Have you always wanted to explore Germany–to wander through medieval Old Towns, delve into castles and explore vibrant big cities? But the thought of booking all of your accommodations and figuring out how you’re going to get from Point A to Point B kept you from booking your dream journey?
You’re not alone.
It’s daunting to think through all the pieces needed to travel through the smaller towns in a foreign country, which is why so many have turned to river cruising.
Suddenly there’s no need to worry about driving on the other side of the road, determining where you’ll eat and of course repeatedly packing and unpacking. Your Viking River Cruise ship will transport you from one charming city to the next while you slumber, leaving them to do the planning and you to do what vacation is meant for: enjoy.
Here are the five different rivers offering river cruises through Germany to help you understand what you might experience on each.
Don’t be surprised if you fall in love with this lively, vibrant city. It has a way of turning visitors into lifelong fans. Although Cologne, which is one of the largest cities in Germany, is very modern, it also has a storied past. Its Altstadt–or Old Town–still contains many buildings from the Middle Ages.
Cologne is also home to the stunning Kolner Dom Cathedral, one of the largest in Germany. And if you’ll be in Cologne in late November or December, make sure to check out its seven mesmerizing Christmas Markets, which attract nearly 2 million visitors each year.
Located in the Rhine Valley, picturesque Rudesheim is a wine making town that’s best known for its Drosselgasse, a pedestrian-only, cobbled street that is lined with historic buildings, restaurants and shops. The Drosselgasse is an excellent place to enjoy live music, grab a bite to eat or search for souvenirs.
Although Germany is home to more than its fair share of picturesque towns, Wertheim is one of its most beautiful and photogenic. The streets are lined with colorful half-timbered houses, and it has castle ruins just waiting to be explored.
A climb to see the ruins is definitely worth the effort as you traverse the castle’s grounds and check out its moat and bulwark. Plus, you’ll also enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
This city’s beautiful medieval Old Town is so well-preserved that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Bamberg also boasts a unique town hall that’s situated in the middle of a river.
But a visit to Bamberg isn’t just about history, this town is also known for its smoked beer, which has a very distinctive flavor. If you’re a beer aficionado, make sure to check out at least one of the approximately ten breweries in Bamberg that specialize in this feisty brew.
Beautiful Dresden has been called the “Florence on the Elbe.” This city has so much to see, including its Zwinger Palace museum complex, the Semper Opera House and the Dresden Castle complex.
Then there’s Dresden’s Green Vault, which contains, arguably, the largest collection of treasures in all of Europe. And you won’t want to miss seeing the reconstructed Frauenkirche, which many consider to be the most beautiful church in Europe.
With its colorful half-timbered houses and charming cottages, Cochem is considered to be one of the prettiest medieval towns on the Mosel River. It also boasts an impressive castle, the Reichsburg, which dates back to the first millennium and looms over the village.
“The Pearl of the Moselle,” Bernkastel’s medieval town square is centered around the fountain of St. Michael and is also the location of the famous “Pointed House.” Built in 1416, the house is well-known for how very narrow and small it is. In this charming town, wine lovers can delight in some of the finest wines produced in Germany.
This picturesque town, which is located at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regan Rivers, is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe. It is also one of Germany’s oldest towns, dating back to 179 A.D. It boasts numerous historic structures, including its 12th-century Old Bridge, and its old city of Regensburg is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This city is situated at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers, which is why it’s also known as the City of Three Rivers. Passau boasts several interesting sites, including the baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral, with its 17,000-pipe organ, and the Veste Oberhaus, a defensive fortress that was built by the prince-bishops. And its Old Town is perfect for a day of meandering and soaking up the atmosphere.