The Rhine River

Cutting deeply into mountains and winding its way through rolling hillsides, dramatic rocky gorges and past pretty Old World villages, the Rhine river is a romantic’s dream. Springing from a lake in the Swiss Alps, it charts a scenic course to the North Sea, lighting up some of Europe’s most captivating sights and customs. Immortalised by Wagner, Byron and Turner, the Rhine riverbanks are dotted with ancient castles and fortresses, award-winning vineyards, riverside cafes and dynamic cities. With beautiful scenery and enriching surprises around every turn, a journey along the Rhine is an unforgettable voyage into the heart of Europe. 

Rhine river cruises offer an added attraction each December, when Christmas markets spring up in all the riverside towns. Whether you’re doing a turn on the twinkling ice rink of Heidelberg or browsing the stalls in Strasbourg’s town square with a warming glühwein, our Rhine Christmas cruises are sure to put you in the festive spirit.

Highlights of the Rhine river

  • Basel
    • This pretty Swiss town is the first navigable point of the Rhine where Switzerland, Germany and France converge. Perhaps because of this, Basel is rich in history and charm, with world-famous choirs, theatres and museums. Its atmospheric Gothic cathedral houses the tomb of 16th-century scholar Erasmus.
  • Strasbourg
    • The capital of the Alsace region, Strasbourg is a cosmopolitan hub that is known for its excellent wines. Take a stroll along the cobblestone streets, which are lined with medieval buildings, and admire the winding canals of La Petite France in the heart of Strasbourg's Old Town.
  • Rüdesheim
    • A pretty little Rhine Valley wine town, Rüdesheim is a riverside village with an unusual attraction: Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, with its phenomenal collection of self-playing instruments. Be sure to enjoy a warming liqueur coffee at the cafe nearby cafe afterwards.
  • Rhine Gorge and Lorelei Rock
    • Sail through the UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge, a beautiful stretch of water that is sprinkled with medieval castles, award-winning vineyards and crumbling fortresses. Pass the legendary Lorelei Rock where a heartbroken nymph was said to have lured sailors to their deaths.
  • Cologne
    • Cologne is the capital of the Rhineland and is known for its tradition of perfumery, its magnificent twin-steepled cathedral - which took 600 years to build - and its chocolate museum, where you explore the history and craftsmanship of this food of the gods.

Rhine River cruises

Tulips of Northern Holland

Offer

from £1,243 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 29 Mar 19
  • 6 dates available

Explore the well-known sites of Holland, plus some off the beaten path, for a unique and fascinating river cruise. In northern Holland, you may opt to see the colourful fields of tulips that make this part of the country so beautiful. Alternatively, in Enkhuizen, you may prefer to visit the Zuiderzee Museum to experience the local culture and history. Also, there’s an opportunity to meet some of the locals before continuing your river cruise through the area of Friesland. Here, you’ll visit the Royal Planetarium, nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll visit the Batavia shipyard in Lelystad and board an exact replica of the Batavia ship itself. Get a true taste of the culture with an introduction to local cheese and genever! Cruise through the modern harbour of Rotterdam and go on a guided excursion to Gouda, famous for its cheese of the same name. For garden enthusiasts, you may, instead, choose to see the breathtaking colours of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With over 70 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens. A river cruise through Holland would not be complete without some time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. The city combines its historical 17th-century buildings, sculptures, and museums with a modern feel. See the most fascinating areas of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” Sail into new worlds to discover the stunning beauty, ancient history, and welcoming traditions that await you! 

Tulip Time

Offer

from £1,570 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 23 Mar 19
  • 8 dates available

This European river cruise in Holland gets underway in its popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. This 700-year-old city offers an abundance of classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants to explore before you embark on your river cruise through Holland and Belgium. Sail through Rotterdam’s harbor, said to be the world’s busiest port. Garden enthusiasts will delight in a visit to see the breathtaking colors of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With 70 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Alternatively, an excursion to the city of Gouda, famous for its cheese, is available, before sailing to Antwerp—Belgium’s second-largest city, combining ancient buildings and monuments with modern architecture. In Ghent, Belgium, join a local expert for a guided tour of the city, including a visit to St. Bavo’s Cathedral. Back in Holland, Middelburg was formerly an important trading city and you’ll get a sense of its wealth today with its impressive structures like the gothic Town Hall, Abbey Tower, and bustling Market Square. No trip to Holland is complete without a visit to the technical miracle that is the Delta Works, a storm flood barrier almost six miles long, constructed after the floods of 1953. This beautiful and historic springtime river cruise during tulip season in Holland and Belgium concludes with more chance to explore the colorful city of Amsterdam. See the most fascinating areas of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” From seemingly unending fields of color from Holland’s gardens, to windmills and waterways of Amsterdam, to the ancient and modern mix of Belgium’s architecture, this European river cruise is sure to grow in your memory for endless seasons to come.

Romantic Rhine - Amsterdam to Basel

Offer

Most popular

from £1,653 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 26 Oct 19
  • 37 dates available

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this exciting journey along the Rhine River, which takes you across Germany—and touches in Holland, France, and Switzerland! This magnificent river cruise begins in the ever popular, modern city of Amsterdam, Holland. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”  You’ll also visit the dynamic city of Cologne, Germany - a 2,000 year-old city known for its Gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral, and the many shops, cafes, and taverns of popular Old Town.  You’ll sail through the spectacular Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River—where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Visit the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum.  Continue your Rhine River cruise to Mainz for a guided walk and visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Join a guided excursion to Heidelberg to visit the ruins of its red-walled castle. In Strasbourg, France, you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone Gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Before the end of your European river cruise vacation, stop in Breisach, Germany, the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest—an area of unrivalled natural beauty—best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock.

Romantic Rhine - Basel to Amsterdam

Offer

Most popular

from £1,690 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 02 Nov 19
  • 36 dates available

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this exciting journey along the Rhine River, which begins in Switzerland and stops in France, Germany, and Holland! Board your vessel in Basel, Switzerland, then head for Breisach, Germany, located at the foot of the Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border. Here you’ll find the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest, an area of unrivalled natural beauty, best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock. Continue your river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and the fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city, and stop in Mainz for a guided walk and a visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Next up is the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and a visit to the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum to see the impressive collection of historical self-playing instruments. You’ll pass through the dramatic Rhine Gorge - the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Last stop in Germany is Cologne - a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral. As an exclamation point to this wonderful Rhine river cruise, you’ll spend time in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. There is much to do with the world-famous museums and abundance of restaurants amongst the classic architecture and charming canals. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”

Canals, Vineyards & Castles - Amsterdam to Remich

Offer

from £1,721 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 02 May 19
  • 5 dates available

Start this magnificent European river cruise vacation in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. See the treasures of this 700-year-old city from a unique perspective—on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten. Then, begin your scenic cruise along the Rhine River and come to Cologne, Germany—a 2,000 year-old city known for its gothic architecture. On a guided city walk, see the famous twin-spired cathedral and explore the cobblestone streets of the Old City. You’ll sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. In the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, enjoy a stroll through its famous cobblestone Drosselgasse lined with shops, restaurants, and lively taverns. Along the Moselle River, you’ll stop at the picturesque town of Cochem where the Riesling grape is cultivated. Visit Reichsburg Castle, nestled among vineyards and offering breathtaking views of the town and river valley below. In Bernkastel, enjoy a guided walk and taste some of the region’s best-loved wines. Go on an excursion to historical Luxembourg City, offering unique and dramatic views as it is set on two levels—high above on straddling hills and dropping into two river valleys.

Canals, Vineyards & Castles - Remich to Amsterdam

Offer

from £1,721 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 25 Apr 19
  • 5 dates available

Board your Avalon Suite Ship in Remich on the beautiful Moselle River. An excursion to historical Luxembourg City offers unique and dramatic views, as the town is set on two levels—high above on straddling hills and dropping into two river valleys. Enjoy a guided walk in the charming wine village of Bernkastel and taste some of the region’s best wines. Continue on the Moselle River to the picturesque town of Cochem where the Riesling grape is cultivated. Visit Reichsburg Castle, nestled among vineyards and offering breathtaking views of the town and river valley below. Sail into the Rhine River to the quintessential Rhine valley town of Rüdesheim. Here visit the amazing Mechanical Musical Instruments Museum, and enjoy a stroll through the town’s famous cobblestone Drosselgasse lined with shops, restaurants, and lively taverns. You’ll sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Your last stop in Germany is Cologne, a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture. On a guided walk, see the famous twin-spired cathedral and explore the cobblestone streets of the Old City. Before this fabulous European river cruise concludes, you’ll visit Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. See the treasures of this 700-year-old city from a unique perspective—on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten. Experience spectacular scenery and discover legendary cultures along your Moselle and Rhine river cruise vacation.

Learn more about the Rhine

Fast facts

  • Countries: Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Germany, France, Netherlands

  • Source: The Swiss Alps

  • Mouth: North Sea

  • Length: 766 miles

Did you know? 

  • The name 'Rhine' comes from the Celtic 'renos', which means 'raging flow.'

  • Wagner's epic masterpiece The Ring Cycle (De Ring des Nibelungen) is based around the Rhine, with the first in the four pieces telling the story of the 'Rhinegold' (Das Rheingold). An unprecendented work in size, scope and artistic ambition, Das Rheingold is one continuous piece of music with no interval, lasting two and a half hours. The last in the cycle, 'Twilight of the Gods' (Götterdämmerung) lasts six and a half hours, including two intervals.

  • The Rhine still has its secrets. In 2007, a 1900-year-old Roman ship was found on the banks in Cologne. 

  • Strasbourg's old town, le Grande Île ("Grand Island"), was given UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1988: the first time such an honour was placed on an entire city centre.

  • It is thought that Julius Caesar was the first to build a bridge across the Rhine River, during the Gallic War of 55 BCE.

Geography

  • The Rhine begins life in the Swiss Alps, where the Vorderrhein and Hinterrhein rivers converge. From Reichenau, it courses north and forms a natural border between Switzerland and the mini-country of Liechtenstein, and then Switzerland and Austria. The Rhine then turns west, emptying into pretty Lake Constance, then creates a boundary between Switzerland and Germany. At Basel the river becomes navigable by ship, turning north at the so-called "Rhine knee" to flow alongside the border between France and Germany.

  • In Germany, between Bonn and Bingen, the Middle Rhine continues its journey through the beautiful Rhine Gorge - a dramatic natural gateway created by geological uplift and erosion. This stretch of the river is known as 'Romantic Rhine', a UNESCO World Heritage Site containing more than 40 castles and fortresses that date back to the Middle Ages.

  • On leaving Germany, the river heads west and enters The Netherlands, where it join the rivers Meuse and Scheldt to form one of the largest deltas in western Europe. The Rhine is at its widest as it enters The Netherlands, but then splits into three main distributaries and various smaller ones. These minor waterways then flow through the Dutch Lowlands and empty into the North Sea.

Browse our Rhine cruises

Available cruises: 24

Select when you wish to depart and we will be able to show you all tours and cruises that depart on the day you have selected.