Il fiume Reno: una passeggiata nella storia e nella contemplazione della natura

Rhine River: a walk through history and contemplation of nature


One of the main rivers in Europe, the Rhine brings with it legends, mysteries, but also prosperity, on a route that crosses the most beautiful landscapes of Central Europe.

Starting in Switzerland, near the city of Basel, the Rhine River follows its course towards Germany. At times it bumps into France, and flows into the North Sea, there in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, after running for more than 1,200 km, being the natural border that divides Switzerland and Liechtensten, Germany and Switzerland, and Germany and France. The strong Rhine Falls in Schaffshausen (Switzerland) are already impressive with the impetuosity of the waters of the Rhine River.

Rhine Falls, in Schaffhausen, on the border of Switzerland and Germany. Photo: Travel Germany

Natural border and historical rivalries

The River Rhine was and still is very important for the countries it passes through. For the Roman Empire, the Rhine (which they called the Rhenus River) constituted the majority of the border, separating them from the Germanic “barbarians”. Today it is one of the most important rivers in the world as it is a passage for tourist ships, transports iron and coal, is a source of electricity production in Switzerland and also because of the many industries located on the banks of the river.

One of the numerous medieval castles on the banks of the middle Rhine valley in Germany. To this day, the River Rhine is a very active freight transport route.

Furthermore, these waters were the cause of much dispute between Germany and France, as the French claimed the Rhine as their country's eastern border for a long time. During history, its left side changed nationality several times and today, the Rhine is the border that cuts between the two countries, right in the Alsace region, once so disputed.

Strasbourg, in Alsace. Here, the Rhine River marks the border between France and Germany, in a region that has been the subject of disputes and changed nationality several times.

Legends of the Rhine River

A walk along the Rhine is accompanied by lots of beauty and history, but also legends. One of the best known is the legend of Loreley, which was associated with the rock in the town of St. Goarshausen in the middle Rhine valley. In one of the many existing versions, it is said that a beautiful girl named Loreley, sitting on a rock, bewitches sailors and takes them to the bottom of the river. The rock is said to have kept the echo of her name for many years, and to this day, the sculpture of solitary Loreley attracts travelers to Germany's Rhine River Valley.

Sankt Goarshausen in the Middle Rhine Valley (Mittelrhein)

The Rhine River and the Grand Tour of Europe

In the 17th century, it was common for young people from the upper classes to take a long trip around Europe when they came of age, with the intention of getting to know different cultures and preparing to become a member of the elite. This trip was the so-called Grand Tour. The Rhine River was also a part of the route – although there was no specific tour with an itinerary to follow – for those traveling along the river, from the Alps to Basel.

The Rhine River crossing the city of Basel (Basel), Switzerland. Photo: Switzerland Tourism By Andreas Zimmermann

Wine culture

Talking about the Rhine River is also talking about wines. From the slopes to the banks of the middle Rhine valleyIn Germany, excellent wines are produced, with Riesling being the predominant grape. Discovering the castles of the Rhine Valley, tasting the region's wines and contemplating the exuberance of the Rhine River is an unforgettable experience! Going down a little further on the map, Alsacethe traveler is taken through flower-filled villages, where barrels and tubs are often seen by those who walk their streets.

The vineyards of the city of Bacharach, on the banks of the Rhine, in Germany. Photo: Travel Germany

Already in Lake Constance, on the border of Germany and Switzerland, the vineyards meet the blue of the lake crossed by the Rhine, and the silhouette of the Alps. Getting to know Rhine wines, whatever the region, means feeling the aroma of the grapes and fermenting juice, seeing the vines growing and developing during the four seasons of the year. And so, the River Rhine continues its course, bringing beauty, history, culture and prosperity along its path.

The path of the Rhine River in Europe, from its source in Switzerland to the North Sea in the Netherlands. Image: Wikipedia by Daniel Ullrich (Threedots)

Who we are

Travel Germany is a company specializing in trips and private guided tours in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. More than traveling, our philosophy is to take the traveler to live experiences and enjoy every moment – ​​without excursions, with flexibility and all our care. What our travelers say.

  • Boat Trips
  • Local events and experiences
  • Bike tours
  • Visit to wineries, cellars and private wine tasting
  • Cable car rides