Visit Istanbul in 2020 on a Gem’s of the Southeast Danube Cruise

Europeanbarging is pleased to announce, that with the 2020 departures of AmaWaterways Gem’s of the Southeast Europe, clients have the chance to experience Istanbul with a 3 night pre or post cruise land program.

Gems of the Southeast river cruise itinerary covers the lower Danube cruising between Budapest Hungary and Giurgiu Romania and includes 5 countries.  In addition to Hungary and Romania, guests will visit Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria on the cruise and Turkey and Austria for pre or post cruise programs

Blue Mosque in Instanbul

Istanbul, once known as Constantinople is a city rich in cultures and history with much to offer.  It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited spots of the world, it’s exotic architecture including mosques, colorful basilicas, cathedrals and centuries old  ancient bazaars. Istanbul is located on the Bosphorus peninsula and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985. Istanbul lies at the crossroads between the East and the West, Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city and a city with vibrant mix of cultures

Some of the sites to experience in Istanbul during your land program include:

 Visit the great sites including the iconic Blue Mosque and beautiful Hagia Sophia (cathedral-turned-museum) it was the center of the  Roman and Byzantine city and is a great place to begin exploring Istanbul. At the Hippodrome, see the Egyptian Obelisk of Theodosius  (the oldest monument of Constantinople) and the Serpent Column from the Delphi oracle remain, having been in this same location since the 4th century.  The four bronze horses that used to be on top of the emperor’s box  were looted during the crusades at this ancient chariot-racing arena.  They are now on the façade of Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice.

The Old City reminds one of the ancient times of the Roman Empire. The centuries-old city walls stand out. Extending for nearly 14 miles (22 kilometers) and stretching from the Sea of Marmara to the Golden Horn, these walls have stood for centuries.  They were demolished twice in their history: first, by the Latin Crusaders who intended to head toward the Holy Land in 1204 and again in 1453 by the Ottoman Turks in their attempts to conquer the city.

The Valens Aqueduct (located within the old walls), was once part of the Roman aqueduct. It was the single longest ancient aqueduct system ever to be built – nearly 270,000 square feet (250,000 meters). Completed by Roman Emperor Valens in the late 4th century AD, it was used by the Byzantines and later the Ottomans, and was operational until the end of the 19th century.

Topkapi Palace, dating back to the 15th century, is rich in the history of the Ottoman Empire. Overlooking the ocean, from it’s hillside location, its 27 towers and three miles of stone wall were at one time an official royal residence of the Ottoman sultans and the seat of the Turkish government. It is a museum now and considered the largest and oldest palace in the world. Inside, take a look at the harem’s quarters, and the seat of government.  Some of the artifacts inside the museum include:  collection of old weapons used by the sultans, palace kitchens with their huge porcelain collections, and the treasury with its collection of jewels and clocks, including the Topkapi Dagger and the stunning 86 carat Spoonmaker’s diamond.

With the 3 night land program in Istanbul, guests will embark on a walking tour that will visit the Hagia Sophia, formerly a church, then a mosque before becoming a museum;  the Blue Mosque and for those interested a guide will take you to the Grand Bazaar.  The second day spend at the spectacular Ottoman Sultans’ Grand Palace of Topkapi, home to every Sultan from the 15 – 19th centuries.

Cruise departures start in March and conclude in November.  March 22, November 1 and 8 are also Wine Themed itineraries.  Cruise rates start at $2899 per person and include the 7 night cruise, all meals, wine with meals, daily happy hour, multi choice excursions and Wi-Fi.

Experience Istanbul in all its splendor as part of your pre- or post-cruise hotel/land extension on 2020  Gems of the Southeast cruises!

For more information contact Europeanbarging.com at 888-869-7907 or jan@europeanbarging.com

 

Rhine and Moselle Fairytales River Cruise

Europe’s Rhine River is known as one of the most popular cruising paths. It is referred to as “Old Father Rhine” which offers breathtaking glimpses to castles, villages and vineyards. The spellbinding views bring a sensation of living in a fairytale and anticipating a meeting with the royalties.

Embarking on a fairytale journey of a lifetime begins from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland. This river cruise itinerary will be passing through spectacular towns of Cochem, Strasbourg, Bernkastel and Riquewihr. Every town has its own colorful history and tales that will be a delight to know.

Travel in style and comfort with AmaWaterways’ Rhine & Moselle Fairytales cruise package. It is an 11-night Germany River Cruise which provides luxury accommodation, world-class amenities, award-winning dining and a promise of extensive tour in every point of destination.

Mosel River Cruise town of Cochem

With an 11-night cruise, you are able to visit more towns and see more than is usually possible on a 7 night river cruise.

The cruise starts in Amsterdam and there is the option to explore more of Amsterdam with a 2 night pre cruise stay.  Featured sites include a visit to Zaanse Schans, a city tour of Amsterdam, including a canal cruise thru the city.  You will enjoy the sights of Skinny Bridge, the tall and narrow houses along the river banks, and the opportunity to take a glimpse of Anne Frank’s home. In Begijnhof, walk around the city and enjoy the Middle Age Era buildings.

Afterwards, the cruise ship will be embarking outside Amsterdam and take you to the next destination of Cologne.  Here you can enjoy a guided walking tour to visit the UNESCO designated and revered Gothic masterpiece Cologne Cathedral and the Old Town will be the day’s highlight. Enjoy beer tasting in Kölsch. Try Reibekuchen, a potato pancake with apple sauce. You can also join a bike ride tour and see Stadtgarten.

Next stop Lahnstein, with the possibilities of discovering the rich history of Koblenz, located at the junction of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers. A guided day tour will bring you to Clock Tower, Monument of Emperor Wilhelm I and other cultural monuments. You can explore the place with the guided “Two Rivers Bike Tour” or ride a cable car to give you an aerial view of Ehrenbreitstein Fortress or a Castle Lahnstein hike.

Heading onto the Mosel river, you come to the town of Cochem, with half-timbered homes and the Reichsburg Castle.

Continuing along the Mosel river, is Trier, the oldest city of Germany where you can find the ancient Roman Amphitheater, the Basilica of Constantine and the Roman Baths. Unravel the secrets of Porta Nigra Gate. Listen to stories of barbarians and bishops which crossed the famous gate way back 180 A.D.  For more active travelers, there is a Trier bike tour or a hike to point Petrisberg – located above the Roman Amphitheater amidst the vineyards.

Heading back toward the Rhine River, the next stop is the cute town of Berkanstel – enjoy a day filled with wine-tasting activities because Moselle Valley is popular wine-producing region for over 500 years.  Walking, cycling or hiking excursions are available to choose from.

Back on the Rhine River, you come to the famous Loreley and the Rhine Gorge – a UNESCO designated area where breathtaking views of vineyards are located. At Rudesheim, take a gondola ride to Niederwalddenkmal Statue. Taste the town’s famed Rüdesheimer Coffee or explore Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Museum.  Alternatively, enjoy a Schloss Johannisberg bike tour or a hike through the vineyards.

The next stop of Ludwigshafen has so many options to enjoy in the area – a visit to Romantic Heidelberg Castle,  a visit to one of the largest Baroque palaces – the Mannheim Baroque Palace (closed between March 4, 2019 to January 26, 2020 for remodeling). Mark Twain has written about it in one of his novels. Another option is a visit to the beautiful Schwetzingen Palace Gardens, or a Ladenburg bike tour or Heidelberg Philosopher’s Path hike – located on the northern side of the Neckar River – opposite of Heidelberg Castle.

Continuing along the Rhine toward Basel, a stop at the charming city of Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace. The fairytale-like sights of “La Petite France” will captivate your senses. Other iconic structures are Place de la République, Parc de l’Orangerie and the European Parliament. Being on the border between France and Germany, there is a great combination of architecture that has a beautiful canal meandering thought the old town.  The Strasbourg Cathedral  of Notre Dame, offers it’s famous astronomical clock as well beautiful stained glass windows – the beautiful Rose window and some from the 13th and 14th centuries.  Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world and the highest surviving structure built entirely in the Middle Ages.

The stop at Breisach has many options for touring.  The Alsatian town of Riquewihr offers the enchanting sight of a medieval hamlet and other well-preserved architecture, looking like it did in the 16th century. Another option is the Black Forest town of Freiburg – home of the most beautiful spire on earth, as well as impressive stained glass windows – the Gothic cathedral known as Freiburg’s Münster.  Those wishing a more active excursion can cycle through the scenic countryside, or go on a hike in the Black Forest, a magical land full of cultural traditions.

Last stop – Basel Switzerland.  After breakfast, your Germany River Cruise ends.

If you have the time, AmaWaterways has put together a great little extension in Switzerland featuring the lovely cities – Lucerne, Vitznau and Zurich.  Your excursions include a tour of Basel, followed by a bus transfer through the country between Basel and Lucerne, where your overnight. Excursions include a city tour and also you see the famous Lion Monument; another overnight then a scenic cruise from Lucerne to Vitznau on Lake Lucerne, followed by a transfer to Zurich where you overnight for 2 night and enjoy a tour of this international city.

This cruise itinerary offers only a few departures each year, so call soon to check availability.  Europeanbarging can assist with availability and check for promotions.  888-869-7907   Barge and River Cruise Specialist since 1998.

Ama River Cruise Advantage on Excursions and Dining

 

AmaPrima cabin with French doors

 

 

 

 

 

AmaPrima River Cruise cabin with French doors

Travelers will cruise in absolute luxury aboard the AmaWaterways’ river cruise ships – complete with spacious staterooms, on-board entertainment and Internet/WiFi access. Fine dining in multiple venues, complimentary wine, beer & soft drinks with lunch and dinner and cabins with French doors (some ships have useable balconies) are just some of the amenities available aboard the cruise.

When your ship docks in the heart of town, stroll ashore for included excursions or set off to explore on a complimentary bicycle. Unpack just once then settle in as each destination comes to you. With no need to navigate from place to place, you’ll find a sense of adventure and a sense of home all in one vacation.

In order to accommodate each and every passenger’s pace, AmaWaterways offers a “Gentle Walkers” group, for those who’d like to explore at a more leisurely pace. Wherever possible, we also offer an “Active Walkers” group for those interested in covering more ground; and a “Late Starter” group for those who prefer to sleep in. AmaWaterways also offers multiple tours in each port for those that might have visited the area before at no additional charge.

AmaWaterways is the only river cruise line that carries more than two dozen bicycles and safety helmets, free for you to use throughout Europe. 

The bicycles give you the freedom to venture out and explore the riverside bike-ways or participate in complimentary guided bicycle tours. Whether you join a guided bike tour or explore on your own, our user-friendly bicycles offer the ultimate in touring freedom.

Amawaterways is proud to be the only river cruise line invited to join one of the world’s most prestigious culinary organizations founded in 1950 in Paris. Every AmaWaterways vessel cruising in Europe is an official member of La Chaine des Rotisseurs. Membership is considered an achievement of world-class culinary achievement.

AmaWaterways offers cruises on the Mosel, Rhine and Danube in Germany, Douro in Portugal,  the Rhone and Saone in France as well as Bordeaux for 2015.  The Danube River from Germany through Austria and Hungary to the Black Sea.  There are many Themed cruises – such as Christmas Markets, Wine, Beer and Tulip cruises.

Check the “Special Offers” section on the front page of our website for special offers on AmaWaterways River Cruises in Europe.  888-869-7907

http://www.europeanbarging.com/River_cruises

Touring the Loire Valley on a Loire Valley Cruise

The Loire Valley is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in France. It lies in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France. The valley has numerous vineyards, fruit orchards (such as cherries), and artichoke and asparagus fields lined along the banks of the river. Due to such an abundance of fauna in the Loire Valley, it is often referred to as the Garden of France. It is also popularly called as the Cradle of the French Language. The city of Tours in the Loire Valley is renowned for speaking the purest French.

Loire Valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period. It is remarkable for its historic towns, architecture and wines.  The central part of the Loire River valley got listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2000.

Loire Valley is famous for its historic towns such as Ambiose, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Orleans, Saumur, and Tours. These historic towns display excellent architectural heritage. But specifically, Loire valley is considered exceptional for its châteaux, such as the Château d’Amboise, Château de Chambord, Château de Chinon, Château du Rivau, Château d’Ussé, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau.

The undulating riverside terrain of the Loire Valley and especially its many cultural monuments are reminiscent of the influence of ideals of the Renaissance and the Age of the Enlightenment on Western European thought and design.

The Loire Valley has an extensive wine territory encompassing several French wine regions situated along the river from the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast to the regions of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Many wineries in the region offer tours.

As mentioned earlier, the central part of the Loire Valley got recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The honor came for the Loire Valley region between Maine and Sully-sur-Loire on December 2, 2000. While adding this part to the list of esteemed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the committee bestowed high praises on the region in these words: “an exceptional cultural landscape, of great beauty, comprised of historic cities and villages, great architectural monuments – the Châteaux – and lands that have been cultivated and shaped by centuries of interaction between local populations and their physical environment, in particular the Loire itself.”

Loire Valley is a wonderful region to explore. Book your vacation on our Loire Valley cruise for a memorable experience with your family!

For more information contact: Europeanbarging, 888-869-7907, jan@europeanbarging.com

Learn About the History and Architecture of Besancon on a European River Cruise

Besancon is the capital city of the Franche-Comté region of northeastern France. It is situated near the border with Switzerland.  Held in a loop of the river Doubs, it was once known as the first green city of France. Since 1986, the city has been labeled a ‘Town of Art and History.’ Besançon’s Vauban citadel was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2008.

Besancon has a very ancient history. The city was first mentioned in 58 BCE as Vesontio in the Book I of Julius Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War). However, in fact, Gallic tribes are considered to have inhabited the area as long ago as 1,500 BCE.

Besancon has an interesting history as it was ruled by many states over the passage of time. It has been a part of Charlemagne’s Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, being independent, under the Duke of Burgundy, and under Spanish and French rule who continued changing hands frequently between them. It gained much significance during the Napoleonic Wars when the town was bombarded by the Austrians in 1814. It was also important during the Franco-Prussian War, and captured by the Nazis during World War II.

The Citadel of Besançon is a major tourist attraction in the city. It was built by the famous architect Vauban in the 17th century and is visited by about a quarter of a million visitors every year. The Citadel houses many museums, a restaurant, shops and a zoo where you can see and touch lions, baboons and fish. The place exudes such an ambiance that everybody gets enthralled by the wonderful experience.  You will get an opportunity to see spectacular views of the countryside and the town while strolling around its fortifications.

Besancon is one of the best-preserved Renaissance cities. The historic part of the city located in the “Boucle” of the river is simply stunning with the remains of what is supposed to have been a theatre in Castan Square-eight Roman Corinthian columns among the town’s most ancient allures.

Another high point of Besancon is Granvelle Palace, the museum of time. The Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian columns along with three gothic windows which used to be the characteristics of the Granvelle Palace once have become part of the splendid museum of time now.

The museum of Fine Arts and Archeology is yet another attraction of the city and a must visit place. It boasts of being one of the oldest and richest museums of France and exhibits collections from Primitive and Renaissance painters.

Get aboard our European river cruise and enjoy a wonderful family vacation to Besancon!

For more information contact: Europeanbarging, 888-869-7907, jan@europeanbarging.com