Great Journey through Europe

Trip Highlights

This extraordinary 11-day “Grand Tour” of Europe features an incredible combination of river, rail, lake and mountain travel including five nights aboard the new deluxe Amadeus Imperial. Journey through the western center of the Continent through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland, cruising the most scenic sections of the fabled Rhine River. This program features six UNESCO World Heritage sites: Amsterdam’s storybook canals; Cologne’s Gothic cathedral; the Middle Rhine Valley; the Alsatian city of Strasbourg; Bern’s Old Town; and the Jungfrau-Aletsch region of the Swiss Alps. Visit medieval Rüdesheim in the heart of Germany’s wine country and the historical treasures of romantic Heidelberg. Spend two nights each in Lucerne and Zermatt, Switzerland. Ride aboard three legendary railways—the Gornergrat Bahn for breathtaking views of the Matterhorn, the Glacier Express from Andermatt to Zermatt and the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway—and enjoy a scenic cruise on Lake Lucerne. This is the trip of a lifetime at an exceptional value. Complement your journey with the two-night Amsterdam Pre-Program Option.

  • Extraordinary, specially designed European tour.
  • Experience three of the world’s greatest railways—the panoramic Glacier Express, the scenic cogwheel Gornergrat Bahn and the dramatic Pilatus Railway.
  • Eleven-day program, including a five-night river cruise and four nights in the Swiss Alps—featuring the Matterhorn and Mount Pilatus.
  • A unique combination of river and lake cruising, rail travel and evenings on land.
  • Five-night cruise aboard the exclusively chartered, new deluxe, small river ship Amadeus Imperial on the legendary Rhine River.
  • Specially arranged cruise of Lake Lucerne and wine tasting in Rüdesheim.
  • Two nights each in the picturesque Swiss towns of Lucerne and Zermatt.
  • Featuring six UNESCO World Heritage sites—Amsterdam’s Canal District, Cologne, the Middle Rhine Valley, Strasbourg, Bern and the Jungfrau-Aletsch region of the Swiss Alps.
  • Complimentary house wine and beer served with lunch and dinner aboard ship.
  • Incredible value for a comprehensive travel program—sells out every year it is offered.
  • Amsterdam Pre-Program Option.

 

Pre-Program Option – The Golden Age of Amsterdam

The historical heart of Amsterdam, laced with tree-shaded canals and stately 16th– and 17th-century merchant houses, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the perfect beginning to your Great Journey. Visit the world-class Rijksmuseum and enjoy a full-day excursion to quaint Edam, world famous for its cheese, and historic Hoorn, one of the great seafaring towns of the Golden Age. Accommodations are for two nights in a centrally located hotel.

 

The Pre-Program Option is available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

 

Shared departure: This departure is shared with other universities.

Itinerary

Day 1 & 2 – Depart/Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Depart for Amsterdam. On arrival, enjoy a private cruise along Amsterdam’s UNESCO World Heritage site canals, lined with distinctly Dutch 16th– and 17th-century canal houses. Then, embark the deluxe Amadeus Imperial.

Join your travel companions for the Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner on June 21. 

Meals: Reception, Dinner

Day 3 – Cologne, Germany

Arrive in one of Germany’s most ancient cities, founded as a Roman military outpost in 38 B.C. Since Charlemagne, Cologne has flourished as the Rhineland’s foremost mercantile and religious center, and it is the birthplace of the world-famous original Eau de Cologne perfume.

Explore the Altstadt (Old Town) and see the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), the nation’s finest example of High Gothic architecture. Admire the cathedral’s lauded treasures, including medieval stained-glass windows, the bejeweled sarcophagus of the Shrine of Three Kings, the monumental, 10th‑century Gero Crucifix and richly carved 14th‑century choir stalls. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 – Koblenz/Rüdesheim

Strategically positioned at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, Koblenz’s Roman heritage dates to 9 B.C., during Augustus Caesar’s reign. Admire the landmark Deutsches Eck (German Corner), view the 19th-century fortress of Ehrenbreitstein and the Basilica of St. Castor, which showcases the Rhineland’s distinctive Romanesque architecture.

Cruise through the dramatic UNESCO World Heritage-designated Middle Rhine Valley, where terraced vineyards rise on steep slopes, medieval castles crown remote crags and tranquil villages unfurl along peaceful banks. See the famous Lorelei Rock—where legend holds that a beautiful siren once lured sailors here with her enchanting song.

Stop in Rüdesheim, the medieval heart of Germany’s wine country. Enjoy a tour aboard the whimsical Winzerexpress mini-train while traveling through bucolic vineyards en route to a private wine tasting, that highlights local Rieslings, including the crisp Klosterberg.

Reboard the ship and cruise through pastoral Rheingau, Germany’s most famous wine-growing region.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 – Mannheim/Heidelberg

This morning, transfer from Mannheim to Heidelberg, where luminaries such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Robert Schumann once came to experience the intellectual atmosphere of Heidelberg University founded in 1386, the oldest in Germany. To many on the historical “Grand Tours” of Europe, this old city nestled in the densely wooded valley of the Neckar River and alive with the spirit of Romanticism epitomized Germany.

On a walking tour, discover Heidelberg’s authentic Renaissance-Baroque character, manifested in sites such as the eight remaining arches of the famous Alte Brücke (Old Bridge). Visit the stately ruins of Heidelberg Castle, a 13th-century embodiment of the city’s medieval past perched above the river. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 – Strasbourg, France

The lively Alsatian city of Strasbourg fuses Old and New Europe with French and German influence. Enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Old City where medieval houses line cobblestone lanes and 13th-century Ponts Couverts—bridges flanked by watchtowers—span idyllic canals.

It was here that John Calvin first established a reformed parish. View remnants of the Reformation in St-Pierre-le-Vieux, a simultaneum used by Protestant and Catholic parishioners. See the Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of Notre Dame, with a graceful sandstone exterior that according to the poet Goethe, rises “like a most sublime, wide-arching tree of God.”

Strasbourg’s fairy-tale Petite-France—the historical miller, tanner and fishermen’s quarter—comprises half-timbered houses that front the Ill River. Nearby, member nations of the European Union engage in the daily discourse of the European Parliament.

On board the ship this evening, attend the Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Reception, Dinner

Day 7 – Basel, Switzerland/Bern/Lucerne

Disembark the ship in Basel. Transfer across the bucolic Swiss countryside to Switzerland’s capital, Bern. Tour its beautifully preserved Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site framed by signature 15th-century arcades and the Aare River. Enjoy lunch in an 18th-century High Baroque-style granary, now a traditional Bernese restaurant.

Journey from the foothills of the Alps through the Bernese Oberland to admire the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Jungfrau, an imposing summit known as the “Top of Europe.” En route to Lucerne, admire the soaring Alps, Switzerland’s signature snowcapped peaks, crystal‑clear glacial lakes and densely wooded forests.

This evening, check into the Five-Star Hotel Schweitzerhof Luzern. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 – Lucerne

The rugged grandeur of Mounts Pilatus and Rigi reflected the deep blue waters of Lake Lucerne make this city a long-favored travel destination. Begin your Lucerne walking tour surrounded by burghers’ houses in the Weinmarkt (wine market); then, see the Hofkirche (Court Church), an exceptional example of German Renaissance architecture, and the Lion Monument, dedicated to the Swiss Guards who gave their lives defending Louis XVI during the French Revolution. Walk beneath tableaus of Swiss history and mythology painted on the arched roof of the 14th-century wooden Chapel Bridge, Lucerne’s most famous landmark, spanning the Reuss River.

Reach Mount Pilatus 7,000-foot summit by panoramic gondola for a 360-degree vista of central Switzerland’s unforgettable topography and lunch in a summit restaurant. Board the Pilatus Railway, the world’s steepest cogwheel railway, to descend nearly 5,400 feet in less than three miles. Cruise back to Lucerne on scenic Lake Lucerne.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 9 – Lucerne/Andermatt/Glacier Express/Zermatt

Relax during a scenic morning transfer from Lucerne to Andermatt. After lunch in Andermatt, board the fabled Glacier Express, “the world’s slowest express train,” and delight in the natural beauty along this ingenious rail route through the soaring Alps. See Switzerland’s stunning archetype of snowcapped peaks, crystal-clear glacial lakes and densely wooded forests.

Arrive in the Alpine resort of Zermatt, located beneath the dramatic pinnacle of the iconic Matterhorn. Check into the deluxe Schweizerhof Zermatt. 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10 – Zermatt

Ascend through pine and larch forests, crossing meadows ablaze with wildflowers and past distant peaks blanketed by snow, aboard the highest cog railway in Europe, the Gornergrat Bahn. Sweeping vistas of breathtaking Alpine scenery unfold from atop the 10,100-foot summit, where the serrated profiles of the Matterhorn, the Liskamm and the Dufourspitze mountains and the vast Gorner Glacier extend beyond your periphery. Return to Zermatt at your leisure with an optional stop at Riffelberg for a panoramic view of the Monte Rosa and the Matterhorn.

Enjoy the Farewell Reception this evening in the hotel.

Meals: Breakfast, Reception

Day 11 – Zermatt/Geneva/Return Home

Following breakfast, transfer to Geneva for your return flight to the U.S.

Meals: Breakfast

 

Show Full Itinerary

Your Journey

Great Journey through Europe

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

(11 days)
Starting price: $3,995
Deposit per person: $800
Europe
Gohagan & Co.
Type: Cruise, River Cruise, Shared Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Email Michigan Alumni Travel at alumnitravel@umich.edu.

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