Rhine River sailings are among the most popular river cruises in Europe. Some itineraries focus solely on the Rhine, while others include additional waterways in Germany, Austria, Hungary or the Netherlands.
Many sailings start or end in Amsterdam at the northern end of the river. It's a city of narrow gabled homes and winding canals, and home to sites like Anne Frank's house and a Van Gogh museum. Basel, Switzerland, is often the southern terminus of Rhine sailings, and it boasts an ornate town hall and some very fine art museums.
The Middle Rhine is often thought to be the most scenic part of the river. This is where ships pass Lorelei Rock, where legend says an irresistible siren once lured sailors to their deaths. In Cologne, see the soaring twin steeples of the Gothic cathedral, and in Rudesheim, walk along the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse, lined with restaurants, shops and wine gardens. Passengers also travel to Heidelberg, one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities and home to a Gothic castle and centuries-old university.
Late November and December sailings, known as Christmas market cruises, are quite popular. Passengers spend time browsing the festive outdoor markets that sell handcrafted toys and ornaments, mulled wine, grilled sausages and gingerbread.
Sightseeing guides show you the top attractions and share their knowledge of the local history and culture. Plus, these trips are easy to budget, because so much is included in one price that you pay up front.
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