Leisurely cruises of Europe’s gorgeous are the best to showcase the continent at its very. All you have to do is choose the cruise that ticks more of your boxes.
River cruising is rapidly becoming the go-to for living and breathing Europe’s most treasured big cities and village charms, with the added bonus of unpacking that bulging suitcase just the once! Your home away from home will be a luxurious suite on board a modern, intimate ship with no end of world-class amenities, not to mention exquisite dining and captivating entertainment as you sail to new and compelling destinations each day.
The only difficulty you’ll face with European river cruising is that are so many intriguing options available, it does get tricky setting your heart on just one. Of course, each river of the waterways is blessed with its own distinct personality and landscape; whether it’s the Rhine (often billed as “the romantic Rhine”), dotted with medieval castles, hillside vineyards and postcard towns; the Seine, Saone and Rhone rivers of France opening up a whole world of truly superb wine-tasting opportunities and numerous historical points of interest; or the majestic Danube with its glimpses into an array of fascinating cultures as you pass by up to 10 countries along the way. Here’s our guide to the best rivers to visit in Europe…
This is the second-longest river in Europe and the main artery on the continent at 2860km. Rising from the Black Forest mountains and flowing south to the Black Sea, the river swirls through:
- Hungary; and
- Romania, to name a few.
What the Danube gives you is the opportunity to unearth the diversity and rich history of so many of Europe’s cultural gems. For example, you’ll get to take in UNESCO World Heritage-listed Bamberg and see the medieval 14th-century Old Town Hall built on the middle of the Regnitz river, accessible only by two bridges.
As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also fall in love with the magical city of Vienna, home to some of the finest music and art ever created, and get to explore grand old Budapest, one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities offering a vibrant art scene and traditional coffee house culture. The Hungarian capital is bursting with famous attractions such as the neo-Gothic, neo-Romanesque Fisherman’s Bastion, offering incredible sweeping views of the Danube and the Parliament Building, and Chain Bridge, gloriously illuminating the river and the most photographed of the eight spans in the city.
The Rhine lays claim to some of the most incredible vistas imaginable, lined as it is with ancient castles, sprawling vineyards, historic towns and winding gorges that simply take your breath away.
Starting in the Swiss Alps, the river flows through the Rhineland before spilling onto the North Sea in the Netherlands. Highlights on the Rhine include:
- Amsterdam and its network of canals and classic architecture;
- Cologne, buzzing with cafes, bars and shops and famous for its gothic twin-steepled Cathedral;
- Rudesheim, deep in the Rhine Valley, home to lush vineyards and quaffable riesling; and
- Strasbourg, with its canals and half-timbered houses and alluring marriage of German and French culture.
The Seine, Saone and Rhone
Cruise the rivers of France and you’re absolutely spoilt with exquisite countryside, ancient Romanesque architecture, evocative war heritage and the very finest in wine and cuisine.
From Paris, the romantic City of Light, you can choose to cruise the Seine River through Northern France to the upper Normandy region visiting Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny and Normandy’s landing beaches.
Or south, down the Saone and Rhone rivers traversin the Burgundy Region past vivid lavender fields, rolling hills sprinkled with vineyards and ancient roman ruins sparkling with the Provencal light that inspired the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso.
Whichever river you choose to journey on, you will be captivated by France’s grandeur and beauty.