Upper-Rhine

As the Rhine leaves the mountains of Switzerland, it snakes across a vast plain carved out of the landscape by glaciers and cataclysmic primeval floods. This landscape forms the Upper Rhine basin, extending until the river cuts through the Middle-Rhine Gorge. This fertile valley formed the core of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. The river’s watershed connected trade routes from all directions and let the Emperor communicate with distant vassals.

For travelers today, the Rhine valley allows us to experience the imperial majesty of a forgotten Empire. Soaring cathedrals, sweeping vineyards, and secluded mountain fortresses dot an ancient landscape. Though scarred by the tragedy of war, there is still much to see and experience in this region today.

Select a Region to Explore in Detail

Alsace

Alsace

The wealth of the Alsace comes from its fertile hills and bounty of the Rhine. So desirable was the Alsace that it remained under the direct control of the Emperors in Speyer, Vienna, Berlin, and Paris for centuries. Each subsequent power was determined to leave its mark. The region has a trove of historical heritage and local tradition, making it one of the best destinations in Europe.
Baden

Baden

The Baden we see here is a 19th-century construct that forcibly combines the Franconian-Protestant North with the Alemannic-Catholic South. The only thing that unites Baden is the Black Forest, which forms a rugged spine across the region. Today, the land remains one of many different cultural traditions, from the cosmopolitan Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe, the pastoral Black Forest villages, to the almost-Swiss speaking southerners in Freiburg.
Electoral Palatinate

Electoral Palatinate

The story of the Electoral Palatinate starts with a leading role as the heartland of the medieval Holy Roman Empire. The Salian and Hohenstaufen Dynasties founded cities and raised monuments to cement their rule. As their glories faded into the past, their monuments fell victim to those seeking to erase their legacy. The story we see today is about reconstruction from the ashes of war.
Middle-Rhine Valley

Middle-Rhine Valley

The Middle-Rhine Valley is one of the most iconic landscapes in Germany. The mighty Rhine River cuts through a range of dramatic cliffs topped with castles, monasteries, and fortifications. Below, barges and ships ply the waters between its many medieval towns as they have for centuries. As you stand on the cliffs overlooking the Rhine, one of Europe’s most incredible cultural landscapes extends out in front, waiting for you.
Mosel Valley

Mosel Valley

The Prince-Archbishops of Trier, Electors of the Imperial Throne, dominated the Mosel Valley. Their legacy is debt owed to the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, who founded the city of Trier and gifted it to the church. Ecclesiastical rule preserved many of the ancient ruins as symbols of power, and their lands remain today full of mysteries waiting for you to discover them.

Return to the Historical Regions of Europe

Historical Regions

Explore Europe from the perspective of ages past, when borders were different and when regional identities were stronger.