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Rhine River - Best Tours & Trips 2019

205 trips to Rhine River tours from 40 tour companies. 8 reviews. 4.5/5 avg rating.
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 “Ca ... Read More
All Rhine River cruises, tours, and packages. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 352 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

Travel Theme

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Rivers & Seas

Cities & Attractions

Activities

Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Flights & Transport

Continents & Regions

Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more

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Christmas Markets Along the Rhine

11 days
$ 150 / day
$ 1,645
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit Kaysersberg
  • Visit the nearby commune of Riquewihr, a renowned "wine village" known for its Rieslings
  • Enjoy a sightseeing tour by boat along Strasbourg's canals
  • Discover romantic Heidelberg, a historic university town
  • Explore Koblenz and stroll among the stalls of its wonderful Christmas Market
  • Visit the Deutsches Eck, or "Corner of Germany"
  • See the ruins of Roman temples
  • Visit to the National Liberation Museum
Visits:
Amsterdam, Cologne, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, Koblenz, Strasbourg, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
View Trip

The Enchanting Rhine

AMA Waterways
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 233 / day
$ 2,799
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Amsterdam and enjoy the canal cruise through the city
  • Experience 7-night cruise from Amsterdam to Basel
  • Discover Strasbourg and Zurich
  • Visit Cologne and get an opportunity to see Cathedral Square
Visits:
Amsterdam, Basel, Cologne, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Lucerne, Strasbourg, Zurich, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
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Rhine Getaway

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 257 / day
$ 2,056
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region
  • Explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse.
  • Set at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers
Visits:
Amsterdam, Basel, Cologne, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, Koblenz, St. Martin's Cathedral, Strasbourg, France, Germany, Netherlands
View Trip

Jewels of the Rhine

8 days
$ 293 / day
$ 2,345
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore 8 different cities, towns and villages with a guide during our included tours and shore excursions
  • Visit the Black Forest region and visit the open air Vogtsbauernhof Museum which showcases life in medieval times
  • Visit Mannheim one of Germany's oldest cities largely destroyed during WWII
  • Explore the medieval town of Rüdesheim and take a cable car to the Germania Monument
  • Cruise the majestic Rhine Gorge including the Lorelei Statue and 21 medieval castles
  • Visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in Koblenz which overlooks the Rhine Valley
  • Tour of Cologne’s Old Town finishing at the Cologne Cathedral
  • Take an orientation walk through Amsterdam including Dam Square and the Flower Markets
Visits:
Amsterdam, Cologne, Heidelberg, Zurich, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
View Trip

Rhine Cruise to Switzerland

8 days
$ 242 / day
$ 1,933
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore medieval Koblenz
  • Visit to the pretty, romantic town of Rüdesheim - centre of the Rhineland wine trade
  • Cruise through the spectacular Rhine Gorge
  • An evening in Speyer - dominated by the imposing basilica
  • Guided tour of Strasbourg - amazingly rich in a wealth of sights
  • Visit to the old walled town of Breisach
  • Tour of the beautiful Black Forest and lakeside town of Titisee
  • Tour of some of the finest Swiss Alpine scenery, seeing the Jungfrau and the Eiger, Interlaken and the stunning lakeside town of Lucerne
Visits:
Cologne, Koblenz, Lucerne, Paris, Strasbourg, France, Germany, Switzerland
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Rhine Christmas Markets South

5 days
$ 276 / day
$ 1,379
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Celebrate Christmas on Rhine Christmas Markets South
  • See the old Cathedral city, the World famous trade fairs.
  • Enjoy the history of more than 2000 years old Roman colony.
  • Observe on Strasbourg has played a significant role and had an eventful history
  • Points of interest are the St Martin and St Stephen cathedrals, the castle of Mainz and the Gutenberg Museum.
Visits:
Cologne, Strasbourg, Germany
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Christmas Markets on the Rhine

AMA Waterways
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 373 / day
$ 4,479
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore get a chance to visit Christmas Markets.
  • Enjoy Strasbourg city tour and visit Christmas Markets
  • Opportunity to  cruise along Rhine Gorge, admiring many amazing castles
  • Experience cruise across the tranquil waters of Lake Lucerne
  • Drive to Rüdesheim experience wine tasting
Visits:
Amsterdam, Cologne, Heidelberg, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
View Trip

Cruise the Glorious Rhine

6 days
$ 108 / day
$ 648
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy the fabulous journey through UNESCO-listed Middle Rhine
  • Discover fascinating places of Mainz, Koblenz and Cologne
  • Visit Gutenberg Museum and delightful Altstadt
  • Explore the great Rhineland capital
Visits:
Cologne, Koblenz, Germany
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A Cycling Journey: Wine Along the Rhine from Germ ...

Road Scholar
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 269 / day
$ 3,229
From : $ 4,359
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : N/A
Physical Level : N/A
  • N/A
  • Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Cycle to a chocolate museum in Strasbourg to learn about truffle production and enjoy a sweet treat
    • Gain insight into the prowess of military engineer Vauban at the fortified town of Neuf-Brisach
    • Board a shuttle to the historic crag-top fortress of Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
    Visits:
    Heidelberg, Strasbourg, France, Germany
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    The Rhine, Swiss Alps & Amsterdam - Southbound 2019

    Tauck
    By Tauck
    Preferred
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    10 days
    $ 579 / day
    $ 5,790
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
    Highlights
    • Exclusive reception at the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar
    • exclusive dinner and entertainment at Ereshoven Castle
    • Germany
    • two nights in Bern at the Bellevue Palace Bern
    • boat tour along Amsterdam's canals or a walking-and-tasting tour of the city's Jordaan district
    • guided visit to the Rjiksmuseum
    • visit to Jungfraujoch in the Swiss Alps
    • visit to the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart
    • 7-day Rhine cruise
    Visits:
    Amsterdam, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
    View Trip

    Rhine River and Castles Walk

    UTracks
    Premier
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    8 days
    $ 111 / day
    $ 890
    From : $ 1,246
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
    Highlights
    • Walking through the stunning Rhine Valley
    • Exploring ancient wine-growing villages
    • Experiencing the areas rich history through its impressive castles and towns
    • Discovering the charming town of Koblenz where the Rhine meets the Moselle River
    Visits:
    Koblenz, Germany
    View Trip

    Magical Rhine and Moselle

    Collette
    Premier
    Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
    10 days
    $ 390 / day
    $ 3,899
    From : $ 4,796
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : N/A
    Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
    Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
    Highlights
    • Enjoy a Captain’s Gala Dinner aboard your ship.
    • Visit one of Cochem’s renowned wine cellars.
    • Set out on a 7-night cruise along the Rhine.
    • Discover the lovely town of Cochem on a guided tour.
    • Take in the sounds of barrel organs and medieval instruments at Siegfried’s Mechanisches Musikkabinett.
    • Set out on a tour of picturesque Rüdesheim.
    • Cruise the famous canals of Amsterdam and join a local guide for a city tour.
    • Explore Cologne’s Old Town during a walking tour.
    Visits:
    Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Strasbourg, Zurich
    View Trip

    Rhine Holiday Markets

    8 days
    $ 525 / day
    $ 4,199
    From : $ 5,165
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
    Visits:
    Basel, Cologne, Koblenz, Strasbourg, Germany, Switzerland
    View Trip

    The Germany - Rhine Untour

    7 days
    $ 133 / day
    $ 929
    From : $ 1,254
    The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
    Highlights
    • Attend unique wine festivals at wine-producing region
    • Sail in River Rhine
    • Visit Gutenberg Museum and St. Stephan’s Church
    • Discover Koblenz, Cologne, Mainz and Heidelberg
    Visits:
    Cologne, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Germany
    View Trip

    Romance of the Rhine & Mosel

    16 days
    $ 206 / day
    $ 3,895
    Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
    Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
    Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
    Highlights
    • Unpack just once and journey through five European countries—Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland
    • Cruise aboard our award-winning 140- to 164-passenger ships with a dedicated English-speaking crew
    • Experience this European itinerary, and uncover a local and American perspective in destinations like Speyer, where you’ll enjoy a Home-Hosted Kaffeeklatsch
    • Explore with an expert, local Program Director—a native or resident of Europe—who will be dedicated to your group of no more than 47 from the start to the end of your trip
    Visits:
    Antwerp, Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland
    View Trip
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    Top Rhine River Experiences and Attractions

    Top Rhine River Experiences

    Sailing through the 40-mile-long Rhine Gorge in Germany, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than 40 castles and fortresses stand guard on hilltops.

    Gazing up at the Lorelei Rock, where a lovelorn siren who plunged to her death is said to haunt the area, luring sailors to their doom in the swirling waters below.

    Sipping a fragrant German white wine on deck as you glide past terraced vineyards clinging to steep hillsides.

    Watching the world go by from your own balcony as you travel in comfort from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, via Germany and France – by far the most common itinerary.

    Spending time before or after the cruise in Amsterdam – with canals for streets, bicycles galore and world-class art museums, it’s one of Europe’s most alluring cities.

    Exploring the German city of Cologne, home to one of Europe’s most splendid Gothic cathedrals, known for its signature twin steeples.

    Wandering Koblenz, a 2,000-year-old city where the Rhine and Moselle rivers join -- and perhaps taking a scenic side-cruise up the Moselle.

    Discovering Heidelberg, the old German university town that showcases stunning medieval architecture and a Gothic castle.

    Enjoying an excursion to France’s Strasbourg in Alsace-Lorraine, where French and German customs mix to add flavor to the cultural stew.

    Strolling wine-country towns like Kaysersberg in Alsace-Lorraine and Germany’s Rudesheim – their names may be unfamiliar, but you won’t soon forget the storybook settings, or the local vintages.

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    Rhine River Trip Reviews

    8 Rhine River Tour Reviews - Summary 88% Recommend

    4.5 out of 5
    Excellent 7
    Great 0
    Average 0
    Disappointing 0
    Terrible 1
    Value
    4.5
    Guide
    4.8
    Activities
    5.0
    Lodging
    4.8
    Transportation
    4.5
    Meals
    4.8

    Tour Reviews Write a Review

    The most amazing river trip in Europe

    5.0
    • 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

    i had a wonderful time

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    In May of 2016 we did the Heart of Europe Grand Tour which started in Amsterdam and ended in London. Both my husband and i had a wonderful time and saw sites we may have never seen before(we have been to Europe before but only to Germany and Amsterdam) Our Tour Guide was Ron Lazet and he was wonderful and very knowledgeable. Would recommend these tours for anyone. I hope to be able to do another tour in the near future

    Read more
    Operator Image Tours

    We loved it.

    5.0
    • Value 5.0
    • Guide 5.0
    • Activities 5.0
    • Lodging 5.0
    • Transportation 5.0
    • Meals 5.0

    "We loved it. You do a great job. Location was in the most scenic part of the Rhine and shopping and train were very close.
    Natalie brought with her lots of local information and train, boat schedules station schedules which were very helpful. as the book did not have that much information."

    Read more
    Operator Untours

    Incredible experience

    5.0
    • 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

    Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

    1.0
    • 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

    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.

    Rivers Combined - The Rhine & the Moselle

    Oftentimes, you’ll find Rhine River cruise itineraries also include the Moselle River. The Moselle joins the Rhine at Koblenz, and provides an extremely picturesque journey. Wine lovers will note the pristine German rieslings that come out of the regions the Moselle flows through.

    From the Rhine, you will branch off to the left to travel through the French region of Lorraine, famous for being the home of Joan of Arc. With ancient castles and ruins dotting the hillsides, the Moselle provides the perfect journey for history lovers as well.

    The Rhine & the Rhone

    The Rhone is another popular river cruise destination, and a great cruise in its own right. If you’re looking for a cruise that touches on a greater variety of European sights and cultural activities, you might consider a cruise that includes both the Rhine and the Rhone rivers.

    The wine regions are a consistent theme for these rivers, and especially if you’re interested in tasting some classic French varietals from famous Burgundy. If you choose a Rhine cruise that includes the Rhone, pay special attention to the land portions on the itinerary. Some may include longer stays or extensions in major cities like Amsterdam or Paris.

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

    Top Rhine River Travel Companies

    Things to Know Before You Go

    River cruises along the Rhine are perfect for those travelers seeking a less crowded European river cruise than the Danube, but are eager to see many similar sights.

    Rather than traveling in and east-west direction, Rhine river cruises travel north-south through the Netherlands, western Germany, and some far eastern parts of France.

    Unlike many other river cruises through Europe, the Rhine touches on some views of a more industrial side of Europe. You will absolutely see a smattering of castles, and gorgeous countryside, but expect a few industrial plants and factories along the way as well. The Rhine, like all important rivers, has gone through many iterations of importance to the countries it services.

    How long are Rhine River Cruises?

    Rhine river cruises are usually between 8 and 15 days. This gives you a nice balance of port calls and time out on the water.

    However, be sure to check the itinerary and route carefully. Many Rhine River cruises travel in smaller areas, rather than the full expanse of the river. These cruises may be similar amounts of time but hitting a different number of countries.

    So when searching for a Rhine River cruise, consider whether you’d prefer to visit more sites within 1 country - meaning some smaller villages and towns, or forgo some sights in the interest of checking off more countries and larger cities.

    Christmas Cruises Along the Rhine

    The Rhine is an extremely popular river for people wanting to visit some of Europe’s famous Christmas markets. These delightful markets have deep roots in Germany where they are called “Christkindlesmarkt”. Because the Rhine flows through much of Germany’s western regions, it is one of the top rivers that hosts Christmas cruises.

    Snow is common, so be ready for some cold weather! But it adds everything to the ambiance, as you stroll through the streets listening to carols, sipping mulled wine, and browsing stalls of crafts and food.

    Rhine Christmas cruises fill up fast! Be sure to book early to secure a spot. And book extra early if you or someone you traveling with requires special assistance, such as a wheelchair accessible room. These are first come first serve on river cruise vessels.

    All Rhine River cruises, tours, and packages. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.5 for all Rhine River trips.

    205 trips from 40 tour companies with 8 reviews

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