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Things to do in Rhine River

Things to do in  Rhine River

Welcome to Rhine River

One of Europe’s great waterways, the Rhine River runs all the way from the Alpine mountain ranges of Switzerland to its vast delta on the North Sea. Forming a natural border between Germanic peoples and external influences since Roman times, the river has been an important symbol of German nationalism through history, spawning its own version of romanticism and even forming the basis for Richard Wagner's first opera, “Das Rheingold.” Of the cities it runs through, Cologne is the biggest, with more than a million inhabitants—and it boasts many attractions, among them river cruises that allow visitors to enjoy the views of the city while cruising the calm waters. Select tours from Frankfurt highlight a section of the Rhine Valley that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, punctuated by villages, vineyards, and castles. Downstream from Mainz in the Upper Rhine, you’ll spot naturally occurring river islands. In the Middle Rhine, Koblenz unites the joining of the Moselle River with a gorge that’s part of that UNESCO site; while a little futher down, the magnificent Burg Katz towers over the legendary Lorelei rock. The famed wines of the region are nowhere better than in Boppard, where the sweet eiswein (or icewine) is a local delicacy and can be tasted on a tour. For your best chance of seeing the Rhine in all of its splendor, book a tour or cruise, and ensure easy sailing through the Rhine.

Top 10 attractions in Rhine River

#1
Dusseldorf Old Town (Altstadt)

Dusseldorf Old Town (Altstadt)

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The traditional heart of the city and one of Germany’s most famous nightlife districts, Dusseldorf’s Old Town (Altstadt) is where visitors spend the majority of their time, home to many of the city’s top attractions. As well as the scenic Rheinuferpromenade running along the waterfront and the famous Königsallee shopping boulevard just a couple of blocks east, highlights of the Old Town include the Burgplatz, with its landmark castle tower and unique City Monument; the Neander-church and Old City Hall (Rathaus), two of the only buildings still standing after WWII; and a number of museums, including the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen and the Filmmuseum.The historic district is at its most atmospheric in the evening hours when locals and tourists gather to drink and dance at “the longest bar in the world” – the nickname given to the almost 300 bars, bier-halles and pubs that stretch throughout the area, built so close together that the bar counters are said to run from one venue to the next. There’s a huge range of nightclubs, music venues and cocktail bars to choose from, but be sure to head to one of the traditional brew pubs to sample local specialty, Altbier, a dark beer brewed in Dusseldorf since the 19th century.More
#2
Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

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With its imposing Gothic façade and dramatic twin towers, the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the city’s most recognized landmark. Protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the magnificent cathedral is one of the most important in Germany and dominates the city skyline.More
#3
Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)

Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)

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The waters of the mighty Rhine split Cologne in half, and the city is united across a series of seven bridges, with none more splendid than the spans of the Hohenzollernbrücke, which stretch 1,342 feet (410 meters) across the river in three great steel arches.This spectacular city landmark is almost as famous as Cologne’s twin-spired Gothic cathedral – the largest in Europe – and was completed in 1911, with four railway lines joining Cologne to cities across Europe. German troops destroyed the bridge at the end of World War II in the face of advancing Allied soldiers but it rose phoenix-like once more in 1948. Today it is both a pedestrian and rail bridge with around 1,200 trains passing over it daily and pairs of equestrian bronzes punctuating both ends.A curious tradition has recently grown up around the Hohenzollernbrücke; lovers affix padlocks to its sides and throw the key into the Rhine in exchange for eternal love. So far the city fathers believe over two tonnes of extra metal is now attached to the bridge.More
#4
Cologne Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum)

Cologne Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum)

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Opened by local chocolatier Hans Imhoff in 1993, theCologne Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum) is devoted to Cologne’s chocolate-making history. This fun family attractions lets visitors peek behind the scenes of a working chocolate factory, learn about the farming of cacao beans, and sample delicious Lindt chocolate.More
#5
SEA LIFE® Konigswinter

SEA LIFE® Konigswinter

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SEA LIFE® Königswinter takes visitors on an undersea odyssey filled with close encounters with an astonishing variety of sea creatures. The aquarium’s 36 pools are home to more than 2,000 sea creatures of more than 120 species, from exotic fish such as surgeonfish, paddlefish, and clown fish to turtles, rays, octopus, and moray eels.More
#6
Dusseldorf Old Town Hall (Rathaus Dusseldorf)

Dusseldorf Old Town Hall (Rathaus Dusseldorf)

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With its grand Renaissance style façade and clock tower crawling with ivy, the Rathaus, or City Hall, is among Dusseldorf’s most attractive buildings, as well as being one of its oldest. Dating back to the 16th century, the Rathaus is one of a handful of buildings that remained intact after the WWII bombings, and forms an eye-catching backdrop to the city’s annual Christmas markets.The most memorable landmark of the Rathaus is the bronze equestrian statue of Elector Jan Wellem, an iconic sculpture designed by Gabriel de Grupello in 1711, which now takes center stage at the front of the building. Inside, visitors can explore the ornately decorated council hall, the Jan-Wellem hall and the Lord Mayor’s reception hall, renowned for its beautiful ceiling paintings by artists Domenico Zanetti and Johannes Spilberg.More
#7
Media Harbor (MedienHafen)

Media Harbor (MedienHafen)

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Dusseldorf’s historic harbor was given an impressive facelift during the 1990s, transforming the bleak silos and shipping warehouses, into a lively cultural hub and one of the city’s most stylish districts. Taking its name from the abundance of media and communications company headquarters that sprung up in the area, the new Media Harbor (MedienHafen) is characterized by its ultra-modern architecture, and the glass-fronted office blocks, looming Rheinturm TV Tower and wave-inspired Gehry buildings form a sleek silhouette along the waterfront.As well as being the postcard image of modern-day Dusseldorf, the Media Harbor is also home to a selection of upmarket restaurants, bistros and bars and offers a glamorous setting for the city’s most exclusive nightclubs.More
#8
Lorelei Rock (Loreley Rock)

Lorelei Rock (Loreley Rock)

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A riverside highlight, Loreley Rock is one of the Rhine’s most storied landmarks. The slate rock soars some 433 feet (132 meters) in the air, and, according to mythology, was once frequented by a beautiful siren who lured sailors to their deaths. Today, the promontory is a popular sightseeing stop.More
#9
Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)

Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)

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Towering 234 meters over the modern Media Harbor, the futuristic Rhine Tower (Rheinturm) telecommunications tower is Dusseldorf’s tallest building and most distinctive landmark. Built in 1982, the tower quickly became one of the city’s top tourist attractions, with its 172-meter high observation platform offering dramatic panoramic views along the Rhine riverfront, the nearby Old Town (Altstadt) and the sea of high-rises that form Dusseldorf’s commercial district.High-speed elevators take visitors to the top of the tower, where there is also a glass-fronted revolving restaurant, but the views are equally mesmerizing from the outside, with the illuminated tower also serving as the world’s largest digital clock.More
#10
King's Alley (Konigsallee)

King's Alley (Konigsallee)

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With its rows of designer boutiques and luxury department stores bordering a serene tree-lined canal, King's Alley (Konigsallee) is surely one of Germany’s prettiest boulevards, as well as being Dusseldorf’s busiest shopping street. First laid out back in 1802, Konigsallee was originally named Kastanienallee (Chestnut Avenue), but was renamed in honor of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1848, as an apology for the notorious incident in which Dusseldorfers bombarded his carriage with horse manure.Today, the famous shopping street is best known by its nickname ‘Kö’ and is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists, offering a huge range of shops, restaurants and cafes to suit all tastes. Along with an impressive number of flagship designer outlets and jewelry boutiques, the Kö is home to the Sevens mall, the Kaufhof Kö department store and a number of 5-star hotels, while many shoppers can be found escaping the crowds for a stroll beneath the chestnut trees or a coffee break on the banks of the canal.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days at the Rhine River

How to Spend 3 Days at the Rhine River

Ways to Celebrate the Cologne Carnival

Ways to Celebrate the Cologne Carnival

Recent reviews from experiences in Rhine River

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It was difficult trying to figure...
Ralph E, Sep 2017
Rhine River Hop On Hop Off Cruise on Castle Route
We took a train to the turn around location and got on board and got to see the awesome views on the Rhine River!
star-5
This is a great cruise to see all...
Joseph R, Sep 2016
Nostalgic Rhine Cruise from Koblenz to Rudesheim
This is a great cruise to see all the castles and beautiful landscape along the Rhine River in 1 day.
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A great way to see the beautiful...
Emily M M W, Jun 2015
KD Rhine HoHo Cruise from Mainz
A great way to see the beautiful towns along the Rhine River.
star-4
Rhine river cruise is a nice...
emery ray b, Sep 2014
Nostalgic Rhine Cruise from Koblenz to Rudesheim
Rhine river cruise is a nice relaxing way to see a lot of the old towns and castles and vineyards.
star-5
We really enjoyed the Rhine River...
Yvonne L, Oct 2010
KD Rhine Pass from Koblenz
It was just beautiful to see the charming vineyards, towns and castles from the Rhine River.
star-5
Most relaxing way to enjoy the countryside
VegasKB, Oct 2019
Rhine River Hop On Hop Off Cruise on Castle Route
There was so much to see on both sides of the boat.
star-4
The Rhine River is amazing and was...
Kevin F, Aug 2013
KD Rhine HoHo Cruise from Mainz
My only complaint: if you have a German rail pass, you may not need to purchase this pass - check to see if your rail pass covers the KD Rhine cruises.
star-5
The sights were second to none. If...
Suna R, Jul 2017
Rhine River Hop On Hop Off Cruise on Castle Route
If you want to see castles in a relaxed manner this is the way to go, Rhine River 20 castles tour.

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