What better way to explore the rivers of Europe than on a river cruise? You can immerse yourself in a new culture and experience all that each destination has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at 4 incredible countries to explore on a Rhine river cruise.
The river cruise experience
It’s tempting never to leave the ship when you have rooftop pools, hot tubs, and wellness programs. Plus, let us not forget their exquisite cuisine and delicious cocktail drinks available around the clock.
Although the cruise companies are known for their impeccable service, travelers are drawn to river cruising by the thrill of adventure & the sight of breathtaking stops along the way.
Rhine cruises are full of historic, romantic, and stunning destinations. Do you want to spend more of your time in Switzerland, Germany, or France? What about the Netherlands?
A pristine alpine wonderland, Switzerland, is beautiful any time of year. It’s 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 the Rhine by ship, Switzerland will have you wondering if you’ve walked straight into a fairytale.
Start Your River Cruise in Brasel
Many river cruises on the Rhine will start or end in Basel. This city has the highest concentration of museums centered around a market square, making it perfectly easy to tour.
Additionally, Basel is an excellent representation of Switzerland since it is situated between France and Germany. Enjoy this melding of cultures as you dine al fresco at a cafe along the banks of the Rhine. But why stop with Basel when there’s so much more to see? We’d recommend taking a trip to Lucerne or Zurich.
On your journey through Switzerland, you should stop in Lucerne. Wandering through its majestic streets, you’ll encounter a city dotted with beautiful bridges, cafes, and chocolate shops that will satisfy your sweet tooth. Let’s book a ride on Lake Lucerne while we’re at it!
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 sightseeing 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 and magnificent lake, which has superior water quality for swimming. Whether it's fine dining or hiking trails up Uetliberg, the perfect adventure awaits you in Zurich.
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. We love this country for its food, wine, and historical sights 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 seriously missing out. You will not be disappointed by stopping at a bakery in the morning for a fresh croissant and cafe au lait, a light lunch of a Croque monsieur, or a full 3-course French dinner. Booking a Rhine River cruise, you’ll stop in Strasbourg, the capital city of the Alsace region, and a charming city for a day trip. We’d recommend the Cave des Hospices for a wine tour and light beverage during the afternoon.
Leisure 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.
Shopping Are you looking for modern stores, local boutiques, or street markets? You can find them all in Strasbourg. In Strasbourg’s center, the old city is almost entirely located on the Grande Île, a large island.
Christmas markets in Strasbourg are so popular that you can find them anytime. Make your way to the southwest corner of the Grande Île to Un Noël en Alsace to browse Christmas decor. 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.
Traveling to Germany usually takes tourists to Berlin, Munich, and other metropolitan areas. On a river cruise with AmaWaterways, however, you’ll experience a whole new side of the country—one that is more traditional and inviting.
Cruising down the Rhine, you’ll see cultural hubs and quaint cities you may not otherwise experience. Rüdesheim and Cologne offer various entertainment, including local musicians and museums, providing a well-rounded German experience.
Rüdesheim is a charming little city on the Rhine river cruise itinerary known for producing 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 the stop in Rüdesheim, you can choose between Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, a gondola ride, or a wine-tasting hike through the vineyards.
A favorite way to spend time here is to take the cable car over the vineyards, up to the Niederwald monument, and then stop at the local shops on the way back to the ship.
A 2,000 year-old-city, Cologne is best known for its colorful rows of houses and famous Christmas markets. In contrast to the small-town charm of Rüdesheim, Cologne is a much larger city and cultural hub of this area of Germany.
Where Rüdesheim is medieval and rustic, Cologne is more Gothic and modern. Visible from the Rhine River, the Cologne Cathedral is a must-see landmark. Its two towers are still some of the most prominent peaks in the city.
Stopping in Cologne offers a Holy City walking tour, a cathedral visit, Kölsch Beer tasting, and a Cologne bike tour.
What better way to end the Enchanting Cruise than right in the heart of the Netherlands- Amsterdam! The city of Amsterdam provides a wealth of cultural experiences. Cruising one of the world’s most elaborate canal systems will show you much of this city's beauty.
If you prefer to observe the canals by land, you can opt for a tour through the bohemian neighborhood 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’s House is located just outside Jordaan and across from the historical Westerkerk Cathedral. Rembrandt was buried here in 1669.
Gastronomy One of the most pleasant surprises of a trip to Amsterdam is the food. If you’re craving something with a pinch of salt, we would recommend Bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs), kibbeling (deep-fried fish), or snert (split pea soup). After dinner, enjoy various sweets, including Dutch licorice, poffertjes (puffy pancakes), or stroopwafels (remember to eat them hot and gooey).
The Creativity You will find more quirky shops and art displays in Amsterdam than almost anywhere else in the world. From stores with cows on the ceiling to mouse mansions and collections dedicated entirely to tulips, entertainment in Amsterdam lies around every corner.
Which country is calling your name? Give us a call today to talk about all the options available! These are just a few of the fantastic destinations on a Rhine River cruise.