Approximately 800 miles long, the Rhine River is one of Europe's most important waterways, as well as one of its most popular rivers to cruise. With its fairytale scenery, complete with beautiful castles, medieval villages and lush vineyards, cruisers have plenty to enjoy on the river. Most one-week cruises travel between Basel and Amsterdam, seen here on the Rhine River cruise map, though there are many variables and add-on options for cruisers on the Rhine.
A major highlight of a Rhine River cruise is the 40-mile stretch between Rudesheim and Koblenz, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich with romantic castles and scenic towns. Other UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the Cologne Cathedral, the historic center of Strasbourg, Speyer Cathedral and Amsterdam's canal ring.
A Rhine river cruise calls at the following ports:
Standout Ports on a Rhine river cruise:
Reasons to Go on a Rhine river cruise: There's almost an embarrassment of riches on the Rhine, where one day offers a chance to explore a Gothic cathedral and the next has you tasting wine in a beautiful vineyard. In Amsterdam, dozens of museums beckon, from the Rijksmuseum to the Van Gogh Museum.
Strasbourg's medieval houses and cobbled streets are fascinating to explore, with a visit to the Cathedrale de Notre Dame, which dates from 1190 AD, a must.
Mainz is home to the six-towered Cathedral of St. Martin, founded in 975 AD, as well as the Gutenberg Museum, where you can see the famous 15th-century Gutenberg Bible. Every town seems to offer yet another historic and important place to see, but there is always plenty of time to sample local food and wine. There's a reason so many cruisers make return trips.
Who Would Love It: Romantics, wine and food lovers, historians, museum-goers: Almost everyone will love a Rhine River cruise, which offers a wonderful mix of activities and sights to interest a wide audience. Themed river cruises, including wine festivals and Christmas market cruises, are quite popular, offering a fabulous way to be immersed in the local culture.****
Who Wouldn't: It's hard to imagine that there isn't something for everyone on the Rhine, but if you're looking only for peace and quiet, know that this is a considerably busy working waterway.