Rhine River cruise in Europe

Rhine River - Best Cruises & Tours

The romantic Rhine, which flows more than 700 miles from Switzerland to the North Sea, is home to fairy-tale medieval castles, riverside villages, terraced vineyards, and spooky legends. Having inspired travelers and artists for hundreds of years, it’s now one of the most popular cruising rivers in Europe – with many options available. Let Stride help you sort them all out, and soon you can be humming your own version of “Castle on the Rhine.”

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Top Rhine River Experiences and Attractions


Top Rhine River Experiences

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Top Rhine River Attractions

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Rhine River Trip Reviews


3
Rhine River Tour Reviews - Summary
67% Recommend

3.7 out of 5
Excellent 2 Great 0 Average 0 Disappointing 0 Terrible 1
Value
3.7 Guide
4.3 Activities
5.0 Lodging
4.3 Transportation
3.7 Meals
4.3

L

Does Not Recommend

Misleading and often just plain dishonest. October 2018

1.0

European sojourn

  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0
We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it. Read more

Operator Viking River Cruises

WH

Recommends

The most amazing river trip in Europe January 2017

5.0

Romance of the Rhine & Mosel

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Traveling from Belgium through 6 countries to Switzerland is one of the most amazing travel experiences in Europe, especially if traveling with Grand Circle Travel. The ship's crew and staff are the most professional and personable folks that I've ever had the fortune to travel with. Not only have I traveled European rivers with these folks once, but have done so several times. For a single traveler, traveling with Grand Circle is a great bargain, as there is very seldom an extra charge for traveling solo and if their is, the price is very modest. You can't go wrong with these folks. Read more

Operator Grand Circle Cruise Line

T

Recommends

Incredible experience August 2015

5.0

Grand European Tour

  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0
Incredible experience sailing on the Grand European tour from Amsterdam to Budapest! Just wonderful! The tours were interesting, and most allowed for adequate free time to explore the areas visited. But the staff! Beyond compare. Read more

Operator Viking River Cruises

Rhine River Tours and Travel Guide


Rhine River Attractions & Landmarks Guide

A voyage along the Rhine River has attracted travelers and artists for hundreds of years. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a trip down the Rhine was considered a mandatory part of the European grand tour, and the castle-rich hilltops and colorful legends along Germany’s scenic Rhine Gorge inspired poetry by Heinrich Heine and opera by Richard Wagner.

The 700-mile-long river, which flows from Switzerland to the North Sea via France, Germany and the Netherlands, has also been a key means of transport and trade through Western Europe. “The Rhine combines every quality a river can exhibit,” wrote Victor Hugo, citing its “rapidity,” “breadth,” “sinuosity,” “translucency,” “historical reminiscences,” “regal dignity,” “mysterious influence,” “glittering streams” and “phantoms.”

What is the best time to take a Rhine River cruise?

Rhine river cruises run all year round, with peak season in the summer and, surprisingly, winter - when many families and couples attend cruises to see the famous European Christmas markets.

The weather along the Rhine can get quite hot in the summer, and it will also be very crowded. Shorts, skirts, and short sleeves are suggested, with maybe some light long sleeve layers and pants for the evening.

In the wintertime especially you can definitely expect some snow flurries and chilly days. Bundle up with lots of layers so you can enjoy wandering the Christmas markets!

The Rhine Gorge

Today the Rhine ranks with the Danube as among the most popular of all European cruising rivers. Its Rhine Gorge segment, which courses about 40 miles through steep hillsides dotted with more than 40 castles and fortresses, is one of the highlights of world river cruising, and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Small fairytale towns and villages line its banks, vineyards cling to terraced slopes, and large, intriguing cities await exploration as well.

Most Rhine cruising itineraries journey between Basel, Switzerland, and Amsterdam in the Netherlands; you can travel in either direction. The standard length is about a week, but you can easily extend it to 12 or more by combining the Rhine with the Moselle River, which branches off the Rhine at the German city of Koblenz and leads toward Luxembourg, or the Danube, which is connected to the Rhine by the Main Canal and leads to Budapest, Hungary, and beyond – a two- or three-week super cruise. If you’re pressed for time, some shorter, five-day cruises are also available from Basel, stopping at Dusseldorf in Germany rather than continuing on to Amsterdam.

Typical Rhine River Cruise Itineraries

A standard Rhine River cruise route, will include the German cities of Cologne, whose landmark is its Gothic twin-towered Dom Cathedral; Koblenz, site of the huge Ehrenbreitstein Castle; and Heidelberg, which houses the country’s oldest university as well as memorable Romanesque architecture.

The town of Breisach, gateway to Germany’s lovely Black Forest; the towns of Rudesheim and Kayserberg, among others, offering tastes of the wine country; and Strasbourg, France, with its canals, cathedral, and Alsatian choucrout (a hearty dish bearing both French and German influences) all help make Rhine port excursions some of the finest in Europe.

Not surprisingly, most every major European river cruise line operates on the Rhine, so it’s essential to compare and contrast not just itineraries but prices (don’t forget to check what’s included!), ship size, cabin sizes, amenities, and languages spoken aboard, among other things.

The good news is that Stride can help you make sense of it all, allowing you to book your Rhine cruise with confidence -- knowing you’ve chosen the cruise that’s right for you. And soon you’ll be gazing up at the same Sleeping Beauty-style castles on the Rhine that have enchanted travelers and artists for centuries.

Find more useful tips in our blog post "Top Ten Tips for Choosing a European Cruise Line." 

Related Trips & Tours


Top Rhine River Travel Companies


Things to Know Before You Go


All Rhine River cruises, tours, and packages. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 3.7 for all Rhine River trips.

161 trips from 31 tour companies with 3 reviews

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