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Germany River Cruises

Germany is a country rich in both waterways and heritage and a river cruise is a perfect way to experience both and something which makes for a truly memorable holiday. Indeed, the country is one of the most popular with river cruisers and with good reason. It’s home to one of the world’s most famous and scenic rivers, the Rhine, which acts as the perfect showcase for some of Germany’s most noted areas of natural beauty along the Rhine Valley.

The Main is possibly the Rhine’s most well-known tributary and lies entirely in Germany, meaning it’s a great way to explore the country’s history. It delivers an authentic taste of the Europe of old, a voyage through the Bavarian heartland and the chance to explore some truly memorable towns and cities. Another Rhine tributary is the Moselle, which offers the perfect laid-back German river cruise experience and is a must for wine-lovers, passing as it goes through one of the country’s celebrated wine-growing regions. The Elbe is one of Europe’s major rivers and the perfect way to see what Eastern Germany has to offer, including the beautiful region of Saxony and the chance to explore the country’s historic capital, Berlin.

Germany Ports

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Andernach

Due to its location directly on the left bank of the Rhine River, Andernach frequently appears in itineraries which explore this world-famous waterway. Depending on the particular sailing and the cruise line which offers it, ...

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Bad Schandau

A number of cruises which explore the river Elbe visit the picturesque spa town of Bad Schandau, a port within the country’s beautiful Saxon Switzerland region which lies on the edge of the ...

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Bamberg

The medieval city of Bamberg is situated on the Regnitz River, which flows into the larger Main River less than two miles away. The city is located around 40 miles north of Nuremberg and 60 miles east ...

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Berlin

Though it doesn’t sit on the banks of the River Elbe, Germany’s capital is an obvious starting point for Elbe River cruises, being one of Europe’s most important cities ...

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Bernkastel

Bernkastel can be found along the banks of the Moselle River, in West Germany. It sits opposite another popular river cruise port, Cochem, meaning the two are often explored one after the other on many ...

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Bonn

Sitting on the banks of the iconic Rhine River, Bonn is a popular river cruise destination with a long history which extends further back beyond the time the city spent as the capital of West ...

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Breisach

Breisach lies on the Rhine River in the Upper Rhine Valley and is situated between the cities of Strasbourg in Germany and Basel in Switzerland and is a popular port of call on many voyages ...

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Cochem

Though it is located in the Rhineland-Palatinate of Germany, picturesque Cochem can actually be found on the Moselle River, on the opposite bank to the port of BernKastel. It is a popular port of call ...

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Cologne

As one of Germany’s largest and most historic cities, Cologne is also one of the country’s busiest tourist destinations, not least with river cruisers. Cologne sits on both banks of the ...

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Dessau

The East-German city of Dessau is situated to the south west of Berlin, roughly equidistant from Magdeburg and Leipzig. It lies on the banks of the Elbe River where it meets the Mulde River and ...

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Dresden

Sitting on the banks of The Elbe River, Dresden will be forever remembered for its near-destruction during the Second World War. Since then however, it has been almost completely rebuilt and continues also ...

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Dusseldorf

In many ways the modern face of Germany, Dusseldorf has plenty of historic charm to offer too; a contrast which makes it a particularly satisfying port to explore when you’re on a Rhine River ...

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Frankfurt

Situated on the Main River in the state of Hesse, Frankfurt is Germany’s fifth largest city and a river cruise along the Main will often involve a stop there, because there’s so much ...

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Heidelberg

Heidelberg is located in South-west Germany on the banks of the Neckar River, which is a tributary of the Rhine River. Many Rhine cruises include a stop at the port of Speyer and it is ...

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Koblenz

Koblenz sits at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers in south-western Germany, halfway between Frankfurt and Cologne. It is famous for its distinctive tree-lined Deutches Eck, or German Corner, which is the pointed ...

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Magdeburg

Magdeburg sits by the banks of the River Elbe in central Germany, halfway between Hanover and Berlin. This location makes it a significant centre for trade and industry, and a notable contributor in the Central ...

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Mainz

Sitting at the confluence of the Rhine and Main rivers, Mainz is an attractive and pleasant German city with a history dating all the way back to Roman times. It was this key location that ...

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Meissen

Meissen stands on both banks of the River Elbe in Eastern Germany, 16 miles northwest of Dresden and about 60 miles east of Leipzig. Famed for the discovery of porcelain in Europe, and for the first factory ...

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Nuremberg

The second largest city in Bavaria, Nuremberg can be experienced by booking any river cruise itinerary which explores the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. As well as cruises dedicated solely to the canal, some longer cruises exploring a ...

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Passau

Passau’s alternative moniker as The City of Three Rivers makes it a natural destination for a river cruise and it’s so-named because it’s the place where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers ...

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Regensburg

Founded by the Romans in 179AD and one of the oldest towns in Germany, Regensburg is a mainstay of many cruise lines’ Danube voyages and lies in one of the northernmost points of the river. ...

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Rüdesheim

Rüdesheim lies at the southern end of the Rhine Valley within the German state of Hesse and is situated at the foot of the impressive Niederwald monument on the east bank ...

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Speyer

Speyer lies within the Rhineland-Palatinate region located in south western Germany. The city resides on the banks of the Rhine River as it converges with the mouth of the Speyer River, south of Ludwigshafen. Speyer ...

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Torgau

Torgau is the capital of the Nordsachsen district in the Saxony region of Germany and is located on the banks of the River Elbe in north western Saxony. It will probably always be best known  ...

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Trier

The city of Trier is situated in the Rhineland-Palatinate region of western Germany and lies on the banks of the river Moselle near to Germany’s border with Luxembourg. Trier has a particularly long ...

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Würzburg

Würzburg is situated within the Franconia region of northern Bavaria in Germany, on the banks of the Main River and is equidistant between Frankfurt and Nuremberg. Founded in the 10th century,  ...

Rivers flowing through Germany

The Rhine 

At over 760 miles long, the Rhine is one of Europe’s key rivers, winding its way through numerous countries and their history. It begins its journey high in the Swiss Alps and continues across Germany before ending it in the Netherlands. German river cruises are a great way to explore the river’s most picturesque area – the beautiful Upper Middle Rhine Valley which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. German Rhine river cruise highlights include one of the country’s most famous cities, Cologne. A city tour excursion will reveal numerous architectural treasures, most notably one of the world’s largest and most beautiful cathedrals, The Dom. The Rhine offers a great way to see some of Germany’s most splendid castles and a stop at Koblenz, where this majestic river meets the Moselle, gives you the chance to explore one of the finest, the 700-year old Marksburg Castle. Rudesheim delivers plenty of picturesque village charm and lies at the heart of the country’s Rheingau wine region, while Heidelberg is another popular port and home to the oldest university in Germany. The country’s Black Forest is one of its national treasures and Breisach marks many Rhine river cruises’ entrance into this truly majestic region. Some itineraries also offer a taste of France with a stop at Strasbourg, the official seat of the European Parliament.

The Main 

A tributary of the Rhine, the Main has formed part of Europe’s largest continuous waterway since 1992, when the completion of the Main-Danube Canal connected it with the Danube. A number of longer European river cruise itineraries explore the entire length of this 2,200-mile waterway, but the Main itself boasts a number of memorable sights and offers a fascinating journey through Germany’s history. Frankfurt marks the start of many Main river cruises and it’s a place where old and new sit side by side, a fact which is best evidenced by scaling Main Tower to take it all in. Don’t miss the historic city hall and the beautiful botanical gardens. Wurzburg and Rothenburg both offer a taste of northern Bavaria, the former being home to the Baroque Bishop’s Residence and the latter offering a rich medieval heritage and some splendid architecture.

The Main-Danube Canal 

While there’s no doubt that trade benefitted from the completion of the Main-Danube canal, it also meant that future river cruisers would be able to explore even more of Germany by the river. Bamberg marks the point where it begins and is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its wealth of historic buildings, one of the most notable being the city hall, built on a small island in the river and connected to both shores by a bridge. Nuremberg is cemented into German history thanks to it being the location of the infamous trials of the same name which followed the Second World War. You can explore this part of the city’s past with a visit to the Palace of Justice and Nazi Rally Grounds, but Nuremberg’s a city with a history which dates back much further and has a wealth of historic buildings to experience, such as Nuremberg Castle and the beautiful St Lorenz Church.

The Moselle 

The Moselle is one of the Rhine’s tributaries and after beginning its journey in France, it flows through Luxembourg and into Germany. A Moselle cruise offers an idyllic river cruise experience and the chance to drink in one of Germany’s numerous wine-growing regions . Many Moselle cruises begin in Trier, the oldest city in Germany. One key relic from its past is the Black Gate, the only remaining part of this city’s ancient Roman walls. Bernkastel is situated in the beautiful Moselle Valley and as well as taking in the gorgeous scenery as you approach, you’ll be able to disembark and explore this quaint town at your leisure. Being that the town is situated in one of Germany’s key wine-growing regions, a number of river cruise lines also offer wine-tasting excursions from here. Cochem’s celebrated castle offers some fabulous views of this beautiful region as well as a fascinating tour, while Koblenz marks the point where the Moselle joins the Rhine. Indeed, you can visit Deutsches Eck, the symbolic meeting point of these two rivers during your time in Koblenz.

The Elbe 

The perfect way to experience eastern Germany, an Elbe river voyage offers you the chance to see the country’s capital too, because although it doesn’t sit on the Elbe, Berlin acts as the point of transfer either at the start or at the end of your voyage. As well as the famous Reichstag, you can visit the Berlin Wall memorial and a wealth of museums. Magdeburg is the port where many Elbe cruises begin, while Dessau offers the chance to explore Worlitz Park, the first landscaped garden in Germany, complete with English-style country home. Wittenburg is where you’ll be able to explore the past of one of the region’s most famous historical figures, Martin Luther. Dresden is another jewel in Germany’s historic crown and indeed, it’s home to the celebrated Green Vault, where many of the treasures and relics of Saxon monarchs-past are housed. Before the Elbe crosses into Eastern Europe it passes through the beautiful Saxon Switzerland region, where breathtaking rock formations and enchanting spa towns ensure a truly memorable cruise.

Germany river cruise travel tips

  • The currency in Germany is the Euro
  • Expect a climate similar to that of the UK, though eastern Germany can get particularly cold in the winter and very warm in the summer
  • You can expect to meet English-speakers in larger cities or smaller towns with a particular concentration of tourists

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