With all of the fantastic amenities on a river cruise ship, from the fabulous rooftop pools and wellness programs to their exquisite cuisine and delicious cocktail drinks available around the clock, it’s tempting to never leave the ship! But as much as they enjoy impeccable service, we know that travelers choose a river cruise because of the adventure and the breathtaking stops along the way. With that in mind, the countries you’ll explore on the Rhine are historic, romantic, and truly awe-inspiring.
Do you want to spend more of your time in Switzerland, Germany or France? What about the Netherlands? Let’s look at our destinations on the Rhine River, and you’ll see why our clients keep coming back for more.
Switzerland is a pristine alpine wonderland that is beautiful any time of year. It’s known for its snowy mountain caps in the winter and lush green hills in the summer. Whether you’re taking a scenic train ride through the Alps or traveling the Rhine by ship, Switzerland will have you wondering if you’ve walked straight into a fairytale.
Many river cruises on the Rhine start or end in Basel, a city known for its love of art and museums. The city has the highest concentration of museums in the country and is centered around a market square, making it perfectly easy to tour.
Basel is a fantastic representation of Switzerland as it’s situated right between France and Germany, two countries that have significantly influenced Swiss culture. Enjoy this melding of cultures as you dine alfresco at a cafe along the banks of the Rhine.
But why stop with Basel when there’s so much more of Switzerland to see. We’d recommend tacking on a trip to Lucerne or Zurich.
Lucerne is the ideal pitstop on your trek through Switzerland. Wandering through its majestic streets, you’ll encounter a city dotted with beautiful bridges, cafes, and chocolate shops that make your sweet tooth happy. A summer evening in Lucerne will make you never want to leave. Why not book a ride on Lake Lucerne while you’re at it.
Switzerland’s banking capital and economic hub, Zurich, combines pre-medieval roots with modern-day business and entertainment.
In addition to its world-class shopping venues, there is plenty of sightseeing.
The perfect adventure is waiting for you in Zurich, whether fine dining or hiking trails up Uetliberg. From the Hauptbahnhof—Switzerland’s largest railway station—you can catch a train and be on a crisp, glistening mountain peak in minutes. You can also explore the city’s incredible rivers and magnificent lake, which has superior water quality for swimming.
Parlez-vous français? Non? Well, no worries. A good translation app can do wonders to help you navigate the luscious countryside of France and its mouthwatering cafes and menus. For its food, wine, and historical sights, we love this country for all the right reasons.
Wine and France go hand-in-hand, and if you haven’t had a bowl of French onion soup, you’re seriously missing out. Whether you’re stopping at a bakery in the morning for a fresh croissant and cafe au lait, a light lunch of a Croque monsieur, or a full 3-course French dinner, you will not be disappointed.
Book a Rhine River cruise with us, and you’ll stop in Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace region and a charming city for a day trip. We’d recommend the Cave des Hospices for a wine tour and light beverage during the afternoon.
If wine tasting isn’t your idea of a relaxing afternoon, there is no shortage of other soothing activities in Strasbourg. The Parc de l’Orangerie, Parc de la Citadelle, and the botanical gardens are equally serene places for an afternoon walk or bike ride.
Are you looking for modern stores, local boutiques, or street markets? You can find them all in Strasbourg. Most of Strasbourg’s old town is centered on Grande Île, an island in the middle of the city
Christmas markets in Strasbourg are so popular you can find them any time of year. Make your way to the southwest corner of the Grande Île to Un Noël en Alsace to browse Christmas decor. And if you happen to be in Strasbourg during the holiday season, we recommend a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine) to keep you warm along the way.
Traveling to Germany usually takes tourists to Berlin, Munich, and other metropolitan areas. On a river cruise, however, you’ll experience a whole new side of the country—more traditional and inviting.
Cruising down the Rhine, you’ll see cultural hubs and quaint cities you may not otherwise experience. Rüdesheim and Cologne offer various entertainment options, including local musicians and museums, providing a well-rounded German experience.
Rüdesheim is a charming little city on the Rhine known for its production of Reisling wine. The first thing you’ll notice here is the beautiful combination of history and modern winemaking. Cobblestone streets and medieval-style castles lie just outside the vineyards and tasting rooms of Rüdesheim
During the stop in Rüdesheim, you can choose between Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, a gondola ride, or a wine-tasting hike through the vineyards.
Our favorite way to spend time here is to take the cable car over the vineyards, up to the Niederwald monument, and then stop at the local shops back to the ship.
A 2,000-year-old city, Cologne is best known for its colorful rows of houses and its famous Christmas markets. In contrast to the small-town charm of Rüdesheim, Cologne is a much larger city and cultural hub of this area of Germany.
Where Rüdesheim is medieval and rustic, Cologne is more Gothic and modern. Visible from the Rhine River, the Cologne Cathedral is a must-see landmark. Its two towers are still some of the most prominent peaks in the city.
The stop in Cologne offers the options of a Holy City walking tour and cathedral visit, Kölsch Beer tasting, or Cologne bike tour.
What better way to end the Enchanting Cruise than right in the heart of the Netherlands- Amsterdam.
Amsterdam is known for its red-light district and overall carefree way of life, offering an incredible array of cultural experiences. Cruising one of the world’s most elaborate canal systems will show you much of the beauty this city offers.
If you prefer to observe the canals by land, you can opt for a tour through the bohemian neighborhood of Jordaan, which boasts trendy cafes, eateries, and shops. After grabbing a coffee, head to one of the many historical landmarks in this part of town. The Anne Frank House is located just outside Jordaan and across from the historical Westerkerk Cathedral where Rembrandt was buried in 1669.
The people in the Netherlands are genuinely some of the kindest and most friendly people in Europe. Described as modest, direct, and very prompt, don’t be surprised by how welcomed you feel in this city.
As a culinary travel specialist, I’m happy to report that one of the most pleasant surprises of a trip to Amsterdam is the food. If you’re craving something with a pinch of salt, we would recommend Bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs), kibbeling (deep-fried fish), or snert (split pea soup).
After dinner, enjoy various sweets, including Dutch licorice, poffertjes (puffy pancakes), or stroopwafels (remember to eat them hot and gooey).
You will find more quirky shops and art displays in Amsterdam than almost anywhere else. From stores with cows on the ceiling to mouse mansions and displays dedicated entirely to tulips, entertainment in Amsterdam lies around every corner.
Which country is calling your name? These are just a few fascinating destinations on a Rhine River cruise. Contact us today to discuss all the options available and which cruise line and ship is the best fit for your travel style!
Our bespoke itineraries are uniquely designed to completely immerse you in your destination, with delightfully unexpected surprises along the way.
We have a special passion for all things culinary—and we would love to introduce you to your destination’s distinct (and delicious!) food and wine traditions through one-of-a-kind culinary experiences. The best part? You won’t have to do a thing except relax, recharge, and create memories that last a lifetime!
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