Rhine & Rhône Revealed with Barcelona – Southbound 2018

19 Day River Cruise from Amsterdam to Barcelona

2018 Information. Switch to 2019 »

This mesmerizing river cruise and land vacation begins on the Rhine River and then continues on the Saône and Rhône Rivers. Enjoy a canal cruise in splendid Amsterdam, as well as guided sightseeing in Cologne, Koblenz, and Strasbourg. Delight in excursions to Germany’s Black Forest and to Heidelberg—Germany’s oldest university town with its imposing castle. Also, sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, see the legendary Lorelei rock, and visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz. A motorcoach transfer takes you into France’s Burgundy region to fascinating Beaune for a visit to Hôtel-Dieu. Next, board your ship in quaint St. Jean de Losne and set sail for Macon, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, Avignon, and Arles. Daylight permitting, sail into the peaceful Camargue area. Disembark your river cruise ship and arrive in the French Riviera, the splendid Côte d’Azur, for a final night in France.

Transfer to the Nice airport for the start of your Monograms extension. We've arranged your flight to Barcelona, Spain, along with hotel reservations, daily breakfasts, sightseeing with a local expert, transfers to and from your hotel and airport, and more. Plus, we know you may not be familiar with the city, so we've arranged the services of a friendly and knowledgeable Local Host® to answer questions, share inside information, help arrange your activities and excursions, and make you feel right at home. The next morning, after an included breakfast, we’ll pick you up for guided sightseeing with an expert Local Guide that features a drive along the elegant Passeig de Gracia, and visits of Gaudi’s extraordinary Casa Batlló and Sagrada Familia Basilica. In your free time, you could explore the Picasso Museum, catch some rays on the beach, or have fun at Tibidabo Amusement Park. Your Local Host can help you make the most of this fantastic city!

Combine Cruise with a Monograms Vacation

Monograms is independent travel without the hassles that typically come with "ordinary" independent travel. With Monograms, you never have to worry about whether or not your hotel will have your reservation, how to get from here to there, or where to go once you get to your destination—it's the perfect addition to your Avalon river cruise! Avalon makes it easy to add a Monograms London, Paris & London, Aix-en-Provence & Nice, Barcelona or Zürich with Mount Pilatus & Lake Como package to your river cruise.

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Highlights & Sightseeing

Day 1-2 Amsterdam (Embarkation): welcome reception; canal cruise on Day 2

Day 3 Cologne: choice of guided city walk or Jewish Heritage walk

Day 4 Koblenz–Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: guided sightseeing in Koblenz; cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; special treat

Day 5 Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg: guided walk, visit the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz; excursion to Heidelberg, guided visit of the castle, see the Great Vat

Day 6 Strasbourg: guided sightseeing, visit the La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral; onboard woodcarving demonstration

Day 7 Breisach. Excursion to the Black Forest: visit a local woodcarver’s workshop or visit a Black Forest open-air museum

Day 8 Basel (Disembarkation)–Beaune–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre: transfer to Beaune, visit Hôtel-Dieu; onboard welcome reception

Day 9 Seurre–Macon: leisurely cruising; onboard cheese tasting; free time in Mâcon

Day 10 Lyon: guided sightseeing in Lyon, picture stop on Fourvière Hill

Day 11 Lyon: day at leisure

Day 12 Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers:
guided walk in Tournon; guided walk in Viviers, visit the Old Town and the cathedral

Day 13 Avignon: guided sightseeing, visit the Palace of the Popes

Day 14 Arles: sail into the Camargue region (daylight permitting), guided sightseeing in Arles, visit the Roman Amphitheater

Day 15 Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur: evening in Côte d’Azur

Day 16 Côte d’Azur–Barcelona, Spain: flight Nice to Barcelona

Barcelona: 3 nights hotel accommodation with buffet breakfast (B);Monograms Local Host Service & Destination Guide with city map; guided sightseeing, inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE; flight Nice-Barcelona with transfers.

Meals

  • Welcome & farewell cocktails with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

Day-By-Day Itinerary

(B) = Breakfast   (L) = Lunch   (D) = Dinner

Day 1

(D)

Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)

Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants has a distinct ambiance. The streets, squares, and canals—not to mention the bike paths throughout the city—make for a vibrant atmosphere, and with over 60 museums, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. Perhaps you would like to take an optional excursion to Zaanse Schans with its traditional houses and Dutch craft workshops. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

NOTE:
Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2

(B, L, D)

Amsterdam

There is no better way to see Amsterdam than by CANAL BOAT, cruising through the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time in the city this afternoon. Later, bid tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and set sail for Germany.

Day 3

(B, L, D)

Cologne, Germany

Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne in the afternoon. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years!

Day 4

(B, L, D)

Koblenz–Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim

Situated at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, 2,000-year-old Koblenz is the cultural and business center of the Middle Rhine region. Here, join a Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR of the city that reveals an eventful past through its castles, fortress walls, towers, squares, and monuments. The dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river, with ancient castles standing sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the water. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. In Rüdesheim, the quintessential Rhine Valley wine town, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM to see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT before returning to your ship for dinner.

Day 5

(B, L, D)

Mainz. Excursion to Heidelberg

Strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers is Mainz, with “civilized” origins dating back to around 38 BC. Today, this is Germany’s largest and most important wine market. Join your Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK through the Altstadt (Old Town) with its many intriguing shops and the whimsical Fastnachtsbrunnen (Carnival Fountain) on the Schillerplatz, a tribute to the jesters at the city’s annual Carnival celebration. Gutenberg, father of modern printing, was born here, and you’ll visit the captivating GUTENBERG MUSEUM. After lunch, travel to Heidelberg, home to the oldest university in Germany. With a LOCAL GUIDE, visit the imposing ruins of HEIDELBERG CASTLE, towering magnificently over the city and among the most important Renaissance structures north of the Alps. You’ll also see the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel.” At nearly 23 feet high and 28 feet wide, the cask holds over 58,000 gallons of wine and has a dance floor built on top of it!

Day 6

(B, L, D)

Strasbourg, France

Situated on the border of France and Germany, Strasbourg blends the cultures of both countries in a delightful way. As capital of the Alsace region and seat of the Council of Europe and European Parliament, it is without a doubt an important city that manages to retain its historic charm. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the monumental red-sandstone GOTHIC CATHEDRAL with its ancient murals, stained-glass windows, and fascinating astronomical clock, as well as the magical LA PETITE FRANCE district, home to half-timbered houses, quaint shops, inviting bistros, and a waterfront promenade. Also, spend time exploring Place Kléber, a large historic square in the heart of the city, and Place Gutenberg in the heart of medieval Strasbourg, which features a statue of the inventor of the printing press. An optional excursion into the Alsace wine country is available today. After dinner tonight, enjoy an onboard WOODCARVING demonstration.

Day 7

(B, L, D)

Breisach, Germany. Excursion to the Black Forest

Located at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border, Breisach is the gateway to Germany’s BLACK FOREST, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. The region got its name because the forests are so dense that local residents described them as black. Surely the most well-known products from this region are Black Forest ham, Black Forest cherry cake, and cuckoo clocks. You may opt for a visit to the workshop of a local woodcarver who produces clocks and other carvings, or to the open-air Museum of Vogtsbauernhof to see how life was lived in this area centuries ago.

Day 8

(B, D)

Basel, Switzerland (Disembarkation)–Beaune, France–St. Jean de Losne (Embarkation)–Seurre

After breakfast, say goodbye to the crew of the Avalon Tranquility II, cross the border into France, and head for Beaune, the unofficial capital of the Côte d’Or area. Beaune owes its wealth to the production, aging, and selling of fine wines. Although life here centers around wine, Beaune offers much more. Visit the HÔTEL-DIEU charity hospital, built in 1443 and paid for by the chancellor of Burgundy after the Hundred Years’ War left many of the town’s population destitute. Today it houses Van der Weyden’s painting of The Last Judgment and is one of France’s architectural highlights. Continue to St. Jean de Losne, where you’ll board the Avalon Poetry II. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception as your ship departs for Seurre.

Day 9

(B, L, D)

Seurre–Macon

Enjoy some leisurely cruising this morning. In the afternoon, you might choose to participate in one of the optional excursions on offer, such as to a Chardonnay wine cellar, before your ship arrives in Mâcon. In the late afternoon, enjoy an ONBOARD CHEESE TASTING.

Day 10

(B, L, D)

Lyon

Lyon, France’s third-largest city and its gastronomic capital, was founded by the Romans in 43 BC. The city’s prosperity dates back to the 16th century and is due to commercial, industrial, and banking activities. Roman remains, excellent museums, and renaissance architecture delight visitors. A LOCAL GUIDE joins you as you survey the city from Fourvière Hill and explore the Old Town with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terreaux, a popular area with lively cafés, monuments, and the famous fountain often depicted on postcards.

Day 11

(B, L, D)

Lyon

Enjoy a free day to explore at leisure. Early risers might like to visit the local produce market. Perhaps wander through one of Lyon’s parks, discover some of the murals (there are over 100 of them), or select one of the available optional excursions. Be sure to taste the gastronomic delights and sample Beaujolais, the wine of the region; wine connoisseurs know the grapes must be hand picked. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do.

Day 12

(B, L, D)

Tournon/Tain l’Hermitage–Viviers

The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage lie nestled among vineyards between the Rhône River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities, with its imposing 16th-century castle and Roman ruins. Arriving in Viviers in the afternoon, an included GUIDED WALK shows you this charming town that developed around its ROMANESQUE CATHEDRAL. The OLD TOWN has an appealing mix of Christian, Roman, and medieval influences.

Day 13

(B, L, D)

Avignon

The fortified city of Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse region—the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the entire city, cobblestone streets and squares, and private mansions built in the 18th and 19th centuries. Known as the “City of Popes,” it was the center of the Catholic Church in the 14th century. Your GUIDED TOUR includes a visit of the PALACE OF THE POPES, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes’ residency. A photo of the famous Pont Saint Bénezet (Saint Bénezet Bridge), of the popular song Sur le Pont d’Avignon, is a must. Optional outings to Pont du Gard or to the famed wine cellars of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are available.

Day 14

(B, L, D)

Arles

This morning, wake up early to the tranquil vistas of Camargue National Park (daylight permitting) before arriving in Arles after breakfast. Located on the northern tip of the Camargue, Arles is capital of the Provence region. Your LOCAL GUIDE will show you highlights of the city and you’ll visit the ROMAN AMPHITHEATER. Still used today, it dates to the 1st century and was constructed to hold over 20,000 spectators.

Day 15

(B)

Arles (Disembarkation)–Côte d’Azur

After breakfast, a comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the Côte d’Azur for a last night in France. Also known as the French Riviera, the Côte d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast from Toulon to the Italian border and is synonymous with prestige and beauty.

Day 16

(B)

Côte d’Azur–Barcelona, Spain

After breakfast at your Avalon hotel, an included transfer takes you to Nice airport for your FLIGHT to Barcelona, where you will join your Monograms vacation.

Day 17

(B)

Barcelona

Starting from Plaza Catalunya, morning guided sightseeing includes a drive along elegant Passeig de Gràcia to see the captivating façade of La Pedrera and to visit Gaudi’s CASA BATLLÓ. Passing through the central Eixample district, reach the extraordinary but still unfinished SAGRADA FAMILIA BASILICA. Your included entrance fees contribute to its completion.

Day 18

(B)

Barcelona

Your Local Host has many recommendations for your day at leisure, including an excursion to Montserrat, a trip to the Aquarium, a guided tour of the Picasso Museum, or a visit to whimsical Tibidabo Amusement Park.

Day 19

(B)

Barcelona

Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.

Notes

  • The Rhône/Saône section of the October 20 departure is offered as an exclusive Wine Appreciation Cruise, including special lectures and tastings at no additional cost. Your palate will applaud as you learn what to look for in a good wine. A distinguished wine authority will teach you the ropes as you visit a wine village and attend tastings to test your newfound talent.
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change becomes necessary, a substitute will be offered.

Ship Details

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Hotels

Amsterdam
Cote d'Azur
Barcelona

 Optional Excursions

The following optional excursions are examples only for this vacation. These may or may not be offered, and availability is subject to days of operation and seasonality. Please select a departure date to view optional excursions and pricing for a specific date (due to currency fluctuation, pricing shown is subject to change until purchased). Optional excursions are available for purchase on our MyAvalon site 90 days prior to the tour start date.

Price Ranges

$ ($50 USD and under)
$$ ($51 - $100 USD)
$$$ ($101 - $150 USD)
$$$$ (Over $150)


Amsterdam
Packages
Strasbourg
Breisach
Tournus
Lyon
Avignon
Arles
Cote d'Azur
Barcelona

Amsterdam

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Discover Zaanse Schans & the Symbols of Holland

Tour a working windmill, watch wooden clogs being made, and visit a cheese farm on this exciting half-day guided excursion to Zaanse Schans!

Price Range: $

Bites & Highlights: Jordaan Foodie Walking Tour

Bites & Highlights: Jordaan Foodie Walking Tour

Discover Amsterdam's charming Jordaan district, and taste the authentic foods the locals know and love on this enjoyable guided foodie walking tour.

Price Range: $$

Biking in Amsterdam

Biking in Amsterdam

Pedal your way past polders, dykes, and quaint, centuries-old villages on this exhilarating guided bike tour through the beautiful Dutch countryside.

Price Range: $$

Muiderslot Castle

Muiderslot Castle

From Golden Age paintings to 13th-century arms and armor, discover the wonders of Muiderslot Castle, one of Holland's most beautiful medieval castle fortresses, on this captivating half-day guided tour.

Price Range: $$

Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebration Packages

Celebrating a birthday or anniversary while you're cruising? Add an Avalon Celebration Package to your vacation. You can make your special day even more memorable with special touches ranging from flowers to a private cocktail reception.

Price Range: $$

Strasbourg

Defending France: The Maginot Line of WWII

Defending France: The Maginot Line of WWII

Explore France's awe-inspiring WWII Maginot Line, one of the greatest networks of defensive fortifications ever built, on this guided visit through the underground barracks, storehouses, and railways.

Price Range: $$

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Into the Alsace Countryside with Wine Tasting

Travel along the famed Alsace Wine Route on this enchanting half-day excursion that visits a traditional medieval Alsace village and includes a cellar tasting of the local wines.

Price Range: $$

Breisach

Breisach on Two Wheels: Along the Hills of Kaiserstuhl

Breisach on Two Wheels: Along the Hills of Kaiserstuhl

Pedal your way through the lovely hills of the Kaiserstuhl region on this active guided bike excursion past quaint German villages, orchards, and terraced vineyards.

Price Range: $$

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Storybook Colmar, the Little Venice of France

Discover the fusion of German and French culture on this wonderful guided tour through storybook Colmar, the 'Little Venice' of France and capital of the Alsace wine region.

Price Range: $$

Tournus

Fairytale Château de Cormatin

Fairytale Château de Cormatin

Step right onto the pages of a fairytale during this half-day guided excursion to Château de Cormatin with its drawbridge, moat, exquisite gardens, and extravagantly adorned interior.

Price Range: $$

Lyon

Beaujolais: A Discovery of the Region & Its Wine

Beaujolais: A Discovery of the Region & Its Wine

Explore the beauty of the Beaujolais wine region, learn the magic behind its wine, and enjoy an included wine tasting on this enriching half-day guided excursion.

Price Range: $$

Medieval Pérouges

Medieval Pérouges

Discover one of the most beautiful medieval walled towns in France on this half-day guided tour of Pérouges, idyllic movie set from the 1973 version of "The Three Musketeers"!

Price Range: $$

Avignon

Pont du Gard, Ancient Engineering Wonder

Pont du Gard, Ancient Engineering Wonder

Visit the masterpiece of ancient engineering that supplied water to Nîmes during the Roman Empire -- towering, triple-tiered Pont du Gard -- on this incredible half-day guided tour.

Price Range: $

Arles

Carrières de Lumières Sound & Light Show

Carrières de Lumières Sound & Light Show

Stimulate your senses on this unbelievable excursion to Carrières de Lumières, the world-famous Cathedral of Images in a former limestone quarry, past the fantastical rock formations of Hell Valley, and then to charming Saint-Rémy in the heart of Provence.

Price Range: $$

Discover Provence

Discover Provence

Travel into the heart of Provence on this exciting half-day guided visit of an olive farm and olive mill with a tasting of locally produced olive oil!

Price Range: $$

Cote d'Azur

Cannes & Saint-Paul de Vence

Cannes & Saint-Paul de Vence

Discover the wonders of the French Riviera on this exciting half-day guided excursion to Cannes and Saint-Paul de Vence.

Price Range: $$

Barcelona

Barcelona on Two Wheels: City Highlights

Barcelona on Two Wheels: City Highlights

Explore some of Barcelona's greatest wonders on this exhilarating guided bike tour.

Price Range: $

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