European river cruises are some of the best ways to enjoy the region, which has some of the most attractive and historical sceneries in the world. Taking a German cruise is one way that you can make the most out of your vacation.
The thing with cruises is that they offer a little bit of everything. It doesn’t end with just your time “at sea;” there are port stops that allow you to marvel at the beauty of little towns like Koblenz, Rudesheim, Breisach, and Kehl among many others. Also included are the major cities in the continent.
River cruises have become very popular in Europe, and because of that, pinpointing a single trip can be daunting. You look at everything on offer and see that each itinerary has something interesting in store. A typical river cruise can take about a week or ten days. Some comprehensive trips may last for two weeks.
Cruises also include trips to charming cities along the waterways. These excursions are part of the fares and offer basic tours in the towns. However, some cruise lines charge extra to have more long excursions into stop cities. Alternatively, you can plan to stay pre- or post- cruise to enjoy more of the region.
When choosing your favorite German river cruise, always consider the time of year. Cruise season is from April to October. A note of importance when picking the season is that flooding can ruin a good cruise due to river swelling that causes the locks to block. Most of the locks are under bridges, meaning that high water levels will make it impossible for boats to pass. It is also a problem when the water level is too low, so avoid taking a cruise in the drought season.
Some of the German cruises are more popular than others, and those should be first on your list. Here are 3 of the best German river cruises available:
Rhine River Cruises
The Rhine offer some of the most popular river cruises in Europe. This river starts in Switzerland in the southern Swiss Alps and flows 760 miles to the Netherlands. As it flows from east to west, The Rhine forms a border between Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Austria. Its east-west direction changes to a northerly course once the river reaches Basel. It then passes different cities in France and Germany. These are towns full of culture and history that are just waiting for your discovery. As it continues flowing north through Germany, it goes up to the Netherlands where it empties into the North Sea.
In Confluence, Germany, the Main River flows into the Rhine while the Neckar River comes in at Mannheim. From North East France and Luxembourg, the Moselle River catches up. You can also expect to cruise the Dutch and Belgian waterways as they connect to the Rhine. All these waterways give you numerous itinerary options.
What can you anticipate from a Rhine River Cruise? For one thing, a lot of castle sightings. As you transverse between Rudesheim and Koblenz, expect to see a great deal of castled lining the horizons. Expect to get a mix of ancient city sceneries in Germany and modern city life in towns like Cologne and Heidelberg. The Rhine River also has serial biking paths that you can take advantage of when you dock.
Danube River Cruise
Another option for German river cruises is traveling through the Danube River. Once referred to as the Queen of Europe’s rivers by Napoleon, the Danube boasts a stretch of 1175 miles and is Europe’s second longest. The Danube flows from Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea in Romania and touches eight other countries including Bulgaria, Austria, Serbia, Hungary, and Croatia. The evolution of the Danube has improved its navigation, so it is possible to cruise from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Expect to find beautiful cities offering both ancient and modern cultures. A majority of the towns along the Danube are cobbled with inclines here and there, so prepare for a challenging walk. The sights are filled with castle ruins that seem to come straight out of a fairytale. A trip to Neuschwanstein to see King Ludwig II’s 19th Century castle will paint an excellent picture. You can also visit the Hofburg Palace in Vienna during your cruise. Some of the cities have Europe’s best vineyards, so be sure to plan wine tasting as part of your Danube river cruise. A typical journey can start in Passau in Germany. It is possible to get packages to cruise the Rhine and the Danube in one trip.
Elbe River Cruise
The Elbe has its source in the Krkonose Mountains in the Czech Republic and runs through Germany then into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. Its 724-mile stretch offers a rich itinerary for European river cruises as it passes through the vineyards in Saxony and the Sandstone Mountains, which are nothing short of breathtaking. Taking the Elbe waterways is an adventurous way for discovering Germany’s rich culture, in addition to other cities in Eastern Europe. Over the last few years, the Elbe has grown in demand as a river cruise destination.
The Moldova River links the Elbe to Prague, a glorious city that has more than enough to feast on. You can then sail through the Havel River to Oder River, which has a wealthy population of birdlife. Then there is the Kiel Canal, which is just beyond Hamburg and connects the North and Baltic Sea. Some of the cities that you can expect to pass through on the banks of the Elbe include Worlitz, Dresden, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, and Meissen. There is a lot to explore from gothic cathedrals to wine countries to beer festivals.
A German river cruise can be a dream come true but only if you know how to pick the right one. The secret is to have a list of the priority visits you would like to have because there are way too many to fulfill on one cruise. Having a list will help settle on an itinerary and a river cruise package. You should also know the cruise that suits the time of year you want to travel and for how long. Enjoy the best of Germany and other European nations as you sail down some of the most famous rivers in the globe.