In his poem 'Lorelei' from 1824, the world famous German poet Heinrich Heine has found perfect words to describe the romantic path along one of Europe’s longest rivers: the Rhine.
“I know not if there is a reason
Why I am so sad at heart.
A legend of bygone ages
Haunts me and will not depart.
The air is cool under nightfall.
The calm Rhine courses its way.
The peak of the mountain is sparkling
With evening’s final ray.”
You won’t find a more relaxing way to visit the Western parts of Germany than taking a cruise boat on the 1.232 km long Rhine river flowing through Switzerland, Germany, France and Holland.
The Rhineland, the area around the river, is storybook Germany, a fairy-tale world of legends and robber-baron castles.
What to See on Your Rhine Cruise
Traveling from the Swiss Alps up north you’ll pass picturesque mountain ranges, mysterious castles, wine cellars and village vintner festivals on the one side as well as bustling, cosmopolitan cities such as Coblenz, Cologne and Düsseldorf on the other side.
In 2002, 67 unique kilometers along the middle parts of the Rhine were awarded UNESCO World Heritage site status. Taste a couple of terroir style Riesling, Dornfelder or Piont Noir or try out some of the newer creations of Riesling ice cream. Yes, dig into a cup of Riesling ice cream and you’ll begin to understand how the expression of beauty and calmness along the Rhine river came into focus for so many artists, poets and musicians for over five centuries.
Another UNESCO World Heritage site can be found in Cologne, Germany’s 'Rhine Capital'. The open-minded, cosmopolitan city with its 1.2 million population is located on both sides of the Rhine River. At first glance, you might think it is a tourist stop that maybe is not as popular as Berlin or Munich, but there are definitely plenty of hidden spots ready to be visited. Especially the medieval Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) and the Altstadt (old town) attract tourists from all over the world.
And here is a final insider tip: go to the Cologne Cathedral towers and enjoy the panoramic view over lush forests and the peaceful scenic views along the river with the final rays of the evening sun. Another beautiful spot is just opposite of the cathedral, across the river. From there you will have the bridge, the cathedral & the sunset in your photo. You can cross via the train bridge.