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Overview

The Rhine River, subject of myths and legends, was once called "the main street" of Europe because it was the prime commercial thoroughfare in the days before the arrival of the Autobahn. The Rhine was an inspiration to writers as diverse as Goethe and Heinrich Heine. Great musicians such as Wagner set age-old Rhine myths to music in his epic Ring cycle. J.M.W. Turner came here from England to capture the riverside settings on canvas, and Mark Twain, in his 1878 A Tramp Abroad, extolled the river's virtues for the millions of Americans to come. The Rhine stretches for 820 miles (1320 km) and is studded with scenery and ...

The Rhine River, subject of myths and legends, was once called "the main street" of Europe because it was the prime commercial thoroughfare in the days before the arrival of the Autobahn. The Rhine was an inspiration to writers as diverse as Goethe and Heinrich Heine. Great musicians such as Wagner set age-old Rhine myths to music in his epic Ring cycle. J.M.W. Turner came here from England to capture the riverside settings on canvas, and Mark Twain, in his 1878 A Tramp Abroad, extolled the river's virtues for the millions of Americans to come. The Rhine stretches for 820 miles (1320 km) and is studded with scenery and monuments. Its most dramatic stretch — called "The Rhineland" — is that 50-mile (80 km) gorge between Mainz and Koblenz. This is the one part of the river that captures the imagination with its Rhine maidens, heroes, and the celebrated Lorelei. There are also very real castles, steep riverbanks, dangerous whirlpools, and vineyards. If you want wine villages, make it these centering around Rüdesheim, with its winding alleyways and timbered houses. The Rhine is also studded with world-class art cities, none nobler than Cologne with its majestic Dom (Cathedral).

Danforth Prince
About the Expert

Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have written many guidebooks for Frommer's, including Frommer's France and Frommer's Germany.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: The Rhine originates in Switzerland and flows through 5 countries including Germany.
  • Language: German
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring, summer, early fall