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Tales of the Rhine

Tales of the Rhine

Last month I did a luxury river cruise over 12 days from Basel to Amsterdam. It is something I would do again in a heartbeat. There are a number of magical Rhine and Moselle river cruises you can do, but the 12-day Basel to Amsterdam cruise is the one I would recommend.

Day 1-6: Magic of the Black Forest, Strasbourg and fairytales in Rhine Gorge

We started off in Basel, with time to explore the awesome facilities on our luxury cruise ship. Our room was beautiful, stylish and spacious, there was a swimming pool on the ship that cleverly morphed into a cinema in the evenings, and a sun deck that offered gorgeous panoramic views. But one of the best things about the trip was its all-inclusive nature. Meals, drinks, onshore excursions, travel and transfers were all included. We may as well have left our wallets and purses at home.

So we cruised first to the Black Forest; just its name was a source of intrigue for me. It is a beautiful region, home to the famous and delicious Black Forest Gateau, the disappearing village of Wolmerspur, and the country’s greatest waterfall. We were able to explore a fantastic museum of Black Forest farms that have been reconstructed, and an interesting clock museum. Next we went to Strasbourg and were able to explore Strasbourg Cathedral – the tallest medieval building in Europe – and the lovely La Petite France. We enjoyed an informative city tour and a fun wine tasting excursion.

We followed Strasbourg with trips to Mannheim, with its quirky boutiques and gift shops, and Mainz, an architecturally stunning city. We finished our first magical 6 days sailing along Rhine Gorge, with castles that are straight out of storybooks, into Berkastel, a quaint town with a turbulent history. But I won’t spoil it for you.

Day 7-12 – A coach trip, a spot of hiking, Cologne and Amsterdam

A coach trip into Trier led us to some spectacular sights, including Roman baths, Trier Cathedral, an amphitheatre and a fascinating open-air museum. We did a spot of hiking around the medieval town of Cochem and a walking tour along cobbled streets, past quaint cottages. We visited the 2,000 year old town of Koblenz and eventually ended up in Cologne, which has a fantastic modern art exhibition at Ludwig Museum. You get the most awesome bird’s eye view of this beautiful historic city from a cable car – if that takes your fancy. It certainly took mine.

Finally, we finished our luxury river cruise in the legendary city of Amsterdam, famous for its forward-thinking sensibilities and liberal approach to life. It is also home to numerous churches, historic sights, museums and the famous Red Light District, of which we had a very informative – and eye-opening – tour. All in all, it was an unforgettable holiday.