The city of Basel, in northern Switzerland, sits along the Rhine at the mouths of the Birs and Wiese rivers. It is divided into two parts – Kleinbasel (industrial section to the north) and Grossbasel (the older commercial and cultural centre). The latter is dominated by the Romanesque and Gothic-style Munster, which was Basel’s protestant cathedral until 1528 and houses a monumental slab to Erasmus, who is entombed there. Other notable buildings include the late Gothic-Rathaus (Town Hall), the Church of St. Martin (Basel’s oldest religious foundation), and the 14th-century Franciscan church – which now houses a historical museum.
Located on the right bank of the Rhine, opposite the French town of Neuf-Brisach, sits the south-western German town of Breisach. This town is home to the 11th century Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of St Stephan – which features a Renaissance pulpit, silver shrine, a high altar made from carved wood, and a wonderful terrace which offers spectacular views over the Rhine into France. Elsewhere in Breisach, you will find a museum on municipal history – which is home to an impressive collection of artefacts dating back to the Stone Age.
Located along the banks of the Rhine River close to the border with Germany, is the capital city and largest city of the Grand Est region, Strasbourg. The historic Grande Île city centre of Strasbourg has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is immersed is Franco-German culture.
The south-west German city of Mannheim is situated on the right bank of the Rhine River, opposite Ludwigshafen – at the mouth of the Neckar River. There are many examples of baroque architecture located throughout Mannheim, including a Jesuit Church, old town hall, pilgrimage church, warehouse, and arsenal. The emblem of Mannheim is a cylindrical water tower, which was constructed in 1888. The history of Mannheim extends as far back as 764, when it was first referred to as a village. Germany’s first National Theatre opened in the city in 1778 and the construction of the city’s Rhine harbour took place in 1834.
Located at the foot of the Taunus Mountains and at the heart of the Rhine River is the town of Rudesheim. Being in the Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a historic winemaking town. Not only does the wine make this town worth visiting, but the Old Town itself and the picturesque Rheingau landscape and the romantic Rhine River itself.
A UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, The Rhine Gorge lies on the Rhine River between Koblenz and Bingen. Cutting through the Rhineland Plateau and the Rhenish Slate Mountains, the gorge is picturesque and full of famous features. It is complete with fairy tale castles and terraced vineyards, and its most famous feature the Lorelei Rock. Many of the towns lining the gorge retain a historic feel to this day.
The city of Trier is a popular destination during Moselle River cruises due to its rich history and position within the Moselle Wine Region. Many believe it is the oldest city in Germany, dating back to the 4th century BC when it was settled by the Celts.
Modern day Trier has much to offer its visitors, including Roman and Medieval buildings, like the Porta Nigra and the cathedral, which are extremely well-preserved. There are also museums dedicated to the history of Karl Marx and Roman artefacts found in and around the city, along with the ever-popular toy museum. Additionally, there is a vibrant Christmas market held on the streets throughout December.
The Moselle River offers a small and intimate route through some of Germany’s finest castles, fortresses, terraced vineyards, and villages. It flows 341 miles from the French border, near Trier, to Koblenz, where it joins the River Rhine. As well as France and Germany, it provides an opportunity to cruise through Luxembourg. In the former Roman city of Trier, it is joined by the two smaller rivers of the Saar and Ruwer, and from here, it follows a winding path before arriving in Koblenz. The vineyards that line the banks of this river are renowned around the world for producing some of the finest wines in the world.
Bernkastel-Kues, situated north-east of Trier, on the Moselle River, is made up of two former towns – each of which retains a distinctive feel and character. Above the town sits the ruins of Landshut Castle, built in the 9th century and offers fantastic views of the Moselle and surrounding area. Bernkastel is home to a renowned market and is filled with romantic half-timbered houses and beautifully designed gables. This part of the town is also home to the 14th century Pfarrkirche St Michael, which has a tower and was historically part of the fortification wall. Kues is home to a hospice, which was founded by Nikolaus Cusanus and contains a chapel, library, courtyard and cloisters. Hidden within the hospice are a series of vaulted cellars, where you can sample regional sparkling Moselle wines.
The small but popular village of Cochem sits on the banks of the Moselle River, southwest of Koblenz. Located on both sides of the Moselle, most of the main part of the village lies under the Reichsburg Castle. It is necessary to cross a bridge from the other side of the river, after docking, to visit Cochem’s narrow alleyways, half-timbered medieval houses, and town gates. Situated on the hilltop that dominates the town, Reichsburg Castle, which was originally built in 1294, was destroyed by the French in 1689 and later rebuilt in the late 19th century.
Originally founded as a Roman town in 9 BC, Koblenz is one of the oldest cities in Germany. Situated at the junction of the Rhine and Moselle River, it is surrounded by spurs of the Eifel, Hunsrück, Westerwald, and Taunus mountains. The point at which the two rivers meet is known as “Deutsches Eck (German Corner), which is the site of a settlement, founded in 1216 by German Knights, and today, it features an impressive monument dedicated to Kaiser Wilhelm I. Koblenz is home to a series of squares and statues which make for a pleasant stroll. There are also many historic structures in the city including the 13th century fortress, 18th century Electoral Palace and a series of medieval churches.
As the fourth largest city in Germany and the largest city on the Rhine River, Cologne is regarded as the historic, cultural and economic capital of the Rhineland. It is highly regarded for its trade fairs, cathedral, perfume, and Koelsch beer. It was also once a significant part of the Roman Empire, and the remains of many Roman buildings and town walls are still visible today. There is a range of Roman artefacts on display in the Roemisches Germanisches Museum, which is well worth a visit.
Cologne is also home to the French Gothic style Kolner Dom Cathedral, for which construction began in 1248 but remained unfinished for 600 years. The structure - which can still be visited today - is made up of two 157 metre-high spires, buttresses, pillars and arches – which collectively support the central nave. The remains of the kings who followed the star to Bethlehem are believed to have been contained within the south tower.
Regarded as the Venice of the north, the Dutch capital of Amsterdam is made up of a series of 90 islands, which are connected by almost 1,200 bridges. Today, Amsterdam is a city of contrasts, with many people being attracted to this vibrant destination for its range of bars and night clubs. On the other hand, Amsterdam is home many renowned architectural structures, insightful museums and beautiful gardens.
The Royal Palace was originally built in the 17th century to serve as a town hall, but is now one of three palaces in the Netherlands to be under disposal of the monarchy. In the springtime, be sure to visit the Keukenhof Gardens, where seven million flower bulbs create a beautiful display of bold and bright colours.
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