Our Journey On The Rhine From Basel
Overnight, we sailed 60 miles north toward Germany and France and the famed Black Forest, the setting for many of the Grimm Brothers fairy tales. At a rainy stop at a tourist village consisting of three shops and a hotel, we watched a chef prepare a Black Forest Cake and learned how cuckoo clocks are made. Though the stop felt less than authentic, we enjoyed the cake!
Black Forest Cake
Cuckoo clock demonstration
The following day we arrived in Strasbourg, France, where my friend and I indulged in a 7-hour Alsatian Wine and Cheese Tour of the city, led by our guide, Valerie of Food and City Tours.
Our guide, Valerie, of Food and City Tours Strasbourg
Strasbourg was by far my favorite stop on the Rhine, not only because its in France but also because of the delectables we sampledcheese, wine, gingerbread, tarte flambée and chocolates at Patisserie Christian.
Cheese shop display in Strasbourg
Macarons at Patisserie Christian in Strasbourg
But I also enjoyed hearing about the unique history of the city, which has been treated like a ping-pong ball by France and Germany for centuries, even going so far as forcing the residents to change their national language at various times.
War monument for Maréchal Leclerc at the square Place Broglie in Strasbourg
Heidelberg Castle Gate
Treacherous walking terrain at Marksburg Castle in Koblenz
View of the Rhine from top of Marksburg Castle
What Makes Viking Special
Viking caters to American, Canadian, British and Australian travelers with a decidedly English-language focus onboard, which makes traveling to foreign destinations less stressful. It is also a supremely convenient way to travel through Europe, as all of the detailsaccommodations, destinations, tours, food, transfersare taken care of as you sail along.
This makes the trip relaxing, a major difference from sojourns to Europe in my 20s and 30s, when I arranged my own travel and accommodations, and seemed to spend as much time in airports and train stations as at the destinations. Not to mention that you travel at night on the river, which allows you to concentrate your waking hours on tours and sights rather than getting there.
The other cruisers onboard were over 50 and many were closer to 70. Viking targets this demographicthe older, experienced traveler who is interested in art, history and cultureand makes efforts to help people with physical limitations visit historic sites and cities along the route.
At most stops, Viking offers a complimentary shore excursion, such as a walking tour, as well as optional add-on excursions. The tours were universally excellent, with dedicated buses and tour guides just for Viking clientele. Frequently, we were instructed by Candi, the program director, to take audio listening devices from our cabins with us on tours so all could hear the tour guide as we meandered about.
Our VIking Hlin Stateroom
View of the Viking Hlin from shore
Viking Rhine River Cruise From Basel To Amsterdam
First timers, not knowing what to expect. From first to last, a memorable experience. The boat, Viking ‘Sun’ was very comfortable and very quiet.Comfortable beds made for a good night’s sleep even though most of the travel was by night. Nothing was too much trouble for the staff, good entertainment, wonderful scenery and stopping off places. Free excursions as well as optional tours or just hop off the boat and explore. Viking have their own mooring places along the Rhine so no sharing. The food was fantastic, both in quantity and quality and service for 198 people was swift with options for ‘off-menu’ choices. Drinks were free at mealtimes and from the bar at other times. Constant tea/coffe/iced water and fruit. Cabins were excellent with welcome bottle of bubbly, fresh bottle of drinking water every day. A daily newsletter with updates from the UK plus a rundown of each day’s trips and entertainment. Very good tour guides at each location adds to the enjoyment and everything ran like clockwork. We took the trips to the Black Forest plus Heidelburg, Marksburg Castle and Kinderdijk in Holland. Other times we hopped on the caoch and just explored on our own. We met some lovely people on the journey as there were no set tables so we all mixed freely with travellers from USA, UK, South Africa, Taiwan etc. All in all, a fantastic 5 star floating hotel with wonderful scenery and tours. We are looking at next year on the Danube?
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Castles Along The Rhine
Cruise along the RhineGermany on one side, France on the other. Discover Alsace, whose dual French and German heritage has given it fabulous food and a winemaking tradition that goes back to the Romans. Marvel at castles that were once mighty fortresses and get an insiders look at one of the only castles on the Rhine that has never been destroyed, Marksburg Castle. Visit historic cities, including ancient Cologne and picturesque Strasbourg stroll through the fairytale town of Rüdesheim and taste delightful white wines in the villages where the grapes are grown.
Generations Family Program : Share the enchantment of this region with the special young people in your life. These cruises not only feature unique, fun-filled adventures for families to enjoy together, theyre also packed with culturally and historically significant experiences designed to spark creativity and lifelong learning.
Cruising The Rhine Basel To Amsterdam
8 Day River Cruise
Journey through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland as you follow the winding course of the mighty Rhine. Travel between vastly different riverside settlements, exploring the tulip-growing town of Haarlem, Cologne’s atmospheric old town and the roaring cascade of the Rhine Falls.
- Visit four countries in one cruise
- Walking tours of Haarlem, Cologne, Mainz, Strasbourg & Basel
- Explore the open-air museum of Arnhem
- See the brightly painted wooden houses of Colmar
Depart London on your scheduled flight to Basel. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your ship. Take a moment to settle into your cabin and enjoy a welcome cocktail with the crew before dinner.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Spend a morning at leisure in Breisach, giving you the chance to visit the Romanesque St Stephansmunster Cathedral which overlooks the town. An afternoon tour carries you to Colmar where you’ll soak in the pastel-coloured houses and winding canals of the neighbourhood of ‘Little Venice’. Travel onward to the Unterlinden Museum for a tour of its vast collection of local and international artwork.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
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Impressions Of The Rhine River
If youre considering booking this cruise for yourself, you might be wondering: what is the Rhine River actually like between Basel and Amsterdam? Well, in my opinion it seemed to have three distinct sections. From Basel until Speyer , the Rhine feels very industrial. Its lined by factories, and to be honest, the river is not amazing here . Luckily, the boat sailed at night through the Upper Rhine, so its not like we really missed out on much.
From Speyer to Cologne , the Rhine River is incredibly scenic. Viking did a great job of scheduling so that passengers could enjoy the view from the boat during the day on this portion of the trip. The vineyards, villages, and castles of the Middle Rhine are undoubtedly the rivers most unique offerings.
In the Netherlands, the Rhine has a rural vibe to it. We passed cows cooling off in the shallow riverbanks, a few small Dutch villages, and not much else until we approached Amsterdam. The Lower Rhine is not as industrial as the Upper Rhine, and its not as picturesque as the Middle Rhine.
Private Charter Of Avalon Panorama
A Legendary River. An Extraordinary Voyage. One Unforgettable Pride.
One of Europes most iconic rivers awaits you on this epic journey along the Rhine River, which begins in Switzerland and visits France, Germany, and Holland! Best of all, Source has curated this itinerary to deliver you to Amsterdam Pride with its signature Canal Boat Parade. Experience why this is truly one of the most extraordinary Pride celebrations in the world!
This private LGBTQ+ voyage is aboard the Panorama, one of Avalons luxurious Suite Ships, featuring its one-of-a-kind open-air balconies. Youll also have the luxury of cruising your way. From biking and hiking to sightseeing or wine-tasting, its your choice.
Back aboard, its all included. Enjoy fine dining, free-flowing wine, and spirits. Dance under the stars, enjoy Source signature entertainment, and theme parties. Stay fit with yoga and fitness, enrich yourself with Source talks at sea, or just enjoy the front-row seat as you sail past ancient castles, the Black Forest, and the dramatic Rhine Gorge.
CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS & AMENITIES:
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Viking River Cruises On Twitter
Thinking about a Viking Rhine River Cruise? Ask your questions in the comments below!
Although I was provided a complimentary Rhine Getaway experience thanks to Viking River Cruises, the experiences shared and opinions are my mine.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer focusing on family and womens adventure experiences.
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Viking Rhine River Cruise Review With Real Travel Experts Rich & Linda Skinner
Cruising the Rhine River 2021 with Viking River Cruises. Real Travel Experts Rich and Linda Skinner join Ken to review their recent Rhine River cruises with Viking River Cruises. Come aboard the Viking Eir for a seven-day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. Rich and Linda detail the voyage and must-see destinations along the way such as the Rhine Gorge, Strasbourg and Kinderdijk. Rich and Linda offer valuable river cruise tips for gratuities, what to expect on board, whats included, and the level of service to expect on a Viking River cruise. Check out their optional tour in Lucerne to Säntis for breathtaking views of the Alps.
If you are thinking about taking that Rhine River cruise, this may be just what you have been looking for!
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Viking Rhine River Cruise Christmas Experience Basel To Amsterdam
A European river cruise has been on my travel bucket list since college. The parents of one of my closest friends took a river cruise and ever since they described the experience, its been on my travel wish list. When I received an invitation to embark on a Rhine Getaway with Viking Cruises, I felt like I had won the lottery. Then, when I found out Id be on one of their celebrated Christmas market cruises, I knew this would be a trip of a lifetime. All Rhine River cruises explore the wonderful medieval castles and villages along the river, but the Christmas cruise also features the charming Christmas markets in Germany and France.
Helpful Cruise Line Information
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Day : Cruise Through The Rhine Gorge Stop In Koblenz
As you leave Rüdesheim, the Rhine River goes from picturesque to spectacular. This day of voyaging through the Rhine Valley is the centerpiece of the entire trip. The surrounding landscape becomes more dramatic. I loved seeing the patchwork of vineyards on the steep mountainsides, but the coolest part of the day is seeing all the castles.
There are so many of them! You truly pass one castle every few minutes once you enter the Rhine Gorge. Our cruise Program Director also provided a running commentary on all of the things we were seeing as we sailed by. Theres something incredible about seeing these archaic stone structures from various angles as you move along the water.
Since we spent the first half of Day 5 cruising, the city of Koblenz was another half-day stop. However, our time here didnt feel as rushed as the whirlwind tours on Day 4. Koblenz is a tourist hub thats noticeably bigger than Speyer and Rüdesheim. I walked all over the Altstadt , which is right next to the Viking River Cruises Dock.
The other main activity in Koblenz is taking the cable car to the other side of the river. Here youll find Festung Ehrenbreitstein, a sprawling nineteenth century fortress that overlooks the town. Visiting the fortress was interesting, but there didnt seem to be much signage in English, so I dont feel like I learned a lot about its history while I was there.
To And From Mt Pilatus By Cogwheel Train Or Gondola
Since the 1880s, the world’s steepest cogwheel train has been bringing travelers up and down Mt. Pilatus in Switzerland, climbing nearly 7,000 ft. from the edge of Lake Lucerne to the mountain’s summit . On your visit to Lucerne, you’ll take this thrilling ride that has you traveling upward at a 48° angle. Or, if the weather is uncooperative, you may make the ascent by gondola . Either way, getting there is definitely part of the fun, as you enjoy soaking up views of Alpine meadows and mountain streams, goats and flowers.
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Castles And Vineyards Of The Rhine: Basel To Amsterdam
Day 1 UK to Basel
Fly to Basel and transfer from the airport to the port where you will embark your ship, Spirit of the Rhine.
Enjoy dinner on board this evening as you spend the night cruising towards Breisach.
Day 2 Breisach
Arrive in the early hours with a day to explore Breisach, an important medieval town of the Holy Roman Empire during the 16th century. It’s overlooked by a 12th-century cathedral St Stephansmünster set high on a hilltop above.
It’s also known as the ‘gateway to the Black Forest’ and you’ll have the chance to join an optional excursion to picturesque Colmar with its well-preserved old town, and the wine town of Riquewhir.
Another optional tour visits Lake Titisee, in the Black Forest for a short cruise.
Depart later tonight and cruise to Strasbourg.
Day 3 Kehl
You’ll arrive in Kehl before breakfast, with the whole day to discover Strasbourg, the beautiful capital of Alsace, with its cobbled streets, picturesque half-timbered houses and magnificent cathedral.
This morning an included city tour and canal cruise will help you get your bearings, then this afternoon you can explore further independently.
Alternatively, you might like to join an excursion to the pretty walled city of Obernai, where you can stroll along the ramparts and admire attractive 13th-century buildings with flower-filled balconies.
Your ship departs for Mannheim this evening.
Day 4 Mannheim to Mainz to Rüdesheim
Day 5 Rüdesheim to Koblenz
Day 6 Cologne
Day 7 Amsterdam
The Rhine And Moselle
- Seven nights cruising on a contemporary Travelmarvel river ship
- Services of a Travelmarvel Cruise Director, Entertainment & Activities Coordinators, and local guides
- 20 meals – 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners
- Onboard water stations, plus tea and coffee, soft drink, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner on your cruise
- Explore 7 towns, villages and cities
- Visit the open-air Black Forest Museum Vogtsbauernhof
- Ride the Winzerexpress mini-train into Rudesheim and explore its magical Christmas market
- Stroll through Colognes Christmas market, backdropped by the iconic Kolner Dom Cathedral
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Day : Cruise Through The Dutch Countryside Stop In Kinderdijk
In all honesty, the Rhine is less scenic in the Netherlands than it is in Germany. Youre no longer surrounded by hills, vineyards, and castles. Instead, the riverbanks are flat and sandy here.
Our final shore excursion ended up being a really fascinating one: a guided tour of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Rotterdam famous for its windmills. Our tour guide did an excellent job of introducing us to the history and purpose of mills in the Netherlands.
The landscape here is so pretty, and one of the highlights of this visit was being able to see the inside of a mill. All in all, a short visit to Kinderdijk was a great way to wrap up our final full day on the Viking Hermod.
Cruise From Home And Relax
Everyone knows that a cruise vacation is one of the most relaxing, hassle free vacations you can take. Imagine if you also didn’t have to worry about traveling to start your vacation but could just drive up to a port near your home and get onboard your luxury cruise ship. Here at CruiseExperts.com we’ve made it easy to see which cruises start close to home. Get started with our Home Port widget by clicking on your home port below.
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