Top Rhine River Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025...

Rhine River Tours & Travel Packages 2024/2025

171 Rhine River trips. Compare tour itineraries from 17 tour companies. 13 reviews. 4.7/5 avg rating.

Small Group Rhine River Tours

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Top Rhine River Attractions

  • Sailing through the 40-mile-long Rhine Gorge in Germany, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where more than 40 castles and fortresses stand guard on hilltops.
  • Gazing up at the Lorelei Rock, where a lovelorn siren who plunged to her death is said to haunt the area, luring sailors to their doom in the swirling waters below.
  • Sipping a fragrant German white wine on deck as you glide past terraced vineyards clinging to steep hillsides.
  • Watching the world go by from your own balcony as you travel in comfort from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, via Germany and France – by far the most common itinerary.
  • Spending time before or after the cruise in Amsterdam – with canals for streets, bicycles galore and world-class art museums, it’s one of Europe’s most alluring cities.
  • Exploring the German city of Cologne, home to one of Europe’s most splendid Gothic cathedrals, known for its signature twin steeples.
  • Wandering Koblenz, a 2,000-year-old city where the Rhine and Moselle rivers join -- and perhaps taking a scenic side-cruise up the Moselle.
  • Discovering Heidelberg, the old German university town that showcases stunning medieval architecture and a Gothic castle.
  • Enjoying an excursion to France’s Strasbourg in Alsace-Lorraine, where French and German customs mix to add flavor to the cultural stew.
  • Strolling wine-country towns like Kaysersberg in Alsace-Lorraine and Germany’s Rudesheim – their names may be unfamiliar, but you won’t soon forget the storybook settings, or the local vintages.

Rhine River Tours & Travel Guide

Rhine River Attractions & Landmarks Guide

A voyage along the Rhine River has attracted travelers and artists for centuries. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, a trip down the Rhine was considered a mandatory part of the European grand tour, and the castle-rich hilltops and colorful legends along Germany’s scenic Rhine Gorge inspired poetry by Heinrich Heine and opera by Richard Wagner.

The 700-mile-long river, which flows from Switzerland to the North Sea via France, Germany, and the Netherlands, has also been a key means of transport and trade through Western Europe

Why Consider a Rhine River Cruise?
From historical narratives to breathtaking scenery and delectable wines, a Rhine River tour promises an enriching and unforgettable adventure for travelers seeking a unique blend of heritage and nature.

A Rhine River tour is your chance to delve into a journey rich in European history and natural splendor. The Rhine River has many names — Rhein, Rhin, and Rijn — reflecting the cultural diversity of the peoples along its banks.

This river has been a crucial artery for trade and cultural exchange for centuries, leading to the growth of historic cities and the construction of magnificent castles. By joining a Rhine River tour, you can trace the footsteps of Roman soldiers, medieval knights, and Renaissance merchants, immersing yourself in landscapes and architecture that tell the story of Europe's past.

With stunning vistas, charming villages, and legendary castles, the Rhine Valley offers unparalleled beauty. Moreover, you can indulge in wine-tasting experiences amidst world-renowned vineyards that produce some of the finest Rieslings and other wines. 

Cruising the Rhine River
Most Rhine cruising itineraries travel between Basel, Switzerland, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands; you can travel in either direction. 

The standard length is about a week, but you can easily extend it to 12 or more by combining the Rhine with the Moselle River, which branches off the Rhine at the German city of Koblenz and leads toward Luxembourg, or the Danube, which is connected to the Rhine by the Main Canal and leads to Budapest, Hungary, and beyond — a two- or three-week supercruise. 

If you’re pressed for time, some shorter, five-day cruises are also available from Basel, stopping at Dusseldorf in Germany rather than continuing to Amsterdam.

The Rhine Gorge
Today, the Rhine ranks with the Danube among the most popular European cruising rivers. Its Rhine Gorge segment, which courses about 40 miles through steep hillsides dotted with more than 40 castles and fortresses, is one of the highlights of world river cruising and has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Small fairytale towns and villages line its banks, vineyards cling to terraced slopes, and large, intriguing cities await exploration.

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley
The Upper Middle Rhine Valley, stretching from Bingen to Koblenz, is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and a highlight of Rhine River tours. 

This 65-kilometer stretch features dramatic landscapes with steep, vineyard-covered hills and numerous medieval castles. Iconic sites include the Lorelei Rock, a steep slate rock towering above the narrowest part of the river, and the Marksburg Castle, the only medieval castle on the Rhine that has never been destroyed. 

The towns of Boppard, with its Roman history, and St. Goar, known for the Rheinfels Castle ruins, are must-visit stops.

Major Stops on Rhine River Tours
Rhine River Tours are renowned for their captivating stops, each offering a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From medieval castles and charming towns to vibrant cities and scenic landscapes, these major stops provide enriching experiences that make a Rhine River journey unforgettable. Explore the highlights of each destination along this iconic river.

Cologne is one of Germany’s oldest cities and a major cultural center on the Rhine. It is famed for its impressive Gothic Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that towers over the city's skyline. 

Explore the charming Old Town with its narrow streets and historical buildings, visit numerous museums, such as the Roman-Germanic Museum, and enjoy the vibrant local culture. Cologne is also known for its Kölsch beer, which can be enjoyed in traditional beer halls.

Rüdesheim is a picturesque town known for its wine-making and half-timbered houses. It’s home to the Drosselgasse, a narrow street lined with wine taverns and restaurants. 

Take a cable car ride over the vineyards to the Niederwald Monument, which offers panoramic views of the Rhine Valley. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate visiting the local wine museums and vineyards to taste the renowned Riesling wines.

Strasbourg, located on the French-German border, combines the best of both cultures. Its historic center, the Grande Île, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city boasts the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral, with its intricate façade and astronomical clock. 

The charming Petite France district, with its canals and half-timbered houses, is perfect for leisurely strolls. Strasbourg is also known for its vibrant markets, Alsatian cuisine, and cultural institutions like the European Parliament.

Heidelberg is a romantic city famous for its well-preserved medieval architecture and a prestigious university, Germany’s oldest. 

The city’s highlight is the Heidelberg Castle, perched on a hill overlooking the town and the Neckar River. The castle ruins, with their Renaissance architecture, and the beautiful gardens offer breathtaking views. 

The Old Bridge, the Philosopher’s Walk, and the lively university town atmosphere make Heidelberg a captivating stop on any Rhine River tour.

Mainz is the capital of the Rhineland-Palatinate state and is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. The city is home to the Gutenberg Museum, which is dedicated to Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. Mainz Cathedral, with its Romanesque architecture, dominates the skyline. 

Vibrant market squares, half-timbered houses, and lively festivals, especially the annual Mainz Carnival, provide a glimpse into the local traditions and culture.

Koblenz is located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers, making it a strategic and scenic spot. It’s home to the Deutsches Eck (German Corner), where the two rivers meet, marked by a giant equestrian statue of Emperor William I. 

The Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, accessible by a cable car crossing the Rhine, offers stunning views and a peek into the region’s military history. Koblenz's old town, with its historic buildings and cozy cafes, is perfect for exploration.

Located at the border of Switzerland, France, and Germany, Basel is a cultural hub with a rich history. The city’s medieval old town features the Basel Minster, a stunning Gothic cathedral with twin towers and a vibrant red sandstone façade. 

Basel is known for its numerous museums, including the Kunstmuseum, which houses an impressive fine art collection. The city’s vibrant markets, the picturesque Rhine promenade, and the annual Art Basel fair make it a dynamic and culturally enriching stop.

Typical Rhine River Cruise Itineraries
A standard Rhine River cruise route will include the German cities of Cologne, whose landmark is its Gothic twin-towered Dom Cathedral; Koblenz, the site of the huge Ehrenbreitstein Castle; and Heidelberg, which houses the country’s oldest university and memorable Romanesque architecture.

The town of Breisach, the gateway to Germany’s lovely Black Forest; the towns of Rudesheim and Kayserberg, among others, offering tastes of the wine country; and Strasbourg, France, with its canals, cathedral, and Alsatian choucrout (a hearty dish bearing both French and German influences) all help make Rhine port excursions some of the finest in Europe.

Not surprisingly, almost every major European river cruise line operates on the Rhine, so it’s essential to compare and contrast not just itineraries but prices (don’t forget to check what’s included!), ship size, cabin sizes, amenities, and languages spoken aboard, among other things.

With Travelstride, you can make sense of it all — use its numerous filters to find the cruise that’s just right for you and book your Rhine vacation with confidence. 

Rivers Combined — The Rhine and the Moselle
Often, you’ll find Rhine River cruise itineraries also include the Moselle River. The Moselle joins the Rhine at Koblenz and provides a highly picturesque journey. Wine lovers will note the pristine German rieslings from the regions the Moselle flows through.

From the Rhine, you will branch off to the left to travel through the French region of Lorraine, famous for being the home of Joan of Arc. With ancient castles and ruins dotting the hillsides, the Moselle also provides the perfect journey for history lovers.

The Rhine and the Rhone
If you’re looking for a cruise that touches on a greater variety of European sights and cultural activities, you might consider a cruise that includes both the Rhine and the Rhone rivers.

Wine regions are a consistent theme for these rivers, especially if you want to taste some classic French varietals from Burgundy. 

If you choose a Rhine cruise that includes the Rhone, pay special attention to the land portions on the itinerary. Some may include longer stays or extensions in major cities like Amsterdam or Paris.

Find more helpful tips in our blog, Top Ten Tips for Choosing a European Cruise Line

Things To Do on a Rhine River Tour
A Rhine River tour offers diverse activities that cater to different interests, from exploring historic castles and charming towns to indulging in wine tasting and enjoying scenic excursions. Here are some must-do activities to make the most of your Rhine River journey.

  • Explore Castles and Fortresses: The Rhine River has over 40 castles and fortresses, each with its unique history and architectural style, such as the Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Rheinfels Castle in St. Goar, and many more. Delve into the rich history and legends associated with these magnificent structures.
  • Wine Tasting Tours: The Rhine Valley is renowned for its wine, particularly Riesling. Wine-tasting tours in Rüdesheim or the Rheingau region take you to historic vineyards, including visits to family-owned wineries, where you can learn about traditional wine-making processes and enjoy tastings of exquisite wines paired with local delicacies. 
  • Scenic Excursions: Take a cable car ride over the vineyards in Rüdesheim to the Niederwald Monument for panoramic views. Explore the Lorelei Rock, a steep slate rock offering breathtaking views of the river below. Many tours also offer hiking and cycling excursions through the beautiful countryside, providing an active way to appreciate the region's natural beauty.
  • Cultural and Historical Tours: Visit the awe-inspiring Cologne Cathedral and explore the Roman-Germanic Museum in cities like Cologne. Strasbourg's Grande Île, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers a charming mix of French and German influences with its stunning cathedral and Petite France district. Guided tours are best for such experiences.
  • Wildlife Excursions: Join a wildlife excursion to spot various bird species and other local fauna. The region around the Upper Middle Rhine Valley and the Lorelei Rock is particularly suitable for birdwatching. Guided tours provide the opportunity to learn about the local ecosystem and conservation efforts while enjoying the serene natural surroundings.
  • Culinary Experiences: Enjoy traditional German dishes like sausages and pretzels or savor Alsatian specialties in Strasbourg. Many tours offer opportunities to dine at local restaurants, participate in cooking classes, or attend food festivals. 
  • River Cruises and Boat Tours: Enhance your Rhine River tour with additional boat tours that explore its tributaries and nearby waterways. Take a romantic evening cruise with dinner and live music, or opt for a daytime excursion to enjoy the stunning scenery from a different perspective. 
  • Shopping and Local Markets: Visit the bustling markets in Cologne or the charming shops in Heidelberg's old town. These markets offer a variety of local products, from handmade crafts and souvenirs to regional delicacies and wines. These markets provide an excellent opportunity to take home unique souvenirs of your Rhine River journey.

Rhine River Reviews & Ratings

4.7/5  Excellent
13  Reviews
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RIP off report

May 2020

Written on

Do not use Great Value Vacations

We spent $11, 630.20 for a 12 day trip to Europe, from 6/11/2020 to 6/23/2020. THEY cancelled our trip, and refuse to refund our money, even after we purchased the t...



Oct 2018

Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representativ...



Oct 2022

Good and no so goog

Recently returned from a Viking Rhine trip on 10/14. The good: Rhine water levels were good, no issues. Service on the vessel was A+, excluding one attendant with...



Aug 2015

Incredible experience

Incredible experience sailing on the Grand European tour from Amsterdam to Budapest! Just wonderful! The tours were interesting, and most allowed for adequate free t...


Wayne H

Jan 2017

Written on

The most amazing river trip in Europe

Traveling from Belgium through 6 countries to Switzerland is one of the most amazing travel experiences in Europe, especially if traveling with Grand Circle Travel. ...

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