Once the backbone of the Western Roman Empire, the river Rhine is the twelfth longest and one of the most important and historical rivers in Europe. Beginning life in the Swiss Alps, it flows along the Liechtenstein border into Lake Constance, a beautiful lake set in lovely countryside which borders Switzerland, Germany and Austria. The river’s journey continues, flowing through Germany and passing the Rhine Falls which were formed during the Ice Age.
Many tributaries join the main river as it flows on its journey to the North Sea through the Netherlands. As the river meanders through the German countryside and the Rhine Valley, fabulous vistas appear. Backdrops of slate mountains, steep terraced vineyards, fairytale castles, all with charming spires and towers perched on forested hillsides which overlook quaint, charming villages that nestle on the banks of the Rhine, all add to the romance of the river. It is this part of the Rhine Valley which has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 40 medieval castles and fortresses and rolling scenic countryside giving a fairytale feel to this beautiful part of Germany.
The Rhine river continues its journey passing Cologne, an historic city with its Cathedral, claimed to be a perfect example of Gothic design, Rudesheim, a quaint town with enchanting castles at every turn and Trier allowing visitors to step back into Roman times, with the also notable distinction of being the birth place of Karl Marx.