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Romantic Rhine (Southbound) River Cruise

Discover Holland, France, Switzerland, and Germany on Europe’s most famous river. Explore Amsterdam’s 700-year heritage with canal tours that showcase this vibrant city before cruising to Cologne, renowned for its twin-spired cathedral and Gothic-style architecture.

The Romantic Rhine Cruise sails the magnificent Rhine Gorge with fairytale castles clinging to the cliffs high above the water and port stops at picturesque towns like Rüdesheim, Mainz, and Heidelberg. Explore Strasbourg and the lovely La Petite France district with quaint shops and the tranquil waterfront promenade before journeying to Breisach, the gateway to the Black Forest.

Avalon offers a choice of passenger experiences, so you can select the tours and activities that interest you the most. Explore independently or take advantage of the exclusive AvalonGO App – there’s something for everyone on the Romantic Rhine cruise.

4.5
Star Image
from 409 reviews
  • Cruise Line: Avalon Waterways
  • Ship: Avalon Expression + 6 more
  • Duration: 7 Nights
  • Departure: Apr - Dec
£2,419pp
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Romantic Rhine (Southbound) River Cruise Itinerary

This 7-night cruise explores the jewels of the Rhine with stunning scenery, fairytale castles, and iconic European cities, the ultimate fusion of culture, history, and breathtaking river views. Take your pick from a selection of insightful tours and enjoy luxury suites and five-star cuisine, the ideal cruise companions for a memorable river voyage.

Day 1

Amsterdam – Holland

Explore this famous city before you board your cruise ship. In tulip season, there is a guided excursion to the Keukenhof Gardens, where guests can view more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, a riot of colour and fragrance. Outside of tulip season, there is a guided tour to Zaanse Schans to see historic windmills and picturesque Dutch houses. Guests are welcome aboard their cruiser from 5 p.m.

Day 2

Amsterdam – Holland

Explore the legendary waterways of Amsterdam on a guided Canal Cruise, which focuses on this city’s Golden Age of architecture and culture. Guests can choose one of the optional tours available in the afternoon or take some free time to explore the city with its cosmopolitan mix of shops, museums, and galleries.

Day 3

Cologne – Germany

For the adventurous, take a bike ride around Cologne with Avalon’s Adventure Host or enjoy the more sedate pace of a guided walking tour around Cologne’s important Jewish heritage and sites. Another Guided City Walk of Cologne focuses on the main points of cultural interest and history, including the famous twin-steepled Gothic cathedral. Enjoy entertainment on board in the evening provided by local musicians.

Day 4

Rüdesheim

The journey to Rüdesheim cruises through the legendary Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its fairytale castles clinging to the cliffs high above the water. See the infamous Rock of the Lorelei, where a mythical siren lured sailors to their deaths. Rüdesheim is a well-known wine-growing area, so join your Avalon Adventure Host for a picturesque hike through the vineyards or discover something new and different at the incredible Mechanical Music Museum.

Day 5

Mainz and Heidelberg, Germany

Accompany your Adventure Host for a fascinating and inspiring walk in Heidelberg. There is also a guided tour to Heidelberg Castle, a world-renowned Renaissance treasure and home to the world’s largest wine barrel. Guests can also choose to stay in Mainz and explore the city on a guided walk, including visiting the Gutenberg Museum, one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to printing.

Day 6

Strasbourg, France

Join a sightseeing tour of this fascinating city, including Strasbourg’s Gothic stained-glass cathedral and the truly magical La Petite France District. Those with an appetite for exercise can discover Strasbourg by bike with Avalon’s Adventure Host, or there is an excursion to the historic Maginot Line, fortifications designed to protect France’s eastern border. All guided tours are optional, so guests can explore the city themselves and create their own excursions.

Day 7

Breisach and the Black Forest, Germany

Avalon offers a full-day guided tour of the picturesque Black Forest. Visit the Vogtsbauernohf Open-Air museum, visit a traditional water mill, and watch a butter-making demonstration. There is an alternative excursion to a local winery in Breisach with wine tasting or a guided tour to the quaint village of Colmar with its picturesque half-timbered medieval and Renaissance buildings.

Day 8

Basel, Switzerland

Disembark in Basel.

Day 1

Basel, Switzerland

Disembark in Basel.

Day 2

Breisach and the Black Forest, Germany

Avalon offers a full-day guided tour of the picturesque Black Forest. Visit the Vogtsbauernohf Open-Air museum, visit a traditional water mill, and watch a butter-making demonstration. There is an alternative excursion to a local winery in Breisach with wine tasting or a guided tour to the quaint village of Colmar with its picturesque half-timbered medieval and Renaissance buildings.

Day 3

Strasbourg, France

Join a sightseeing tour of this fascinating city, including Strasbourg’s Gothic stained-glass cathedral and the truly magical La Petite France District. Those with an appetite for exercise can discover Strasbourg by bike with Avalon’s Adventure Host, or there is an excursion to the historic Maginot Line, fortifications designed to protect France’s eastern border. All guided tours are optional, so guests can explore the city themselves and create their own excursions.

Day 4

Mainz and Heidelberg, Germany

Accompany your Adventure Host for a fascinating and inspiring walk in Heidelberg. There is also a guided tour to Heidelberg Castle, a world-renowned Renaissance treasure and home to the world’s largest wine barrel. Guests can also choose to stay in Mainz and explore the city on a guided walk, including visiting the Gutenberg Museum, one of the oldest museums in the world dedicated to printing.

Day 5

Rüdesheim

The journey to Rüdesheim cruises through the legendary Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site famed for its fairytale castles clinging to the cliffs high above the water. See the infamous Rock of the Lorelei, where a mythical siren lured sailors to their deaths. Rüdesheim is a well-known wine-growing area, so join your Avalon Adventure Host for a picturesque hike through the vineyards or discover something new and different at the incredible Mechanical Music Museum.

Day 6

Cologne – Germany

For the adventurous, take a bike ride around Cologne with Avalon’s Adventure Host or enjoy the more sedate pace of a guided walking tour around Cologne’s important Jewish heritage and sites. Another Guided City Walk of Cologne focuses on the main points of cultural interest and history, including the famous twin-steepled Gothic cathedral. Enjoy entertainment on board in the evening provided by local musicians.

Day 7

Amsterdam – Holland

Explore the legendary waterways of Amsterdam on a guided Canal Cruise, which focuses on this city’s Golden Age of architecture and culture. Guests can choose one of the optional tours available in the afternoon or take some free time to explore the city with its cosmopolitan mix of shops, museums, and galleries.

Day 8

Amsterdam – Holland

Explore this famous city before you board your cruise ship. In tulip season, there is a guided excursion to the Keukenhof Gardens, where guests can view more than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, a riot of colour and fragrance. Outside of tulip season, there is a guided tour to Zaanse Schans to see historic windmills and picturesque Dutch houses. Guests are welcome aboard their cruiser from 5 p.m.

Romantic Rhine (Southbound) Cruise Ships

Trustpilot Reviews

Romantic Rhine (Southbound) River Cruise Deals

Discover Europe’s best kept secrets with Crui.se

7 Nights
Apr Dec

Romantic Rhine (Southbound)

  • Amsterdam
  • Basel
  • Breisach & Black Forest
  • Cologne
  • Mainz and Heidelberg
  • Rüdesheim
  • Strasbourg
£2,419pp Est. Price per person
  • Avalon Expression + 6 more ships  

Romantic Rhine (Southbound) Cruise Review

“This is definitely the best Rhine cruise we have been on – it showcases the finest cities, fantastic points of interest like the Black Forest, and, of course, the unforgettable Rhine Gorge. Avalon ships are certainly a cut above the rest in terms of luxury and amenities, but the choice of guided excursions really marked out this cruise. We took full advantage of the dedicated Avalon Adventure Centre and Host, adding a whole new level to our previous cruise experiences. We highly recommend Avalon and have already booked another trip.”

Simon and Beth Sinderby, Rotherham

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Romantic Rhine (Southbound) FAQ

Find answers to some of the most common questions about river cruising here.

I suffer from allergies, so I need a restricted diet. How does this work?

Our gourmet chefs offer fresh daily selections, which include vegan, vegetarian, and healthy options. Because Avalon already provides tailored menu selections, we can easily accommodate guests on a restricted diet. Discuss your requirements with our friendly booking team when you make your reservation.

Do I need an up-to-date Covid vaccination before I embark on the ship?

When you make your reservation, we can advise of the latest vaccination protocols for all diseases. Avalon follows regional and local guidance in the countries we sail through and also the advice given by the World Health Organisation (WHO). All on-board staff are fully vaccinated.

Do I need visas required for the Romantic Rhine Cruise?

All guests require visas before they travel, and passengers are responsible for arranging this in their own country before they join the cruise. Our friendly booking team can help you with the basics and outline the application process. Always allow enough time if you are travelling during the height of the holiday season, as visas can take longer during busy periods.

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