Planning an international trip? Consider Germany and the Rhine. The Rhine is to Germany what an artery is to a heart – a vital passageway for transporting essential and life-providing goods. It’s been an important waterway since ancient times, as evidenced by the numerous Roman forts and castles that dot its banks, and is just as important for modern Germany today. It’s for this reason that you’ll encounter countless small towns, quiet villages and thriving cities as you navigate its currents either north or south. It’s a must-see if you’re visiting Germany! So, which cities are the most worthwhile to see?
Straddling the Rhine River, Düsseldorf is the capital city of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and is one of the biggest cities in Germany. It’s a metropolis famous for its massive trade fairs and extravagant fashion shows, as well as its academy of fine arts and the huge influence that it has had on the electronic music genre. It’s ideal for anyone who wishes to see the meeting of ancient origins with a modern city facade. Those with a penchant for World War II history could find troves of interesting anecdotes, museums, and stories to keep them occupied for hours. If you plan on staying a few nights in a hotel, finding a great place directly in the city center is simple enough, after which you can easily get back on the boat and head further north.
One of the largest cities in Germany and certainly the largest city on the Rhine, Cologne is ancient, having been around for more than 2,000 years. It’s the region’s cultural hub and is home to the Cologne Cathedral, an exceptional landmark of Gothic architecture directly in the center of the city. The city is famous for its regional beer, which is served in 200ml glasses and continuously topped up unless you specifically state to the barkeep that you’d like to take a break! It’s also host to the Cologne Carnival, a huge celebration that draws locals and tourists alike and sees them dressing up in deliciously kitsch costumes and celebrating constantly for about a week, starting November 11.
For less of a big-city vibe, consider stopping at Bacharach. It’s full of timber-framed houses and beautiful churches, some of which are almost 700 years old. There are also various castles in the area, making this a popular stop for tourists who are looking for an authentic medieval small-town German experience. This is truly one place to get a real German experience in terms of the food, drink, and culture, and is genuinely one of the most peaceful areas of Germany.