Speyer is famous for its Romanesque cathedral but visitors also enjoy pleasure boat excursion cruises on the Rhine River and Altrhein to see birdlife in nature reserves.
The historical town Speyer is mostly visited to see the magnificent cathedral (Dom), which is the largest Romanesque structure in Germany, and to visit one of the largest and best technology museums in Germany. However, visitors may also enjoy day-trip cruises on boats on the Rhine and Altrhein. Boat cruise excursions from Speyer focus on nature and particularly on birdlife present on islands and lakes left by the changing flow of the Rhine River.
Rhine Day-Trip Cruises from Speyer in Germany
The Middle Rhine with the Loreley Valley and endless castles are the most popular part of the Rhine River for day-trip cruises. However, despite the lack of a scenic steep valley, day-trip boat excursions are also available from Speyer with the emphasis on seeing nature including birdlife in nature reserves.
Through the centuries the flow of the Rhine has significantly altered in the region around Speyer. Changes in the meandering course of the Rhein left numerous oxbow lakes, canals, and islands. The term Altrhein (Old Rhine) refers to the parts of the river that remained connected to the river but aside from the main flow of the present stream.
Boat trips from Speyer are mostly 90-minutes circular cruises that go either up or down river to such old-river waters, which often form the centers of wildlife areas where birdlife can be observed.
Daily boat cruises are available from Speyer from early April to November 1. Sometimes, cruises only depart if a minimum number of travelers board.
In contrast to the practice on the open decks of larger boats, it is not acceptable to bring own food and drink onto the small Rhine River boats sailing from Speyer.
Rhine Boats Sailing from Speyer
Rhine River cruises from Speyer are currently fairly limited although the MS Pfälzerland cruises most afternoons. Multiple-day cruise boats frequently call in Speyer, as the Romanesque cathedral is one of the top architectural and historical sights to see on the Rhine.
In addition to the MS Pfälzerland, boats from Heidelberg and Karlsruhe sometimes have Speyer as a day-trip cruise destination.
MS Pfälzerland Rhine Day-Cruise Boat from Speyer
The MS Pfälzerland cruises most afternoons from Speyer except on Mondays on two routes:
- The one-hour Harbor and Rhine Cruise (Hafen- und Rheinfahrt) cruises through the modern harbor and then upstream to Altlußheimer Kirche before turning back to Speyer with marvelous views of the cathedral from the south.
- The 90-minute Reffenthaler Altrhein goes down the Rhine to a nature reserve with rich birdlife.
Tickets for the Pfälzerland cruises are only available on the ship. Only cash payment is accepted.
The MS Pfälzerland departs from the Rhine River promenade below the cathedral in Speyer.
More on the Rhine River in Germany
Day-Trip Excursions and Pleasure Cruises on the Rhine River:
- Middle Rhine (Loreley Valley) — UNESCO World Cultural Heritage-listed Area and the best part of the Rhine River for short and all-day boat cruises:
- cruise from Rüdesheim (cruise lines), Koblenz (cruise lines), winter & Christmas
- from Frankfurt — fast trains to the Rhine, or slow boat to the Rhine
- from Mainz and Wiesbaden
- Savings Tips, Best Cruise Lines
- Lower Rhine — Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bonn to Linz
- Special events: Cruises to Rhine in Flames Fireworks, Christmas and New Year’s Cruises in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, and Rüdesheim
- Moselle River Cruises (Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues, Trier, Koblenz, Burg Eltz)
- Cruises on the Main River in Frankfurt (or better By Train from Frankfurt to the Best Rhine Cruises)
- Cruises from Worms, Mannheim, Heidelberg (on the Neckar River)
- Cruises from Speyer
- Rhinefalls (Rhine Waterfalls, Schaffhausen, Stein am Rhein, Kreuzlingen) in Switzerland
Tips and Savings on Day-Trip Rhine Cruises
- The best part of the Rhine for day-trip excursion cruises in the Middle Rhine between Rüdesheim / Bingen and Koblenz. See Savings Tips and the Best Cruise Lines cruising in the Loreley Valley.
- Check train times for Germany (and most of Europe) at German Railways.