Rhine Sea to Source

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit the Dutch Windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Two scenic river cruises on the Rhine
  • Visit to Insel Mainau – The Flower Island
  • First class journeys on the Bernina and Glacier Express trains
  • Bernese Oberland Excursion
  • First class Swiss Travel Pass for unlimited travel on trains, postbuses, lake steamers and many city buses & trains
  • 14 days from £3,095pp
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Tour Dates:
Thursday 21 April to Wednesday 4 May 2022
Thursday 6 October to Wednesday 19 October 2022

We follow the mighty Rhine through some impressive scenery by rail, from its mouth in the North Sea to its source in the Swiss Alps. Along our journey we travel on and alongside the river and visit sites that wouldn’t exist without this waterway.


Day 1 – From London to the Netherlands

Departing mid-morning, we take a direct Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Rotterdam for a 2-night stay.

Day 2 – Dutch Windmills of Kinderdijk

We take a morning transfer to Kinderdijk, the site of 19 preserved windmills. We have a guided tour of this UNESCO heritage site, as we discover the history of these windmills and how they were instrumental in keeping the Dutch dry!

Day 3 – Boppard

Today we continue to the riverside town of Boppard for a 2-night stay. Boppard is situated in one of the most scenic parts of the Rhine Gorge and makes an ideal centre.

Day 4 – On the River

The day begins with a trip on the former paddle wheel steamer, now diesel powered, “Goethe” up-stream to Rüdesheim, passing numerous castles, vineyards and the Loreley Rock. Arriving mid-afternoon, there is time to look around Rüdesheim before returning to Boppard by train along the east bank of the river and Koblenz.

Day 5 – Onwards to Switzerland

Continuing south to Basle, we change trains at the city’s Badische Bahnhof and follow the northern (German) bank of the Rhine via Waldshut to Schaffhausen, just over the border in Switzerland, for a 3-night stay.

Day 6 – River Cruise to Stein am Rhein

We take a river cruise to Stein am Rhein where there is time for lunch before returning to Schaffhausen by train and a visit to the beautiful Rhine Falls.

Day 7 – Insel Mainau – The Flower Island

The Rhine flows through Lake Constance and we take the train to Romanshorn to connect with a lake sailing to Insel Mainau, an island close to the city of Konstanz and renowned for its sub tropical gardens. After a visit to the gardens and a short ferry transfer to Kreuzlingen, we return by train to Schaffhausen.

Day 8 – Chur

Morning train to Zürich with a connection to Chur in eastern Switzerland, where we stay for 3 nights. Our hotel is in the pedestrianised old town, just a short distance from the station. Chur is the home of the UNESCO World Heritage Rhaetian Railways and this afternoon there is time to take the train to Arosa, climbing up the spectacular valley of the Plessur, a tributary of the Rhine.

Day 9 – Bernina Express

We cross two major European watersheds as we take the famous Bernina Express train across the Alps to northern Italy. Starting in the valley of the Rhine, we climb via a series of amazing spirals and hairpins to the Albula pass where a tunnel takes us into the valley of the River Inn, a tributary of the Danube. From here we climb once more to the summit of the Bernina Pass where water from a lake flows two ways – north to the Inn and, eventually, the Black Sea and south to the River Po and the Mediterranean.

Day 10 – To The Source

Two arms of the Rhine join upstream from Chur. We follow the Hinter Rhine by train to Thusis, then by postbus to the San Bernardino Pass and on to Bellinzona. We then take a train up the Gotthard main line to Göschenen and continue by narrow gauge train to the summit of the Oberalp Pass, the source of the other arm of the Rhine, the Vorder Rhine. Return by train to Chur.

Day 11 – Glacier Express

Another chance to see the spectacular line up to the Oberalp Pass as we ride the Glacier Express train, once famously described as the “slowest express train in the world” – but who would want to rush through such beautiful scenery? Passing through the Furka Tunnel, we are now in the valley of the River Rhône. Changing at Brig, we cross the Alps yet again (or rather tunnel under them on this occasion) and find ourselves on the shore of beautiful Lake Thun. We have a 2-night stay in the town of Thun.

Day 12 – Bernese Oberland

Full day excursion by rail to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen, then by cable car to Mürren for spectacular views of the mountains Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Returning to Interlaken down the valley of the River Lutschine (a tributary of the Rhine), we change to a paddle steamer for the journey back to Thun.

Day 13 – Basle and Cologne

By main line train to Basle where we change for our service to Cologne, following the river once more.

Day 14 – Homeward Bound

High speed service to Brussels to connect with the Eurostar to London St Pancras, arriving mid-afternoon.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Holiday Inn Express Central Station, Rotterdam

Bellevue Rheinhotel, Boppard

Vienna House, Schaffhausen

Hotel Freieck, Chur

Krone, Thun

Ibis Cologne am Dom, Cologne

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Travel to and from Switzerland in Standard class
  • First class Swiss Travel Pass
  • Bernina & Glacier Express supplements
  • Escorted excursions as listed
  • Accommodation in good, quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Services of a tour leader from London and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £3,095
Single room supplement: £695
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

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