A River Cruiser’s Guide to the River Rhine
It comes as no surprise that the Rhine is one of the most popular choices for first time river cruisers! At over 1200km, flowing through 6 countries, the Rhine is one of the longest rivers in Europe & also one of the most important rivers in the world with extremely busy shipping traffic! From the Lorelei Rock to castles on almost every turn, the Rhine is one of the most scenic river cruises to take!
Highlights of a Rhine River Cruise
Bearing in mind that the Rhine flows over 1200km from its source in the Swiss Alps through Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands – there are of course many itineraries to choose from! So to make your choice a little easier why not choose an itinerary which includes some of the following highlights of the Rhine!
The Rhine Gorge
Alternatively referred to as the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, the Rhine Gorge is a 65km stretch of the Rhine, flowing between Bingen and Koblenz. This particular area of the Rhine was labelled a UNESCO World Heritage in 2002 and it is easy to understand why when you are relaxing on top deck watching the charming towns, steep vineyards and medieval castles pass you by! There are in fact over 30 fairy-tale castles sitting on the river banks of this part of the Rhine alone! Choose an itinerary that includes stops at both Koblenz and Rudesheim to ensure you see this picturesque stretch of the Rhine!
Although Cologne was subject to several bombings in World War Two and most of the city was wiped out, it has developed to become a busy, modern city (one of Germany’s busiest in fact) – and still with a strong sense of historical heritage! The magnificent twin-towered cathedral, The Dom, is symbolic of Cologne’s beautiful skyline – it is Germany’s largest cathedral, full of art and historical treasures, including the pièce de rèsistance, found behind the main alter! Most ships berth on the heart of the old town, roughly a 10 minute walk from the Cathedral – it is a nice walk too; along the cobbled streets past pretty beer gardens and through attractive squares (don’t forget to stop in one of their traditional pubs for a taste of their locally brewed beer).
Sitting on the riverside where both the Rhine and the Moselle meet is the pretty village of Koblenz. It is one of Germany’s oldest villages with over 2000 years of history. As you walk through the tiny alleys and old historical squares and past the 12th century church of St Florin you will pass beautiful historic buildings and monuments. If you get chance, be sure to visit Festung Ehrebreitstein – Europe’s second largest Fortress. It was built between 1817 and 1828 and is still in its original form! Towering 118 meters above the Rhine it is worth a visit just for the outstanding view of Koblenz and not to mention part of the stunning Rhine Gorge!
When to go?
Most river cruise lines operate between March and December.
Travel in the summer months for beautiful, colourful landscapes or for an entirely different experience, sail along the Rhine in December and discover the traditional German Christmas Markets!
Who is a Rhine river cruise for?
A Rhine river cruise is ideal for first timers – it is by far the most picturesque & a great introduction to river cruising! But the Rhine is also perfect for culture vultures, wine lovers, history enthusiasts and of course any romantics!
Cruise Lines that sail along the Rhine
As the Rhine is one of the most popular, almost all river cruise lines have itineraries along the Rhine! Including AmaWaterways, Emerald Waterways, Avalon Waterways, APT Luxury River Cruises and Tauck.
Your choice will come down to personal preference – one itinerary may be better than another – one may be sailing on a more convenient date than another – you may be looking for only all-inclusive river cruises (in which case you will be looking at Scenic River Cruises, Tauck or perhaps APT).
Which is the best river cruise operator? Find out what we think here!
Looking for a great deal? Visit www.rivercruising.co.uk to find the right river cruise for you!
Alternatively, call one of our friendly river cruise experts on 0800 810 8229.
Come back soon. Jess Nuttall - RiverCruising.co.uk