Where stories begin
Enjoy a marvellous voyage that takes in the very best of the majestic, sweeping Rhine, with its fairy-tale castles, picturesque towns and vineyard-backed villages.
Beginning as a trickle from Lake Toma high in the Swiss Alps, it’s not long before the mighty Rhine begins to shape the map of Europe, forming the western border of Liechtenstein – just one of six modern-day national borders that trace this important river’s banks.
Reaching Basel, the Rhine’s waters calm and flow from mountainous Switzerland, towards the vibrant Alsace city of Strasbourg - splitting France from Germany as it goes. Leaving the French border, the Rhine passes close to fairy-tale Heidelberg and flows through Baroque Mannheim, towards Mainz, a city steeped in history and first settled by the Holy Roman Empire as far back as the first century BC.
Continuing through Germany, the Rhine flows through the mesmerising Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and through the classic Middle Rhine of picture-book wine-villages, vineyards and ancient castles, before passing the prosperous city of Cologne with its twin-spired cathedral, and lively, chic Dusseldorf.
At the Dutch border, the Rhine splits into various distributaries and helps to form the enormous delta that shapes Netherlands’ landscape – and helps create the famous Dutch waterways. From here, the river’s course is harder to discern, though this is of no odds to those contentedly exploring the windmill-dotted Dutch landscape, en route to maritime Rotterdam or colourful Amsterdam.