How to Spend 3 Days at the Rhine River
With vineyards and castles, medieval towns and buzzing cities, the Rhine region is home to some of Germany’s most spectacular and in-demand scenery. Three days is enough time to wend your way down the river (moving south to north, as the river flows) and enjoy sightseeing excursions as you go. Here’s how to enjoy three days in the area.
Day 1: Sightseeing in the Upper Rhine
Famed for its medieval town squares and half-timbered buildings, the charming city of Mainz (which is just a quick trip from Frankfurt) is a wonderful introduction to the Rhine region’s unspoiled beauty. Begin the first day of your trip getting to know this Upper Rhine hub with a walking tour focused on the city’s history; in the space of just a few hours, you can explore the Mainz Cathedral, the historic marketplace, the Mainz Citadel, and other popular sights.
Once you have your bearings, venture beyond the city limits for a wine tasting tour of one of the world’s most celebrated riesling-producing regions. At day’s end, set off on an evening cruise along the river, or sample local specialties at one of the city’s traditional restaurants.
Day 2: Adventures in the Middle Rhine
Flowing through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, the Middle Rhine—particularly the UNESCO-listed 40-mile (65-kilometer) segment that wends its way from Bingen to Koblenz—is best known for its views of extraordinary castles. Spend a tranquil day aboard a sightseeing cruise to soak up the region’s regal ambiance. As you follow the river on its northward journey, you’ll spy remarkable landmarks like the Stolzenfels Castle, as well as sights like the Lorelei Rock. Upon arrival in Koblenz, tour the city’s historical center and visit the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress before winding down with a glass of the region’s traditional ice wine.
Day 3: Exploring the Lower Rhine
Trade bucolic scenery for urban buzz, and dedicate your final day to exploring the Lower Rhine’s major cities. Start your adventures in lively Cologne: go for a walking tour to see the city’s cathedral and other highlights, or kick back and relax on a sightseeing river cruise. For lunch, enjoy an authentic pairing of kölsch—the city’s native beer—and schnitzel.
In the afternoon, make a quick trip to Düsseldorf. With its old-meets-new architecture, cutting-edge museums, and pretty riverfront promenade, the city is emblematic of dynamic, modern Germany. Start with a sightseeing crawl in the scenic Old Town (Altstadt) before venturing to a biergarten in the evening to try the city’s traditional altbier along with hearty local fare.