Although making brief appearances in Switzerland, France, Austria and the Netherlands the majority of the Rhine, at a little over twelve hundred kilometres in length, Europe’s twelfth longest river, winds its way through some of Germany’s most romantic, beautiful and inspiring landscapes.
Nowhere is the majesty of this ancient waterway better appreciated than in the Rhine Valley, a sixty-seven kilometre stretch of the river that runs from the delightful winemaking town of Rüdesheim and Koblenz, a town with a two-thousand-year history and a rich legacy of medieval architecture.
Such is the natural beauty and historic importance of the Rhine Valley and the towns that lie within it, aspects that have influenced writers, composers and artists for centuries that the entire region has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The valley is a breath-taking patchwork of alternating landscapes as the river winds gently beneath dramatic slate cliffs, rolling vineyards and pine forested-hills. Every so often this mesmerising scenery is punctuated by one of the many traditional and charming towns or villages that cling to the hillsides or nestle on the banks of the river.
More notably still, the Rhine Valley boasts around forty ancient castles and fortresses built over a period of approximately a thousand years. Whilst many remain ruined – though no less magnificent – a significant number of these wonderful monuments were restored during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and today some even serve as hotels.
Whilst there are a number of ways in which to discover and enjoy the treasures of the Rhine Valley, perhaps the best way to appreciate and admire this unique region is from the river itself. Rhine cruises are an exceptionally popular option for those who like to holiday in comfort and style and enjoy combining on-board relaxation on the water with the opportunity to explore the towns, villages, landmarks and other attractions en route.
The seven-day all inclusive Rhine cruise offered by Treyn, for example, provides a varied and enjoyable itinerary which also includes free time for travellers to relax or pursue their own favourite activities, as well as a number of optional excursions to some of the historic destinations along the river. The beauty of an escorted Rhine cruise such as this is that all of the arrangements for accommodation and travel, as well as some meals and excursions, are sorted out for you in advance, leaving you free to enjoy the natural, historic and cultural highlights along Germany’s most beautiful stretch of the Rhine.
Romantic Rhine cruises: http://www.railholidays.com/tours/cruise-romantic-rhine.aspx
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