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Although the best-known and longest part of the Rhine River flows through or alongside Germany, it actually begins in the Swiss Alps, flows through Lake Constance (Bodensee) and drops dramatically over the Rheinfall, Europe’s largest waterfall, in Schaffhausen where in winter it is a breathtaking cascade of ice and water. Near its source, the Austrian Vorarlberg is known for winter sports with several skiing and snowboarding resorts. Three of these — Warth-Schröcken, Damüls and Diedamskopf, have joined in the multi-day 3taeler Pass with free transportation between them. Nearby Lech is a favorite ski resort of royalty and ...

Although the best-known and longest part of the Rhine River flows through or alongside Germany, it actually begins in the Swiss Alps, flows through Lake Constance (Bodensee) and drops dramatically over the Rheinfall, Europe’s largest waterfall, in Schaffhausen where in winter it is a breathtaking cascade of ice and water. Near its source, the Austrian Vorarlberg is known for winter sports with several skiing and snowboarding resorts. Three of these — Warth-Schröcken, Damüls and Diedamskopf, have joined in the multi-day 3taeler Pass with free transportation between them. Nearby Lech is a favorite ski resort of royalty and celebrities.

Alongside the Rhine in Germany is the Black Forest region, filled with scenic cross-country trails that were the site of the 2002 Nordic Junior World Championship. Trails in Triberg, St. Georgen, Schönwald, Schonach, Martinskapelle and Rohrhardsberg are all interconnected, offering terrain for all skill levels. A mile from the market square of Triberg, the 10-mile Panorama Trail is perfect for beginners. East of Cologne, the Sauerland Wintersport region includes six small ski resorts with almost 400 miles of trails accessed by 127 lifts, nearly half of which reach floodlighted terrain for late afternoon and night skiing. In addition, there are several hundred miles of cross-country trails here. Basel, Düsseldorf, Baden-Baden and Cologne are all known for their Christmas markets in December, as are the smaller towns in the Rhine Valley.

Stillman Rogers
About the Expert

Stillman Rogers has written more than two dozen guidebooks, including Adventure Guide to Canada's Atlantic Provinces, Guide to Eastern Canada, and Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake.

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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: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Mid-December through March is the best time for skiing. Christmas markets last through the month of December.