Please sign in to post.

Main River Cruise . . .Welcome Site-Seeing Suggestions

Got a great flight ($300 RT LAX-Nuremberg) to make this week-long Viking cruise happen. The trip is this week, Dec. 28-Jan. 3. We're not sure if we'll be participating in the included cruise-line excursions. Like to know recommendations from all the sage contributors on what to see and do. Our main interests include: 1) Historical sites, whatever the time period; 2) Synagogues and churches; 3) Classical music; 4) Art (non-modern). Of course, it doesn't have to be just for those topics . . . heck, some of our best travel memories are those experiences that are outside are normal areas of interest.

Here's the cities we'll be in:
Nuremberg (spent about 6 hours there in 2009, checking out the old town and Documentation Center)
Bamberg
Worzburg
Rothenburg (spent a day & night there a few years back)
Wertheim
Heidelberg
Frankfurt

Thanks!
Tim

Posted by
4955 posts

To each his own. Having been on two Viking trips (Russia and China), I'm puzzled why you are taking this trip if you're not interested in "leaving the touring" to them. All I mean is that it's cheaper to travel independently on land for these destinations. We use cruises and river cruises only when the transportation is especially appropriate. (For example, Tahiti, Mediterranean Islands, etc.) Was the Viking fare also drastically discounted? Aren't they pushing Christmas Markets?

The good news is that when you miss the boat because you went off on your own and the cab couldn't get back to the dock in time, it won't be that hard or expensive to meet up with the ship in the next port!

I'm not making this up. In Russia, our ship had to shift docks, to the other side of the river, during an overnight. Because we booked a private outing with the assistance of the Tour Leader, the cabdriver had a phone number to find out where to take us after the opera.

I also wonder if you'll be regarded as odd by the other travellers. But you'll never see them again.

Posted by
12040 posts

Hmm, I'm surprised a Main river cruise isn't stopping in Miltenberg. That's a very scenic town just up-river from Frankfurt, where the Main runs through a steep valley, not dissimilar to the more well known Mittelrhein.

I'll just mention that if you're in Heidelberg, and you have any interest in Third Reich history and if you can tolerate a steep uphill hike, check out the Thingstätte near the top of the Heiligenberg (the mountain on the other side of the river from the Scloss). It's a sort of outdoor ampitheater designed to hold Nazi rallies and it survived the war completely intact, other than removal of the Nazi symbols.

Posted by
234 posts

Tom, thanks for that nugget! After checking out the thingplatz in Heidelberg on the Net, this is a site we'll be going to.

Tim,
I'm just looking for other options than what the cruise line excursion offers. If a particular excursion doesn't interest us, I want the info of what else to see so that we can go off on our own. And I agree, this is a MUCH more expensive means of seeing Europe . . . probably the only time we'll take a river cruise.

Posted by
234 posts

The airfare was thru Viking. Flying Swissair LAX to Zurich, then Nuremberg. Trip back is non-stop Frankfurt to LAX o Luftansa. Transportation from the airport to the ship and ship to airport is included. The $300 fare and the cheapest room on the ship becoming available made this trip work for us.

Posted by
791 posts

I have some familiarity with a few of those places (lived in Wurzburg and Heidelberg for a couple years each) so I'll give you my thoughts. Start with Wurzburg, I've always thought it is one of the better kept secrets in Germany, if not all of Europe. It is not big so can be explored in a day but is loaded with interesting and beautiful things and places to see. The Marienburg Fortress and the Residenz are two of my favorite places I've seen in all of Europe but the city itself is just enjoyable to walk around in.

To be honest, I was not very impressed by Bamberg which I know puts me in the minority. Nothing wrong with it, it's nice enough, I just wasn't blown away. I do like rauchbier though, goes great with the local meat dishes.

Despite the tourist hoards, I think Rothenburg is worth a visit - the highlight for me is the kriminalmuseum which gives a fascinating look at crime and punishment in the middle ages.

Heidelberg is a special place but go beyond the Hauptstrasse. As Tom said, go to the Heiligenburg, the small mountain across the river. First go up on the Philosophenweg (there is a path directly across the street from the Old Bridge) for the most incredible views of the Altstadt (old town). I'm surprised at how many people miss this, it's the highlight of any trip to Heidelberg. There is also an old (1600's?) ink sketch of what the city looked like at its heyday before Napolean destroyed the castle. From there hike up to the Thingstatte that Tom described, it's interesting but then continue on a little further back behind the Thingstatte and there is a really interesting find - the ruins of a middle aged monastery. As you go to each section, there is a little sign explaining what the room you're standing in used to be used for. There's also the grave of one of the monks that's about 1,000 years old. I think the monastery is called St Michaels? Tom can probably help me out with the name. It's really cool to see though. If you want a restaurant recommendation for Heidelberg, you could do a lot worse than the Roten Oxen (Red Ox) for really good German food and ambiance. That was our favorite place when we lived there.

Have fun!

Posted by
12040 posts

"I think the monastery is called St Michaels?" That's it. St. Michaels is at the top of the mountain, and the Thingstätte sits just below. And if all that hiking made you hungry, there's a small restaurant/Biergarten located about 50 m from the Thingstätte. And if you really want to see some old history, walk along the trails east from the Thingstätte, and you'll see the remains of a Celtic fortress. But little more than rubble survives.

Posted by
234 posts

Thanks for the tips, guys. I'll let you know how it went.

Tim

Posted by
1615 posts

Is this your first Viking cruise? We've done 1 RS tour (#2 this year) and 1 Viking. While we prefer the RS style, I was impressed with the Viking tours. They split the groups into smaller unit with good quality head sets and use local guides. We had some really good guides and one stinker. We were reluctant to spring for tours that were add ons ($), but in hindsight wish we 'd done them all - they were creative and well-done.