Cruising on the ‘romantic Rhine’ in Bonn

By Sanskrity Sinha | November 6, 2010 4:39 AM EDT

You might go cruising on River Rhine, better known for river cruises in Europe; you will find many cruise operators at your service too. But what we suggest you to do on the mighty Rhine is little atypical with foreign tourists, as they mostly prefer long cruises, and is very much typical with the residents of Bonn, the former capital of Germany that lies “literally” on the banks of the Rhine.

Spending a day on the shores of the Rhine and around the countryside towns nearby is the ultimate experience of touring Bonn city. A tram from City Center takes you to Bad Godesberg where you need to get down at Konigswinter station, the main spot for taking ferry rides on the Rhine in Bonn. It’s a 40-minute journey from the crowded city center to the outskirts of Bonn of which the last 20 minutes chugs along the beautiful Rhine.

Rising in the Swiss Alps, Rhine flows through a gorge between Bingen and Bonn in Germany. This particular stretch of Rhine is known for its many castles and vineyards that remain in sight while boating in the river. The stretch was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 because of the presence of more than 40 castles and fortresses from the medieval times in its vicinity. These castles located up and down the hills form a fairytale-like surroundings around the Rhine in Bonn. To add on to the surreal landscape are villages that offer old world charm to the place. No wonder why Rhine in this unique expanse is known as the “Romantic Rhine”.

To soak in the wholesome experience of the “Romantic Rhine” in Bonn, go on a ferry ride on a sunny day. There are ticket counters right at the shoreline offering 30 minutes to 2 hours rides. Tickets are priced at 10 Euros onwards per person. And while you wait to be on board, enjoy munching Germany’s sausages at the fast food stalls on the river bank.

Those who wish to experience the aura of the Middle Ages in the locality must take a 10 Euros rack rail ticket up to the ruins of the legendary Drachenfels (Dragon’s Rock) castle at Konigswinter. The rock rests atop the Siebengebirge mountain range and legends have it that Siegfried, a fabled German hero, killed a dragon that lived in a cave in the mountain on the same spot. Though the ruins just remain as a piece of rock which doesn’t signify much, the view down over the Rhine Valley is awe-inspiring.

You can further explore the picturesque valleys, town of Bad Honnef, Unkel and Linz while your way back to Konigswinter. These little, old towns has numerous shops selling antiques, jewelry, handicrafts and more of cute, attractive things. There are street restaurants as well that invite you with the aroma of brewing coffee and some wine.

Back on the river bank, you can spend more time on the walkway. Walk along watching the life on shore or rest on the benches that simply let you be alone with Rhine, and nobody else in between.

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