After a morning of scenic cruising, the ship arrives in Germany’s oldest city today, Trier, which dates back to ancient Roman times (and was also the birthplace of Karl Marx). Get to know this fascinating locale with an in-depth city tour with an insightful local guide.
Spend this morning relaxing onboard the regal River Queen as the romantic Moselle River Valley unfolds before you. Quiet hamlets and magnificent castles dot the rolling hillsides, and each bend in the river reveals new and thrilling scenic surprises. The ancient Romans and Celts planted the first grapevines on these steep riverside slopes thousands of years ago, and you can see the remnants of their handiwork even today. Once the ship docks, you get to know Trier with a city tour.
Trier city tour
In ancient times Trier was the largest Roman settlement north of the Alps, and six emperors ruled the Western Empire from here. Remnants of that Roman city still stand, despite intervening centuries of warfare, earning it UNESCO protection. It’s easy to see the shape of the ancient Roman city, since the layout of the Old Town still exists. Start your visit at the Basilica of Constantine, one of two basilicas built by Emperor Constantine in AD 306. The throne room is the largest surviving single-room structure from Roman times in Germany; it features two tiers of windows with high-rising arches that even now show some of the original wall paintings. The other basilica is St. Peter’s Cathedral, home to the Holy Tunic, a sacred relic donated by Constantine’s mother, St. Helena. Your route to Porta Nigra, the great double-arched stone gate that is all that remains of the Roman wall that used to surround Trier, takes you through Market Square. Though it is the lively heart of the district, even here you can spot Roman ruins: The cross in the center stands on a Roman plinth. You have some time to enjoy Trier on your own, too. If you happen to notice people flocking to an old burgher’s house just outside the pedestrian zone, you’ll have found the house where Karl Marx was born; it is now a museum. Later, enjoy some scenic cruising along the upper Moselle River.