Friday 24 May Home – Dubai
Late this afternoon, we report to the airport and join the flight to Dubai.
Saturday 25 May Dubai (D)
We arrive in Dubai early this morning and after clearing Customs and Immigration formalities, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a two-night stay. There is time to rest up after the flight until mid-afternoon when we visit the Palm Jumeirah – one of the world’s most daring developments. Jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, this man-made archipelago was built in the shape of a palm tree, with a 3-mile-long trunk and a fan of fronds lined with luxury villas and five-star hotels. From water parks and wildlife encounters to beach clubs and restaurants, there is an array of different activities on offer. One of the first things that strike you when visiting the Palm Jumeirah is its size. This giant archipelago is visible from space and the outer crescent is more than 10 miles long. Afterward, we visit the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world at 160 stories high. We travel to the observation deck which will provide you with a breath-taking unobstructed 360-degree view of the city, desert and ocean. We return to the hotel where we have dinner this evening.
Sunday 26 May Dubai (B,D)
This morning we take a sightseeing tour of the city – a fascinating historical excursion which takes you to the magnificent Jumeirah mosque and past modern palaces sprawled along the coast. In Bastakiya, see the old wind-towered houses built by wealthy merchants and the 150-year old Al Fahidi Fort. We continue our journey coach to the gold and spice souks, where we see bustling alleys with the aromas of the numerous spices and dazzling jewellery. Next up, we visit the area of La Mer – a new area nestled between Pearl Jumeira and the upcoming Jumeira Bay. There is time to explore this artsy community and to get some lunch at one of the trendy cafes before we return to the hotel to relax & freshen up prior to our evening activity – a four-wheel drive excursion over rolling dunes deep into the heart of the desert. Watch the sun cast its orange glow over the shimmering sand and enjoy dinner and entertainment under the stars in Bedu tents.
NB: For those who may have been to Dubai previously, there is the opportunity to join a tour to Abu Dhabi today, in place of the arrangements above. Price is available on request.
Monday 27 May Dubai – Vienna (D)
A midday transfer to the airport where we join the 6 hour flight to Vienna. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel for a 3-night stay. The remainder of the day is left free to rest up before we get together for dinner this evening.
Tuesday 28 May Vienna (B)
On this morning’s tour, we drive along the Ringstrasse, pass the State Opera House, the Jewish Quarter and stop at Heldenplatz (Heroes Square) in front of the Hofburg Palace, once the winter residence of the Austrian royal family and now the residence of the Austrian President. We leave the coach for a walk through to St Stephens Cathedral, the iconic heart of the city. There is time for lunch – you must visit a traditional Viennese coffee house – before this afternoon’s visit to the Schonbrunn Palace, perhaps Europe’s most impressive palace complex. 640 years of Hapsburg monarchy ended here in 1918 with the abdication of the last monarch and the start of the Austrian Republic.
Wednesday 29 May Vienna (B,D)
Today has been left entirely free for you to enjoy Vienna at your leisure. Maybe visit one of the many galleries and museums, perhaps a tour of the Spanish Riding School, enjoy the elegant shopping “strasses” of the Old City, or just sit at an outdoor café and watch the world go by. This evening, we enjoy all things Viennese with a superb dinner at the Orangerie at Schonbrunn Palace including a concert of Viennese classical music with works by Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. A wonderful finale to our stay in Vienna.
Thursday 30 May Vienna – Salzburg (B.D)
Leaving Vienna, we enjoy a leisurely cruise along one of the most scenic parts of the Danube. At Melk, we visit the abbey, one of Europe’s most beautiful sights, which has been home to Benedictine Monks for over 900 years, notwithstanding the Reformation, and the occupations by Napoleon and the Nazis. The abbey of today is 18th century baroque with the major restoration completed in 1996. We continue our journey through the beautiful Salzkammergut lakeland to the pretty lakeside town of Mondsee where we visit the Basilica of St Michaels which featured in the wedding scene of the Sound of Music. From there it’s a short drive into Salzburg where we stay for 2 nights.
Friday 31 May Salzburg (B)
Salzburg is picturebook Austria, the city of music, whether it be Mozart or Julie Andrews. This morning, we take a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage town starting at Mirbell Gardens then across the river to the Old Town, past Mozart’s birthplace and down the Getreidegasse with its popular shops and into Residenz Square with its magnificent forecourt and fountain. This afternoon, we leave the city for a spectacular mountain drive to the so-called “Eagle’s Nest” (Kehlsteinhaus), built as a teahouse for Adolf Hitler on Kehlstein Mountain at an elevation of 6,017 ft / 1,834 m. The site can only be reached by taking the special bus to the elevator shaft set deep in the mountain. Once at the top, the views are magnificent and there is time to explore the rooms which resonate with history.
Saturday 01 June Salzburg – Innsbruck – St Moritz (B,D)
Leaving Salzburg, we enter the Austrian Tyol, a majestic and enchanting landscape that is sure to excite the senses. At its heart is the regions capital, Innsbruck, presided over by the magnificent Hapsburg palace and baroque cathedral. We take a stroll through the ancient and narrow lanes to see Emperor Maximillian’s Golden Roof, the symbol of the city which covers the gothic bay built to celebrate his wedding circa 1500AD. We then continue across the border into Switzerland along the alpine valley past deep blue lakes and forests overlooked by high mountain peaks. Our destination for the overnight stay is the chic resort of St Moritz, the leisure playground for the rich and famous in both winter and summer.
Sunday 02 June St Moritz – Andermatt (Glacier Express) – Zermatt (B,D)
We continue our journey by coach enjoying the spectacular alpine scenery before we reach Andermatt and join the Glacier Express, one of the world’s most famous trains. Sit back in first class comfort in the panoramic cars for an afternoon journey offering unrestricted views of rugged cliffs, pristine forests, deep gorges, rolling meadows, clear lakes and typical mountain villages.. Our destination is the vehicle-free mountain resort town of Zermatt where we stay for 2 nights.
Monday 03 June Zermatt – Matterhorn Excursion (B)
Zermatt lies at the foot of the Matterhorn, perhaps the world’s most famous mountain, and is surrounded by majestic peaks. This morning, we join the cable car for the trip up the Matterhorn. From the summit, enjoy the incredible views of the ice-bound Swiss Alps and the magnificent panorama of the highest peaks in Switzerland / Italy / France. On our return, there is time to enjoy the traffic-free village shops. This evening, maybe dine at one of the many Swiss resturants around the town.
Tuesday 04 June Zermatt – Geneva (B,D)
This morning we take the train to Taesch back to our coach and then continue our journey westwards. On reaching the northern arm of Lake Geneva, we stop at Chillon Castle, an architectural jewel which for over 1,000 years of history has inspired artists and writers, from Jean-Jacques Rousseau to Victor Hugo and Lord Byron. We then continue on to Montreux which, as well as its beautiful lakeside setting and vineyard backdrops, is well known for its annual international jazz festival. There is time for a stroll along the promenade before we continue our journey through to Geneva for a 2 night stay.
Wednesday 05 June Geneva (B)
Geneva is certainly an international city being home to many international organisations including Red Cross and United Nations agencies. In the course of our morning tour, we see their headquarters as well as the old town and the parks and gardens including the lakeside English Garden where the famous floral clock is located. We finish the tour with a cruise on Lake Geneva offering great views of the Jet d’Eau fountain which is symbolic of the city. The afternoon is at leisure.
Thursday 06 June Geneva – Bern – Interlaken (B,D)
From Geneva, we travel north to the lakeside city of Lausanne, home to the International Olympic Committee and many other sporting organisations. The city’s skyline is dominated by the grand gothic Cathedral. Leaving Lake Geneva, we turn north to the city of Berne, the Swiss capital and once voted Europe’s most floral city. We enjoy a walking tour through the well-preserved old town as well as magnificent views from the Rose Garden. The last leg of our journey takes us to Interlaken, our “between the lakes” home where we stay for 2 nights.
Friday 07 June Interlaken – Jungfrau (B)
On today’s excursion, we travel along Grindelwald Valley following the Lutschine River to Lauterbrunnen at the head of the valley of waterfalls where we see the Staubbach Falls plunge 300m. Then we take the cogwheel train ride to the summit of the Jungfrau, the “Top of Europe” at 3,470m, for magnificent views of the world of eternal ice and snow. An absolutely spectacular day.
Saturday 08 June Interlaken – Lucerne – Basel (B,D)
From Interlaken, it is a short run through to Lucerne, skirting the shores of Lake Brienz and over the Brunig Pass. At Lucerne, our local guide joins us for a sightseeing tour of the city. We see the impressive Lion Monument dedicated to the Swiss Guards who protected the French Royalty during the French Revolution. Another feature is the city’s symbol, the covered wooden Chapel Bridge spanning the Reuss River, unique because of its interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, many of which have been restored following the 1993 fire. We continue on to Basel and join our river ship, which will be our home for the next 7 nights.
Sunday 09 June Breisach, Germany – Black Forest (B,L,D)
German Winemaking and the Beautiful Black Forest Visit the Adventure Centre for today’s activities with your Adventure Host. ACTIVE – Enjoy the view on a relaxing bike ride along the Rhine with your Adventure Host, OR: DISCOVERY – Join a full-day Guided Tour to the magical Black Forest to experience the Vogtsbauernohf openair-museum, visit an authentic water mill, and see a traditional butter-making demonstration, OR: DISCOVERY – Visit to a local winery in Breisach, where you will learn about German winemaking and enjoy a wine tasting, OR: CLASSIC – Join a Guided Tour to explore Freiburg’s medieval city centre, sheltered by the Black Forest amid vineyards and gardens of the Upper Rhine Valley. You may choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to visit the charming village of Colmar in the morning, with its half-timbered medieval and early renaissance buildings.
Monday 10 June Strasbourg, France (B,L,D)
This morning we dock at Strasbourg (France) for the day. The city has been heavily influenced by both France and Germany and this has contributed to its unique appearance. The charm of the old city (“Petite France”) contrasts with the splendour of the buildings inspired by German architecture. ACTIVE – Discover Strasbourg by bike with your Adventure Host, OR: CLASSIC – Join a City Sightseeing Tour, including Strasbourg’s Gothic, stained-glass cathedral with its celebrated ancient murals and astronomical clock, as well as the magical La Petite France District. You may also choose to join a Guided Optional Excursion to the historic Maginot Line-the pre-WWII fortifications designed to protect the eastern border of France, or visit Alsace’s wine country today. Alternatively, take some free time in Strasbourg to visit a museum, or stroll across the city centre.
Tuesday 11 June Mainz, Germany (B,L,D)
Castle Walls, and the World’s Biggest Wine Barrel. ACTIVE – Join your Avalon Adventure Host for an inspiring walk in Heidelberg, the Philosophers’ way, OR: CLASSIC – Enjoy a Guided Tour to Heidelberg Castle to see the ruins of the magnificent renaissance treasure towering above the city, and its famed Great Vat, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel,” OR: CLASSIC – Enjoy a Guided City Walk in Mainz, including a visit to the Gutenberg Museum to see the captivating history of printing. Enjoy live entertainment on board your ship this evening.
Wednesday 12 June Rudesheim – Rhine Gorge (B,L,D)
Two charming stops await you today. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in Wine Country. ACTIVE – Enjoy a hike with your Avalon Adventure Host through the picturesque vineyards of Rudesheim, OR: DISCOVERY – Take a Guided Tour of the incredible Mechanical Music Museum for a one-of-a-kind instrumental experience; enjoy a tasting of the authentic Rudesheimer coffee. En route to Koblenz, sail through the Rhine Gorge (a UNESCO World Heritage site). Take in the breathtaking views of ancient castles perched on cliffs 400 feet above the water, and pass the legendary Rock of the Loreleiwhere the mythological siren’s songs lured ill-fated sailors. Enjoy free time in Koblenz before a relaxing evening on board with dinner and live entertainment.
Thursday 13 June Cologne (B,L,D)
Prost! Celebrate in the Rhineland Join your Adventure Host for today’s special activities. ACTIVE – Enjoy a bike ride like the locals in Cologne with your Adventure Host, OR: DISCOVERY – Choose a Guided Walking Tour of Cologne’s important Jewish heritage sites, OR: CLASSIC – Take a Guided City Walk of Cologne-with its soaring twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Spend free time over a glass of Kolsch pale lager-locally brewed for over 100 years!
Friday 14 June Amsterdam (B,L,D)
Canals of Colourful Amsterdam. ACTIVE – Start your day joining your Adventure Host on an early morning walk in Amsterdam, OR: CLASSIC – Explore the iconic waterways of Amsterdam on a Guided Canal Cruise past stately homes of Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” During tulip season, you may take a Guided Optional Excursion to Keukenhof gardens-with more than seven million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, as well as other bulbs, planted each year. Outside of tulip season, join a Guided Optional Excursion to Zaanse Schans to see historic windmills and charming Dutch houses.
Saturday 15 June Amsterdam (B,D)
It’s time to disembark this morning and farewell captain and crew. We have a coach and guide waiting to meet us and take us on a special visit to the 200-year-old Rijksmuseum, one of the most famous museums in the world and home to many masterpieces by such people as Rembrandt, van Dyck, Vermeer and many others. The museum has undergone a major reconstruction over the past decade and only reopened in 2013. After our guided tour, we check into our hotel for a two night stay.
Sunday 16 June Amsterdam (B,D)
Enjoy a free day in this exciting and diverse city. There are plenty of different options from Anne Franks house, to watching the world pass by from a lovely café, or just meandering the streets. This evening, we enjoy our final dinner in Europe together.
Monday 17 June Amsterdam – Dubai (B)
Time to farewell Amsterdam and Europe this morning as we are transferred to the airport in time to join our lunchtime flight to Dubai. Arrival time is late evening and overnight accommodation is reserved at the airport.
Tuesday 18 June Dubai – Home
Time for the last leg of our journey on our flight home.
Wednesday 19 June Welcome Home.
Arrival time is mid-morning.