Travel goes on and a consistent area of interest is river cruising. It’s such an amazing way to immerse yourself in a destination, since it’s so easy to walk right off the ship into the heart of a city, combined with the convenience of unpacking once. The Rhine River is one of the most popular itineraries, so that inspires this weeks article…
4 Fascinating Countries You’ll Explore on the Rhine River
A Rhine River cruise takes you into the heart of Europe, through medieval castles and fairy tale villages. Flowing north from Switzerland for almost 800 miles before emptying in the North Sea, the Rhine River provides an exceptional experience that takes you back in history while showcasing the spectacular beauty and culture of its countries.
Most Rhine cruises will start or end in Basel, Switzerland. Switzerland is an all-year-round destination known for its high mountains, covered in snow during winter and green vegetation during summer.
The city of Basel is at the border of Germany and France, resulting in a melting pot of cultures. It is an excellent representation of the Swiss culture and its cuisine that you can sample at café Alfresco. Basel is also famous for its many museums and a market square that can be traversed quickly. Since Switzerland has so much to offer, I highly recommend spending some time before or after your cruise exploring other cities like Zurich and Lucerne.
One of the best ways to take in this beautiful city is by wandering through the city streets. Your walk will lead you to gorgeous bridges, quaint cafes, and candy shops with an array of treats for chocolate lovers. If you love the outdoors, book a ride on Lake Lucerne and enjoy some time exploring its contours.
Zurich perfectly combines pre-medieval culture and modern-day trade. The capital is a center for finance and banking, making it a leading economic hub globally. Besides its banking capital status, Zurich also has many top-notch shopping venues to check out. If you prefer the outdoors, make your way to nearby mountain peaks by taking a train ride from the city’s central railway station. The Uetliberg is a great place to hike and enjoy Zurich’s panoramic view while at the top. Later on, you can explore magnificent lakes and incredible rivers in the vicinity, perfect for swimming.
What is there not to love about France? Its luscious countryside, historical sights, delicious cuisine, and wine make the trip to the country worth it.
The stopover in Strasbourg makes it possible to enjoy a hot beverage and fresh croissant in the morning, croquet monsieur at lunch, and 3- course meal at dinner. Don’t forget to order a glass of wine, which serves as a great accompaniment to most meals in France.
Wine lovers can take a wine tour and enjoy a tasting. If you prefer getting active, you can spend some of the day walking or cycling through the botanical gardens, Parc de la Citadelle, or Parc de l’Orangerie.
Most of the shopping in Strasbourg takes place on Grande Île at the center of the city. The old town area has several street markets, modern stores, and local boutiques worth checking out. Make sure to visit the Christmas markets open all year long for shoppers looking for unique holiday décor. The markets spread from the Grande Île district to Un Noël en Alsace, which is beautifully decorated, especially during Christmas. If your trip to Strasbourg is during the Christmas season, consider taking some mulled wine to keep warm.
Are you ready to see a different side of Germany? A river cruise is the best way to do it, as you experience a more hospitable and traditional side of the country. Cruising down the Rhine reveals cultural spots and charming cities that are hidden treasures. You will visit Cologne and Rüdesheim, known for their entertainment offerings, including museums and local musicians.
The stop at Rüdesheim gives you a chance to choose between hiking through vineyards, riding on a gondola, or browsing through collections at Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum.
Hiking through the vineyards is a favorite activity in the city because you get to taste their famous Riesling wine. Visitors may watch the process of winemaking as they learn the history of their famous wines. On the outskirts of the vineyard are medieval-style castles with cobblestone streets worth exploring while in Rüdesheim. Later on, you can take a cable ride to the Niederwald monument above the vineyards and shop at local stores when making your way back to the cruise ship.
Cologne differs from Rüdesheim in several ways. The cultural hub is much larger, with hundreds of houses arranged in rows and popular Christmas markets. Since its establishment over 2,000 years ago, the city retains a modern and gothic appearance compared to the rustic and old-fashioned Rüdesheim.
You can see the two towers of the city’s most popular landmark, the Cologne Cathedral, from your ship. During the stopover, you may opt to taste Kölsch Beer at local brew houses, cycle through the city or tour the Holy City, including the cathedral.
End your cruise in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and a hub of cultural diversity. The city is best explored using canal systems that provide an in-depth look into its beautiful attractions.
Alternatively, you can explore the canals on land by touring through Jordaan. The bohemian town has several shops, eateries, and trendy cafes, making it the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee. It is also home to the Anne Frank House and Westerkerk Cathedral, some of the town’s renowned historic landmarks. Bicycling is very popular, so you can join in and cycle the city, or else watch out for those who are!
Friendly and kind are some of the words tourists describe the people of the Netherlands – and it’s all true. You will notice their promptness, modesty, and hospitality as you interact with them in the welcoming city.
Each of these four countries offer unique cultural experiences, food, and architecture. A Rhine River cruise is a great way to see a variety of places in one trip all while enjoying the luxuries and amenities of the ships.