We’re approximately two months away from the maiden voyage of Crystal Bach, the first “Rhine Class” river yacht for Crystal River Cruises. This class designation represents many things beyond the obvious connection to the sleek vessel’s home region. Crystal Bach (and her upcoming sister ships) will introduce an entirely new standard of luxury for European river cruises, as the first and only all-balcony, all-suite river vessels with all luxurious guest accommodations set above the water line. Crystal’s superlative butler service will be offered for all suites, with Michelin-level cuisine on board and extraordinary experiences ashore.
But these distinguishing features and luxuries are not solely the reason you’ll dream about a journey aboard Crystal Bach. It’s the magic of the riverside European destinations that will capture your wanderlust. Places both fabled and fantastical, rich with charm and legends that transcend centuries.
When Crystal Bach embarks on her maiden voyage in August, she will transport guests to some of Europe’s most captivating and simply beautiful locales.
Amsterdam, Netherlands – In the city’s center, you’ll find bicycles, meandering canals, and cobbled streets lined with endless rows of cafes and taverns perfect for meeting and making friends. The countryside is painted with tulips, vibrantly bringing the works of Van Gogh and Rembrandt to life.
Antwerp, Belgium – A cosmopolitan haven of fashion, art and entertainment, Antwerp perfectly blends modern energy with historical churches and town squares. The fact that the city is the world’s leading diamond trading post, gives the already lovely town some additional sparkle.
Nijmegen, Netherlands – One of the Netherlands’ oldest cities, founded more than 2,000 years ago, Nijmegen has been shaped by its position along the Waal River and the numerous wars that have crossed through its fascinating history. Following several reconstructions from these conflicts, the city now boasts an interesting combination of modern architecture and the styles from many distinct eras of the past.
Cologne, Germany – Cologne’s skyline holds bookmarks of each place in time throughout the city’s history. The UNESCO-recognized cathedral, with its spires reaching skyward. Structures built by Romans who once made themselves at home there. And the contemporary philharmonic hall that draws some of today’s most gifted artists. All woven together in a tapestry of culture and architecture.
Cochem, Germany – Jump straight into the fairytale when you visit Cochem, as you meander the alleyways and peer at the half-timbered buildings, steep terraced slopes and lush vineyards. To complete the storybook picture, gaze upward at the regal castle set atop the hillside overlooking the village, and be transported to another time.
Koblenz, Germany – Poised at the meeting place of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers (called Deutsches Eck, or German Corner), Koblenz offers a double dose of spectacular scenery. Beyond the rolling hillsides and flower-filled parks, sidewalk cafes and wine taverns afford the perfect spots for sipping Riesling and taking it all in.
Rüdesheim, Germany – “Romantic” doesn’t even begin to describe this medieval spot on the Rhine Gorge. The Old Town overflows with quaint beauty, with taverns boasting tiny tables for two and renowned Rieslings and white wines produced in the town’s ancient vineyards. And while Rüdesheim will take your breath away any time, its sparkling Christmas markets are a thing to behold.
Mainz, Germany – Think Roman empire meets post-World War II redevelopment, with a dash of literary eminence, and you have Mainz. Its history indeed includes acting as a Roman outpost, and a massive reconstruction following the war in Europe, but the town is most famously the home of an original Gutenberg Bible, featuring the world’s first use of moveable type. This marvel and other 15th century tomes can be admired at the Gutenberg Museum.
Speyer, Germany – In comparison to some of its neighbors, Speyer is a beautifully preserved symbol of pre-war history as far back as the Celts. Its streets and structures were spared much of the destruction inflicted upon Germany during World War II, and today maintains a bevy of architectural windows into the past, including the UNESCO-recognized Romanesque Cathedral, Kaiserdom, dating to 1030.
Kehl, Germany – Located just across the Rhine from Strasbourg, Kehl is the local access point to the Alsace region, the seat of European Parliament and one of the most picture-perfect towns in the world. As cozy as it is regal, Kehl invites travelers through its twisting alleyways on beautiful adventures in every direction.
Breisach, Germany (featured image) – This hamlet is the ideal starting point for adventures through and surrounding the Black Forest, of which there are many to enjoy. Should you choose to remain within city center, explore the star-shaped fortress and the fascinating late-Gothic features of Romanesque church.
Basel, Switzerland – This entire city is a cultural affair of academia and art, with a decidedly international flair. It sits at the three-border intersection of Switzerland, Germany and France, proudly boasting elements of each heritage. Basel itself is an architectural museum, with works by Frank Gehry and Herzog & de Meuron lining the streets.
Frankfurt, Germany – Frankfurt is a modern-day financial giant with a medieval side. What is today a high-powered international business hub can trace its roots to centuries past, as represented in the contrasting sky-high futuristic towers and spired cathedrals.
Dozens of complementary Crystal Adventures highlight the most intriguing elements of these destinations aboard Crystal Bach’s European river cruises. Book your journey through history today.