River cruising may just be the most authentic, inspiring way to see and experience the world today.
On the world’s rivers, travelers bend and wind through historic and dramatic landscapes reminiscent of impressionist paintings depicting vineyards, castles atop hilltops and medieval villages from the days of yore. And while river cruisers enjoy access to thriving cities like Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam and Prague byway of the world’s rivers, they also have the opportunity to step back into history and experience lesser-known towns and hidden landmarks time – and most travelers – have passed by.
Here are 4 off-the-beaten-path destinations and experiences found along Eastern Europe’s rivers.
Regensburg in Bavarian Germany is a stunningly well-preserved medieval town largely unblemished by the destruction of World War II, a true joy to wander and meander through at any time of day. Once occupied by the Roman Empire, remnants of their rule can still be seen throughout the city, especially at the Roman wall and arch, the Porta Praetoria. Walking through the streets of Regensburg is like strolling along its timeline, as you move from its Roman occupation to the medieval period with stately cathedrals and sturdy old stone bridges.
Any castle fanatics will adore the Bavarian town of Roth. The Schloss Ratibor castle was built by the Margraves of Brandenburg-Ansbach as a hunting lodge in the mid-16th century. The castle demonstrates varying architectural styles, including German Renaissance, Baroque, Venetian, and Louis XVI. Visitors can explore the castle’s museum or library, or sit down for a meal in the restaurant.
The Southern Bohemian town of Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic is another favorite for castle lovers, especially any enthusiast of the Baroque architectural style. The Český Krumlov Castle is the second largest in the Czech Republic with beautiful gardens and tours of its opulent interior. If you have read the Grimm Brothers’ fairytales, you have already been to Český Krumlov in your childhood dreams. Time has stopped in this town where colorful buildings stand tall, cobblestone streets are small and crooked, and the bridges exude an ambiance most romantic.
Vinos rejoice in the winemaking region of Rüdesheim along the Rhine river in Germany. Here in the Rheingau region, visitors can take “walk and taste” tours of different wineries, or a “winetalk” experience for those eager to learn more about the winemaking process. Wine is an important part of the culture here, and you’ll find stands in the markets as well as experiences with cruising companies for wine tasting right on the river.
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