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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


Hohenzollern Bridge (Hohenzollernbrücke)

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.More

Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)

The Kölner Dom, also known as the Cologne Cathedral, is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. In the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world. Amazingly, it would take 632 years to complete. Begun in 1248, the Kölner Dom was commissioned as a suitable place to house the relics of the Three Kings, acquired and delivered by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Construction was predictably slow, beginning with the east wing. At some point in 1473, construction came to a stop and it remained at rest for four centuries, marked by a crane that loomed over the south tower; until 1842, when a civic organization raised the bulk of the money to finish construction. In today’s dollars, the cost for finishing Kölner Dom would be over a billion dollars. Finally, in 1880, Germany’s largest cathedral was completed.More

Dusseldorf Old Town (Altstadt)

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 built so close together that the bar counters are said to run from one venue to the next.More

Cologne Chocolate Museum (Schokoladenmuseum)

Hans Imhoff, a chocolatier and businessman from Cologne, opened the Schokoladenmuseum in 1993, after retiring from the confectionary business in 1992. The museum that bears the late industrialist's name is a paen to the product of the cacao bean, from its development and primitive processing in the New World by the Olmecs, Mayans and Aztecs, to modern production methods and innovations. The program discusses the role of chocolate in later South American societies and among European elite. The museum sits inside a glass-and-steel structure shaped like a ship. Inside, the tour takes visitors through the process of chocolate production from the farm to the candy store, continuing through a greenhouse where two species of cacao trees are grown and then on through the industrialization of chocolate production, including vintage advertising campaigns. Miniature machinery allow guests a closer look at the production process, and the chocolate produced by these machines can be sampled.More

St. Lambertus Cathedral

Among the most iconic landmarks of Dusseldorf’s picturesque Alstadt (Old Town), St. Lambertus Cathedral is famous for its distinctive twisted tower. Originally built in the 14th century, the church tower was rebuilt after a fire in 1815 and the use of wet arbors caused it to twist. Legend however, tells a different story – a bride dressed in white came to the altar pretending to be a virgin, and the tower turned, allegedly to only return to its previous form when a real virgin appears at the altar.More

Rhine Tower (Rheinturm)

Towering 234 meters over the modern Media Harbor, the futuristic 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

Rhine River Promenade (Rheinuferpromenade)

With its two-tier walkways tracing the scenic Rhine waterfront and dotted with benches, grassy picnic areas and food vendors, walking the Rheinuferpromenade (Rhine River promenade) not only offers a tranquil retreat from the busy city center, but it also links many of Dusseldorf’s top attractions. Start your walk beneath the Burgplatz castle tower, then follow the riverside paths through Dusseldorf Old Town, passing the Old Harbor (Alter Hafen); the Marketplatz, home to the historic City Hall (Rathaus) and the City Museum (Stadt Museum), before reaching the grassy Rheinpark, where you can look out over the striking waterfront of the nearby Media Harbor. As well as being popular with joggers, cyclists and roller-bladers, the promenade also hosts a number of seasonal events, including an open-air cinema, exhibitions and markets.More



King's Alley (Konigsallee)

With its rows of designer boutiques and luxury department stores bordering a serene tree-lined canal, Konigsallee (King's Alley) 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.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

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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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