for National Geographic and led Onward, one of the Geographic's early experiments in multimedia reporting. He edits Your Shot and Proof, the magazine's spotlights on photographers around the world. Daniel is the author of The Food Explorer, about the true adventures of early 20th-century food spy David Fairchild, and about the origins of the modern global food system. He has a life-long passion for travel, adventure, and sharing great stories.

National Geographic Photographer, Susan Seubert

Departure date: July 15, 2020
Award-winning travel and editorial photographer Susan Seubert has photographed more than 30 feature stories for National Geographic Traveler. Her subjects range from Canada to the Caribbean and from Europe to Asia and beyond. Based in Portland, Oregon and Maui, Hawaii, Susan travels throughout the world shooting a variety of subjects and capturing a sense of place through her wide-ranging imagery. She has gone on assignment in Europe for National Geographic Traveler magazine, including for a piece covering the Grand Tour of Switzerland. Seubert has joined numerous National Geographic Expeditions over the years, from Alaska to Antarctica, and she also lectures regularly at such institutions as Harvard University and the Portland Art Museum. Her work has been recognized by Columbia University's Alfred Eisenstadt Award and most recently by the North American Travel Journalists Association for excellence in photography. Susan'sin-depth knowledge of digital technologies and her multimedia skills keep her at the cutting edge of visual storytelling.

8 Day Itinerary

  1. Day 1 - Zurich/Basel, Switzerland

    Arrive in Zurich and transfer to our ship in Basel this afternoon. Settle into your spacious suite, or head to the sundeck for your first al fresco cocktail hour overlooking the river. This evening, set sail on the Rhine.

    Meals Included: Dinner

  2. Day 2 - Strasbourg, France/Mittelbergheim, France or Black Forest, Germany

    Having switched allegiances between France and Germany several times, Strasbourg is a fascinating cultural amalgam. Today you’ll have the option to explore the city on a guided tour of its half-timbered old town, or to venture beyond the riverbank, deeper into either France or Germany. Travelers who fancy a day in the French countryside will visit charming Mittelbergheim to sip Alsatian wines at a local winstub, while the more active excursion to Germany is focused on the traditional past time of hiking on a wanderweg through the coniferous Black Forest.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  3. Day 3 - Heidelberg/Grube Messel

    Go ashore in Mannheim and travel north to Grube Messel, a fossil pit that has revealed discoveries critical to our understanding of mammalian evolution. Explore this World Heritage site, featured in a February 2000 National Geographic magazine article. It was here that “Ida,” the world’s most complete primate fossil, was found in 1983. Alternatively, venture aboard the MS Burgundy, a laboratory boat for the Rhineland-Palatinate environmental ministry. This floating research station helps measure the river’s water quality and monitor regional water management. Take a tour of the boat and its facilities, followed by a talk with a scientist. Or travel to Heidelberg, a baroque beauty that inspired authors and composers from the 19th-century German Romantic movement. Stroll the old town and visit its sandstone castle; or take a funicular up the hill, enjoying spectacular views as you hike back down to town. Tonight we’ll gather at an intimate theater in Mannheim Palace for a private concert.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  4. Day 4 - Rudesheim am Rhein

    In Rudesheim am Rhein, board the Winzerexpress mini train for a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet, home to a collection of elaborate self-playing musical instruments. Then ride a cable car to the Niederwald Monument, built to commemorate the unification of Germany. Or set out on a hike through the vineyards surrounding town. This afternoon, we’ll glide past the many medieval towns and castles that dot the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, or Rhine Gorge—a World Heritage site. Head to the ship’s sundeck and practice landscape photography alongside our National Geographic photographer, capturing the perfect angle on this stunning scenery.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  5. Day 5 - Koblenz/Cochem

    Today there are several options for exploring in or around Koblenz, an ancient Roman city straddling the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Choose to visit a fish ladder and learn about the state of fisheries on the Moselle, or venture outside the city limits by bike and pedal along the river like a local. Alternatively, join a guided walking tour through our port of call, featuring stops at the Liebfrauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) which dates back to the 5th century, and the 17th-century Rathaus (town hall). Or choose to visit the fairy tale town of Cochem, overlooking the Moselle Valley.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  6. Day 6 - Cologne/Mettmann

    Dock in Cologne and venture north to Mettmann, a town located in a valley where Neanderthal fossils were first found. The Neanderthal Museum is a tribute to human evolution, and we are invited on an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour of its fossil exhibits. There is also the option to explore Cologne, including a visit to its iconic Gothic cathedral. In our free time, opt to join our photographer for a unique view of the city and its surroundings.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  7. Day 7 - Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Set out to explore timeless Amsterdam, known as the Venice of the North for its picturesque canals. Here, you can see the city from water level during a canal cruise, or take a guided visit through the renowned Rijksmuseum. Or, discover Amsterdam’s iconic outdoor markets—selling everything from household goods to cheeses, bread, and flowers—to get a local flavor of the city.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  8. Day 8 - Amsterdam

    After breakfast, disembark our ship and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

Tour inclusions

The National Geographic Difference
  • In the company of a National Geographic expert, discover historical treasures along the Rhine, from the architectural marvels of Cologne to Strasbourg’s enchanting half-timbered old town.
  • Enjoy an exclusive behind-the-scenes visit to the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann; and explore Grube Messel, the famed fossil site of a National Geographic magazine feature and where “Ida”—the world’s most complete primate fossil—was found.
  • With the spectacular Rhine Gorge as your backdrop, hone your camera skills alongside a National Geographic photographer on the ship’s sundeck.
  • Enjoy a private concert in Mannheim Palace, an architectural gem near Heidelberg.

Pricing & Availability