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Düsseldorf river cruises

14th August 2012 • Posted in Where2 Magazine

Düsseldorf isn’t just a major centre of business and industry, music and the arts – with some great shopping – it’s also an embarkation point for some wonderful short trips and longer cruises up and down the often spectacular River Rhine. Fly there with Jet2.com from Leeds Bradford and you can enjoy an excursion on one of the most famous rivers in Europe.

Dusseldorf River Cruise

The Rhine (Rhein) flows through seven countries from Switzerland to Holland and through some of the most interesting and in some places most beautiful scenery imaginable. For many visitors, a riverboat trip is a holiday highlight. City tours by boat can be good fun too. Between spring and autumn you’ll find frequent one- and two-hour round-trips from Düsseldorf’s picturesque and pub-packed Old Town or Altstadt to the spectacular new Media Harbour (Medienhafen), a vibrant hub for TV, radio and other media companies, fashion and design businesses, topped by the huge Rhine TV Tower. You’ll see Frank Gehry’s extraordinary curvy buildings and SMC Alsop’s 17-storey, coloured glass Colorium – a riverboat trip is by far the best way to see the remarkable cityscape. If you’re here in the second week of May expect boats packed with tourists as the city hosts the 2011 Eurovision Song Contest – four days of cool kitschness as Europe’s finalists battle it out...

The main Rhine cruise operator in Düsseldorf, KD (Köln-Düsseldorfer), also offers day sightseeing trips to Cologne (Köln), renowned for its painstakingly rebuilt Old Town and fabulous zoo. In high season you can take a riverboat from there all the way to 2000-year old Koblenz, an enchantingly regal city of fortified walls, castles and palaces. Visit Koblenz in summer and you might be lucky enough to see the stunning Rhein in Flammen (literally: the Rhine in Flames) firework display.

From Koblenz you can embark on a dream trip along the stunning Middle Rhine (Mittelrhein) between Koblenz and Bingen. Known as the “Romantic Rhine”, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of more than 40 medieval castles and fortresses and countless pretty country villages surrounded by vineyards. Cruising upstream from Koblenz, look out for the beautifully preserved Marksburg Castle near Braubach and later the ruins of massive Rheinfels Castle near St Goar. The river meanders on further through some magnificent scenery and past the legendary 132-metre high Lorelei Rock, named after a siren believed to sing to lure sailors to their death in the swirling currents beneath. Just before you reach Bingen you’ll come across picturesque Rüdesheim, famous for its summer wine festival and coronation of the Weinkönigin (Wine Queen) and her princesses. This is the perfect stop-off point for a stroll and a taste of local wine in a typical Weinstube. Final stop Bingen has its famous Mouse Tower (Mäuseturm) in which, legend has it, wicked Hatto II, Archbishop of Mainz was eaten alive…

River trips can last anything from an hour or so to several days – from a highlight to a whole holiday! If short of time but keen to see as much as possible, you could take a train one way (e.g. Cologne to Bonn, Koblenz or Bingen), returning by river, keeping in mind that cruising upstream (Rheinaufwärts ) takes longer than downstream (Rheinabwärts). There are so many choices that planning a riverboat trip from Düsseldorf can be almost as exciting as taking it..!

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