Most Rhine cruises either begin or end in…
Amsterdam, which is also a convenient gateway to Europe, not to mention one of the country’s most fascinating cities. Amsterdam is famous for its canals but also as the hometown of Rembrandt, which is filled with the artist’s work of as well as other Dutch Masters. If you are lucky enough to have a cruise itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to see the UNESCO World Heritage-designated windmills that used to pump water out of the Alblasserwaard polder, an operation now accomplished by a modern pumping station (which is also worth stopping by to see). Keepers still live and work in all the windmills, and the 19 windmills are kept in working order.
Without a doubt, the magnificent Gothic Dom (cathedral) in Cologne is a highlight of any visit to Europe. Begun in 1248, the cathedral wasn’t finished until 1880. The two towers were briefly the tallest structures on Earth. If you don’t care for grand churches, then the largest city on the Rhine offers myriad opportunities to wander and shop. Try some of the local Kölsch beer. The city was mostly destroyed during World War II, so the rebuilt Old Town is actually a mishmash of old and new, but it’s an atmospheric and interesting place to stroll. Sitting at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers, Koblenz is famous for the grandiose Deutsches Eck (Germany Corner), a giant statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I from 1897 right at the confluence. More interesting is Festung Ehrenbrietstein, Europe’s largest fortress, which stands on a towering cliff on the opposite side of the river.
Rudesheim was popularized by the Romantics of the early 19th century because of its solitude. One need not worry about that any longer since the town has long been discovered and is a busy tourist center for the wine-growing region. Still, it’s a particularly charming place with medieval alleys (stroll along the Drosselgasse) and lots of weinstube for drinking. There’s even a wine museum in a castle.
Article credit: Fodor’s
Photo credit: Jenifoto406