What is better than Europe in winter? I love Europe at this time of the year and what better way to see it in all its “Winter Wonderland” glory than by River Cruise.
This time, rather than travelling Europe independently or by coach tour, I decided to cruise to gain a new insight into the variations of travel and to see Europe from a different perspective. River cruising combines the best of cruising and the best of coach touring.
I boarded the river cruise after a couple of days in Amsterdam and then unpacked, ready to begin my adventure. I specifically travelled at the end of November so that I would be able to see the wonderful Christmas Markets and I was not disappointed.
The first stop was Cologne and walking the cobblestone streets and alleyways was enchanting, and the Cathedral with its history was amazing. It is hard to believe that the stain glass windows are original and survived the war.
One of my favourite destinations on the cruise was Cochem on the Moselle. It is such a quaint little town with its castle set high above and towering over the whole village. During Spring I can imagine the riot of colour that would be visible from the grapevines that run from the castle down to the township.
Another highlight of the trip was visiting the Technik Museum Speyer in Germany. The museum had a plethora of vintage machinery and aircraft; musical instruments to fire engines. There was an exceptional robotics display and everywhere I looked there was a display of great history. If you get the opportunity, visit this museum, it's a must!
I think my overall favorite day of the entire trip was going to the Black Forest. We travelled from the ship by coach and when we arrived into the hills of the Black Forest there was low lying fog amongst the pine trees, giving a mystical feeling to the surroundings. We then went to Lake Titisee where there was a light dusting of snow. The warm glow from inside the shops and restaurants, beautifully decorated and looking like an old fashioned Christmas cards combined with the bite in the air, being rugged up in warm coats, scarves and gloves and sipping hot chocolate made the whole experience feel magical, and one I won't forget.
Every day introduced me to something new, whether it was the local produce and wine for our meals, or simply the spectacular history and architecture dotted along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. Would I travel to Europe in winter again? Yes, I would! Do I consider a river cruise to be a good way to do it? Absolutely - it is the perfect combination for seeing the highlights, hassle-free and a great way to meet like-minded travellers!