European river cruises offer an idyllic way to travel, cruising through some of the most famous waterways, enjoying beautiful scenery whilst relaxing in comfortable cabin accommodation.
Europe’s rich history and diverse natural beauty can be explored at a leisurely pace with a cruise along its picturesque rivers and canals.River cruises are becoming increasingly popular way to see countries and continents from a relaxed and often elegant perspective. Europe river cruises show a side of Europe that is not seen by many of the coastal European cruises. Relax on board as you pass magnificent scenery, castles, vineyards and quaint villages. On a European river cruise you journey right into the heart of Europe and dock in the center of town making it convenient and easy to explore. Culture and history surround you. In the spring, the Dutch Waterways treat you to a spectacular floral show that should not be missed. Vineyards abound and wine cruises highlight the regions harvests. Most of Europe’s great cities developed along the banks of these rivers, and their historic trading ports now service cruise ships carrying passengers from all over the world. The ports provide easy access to world-famous attractions, museums and shopping districts without the hassle of transport connections.
Famous River Cruise Itinerary in Europe
If you like wine, this is the river cruise for you, as it sails through Provence and Burgundy, two of France’s top wine-making regions. You’ll cruise past acres of vineyards and have ample opportunities to taste the local grapes. Typical Itinerary: The Rhone rises in Switzerland and flows into France, emptying into the Mediterranean near Arles. The Saone rises in France. They converge at Lyon, where the Saone becomes the Rhone.The main itinerary is a seven-night cruise from Lyon to Arles or nearby Avignon, or the reverse. (Some cruises also depart from Chalon-sur-Saone, just north of Lyon.) If you’re cruising from Lyon, you’ll fly into Lyon airport, from which it’s a short transfer to your river boat, and out of Marseilles, which is about one hour, 15 minutes by car from Arles. Some operators fly you in and out of Lyon, with a coach trip between Avignon and Lyon at the start or end of the cruise.
Danube River Cruises
Go got Danube cruises range from 9 to 16 days and showcase all that this region has to offer. On a cruise from Vienna to Nuremberg or Budapest to Passau, guests encounter quaint villages and grand cities. Experience Vienna’s imperial architecture, vibrant classical music and gracious culture, and tour riverside towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley. And in Germany, explore a baroque cathedral and stroll cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses. Visit charming Regensburg, where you’ll find one of the most well-preserved cities in Germany. Also enjoy a guided tour of the historic Benedictine Abbey in Melk, considered one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in Europe.
If you like scenery, you’ll love cruising the Douro River, which twists and turns through steep, vine-clad slopes and rocky outcrops as it makes its way from Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal, to the Spanish border. An added attraction is port, the fortified wine that took its name from the city. The drink is a local celebrity, so there’ll be plenty of tastings en route. The Douro rises in north central Spain and flows southwest and into northern Portugal, emptying into the Atlantic at Porto. Riverboat lines all cruise the same itinerary, sailing from Porto to Vega de Terron, on the border with Spain, a distance of 210km (130 miles). You pass through five locks as you go. At Vega de Terron riverboats have to turn back because the river is no longer navigable.
Rhine River Cruises
Rhine River cruises ensure you enjoy both the relaxation of cruising life and the opportunity to explore some of the most impressive and fascinating destinations in Europe. In addition to touring the cities of Amsterdam and Basel at either ends of your Rhine River cruise, you’ll visit the German cities of Dusseldorf, Cologne, Speyer and more. Rhine and Maine River Cruise, the vacation begins with a two-night stay in beautiful Prague. Stroll the Old Town and Charles Bridge and tour St. Vitus Cathedral and St. George Basilica before setting sail for Nuremberg, Rudesheim, Cologne and Amerstedam.
This is a cruise for anyone who loves discovering the past. You’ll have a bit of time in Berlin and Prague at the start and end of the cruise and discover the birthplace of the Reformation along the way. The Elbe rises in the Czech Republic, flows into Germany and empties into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, near Hamburg. There is only one cruise option — seven nights, sailing either from Magdeburg in Germany to Melnik in the Czech Republic, or vice-versa. You’ll either fly into Berlin and out of Prague or the other way around, depending which direction you are sailing. Stops include Wittenberg, the birthplace of the Reformation; Meissen, famous for its eponymous porcelain; and Dresden, which was levelled by Allied bombers towards the end of the Second World War. You’ll also cruise through craggy Saxon Switzerland and call at Litomerice, a pretty little Czech town with a mix of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque buildings.
Romantic Danube Itinerary from Viking River Cruises