This will be my first trip to Europe, as well as first river cruise. I have been reading Rick's books.....trying to be sure I spend time wisely while in small towns along the cruise. I hope to try local cuisine, cafes....those of you that have taken this trip, or traveled along these rivers...what are do not miss things to see, food/drink to try....welcome your suggestions. We have 4 days in Lucerne; then on to Basel, traveling thru Germany, Strasbourg, FR, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, ending in Antwerp, Belgium. Can't wait!!!!
Hello Connie. I recommend : travel in railroad trains to the places in Europe that you desire to go to. The boat ride on the Rhine river in southern Germany is not scenic. Ride on a K-D ship on the Rhine River, from Bingen to St. Goar. And if you have time for it, go in the castle Marksburg at Braubach (at the Rhine River, a short distance east of Koblenz). The train ride from Koblenz to Amsterdam is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes.
Please clarify... have you booked a cruise from Basel on northwards, or are you looking to ride the river piecemeal on day cruises? If the latter, I agree with Ron. The Rhine between Basel and Mainz could be any other river in the industrialized world, although some of the cities, particularly Speyer, along this stretch are nice. Minus a short ugly industrial strip north of Koblenz, the really scenic stretch of the river extends from around the Mainz-Wiesbaden area north to Bonn. North of Bonn, it's just a wide industrial river again.
This looks like a Grand Circle itinerary. Are you planning on taking any of the optional tours? Do you have any particular interests (beer, churches, photography, etc.)? Generally speaking, food and drink will be similar throughout your trip through Germany. Your tour handbook gives you some sightseeing suggestions, and food recommendations; they are probably very similar to any guidebook's. I haven't traveled through the Mosel Valley by river yet, so I can't help you with any personal recommendations not already in your guidebook; sorry.
Yes, I am taking a Grand Circle cruise. We have time in Basel, Strasbourg, Baden Baden, Speyer, Boppard, Koblenz, Bernkastel, Trier, Zell (or Luxembourg), Bonn (I plan to take train in afternoon to Koln to see Cathedral), Nijmegen, Kinderdijk, Willenstad and Antwerp. I hope to spend free time in each town/city....looking for suggestions, and do not miss ideas. I would also plan to eat off ship while in port, so want to try local cuisine. Thanks for any suggestions.
You are going to a lot of pretty places! The Mosel is one of my favorite areas in Germany. In Trier, the throne room and the Roman baths are very worth the time if you are interested in that type of thing. I was impressed by the Koln cathedral. I Lucerne, for some reason I really like the Lion monument if you have a chance to visit it. I can't recommend any specific places to eat, but in most of these places you will find plenty of restaurants serving local cuisine with menus posted outside. I always have good luck just finding places on my own by checking the menus.
Here's a few suggestions for some of the towns. Obviously, in Strasbourg, the cathedral is the focus, but it's also a good city for just wandering. Ditto Speyer. It's main cathedral is a bit spartan on the inside, but still a very impressive (not to mention, absolutely gigantic structure). If you have kids in your party, Speyer also has a good industrial and technology museum and a well-regarded specialty. For a regional specialty, look for a restaurant that serves Saumagen. I've seen it described as "German haggis", but it tastes completely different from it's nastier Scottish cousin. Nijmegen is mostly a modern city, not sure why a cruise would specifically stop there. Kinderdijk is pretty much as advertised and nothing more- a large cluster of windmills. Still worth seeing, though. I think Antwerp's two most impressive sites are the Grote Markt (in my opinion, even more impressive than Brussels' better known Grand Place) and it's towering late Gothic cathedral. Of course, when in Belgium, go for the fries and don't be afraid to try some of the deep-fried mystery meats they serve with them. My favorite sauce for fries is pindasaus (a peanut-satay), but this isn't that commonly available in Belgium. I also like andolousesaus and BBQ sauce (same name but otherwise bears no similarity to it's US counterpart).