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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!

  • Ile de Rhinau Nature Reserve

    The Ile de Nature Reserve is one of the most impressive riverside woodland areas in the whole of Alsace. It is home to a wide diversity of species living on the materials deposited by the river's high waters. As a result of being directly linked to the Rhine, the woodland areas are regularly flooded throughout the year thus maintaining their alluvial character. A multitude of characteristic plant and animal species that are perfectly adapted to the environment all live close together here under widely differing conditions.

  • 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.

  • Lampertheim Nature Reserve

    The Lampertheimer Nature Reserve is one of the most important wildlife conservation areas in the northern part of the Upper Rhine. A dominant feature of the 525-hectare area, which includes the Biedensand peninsular and the shallow Lake Welsch Loch, is the natural flood dynamics of the Rhine.

  • 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.

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