Excursion Appeltern Gardens

  • Appeltern Gardens
  • Appeltern Gardens
Appeltern GardensAppeltern Gardens

Visit Appeltern Gardens and admire over 200 stunning model gardens on a Dutch waterways cruise with The River Cruise Line. Covering 23 hectares in the heart of the Netherlands, Appeltern Gardens is described as the largest and most beautiful park for gardening ideas. Exhibitors range from large suppliers in the horticultural and construction trade, and famous contemporary garden designers in the Netherlands and Europe, to individual designers, with every type of open space you can imagine. The most popular is the Wilde Weelde Wereld Garden, an environmentally friendly space where you can discover which plants grow in different biospheres; the Living Garden area which explores the many aspects of sustainability; and Lounge Gardens which show how gardens can be used for relaxation and wellbeing as well as aesthetic beauty.

Facts:

• Appeltern Gardens is spread across 23 hectares

• It is home to the largest collection of plants in the Netherlands

•  There are over 200 model gardens to see, some of which are permanent displays while others change each year

Highlights:

• Enjoy the beautiful outdoor landscape

• Browse the colourful, scented plant market

•  Take advantage of the free audio tour to learn the story behind Appeltern and listen to extra information about the gardens

Book your Appeltern Gardens trip as part of an excursion package and save money. For more destinations, take a look at our full range of cruises online or contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

Excursion Rotterdam Skyline

  • Dutch Waterways
  • View from the Euromast
  • Rotterdam
Dutch WaterwaysView from the EuromastRotterdam

Enjoy a trip to Rotterdam during a Dutch waterways cruise with The River Cruise Line. This city is strikingly different compared to others in the Netherlands, mainly because of the colossal damage it suffered during world war two. But in a bizarre twist of fate, its modern architecture has earned Rotterdam a worldwide reputation, with people visiting from all corners of the globe to witness the fantastic skyline. Our Rotterdam excursion includes a trip up the Euromast, an observation tower built between 1958 and 1960, which stands 185 metres above the city. We also see the cube houses, a set of innovative buildings which are tilted 45 degrees and rest upon a hexagon-shaped pylon.

Facts:

• The name Rotterdam is derived from a dam built on the river Rotter

• During the first world war, Rotterdam was the world’s largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its location between England, Germany and occupied Belgium

• The port of Rotterdam is the largest in Europe

• On a clear day you can see as far as The Hague and Antwerp from the observation platform of the Euromast

Highlights:

• Take the superfast lift up to the viewing platform of the Euromast and enjoy the view across Rotterdam

• See the curious cube houses, an architectural wonder in the heart of the city, one of which we have the chance to look around

•  Keep an eye out for the red lights set in the pedestrian walkways around the city – altogether there are 128 which surround an area completely destroyed during the bombings of world war two

Book your Rotterdam trip as part of an excursion package and save money. For more fascinating cities, take a look at our range of cruises online or contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

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Discovering Budapest: 7 things to do in this fantastic city

Budapest

Discovering Budapest: 7 things to do in this fantastic city

Lying on both banks of the river, the city of Budapest is known as the Pearl of the Danube for good reason. Long admired as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Budapest offers visitors a treasure trove of delights just waiting to be explored. The city itself is actually two cities in one, with Buda occupying the west bank of the Danube, and Pest the east. Both sides are more than worth exploring, so take a look at our top seven things to do in this fantastic city.

1. You can’t miss the Hungarian parliament building
Quite literally, you cannot miss this building. Built in 1905, the gigantic site of the Hungarian parliament dominates the skyline on the Pest side of the river. Its mixture of Gothic and Renaissance revivalist architecture looks spectacular both during the day and when it is illuminated at night. You can also take a tour of the inside of the building, but you have to book in advance. Check the parliament’s English visitor’s page to book.

2. Take a dip
Budapest is famous for its numerous city spas, but Széchenyi Baths is the granddaddy of them all — it is also Europe’s biggest medicinal bath. Built in 1919, the baths are over 100 years old and offer 18 geothermal pools, as well as massage and sauna facilities. You can also relax poolside with a beer or a glass of wine, or even taste the natural water that supplies the pools from 1km underground. You can find full details and prices on the English-language Széchenyi baths website.

3. Take a stroll along Fisherman’s Bastion
Jutting out of the Buda hillside above the city, the terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion (or Halászbástya in Hungarian) provides travellers with a great opportunity for panoramic photos across the Danube towards Pest. The terrace’s wonderful architecture makes for a great photo itself, and you can spend a long while exploring all of the hidden corners and platforms, as well as the spectacularly spired Matthias Church nearby. It is also worth revisiting at night when the terrace is illuminated. You can book a private walking tour of the Castle district and Fisherman’s Bastion through TripAdvisor. The tour offers hotel pickup and a professional guide, with prices starting at £24.

4. Embrace your inner pinball wizard
For something that is off the traditional tourist trail, head to the Flipper Muzeum to roll back the decades at Europe’s first and largest interactive pinball exhibition. The 400-square-metre space contains over 130 pinball machines dating from the end of the 19th century to the present day. You can have a go on almost all of the machines on display, and the good news is they are completely free to play once you have paid the museum’s modest HUF 2500 (~£6) entry fee. The museum’s website can give you more details on the exhibit, as well as detailed instructions on how to get there.

5. Come face-to-face with the monuments of the past
A trip to Budapest’s Memento Park can give you a real glimpse into a bygone era of Hungary’s Communist period. Littered around the sprawling open-air museum are hundreds of displaced examples of Communist public art, placed here as a testament to the change that has taken place in Hungary since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Among the many statues are the likenesses of well-known Soviet figures such as Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, so you really can stare into the stony eyes of these 20th-century heavyweights. The park is a small distance away from Budapest’s city centre. You can get detailed travel instructions from their website.

6. Cross the Danube on Budapest’s spectacular bridges
Spanning the Danube from Buda to Pest are a number of impressive bridges, including the green, spired Liberty Bridge and elegant, white Elisabeth Bridge. However, the real standout of Budapest’s river crossings is the majestic Chain Bridge. Opened in 1849 and designed by Englishman William Tierney Clark, the bridge was Budapest’s first permanent river crossing. Since then, it has become one of Budapest’s most iconic structures, growing to symbolise the linking of east and west. As with many of Budapest’s buildings, the Chain Bridge is spectacularly lit at night and is well worth a visit after sunset.

7. Visit a ruin pub
No visit to Budapest would be complete without a visit to one of the city’s numerous ‘ruin pubs’. Roughly 10 years ago, the city underwent a movement that saw many unoccupied or abandoned buildings being converted into low-key pubs, clubs or bars. Popular with both locals and tourists, the pubs come in a range of styles — from sparse, industrial rooms to cluttered chambers full of salvaged furniture. Ruinpubs.com is a website dedicated to the movement, which keeps potential visitors up to date with the latest goings-on, including details of organised ruin-pub crawls around the city.


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A little help planning your trip to Slovakia

Bratislava Castle

A little help planning your trip to Slovakia

With its castles, its beautiful countryside, and the range of available sports and activities, it can be a little overwhelming when you sit down and try to plan a short holiday in Slovakia. But don’t be put off, because we’d like to help. We’ve compiled a few of the top things to see and do in Slovakia and we hope one or two of our suggestions find their way onto your itinerary.

Spiš Castle
You’ve probably heard quite a few people advise you to go to Spiš Castle, and there’s good reason for this: it is absolutely breathtaking. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is built on a hill which makes it just as impressive when viewed from afar as up close. History buffs will love its complex history, as it dates back as far as 1120 and has been rebuilt, burned down and restored along the way. You can read more about Spiš Castle here.

Skiing in Slovakia
If you’re a keen skier, then you have to try Slovakia’s slopes. The skiing industry is growing in Slovakia, as people have quickly realised how brilliant the Tatra Mountains are and how much cheaper the resorts are when compared with those in the French and Swiss Alps. Great-value drinks and food, as well as accommodation, make Slovakia an obvious candidate for your next ski trip.

The Danube
This vast river is famous around the world and it spends a good proportion of its 1,777-mile journey in Slovakia. The Danube has influenced the history and trade of the area, and Bratislava is even known as the Beauty on the Danube. As well as going for scenic walks and bike rides along the riverside, you can go on Danube River cruises, like this one from The River Cruise Line. However, a Danube cruise is a holiday in its own right and you will only spend a day or two in Slovakia before moving on. All Danube river cruises will stop at Bratislava, and it is to this vibrant city that we go next.

Bratislavia
As Slovakia’s capital city, with a population of approximately 427,000, Bratislava is a must-see location for any visitor. Spend at least two or three days seeing the sights and eating the wonderful food. Expect a vibrant culture and friendly people, and you won’t be disappointed. Something you couldn’t miss if you tried, is Bratislava Castle (pictured above), which sits atop a hill known as the Little Carpathians and overlooks over the city. If you take a trip up to the castle you will get a fantastic view of most of Bratislava, but, provided it’s a clear day, you’ll also be able to see a bit of Austria and even Hungary. There are so many things to do and places to see in Slovakia, but don’t let that overwhelm you. Make a list of things you’d like to do and just tick them off. After all, you can always visit again.


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Excursion Cologne City Tour

  • Cologne
  • Cologne
CologneCologne

Enjoy a brilliant Cologne city tour with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruise which explores the Baltic Sea. The Cologne Cathedral is one of Germany’s most important architectural monuments, a Gothic masterpiece in the heart of the city which boasts the highest church spires ever built. We visit here before venturing into the old town for an insight into the city’s 2,000 year history.

Facts:

• Cologne is the fourth largest and the oldest city in Germany, with a history going back almost 2000 years

• 12 large Roman churches are located within the medieval city walls of Cologne

• The city has more than 40 museums and around 100 galleries

Highlights:

• The Cathedral of Cologne, with its soaring spires, is regularly voted the country’s most popular attraction

• Cologne’s cobble-stoned old town has a distinctive historical charm

Book your Cologne city tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

Excursion Hiddensee Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour

  • Hiddensee
  • Hiddensee Horse-drawn Carriage
  • Hiddensee
HiddenseeHiddensee Horse-drawn CarriageHiddensee

Enjoy an idyllic Hiddensee island tour by horse-drawn carriage with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruises exploring the Baltic Sea. The island is around 17 kilometres long and offers a tranquil atmosphere being completely car free. Join our horse-drawn carriage tour for one of the best ways to see the island, as we relax aboard a covered wagon pulled by a Haflinger light draft horse. Highlights include the island church, the monastery gate and the nature reserve of Dunenheide.

Facts:

• Hiddensee is affectionately known as Söte Länneken ‘sweet little isle' by its inhabitants

• At its widest point, the island is around 3.7 kilometres

• Many famous people have enjoyed holidays here, such as Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, and Sigmund Freud

Highlights:

• The island church in Kloster

• The monastery gate

• Nature reserve of Dunenheide

Book your Hiddensee island tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

Excursion Rushing Roland Steam Train

  • Rushing Roland
  • Rügen Cliffs
Rushing RolandRügen Cliffs

Enjoy a journey across Rügen by steam train with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruises exploring the Baltic Sea. We embark on a journey of romance and nostalgia as we travel by train across the Island. The Rügensche Bäderbahn – Orlando Furioso, affectionately known as the Rushing Roland, is a steam engine powered narrow gauge railway. It runs 24.1 kilometres from Putbuz to Göhren with historic locomotives and coaches, some of which are almost 100 years old. This is a wonderful way to see the island.

Facts:

• Rügen is Germany’s largest island and is often described as the most beautiful

• The Rushing Roland is not just a tourist attraction it serves as an important mode of transport as between Putbus and Göhren.

Highlights:

• On your train trip you may see the Granitz hills covered by forests, and untouched landscape near Seelvitz

Book your Rushing Roland steam train trip as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

Excursion Wolin Island Tour

  • Wolin

Enjoy an amazing Wolin island tour with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruises exploring the Baltic Sea. Most of Poland’s largest island is a national park, dominated by sandy hills, glacier formed lakes and forests. It is a main tourist attraction with popular seaside resorts including Miedzyzdroje, known as the ‘pearl of the Baltic’ due to its wide, sandy beaches and beautiful surroundings.

Facts:

• Wolin Island is the largest of around 40 islands located in the Oder River estuary

• Wolin is also the name of a main town on the south of the island

Highlights:

• Wolin National Park is the most scenic part of the island, established in 1960; it is the first maritime park in Poland

• The animal life of the park is varied and interesting

Book your Wolin island tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

Excursion Szczecin City Tour

  • Szczecin
  • Baltic Coast
SzczecinBaltic Coast

Enjoy an amazing Szczecin city tour with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruises exploring the Baltic Sea. Szczecin is the capital of West Pomerania, Poland, and has fine architecture, vast panoramas, elegant streets, beautiful squares and a wealth of old buildings. One of the best sights is the Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes; there is also the Gothic hall, the Gothic cathedral, the baroque Harbour Gate, the Palace of Grumbkov, the White Eagle Fountain and White Eagle Square.

Facts:

• Szczecin is the historical capital of Western Pomerania

• During world war two the city suffered heavy damage from repeated bombings

Highlights:

• The vast Castle of the Pomeranian Dukes looms over the old town, you can admire the colourful historic clock face from the courtyard, with its jester figure chiming in each new hour

• The elaborately decorated baroque Harbour Gate

Book your Szczecin city tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

Excursion Stralsund Walking Tour

  • Stralsund
  • Stralsund
StralsundStralsund

Enjoy an interesting Stralsund walking tour with The River Cruise Line’s unique cruise which explores the Baltic Sea. From its beginnings as a small fishing village, to its heyday as a member of the powerful Hanseatic League, Stralsund abounds in history and is both an interesting and beautiful place to explore. Highlights include the magnificent city hall which dates back to the 13th century, colourful townhouses with their lavish gables, and three great churches which dominate the skyline.

Facts:

• Stralsund was once the second-most important member of the Hanseatic League

• The city’s historic centre became a World Heritage Site in 2002

• The city was once a small fishing village named Stralow

Highlights:

• Stralsund City Hall is one of its oldest and most beautiful buildings, dating back to the 13th century

• The city’s colourful town houses with their lavish gables are a treat for the eyes

• Stralsund’s three brick Gothic churches can be seen from far away

Book your Stralsund walking tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more information on our optional excursions, please feel free to contact our Holiday Advisors today.

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