Culturally and historically one of the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine flows 865 miles (1,390 km) from the snow capped Swiss Alps, through the heart of Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea. Located at the pinnacle where Switzerland, France, and Germany meet, Basel in Switzerland is the first point of contact on the navigable portion of the Rhine River. With world-famous choirs, museums and theaters, Basel is one of the most important cultural centers in Central Europe.
Meandering past picturesque wine-growing countryside, the Rhine is considered to be one of the most romantic rivers in the world. With spectacular landscapes of medieval castles, quaint villages, historic towns like Koblenz and Strasbourg and modern cities such as Cologne and Dusseldorf. Strasbourg, the capital of the Alsace region, is influenced by the culture of both Germany and France. Admire the cobblestone streets, medieval architecture and winding canals of La Petite France in the heart of Strasbourg's Old Town and enjoy the delicious wines. The charming little town of Rüdesheim is a fine example of a Rhine Valley wine town, and downstream is the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the most breath-taking stretch of river, dotted with castles, vineyards and fortresses.
The old imperial city of Speyer has a Romanesque cathedral with six imposing towers and the largest crypt in Germany. Mainz, situated on the left bank of the Rhine, opposite the mouth of the Main River, has fascinating shops, tea rooms, and restaurants. The Rhine is ideal for a relaxing river cruise and suits romantics, wine lovers, food enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates beautiful scenery. People return time and time again to soak up the sights of the Rhine.