Culturally and historically one of the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine flows 865 miles (1,390 kilometres) from the Alps of Switzerland north and west through France, Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea. The Rhine is navigable for River Cruise Boats starting from Basle in Switzerland all the way to the sea near Rotterdam, passing historic towns (like Strasbourg, Worms, Mainz, Koblenz) and modern cities (Cologne, Dusseldorf) as well as fairytale castles.Upper Rhine
The Rhine is navigable for River Cruise Boats starting from Basle in Switzerland all the way to the sea. In the upper section it passes Strasbourg and Worms flowing between the ancient massifs of the Vosges Mountains and Black Forest uplands and the Haardt Mountains and Oden Forest upland. At Mainz the River Main joins the Rhine just above the Rhine Gorge.
The Rhine Gorge is a popular name for the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a 65km section of the river between Koblenz and Bingen. The river has cut the deep, steep-sided gorge through the Rhineland Plateau and the Rhenish Slate Mountains. This picturesque gorge, with terraced vineyards and castle-lined cliffs, is renowned in history and romantic literature and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is complete with fairy tale castles and vineyards protected by the 200m high overhanging rock face and picturesque villages. Its most famous feature is the Lorelei Rock, the narrowest, deepest and most dangerous point on the Rhine.
The Rhine Gorge finishes at Koblenz where the Moselle River joins the Rhine at the site the Romans called Confluentes. Below Bonn the valley opens out into a broad plain, and the river flows past the old city of Cologne and the modern commercial city of Dusseldorf. When the Rhine crosses the border into The Netherlands it breaks up into a number of wide branches that are now diverted into the network of sluices and lateral channels that allow river water to reach the sea. Since 1872 the New Waterway Canal, has been the main navigation link between the Rhine and the sea passing near to Nijmegen, Amsterdam and Dordrech before entering the North Sea at Rotterdam.