The content on this page contains some affiliate links, which means I may be compensated if you choose to book a cruise. The fare is the same whether you book directly with the travel company or through this website. Thank you if you make a purchase using one of the links on this page!
Other Pages to This Article
River cruises in Germany on the Main and Danube rivers travel between Mainz and Regensburg and include the Main-Danube-Canal. The man-made canal is 106 miles long and connects the two rivers from Bamberg to Kelheim just southwest of Regensburg.
From Frankfurt to Bamberg, the Main River zigzags to the east. When it reaches the Main-Danube-Canal, the waterway flows mainly to the south until it reaches the Danube River. A cruise on the Danube travels between Regensburg and Passau before leaving Germany.
While the focus of this website is on river cruises, there are also destinations associated with many of the popular rivers in Europe. So whether you're just visiting the cities on land or you're on a river cruise and your boat is temporarily docked in a city, there are some exursions that might interest you. So there are some recommendations included in this article for a few of the destinations.
Frankfurt is east of Mainz and is the westernmost port on river cruises beginning or ending on the Main River. The downtown area of Frankfurt is located on the north side of the river. The city itself is located on both sides of the Main.
Frankfurt covers a lot of ground and is the fifth largest city in Germany featuring lots of skyscrapers and tall buildings. In fact, it’s one of the few cities in Europe that has at least 14 building over 490 feet tall!
There’s a lot to see and do in this busy city. In Frankfurt’s Alstadt or Old Town, the Romerberg or central square is a popular place to visit.
Romerberg - The City Square in Frankfurt's Old Town
By Mylius (Own work) [GFDL 1.2 (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/fdl-1.2.html) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
There’s a lot to see and do in this
busy city. In Frankfurt’s Alstadt or Old Town, the Romerberg or central
square is a popular place to visit.
Day, evening and scenic cruises from Frankfurt are available if you happen to be visiting Germany.
The town of Miltenberg is located in the German state of Bavaria. It sits on the bank of the Main River between two low mountain ranges – Odenwald and Spessart. A rather small city, Miltenberg covers an area of about 23 square miles and has a population just under 10,000.
Miltenberg, Germany - Old Town or Aldstadt
By Quintilis at de.wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], from Wikimedia Commons
Tucked in between the Odenwald and Spessart mountain ranges, it’s a very picturesque town.
A few interesting sites in Miltenberg include the Marktplatz and the Hotel Zum Riesen, which is one of the oldest inns in Germany.
Hotel Zum Riesen in Miltenberg, Germany
By Matthias Schüssler (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Situated at the confluence of the Tauber and Main Rivers, the town of Wertheim is in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. It’s only about 16 miles east of Miltenberg and is also bordered by the Odenwald and Spessart mountain ranges.
The Wertheim Castle is the town’s major landmark. Perched upon a hill, the castle overlooks the Main River.
Wertheim is also famous for its glassblowing tradition. Many of its hand-crafted products, especially Christmas ornaments, are sold throughout the world.
Located between Frankfurt and Nüremberg and Frankfurt, the Bavarian town of Würzburg is at the northernmost point of the famous Romantic Road. Many tourist who are traveling on land will take the 220-mile drive all the way to Füssen where the road ends.
Würzburg was one of the many towns in Germany that sustained a lot of damage during WWII when the city was bombed in March 1945. Over a 20-year period, many of the historical buildings were rebuilt to replicate the original structures. Interestingly, most of the builders were women because of the shortage of available or able-bodied men. Many of the men had been injured, killed or taken as POWs.
Würzburg, Germany on the Main River
Though, you probably won’t have the chance to visit most of them, there are seven main museums in Würzburg. The city is also home to about one hundred churches, although most were badly damaged during the war. Church architecture varied between – Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque.
As you tour Würzburg, you will be able to see Old Main Bridge or Alte Mainbrucke, which was completed in 1543. Another site you might visit is the Würzburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The city is of Bamberg sits on the Regnitz River near its confluence with the Main River. It’s about 40 miles north of Nuremberg and 60 miles east of Wurzburg.
The town of Bamberg has many historical sites and buildings that are included in its UNESCO World Heritage Site listing.
A tour in the city may include a visit to Michaelsberg Abbey. The structure was in the 12th century on one of the Seven Hills in Bamberg. Another popular tourist site is the Altenberg Castle, which is located on the tallest of the Seven Hills.
Michaelsberg Abbey in Bamberg, Germany
[Photo via http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bamberg-StMichael1-Asio.JPG#file]
When you depart Bamberg, your cruise ship will begin traveling south along the Main-Danube canal for 106 miles. Or if you’re traveling the other direction, you’ll begin cruising west along the Main River.
Nuremberg is located on the Main-Danube Canal and Pegnitz River about 100 miles north of Munich and about 40 miles south of Bamberg. It’s the 2nd largest city in Bavaria with a population of about 3.5 million including the metropolitan area of Nuremberg.
Nuremberg Castle is one of the cities’ main attractions. It’s actually made up of three castles – not just one.
By Castle_Old_Town_Nuremberg_Germany.jpg: Johannes Kerstiens (unland) derivative work: Pirkheimer (Castle_Old_Town_Nuremberg_Germany.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Haupmarkt in Altstadt – Market Square in Old Town – is a favorite among tourists. It’s also the location for their famous Christmas Market, which happens to be one of the largest in the world!
In the Market Square, a 62-foot Gothic Structure stands next to the Town Hall. The Schöner Brunnen, which stands for Beautiful Fountain, was built in the 14th century. It’s a replica of the original fountain that draws admirers to it daily.
Nuremberg will probably be the first or last city you’ll visit on the Main-Danube Canal, depending on the direction of your cruise.
A couple of tours that might interest you if you're visiting Nuremberg - the Taste Nuremberg Food Tour and the Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally Grounds and Old Town Tour.
Your journey along the Danube River begins about 10 miles southwest of Regensburg in the city of Kelheim, Germany.
Regensburg is the oldest city and also the northernmost point on the Danube. It’s located about 70 miles south of Nuremberg at the confluence of the Danube and Regen. As you look to the east of the city, you can see the Bavarian Forest.
Kohlenmarkt with Town Hall in Regensburg, Germany
By en:User:DebrayR (en:Image:Regensburg square.jpg) [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Along with many other cities in Germany, Regensburg suffered repeated bombings during WWII. Fortunately, it escaped with little damage. Many of its original structures still stand today, such as the Old Stone Bridge, Old Town Hall and the Dom Cathedral
Old Town of Regensburg With Stadtamhof is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Passau is located on the Austrian border in Bavaria, Germany. Located about 120 miles northeast of Munich and 20 miles southwest of the Czech Republic border. Passau is commonly referred to as the City of Three Rivers, because it’s situated on the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers.
Veste Oberhaus sits on St. Georgsberg mountain overlooking the Danube River. It was built as a fortress in the 13th century. Within the walls of the fortress, you’ll find the Oberhaus Museum, which contains things related to the history of that region. There is also restaurant, an outdoor theatre and a hostel in addition to the museum.
Passau, Germany Near Bavarian Forest
Image Credit - http://www.123rf.com/photo_18903839_village-of-passau-at-bavarian-forest-bavaria-germany.html
Old Town in Passau is lined with cobblestone streets. Many of the roads are closed to traffic, which allows tourists to really be able to take in the sights of the city. You’ll pass by houses, churches and some historical buildings as you tour the town.
A couple of popular attractions in Old Town include the Altes Rathaus and the Passauer Glasmuseum. The Altes Rathaus or Old Town Hall was built in the 14th century and is located on the banks of the Danube River. The Passauer Glasmuseum or Glass Museum was opened in 1985. It’s located in Passau’s Old Town and is the largest museum for Bohemian glass in the world.
The city of Passau is the last German city along the Danube River and is often the beginning or ending port for cruises on the Danube.
In case you're curious, this is the reason why I recommend Viator.com.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it with other people you think would also enjoy reading it. Thank you!