4 Incredible Countries You’ll Visit on a Rhine River Cruise

If you’re dreaming of a relaxing European vacation filled with history, culture, food and wine a Rhine River Cruise is the perfect fit! River cruising is one of the most in-demand styles of travel and, no wonder! You’ll only unpack once, get to visit several countries, travel sustainably on a ship rather than flying from country to country and be pampered with delicious regional cuisine and wines!

Onboard you’ll enjoy fabulous rooftop pools, jacuzzies, and wellness programs, exquisite cuisine and impeccable service. But we know the main reason travellers choose a river cruise is for the adventure and the amazing, breathtaking stops along the way. On a Rhine River Cruise, you’ll explore historic, romantic and truly awe-inspiring cities.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the amazing destinations you’ll visit along the Rhine River.

Switzerland

Switzerland is beautiful any time of year; 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 along the Rhine River by ship, Switzerland will have you wondering if you’ve walked straight into a fairytale.

Basel

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 centred around a market square, making it easy to explore on your own.

Basel is situated 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. Why not add on a few days to enjoy beautiful Zurich and Lucerne!

Lucerne

Lucerne is the ideal stop on your visit to Switzerland. Wandering its majestic streets, you’ll encounter a city dotted with beautiful bridges, cafes and chocolate shops that will satisfy your sweet tooth.  And you can enjoy leisurely boat rides on Lake Lucerne to take in the historic city from a different vantage point.

Lucerne, Switzerland Photo: Jovanna Askrabic | Unsplash

Zurich

The banking capital and economic hub of Switzerland, Zurich combines pre-medieval roots with modern-day business and entertainment.

In addition to its world-class shopping venues, there is plenty of sight-seeing to do.

From the Hauptbahnhof—Switzerland’s largest railway station—you can catch a train and be on a crisp, glistening mountain peak in a matter of minutes.  You can also explore the city’s incredible rivers or take a dip in the magnificent lake, perfect to cool off on a warm summer day.  Whether its fine dining or Uetliberg hiking trails you seek, Zurich has something for everyone’s perfect adventure.

France

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 historic sights, we love this country for all the right reasons.

Wine & Dine

Wine and France go hand-in-hand, and if you haven’t had a bowl of French onion soup, you’re missing out. Enjoy fresh croissants and cafe au lait at a local bakery in the morning, a light Croque Monsieur for lunch and a full 3-course French dinner, you are sure to be full and satisfied with a day exploring French cuisine!

On a Rhine River cruise, you’ll also stop in Strasbourg, the charming capital city of the Alsace region. Explore the region’s wines with a day tour at Cave des Hospices. 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 all equally serene places for an afternoon walk or bike ride. And don’t forget your camera to capture a few photos of the beautiful historic buildings and parks along the way!

Historic buildings along a canal in Strasbourg, France
Strasbourg, France Photo: Hugues de Buyer-Mimeure | Unsplash

Shopping

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 centred on Grande Île, an island in the middle of the city.

Did you know 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 year-round! 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.

Strasbourg, France. Photo: Ama Waterways

Germany

Travelling to Germany usually takes tourists to Berlin, Munich and other metropolitan areas. On a river cruise, you’ll experience a more traditional and laid-back side of the country.

Cruising down the Rhine will take you to quaint cities such as Rüdesheim and Cologne, both offering plenty of spots to take in museums, history, local cuisine and music.

Rüdesheim

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 a port stop in Rüdesheim, you can choose between visiting Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, a scenic gondola ride or a wine tasting hike through the vineyards.

Don’t miss taking the cable car over the vineyards to the Niederwald monument and enjoy the local shops as you make your way back to the ship.

Vineyard walk, Germany Photo: Ama Waterways

Cologne

A 2,000-year-old city, Cologne is best known for its colourful rows of houses and its famous Christmas markets.  In contrast to the small-town charm of Rüdesheim, Cologne is a much larger city and considered a cultural hub in this area of the country.

Where Rüdesheim is medieval and rustic, Cologne is Gothic and modern. Visible from the Rhine River, the Cologne Cathedral is a must-see landmark. Its two towers are still some of the largest peaks in the city.

With your stop in Cologne you can choose between a Holy City walking tour and cathedral visit, a Kölsch Beer tasting or a city cycling tour. Your choice, depending on your interests and activity level.

The Netherlands

What better way to end a beautiful Rhine River Cruise than right in the heart of the Netherlands, Amsterdam.

A city known for its red-light district and overall carefree way of life, Amsterdam offers an incredible array of cultural experiences. Cruising one of the world’s most elaborate canal systems will show you the beauty this city has to offer.

If you prefer to observe the canals by land, you can opt for a tour through the bohemian neighbourhood 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. Anne Frank House is located just outside Jordaan and across from the historical Westerkerk Cathedral where Rembrandt was buried in 1669.

The Food

One of the most pleasant surprises of a trip to Amsterdam is the food. Three local dishes you should try are: Bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs), kibbeling (deep-fried fish) or snert (split pea soup). You might have to share with your travelling companions to get a taste for all three though. They aren’t small meals!

After dinner, enjoy a variety of different sweets including Dutch licorice, poffertjes (puffy pancakes) or stroopwafels (remember to eat them hot and gooey).

The Art

Amsterdam is also known for its peculiar shops and art displays. From stores with cows on the ceiling to displays dedicated entirely to tulips, something new to discover lies around every corner in Amsterdam. 

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

With so much to see and do on a Rhine River Cruise, we can’t cover it all here. You’ll just need to go check it out for yourself! From choosing the best time of year for you to go, to the perfect stateroom and taking care of all of your flights, insurance and extended stays, we are here to help you have an amazing, stress-free vacation.

Ready to start planning your next great adventure? Set up a no-obligation consultation, today.

4 thoughts on “4 Incredible Countries You’ll Visit on a Rhine River Cruise”

  1. Re: Four Countries, Rhine River Cruise – Not sure if a full consultation is needed at this point. Just need to know when the sailings would be (Covid permitting) and the price per couple. If those items align with our “specs”, we’ll book a consult.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann,
      Glad you are thinking about a river cruise vacation! Some river cruises are returning to sailing as of the beginning of July in Europe. There are 100’s to choose from, but many are already sold out. Prices vary greatly depending on inclusions, destination, port stops, length of trip, level of comfort, a window cabin, a balcony or a suite. There is no “one cruise fits all” or “one price fits all”. A consultation can help narrow down the options based on your preferred travel time and budget. An experienced travel advisor can also help you understand and mitigate your financial risk, make sure you are properly insured and make sure you get the perfect trip for you. I’d be happy to do a consult, that really is the first place to start.

      Reply

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