Enjoy the Romance of the Rhine on a Rhine River Cruise


Cruising by Rhine castles Follow Me on Pinterest

Cruising by Rhine castles

Rhine river cruises are probably the most popular of all European river cruises, although many “Rhine Cruises” are in fact day-trips down one particularly attractive section of the Rhine between Boppard and St Goar. The Rhine itself is one of Europe’s major rivers, originating in the Swiss Alps and covering five countries. For over 2,000 years, this legendary river has greatly influenced the history, culture and economy of Europe. Some riverboats sail only on the Rhine River (known as the Rhein in Germany), while others combine the Rhine with other waterways in Germany, Austria, Hungary or the Netherlands.

Rhine-Main-Danube Cruises

Rhine-Main-Danube river cruises have become very popular, chiefly because the boats are getting more luxurious (and therefore acceptable to more travellers for longer trips) and there is a far greater variety of port experiences available, from tiny picturesque villages and famous castles to major cities like Amsterdam, Cologne and Basel. We did an Amsterdam-Budapest river cruise (Rhine-Danube) in 2005 with my 89 year-old mother and found it a good option for both her and ourselves.  The next time we did a long trip on the Rhine again was a journey from Vienna to Paris in 2013 and that was very enjoyable as well.

A Side-Trip on the Moselle River

Cruises on the Moselle River (known as the Mosel river in Germany) are often combined with Rhine river cruises (see our Rhine-Moselle river cruises page), often slipped in as a two day side trip to Bernkastel and Trier before returning to the Rhine. Whatever itinerary you choose, a Rhine river cruise allows you to experience some of Europe’s most interesting river ports and enjoy spectacular views.

Cologne cathedral's twin spires seen from the Rhine Follow Me on Pinterest

Cologne cathedral’s twin spires seen from the Rhine

A purely Rhine river cruise might start in Antwerp, travel through the heartland of Germany, along the border of France and into Switzerland, ending up at Basel. That means you get the famous Rhine castles – more than any other river valley in the world, they claim – see the legendary Loreley Rock (yes, that is the correct spelling), visit Cologne with its UNESCO World Heritage Gothic Cathedral, explore the village of Rüdesheim and Siegfried’s Musikkabinett, possibly visit Heidelberg on an excursion from Speyer, then sample the French-German ambience of Strasbourg on the way down to Basel over the border in Switzerland.

OUR ADVICE: All the major cruise operators such as Viking, Uniworld, Avalon, AmaWaterways, Scenic and Tauck compete aggressively on the Rhine and they have their most luxurious and up-to-date boats plying this river. Rhine river cruises are also sold by many tour aggregators and if you are choosing a cruise with them, concentrate on the ship you want to travel on and the itinerary (of course, there’s also price!). Be sure to check out our “Things to watch for” page too!

Other Germany and Austria cruises:

Elbe river cruise

Rhine-Moselle river cruises

Danube river cruises

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