River Cruise Buzz: Heidelberg and Speyer via Uniworld Cruises Rhine Holiday Markets Cruise
Day 4: Speyer and tour to Heidelberg
Uniworld Cruises’ S.S. Antoinette docked in Speyer, Germany today. This was a pleasant deviation to the original itinerary that indicated our boat would tie-up in Germersheim. I think it is good to remind potential cruisers that itineraries are subject to change and in our case, the modified schedule was in our favor.
Situated on the banks of the Neckar River, Heidelberg is one of Germany’s most beautiful cities and one of the best-preserved Medieval cities in Europe. It is also home to one of Germany’s oldest universities. Highlights include: Heidelberg Castle, Old Town, Heidelberg Christmas Market, which spans over five squares.
The tour bus left promptly at 9:00 am sharp. Four buses made their way from our river cruise boat to the Heidelberg area, which took about 45 minutes due to traffic (less than 30 minutes for the return). Some guests were dropped off at the Christmas market near the university while the rest of us headed to the top of the hill to discover Heidelberg Castle.
The castle is the largest castle ruin in Germany and certainly worth the effort to get off the ship. The rain did not discourage of from seeing the stunning architecture and the famous Great Tun and exploring the terraced garden, which has a great place to take photos of the Old City below.
Upon return to the ship we were personally greeted by the hotel manager Julie, given a warm towel to wash our hands and then presented with a huge pile of cookies to take the edge off the hunger before luncheon.
After a great lunch on the ship, we requested a couple bikes and rode into town from the ship. City center was less than 2 miles away.
Founded as a Roman fortress in 10BC, Speyer has an amazing Cathedral and the Christmas Market was charming.
Speyer is one of those perfect river cruise towns. The ship docks close enough to town so guests can walk into the center of the city or (depending on the weather) cruise passengers on Uniworld Cruises might take a bike ride into town. Either way, everything in Speyer is “right sized” to enjoy maximum immersion: shops, restaurants, and some of the city highlights are easily accessible.
Top attractions in Speyer, Germany
- Technik Museum Speyer
- Speyer Cathedral
- Enjoy a beer and a pretzel at the Hotel Domhof