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.
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.
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.
Situated on the left bank of the Rhine is the west-central German city of Mainz, which is opposite Wiesbaden – where the River Main joins the Rhine. It is home to one of the oldest and most unique Roman style cathedrals in Germany, which was built of red sandstone in 1000 AD and rebuilt in 1136 following a fire. Inside, you will find many murals depicting the life of Christ, as well as 60 memorial tombs of archbishops.
The Gothic St Stephen’s Church houses nine mesmerising stained glass windows, designed by Marc Chagall. There are three Baroque churches in Mainz, which collectively illustrate the transition from Rococo to Neoclassicism. The city is also renowned for the Gutenberg Museum, where you can find out more about the invention of the moveable type printing press, which aided the worldwide distribution of many books including the Bible.
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.
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.
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.
Bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany; the small, landlocked nation of Luxembourg, which is accessible via the Moselle River. It is regarded as the green heart of Europe, due to the fact it is covered by unique species of flora. It is not without its fair share of history either, with a commanding fortress which dates back over 1,000 years. The City of Luxembourg, its Old Quarters and Fortifications have collectively earned UNESCO World Heritage status.
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