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Goway destination expert Tanya Murray recently returned from a trip to Europe, where she was lucky enough to journey along some of Europe’s great rivers with AMA Waterways. Here, she breaks down her trip and offers some insight to agents selling the region and European cruises.
Last November, I had the opportunity to travel on AMA Waterways from Basel to Amsterdam. This was great as I love being able to see smaller cites off the beaten path that do not usually make the wish list of many travellers. I flew into Zurich, explored the city, and then head to Basel, which is only a short train ride away. The region on the border of France and Germany has a very unique cultural flavour. It has alternated between German and French control over the centuries, which has resulted in it having a mix of both cultures.
I need to say something about the white wines, especially the dry Riesling produced in the region over the centuries, because the area is a wine lover’s paradise. If you love wine, you need to explore the area around Strasbourg and Alsace. Some of the prettiest villages in Europe are located in the region (at least according to the locals). It’s easy to get to and around the region. Strasbourg is only two hours away from Paris by direct train, and it’s well connected to Germany as well and about the same distance to Frankfurt.
What was your favourite destination?
My favourite city was Strasbourg. It has the magnificent Gothic Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg.
What surprised you about the experience?
On AMA, I was really surprised to see a varied demographic age group. I travelled with my daughter and we met many people in their mid-30s to early 40s. Also, I really liked that there was a variety of optional excursions from slow-paced to active biking and walking tours. As a very active person, I’ve done everything from skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and scuba-diving, so this was perfect for me.
What are some interesting excursions or itineraries that you would recommend?
One excursion I recommend is the stunning Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle. It is situated in the middle of the Alsace region in France. It is located at the edge of the forest on a mountain and completely isolated. The castle occupied a strategic position in the 12th century. I loved its picturesque panoramic views of the entire Alsace region and medieval architecture. Plus, since I travelled off-season, there were only two of us on the tour, so it felt like we were the only ones in the castle.
What’s your top tip for agents selling the region?
Don’t be afraid to travel in the off-season because you get to see the same great sights without the crowds and the weather is still comfortable, especially if you want to do more active excursions.
Did you learn anything new, or did anything surprise you about the destination?
The whole Alsace region is fascinating and interesting, since it’s a combination of France and Germany. Both countries have a huge influence and it makes it a unique area. As well, if you are a white wine lover (this region makes seven types of white wine and only one type of red), you won’t be disappointed to discover some of the best wines in Europe. My favourite was the Gewurztraminer wine.
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