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Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles/AmaMora
Cruise holidays   >   Mediterranean and Europe   >   Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles

AmaMora

Swiss Alps & Rhine Castles - 7 night cruise



Cruise only from €4,518

Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.


Description

Highlights

Gratuities

Dates and Prices

Cabins

Sister ship to our award-winning AmaLea and AmaKristina, AmaMora is an incredible twin-balcony ship with generous personal space, multiple dining choices and exceptional stateroom comfort. On board, you will find an all-day tapas menu and afternoon tea, as well as a 24-hour coffee station, in addition to AmaWaterways' signature exquisite, locally sourced cuisine in the Main Restaurant and at The Chef's Table. Active leisure amenities include a sun-deck walking track, pool with swim-up bar, fitness room and bicycles for in-port exploration. Staterooms are equipped with everything you need for a relaxing vacation, including Entertainment-On-Demand with free high-speed Internet access and Wi-Fi. And should you treat yourself to a suite, you'll enjoy a larger sitting area and an expansive bathroom complete with a bathtub and separate shower, as well as a bed facing the river, so you can wake up and fall asleep to magnificent views.

Cruise ID: 34569

Explore Europe's amazing sights like the locals do. We were the first river cruise line to carry an entire fleet of complimentary bicycles on board, so you can experience biking alongside enchanting riverside pathways and in city centers. Whether you feel like joining one of our exclusive guided bike tours, or want to go discover on your own, there are many ways for you to explore on two wheels during your cruise. The beauty of Europe doesn't just lie in its architecture and landmarks – there are also breathtaking sights to be seen when you venture out into nature. That's why we've designed special guided hikes that will take you a bit off the beaten path, offering a unique perspective in beautiful destinations such as Austria's UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley. All of our guided hikes and bike tours are included in the cruise fare so you have more choices when it comes to how you prefer to explore.

Although we leave gratuities to your discretion, many of our guests have asked for general tipping guidelines. Gratuities may be charged on a credit card or given in cash.

7-Night Cruises

Ship's Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 100 Euros per cruise, per guest. (AmaMagna 120 Euros per cruise, per guest)

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship's crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 25 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.

10-Night Cruises

Ship's Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 143 Euros per cruise, per guest.

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship's crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 36 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.

11-Night Cruises

Ship's Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 158 Euros per cruise, per guest.

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship's crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 40 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.

14-Night Cruises

Ship's Crew: The entire amount will be divided equally amongst all crew members. Recommendation: 200 Euros per cruise, per guest. (AmaMagna 240 Euros per cruise, per guest)

Cruise Manager: Your Cruise Manager is not part of the ship's crew and is the AmaWaterways representative who also accompanies you on any pre- and/or post-cruise hotel/land extensions you may have booked. Recommendation: 50 Euros per cruise, per guest; 4 Euros for each additional day, per guest for pre- and post-cruise hotel/land extensions.

Date Time Price * Booking
05 August 2024 €4,518 Call us to book
16 September 2024 €6,036 Call us to book
30 September 2024 €4,587 Call us to book
11 November 2024 €4,587 Call us to book
23 December 2024 €5,493 Call us to book

* Price based on lowest available cruise only fare for double occupancy. Subject to change at any time.

Cabins on AmaMora

Suite
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Lounge Area
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category AA Stateroom
1-3

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Lounge Area
  • Vanity Area
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category BA Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Lounge Area
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category CB Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category AB Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk
  • Lounge Area
  • Vanity Area
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Air Conditioning

Category BB Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk
  • Lounge Area
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Air Conditioning

Category CA Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • King or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category D Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Desk
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Telephone
  • Air Conditioning

Category E Stateroom
1-2

Stateroom Features

  • In-room temperature control
  • Spacious bathrooms with multi-jet showerheads
  • Large wardrobe, full-length mirror, hair dryer, safe and direct-dial telephone
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Entertainment on Demand system providing complimentary TV, movies and music library
  • Complimentary bottled water replenished daily
  • Complimentary internet and Wi-Fi
  • Desk and chair

Facilities

  • Queen or Twin Configuration
  • Shower
  • Toiletries Provided
  • Room Service Available
  • TV
  • Safe
  • Hair Dryer
  • Telephone
  • Desk
  • Media/Entertainment Station
  • Air Conditioning

View Itinerary By Date



Day 1 Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

Day 2 Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

Day 4 Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town's architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

Day 5 Lahnstein, Germany

Day 6 Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region's cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

Day 7 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 1 Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

Day 2 Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

Day 4 Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town's architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

Day 5 Lahnstein, Germany

Day 6 Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region's cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

Day 7 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 1 Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

Day 2 Lake Lucerne, Switzerland

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

Day 4 Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town's architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

Day 5 Lahnstein, Germany

Day 6 Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region's cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

Day 7 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 1 Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

Day 2 Breisach, Germany

Breisach is a town located in Southwest Germany on the French border. The town is situated in the Rhine Valley on the banks of the river Rhine and dates back over four thousand years. Breisach and its history can be experienced through the City History Museum, which houses a permanent exhibition taking you from Stone Age through the Celtic, to the Romans and Middle Ages, right up to modern day. St Stephen's Cathedral is home to the city's famous art treasures, the wheel wells, which are housed in the neighbouring Radbrunnenturm with the forty one metre deep water well. The cathedral is also home to many other treasures including the High Altar of Master HL and wall paintings by Martin Schongauer as well as High Gothic and Roman architecture. A visit to the Blue House, the former Jewish Community Centre, is highly recommended. Now owned by the Friends of Former Jewish Community House Breisach it exhibits memorials to Breisach's Jewish heritage.

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

Day 4 Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town's architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

Day 5 Lahnstein, Germany

Day 6 Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region's cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

Day 7 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 1 Basel, Switzerland

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

Day 2 Breisach, Germany

Breisach is a town located in Southwest Germany on the French border. The town is situated in the Rhine Valley on the banks of the river Rhine and dates back over four thousand years. Breisach and its history can be experienced through the City History Museum, which houses a permanent exhibition taking you from Stone Age through the Celtic, to the Romans and Middle Ages, right up to modern day. St Stephen's Cathedral is home to the city's famous art treasures, the wheel wells, which are housed in the neighbouring Radbrunnenturm with the forty one metre deep water well. The cathedral is also home to many other treasures including the High Altar of Master HL and wall paintings by Martin Schongauer as well as High Gothic and Roman architecture. A visit to the Blue House, the former Jewish Community Centre, is highly recommended. Now owned by the Friends of Former Jewish Community House Breisach it exhibits memorials to Breisach's Jewish heritage.

Day 3 Strasbourg, France

Day 4 Rüdesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town's architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

Day 5 Lahnstein, Germany

Day 6 Cologne, Germany

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region's cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

Day 7 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

Day 8 Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city's Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don't forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

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TRAVEL AWARE - STAYING SAFE AND HEALTHY ABROAD

The Department of Foreign Affairs has up-to-date advice for Irish citizens on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more security, local laws, health, passport and visa information see https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/ and follow dfatravelwise