Cruising Germany’s CastlesFebruary 16, 2012 By: Meagan Drillinger Travel Agent
|Reichsburg Castle above the river Moselle in Cochem is believed to be more than 10 centuries old.|
Germany’s Rhine and Moselle valleys are chock-full of castles and castle ruins, having played an integral role in the country’s medieval history. These historical and beautiful sites have become popular backdrops for river cruise itineraries. If your clients are looking for a taste of Germany’s Medieval history, here is a sampling of some top river cruises to consider.
Romantic Rhine itinerary by Avalon Waterways sails down the Rhine river from Zurich to Amsterdam. Along the route, your clients’ vessel will pass approximately 40 castles, all of which are described in detail to cruisers as the ship passes.
If firsthand exploration is more your speed, this itinerary features an excursion to Heidelberg Castle in Heidelberg, one of Germany’s oldest university towns. The castle sits high above the city and is built of red sandstone. The original structure was demolished in the 17th and 18th centuries and since has only been partially rebuilt. The earliest section of the castle structure was built in 1214.
The cruise continues through the Rhine Gorge, one of the most picturesque stretches of river on the continent, known as the Middle Rhine. During this passage, cruisers will have views of dozens of castles, such as Burg Rheinfels, Burg Pfalzgrafenstein and Stolzenfels Castle. Burg Rheinfels was eventually transformed into a fortress, while Burg Pfalzgrafenstein looks over the Rhine from its private island location.
Vineyards & Vistas
Viking River Cruises is another river cruise line that features Germany’s many castles. Its eight-day Vineyards & Vistas itinerary sails from Trier to Nuremberg and makes sure to stop at Reichsburg Castle in Cochem, which is believed to have been built in 1000. Sitting above the river Moselle, it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe.
Viking also offers a Rhine Getaway cruise, an eight-day cruise that sails from Basel to Amsterdam. On this itinerary, guests disembark to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle. This is the only medieval castle on the Middle Rhine that has never been destroyed. It was built around 1117 and has played a central role in European history throughout the centuries.
Both of the above itinrearies also include a visit to storied Heidelberg Castle, which is the highlight of another Viking River offering, the 15-day Treasures of the Rhine. This cruise sails from Antwerp to Basel and sails down the Middle Rhine Valley. Cruisers will also enjoy a stop at Marksburg Castle.
Paris to Prague
AMA Waterways gets in on the castle action with a 14-day cruise from Paris to Prague. Halfway through this itinerary, guests have the option to choose between an excursion to Cochem or to Koblenz. In Cochem, cruisers will visit Reichsburg Castle. Following these excursions, the vessel will sail down the Rhine to Rudesheim, passing the famous stretch of castles in the Middle Rhine region.
AMA Waterways also includes a stop to Heidelberg Castle on this itinerary. The final leg of this journey includes an overnight in Prague, where visitors have the opportunity to visit the 1,000-year-old Hradcany Castle and St. Vitus.