Natalie’s Top 5: Rhine River Cruise Ports
There’s nothing quite like a European getaway. With endless historic sights, breathtaking architecture and some of the best food and wine experiences on Earth, there’s always something new to discover here. If you’re looking for a new way to experience Europe, may we suggest a river cruise?
After all, Europe is home to some of the most beautiful waterways, with riverbanks liked with clifftop castles, storybook villages and terraced vineyards. On a European river cruise, you’ll enjoy a boutique experience with personalised service, luxurious staterooms, unsurpassed views and next-level culinary experiences. There’s simply no better way to uncover Europe.
If you’re not sure which river to discover first, the romantic Rhine should be on everyone’s bucket-list. Passing through some of Europe’s most classic holiday destinations, the sights of the Rhine are straight out of a fairy tale. The team at My Cruises have put together their five favourite destinations to visit along the Rhine River – we hope it inspires you to start planning your European river cruise!
There are so many great reasons to visit Amsterdam. With its dreamy canals, distinct architecture and world-class museums, this historic city has something for everyone. Get your bearings on a bike tour, where you’ll discover cobblestoned laneways, bicycle-lined bridges and the infamous Red Light District. By night, be sure to meander down the iconic, 17th-century canal system on one of the famous glass-roofed boats.
If you love history and art, Amsterdam is the city for you. Visit the enormous Rijksmuseum to uncover a collection of masterpieces that date as far back as the 1200s or check out the Van Gogh Museum, which houses over 200 of the artist’s world-famous paintings. And no visit to Amsterdam is complete without visiting the Anne Frank House, where the diarist and her family hid with her family from the Nazis in a secret annex during World War II.
Beer lovers can’t miss the Heineken Experience, a super fun attraction where you will learn about the brewing process of the world’s most famous beer (and enjoy a few cheeky drinks!). Finish your day in Amsterdam with a stroll through Vondelpark, beloved by both tourists and locals alike. Amsterdam is certainly a highlight on any Rhine River cruise!
A river cruise along the Rhine provides an excellent opportunity to tick several German cities off your bucket-list. One such destination is Cologne, a centuries-old city best known for its Roman relics, medieval churches, Baroque palaces and diverse museums. You may be familiar with the gothic spires of Cologne Cathedral, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the most visited landmark in Germany and offers unbeatable views over the city.
After checking out Cologne Cathedral, spend some time strolling the quaint streets of Old Town, where you’ll find cobbled alleyways filled with endless boutique shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. Cologne also boasts a vibrant art scene – don’t miss the Ludwig Museum, which houses one of the largest Picasso collections in Europe!
No European river cruise is complete without sampling delectable food and wine, and Cologne is the perfect place to do so! As part of the Middle Rhine wine-growing area, there are plenty of local Rieslings to taste here. Pair it with the local specialty, Himmel und Erde, – a unique dish that combines mashed potatoes with apples!
No Rhine river cruise is complete without visiting Mainz, a charming German city famed for its Old Town, half-timbered houses and medieval market squares. During your visit, be sure to check out Mainz Cathedral, an immense sandstone cathedral that houses the largest set of funerary monuments to Prince-Archbishops in the former Holy Roman Empire. Mainz is also home to the Gutenberg Museum, dedicated to the legendary Johann Gutenberg, who revolutionised the concept of publishing.
From Mainz, you can easily visit Heidelberg, a charming university town that could have stepped right out of the 18th century. Towering over the city is Schloss Heidelberg, a gorgeous castle built from pink stone. From here, you’ll see unmatched views over the UNESCO-listed Old Town, which is one of the few German towns to have escaped destruction during World War II. Visiting Heidelberg is simply like stepping back in time.
Strasbourg is a must-visit on any European itinerary. This charming city is located on the German-French border, in the heart of the Alsace region. With cobbled streets, timber-framed houses and medieval architecture, Strasbourg has a distinctly European feel, making it the perfect stop on your Rhine River cruise. Just don’t leave without sampling a glass of vin in a local winstub!
The highlight of any visit to this French river city is the Strasbourg Cathedral, a beautiful 15th-century church built in rose-coloured sandstone. What makes this spellbinding church so interesting is that for 227 years, right up to 1874, it was the tallest building in the world, and today remains the highest surviving structure to have been built entirely during the medieval period!
And no trip to Strasbourg is complete without taking a stroll around the quaint Petite France district, which is by far the most photogenic area in the city. The well-preserved half-timbered houses of the neighbourhood once belonged to fishermen, millers and tanners, however are now home to restaurants and hotels with picturesque canalside views.
While the Rhine riverbanks are home to some truly magical European towns and cities, Basel has to be one of our top destinations. Despite straddling the border with Germany and France, this charming cultural city is all Swiss.
During your visit, be sure to spend some time wandering the maze-like streets of Altstadt, or Old Town, where you’ll find an array of Swiss national heritage sites. In particular, the Basel Minster Cathedral can be easily spotted, thanks to its prominent spires and brightly patterned roof tiles – climb the 250 steps up the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the city and Rhine! Complete your Basel stay with a stop at the Kunstmuseum, which houses the largest public art collection in the entire country.