The Rhine has been one of Europe’s principal trade routes for millennia, and the wealth it brought is clear in the soaring Gothic cathedrals of Strasbourg and Cologne, stunning collections of Old Masters and modern art, and playful garden palaces. Behind this rich cultural legacy, however, is a complex history that is easily missed on a superficial visit: Roman settlement at Cologne, Charlemagne’s capital at Aachen, medieval abbeys, Renaissance intellectual centres such as Gutenberg’s Mainz, and the birth of modern Germany in Goethe’s Frankfurt. Delve into the riches of the Rhine and its fascinating history on this 13-day tour.
Magnificent medieval architecture: Charlemagne’s Palatine Chapel in Aachen, Gothic cathedrals in Strasbourg and Cologne
Old Masters at Strasbourg’s Museum of Fine Arts and Frankfurt’s Staedel
Western Germany’s finest modern art, including Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, Dusseldorf’s Kunstsammlung and Baden-Baden’s Freider Burda
The little-told story of the Northern Renaissance: Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany’s oldest university in Heidelberg
Varied landscapes, from Alsace’s vinecovered hills to the scenic Middle Rhine, its spectacular riverside castles and medieval abbeys
Days 1–3: Transfer from Zurich airport to Strasbourg, explore the medieval city and its excellent collections; day trip to Colmar.
Days 4–5: Visit Baden-Baden; discover Speyer, where Holy Roman Emperors are entombed; and enjoy Heidelberg, the beautiful university town on the river Necker.
Days 6–8: Rococo palaces, Renaissance Mainz, Frankfurt’s exceptional art galleries.
Days 9–13: Cruise the Middle Rhine, lined with spectacular medieval castles, then uncover Cologne’s history from Roman origins to thriving modern culture. Day trip to Dusseldorf, the pre-eminent centre of modern German art, then explore Charlemagne’s capital at Aachen.
Start & Finish
The tour starts at Zurich airport and finishes at Dusseldorf airport. Emirates and Singapore Airlines offer direct flights between Australian cities and Zurich and Dusseldorf for the beginning and end of this tour. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming months. To receive a copy of the published itinerary once available, please register your interest below and we will be sure to email you a copy. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 9235 0023.
Dr Nick Gordon
A cultural historian with a PhD in History, and practicing painter who brings this passion to the visual arts.
Dr Nick Gordon is a cultural historian and artist, with over 10 years of experience leading tours to Europe. He has strong interests in art, history, philosophy and architecture, from the ancient world to the present.
Nick holds a University Medal and PhD in history from the University of Sydney. He taught medieval and Renaissance history at the University of Sydney, the history of political thought at the University of Western Sydney, and architectural and Australian history elsewhere. He continues to teach at the Centre of Continuing Education, and gives occasional lectures on topics ranging from Classical Rome through to Australian and contemporary art. Nick has lead tours for Academy Travel since 2007, and designs study tours, residential tours and art-focussed tours, such as the Venice Biennale, Art Along the Rhine, Art Basel, and Amsterdam to Paris: Van Eyck to Van Gogh.
Nick is also an artist and his firsthand experience of art complements his academic expertise, through his knowledge of materials and the processes behind how an artwork is made, and his well-practiced eye for reading art.
We asked Nick, what do you enjoy most about tour leading?
“One of the things I enjoy most about touring is helping people understand more about what they’re seeing. This happens through a combination of background lectures exploring different contexts, cultural commentary on the road, and especially by being able to explain what is going on in an artwork with the artwork in front of us.”
“The aim of all of this is to help people see more for themselves, independently, both on tour and beyond. Some of the best moments for me on tour are when this happens, and you get to be part of something bigger as people start adding their own knowledge and experience to what we’re looking at. It makes each experience unique.”
In order to avoid unnecessary transfers and allow for individual exploration, we select comfortable, centrally-located hotels wherever possible. Most of the hotels we use are 4-star, with the occasional splurge on 5-star. We prefer smaller hotels if available, and we are constantly researching and reviewing our choices.
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate public transport is also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Open-age tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller.
A Grade 2 tour is appropriate for travellers in good health with good mobility, who can comfortably participate in up to 3 hours of physical activity per day on most days. More Details
A detailed itinerary for this tour is not yet available, and as such we're not accepting bookings for this tour at this time. If you would like to be notified when places become available, please register your interest.
A detailed itinerary for this tour is not yet available, and as such we're not accepting bookings for this tour at this time. If you would like to be notified when places become available, please register your interest. We will email you an itinerary as soon as it’s available.
Please keep me informed about the next departure of this tour.
Hold a Place
Thank you for your interest in this tour. We are happy to hold a tentative place for seven days while you make your final arrangements to come on tour.
Sign up to our mailing list for tour updates and latest news.