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River Rhine

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There’s a soul-stirring beauty surrounding Germany’s romantic Rhine river. From its alpine source in Switzerland, the Rhine winds its way through France and Germany and creates the characteristic landscape of the Netherlands, intertwining the history and culture of four fascinating countries. Simply the name conjures images of fables and fairytales, and the legendary Rhine promises a truly magical river cruising experience. Flanked by forested peaks and studded with rocky islands decorated with whitewashed chapels, the mesmerising Rhine Gorge is picture book perfect. The spires of medieval cathedrals and churches appear around every bend in the river as it meanders past pretty vineyard-backed villages, and hilltops crowned by crumbling castles and fortresses. Fascinating towns and cities showcase a rich French, German, or, in the case of Alsace, dual heritage.

Things to know

  • The majestic Rhine flows through six countries – Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands
  • It is home to the towering rock known as the Lorolei, which is the subject of numerous legends, poems and songs
  • The annual ‘Rhine in Flames’ festival celebrates the harvesting of the wine
  • In summer around 600,000 litres of water a second flow over the Rhine Falls in Switzerland
  • The Rhine Gorge is famous for its natural beauty, vineyards and historic castles

Key Ports of Call

Picture of - Basel
Basel

Nestled on the Rhine River, close to both France and Germany, Switzerland’s third-largest city has its own unique identity. Crossing the Rhine, Basel’s landmark bridge ‘Mittlere Brücke’, is a symbol of the city, whilst Basel’s stunning Cathedral dominates the skyline above its beautiful Old Town. Basel has almost 40, sometimes quirky, museums to enjoy and it’s well-worth trying its Läckerli Huus – traditional Basel honey cake.
Picture of - Koblenz
Koblenz

Koblenz, which started as a Roman settlement, is one of the most beautiful towns in Germany. It sits at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, which is marked by a strip of land known as the Deutsches Eck. The charming old town of Koblenz has romantic narrow streets, picturesque courtyards and small, cosy squares with numerous cafes. The perfect town to enjoy wines from both the Rhine and Moselle regions.
Picture of - Rudesheim
Rudesheim

Surrounded by picturesque vineyards, Rüdesheim-am-Rhein is at the heart of one of Germany’s foremost wine regions. Its charming old town, with medieval German architecture, begins right at the river. The cobblestoned Drosselgasse, only 2 metres wide and 144 metres long, is lined with historic half-timbered buildings housing restaurants, taverns and shops. For a delightfully quirky musical adventure the famous Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet is housed in a former aristocratic residence on Oberstrasse.
Picture of - Strasbourg
Strasbourg

For centuries Strasbourg was the subject of a tussle between Germany and France, so it is perhaps fitting that this beautiful city with its dual cultural heritage is today home to the European Parliament. The capital of the Alsace has one of the largest medieval centres in Europe and its striking Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic art. Crowded with quaint, black and white, half-timbered houses, Petite France is a scene from a picture book where every few paces traditional restaurants serve typical Alsatian specialities.