Take time to ‘explore, dream, discover’ on Neckar River

Every year, thousands of tourists tour Germany’s most famous waterways – the Rhine, Elbe and Danube rivers. But if you don’t have the time or money to go on a 10-day cruise, perhaps a local day cruise right here in Stuttgart is more your style.  

The Neckar-Käpt’n takes visitors on scenic day outings along the Neckar River.

Cruises include tours with the Neckar Käptn’s flag and largest ship the MS Wilhelma, as well as the  MS Stuttgart, MS Liberty and the “Partyfloss,” or party raft, according to Beatrix Töricht, spokeswoman for the Neckar-Käpt’n.

Patrons can choose between different tours and event cruises that take off from the Wilhelma pier in Bad Cannstatt.

The Max-Eyth-Lake cruise, for example, takes visitors on a tour of Stuttgart’s city districts Bad Cannstatt, Münster and Hofen. During the trip, patrons will pass the Max-Eyth-See, one of Stuttgart’s most popular leisure areas. The one-hour tour is offered Tuesday through Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and during the German summer break (July 25 to Sept. 7) at 1 p.m.

The Neckar Park tour offers soccer, party and car enthusiasts a glimpse into the world of automobiles, sports and the Cannstatter Wasen fest grounds. Visitors will pass the Cannstatt lock and stop at the Neckar Park. The Neckar Park marks the Cannstatter Wasen fest grounds, where the spring fest and beer festival is held annually, as well as the Mercedes-Benz Arena, home to Stuttgart’s soccer team. The Mercedes-Benz Museum next to the stadium boasts 125 years of automotive history.   

For a good view of the Cannstatter Wasen fest grounds, Töricht recommends the Neckar Park tour when the spring fest or the Cannstatter beer festival is held.

The one-hour tour departs Wednesday through Sunday at 1:45 p.m. The tour is not offered during the German summer break.

During the Harbor tour, patrons cruise through the Cannstatt and Untertürkheim locks all the way to Stuttgart’s industrial harbor.

According to Töricht, the best way to explore a harbor is by boat. Visitors can see all the ships exporting or importing goods from the Neckar River, to the Rhine and the North Sea to the world or vice versa.

“Another highlight during the harbor tour is that people will have a beautiful view on one of Stuttgart’s landmarks, the Sepulchral Chapel on Württemberg Hill,” Töricht said.

The chapel was built by King Wilhelm I between 1820-24 for his beloved wife and Queen of Württemberg, Katharina Pawlowna.

The two-hour tour is offered through Oct. 20 each Wednesday and Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

All tours take off from the Wilhelma pier in Bad Cannstatt. But there are more stops throughout the Neckar-Käptn’s routes giving visitors the chance to hop on or off a boat.

“There are many different ways that people can combine a boat tour with a trip to a historic landmark or city that we pass during our cruises,” Töricht said.

Töricht recommends the Hessigheim cruise line from Marbach to Hessigheim, located 25 kilometers north of Stuttgart.

“The cruise from Marbach to Hessigheim is very scenic. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the wine hills and nice shores,” Töricht said. “The great thing about a boat trip is that people can always see two shores from different perspectives.”

Patrons can choose between taking the S-Bahn train to Marbach and then hop on the Neckar-Käpt’n or take off from the Wilhelma pier from Wednesday through Sunday at 11 a.m.

“For visitors to Stuttgart, a boat tour is ideal. During the tour, they are introduced to landmarks and sites and they can always come back on their own and explore more,” Töricht said.

The Relax Coffee Tour makes for a pleasant afternoon outing. Visitors can enjoy nature and scenery with coffee and cake. The three-hour tour takes off from the Wilhelma pier toward Remseck every Tuesday at 3 p.m.

For party enthusiasts, the event cruises offer a Disco Pasta Night with a pasta buffet and music. The “Flösserbrunch,” and the “Huckleberry’s Flossfahrt” are party rafts that offer both barbecue and drinks.  Another outing is the “Musik und Wein an Bord,” that promises an evening of wine and live music with accordion player Jörg Langer on board the Neckar-Käpt’n, according to Töricht.

“During a boat trip, visitors can get a panoramic view of the countryside and nature,” Töricht said. “It’s a wonderful way to get away from the everyday hustle, relax and dive into a different world on a slower pace.”

All Neckar-Käpt’n boats can be booked for groups and special occasions.

Patrons booking a tour on their birthdays can cruise for free if they bring a valid ID. Event cruises are exempt from the offer.

Landmarks or outings along the way include the Ludwigsburg Castle, Friedrich Schiller’s (famous German poet) birth home in Marbach, wine tastings in Besigheim and Hessigheim, and the Wilhlema Zoological and Botanical Garden (a five-minute walk from the pier).

Audio guides are available in English on the MS Wilhelma.

For reservations, routes, prices, family specials and more information in English, visit www.neckar-kaeptn.de or call civ. 0711-54997060.