Cruising Germany’s Scenic Main River

326 Miles through Germany

Sponsored by Viking Cruises

Do you love strolling through picturesque villages and fascinating historic towns? How about sampling local wines while sitting in an old town square?

Then you’ll want to book a Viking® river cruise sailing on the scenic Main River. The Main, pronounced like “mine”, is a 326-mile-long river that carves its way through the heartlands of Germany.

Cruising the Main is a lovely way to take in the beauty of Germany’s rolling countryside, forests, and vineyards to visit this country’s quaint villages that are filled with charming buildings that look like they have been lifted straight out of the pages of a fairy tale.

And because the Main is not very long and flows between the Rhine and the Danube, cruises on this river often include sailings on those two larger waterways.

The Main River, which begins near Kulmbach in Franconia, flows through the Germany Highlands as well as scenic Bavaria. Prominent cities often visited on Main River cruises include:


One of the best ways to view this enchanting old town, which dates back to 1237, is a walking tour. You’ll stroll past beautiful old half-timbered buildings, richly hued Zum Riesen, Germany’s oldest inn, as well as the Mainz and Würzburg town gates. You’ll also get a glimpse of Miltenberg Castle towering above the town.


This small town is located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers. Here, you’ll find the impressive Wertheim Castle, the former residence of the counts of Wertheim and one of the largest stone castles in southern Germany.

The castle’s ruins are surrounded by a deep moat and offer spectacular views of the surrounding area. Wertheim is a very picturesque town with a market square filled with lovely half-timbered buildings.


This city, which straddles the Main River, is known for its architecture and wines. The best example of which is Bishops’ Residenz, a magnificent baroque palace and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Although much of this city was destroyed during World War II, it has mostly been restored to its former glory. Depending upon available time, you may also sneak in a visit along Germany’s “Romantic Road” to the nearby town of Rothenburg, one of the last walled medieval towns in Germany.


This medieval-looking city boasts several interesting landmarks, including the Cathedral of Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich II and the fresco-adorned Old Town Hall that sits on a twin-arched bridge in the middle of the Regnitz River.

In the 18th century, Bamberg was the center of the Enlightenment in southern Germany and was home to well-known important authors and philosophers, including Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.

Bamberg is also where the Main River flows into the relatively new Rhine–Main–Danube Canal. Built in 1992, this canal now makes it possible for thousands of river cruise guests to travel between the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers.

Interested in a cruise on the Main?

The best time of the year to take a cruise on the Main River depends–of course–on your temperature preferences.

Summers in this region are typically warm, ranging between the upper 70s and 90s Fahrenheit. The fall and spring months can be very pleasant. For example, highs in September are typically in the mid-60s Fahrenheit.

Although the winter months can be cold, snow is rare. Plus, this is the season when you can find a number of festive and charming Christmas markets in the towns along the Main. No matter when you’d like to go Viking offers a variety of port stops and river cruise itineraries to fit your needs.