Fairy-tale castles, magnificent palaces, deep forests, sunny vineyards and medieval city centers can all be seen on a cruise of Germany’s Main River. The Main (pronounced like “mine”) is sometimes overlooked by travelers eager to cruise one of Europe’s major rivers, like the Rhine or Danube. However, the Main provides a delightful cruise experience, winding through some of the most beautiful scenery in Germany.
Cruise ships can navigate the 240 miles between Frankfurt and Bamburg, perfect for a 6- or 7-day cruise. The Main also connects to the Rhine near Frankfurt and to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, so it can be part of a longer cruise, too.
Cruises of the Main often begin in Frankfurt, a center of commerce and culture since the days of Charlemagne. The city was bombed during World War II, but some historic structures were spared or have been reconstructed. These include the home of Germany’s most famous writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, which contains his writing desk and other belongings. There are wonderful medieval houses along cobbled Romerberg Square and a dozen museums along the Museumsufer (Museum Embankment).
The Main flows through the Franconia region of Bavaria, which produces not only great beer but fine red and white wines around the city of Wurzberg. Still, Wurzburg’s most famous attraction is the spectacular Residenz, a Baroque palace that was once home to the city’s ruling prince-bishops. Much of the palace was damaged during World War II but has been painstakingly reconstructed, and the center portion is original.
The picturesque city of Bamberg is situated on seven hills, each crowned by a lovely church, abbey or castle. Bamberg’s beautiful, medieval Old Town is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tour the churches, the Old Town, or the historic series of tunnels under the city.
Cruises of the Main often include a call on Nuremberg, along the Rhine-Main-Danube canal. Historic sites include the three castles that watch over the city, the Old Town surrounded by 13th century walls, the Nazi Party rallying grounds, and the Toy Museum, which showcases Nuremberg’s incredible history of toy making.
The Main is lovely in spring, summer and fall, and is also an excellent choice for a Christmas markets cruise – for more information, talk with Anita, your Cruise Holidays personal cruise expert.
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