Excursion Medieval Nuremberg

  • Nuremberg
  • Nuremberg
  • Nuremberg
NurembergNurembergNuremberg

See the magic of medieval times on a Nuremberg trip with The River Cruise Line. This excursion is a great addition to a Rhine cruise in Germany and an ideal way to ensure you don’t miss any of the highlights. After the second world war, the old town of Nuremberg was painstakingly rebuilt using the original stone of almost all the city’s main buildings. Today, it is very much a 21st century city with a unique medieval flair that attracts people from around the world who come to explore the treasures within the ancient city walls. With the help of an experienced guide, our walking tour takes you around the old town as we listen to valuable facts about the castle and fountains, the churches and art, along with the city’s past and present.

Facts:

• The first documented mention of Nuremberg was in 1050

• Nuremberg was key to the administrative structure of the Holy Roman Empire

• Much of the city was rebuilt after the second world war using the original stone wherever possible

• Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria

Highlights:

• Explore the old town of Nuremberg with its half-timbered houses and gothic churches which nestle in the shadow of the imperial castle

• 2 hour walking tour

• Benefit from the company of an experienced guide

• Listen to interesting facts about the city

Join our Nuremberg walking tour as part of an excursion package and save money. Take a look at our country guide to see the other wonderful cities you can visit on a cruise with us. You can also contact our Holiday Advisors for further information and advice.

Excursion Medieval Regensburg & Organ Recital

  • Regensburg Catherdral
  • Regensburg
Regensburg CatherdralRegensburg

Enjoy a fascinating Regensburg trip during a Rhine cruise with The River Cruise Line. Despite being bombed extensively during the second world war, this German city survived with surprisingly little damage; but it still faced an uncertain future when in the 1960s there were plans to tear down the historical buildings and replace them for new ones. Fortunately, this didn’t happen and the last few decades have actually been spent carefully restoring and preserving a rich heritage that can be traced back over 2,000 years. Our excursion is a great opportunity to explore Regensburg and see the highlights of this beautiful city in the company of a knowledgeable guide, before listening to organ recital.

Facts:

• Regensburg is located at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers

• After the second world war, Oskar Schindler lived in Regensburg before emigrating to Argentina in 1948

• Stone Bridge is Germany’s oldest arched stone bridge and was regarded as the eighth wonder of the world on its completion in 1146

• The organ was the most complex structure invented before the Industrial Revolution

• The old town was nominated a Unesco world heritage site in 2006

Highlights:

• Regensburg Cathedral, the finest gothic building in Bavaria

• Stone Bridge, a prominent landmark which has straddled the Danube since the 12th century and up until the 1930s was the only way of crossing the river

• Porta Praetoria, the most impressive reminder of the city’s Roman heritage, built by Marcus Aurelius in AD179

• Krauterermarkt square which is surrounded by historical buildings, including St John’s church where we listen to an organ recital

Join our Regensburg guided tour as part of an excursion package and save money. For more fascinating destinations, take a look at our range of cruises online or contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

Excursion National Botanic Garden of Belgium (Meise) & the Plant Palace

  • Meise
  • National Botanic Garden of Belgium
MeiseNational Botanic Garden of Belgium

Book your Botanic Garden Meise excursion with The River Cruise Line as part of a relaxing Belgian waterways cruise. The Botanic Garden Meise, which up until 2014 was called the National Botanic Garden of Belgium, is located in the grounds of Bouchout Castle in the Flemish town of Meise. Covering 92 hectares (227 acres), it is one of the most diverse groups of plants located in a single garden in the entire world and is an important facility for the discovery, research and conservation of plant species. It’s also a paradise for nature lovers, where you are free to explore the glasshouses, garden and arboreta.

Facts:

• At present, the total number of plant species on earth is unknown and many are yet to be discovered, especially in the tropics and in certain groups like fungi and algae

• Botanic Garden Meise is the only scientific institute in Belgium which is focused on botanical taxonomy (the practice and science of classification)

• The garden contains more than 18,000 plant species, which equates to approximately 6% of all known plant species of the world

• More than 10,000 plant species from around the world are housed in the Plant Palace

• Scientists at the garden conduct research particularly on Belgian and African plants

Highlights:

• Follow the trails set around the age-old trees, ponds and broad lawns

• Admire open air collections of medicinal and herbaceous plants

• Explore the glasshouse which houses unusual tropical and subtropical plants from America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia

• Take a journey through 500 million years of plant history in the Evolution House

Enjoy a fascinating Botanic Garden Meise trip as part of an excursion package and save money. For more fascinating destinations, take a look at our range of cruises online or contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

Excursion Floralia Spring Flower Show

  • Floralia
  • Floralia
  • Floralia
FloraliaFloraliaFloralia

Join The River Cruise Line for a Floralia Spring Flower Show trip – the perfect addition to a springtime Belgian waterways cruise. This spectacular exhibition first took place in 2004 and has become a popular event thanks to the participation of major Dutch bulb producers and exporters. During our excursion you can explore the beautiful grounds set around Château de Grand-Bigard and discover 500 varieties of flowering bulbs, including muscari, violets, azaleas, daffodils, hyacinths and rhododendrons, as well as 400 tulip varieties. The tulips are divided into three categories: early flowering, midseason and late flowering. These categories are further divided into different types. There are also floral displays in the greenhouses and beautiful arrangements in the chapel and the tower, plus you can purchase bulbs for your garden back home.

Facts:

• Tulips were first brought to Europe by a Flemish diplomat in the 16th century

• 2016 will be the 13th year for the Floralia Spring Flower Show

• Grand-Bigard Castle dates back to the 12th century

• All the bulbs – more than 1 million of them – are planted by hand by the castle’s gardeners, under direction of specialists from the Netherlands

Highlights:

• You are free to explore the 14-hectare (34-acre) park which incorporates nearly all spring bulb varieties

• Look out for the tulip display by the lake near the entrance

• Browse the indoor exhibition which houses around 150 beautiful flower arrangements reflecting the latest trends and fashions

• Bulbs can be purchased at the entrance to the castle

Book your Floralia Spring Flower Show excursion as part of a package and save money. For more fascinating destinations, take a look at our range of cruises online or contact our Holiday Advisors for further information.

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.

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