A cruise on the Rhine can also mean a glimpse of much of the rest of what the continent has to offer. With three countries covered in France, Germany and Switzerland, travellers can enjoy various sights and stunning natural beauty in comfort and style. Moreover, cruises such as those offered by experienced United Kingdom-based tour operator Newmarket Holidays can truly offer an experience of a lifetime at genuine value for the traveller’s money.
The views along the Rhine are spectacular, with pretty towns, villages, vineyards and castles right out of a fairy-tale lining the banks. Optional excursions will certainly be worthwhile, with so many historical sites and wonderful cities passing by. Beginning at Andernach, an ancient town on the Rhine, is ideal. From there, the cruise ship will go upstream, heading into the Middle Rhine past such sights as the Ehrenbreitstein castle. Vineyards and castles are commonly seen from the river in this region, before the river runs through the astonishing Rhine Gorge.
After that, a stop at the ancient city of Speyer is essential. The city’s old town, or Altstadt, is UNESCO-listed and deservedly so. Speyer is a stunning, historic city with the heritage of being one of the Holy Roman Empire’s most important. Speyer is among the oldest cities in Germany and the foundation stone of the imperial cathedral was laid as early as 1030. As the cruise along the Rhine goes on, travellers will pass by the French city of Strasbourg, capital of the French region of Alsace. The city is known for being home to the European Parliament and for its stunning historical centre, the first entire city centre to be UNESCO-listed. The Petite France quarter is a maze-like compendium of streets, canals and medieval buildings. From there, head on to Breisach, from where travellers can venture into the Black Forest, visiting the capital Freiburg. The historic and beautiful Swiss city of Basel is the southernmost point of this cruise (unless expeditions to other Swiss cities such as Lucerne are made) which then heads north again.
Mannheim is a good spot on the river and excursions from this point to Heidelberg are common. Heidelberg has been important to artists and poets for hundreds of years. Mainz also has a stunning cathedral for architecture and history lovers. The cruise ends in Cologne, where exploring the old town and its beautiful Gothic cathedral is recommended.