The Rhine River Gorge is world renowned for its incredible combination of geological, historical and cultural nuances. What this means for the luxury river cruiser is castles, lots of gorgeous, medieval castles.
The 40-mile-long stretch of the Rhine River between Koblenz and Bingen in Germany was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 2002 for this very reason. Today, as you sail the Upper Middle Rhine Valley (or Rhine River Gorge, as it’s more commonly known), you’ll see more castles than anywhere else in Germany - in fact, there’s a castle approximately every .9 miles!
Perennial favorites include the weathered ruins of the hillside Fürstenberg Castle in Rheindiebach; Bingen’s Mouse Tower near Ehrenfels Castle, marking the narrow entrance to the Rhine; Rheinstein Castle, a former knight’s castle that is today a museum, hotel and gourmet restaurant; and Pfalzgrafenstein, set on a rocky reef in the middle of the river.
While many of these storied castles have served as inspiration for animated movies and picture books, one story of the Rhine has remained relatively unknown - that is the tale of Lorelei, the siren of the Rhine.
The Myth of Lorelei
The story goes that the lovely young Lorelei was so bewitching in her beauty that she caused sailors to wreck their ships. Today, you can still see the so-called Lorelei Rock, set in a section of the river with a strong and dangerous current. The way the water flows into and around the jagged rocks creates a mystical echoing sound, or murmur. As sailors attempted to navigate the treacherous waters, the experience was likely made even more terrifying by this eerie sound.
As fairytales and myths do, the tale of Lorelei has been repeated and transformed over the centuries. German poet and novelist Clemens Brentano wrote an early version of the story, in which the heroine is betrayed by her lover, then imagines she sees him in the Rhine and falls off a cliff to her death. The haunting sound sailors hear was then said to be her enchanting song forevermore.
Lorelei became a star of German literature after Heinrich Heine penned a poem in 1824, in which he described a woman with golden hair, golden jewels and a golden comb, who - finding about her sweetheart’s unfaithfulness - fell or flung herself off a cliff into the river. Again, the echoing murmur of the water is thought to be her voice.
The legend continued to be celebrated with Johan Strauss’ waltz for Lorelei, Sylvia Plath’s poem, Felix Mendelssohn’s opera, a Styx song, a Marvel Comics character and even an episode of Star Trek (in which, unsurprisingly, a planet full of beautiful women lure ships to their world).
Katz Castle (cat) & Maus Castle (mouse)
Viewing Lorelei Rock
On your Rhine River cruise, pay attention as you pass the Katz Castle, one of the best known along the Rhine River Gorge. From here, you can see Lorelei Rock. The fortress was commissioned by the count of Katzenelnbogen in the 14th century as a complement to Peterseck Castle nearby. Together, they were known as the cat (Katz) and mouse (Maus) castles.
Ready to hear the siren call for yourself? Let’s chat about your Rhine River cruise.
One of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam is visiting the flower market.
With its medieval castles, historic city centers, idyllic landscapes dotted with picturesque windmills and, of course, chocolate, Holland and Belgium exude romance. Whether you’re cruising pretty canals or dining on fresh Zeeland oysters, the landscape, the cities and the villages are all tailor-made for quiet, intimate experiences that cater to your personal interests.
Focus on what makes you tick, individually and with your partner, whether that’s the beautiful architecture of Utrecht’s de Haar and Ghent’s Castle of the Counts of Flanders, or chocolate pralines, Belgian waffles and Dutch street fries. Today, we touch on the most romance-inspiring excursions couples can have when sailing Dutch and Belgian waterways. For even more European river cruising ideas for romantics, read the past few weeks’ worth of suggestions.
I highly recommend the Amsterdam canals cruise.
Cruise the Canals
The classic Amsterdam experience, this is undoubtedly a romantic way to see the city. Make your canal cruise private and enjoy an immersive tour with an expert guide who will glide you past the Dancing Houses, the Skinny Bridge, the 7 Bridges and then Golden Bend.
Paint Like a Master
Sign up for a private, hands-on painting workshop with an experienced art teacher who will show you how to express yourself in the style of famous post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh. Complement this with a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, where a small-group tour will unveil the master, his works and his place in art history. Learn how he was influenced by the delicacy of Japanese prints and how his craft evolved over time.
Traveling with a group of old and new friends.
Visit the Venice of the North
In Bruges, Belgium, take a private walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage historical city center. Discover the peaceful canals and winding, cobblestone alleyways that give the city such an alluring medieval essence. For history lovers, there’s the Church of Our Lady, the Market Square with its belfry, the Town Hall square with the Chapel of the Holy Blood, the Lake of Love and the Beguines cloister.
Walk Through a Flower Bouquet
Instead of simply offering your favorite person in the world a beautiful bouquet of flowers, walk them through Flora Holland, a flower auction that is comparable in size to the city of Monaco! A private driver and guided tour of the world’s largest flower auction can easily be arranged, mesmerizing both of you with the hustle and bustle of the traders and the gorgeous flowers in more than 30,000 varieties. You’ll view the excitement from a walkway above ground level, taking in the panoply of sound and color.
Savor a Market Meal
Sit for a spell and gush over what experience you’ve loved best so far at the Markthal in Rotterdam. This spectacular indoor food market offers fresh fish, warm bread, tender meat, countless cheeses, fresh vegetables and fruit, cappuccino, desserts and so much more. Take a guided tour, then sit down with your favorite items and soak up the atmosphere.
Hot chocolate served in a Delft porcelain cup.
Delve into Delft
Visit the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century, Royal Delft. Your guide will reveal the authentic Dutch history and craftsmanship that defines Royal Delft, established in 1653 and still producing according to centuries-old traditions.
Indulge in Chocolate
The chocolate tradition in Belgium dates back to the 17th century when the country was under Spanish rule and explorers brought back cocoa beans from South America. In 1884, a law was passed that mandates that Belgian chocolates must be produced with 35% cacao. In Ghent and Bruges, take a special tour to meet a master chocolatier and taste a variety of the country’s famous pralines, first sold by an apothecary-turned-candy-shop in 1912.
Ready to find out just how romantic Dutch and Belgian waterways can be? Let’s chat.
Cruising the Rhine River Gorge
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.
The Black Forest is an incredible magical place.
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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Sail through the City of Love on a river cruise in Paris … and beyond. As you glide into the city along the Seine, you’ll have a front-facing view of the iconic Eiffel Tower, greeting you as you arrive in one of the most romantic places on Earth. Playing a starring role in so many classic romances, as well as the muse for countless works of art by Monet, Van Gogh and Edouard Manet, Paris inspires couples to profess and celebrate their love. And yet it doesn’t stop there. The Seine extends to Les Andelys, with its imposing Chateau Gaillard, through Rouen and on to the beaches of Normandy, offering memorable moments for all tastes and style of travel.
Stroll through the meandering streets of Paris hand in hand, admiring the colorful Belle Epoque architecture and ducking into characterful cafes where hours pass by in the blink of an eye. Take an excursion to Monet’s Gardens or to the beautiful French village of Giverny. Or, venture to the Gardens d'Acquigny with its many bridges, canals and waterfalls, pretty little spots to steal a kiss. Today, as we did for the Danube River last week, we’ll look at some of the most romantic experiences one can have on one of the world’s most romantic rivers: the Seine.
Cross the Pont des Arts
This UNESCO-designated and world-renowned “love lock” pedestrian bridge crosses over the Seine River in central Paris. It was the first metal bridge to be built in the city and it connects the Quai de Conti at the Institut de France with the Quai des Tuileries, home to the Louvre.
Visit the Chateau d’Etelan
Fill up your picnic basket with baguettes, cheeses, olives, pâté, cornichons and wine before making your way to the first Italian Renaissance chateau to be built in France, back in 1494. The lovely grounds are an ideal place for a private picnic amidst the gardens. Be sure to see the wonderful chapel with its original wall paintings and the guard house that dates back to 1350.
Spend a Leisurely Day in Paris
Take your time exploring the city’s most famous sites, from the world-famous Sorbonne University in the charming Latin Quarter, to the 400-year-old Luxembourg Gardens. Wander song the Champs-Élysées with its sidewalk cafes and specialty shops, sure to woo you.
Explore La Roche-Guyon
If you’re in love with nature, sail through the Vexin Français Regional Nature Park to La Roche-Guyon. Or, tempt your palate with a calvados, cider and cheese tasting at a local farm in La Roche-Guyon. This region - the French Vexin - between Paris and Normandy, is a delightful natural space brimming with agricultural villages, orchards, meadows and woods. The views of the Seine Valley are breathtaking.
Go Back in Time in Rouen
Stroll through the atmospheric, medieval city of Rouen, imagining yourselves in an era long ago. This capital of Normandy boasts the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral (immortalized in numerous Claude Monet paintings) and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. The half-timbered, storybook architecture is adorable and romantic at once.
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Taking this photo was a highlight of my Danube River cruise.
Muse to countless composers and writers over the centuries, the Danube River is the heart of Central Europe - and it will surely capture your own. Alongside your favorite person in the world, you can sail these legendary waters through Germany, Austria, Hungary and more, soaking up medieval villages, hillside-clinging vineyards and elegant cities. Today, I take a peek at the most romantic things you can do along the Danube.
Take a Romantic Stroll in Budapest
Budapest is built up around the Danube, so taking a hand-in-hand stroll alongside this storied waterway is one of the most authentic local experiences you can have. Start on the Pest side of the city at the Hungarian Parliament, passing the famous Shoes on the Danube monument. Continue across the 1800s stone suspension bridge, the Chain Bridge, which will deliver you to the Buda side of the city. Explore Buda Castle and Castle Hill, where you’ll enjoy swoon-worthy views. If the walk back is too much, hope on Tram 2 that runs right along the Danube back to your starting point. Later, cozy up with your loved one over a glass of Hungarian Tokaj wine or herbal tea.
The Vigado Concert Hall, exploring Castle Hill and strolling along the river.
Visit Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic
This adorable mountain town is a favorite for those who wish for an intimate, off-the-beaten-path destination. Soak up the medieval atmosphere as you visit the 13th-century castle, marked by Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements. A peaceful history over more than five centuries has helped keep the architectural heritage of the town intact. Climb 162 steps to the Castle Tower, standing guard over the city in all its marbled pink glory. The views extend for miles, including the unique pattern of the Vltava River snaking through the city center.
Český Krumlov is an off-the-beaten-path destination
Take a carriage ride through Vienna
One of the most romantic ways to enjoy Vienna is via a horse-drawn carriage ride - and if you really want to up the ante, you can opt for a “riding diner,” during which you’re whisked through town with a glass of champagne in hand, passing majestic castles and famous landmarks, while enjoying a delightful meal. Whichever carriage ride option you choose, you’re sure to see the Hofburg (Imperial Palace), the Vienna State Opera, the Parliament building and Stephansdom (Saint Stephen’s Cathedral).
The Erzherzog Karl Equestrian Statue and horse-drawn carriages are just two of many things I saw in Vienna.
Explore Dürnstein, Austria
Toast to your loved one in Dürnstein in Austria’s Wachau Valley, a village of colorful riverside buildings and the ruins of a medieval castle. Learn about King Richard the Lionheart and his imprisonment in the castle, then go a bit more lighthearted and take a boat ride to one of the local beaches, while enjoying charcuterie and local Riesling. And don’t miss apricot anything - the Wachau area is known for its prized apricots and you’ll find apricot dumplings, strudel, brandy and more.
The ships dock right at the sidewalk. From there I walked into town and found this farmer pruning his apricot trees, along with a view of the castle where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned.
If you and your favorite travel companion are big history buffs, you’ll adore Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava. From the historic Old Town Hall to the Bratislava Castle (now home to the Museum of History), there is much to love. Visit the three-nave Gothic 15th-century church, site of countless coronations. Pop into the Primate’s Palace, a Classicist building from the 18th century that now houses an incredible collection of English tapestries from the 17th century. Later, wine and dine to your heart’s content on the Eurovea waterfront, a promenade, shopping center and theater square all in one.
Čumil and Schöner Náci are both landmark sculptures I found while strolling through Bratislava.
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Enjoying a welcome beer in Vilshofen
One of the perks of river cruising in Europe is the ability to walk right off the ship into a delightful town and feel immediately part of the fabric of the region. Daily life is taking place around you, shops and cafes have their doors wide open, and neighbors are out walking, talking and shopping. It’s exactly how you wanted your travel to be: authentic, spontaneous and immersive.
I had such a delightful experience in Vilshofen, Germany, on my Danube River voyage. On the final afternoon of our cruise, I was able to partake in an exclusive Oktoberfest celebration, I also had time to take an unscheduled stroll around town, soaking up the lively goings-on and visiting a beautiful park (where, in fact, I saw a piece of the Berlin Wall).
Here’s what I loved about spending my afternoon and evening in Vilshofen, about 14 miles upriver from Passau.
Sharing a beer with Kristin Karst, EVP of AmaWaterways, and Cesario, our wonderful cruise manager
Home of the Pilsner
More than 1,200 years old, the small town of Vilshofen is located about four blocks from the edge of the southern Bavarian Forest. The village was a key player in the creation of the pilsner brewing style. The Father of the Pils, Josef Groll, was born here, before moving to the town of Pils in Bohemia (which is now the Czech Republic). It was there that he brewed the world’s first pale lager, the Pilner Urquell.
Attending the German Oktoberfest celebration was the perfect way to end our cruise
An Exclusive Oktoberfest Celebration
As a river-cruise guest sailing on AmaWaterways in Vilshofen, you’ll be treated to your own special area for celebration. Passengers are invited to a private tent, bustling with live music, soft pretzels and, of course, free-flowing beer. Typically, you’ll be drinking Wolfstetter, which is a crisp pilsner brewed right in town. There’s a lively beer-hall ambiance with trays of beer served by lederhosen- and dirndl-wearing hosts.
An evening walk took me through the streets of Vilshofen
What Else to See
Believe it or not, there’s more to Vilshofen than Oktoberfest celebrations and great beer. This quaint town is centered around a small main shopping street, with a few cozy eateries. Overlooking town, a Benedictine abbey is the biggest sightseeing attraction. Take some time away from the celebrations by the river and make your way to the 1909 Schweiklberg Abbey, which towers over the city like a medieval fortress. Created by Bavarian Forest architect Michael Kurz, the abbey is Art Nouveau in style, with a touch of new-Baroque. The abbey continues to do mission work in Africa, South American and Korea and has an outstanding Africa museum on site, as well as a humanities library with more than 40,000 volumes.
Seeing this piece of the Berlin Wall was totally unexpected during my walk through the park.
Come Back for Christmas
Consider a Danube River cruise around the winter holidays. The village is home to one of Germany’s most memorable Christmas markets - a floating one. The market is housed in a Wurm & Köck river cruiser, featuring a huge Christmas tree all lit up with bright lights and baubles. Shop for handicrafts, mulled wine, toasted almonds and more, soaking up the festive holiday atmosphere as the lights reflect off the placid Danube. Stick around for music concerts, Christmas readings and the nativity play.
I can’t recommend enough the opportunity for an exclusive Oktoberfest visit to Vilshofen. I’d love to share my own experience with you and get your excited about your own upcoming trip. Let’s chat!
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen
What to See During Your Day in Rouen
Star of a 30-painting series by Claude Monet, the gorgeous, Gothic-style cathedral (also known as the Rouen Cathedral) was built starting in 1145, replacing an earlier, 11th-century Romanesque church. Construction was halted and delayed numerous times, due to fire and the French Religious Wars, continuing through the 19th century. Once it was adorned with its cast-iron spire in the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world, until 1880 with the construction of the Cologne Cathedral.
You may have seen Monet’s many paintings of the cathedral, which capture differences in light throughout the day, hanging at such esteemed museums at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, The Met in New York City, The Broad in Los Angeles, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, The National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade and The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Yet, nothing compares to the original.
Rue du Gros Horloge
Named for the “Great Clock” that you’ll see here - in operation since 1389, making it one of the oldest mechanisms in France! - this busy thoroughfare is lined with enticing shops, cafes and restaurants. The Gros Horloge itself is set in a Renaissance arch (where it has been since 1529) with the time, day of the week and phase of the moon depicted on both sides of the astronomical timepiece. The clock has inspired famous artists throughout the centuries, from author Victor Hugo to painted J.M.W. Turner.
Place du Vieux-Marché (Old Market Square)
A must-see historic spot to be sure, the Old Market Square is where Jean of Arc was burned alive on May 30, 1431. Look for the memorial - Le Bûcher by Jeanne d’Arc (“The Pyre of Joan of Arc”) - on the exact spot where this courageous French heroine, nicknamed the Maid of Orléans, was executed at the age of nineteen.
Notable for its flamboyant architecture and 80 stained-glass windows, the Abbatiale Saint-Ouen started life as a Benedictine abbey between the 14th and 16th century. While construction work started in 1318, it was interrupted by the Hundred Years War, and not completed until the 15th century.
Ready to visit Rouen on your Seine River cruise? I just know you’ll be delighted with this historic town’s character. Click the button below and let’s chat.
My personal photo of the front entrance to the Anne Frank House.
It's an easy 10 minute walk from Dam Square.
Visiting the Anne Frank House is a sobering, yet necessary, experience when visiting Amsterdam. The museum famously tells the history of the Frank family, who went into hiding in the building at Prinsengracht 263 on July 6, 1942. The family was later joined by the Van Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer.
Three years later, in June 1945, Otto Frank was the only one of the group to return from Auschwitz. The main home was opened as a museum 15 years later, while, at Otto’s request, the annex, which had hidden eight people, remained empty.
In the Diary Room, view the original red-checked diary Anne Frank received a month before her family went into hiding. In 1944, upon learning that the government would be collecting personal diaries after the war, she rewrote her entries. The end result was 215 loose-leaf pages, some of which you can see in the museum. View, also, Anne’s “Favourite Quotes Book,” and her “Tales Book,” full of her original short stories.
Be sure to visit the thought-provoking “Reflections on Anne Frank” exhibit, containing a film in which more than 20 writers, actors and people who knew Anne speak of her and what she meant to them.
For a young girl who wrote, “I want to go on living even after my death,” in an April 1944 diary entry, her impact on the world has been unmeasurable. In an unspeakably sad way, her ambition in life, to become a famous writer, has come true and it is by visiting this important museum and reflecting on her experience that we can honor a life cut much too short.
This simple plaque hangs by the front door.
For a more in-depth visit, consider a museum visit plus introductory program, during which the museum docents will guide you through the history of Anne Frank in the context of World War II.
Prior to your trip, I can help arrange your tickets to the Anne Frank House, accessible only with an online ticket for a certain time slot. The tickets are released two months in advance and on the day of. It is recommended that you plan and book well ahead of time for your visit.
Nearby Amsterdam attractions to consider during a day in the city are the Van Gogh Museum, the Royal Palace Amsterdam and beautiful Vondel Park. It’s easy to walk, or even bike, about the city, as well as take a canal cruise to soak it all in. Together, we can craft an itinerary that allows for plenty of time at the Anne Frank House, as well as Amsterdam’s other top sites and experiences. Click the button below to schedule a consult.
Delicious and perfectly prepared mulled wine
Christmas markets in Europe take the holiday traditions up a notch. With the scent of roasted chestnuts in the air, the sound of caroling in the background and the feel of the invigorating frosty air, it’s hard not to be smitten with this manner of winter celebration. Perhaps one of the most enchanting aspects? The chance to wander the craft stalls and ornament booths while sipping a small mug of delicious mulled wine.
Most Christmas market cruises in Europe will start and end in a major capital city. Typically, you’ll find several departures out of Budapest or Passau, while others sail from Nuremberg, Frankfurt, Prague, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam. Among the most popular stops are Vienna, Bratislava, Salzburg and Strasbourg, where the Christmas market tradition is still going strong.
Magical European Christmas Markets
Whichever itinerary fits into your schedule, you’ll be treated to centuries-old holiday markets, which were traditionally a way for local villagers to stock up on the supplies needed for the winter ahead. Today, amidst sparkling lights and a dusting of snow, visitors and locals alike peruse the stalls of holiday treats, toys, ornaments, handicrafts, hot food and, yes, lots of Glühwein. Nearly every public house in town will pour a delightful mulled wine to take the chill off. Translated to “glow wine,” this is exactly how you’ll feel after indulging in this seasonal treat. (In the Czech Republic, look for the Svařák stand).
Mulled wine in the process of being cooked to perfection
In anticipation of your Christmas market cruise in Europe, or perhaps to remind you of a wonderful cruise you already took, here’s how to make Glühwein at home (keep reading for a snack suggestions to go with your wine):
Traditional Mulled Wine
What to Snack on While Sipping Mulled Wine at a Christmas Market
When it comes to savory and sweet snacks, you won’t want for choice at a European Christmas market. Bring an appetite! My favorite bites while strolling the market are:
Mulled-wine recipe courtesy of https://www.thekitchn.com.
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An absolutely perfect hiking day in the Wachau Valley.
One of the many perks of river cruising in Europe - and reasons I love it so much - is the ability to slip in and out of towns that most tourists never see, or even hear of. Such is the case with the quaint village of Spitz, Austria, where I recently had the pleasure of taking a hike, followed by a delightful wine tasting.
Located in the heart of Austria’s Wachau Valley - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - this wine-country town has been nicknamed “the town of a thousand buckets.” There is a rounded hill at the center of Spitz and it has been said that due to the region’s prolific harvest, one could fill the hole with a thousand buckets’ worth of grapes. Whether or not that myth is true, it’s no matter - I was here to taste the fruits of the harvest, in a wine glass.
The views while hiking are incredible.
But first, a hike. We walked right into town from the ship, which in our case, was docked there alone, providing us with the most spectacular and unobstructed views. We walked through the Old Town and then up into the hillside vineyards (some other guests chose to bike through town and the rolling Wachau Valley). The town appears as if from the pages of a storybook, with everything impeccably cared for and clean.
The AmaMagna is double the width of a standard rivership. When it's docked in Spitz no
other ship can dock at the same time, which made my day/evening extra special.
Finally, it was time for our much-anticipated wine tasting at the Klosterhof Spitz. Greeted by musicians in traditional garb playing the accordion, we learned about the history of winegrowing and winemaking in Spitz. After an event of tasting a range of vintages local to the Wachau Valley, there was time left to tour the cellars on our own, which was a lovely experience.
We visited the wine cellars at our own pace, which meant I could wander completely alone.
The Wachau Valley is known for its Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners, both of which we sampled. Among the most notable wineries near Spitz are Hutter-Silberbichlerhof, whose winemaking can be traced back to 1748, and Sighardt Donabaum on Zornberg, one of the oldest parts of Spitz.
Should you have the chance to spend a day in Spitz, I cannot recommend a vineyard hike and wine tasting experience enough. Are you considering a cruise on the Danube? Schedule a consult by clicking the button below and we'll get started.