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Rhine Getaway with Viking River Cruises ~ Ports and Excursions

Choosing a Viking River Cruise from their enticing itineraries is like choosing the only chocolate you'll ever eat for the rest of your life. Dark chocolate or milk? Butter cream or caramel? Lyon & Provence, or Danube Waltz? Imperial Jewels of China, or Waterways of the Tsars in Russia? When Viking River Cruises invited me to sail with them, indeed I felt like a child in a chocolate factory asked to choose my favorite sweet. After much deliberation, my husband and I selected the Rhine Getaway, an eight-day cruise on the Rhine River. Oh, what a wonderful choice we made! Here's a round-up of my stories highlighting the best of each destination we visited during our epic romantic journey along the Rhine River.

Romantic Rhine Getaway with Viking River Cruises - A Round-Up of Ports and Excursions

Basel, Switzerland

Our Viking River Cruise set sail from Basel, Switzerland, home to 40 museums including one so tiny, we couldn't even step inside. Expect a beautiful Old Town, gorgeous Rhine River views and exquisite dining options.

Wisteria blooming in romantic Basel, Switzerland

Wisteria blooming in romantic Basel, Switzerland (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Germany's Black Forest

Land of cuckoo clocks, fruit elixirs, and its namesake hams and cakes — the Black Forest seems like a place dreamed up by the Brothers Grimm for their fairy tales. As with most Viking River Cruise excursions, the bus tour to the Black Forest was included in our cruise pricing. Read more about our experience in Exploring Germany’s Fabled Black Forest with Viking River Cruises.

Germany's Black Forest feels like a fairy tale

Germany's Black Forest feels like a fairy tale (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, France captured my heart and has kept me daydreaming of moving to this beautiful French town with a German accent ever since our visit. Discover what's so enchanting about this town in 5 Reasons You’ll Fall in Love with Strasbourg, France.

Strasbourg, France

Belle Strasbourg, France (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Heidelberg, Germany

Rich with history, Heidelberg is home to Germany’s oldest university, the ruins of a romantic Renaissance castle, and the world’s largest wine barrel. Read more in German Romance, Education and Debauchery in Heidelberg with Viking River Cruises.

Heidelberg Castle remains partially in ruin today - Germany's Heidelberg with Viking River Cruises

Heidelberg's famous castle (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany

Rudesheim am Rhein is the picture of a quaint German town, filled with charming wine garden restaurants as well as souvenir shops peddling adorable Christmas treasures. Learn more in Rudesheim am Rhein in Germany with Viking River Cruises – A Love Story.

Oom Pah Pah Band in Rudesheim am Rhein

Oom Pah Pah Band in Rudesheim am Rhein (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany

Marksburg Castle was the most fascinating castle I have ever visited, and I’ve visited quite a few. Our Viking River Cruises tour guide gave an intriguing glimpse into what life was like during the time of castles, kings, knights and princesses. Find out what made Marksburg so intriguing in this story, Marksburg Castle with Viking River Cruises.

Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany

Marksburg Castle in Braubach, Germany (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany is known for its gothic cathedral and its unique Kölsch beer. It’s also the birthplace of the world’s first eau de cologne and home to some of the best shopping in the country. Check out Fun and Tasty Things to Do in Cologne, Germany.

Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany

Cologne Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Kinderdijk, the Netherlands

If you want to get your traditional Dutch windmill fix, Kinderdijk is the place to be. Learn more about windmills in the Netherlands in Why Visit Windmills in Holland at Kinderdijk.

Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site in Holland, the Netherlands

Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site in Holland, the Netherlands (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, the Netherlands

Our Rhine Getaway concluded in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Rather than purchasing the Viking Post-Cruise Extension, we opted to explore on our own. We were lucky to sail during spring when the tulips are in full bloom at the renowned Keukenhof Gardens outside Amsterdam in Holland. This sprawling botanic garden is filled with every varietal of tulips you could imagine, and so much more.  Read more in  this post, Tiptoe Through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens Near Amsterdam.

Tiptoe through the Tulips at Keukenhof Gardens

Tiptoe through the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens (Photo credit: Keukenhof Holland)

Viking has recently expanded its delicious offerings to include ocean sailings in addition to their signature river cruises. With tantalizing itineraries, like Southern Mediterranean Discovery or West Indies Shores, choosing where to sail with Viking has become even more challenging. Thankfully, you don't need to choose just one chocolate, or one Viking Cruise, for the rest of your life. After looking back on the incredible memories made with Viking last year, I'm tempted to go book another sailing right now!

Do you have any questions about the Rhine Getaway, or about Viking Cruises in general? Let us know in the comments below!

Top photo credit: Viking Cruises.

A Note from The Travel Mama: Our cruise was hosted by Viking River Cruises. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.


  1. Ellen Lanin says:

    This beautiful photography said it all.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Does it make you want to go on another Viking River Cruise? Writing this story sure made me want to book another cruise ASAP!

  2. I would be interested in hearing your perspective on the food, included excursions, and the ‘crowd’ including the kid friendliness. Most river cruise reviews I have read have been by older cruisers…..

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      I’ve started writing another post all about Viking’s amenities to help readers decide if a Viking River Cruise is a good fit for them. (I’ll try to remember to post a link to it here after it goes live…it may be a while.) The food was very good for a cruise line, but not as good as a fine-dining restaurant, of course. They often provided local cuisine to match the destination of the day. Almost all excursions are included and although my husband and I balked at being part of a large tour group at first, we found them super interesting and informative. The headsets allowed us to wander off a bit and look at what we liked while still hearing the local guide’s presentation. Viking River Cruises are definitely not meant for children. Children under age 12 are not allowed and there are no offerings for kids. Viking is fabulous for a grown-up getaway, but if you’re looking for a family cruise – it’s not a good fit.

  3. Wow, I know I loved cruises for a reason! You simply get to relax and enjoy seeing the world! No accommodation plans, no worries that you’re going to miss the train or bus!

  4. As a cruise addict person would love to follow all your posts about cruises please keep me tuned.

  5. Thanks, Colleen for a great article. We are based in Germany and may end up doing the itinerary you suggested. We just moved to Europe from Asia and I am looking for good baby-friendly destinations. I wrote about them on the travel blog, babytravelstheworld.com. I have bookmarked your site and intend to keep coming back. Thanks again!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Hi Lachlyn – Congratulations on your move to Europe and your new travel blog! Keep in mind if you’d like to visit the destinations included in this story, you won’t be able to sail with Viking. Their cruise line is geared toward adults and only welcomes older kids aboard their river cruises. All of these destinations would be fun to visit on your own, though!

  6. Colleen, great post! We just took two viking cruises. They were good the Elegant Elbe and Russia. I would do the Elegant Elbe again but Russia was pretty touristy and the stops are made-up stops.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      David – Good to know about the Elbe and Russia cruises. I really do hope to set with Viking again someday!

  7. Colleen, which of the stops in Germany is closest to Wiesbaden?

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      From looking at a map of Germany, it looks like Marksburg Castle in Braubach is closest to Wiesbaden.

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