Making its way from the Swiss Alps, through Switzerland, the Netherlands, France and Germany, the Rhine is one of the longest rivers in central Europe. It connects several different countries, and therefore has a rich, multicultural history featuring a melange of backgrounds and traditions. From the Roman Empire to international trading routes and the Second World War, the Rhine has seen and taken part in a huge chunk of human history. This makes it, and the places along the bank, a fascinating place to visit. If you’re planning on visiting the Rhine area (we recommend taking a river cruise to get the best experience of the route), read on to find out the best places to stop off en route.
A trading city in Switzerland, Basel is located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet. The Rhine forms a huge part of life in Basel, contributing to quality of life, culture, recreation and even architecture to the city’s residents and tourists alike.
During the summer, Basel’s inhabitants flock to the banks of the river to sunbathe, to promenade and to relax. Get changed in one of two Jugendstil bathing houses and go for a swim in the Rhine, too.
For a great view of the city, head to the Basel Munster and climb the tower – you can see for miles.
One of the largest ports on the Rhine, Strasbourg is an important city in many ways. With the Council of Rule, the Eurocorps, and the European Parliament amongst other European institutions held here, Strasbourg also has a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site for a city centre. The Grande Ile is an island on the river Ill, and is home to the world’s fourth tallest church, Strasbourg Cathedral. Get up close and see if you can spot any 18th and 19th century graffiti. If you can, get a boat and experience the Grand Ile this way.
A German city with a fascinating history, Worms is said to be the birthplace of Protestantism. It was here that Martin Luther was summoned before Emperor Charles V, at the Diet of Worms in 1521. He refused to recant his beliefs and was declared an outlaw. Today there is a monument to Martin Luther in the city centre.
Known for its Romanesque architecture, take a walking tour to truly appreciate the best bits of the city. The cathedral, amongst other churches in Worms, is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture in Germany, and all are well worth a visit.
The city regularly vies for the title of Germany’s oldest city with Trier and Cologne.