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Rhine River Cruise: Cologne to Königswinter with SeaLife or Drachenfels

Cologne, Germany
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icon8 hours 30 minutes  (Approx.)
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iconOffered in: English and 1 more


Experience the sights and sounds of the Rhine river, from Cologne to Königswinter, on this full-day sightseeing cruise. Enjoy onboard commentary and take in the scenic panorama of the majestic castles, churches, and vineyards along the shores of the Rhine, then explore one of two popular Königswinter attractions. Choose between the Sea Life Königswinter Aquarium or ride the cog railway up to the Drachenfels, featuring the ancient ruins of Drachenfels Castle overlooking the Rhine Valley.
  • Rhine River cruise from Cologne to Königswinter, plus an activity of your choice
  • Enjoy onboard commentary about the Rhine’s historical waterfront sights
  • Discover the underwater world at Königswinter Sea Life aquarium, perfect for families
  • Ride a cogwheel railway up to the towering Drachenfels cliff
  • Visit the ancient ruins of Drachenfels Castle, overlooking the Rhine Valley
Head to Cologne’s riverside in the morning to board the boat, then relax on the cruise along the scenic Rhine, the longest river in Germany. Enjoy onboard commentary and take in the scenic panorama of the majestic castles, churches, and vineyards on the shoreline along the way.

Upon arrival in Königswinter, a summer resort city in the Rhein-Sieg district, you will have ample free time to explore. Enjoy lunch and wander at a leisurely pace or choose to visit one of two popular local attractions, included as part of the cruise pass.

As one option, visit the Sea Life Königswinter Aquarium, with more than 120 species and 2,000 animals in 36 fascinating displays. See the Octopus Cave, Jurassic Seas, the ghost ship with an open Ray tank and much more. Also, be sure to see Germany’s unique 360-degree, acrylic glass tunnel and touch a starfish or hold a crab in the interactive rockpool, if so inclined. It’s fantastic fun for the entire family.

The other option is to ride the cog railway up to the Drachenfels, a hill in the Siebengebirge uplands between Königswinter and Bad Honnef, featuring the ancient ruins of Drachenfels Castle overlooking the Rhine Valley.

At the designated time, reboard the cruise ship for the cruise back to Cologne.

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55 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers
Very nice relaxing cruise
, Oct 2019
The river cruise was very nice and relaxing. The weather was very nice and the scenery was amazing. There are several stops to board new riders. The last stop is Konigswinter and you can explore the Schloss Drachenburg at the top of the hill or just enjoy the town for shopping or dining. Overall, very enjoyable.
A pleasant fall excursion
, Sep 2019
We enjoyed a nice fall cruise on the Rhine from Cologne to Konigswinter. Given the time of year, the boat really wasn't very busy, which was great. The boat left on time and the crew were very polite and helpful. The trip included a cog wheel train ride but we had less than 2 hours in Königswinter. Even the man at ticket booth told us to "hustle" if we wanted to do as time is "tight". Previous posters complained about only 3 English announcements - this journey had none. Inspite of not being able to do the cog rail ride (which I feel we paid for), the boat cruise portion was quite nice.
Relaxing Cruise Along the Rhine
Frederick G
, Aug 2019
A cruise along the Rhine river is usually associated with castles along its banks. But in this part of the Rhine (Cologne to Konigswinter) you would see very few castles along the way. Novertheless, the one you would see in Konigswinter would more than make up for the lack of castles you would see along the way. My wife andd I saw both the ruins of an old castle (Drachenfels) at the very top of the hill and the exquisite Drachenburg Castle which is a short 15 minute hike downhill from the ruins. If you take this tour, make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes because the trek both uphill and downhill can be quite challenging. There is a restaurant near the Drachenfels ruins and the view of the entire place is quite nice here. We visited in summer so we brought some water with us. The tour is a bit pricey but if you love castles, its definitely worth it.
Not what we were expecting -
Laurie L
, Aug 2019
We were rather disappointed with this trip. We were hoping to see castles along the Rhine and it stopped short. There was not a lot of information as to what we were seeing. Getting on in Koln felt like we were only seeing industrial areas for the first 1/3 of the cruise. It made for a relaxing day - but not what we were hoping for.
Not Wheelchair friendly
, Jul 2019
We went to Cologne for (2)nights, particularly to take this Rhine river cruise knowing that wheelchair facilities were available. On the day, the boat was changed to a smaller boat with no access for WCs and the boat had no WC user facilities. We did not go on the cruise. Having known this before, we would not have made the effort to go to Cologne. Viator were courteous, communicative and understanding of the presenting issue and organised for prompt payment re-issue.Thanks Viator. It’s a pity we were unaware of the presenting issues re: WC access and facilities on the day as the old part of Cologne, although beautiful and steeped in history, is not conducive to WC users nor does it have the facilities to make their visits to the area a pleasurable one. So, can’t tell you about the cruise but Viator have been great.
Over crowed boat
, Jul 2019
The boat was crowed and only average seating available if you were last to get on. The time in Koningswinter was too short to achieve lunch and getting up to the top and exploring the town. We opted to take the train back to Cologne.
It all could have been better
Len S
, Jul 2019
The cruise along the river is relaxing, but there were only 3 automated commentary announcements and the English commentary failed on 1 of those. The trip to the Drachenfels cliff was included in the tour and again was extremely disappointing. The view from the top of the cliffs was stunning, but the service on the at the restaurant was slow and disinterested (too many tables for the waiters to manage). The curio shop was closed even though there were lots of visitors to the site. There is no guide, commentary or information about the cliffs. So much potential all around, but poor tourism management of the whole experience.
A very long time on the boat with no real views or meaningful commentary
, Jul 2019
This was a one day trip but it should be made very clear that you spend almost 6 hours on a very slow boat. Given the length of time on board you would expect that you would receive some meaningful commentary and insights into the region and history. However, all you get is brief automated commentary. It was also not made clear that those who had purchased the tour package should disembark at a certain stop and then there were no instructions on the fact that you needed to make your own way back to the cruise boat at a certain time. This should be better managed, rather than having people have to work it out for themselves. To save ourselves the long boat trip back we ended up hopping on a train which only took one hour.
Great value!
Michael F
, Jul 2019
My family really enjoyed this excursion! It is a great value for the price, which includes a train ride up to the castle ruins. The boat sold AMAZING ice cream sundaes at unbeatable prices. Big enough to share, but once they arrive you won't want to!
HoweEuropeanTravel on the Rhine
, Jul 2019
A lovely day on the Rhine headed south to sightsee in Konigswinter. After boarding we ate a bit of breakfast. The staff were wonderful and had such a great attitude. The cruise took a few hours so you will have plenty time to rest, relax, and take in the view. We left at 0930 and arrived in Konisgswinter at 1330. Upon arrive to Konigswinter we only had two hours to see the sights. This is very limited considering there was a 15 minute walk to the Cog Railway station. Be aware that the Cog runs every 30 minutes so it is possible with a long que there could be a bit of waiting. However, the Cog is two trains and holds quite a few people. About half way up the mountain there is a stop where a castle tour is available. We rode all the way to the top first and almost a 360 degree view of the land, Rhine, and cities were seen. Just gorgeous. We decided to walk down to the half way point to see the castle. Not a bad walk at all. The castle is FANTASTIC! One of the most beautiful we have seen while in Germany. Well worth the extra 7 Euro per person for admission. We decided to get a late lunch and ended up missing the boat back. Not the Cruise company's fault....just not enough time in 2 hours to see and do what we wanted. No problem, there is a train directly to Cologne (Cologne hbf stop) which took us about 45 minutes to get back. This unexpected reroute allowed us an additional visit to the Cologne Cathedral and walking around. Lucky us! By the way, there is lunch items, beer, wine, water, etc. available on the cruise.

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