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For many river cruisers, the most challenging part of the trip is deciding which excursions to choose while in a port of call. Depending on your itinerary and cruise line, it may be a choice between 2-3 in the morning and also in the afternoon.

A choice of excursion quite often will be a hike that can take you off the beaten path and afford you some breathtaking views to boot.

Hikes vary from brisk walks to more strenuous affairs. If you aren’t sure of what to expect based on your abilities, your cruise manager can guide you. And no, you won’t need special hiking gear, although AmaWaterways does offer Nordic walking sticks as an aid to those that want one.

Here are my 6 top hiking recommendations on the Rhine and Danube:

Trek up to the Veste Oberhaus in Passau, Germany for incredible views over Old Passau (Danube River Cruise)

Nestled atop the St. Georgsberg Mountain, and nearly 350 feet above sea level, the Veste Oberhaus was originally built in 1219 by Ulrich II (the first Prince-Bishop but 34th Bishop of Passau). Like other castles and fortresses built along the Danube, the Veste Oberhaus was built to express the strength of the town and make those who might think of invading wish to reconsider. Remnants of a fortress wall line a footpath, and along the way are various gateways and guard houses.

Make your way up to Dürnstein Fortress, where it is said that Richard the Lionheart was once held captive (Danube River Cruise).

As an alternative to a walking tour of this charming winemaking town, the more active guest may choose to venture high above for a visit to the majestic ruins of Kuenringer Castle, or “Dürnstein” (dry stone) castle from which Dürnstein derives its name. As you hike along the steep path, learn about Richard the Lionheart and the rich history of this strategic location along the Danube River. Enjoy some free time exploring the ruins and taking in the magnificent views of the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley.

Hike up the Philosopher’s Path to a panoramic view of Heidelberg and the Necker River. (Rhine River Cruise)

Nestled in the Heiligenberg Mountain high above Heidelberg there lies a historic and romantic stretch known as the Philosopher’s Path, rumored to have been a favorite wandering spot of great thinkers throughout the centuries. This hike offers fabulous views of Heidelberg across the Neckar River and the surrounding beauty of the Neckar Valley below. After a steep ascent, you will discover the Thingstatte amphitheater, which is home to a surprising secret of WWII, as well as the ruins of St. Stephen’s monastery, built at the end of the 11th century.

Take a walk with nature in the Barvarian Black Forest (Rhine River Cruise)

This mountainous region in southwest Germany is known for its dense, evergreen forests and picturesque villages, it is often associated with the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. You’ll take a stroll through the woods, and visit the waterfalls of Triberg.

Hike to Bratislava Castle in Slovakia’s Capital (Danube River Cruise)

After hosting 11 coronation ceremonies over nearly 300 years has earned the nickname of ‘Coronation City.’ From the Middle Ages through the 18th century, Bratislava’s history was intertwined with that of its neighbors -- Austria and Hungary. In the 10th century, it was a part of Hungary and in 1536, it became Hungary’s then-capital. You can take in magnificent views of Bratislava when you hike to Bratislava Castle. On a clear day, you’ll even be able to see Austria and Hungary from the castle’s stunning grounds.

Rudesheim Vinyard Walk (Rhine River Cruise)

This popular excursion is a must in the heart of the beautiful vineyard-laden Reisling wine country. The walk is not a strenuous one but it is lengthy if you walk round trip. (Tip: Take the gondola up into the vineyards and walk back down to the river.

Note that some hikes are weather dependent and may only operate at certain times of year.

Needless to say, one of these excursions will help you build up an appetite for the next amazing meal you'll enjoy on the river!

Message me today to learn more about selecting an amazing itinerary for your river cruise.


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