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CruiseDirection - Magazine May 2019

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Cruise the Rhine

A cruise to Basel starting from the port of Amsterdam along the River Rhine will take you to several European countries on an 865-mile journey from the North Sea to the Swiss Alps. It is one of the most popular river cruises and is particularly favoured by those new to river cruising. Many tour operators offer cruises along this scenic river, including Viking River Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Grand Circle Cruises.  

The River Rhine flows through some beautiful countryside and historic cities. These cruises typically last a week, with longer options available when you also take in sections of other rivers, including the Moselle and the Main. If you start your cruise in Amsterdam, then one of your first destinations is likely to be the city of Arnhem, where excursions can be made to the Netherlands Open Air Museum – a museum with many buildings, including houses, mills and a brewery reflecting the varied history of the region.

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Why Visit Rhine?


Rhine scenery image by cruisedirection

One of the most popular river cruises

Flows through some beautiful countryside and historic cities

In Germany, you will be cruising to historic towns and cities such as the city of Cologne, dominated by its spectacular gothic cathedral, and the picturesque town of Koblenz. You can also visit Bonn, the former capital of West Germany, where the Museum Mile draws art and culture lovers from all over the world.  

From here, you will enter the Rhine Gorge. This is the romantic Rhine with its fairy-tale castles perched high on the hillsides that have inspired artists, composers and writers. The most famous sight is the Lorelei Rock, a sheer slate cliff where legend states that many a boat has been lured to its doom by the enchanting sirens who inhabit it. Today, it is one of the most beautiful highlights of the cruise, and music is often played on deck as you glide past.  

Most cruises will stop in Rudesheim, allowing you to explore the cobbled streets, visit the Rhinegau Wine Museum at Brömserburg Castle or take a cable car high into the hills to admire the beautiful Rhine from above.  

The Rhine flows through some top wine-growing regions of both France and Germany, where it has historically formed the border. As you enter the Upper Rhine, you may like to take a tour of the scenic Black Forest and sample the famous gateau, or you can make an excursion to the historic city of Strasburg and the region of Alsace before cruising to Basel and the Swiss Rhineland.  

The main cruising season for the River Rhine is March to October. Cruises can be taken to coincide with annual events such as the Rhine in Flames Festival. This takes place in September to celebrate the wine harvest. By day, you can visit the wine markets or listen to the live music in the streets, while at night, the already spectacular landscape becomes more dramatic still as it lights up in bonfires and fireworks.  

Although outside the main cruising season, there are also Christmas Market cruises, where city squares fill with brightly-lit stalls. Wrap up warm, enjoy a glass of Glühwein and have fun as Christmas shopping becomes an experience to savour.

Rhine destination image by cruisedirection

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