The River Rhine is considered one of the finest waterways in the world. Carving its way through stunning European landscapes, spectacular castles and charismatic cities, cruising it is a great way to experience four cultures in just eight days.
Of course, everyone talks of the larger cities – of Cologne's tightly-knit central streets, Amsterdam's wide and sweeping canals and Strasbourg's political importance within the EU. But at Seafarer, we pride ourselves on showing cruise-goers parts hitherto undiscovered destinations and our itinerary along the Rhine is no exception. Here are some of the places you won't have heard about thus far.
At the southern end of the Rhine Gorge, you'll find Rudesheim, a pretty port town spread up against a spectacular backdrop of valleys and vineyards. While not as famous as neighbouring Koblenz or Cologne, it does harbour many fascinating secrets and we offer three separate excursions that are useful if you want to truly discover a bit of this diverse and exciting location. Whether you want to visit Siegfried's Mechanical Museum, sample some of the local wares or enjoy a road train, you will share our thrill in uncovering the best of this magnificent destination. A treat indeed.
As Mannheim is the third largest metropolis in Germany, it would be difficult to argue its case for being a rarely explored location. However, its diverse and charismatic streets contain plenty of wonders that are frequently missed by the tourist crowd. Seafarer helps you to get acquainted with the wonderfully baroque architecture with a visit to Mannheimer Schloss, an imposing palace that dates all the way back to 1760. You are also free to seek out the 19th century water tower, the many beautiful churches that populate the streets and, of course, the spectacular Luisenpark. The last of these is one of Europe's most lovely parks and has many popular exhibits including a butterfly house, a Chinese tea house and boat rides on the picturesque lake.
Germany's oldest university town Heidelberg has a lot of history. The very name was once given to the printing presses that changed the world, while the stunning castle in the centre is much visited by people from all over the world. Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, there's a lot to be freshly discovered about Heidelberg. It's easy to get lost in the narrow streets with their stunningly beautiful houses, and it's well worth taking a meandering stroll before returning to the ship for dinner.
A walking tour throughout the delightful Bad Ems is not half as bad as the name suggests – it actually means 'bath' in German. This stunning spa town had plenty of beautiful sights to behold, in particular its fascinating mineral springs. Be confident in the fact that you're walking in the footsteps of emperors, tsars, monarchs and artists who also once came here for the supreme beauty. Kaiser Wilhelm I, Tsar Alexander II, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Wagner, Jacques Offenbach, Victor Hugo and Goethe are among the people who came here. If you're a gambling man, it might be worth checking out Germany's oldest casino as well.
Cochem and Bernkastel
Located on the Moselle Valley, these two towns possess a plethora of hidden opportunities that are a joy to explore. The famous Reichsburg Castle, which towers high above Cochem is a particular highlight, where you can get a fantastic view of the picturesque half-timbered houses and surrounding vineyards that seem to go on forever.
Take the opportunity to explore Bernkastel on foot, where you'll be able to sample the local wines, culture and atmosphere on every corner. A unique charm permeates this fantastic little town.