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Christmas Markets Along the Rhine 2014

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Pre-trip: Basel, Switzerland

Join us on this extension to discover Basel, Switzerland’s third-largest city and a center of history and culture. With a heritage than spans more than 2,000 years and a fortunate geographic location, Basel offers a cosmopolitan blend of Swiss, German, and French influences.

It's Included:
Accommodations: for 3 nights at the First-Class Hotel Basel or similar
3 meals: 3 breakfasts
Included tour: Basel
Exclusive services of a resident Grand Circle Program Director
All transfers

    Depart the U.S. today on your flight to Basel, Switzerland.

  • When you arrive in Switzerland, you are met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in Basel. In the late afternoon, you'll be escorted on a walk in the vicinity around your hotel, followed by time to explore on your own.

    This evening join your Program Director for a Welcome Drink and a briefing on what to expect during your time in Basel. Then enjoy dinner on your own. Your Program Director will have suggestions for dining among the many fine restaurants in the city.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    After breakfast, attend an orientation briefing. Your Program Director will go over the details of your upcoming trip and answer any questions you may have.

    Next, embark on a walking tour of Basel. Basel is Switzerland’s third-largest city and one with a split personality. On the one hand, the city is dominated by giant, modern chemical concerns and pharmaceutical companies. On the other, a network of narrow alleys weaves together the city’s medieval architectural heritage. On our walking tour, we’ll see the lively Marktplatz, its colorful Town Hall, and the twelfth-century, red sandstone Munster (Cathedral) among other highlights.

    After lunch on your own, you have the rest of the day to relax or explore on your own, with an included day pass on Basel’s extensive tram network. With more than 30 museums, Basel is a well-known center of art and culture. Dating to 1662, the Museum of Fine Arts is considered the oldest public art museum in Europe. Inside, you can view Old Masters such as Hans Holbein, along with modern masters, such as Jasper Johns. The Historical Museum, which is housed in a 14th-century church, contains a collection relating to the history of culture in Central Europe. Its most notable piece is the Lallenkonig (Babbling King), a crowned head with moveable tongue and eyes.

    Your Program Director can help with suggestions for dinner on your own tonight.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Explore Basel on your own today. Stroll across a bridge or ride a ferry across the Rhine, and explore the city’s two sides: historic Grossbasel, where many cultural attractions are clustered, and more modern Kleinbasel.

    Or join our optional tour to Bern, Switzerland’s capital. We’ll travel about an hour and a quarter by bus, then take a guided walking tour, beginning at the city’s bear pit. The bear is the symbol of Bern, and the live animals housed here are well-treated as some of the city’s most valued residents. Stroll through the historic center of this city on the Aare River, which was founded in 1191 by Duke Berchtold of Zahringen. The tour brings you to Bern’s 16th-century clock tower, after which you’ll have free time to get lunch on your own. Then continue on to Emmental to see how Swiss cheese is made before returning to Basel.

    Your evening is free and you can seek out another of Basel’s many excellent restaurants for dinner on your own.

    • Meals included:

    After breakfast this morning, transfer to the pier to embark your river ship. Travelers arriving for the main trip will join you and you will continue from Day 2 of the main itinerary.