Romancing the River - The Rhine
Updated: Mar 20
How can one not wax poetic about a European river lined with picturesque castles that sparked countless fairy tales and legends? From Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast to Rapunzel, these stories come to life as you sail the waters of the Rhine River through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. Add to that vineyards clinging to lush hillsides and medieval fortresses sitting on rocky promontory overlooking the water and you have a most magical destination.
For romantics, there’s no place better to revel in your surroundings … and each other. Toast to your life together with the region’s newest wines, particularly if you sail in the autumn during or right after the grape harvest. Stroll hand in hand down a cobblestone street in the university town of Heidelberg, in the shadow of the reddish-hued sandstone Heidelberg Castle. Today, we touch on the most romance-inspiring excursions couples can have along the Rhine. For even more European river cruising ideas, read the past two weeks’ worth of romantic suggestions, on both the Danube and the Seine.
Sometimes the gray clouds turn into pouring rain. We made the most of it and stopped
for wine tasting at a sidewalk café.
This characterful capital of the Alsace region delights the senses. Visit the flower-filled, 17th-century Parc de l’Orangerie dating to the 17th century, where you can row a boat on a sparkling lake. Admire the architecture of the Place de la République in the heart of the city’s German quarter; the Rhine Palace and National Theatre are nearby. Close out the perfect day by wandering through La Petite-France on the western side of the Grande Île, known by its canals and iconic half-timbered buildings.
Make Your Own Stories in the Black Forest
The Black Forest - land of glassblowing, cuckoo clocks and gingerbread cottages. Venture into the lofty fir forests of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest), through the wine villages of Ihringen, Gottenheim and Botzingen. Walk through the dense forest, watch a cuckoo-clock-building demonstration or learn to make the delicious Black Forest Cake for which this region of southwestern Germany is so well known.
Bike Through the Netherlands' Windmill Countryside
Take to the grasslands of Kinderdijk on two wheels, taking your time to enjoy 19 historic windmills of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Follow the Lek River’s polders (low-lying lands), stopping to photograph these famous windmills, built in 1740. Learn how and why they were built to pump excess water from the surrounding lands, which lie approximately five feet below sea level. Meet a mill keeper and learn about his family’s daily life before cycling leisurely back to the ship.
Picnic on a Mountaintop
From Hermann Buhl Square in Innsbruck, Austria, you can soar to the summit of the country’s largest nature park aboard the Hungerburgbahn funicular and the Hafelekar cable car. High atop this mountain plateau, sit for a spell and enjoy a picnic of local meats, cheeses, pickles, condiments and wine while enjoying 360-degree views of the Austrian Alps.
Live Out a Fairytale Fantasy
Enjoy privileged access to a royal dinner and piano recital at Namedy Castle, owned by the Hohenzollern family. Explore the princess’ private salons, the Grand Hall of Mirrors and the perfectly manicured gardens before a private champagne reception and three-course meal, paired with local wines.
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