Europe’s rivers are as beautiful as they are commercially vital, having long served as trade routes, shaping the growth of the continent.
Travelling along the important waterways, river cruises in Europe are one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to see the many stunning countries, cities towns, and landmarks along the banks.
Here’s our pick of the best and absolute must-do Europe river cruises.
Rhine, Maine, and Danube – A special favourite
For first-time Europe river cruising travellers, this is a great place to start. The course of the rivers from Netherlands to Hungary provide some of the best views in Europe.
From fairy tale castles precariously perched on lush hilltops, to hauntingly beautiful gothic cathedrals and luxurious palaces, herein lies a historian’s and photographer’s paradise.
The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal deserves a special mention. Peppered with 16 locks, some as high as 25 metres, watching the ship manoeuvre its way through the narrow locks with just a few centimetres’ space between the vessel and the lock’s sheer walls is quite an exhilarating experience.
Seine – For the romance and history
France almost always features on everybody’s list of places to visit on a Europe river cruise and with good reason.
A cruise down the Seine will reveal its numerous charming villages – the perfect setting to cycle through, its quaint structures – from 17th century castles to half-timbered houses, and the fine landscapes that have inspired the masterpieces of Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh.
Cruising further down the Seine, you will also have the unique opportunity to visit both World War I and World War II sites of the Somme battlefields and D-Day landings.
Bordeaux – Wine lover’s paradise
France is famous for its fine tipples. And if it is wine you’re after then a wine cruise through the Garonne will open up the wonderful world of the Bordeaux region.
Cycle through luxuriant vineyards, indulge your palate in delectable vintage wines and stroll through centuries old wine estates as you delve deeper into their rich past.
The Bordeaux region is also overflowing with history and culture and you will surely return from your Europe river cruise with more than just bottles of fine wine.
View the Beautiful Bordeaux river cruise.
Rhine and Moselle – A living fairy tale
Look for Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread house or tell Rapunzel to let down her hair from her medieval tower. Relive the tales of Brother’s Grimm at Germany’s Black Forest region near the Rhine valley.
Baroque palaces, renaissance ruins, ancient cities and roman relics, there’s so much to explore on a Rhine and Moselle cruise. The gorgeous vistas surrounding two of Europe’s most beautiful rivers make your Europe river cruise even more delightful.
Russia – A unique adventure
We’ve all secretly longed to visit the mysterious land of Russia. Well, there’s no better way to do so than by traversing its majestic waterways, from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
Diverse and beguiling, the architecture here is as unique as the people. Pleasant pastels and opulent golds give way to the kaleidoscope of colours of St. Basil’s Cathedral and curious wooden domes of the Church of Transfiguration.
See the mighty Kremlin, every bit as magnificent as you have imagined it to be and, of course, Russian vodka is absolutely divine.