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River Rhine (part 1)

Basel to Mainz

This route follows the Rhine between Basel and Mainz. Here the river flows from South to North with France and the Vosges Mountains to the West and G... read moreermany and the Black Forest to the East.  On its way the route passes the Alsatian Capital Strasburg and becomes a German River past Karlsruhe. This route covers the three famous Romanesque Cathedral cities of Speyer, Worms and finally Mainz, where the River Main flows into the Rhine.

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River Rhine (part 2)

Mainz to Koblenz

The rolling hills between Mainz and Rüdesheim are mainly covered with vineyards and are part of the Rheingau, one of the o... read moreldest and most famous wine regions in Germany. It roughly stretches 30 river kilometres along the right bank of both the River Rhine and Main with typical wine growing villages suchs as Oestrich-Winkel, Eltville and Rüdesheim surrounded by old medieval walls with colourful half timbered houses, rose gardens, numerous wine taverns and boulevards lined with plane trees. Continuing along the river from Rüdesheim to Koblenz the banks of the River Rhine with their historical castles and towns, such as Bingen, Bacharach and Boppard as well as the surrounding forests, nature reserves and vine-clad slopes form a striking natural and cultural landscape. This route covers the complete Upper Middle Rhine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a route that never ceases to amaze.  Part of this route is covered in the Rhine Valley day trip segment, which covers the Upper Middle Rhine from Rüdesheim to Koblenz and is specially for those who just would like to give a name to their pictures.

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River Rhine (part 3)

Koblenz to the Dutch Border

This route is a fascinating combination of cultural, industrial, natural and urban landscapes covering the River Rhine from Koblenz to t... read morehe Dutch border. Past Neuwied the river cuts through the last part of the Rhenish Massif with the Eifel on its left and the Siebengebirge on its right, both banks lined with castles and quaint villages until the river reaches Bonn, the former capital of West-Germany. From here the surrounding area becomes flatter as the river meanders through the lowlands of North Rhine Westphalia towards the Netherlands. It passes through famous cities such as Cologne, Düsseldorf and Duisburg that are located in and around the German Industrial heart known as the Ruhr region. Here the sight of many enormous industrial plants along with the heavy traffic on both land and water, interrupted by ancient villages, creates a surrealistic spectacle.

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Rhine Valley Day Trip

Rhine Valley Day Trip

The Upper Middle Rhine Valley between Rüdesheim, Rhine Kilometre Marker 526, and Koblenz, Rhine Kilometre Marker 593, has been recognised as one of the world’s most outstanding cultur... read moreal and natural landscapes. Since 2002 it has been an official UNESCO World Heritage Site enjoying  the same status as Uluru / Ayers Rock in Australia, the Grand Canyon in the USA and the Great Wall of China, amongst others. The banks of the River Rhine with its historical towns, castles, forests, nature reserves and vine-clad slopes form a striking natural and cultural landscape. For hundreds of years the Upper Middle Rhine Valley was the spill of Germany's activity. Merchants, pilgrims, travellers and great armies all passed through the valley. It was seen by hundreds of thousands of people back in the middle ages, but inspired little enthusiasm, until 1802 when Clemens Brentano from Ehrenbreitstein and Achim von Arnim took a trip on the Rhine from Mainz to Koblenz. Both were so enamoured by the beauty of the landscape with its medieval villages and castles, that they decided to collect and preserve all its folklore, songs, fairy tales and legends. That was the beginning of the Rhine Romantic Movement. Thanks to the writers, poets, painters, novelists and other artisans who were inspired by Clemens and Achim’s pioneering work, the Rhine Valley became a global spotlight. Amongst those who embraced the Romantic Movement were Johann Wolfgang, Goethe, Lord Byron, William Turner, Victor Hugo, and Heinrich Heine, to name but a few.

After Napoleon was defeated in 1814, the continental blockade was lifted and a regular Steam Navigation service was introduced in 1827. This all helped the Middle Rhine Valley to experience a new Golden Age. It became a fashionable  must-see destination for wealthy tourists from all over the world. and today it still is a must see sight for you.

The Rhine Valley Day Trip route is linked to the Rhine part 3 at the downstream end at Koblenz and partly covers the Rhine part 2 route, a must have for everybody travelling along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, whether it is by train, car, bike, on foot or on a day trip boat, that stops in every fairy tale village along the way. The Rhine part 2 section covers the same stretch, but starts at Mainz in addition the points of interest are more extensive

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Netherlands Belgium Delta (part 1)

The Dutch Border to Amsterdam

The Netherlands is a delta of three rivers, the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. This route follows the River Rhine via its main tributary, t... read morehe Waal, which flows majestically through the nature reserve floodplain, crammed with bird colonies, before passing through the Netherlands'  oldest city, Nijmegen. The River Waal's floodplain landscape is characterised by its curving dykes which shield numerous towns and villages of which at times only the church steeples are visible. Besides the grazing cattle on the floodplain there are also traditional brick-stone factories and shipyards. Amsterdam is reached via the 71 km long canal that links the port of Amsterdam with the River Waal at Tiel. The canal is not only Amsterdam's main waterway linking its port to other ports along the Rhine but it is also  foremost in the drainage of the surrounding low lying countryside. This typical Dutch scenery with its green polders, windmills, forts and bicycle paths is known as the Dutch Green Heart, a legacy of the clever Dutch water defence line now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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River Main Part 1

Mainz to Lohr am Main

Thanks to its 34 locks, the River Main is navigable for 384 river kilometres from Bamberg at the beginning of the Main Da... read morenube Canal until it reaches Mainz. Due to the impoundments, the waters of the relatively narrow river are almost motionless and act as mirrors, serenely reflecting the surrounding landscape. The river mainly flows through Franconia in an enormous “W” shape and is Franconia's aorta flowing through the “Mainviereck” or “Main square” between Aschaffenburg and Lohr am Main and the “Maindreieck,” or “Main Triangle” between Gemünden and Schweinfurt. This route follows the River Main from its mouth at kilometre marker 0 in Mainz to Lohr am Main at kilometre marker 190, nearly half way. It covers the first part of the “W,” including the "Main Viereck," Expect a great variety of stunning landscapes with mainly forested hills, but also a few vine clad slopes, typical medieval villages with their respective castles and towns such as Aschaffenburg, Miltenberg, Wertheim and Marktheidenfeld. After Aschaffenburg the river flows into a lower plain industrial landscape passing the city of Frankfurt before it merges with the River Rhine at Mainz.

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River Main Part 2

Lohr am Main to Bamberg

This route follows the River Main from Lohr am Main at kilometre marker 190 to Bamberg at kilometre marker 384. It covers the second part of the "W," including the "Main Dreieck." Expect a great var... read moreiety of stunning landscapes with mainly limestone hills covered with vineyards, typical medieval villages with their respective castles and splendid towns such as Würzburg, Kitzingen and Schweinfurt. 

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Main Danube Canal

Bamberg to Kelheim

The Rhine River system is separated from the Danube River system by a low mountain range near Nuremberg. From 1960 to 1992 a 171 kilometre or 106... read more mile long canal was constructed to link up these two river systems. This created a transeuropean navigable waterway, 3,500 kilometres or 2,175 miles long from the Dutch Port of Rotterdam on the North Sea to the Romanian Port of Sulina on the Black Sea. This route covers the complete canal between Bamberg at the River Main and Kelheim at the River Danube. The canal from Bamberg to Nuremberg was finished after more than a decade of construction in 1972. Just 32 kilometres or 20 miles past Nuremberg the canal has to overcome nearly 95 metres or 312 feet to reach the highest point at 406 metres or 1,332 feet above sea level. This height difference is managed by means of 4 enormous locks, of which 3 lift the water over 24 metres or 80 feet at a time. After the continental divide, which separates the Danube River system from the Rhine River system, the canal passes the untouched medieval town of Berching and at Dietfurt it follows the course of the quaint River Altmühl. This area is known to be one of the most precious German Nature Reserves, with sensational limestone outcrops, medieval villages and their castles. This route ends just before the canal joins the River Danube past Kelheim.

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River Danube (part 1)

Kelheim to Passau

The River Danube is navigable from the port of Kelheim until the Black Sea some 2,411 kilometres or 1,500 miles downstream. This route follows the... read more river between Kelheim and Passau as it flows through the ancient city of Regensburg. At Donaustauf the river flows past the famous Walhalla, a Hall of Fame from the 19th century that resembles a Greco-Roman Temple. The river then meanders through the fertile Bavarian plains with typical Bavarian towns and monasteries such as Straubing, Niederalteich and Vilshofen along the banks. The stunning hills of the Bavarian Forest on the left bank define the Danube's course until Passau a town located at the confluence of the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz rivers.

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River Danube (part 2)

Passau to Vienna

This route covers the River Danube from Passau to Vienna passing numerous villages, towns, cities, castles, vineyards, forests and much more. The r... read moreiver cuts its way through a few mountain ranges creating spectacular gorges and loops such as the Schlögener Schlinge between Passau and Linz. The famous baroque Abbeys of Melk and Goettweig mark the borders of the Wachau Valley, which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, since 2000. Towns, such as Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Dürnstein have been accredited for their medieval architecture, urban design and surrounding agricultural landscape. The Danube here also flows through the cities of Linz and Austria's capital, Vienna.

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River Danube (part 3)

Vienna to Budapest

After Vienna the Danube has to overcome one more lock before it flows freely towards Slovakia and Hungary through the Donauauen National Park, an... read more enormous nature reserve with many rare species. Just before Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, the Danube forged a gap through the foothills of the Carpathian Mountain Range, known as the Porta Hungarica. After Bratislava the navigable Danube forms a reservoir leading to the enormous Dam and lock named after the nearby town of Gabcikovo. From here it forms the border between Slovakia and Hungary passing important towns such as Gyor and Komarno. At Esztergom the Danube becomes a Hungarian river and passes the ancient town of Visegrad. Here the river changes course by almost 90 degrees and forms the so-called Danube knee, flowing from north to south along the island of Szentendre past the town of Vac before it reaches Hungary’s magnificent capital city, known as the Queen of the Danube, Budapest.

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River Danube (part 4)

Budapest to Belgrade

After Budapest the Danube continues to flow south through the Hungarian fertile plains past towns such as Dunaujvaros and Baja towards Mohacs l... read moreocated on the Croatian Border. The river then forms a natural border between Croatia and Serbia but the official border between the Baranja region in Croatia and the Backa region in Serbia is still disputed to this day. Past Vukovar, in Croatia it flows eastwards again and enters Serbia at Ilok flowing through the first major Serbian town, Novi Sad, the regional capital of the autonomous region Vojvodina, the most northernly province of Serbia located in the southern eastern part of the fertile Pannonian Plain. During the Kosovo war, Novi Sad lost all 3 Danube bridges following the NATO bombing campaign in 1999, but the remains of the temporary pontoon bridge can still be seen. Across from Novi Sad the majestic Petrovaradin Fortress built by the Habsburgs has been overlooking the city for hundreds of years. The Danube now flows through beautiful natural landscape towards Belgrade, the capital of Serbia at the confluence with the River Sava, where this route ends.

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River Danube (part 5)

Belgrade to Vidin

After being joined by the River Sava at Belgrade, the River Danube widens and flows towards the Romanian border where it narrows again, to forge i... read morets way through the Carpathian Mountain Range. A sensational natural wonder, as the Danube winds its way through a series of gorges with steep forested cliffs of white rock, known as the Iron Gates, which separate Serbia from Romania. Here two gargantuan dams, bearing the same name, which were built during the communist regime, created enormous lakes that submerged the inhabited island, Ada Kaleh. The two Hydro plants combined produce over 6 TWh of electricity, which is used by both Serbia and Romania. The Danube continues as a border between Serbia and Romania until it crosses into Bulgaria, where it becomes a border between Bulgaria and Romania. This area is largely uninhabited, due to its border function in communist times and the River Danube being an international waterway. This route ends at Calafat in Romania and Vidin on the opposite side in Bulgaria.

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River Danube (part 6)

Vidin to Rousse

Between Vidin and Rousse the Danube continues as a border river between Bulgaria and Romania. This is a largely underdeveloped area, due to its bord... read moreer function during communist times and lack of infrastructure. Besides a number of large mostly old industrial estates, there are a few ancient towns located on the banks of the River Danube, such as Lom, Nikopol and Svishtov in Bulgaria and Corabia in Romania. Between Vidin and Rousse only ferries connect the two countries.

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River Danube (part 7)

Rousse to Sulina

After having travelled almost 2,400 kilometres from its source in the Black forest of Germany, the River Danube now only has 495 kilometres to go b... read moreefore reaching the Black Sea. As it continues to flow as a border river from Rousse, on the Bulgarian side and Giurgiu, on the Romanian side towards Silistra where it enters Romania. It then curves in a northernly direction until it reaches Galati at the border with Moldova and Ukraine, where it forms an enormous delta, now partly harnessed for shipping, and channels its way left, right and centre to reach the Black Sea. This priceless area is the second largest river delta in Europe and the best preserved on the continent. This UNESCO World Heritage protected nature reserve is inconceivably immense with over 300 bird species, 45 fresh water fish species, numerous lakes, canals and rivers.

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River Moselle

Trier to Koblenz

This route covers the German stretch of the River Moselle between Trier and Koblenz. The river zigzags through the Eifel and Hunsrück Mountain... read mores where the steep slopes reach up 210 metres or 700 feet above the river. Its unique landscape contains the world’s singular most extensive continuous steep vine-clad slopes some with inclinations of over 60%. The banks are dotted with quaint vintner towns and villages such as Bernkastel, Cochem, Traben-Trarbach and the cities of Koblenz and Trier, Germany’s oldest city.

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River Rhône

Lyon to Arles

This route covers the River Rhône from Lyon to Arles also known as the Lower Rhône Valley, a trough shaped valley between the Massif Centr... read moreal plateau and the French Alps. The River Rhône runs north to south until Arles, where it splits into the small and large Rhône forming the Rhône delta that encompasses the region known as the Camarque, before discharging into the Mediterranean Sea .The Rhône has traditionally been the transportation corridor between northern and southern France despite the steep gradient, which has more or less been overcome by a series of 12 enormous locks and their accompanying canalised sections that regulate the river flow and current. Although the stretch between Lyon and Arles has now been completely harnessed and classified as a class V inland waterway, it is still characterised by its stunning riverine landscape. It consists of a series of gorges and basins, which were formed by the debris deposited during the Pleistocene. The river’s power is used at every lock to generate hydro-electricity and a number of power stations and wind farms are located along the river. Along the banks of the Rhône typical historical provencal villages beloved by gourmets are interspersed with roman ruins, steep vineyards, lavender fields and remarkable towns such as Vienne, Tournon, Valence, Chateauneuf, Viviers, Avignon, Tarascan and Arles. The great variety of terrain and the differing micro climatic conditions allow the coexistence of fodder crops, livestock, orchards, market gardens, as well as rice paddies. This together with the vibrancy and range of nature’s colours and its mediterranean climate attracted painters such as Cezanne, Gaugain, Matisse, Picasso and Van Gogh, to name but a few to come and stay here in the Provence.

 

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River Saône

Chalon-sur-Saône to Lyon

The River Saône is a right tributary of the River Rhône, rising at Vioménil in the Vosges department and joining t... read morehe Rhône in Lyon, just south of the Presqu'île. It is 473 kilometres long making it the longest tributary of the Rhône. It is linked to the River Rhine, Loire, Seine, Marne and Meuse by "Freycinet" gauge canals. This route follows the Saône from Chalon-sur-Saône to Lyon for 145 river kilometres. At Chalon the river meanders through the low lying countryside  with its wooded banks and large floodplains that have been turned into rich pastureland which support the typical white Charolais cattle native to the region and the main ingredient of the famous Boeuf Bourguignon. The wet meadows are a refuge for a huge number of grassland  birds. The Saône has traditionally been the main transport artery between the industrial regions in northern France and the towns located along the River Rhône and the Provence. Cargo consists mainly of grain, limestone aggregate and cement and during the summer months the river is bustling with all kinds of craft from small rowing boats to large pleasure yachts that moor at night in one of the many marinas along the river. The Saône flows through the southeast of Burgundy through famous wine regions such as the Chalonnaise, Mâconnais and Beaujolais and towns such as Chalon-sur-Saône, Tournus, Mâcon, Villefranche and Trévoux before it joins the Rhône at Lyon.

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River Seine

Paris to Honfleur

This route covers the River Seine from Paris to Honfleur, a stretch of 344 river kilometres. The source of the river is located some 30 kilometres... read more northwest of Dijon in the Côte d’Or region of Burgundy at an elevation of 446 metres. The River Seine itself is 776 river kilometres long and has traditionally been an important commercial waterway for centuries, linking Burgundy with Paris and onto the English Channel at Le Havre on the right bank and Honfleur on the left bank. The river has been harnessed and made navigable for 566 kilometres using 34 locks of which 5 are located downstream of Paris. The meandering Seine flows through the Metropolitan region of Paris with its famous sights that inspired many famous artists to paint it and urban, industrial areas until is passes Mantes-la-Jolie where it flows through beautiful countryside with now and then a castle and quaint towns such as Vernon, Les Andelys, Caudebec les Elbeuf and Rouen. From Paris to Rouen the river remains a true river and is called Basse Seine or Lower Seine, but from Rouen until its mouth it is known as the Seine maritime as it is navigable by ocean-going vessels. This means that the Seine after Rouen is under tidal navigational rules and the port of Rouen is considered a sea port.

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Garonne, Gironde, Dordogne

Bordeaux to Bordeaux

Surrounded by the world's largest fine wine vineyards, at the confluence of the Rivers Garonne and Dordogne is Western Europe's largest estuary, the Gironde. ... read moreIt is heavily influenced by the tides of the Bay of Biscay and is brimming with different species of fish. This route follows the river from Cadillac on the Garonne to Libourne on the Dordogne via Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde a total distance of approximately 150 kilometres or 90 miles. The Rivers and estuary are flanked by fishing villages, fortified towns, castles, such as the UNESCO World Heritage listed citadel of Blaye, the famous Bordeaux vineyards and of course Bordeaux itself, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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River Douro

Porto to Barca d'Alva

The River Douro is 927 kilometres long and originates in the Spanish Serra de Urbion Mountains. This route covers the Portuguese part of the r... read moreiver. Although it only flows for 210 kilometres through Portugal, it is the country’s second longest river. The Portuguese stretch is completely navigable thanks to a series of 5 enormous dams and locks built in the sensational Douro Valley. The breathtaking steep vine-clad slopes and the cultural landscape have made the Douro Valley a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Barca’ d’Alva until it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto, the River Douro passes through various famous “Port” towns such as Pinhâo, Peso da Régua, and Vila Nova de Foz Côa. On its way it is crossed by 15 high bridges linking both banks.

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River Saar

Saarbrücken to Trier

This route covers the River Saar from Saarbrücken till it joins the Moselle near the city of Trier. The source of the river begins 80... read more0 metres up in the Vosges mountains on the border of Alasce and Lorraine, then flows through Saarland, once a heavily disputed area between Germany and France but is now Germany's smallest federal state. The Saar was crucial to the coal, iron and steel industries for the transportation of raw materials to the respective factories and the shipment of the finished products. Using canal systems that connected to other rivers, the Ruhr area or even the port of Rotterdam could be reached. Besides the towns of Saarbrücken and Saarlouis, the river passes through the Unesco World Heritage listed historic iron works of Völkingen and near the town of Mettlach the river forms the famous Saar loop. On the final stretch to Trier it flows through the Rhineland-Palatinate which is characterised by numerous vineyards. Until the  turn of the 20th century, many more vineyards were to be found on the banks of the Saar up to Saarbrücken this took a downward turn in the 20th century but has re-emerged in the present century with some enterprising farmers from the Saarland who have started experimenting with grape growing again.

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River Neckar

Stuttgart to Mannheim

This route takes you from Plochingen to Stuttgart as the River Neckar flows in a westerly direction through a densely populated industrial are... read morea before curving northwards passing towns such as Ludwigsburg, Heilbronn and Neckarsulm. The river then cuts through the Odenwald with its typical hilly red sandstone and forested landscape where the banks are dotted with romantic villages and castles such as Heidelberg from where it is just another 26 river kilometres before the Neckar joins the River Rhine at Mannheim.

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River Elbe

Prague to Magdeburg

This route covers the River Elbe from Melnik to Magdeburg. 35 kilometres north of Prague the River Elbe is joined by the River Moldau at Melnik ... read moreand flows for another 110 river kilometres through the Czech Republic to the German border. The river cuts through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains and showcases some spectacular scenery known as the Saxon Switzerland. During the cold war it was partly a border river between East and West Germany and inland navigation to the Port of Hamburg was hindered as it passed through the German Democratic Republic. To avoid this the Elbe Lateral canal was built. After the two halves of Germany were reunited the original links were restored. The Iron Curtain also left the river banks undeveloped and today they have still retained their natural look. The Elbe flows past some famous towns and cities such as Dresden, Wittenberg and Magdeburg before draining into the North Sea at Hamburg, Germany's "Gateway to the World."

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Netherlands Belgium Delta (part 2)

Namur to Rotterdam

This route follows the River Meuse from Namur in Belgium in a northerly direction passing through the city of Liege and entering the Netherlands ... read moreat Maastricht. The river has some beautiful towns and its hilly countryside rivals their beauty along the way. It then continues along the canalised Meuse through the hilly province of Limburg towards Nijmegen, which it reaches via the Meuse Waal Canal. Here it joins the main tributary of the River Rhine, known as the Waal and continues in a westerly direction passing towns such as Tiel, Zaltbommel and Gorinchem, where the river becomes the Merwede. At Werkendam it follows the upper Merwede and continues north where it becomes the River Noord at Dordrecht. When it reaches Kinderdijk with its 19 windmills it is called the New Meuse, which flows through the city of Rotterdam and continues as the port of Rotterdam for another 35 river kilometres to the Hook of Holland. In the Netherlands the Meuse is called the Maas.

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Netherlands Belgium Delta (part 3)

Arnhem to Antwerp

This route follows the waters of the Rhine from the bifurcation at the town of Millingen in a northwesterly direction to Arnhem and then in a west... read moreerly direction as the Lower Rhine. On the way it flows past the Eco friendly Dutch floodplain landscape with hills in the background and an enormous floodwater barrier and many quaint towns. At Wijk bij Duurstede the river crosses the Amsterdam Rhine Canal and becomes the Lek and passes splendid towns such as Schoonhoven until it reaches the famous windmills at Kinderdijk, where it continues south as the River Noord to the town of Dordrecht, here it becomes the Old Meuse and the Dordtse Kil. It then continues southwest becoming an enormous body of water known as the Holland Deep, crammed with sailing yachts and cargo ships, with the huge oil refinery complex at Moerdijk lining its bank, at the end of which is the small fortified town of Willemstad. The route then takes you through the Rhine Scheldt Canal to Antwerp, a fascinating canal bordering the open sea arms of Zeeland.

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Netherlands Belgium Delta (part 4)

Maastricht to Ghent

The Netherlands is a delta of three rivers, The Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt. This route follows the waters of the Meuse via the Albert Canal toward... read mores Antwerp, from where it follows the waters of the Scheldt through the port of Antwerp in the direction of the North Sea. Upon entering the Netherlands the Scheldt becomes an open sea arm known as the Western Scheldt. Here enormous container ships sail to and from the port of Antwerp. At Terneuzen it follows the Canal Ghent Terneuzen which ends in Ghent.

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