top of page

A taste of Switzerland before a journey up the Rhine

I have just returned from a lovely trip around Europe and I'd love to share my experience!

Our journey began in Basel, Switzerland, where we decided to enjoy a pre-cruise tour of Switzerland before embarking on the Amadeus Cara river cruise along the Rhine River. We flew into Basel Airport, which uniquely offers exits into either France or Switzerland—a very cool feature. From the Swiss exit, we picked up our rental car and made the short drive to Bern, choosing it as our home base for the next few days due to its central location and proximity to the places we wanted to explore.

Switzerland, with its stunning, mountainous landscapes, clean air, and breathtaking vistas, truly captivated me. Growing up in a mountainous area myself, I have a deep appreciation for such environments, and the Jungfrau region did not disappoint.

Here is a brief recap of the cities we visited and their highlights:

Bern: This city offered a straightforward tour of historical landmarks and the best shopping opportunities of our trip. Guided by our trusty Rick Steves' book, we explored the city's towers, fountains, and renowned chocolate shops, and ended our tour with a visit to the local bears in their modern enclosure. I could have easily spent several days in this fabulous and beautiful city.

Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen: It was my top priority to visit Lauterbrunnen due to the stunning photos and videos I had seen over the years. We started our journey there by first parking in Interlaken and taking the train down. Parking is very slim in Lauterbrunnen and there is quite a bottleneck of traffic, so it's highly suggested to take public transportation.

Lauterbrunnen is like a scene from a novel, with its steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and vibrant green foliage. While there's not much to do beyond strolling along the cliffs and taking photos, it’s definitely worth a half-day trip. At the end of the walkway, you can relax and watch paragliders leaping from the mountainsides.

Murten: This medieval town, just a short drive from Bern, is surrounded by ancient ramparts and exudes a sense of stepping back in time. We delighted in walking around the protective wall and learning about its history.

Lucerne: Lucerne wasn’t on our original itinerary, but a last-minute change allowed us to visit, and I'm so glad we did. We had about half a day to explore, so we focused on Lucerne Old Town and the famous Chapel Bridge. We savored some of the best iced chai from a street cart and a delicious lunch at the renowned Opus restaurant along the canal.

Basel: While Basel was not my favorite due to its large city vibe and distance from the mountains, it was a convenient stop before our cruise. We visited the Basler Münster, where one can climb one of its spires for an unparalleled view—an experience not for the claustrophobic.

After our pre-trip, we transferred to the cruise port to board the Amadeus Cara. Built in 2022, the Amadeus Cara offers a clean, modern experience with four easily navigable levels. We chose a B4 room category with a large window that opens up, providing stunning views as we sailed. The ship offers a daily breakfast buffet, full lunches (usually three courses), and full dinners (three to four courses). Wine, beer, and soda are included during meals, while reasonably priced cocktails are available at the bar throughout the day. Coffee, water, and tea are available all day, and frequent events offer snacks and drinks.

The crew onboard were incredible, and saying goodbye was hard knowing we might never see them again. The excursions offered by Amadeus were reasonably priced and well-organized, with local guides providing insightful tours at each port. We purchased tours in three ports where self-guided tours would have been difficult due to the distance from where the ship was docked. In other ports, we either did self-guided tours or arranged excursions through Tours by Locals. If you need a great guide in Amsterdam, I highly suggest reaching out to Jota Services (Jeroen Verstegen).

Cruise Itinerary Ports of Call:

  • Basel, Switzerland (photos above)

  • Strasbourg, France

  • Speyer, Germany

  • Mannheim, Germany

  • Rüdesheim, Germany

  • After departing this city, we cruised along the river to enjoy 12 castles on either side, with our cruise director providing historical insights.

  • Koblenz, Germany

  • Cochem, Germany

  • Cologne, Germany

  • Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amadeus Cara:


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page