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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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Top Rhine River Attractions

Cologne

Neuschwanstein Castle

Koblenz

Boppard

Rudesheim

Heidelberg

Bonn

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Must See Rhine River Attractions

1. Amsterdam

Amsterdam street and canals

Many Rhine River Cruises begin or end in Amsterdam. This city is popular among multiple age groups and types of traveler for it’s laid back atmosphere, canals, and quintessentially European vibe. Grab a bicycle and enjoy an afternoon of cafes, art, and historical sites. The Anne Frank House is a popular attraction in Amsterdam, though be sure to check if your river cruise can help with advance tickets as the lines are consistently long.

2. Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle along the Rhine

This fairytale castle in the heart of Bavaria, Germany, is an extremely popular tourist attraction. If your Rhine River cruise includes a stop in Munich, there’s a good chance excursions to Neuschwanstein will be available. Situated in the Black Forest, and conjuring up visions of princesses and fairy tales, Neuschwanstein castle was in fact one of the inspirations for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle.

3. Heidelberg

Heidelberg castle in Germany

Much of the Rhine River flows through Germany, so many classic and beautiful German town will be on your itinerary. Heidelberg showcases classic German charm, and is a great destination architecture buffs. The city is famous for the “Old Bridge” spanning the river toward Heidelberg Castle - a great opportunity for photos.

4. Strasbourg

Strasbourg village in France

If you’re looking for a classic European country town, this is the stop for you. Strasbourg has a quintessentially French feel, with cobblestoned streets, small shops, and of course a cathedral. Be sure to visit picturesque Petite France, the historic quarter of town, and Rohan Palace to walk in the footsteps of Marie Antoinette. Strasbourg is also a delightful place for visit for Christmas markets.

5. Basel

Basel along the Rhine River

Sharing three international borders: Switzerland, Germany, and France, Basel presents a fascinating convergence of cultures, cuisines, and languages. You can enjoy several wonderful historic sights in Basel, within a short distance from each other, and don’t miss a stroll through the Botanical Gardens.

6. Mainz

Mainz cathedral

Museum goers and history lovers take note - this one’s for you! Mainz is a German city, with several art and history museums guaranteed to keep you satisfied during this port of call. On the banks of the Rhine, it is also near the Main River. Mainz is a very old city, founded by the Romans during the 1st century. One of the most popular museums is the Gutenberg - celebrating the inventor of the metal type printing technique, a game changer during the industrial revolution.

7. Palatinate Forest

Forest views on a Rhine River cruise

This enormous expanse of green forest in Germany could only hide fairy tales creatures and castles. Seeing the forest come up on the banks from the viewing deck of your river cruise is a highlight of any itinerary along the Rhine. Many hiking and cycling paths can be found through the forest, though not all Rhine River cruises will stop for this opportunity.

8. Koblenz

Koblenz along the Rhine River

Gateway to the Rhine Gorge, Koblenz is one of Germany’s oldest cities, at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine rivers. Koblenz is known for ancient buildings, wine tasting, gardens, and some pretty funky art installations and museums.

9. Rudesheim

Castle in Rudesheim

A classic Christmas cruise stop, Rudesheim is a charming town located at a bend in the Rhine in the heart of Germany. It’s a great place for walking around, enjoying local treats, shopping, sampling wine, and visiting castles. One of the treats you need to make sure you sample is a “Rudesheimer coffee”. This delicious alcoholic concoction is made with whipped cream and flambe brandy - it is served in a specific type of cup. It was invented in 1957 and is popular among locals and tourists alike.

10. Cologne

Cologne Germany Rhine River Cruise

One of the most popular destinations in Germany, not the least of which for it’s amazing Cathedral, Cologne is a classic stop on any Rhine River cruise. A major trade center for several centuries, the city of Cologne is a cultural wonder to behold. Art museums are a major draw for tourists, but if you’d rather skip being indoors you can simply walk the lovely streets along the river for spectacular views and people watching.

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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
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