The romantic Rhine River flows from the mountains of Alps to the North Sea. It passes through Switzerland, France, Germany and Holland. The Rhine's charm is heightened by the many castles, vineyards and villages along its riverbanks. Summer is the best time to cruise Rhine where you can take full advantage of the weather to enjoy the sights.
Rhine River Valley
This is the most important and most visited section of the Rhine River. This part of the river runs between the German cities of Mainz and Bonn. The Rhine George, a section from Bingen to Koblenz, is already considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There are numerous castles to explore around the valley. The well-preserved Marksburg Castle is a thirteenth century castle that provides a stunning view of the valley. It was built to protect the early locals from invaders.
After touring the picturesque villages and castles, you can proceed to the city of Bonn. Beethoven was born here in 1770 and several guided tours about the musician's past and heavenly works are available.
Cologne is also the fourth largest city in Germany and is home to the Dom, a Gothic cathedral that was built in 1248 but was only completed in 1880. You can also stroll along Old Town Square and bargain for souvenirs.
Visitors can cap off a tour of the valley with wine tasting. The valley covers five of the 13 government-recognized wine regions in Germany. The wine at the Rheingau area is the most tasted and highly recommended. Most of the wine produced are Riesling, chardonnay, Sylvaner and pinot blanc. Red wine is mainly produced by the Swiss vineyards along the Rhine.
As you cruise along the Rhine, look out for the legendary Lorelei. It is a 450-foot rock that looks over the river. Sailors used to believe that a nymph lives on top of the rock who sang magical songs to enchant them. This is believed to be the reason for numerous shipwrecks reported near the area.
You can also proceed to Heidelberg and tour the oldest university in Germany. Afterwards, you can visit the magnificent sandstone ruins of the Heidelberg Castle and take in the breathtaking view of the Neckar River Valley.
In Speyer, do not miss the Romanesque Cathedral which is the final resting place of 8 German monarchs. The cathedral is also famous for its large stained glass window and sandstone columns.
The towns of Mainz and Koblenz provide the best romantic and scenic views of the river.
If you are the adventurous type, you can join cycling tours along the riverbanks and enjoy nature at its best. Aside from following the course of the Rhine, you can also bike along vineyards and refresh yourself with a little bit of wine tasting.
Rhine in Flames
A must-see festival along the riverbanks is the Rhine in Flames every first Saturday of May. Around 2,000 red Bengal fireworks light up the Rhine riverbanks. Aside from the fireworks, tourists also enjoy the entertainment provided along the promenade.