The Rhine River has been the lifeblood of Europe for thousands of years. It was vital to connecting the different provinces of the Roman Empire, but also for the Second World War; controlling the Rhine has always meant controlling the entire continent, so many battles have been fought over it. The Rhine River is the second longest river in central/ western Europe, second only to the almighty Danube. Taking a river cruise is an amazing way to experience the wonders along the Rhine River. A guided river cruise with an operator such as Viking River Cruises will transport you directly to the historical, natural, and cultural highlights on the Rhine.
Here is our list of the top 5 things to see on the Rhine River:
- The Rhine is known to most as a German river. However, it also goes through the Netherlands, France and Switzerland. In Switzerland, you can visit the city of Chur. It is here that the Rhine is at its smallest. Indeed, if you are dressed for the occasion, you could cross it on foot!
- Once the Rhine River reaches Germany, it is a torrent of fast roaring water, which is how most people see the river itself. On the border, you will be able to visit Speyer, which is one the many cities you can come across along the Rhine that has strong connections with the Roman Empire. Speyer has an ancient cathedral in the middle of the town (UNESCO), and the downtown area is really vibrant. An interesting fact about Speyer is that during the Black Plague, while most of Europe was in crisis, the Jewish population of Speyer managed to be disease-free because of how often they bathed. Also, it is the town of origin of people with the last name Shapiro.
- Do also make sure you make a stop in Worms, which is also in Germany. Worms is a city of fascinating historic heritage, including the fact that Protestantism is believed to have been founded here in 1521. It was here that Martin Luther first rallied against the Catholic Church. Today, it is a city full of amazing architecture. Stop at Weintor, which is a construction around the bridge that goes over the Rhine.
- Hessen’s Rudesheim is another wonderful place to visit, particularly if you want to relax. It is a small city with some of the world’s best wines and there are many bars to visit here. There is also a full wine museum and the Niederwald Denkmal, a 19th century war memorial. Plus, you can take the Seilbahn chairlift to see what the city looks like from a bird’s eye view.
- All along the Rhine, you will be able to see amazing castles. You can’t see them all on a single tour, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t come back again and again. If you can only visit one castle, however, make it the Pfalzgrafenstein, which is near Kaub. This is a castle on an island right in the middle of the Rhine.
Other amazing stops along the Rhine River include the cities of Cologne, Koblenz, and Strasbourg (UNESCO).
Also see this Packing list for a European River Cruise
A river cruise along the Rhine is clearly an experience you will never forget. If you’ve ever been on a river cruise on the Rhine River, leave us a comment below about your experience!