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Riviera Travel logoOf all the rivers in Europe, the Rhine is perhaps the most romantic. Winding for 760 miles through six different countries, and flowing from the Swiss Alps out to the North Sea, no other river in the world has so many historic cities on its banks. From medieval castles to hilltop villages, the Rhine is known for its sensational scenery and captivating culture, and the best way to explore its unique charm is from the water.

A Rhine river cruise will take you through the beating heart of Germany’s Rhineland. You can explore Alpine villages, admire sweeping mountain vistas, visit fairytale castles, and enjoy guided walking tours of ancient and elegant cities – all while learning about the region’s fascinating culture and history, and enjoying its fabulous food and wine.

To shine a brighter light on this dazzling part of the world, we’ve partnered with Riviera Travel, one of the UK’s leading tour operators. Their award-winning river cruises are as known for their exceptional value as their luxurious cabins; and the sleek ships act as chic, floating hotels as you drift along the water. With everything taken care of for you, you can kick back, relax, and focus on savouring your trip.

So, if you need further convincing, here are five reasons to cruise the Rhine this year.

1. The diversity

The diversity

The Rhine might be Germany’s most famous (and romantic) river, but it also weaves through five other countries: Switzerland, France, The Netherlands, Austria, and Liechtenstein. Taking a river cruise along the Rhine takes you past many of these countries’ most important cities and beautiful attractions, giving you a remarkable insight into some of Western Europe’s most diverse and compelling cultures.

The Rhine begins its journey at the Rheinwaldhorn Glacier in the Swiss Alps, becomes a proper river at Reichenau, and then empties into Lake Constance before continuing to Basel, where it first becomes navigable. If you’re drawn to the historic cities of Switzerland, then Riviera’s Rhine Cruise to Switzerland will take you to seven charming towns, including Strasbourg, Koblenz, Rüdesheim and Speyer.

Beginning and ending in Cologne, a city known for its gothic architecture and river views, The MoselleLuxembourg & the Majestic Rhine River Cruise doesn’t just showcase the very best of Germany. During this eleven-day tour, you also visit Luxembourg, a diminutive country that’s home to grand castles and beautifully preserved towns. You’ll have plenty of time to explore at your own pace, and soak up the glorious views.

Say ‘Guten Tag!’ to the majestic River Rhine

More than just a holiday, taking a Rhine cruise with Riviera Travel this summer offers the chance to explore new cultures, medieval castles and villages and natural wonders in the utmost luxury and comfort.

Request a free brochure

2. The unrivalled Romance

The unrivalled Romance

The Rhine is often called ‘Romantic’, but it’s important to understand the type of romance this refers to. It doesn’t mean that the Rhine is small-r-romantic – as in an easy place to fall in love (although, given the dreamy surroundings, it definitely is!). It relates more specifically to Romanticism, an intellectual movement that occurred throughout Europe in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

The Romanticism movement was concerned with the preservation of the natural world. And as you travel through the stunning scenery of the Rhineland, it won’t take you long to understand why so many artists, poets, musicians, and writers became so enamoured with it. This part of the world has inspired countless myths and legends, timeless works of art, and stirring, soulful pieces of music.

The whole of the Rhine Gorge is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site, and you’ll want to have a camera to hand at all times as you pass quaint towns, rolling vineyards, and the iconic Lorelie Rock, where sirens were said to have lured sailors to watery graves. To see the best of this stupendously Romantic region, Riviera’s Cologne, the Rhine Gorge & Medieval Germany River Cruise might be the cruise for you.

3. The history

The history

The Rhine can be seen as a living, breathing history book. During Roman times, the river was a significant trade route between northern and southern Europe, so it makes sense that so many important historical cities sprung up along its shores. If you’re interested in history, a Rhine river cruise will allow you to explore one of continental Europe’s most fascinating regions, and delve deep into its rich history.

While all of Riviera’s Rhine cruises are steeped in history, the Rhine, Strasbourg and Heidelberg River Cruise is perhaps the most suited to history buffs. This eight-day cruise first takes you to historic Koblenz, a city founded by the Romans, before heading to the beautiful old town of Boppard. Then, it’s on to stunning Heidelberg, which is famous for its gorgeous riverside setting, and evocative half-ruined castle.

You’ll also visit the French city of Strasbourg, which is the capital of the Alsace region. The city is a maze of narrow lanes and quirky, crooked houses – many of which have barely changed since the 14th century. Medieval Colmar, the best-preserved town in Alsace, is another highlight. The cruise finishes in Cologne, where history abounds; here you can visit the twin-spired cathedral, and tour the vibrant Old Town.

Say ‘Guten Tag!’ to the majestic River Rhine

More than just a holiday, taking a Rhine cruise with Riviera Travel this summer offers the chance to explore new cultures, medieval castles and villages and natural wonders in the utmost luxury and comfort.

Request a free brochure

4. The gastronomy

The gastronomy

One of the best things about river cruises is how easy it is to stop off for shore excursions. And if you’re passionate about food and wine, you’ll be spoiled for choice on a Rhine cruise, as you’ll pass through some of Europe’s most impressive wine regions. Wine has been grown here since Roman times, and over 60% of German wine is produced along the banks of the river – most of it white.

The Moselle tributary is known for its impossibly steep terraced vineyards and half-timbered wine villages, so wine enthusiasts might want to consider the Rhine and Moselle River Cruise. As well as exploring characterful cities and towns like Cologne, Koblenz, Bernkastel and Trier, you also have the option to book yourself onto a private wine tasting, where you’ll sample some of the best local wines.

Travellers with a sweet tooth will be just as satisfied, as during this eight-day tour, you’ll also have the opportunity to taste your way around Cologne. As the capital of Rhineland, Cologne is celebrated for its gastronomic delights – in particular its heavenly chocolate. Alongside a chance to visit one of the city’s traditional bars, you’ll also enjoy an on-board tasting from the Lindt Chocolate Museum!

5. The castles

The castles

If this were a different destination, castles might be included under the ‘history’ category – but things are a little different in Rhineland. In medieval times, the steep hills on the banks of the river were the perfect setting for fortresses. And today, this part of Europe is home to some of the most characterful castles in the world; there are more than 40 along this stretch of the river!

One of the most famous castles is the indestructible Marksburg. While it was seized by Napoleon, it’s one of only two castles here that has never fallen in disrepair – let alone been destroyed in wars. Built in 1117, it’s also one of the oldest castles still standing on the continent. On the Moselle, Luxembourg & the Majestic Rhine River Cruise you’ll enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO-listed architectural marvel.

As you tour Marksburg, you’ll learn all about its history, and get the chance to wander through its vast Gothic Hall, fascinating armoury, and perfectly preserved medieval kitchen. Of course, Marksburg is only one castle of many, and on any Riviera Rhine cruise, you’ll be able to enjoy sensational views of so many castles that you might feel like you’ve fallen into a fairy tale.

Say ‘Guten Tag!’ to the majestic River Rhine

More than just a holiday, taking a Rhine cruise with Riviera Travel this summer offers the chance to explore new cultures, medieval castles and villages and natural wonders in the utmost luxury and comfort.

Request a free brochure

Final thoughts…

There are many reasons why you might want to tour the Rhine for your next holiday. But rather than travelling by car, train, or even foot, exploring by water is arguably the best way to make the most of this spectacularly beautiful region.

Not only will you be able to enjoy interesting and immersive shore excursions, stopping off in many of Europe’s most important and attractive towns and cities, but you’ll also be able to admire breathtaking views as you cruise. Drift by craggy castles, hilltop towns, and verdant vineyards, all while getting a unique insight into life on a working river.

If you’ve never gone on a cruise, why not start small – and rather than crossing an ocean, enjoy an unforgettable journey down one of Europe’s most charming rivers? Aside from all the culture and history on offer, you’ll be able to take advantage of Riviera’s luxurious cabins and suites, and impeccable service.

With 40 years of experience under their belt, and multiple accolades, Riviera offers exceptional value – and because everything is organised for you, the only thing you need to worry about is having a good time. Each tour offers something different – but all are available this year. So, if you’re thinking about your next adventure, why not book a cruise down the remarkable Rhine?

Have you visited the Rhine before? Are you interested in a river cruise? We’d love to hear about your travel experiences, so please leave us a comment below.