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Natural heritage

At the start of the 19th century, the Rhine's flow changed with each rising, creating and destroying islands and peninsulas, supplying humid zones and marshes. This large river took several meanderings, divided into several branches and sometimes spread over several kilometres in width. At this time, the ecosystem developed according to the whims of the river. Salmon swam upstream to spawn and the alluvial forests were created along the edge of the river. But in order to protect the villages from flooding, sanitize the marshes, ensure a better flow of the rising waters, and recover new land for farming, the River Rhine has been gradually tamed and canalised, further to significant development work. Nowadays, several nature reserves have been opened and maintain some of the last natural landscapes of the River Rhine. Don't miss them!

  • Nature reserve of the Offendorf forest

    Located on a former Rhine gravel bank, the nature reserve protects 60 hectares of alluvial forest. The whole of the natural site, deprived since 1977 of the Rhine's floods and their contributions in nutritious sediment, is flooded, at the start of the summer, by the rising of the water table during the period of the Rhine's high waters. Gigantic trees, mysterious reed beds and a large variety of water birds make up the attractions of this Alsace jungle.

  • Biesbosch National Park

    Biesbosch Natural Park lies in a brackwater zone in which freshwater and saltwater mix. Lying in the estuary of the Rhine and Maas in the North Sea, Biesbosch provides the ideal habitat for numerous kinds of animals and plants. Normal long ago for the western part of the Netherlands, large areas of reeds, meadows, islands full of willow trees and marshy woodland are still to be found in the national park. All the various forms of vegetation have been protected in Biesbosch, one of the biggest national parks in the Netherlands, since 1994.

  • Vineyards in the South-West of Germany.

    The region of Baden is one of the biggest wine regions in the south of Germany. The vineyards and small wine villages reach from the moutains of the Black Forest to the Rhine. The region is divided in several parts. Amongst others, in the touristic destination of the Black Forest, the wine region of the Markgräferland, the Tuniberg, Kaiserstuhl, Breisgau and Ortenau, germany's southernmost Riesling producing region. In Breisach am Rhein, you will find the Badische Winzerkeller, one of the biggest wine cellars in Europe. More information under www.badische-weinstrasse.de

  • Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue nature reserve in Riedstadt.

    Covering an area of 24 square kilometres, Kühkopf-Knoblochsaue is the largest nature reserve in the State of Hesse. It is home to exceptional flora and fauna, including bush willow, reed beds and Kühkopf island, surrounded by an ancient branch of the Rhine. This nature reserve gives us a good idea of what the Rhine area looked like before its banks were developed by Man.

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