Feed your fairy-tale fantasies: Highlights of cruising the Rhine River
With Disney recently rolling out live action versions of some of their most famous films, such as Aladdin and The Jungle Book, there is more fuel to the fire than ever before for travelers seeking to live out their fairy-tale fantasies. Whether it’s glamping under the stars in the middle of a desert or living the life of a maharaja in a Rajasthani haveli, there are now endless ways that travelers can get that film-set feeling in places so extraordinary that they seem unreal.
For those seeking to explore Europe, a river cruise along the Rhine is one of the ultimate holiday choices for fairy-tale fanatics. This 760-mile stretch of water flows from Amsterdam in The Netherlands to Basel in Switzerland, tracking along Germany’s western border with France and flowing through several of the region’s most attractive and historic cities. A journey down the Rhine boasts everything from elaborate cathedrals and castles to picture-perfect towns seemingly stuck in time. Get inspired for your next trip to Western Europe with these highlights of a Rhine River cruise.
Rhine cruises begin in Amsterdam, capital of The Netherlands. This laidback city is a criss-cross network of quaint streets and canals where bikes and gondolas are the favoured form of transport. Art abounds, with highlights including the Rijksmuseum and the centre dedicated to Van Gogh. Wander the many markets to see stalls overflowing with flowers, particularly the tulips that this country is famous for, and to try on the traditional clogs (wooden shoes). Foodies will delight in sampling varieties of chocolate and cheese, two Dutch local specialities, and relaxing in the city’s many charming cafés.
One of the most historic cities in Germany, Cologne dates back to the 13th century and boasts many masterpiece monuments. Its crowning glory is the 750-year-old cathedral which has been recognized by UNESCO for its spectacular Gothic architecture and the incredible artwork it houses. Visitors can take a dizzying climb to the top of the tower for spectacular city views. Alternatively, take in Cologne’s majestic visage from ground level on a slow-paced gondola ride.
Apart from the beautiful buildings that astonish the eye, Cologne offers visitors the chance to indulge their tastebuds too. Go on a tour of the local brewery to see and sample Kolsch alongside traditional schnitzels. Children and adults alike will love experiencing the Chocolate Museum in Cologne where you can find every flavour of Lindt you could dream of. At Christmas, the city comes alive with festive markets selling favorite traditional street food alongside local arts and crafts.
An ancient city that was originally founded by the Romans, modern-day Koblenz has German, French and Roman influences that are evident in the buildings, layout, and its core culture. Magnificent medieval castles dot the surrounding hillside while the city centre offers pristine parks with formal gardens. Ehrenbreitsetein Fortress provides stunning aerial views, just a short cable car ride away. For those with a love of nature – and/or a penchant for good wine – the terraced vineyards just outside of Koblenz offer the chance for romantic strolls with a beautiful backdrop and opportunities for tasting the local grape.
For the ultimate Disney experience in Europe, look no further than Strasbourg. The capital of Europe as it is known is a mixture of modern and medieval, with buzzing illuminated streets that showcase ornate structures next to lively cafés, bars, and restaurants. Towering Cathedral of Notre Dame and its astronomical clock will leave you breathless, while the timber riverside houses of Little France will transport you straight into Beauty and the Beast.
Swiss, French, and German cultures come together in Basel, one of Switzerland’s most attractive cities and the final point of a Rhine River cruise. Once again, medieval timber houses and soaring Gothic structures will capture your imagination, alongside contemporary art galleries showcasing some of the best modern art in Europe. Indeed, the city has an annual festival called ART Basel which celebrates this core part of its culture. Close by is Germany’s Black Forest, the inspiration for the Brothers Grimm, and the natural thermal spas of Baden-Baden – the perfect way to end your journey.
As you can see, a journey down the Rhine boasts everything from elaborate cathedrals and castles to picture-perfect towns seemingly stuck in time. Hopefully this post inspired you for your next trip to Western Europe. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out via the comment section below.
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