Vacations for Canadians

~by Melissa Erskine


The Rhine River is the second longest river in Western Europe and a stunning waterway to cruise down to witness some of Europe’s most historic sites and landmarks.


A Rhine River cruise takes you into the heart of Middle Europe, where stately castles, fairytale villages and cultural centers have long been witnesses to history. With age-old castles and medieval towns flanking its river bank, the Rhine showcases the beautiful fairy-tale landscape of western Germany. The Rhine River weaves together a tapestry of history and culture…not to mention countless UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

History of the Rhine

The Rhine River, which gets its name from the Celtic word renos (“raging flood”), has a rich cultural history that stems back to the Roman Empire, when it was the main source of transport and business for its residents. Because of the Rhine’s coveted connections to many other rivers in Western Europe, the river became of utmost importance for political control and cultural standing. Over the years, considerable action has been made to protect the Rhine from pollution, and it is now revered as one of the most culturally important rivers in Europe.

Countries of the Rhine

Approximately 765 miles long, the Rhine River begins as a small stream in the Swiss Alps and runs through 6 European countries, including Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. When it reaches the border of the Netherlands, the stream divides into tributaries, which cross a delta before emptying into the sea.

No other river has so many world-renowned cities situated on its banks.  It is considered by many to be the most important waterway in Germany.

Incredible Experiences

On a Rhine River cruise, you can find yourself exploring the cobbled streets of a sleepy medieval village or taking in the sights of a vibrant city, enjoying a lazy afternoon wine tasting, strolling the banks of a tranquil canal or marvelling at a splendid Baroque palace or spectacularly spooky Gothic cathedral.


From history to food and nature to art, you will find a breadth of excursions offered including  everything from a regional wine-tasting in Eltville and hike up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress to a Düsseldorf biking tour and Dutch painting class. Fan of wine? You will be witness to steep vineyards where world-famous Riesling or Gewürztraminer wines are produced.

Rhine River Cruise Tip

If you’re in love with the idea of the fairytale castle-lined “Romantic Rhine” and don’t want to see its more industrialized aspects, your best bet is choose a cruise that includes a sailing through the Rhine Gorge (between Cologne and Rudesheim) but then heads for the Danube and Vienna along the River Main and the Main / Danube Canal.

Cruises along the Rhine offer no shortage of scenic views for those wanting a great look at Europe’s favorite natural landmarks. Several of Europe’s best river cruise ships travel the Rhine River. Your Vacations for Canadians River Cruise specialist Tracy will help you find the perfect Rhine river cruise itinerary for you.