D-Day to the Rhine

 5.0 - 15 reviews
This is the bucket list trip that I have been waiting for and it was beyond my expectations. From walking on the Normandy beaches, and attending the D-Day ceremony and sitting in the audience was a special treat. There were so many outstanding sites that we visited.

– Sharon Peterson

Our D-Day to the Rhine Tour commemorates the Allied invasion of Normandy that led to victory in Europe in WWII. You will begin in London, where Sir Winston Churchill led Great Britain through its “darkest hour,” and then follow Eisenhower’s Army from England to Normandy to the Rhine. You will visit the invasion beaches of Omaha and Utah and pay your respects at the American Cemetery, where 9387 American soldiers’ graves stretch along the the bluff overlooking the beach, before traveling to Bastogne to begin your study of Operation Market Garden and the Battle of the Bulge

Stephen E. Ambrose first designed our D-Day to the Rhine Tour itinerary in 1978 when he began his intense study of the D-Day invasion, the Normandy Campaign and western front in WWII. As part of his research, Ambrose travelled with countless veterans to find the sites where they trained in the United Kingdom and the battlefields where they made history in Europe. His extensive study of the European Theater of Operations led to his bestselling books on the subject, D-Day: June 6, 1944, Citizen Soldiers, Band of Brothers, and Pegasus Bridge, among others. Ambrose also wrote several volumes about General Eisenhower during WWII, including his two-volume set of biographies and The Supreme Commander: The War years of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Ambrose’s research produced the unrivaled experience that we offer on our D-Day to the Rhine Tour. His expertise was directly handed down to the next generation of historians who have continued to document the battlefield memories of hundreds of WWII veteran soldiers and officers at the very places where they fought. Their vast canon of knowledge is what makes our D-Day tour so authentic. Your historian will share these personal stories and their WWII expertise with you at every stop.

Optional Nuremberg and Berchtesgaden Post-Tour Extension

The optional post-tour extension will depart Frankfurt to the historic city of Nuremberg, where Hitler staged his infamous Nazi rallies and the International Tribunal conducted the Nuremberg Trials. After lunch in the picturesque market center dominated by the Frauenkirche, you will have a guided tour of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and visit the Nuremberg Trials Courtroom 600. On the second day, you will visit Dachau Concentration Camp and have a city tour of Munich. The last full day will include a day trip to Berchtesgaden, where you will have a city tour and visit the Obersalzberg bunker and Eagle’s Nest.

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Highlights

  • Churchill War Rooms: The Churchill War Rooms, the underground nerve center for Britain’s war effort, is always a highlight.
  • Southwick House: We visit Southwick House where Eisenhower, Montgomery, Ramsay and staff planned the invasion.
  • Normandy Beaches: Visiting the invasion beaches of Normandy: Omaha and Utah and the American Cemetery are one of the most moving things you will ever do.
  • Ste-Mere-Eglise: You will not find this stop on other Band of Brothers Tours: the iconic church and steeple at Ste-Mere-Eglise and the guns at Longues-sur-Mer.
  • Pointe-du-Hoc: Stand where the Rangers scaled the cliffs at Pointe-du-Hoc.
  • Bastogne: We wrap up the tour learning about Bastogne, the Ardennes and the Battle of the Bulge.

Day-By-Day Itinerary

DAY 1 Overnight Flight to London

Book your overnight flight the day before you'd like to arrive at London Heathrow Airport (LHR).

DAY 2 London

Arrive at London Heathrow Airport (LHR) in the morning. Make your way to the tour hotel. The first activity will be a 6 p.m. Welcome Reception followed by dinner at the tour hotel. Your historian will treat you to your first lecture, with introductions all around.

DAY 3 London

The morning will feature key sites in London that figured prominently in the War before proceeding to the Churchill War Rooms, the underground nerve center for Britain's war effort. You will also visit the Imperial War Museum, which houses authentic examples of World War II weaponry, tanks, and aircraft and an exhibit of WWI trench warfare. You will have free time to enjoy London in the evening.

DAY 4 Portsmouth

Depart London for Bletchley Park where you will visit the nerve center for intelligence used in the Allied War effort, code name Ultra. Here you will see the place where the Enigma machine is housed and where the cyphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted during the war.

This afternoon you will tour Southwick House, the advance command post of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. In the months leading up to D-Day in 1944, the house became the headquarters of the main Allied commanders, including Naval Commander-In-Chief Admiral Ramsay, Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower, and the Army Commander-In-Chief General Montgomery.

DAY 5 - 8 Normandy

Following breakfast at the hotel, you will cross the English Channel by ferry, embarking for Normandy as the troops did in 1944.

During the several days you spend in Normandy, your visit will include the following sites, and maybe others:

  • Pegasus Bridge: Where the first shots were fired on D-Day

  • Brécourt Manor: The medieval family home where Lieutenant Dick Winters led the men of Easy Company to silence the German artillery firing at Utah Beach on D-Day

  • Utah Beach: Where the American 4th Division landed, and where the Invasion Museum stands today amid the stunning dunes.

  • Omaha Beach: Where the Americans experienced the greatest losses on D-Day

  • Pointe-du-Hoc: Where the Rangers scaled the cliffs and neutralized the heavy German guns

  • Normandy American Cemetery: Pay your respects at the deeply moving cemetery where nearly 10,000 graves memorialize the dead from the Normandy Campaign

  • Ste-Mere-Eglise: Where the first American Airborne troops landed on D-Day

  • La Fiere Bridge: Where the 82nd Airborne successfully delayed a German Panzer counterattack against the Allied landing forces on D-Day

  • Ste-Marie-du-Mont: The church where the Germans used the unique Renaissance-style steeple as an observation post

  • Carentan: Proceed from this town captured by the 101st in the exact steps taken by American Paratroopers during the Battle of Normandy

  • Longues-sur-Mer Battery: A fine example of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall of defense

DAY 9 On the Road

After a half day of final site visits in Normandy, we will work our way to the Netherlands with an overnight in eastern France.

DAY 10 Arnhem

After breakfast, you will begin your study of Operation Market Garden, the early attempt by the Allied forces to strike directly for Berlin. Control of the bridges at Eindhoven, Nijmegen, and Arnhem was essential for the push into Germany. We drive Hell's Highway where the 101st and 82nd Airborne broke through to connect with the British in Arnhem. You will visit Nijmegen to see the daring crossing of the Waal River by the 82nd Airborne.

From there we travel to Arnhem where again we cross the "Bridge Too Far." Your historian will recount the desperate three days that the British 1st Airborne under General John Frost held it. You will end the day at the Airborne Museum at Oosterbeek.

DAY 11 The Ardennes

This is where Hitler put everything he had into his final counter-attack in the Ardennes that became the Battle of the Bulge. On December 16, 1944, Lt. Lyle Bouck was one of the first people to see the German columns coming. Your first stop will be in the Ardennes at Lanzereth, the town where Bouck and a platoon of 19 men held off a full-strength German SS Battalion under the infamous Joachim Peiper for an entire day. You will visit the American positions and hear their story, a breathtaking tale of heroism.

On December 17, 1944, the second day of the offensive, the Germans had several breakthroughs and many Americans surrendered near the town of Malmedy. Outside the town, Peiper's SS lined up about 150 GIs and fired at them point-blank. Less than half escaped alive. You will view the site of the massacre and the American Memorial at Malmedy. From there, you will enjoy a scenic drive through the Ardennes Mountains en route to the evening's lodging.

DAY 12 Luxembourg

Today, you will continue your study of the Battle of the Bulge. After breakfast, we drive to Bastogne where the Americans rallied and stopped the German attack. Here, you will view the route of the initial American retreat and the place where the 101st Airborne and elements of the 10th Armored Division held off fifteen German divisions for six days. You will visit key sites in and around this historic crossroads town. You will also go to General McAuliffe's HQ where he replied to German surrender demands with one word: "NUTS." After your visit, it is a short ride to Luxembourg. This afternoon affords some relaxing free time in the center of this bustling but charming old-world city.

DAY 13 Frankfurt

This morning you will visit nearby Hamm and the Luxembourg American Cemetery, the site of General George S. Patton's grave. America's foremost WWII field general rests here among his men.

You will then travel to the Siegfried Line to see remnants of the German communication trenches, pillboxes, and dragon's teeth that American GIs fought so hard to take in late 1944. This evening you will enjoy a farewell dinner and discussion after an enriching campaign into history.

Overnight at a hotel near the Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

DAY 14 Flight Home from Frankfurt, Germany

Early morning departure to the Frankfurt International Airport (FRA).

Post-Tour - DAY 1 Nuremberg, Germany

(Day 14)

Early morning departure from your hotel in Frankfurt for the post-tour extension to Nuremburg. You will continue your journey toward the Bavarian Alps, stopping first in the historic city of Nuremberg, where Hitler staged his infamous Nazi rallies and the International Tribunal conducted the Nuremberg Trials. After lunch in the picturesque market center dominated by the Frauenkirche, you will tour the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and visit the Nuremberg Trials Courtroom 600.

Post-Tour - DAY 2 Munich, Germany

(Day 15)

We continue south through Bavaria toward Munich, first stopping in Dachau, where you will visit the site of some of the most nefarious acts against humankind during the war. In total, over 200,000 prisoners from more than 30 countries were confined in Dachau: notably Jews, resistance fighters, clergymen, politicians, communists, writers, artists, and royalty. The second camp liberated by Anglo-American forces, Dachau was one of the first places where the West was exposed to Nazi brutality. After lunch in a traditional Munich restaurant, you will enjoy a city tour of Munich before checking into a hotel in the heart of Munich, your base for our final two days.

Post-Tour - DAY 3 Munich

(Day 16)

The day includes a city tour of Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg where you will visit the Eagle’s Nest and the remains of the vast Nazi Party complex liberated by the Allies in May 1945. Eagle’s Nest was built as a 50th birthday present to Hitler from the Nazi Party. Perched at 6017 feet, the complex and road network leading to it were considered feats of engineering genius as they were completed in only 13 months in 1937-1938. For your final night, you will reflect on your journey and enjoy the camaraderie of a farewell dinner.

Post-Tour - DAY 4 Flights Home from Munich Airport

(Day 17)

Morning transfer to Munich Airport (MUC) to catch our flight home.

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Tour Dates

  • July 5 - 18, 2024 - Available! Sign up today!
  • July 18 - 21, 2024 Post Tour Extension
  • July 12 - 25, 2024
  • July 25 - 28, 2024 Post Tour Extension
  • September 6 - 19, 2024 - Waitlist Only!
  • September 19 - 22, 2024 Post Tour Extension
  • September 13 - 26, 2024
  • September 26 - 29, 2024 Post Tour Extension
  • September 20 - October 3, 2024 - Waitlist Only!
  • October 3 - 6, 2024 Post Tour Extension
  • May 31 - June 13, 2025
  • June 13 - 16, 2025 Post Tour Extension
  • July 11 - 24, 2025
  • July 24 - 27 Post Tour Extension
  • September 5 - 18, 2025
  • September 18 - 21, 2025 Post Tour Extension
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TRIP COST $6,590

Prices are per person based on double occupancy. For a single room add $1,650.

POST TOUR EXTENSION $1,790 per person based on double occupancy; for post-tour single room add $725.

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