Drinking in the history of Germany’s most famous castles – and drinking in unusual places – is on the menu for guests opting for Emerald Cruises’ newest European river sailing next year.

The introduction of its ‘Rhine Castles and Moselle Vineyards’ itinerary for summer 2024 offers the opportunity to grab a behind-the-scenes tour of the acclaimed Schloss Johannisberg vineyard – home to the world’s first Riesling winery – as well as exploring a host of historic homes, fortifications and monuments on the way.

Beginning in Amsterdam, the 11-day journey winds its way through the Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland to finish in Basel. Each day, guests will have a chance to explore fascinating cultural highlights, with an emphasis on medieval castles and must-see architecture.

For example, Oudaen City Castle, which dates back to 1276, is certainly worth a stop during a bicycle tour of Utrecht – the building now houses its own brewery! Meanwhile, in Nijmegen, a guided tour explores the 19 UNESCO-listed Kinderdijk Windmills, which are considered the finest examples of 18th century Dutch windmills.

For those who prefer their castles in storybook form, Marksburg Castle in Koblenz is straight from the pages of a Brothers Grimm fairytale, as it comes complete with knight’s hall, armoury, turrets and even an inviting wine cellar. Alternatively, in Bernkastel a guided walking tour through the medieval marketplace, with its gabled timber-framed houses and town gate, or stumble upon the Landshut Castle ruins overlooking the Moselle on another enchanting hike.

For wine lovers, the undoubted highlight of the trip will be the Schloss Johannisberg vineyard visit in Rüdesheim. Nestled at the foot of the Taunus mountains, the vineyard’s 300-acre forest grows native oak to make the wooden barrels housing its exemplary wine. These special barrels are stored in the 900-year-old abbey cellar, known as ‘Bibliotheca Subterranea’, where over 25,000 precious wines are kept. After a tour, a well-deserved tasting session is in order!

The Star-Ship’s call in Kehl also offers more wine tasting options, with an optional excursion to Strasbourg, the capital of France’s Alsace wine region. Take a wine route tour, or explore the medieval city by canal boat to see its famed covered bridges, half-timbered houses and the open squares of its Neustadt imperial quarter.

The 11-day Rhine Castles and Moselle Vineyards sailing takes in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Koblenz, Bernkastel, Cochem, Rüdesheim, Mainz, Kehl/Strasbourg, Breisach/Colmar and Basel. Prices start from £2,985 per person, including a Free Premium Drinks package, based on July- September 2024 departures.

For more information or to book, call 0808 301 8277, visit www.emeraldcruises.co.uk or contact your local travel agent.