This “Breisach am Rhein” post is one of our collection of stories about taking a Rhine River Cruise.
Situated on the Rhine River, the town of Breisach am Rhein is often called the gateway to the Black Forest. It’s a popular place for cruise ships to dock; from there their passengers can visit the Black Forest, local wine towns and France’s Alsace region.
After spending the morning touring the Black Forest many of our shipmates spent the afternoon wandering around Breisach, visiting its cathedral and exploring its streets. We didn’t, though. We signed up to take the optional afternoon trip to Colmar. It was everything we had expected and we shared that with our dinner companions. They in turn told us that they’d really enjoyed touring picturesque Breisach and urged us to not miss the chance to see it.
How could we turn that down? It might be our only chance to ever see the city. So although our feet were tired from a day of walking we grabbed our cameras right after dessert and headed into town.
The sun had already set and street lights lit the cobbled streets, giving everything a golden hue.
Breisach’s medieval heart
We love the atmosphere of medieval towns and Breisach’s has it “in spades.” It was a significant stronghold of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century and it’s still very well preserved.
Once we walked through the city’s ancient gates we slowly meandered up the narrow, cobbled streets, enjoying the old homes along the way. Many of the homes sported window boxes overflowing with flowers.
At the top of the hill we came to the cathedral of St. Stephansmünster. St. Stephan’s dates from the 13th century, not long after Breisach became a free imperial town. Like most cathedrals it sits on the highest point, presiding over the very well preserved, heart of the city.
We sat there for a while and listened to the warm summer breeze rustling the leaves, then walked away from the church to the waist-high wall surrounding it. Looking over the edge we had a lovely view of the lights in the Rhine lowlands across the river.
Our stroll back to the ship was just as peaceful. Except for the occasional car passing by, the ancient stone walls and gateways made it feel like the town had been frozen in time.
As charming as the village was, we didn’t linger there to explore its shops. We wanted to savor the feeling of Breisach’s medieval past just a little while longer.
We’re looking for more cities like this. Can you suggest one?