Europe is one of the world’s most popular destinations for river cruises and provides travellers with plenty of choice. River cruisers can visit wonderful villages, towns and cities across a plethora of iconic European nations, from Spain, Portugal and Italy in the south; France, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in the west; to Romania, Hungary and Serbia in the east.
From the ancient landmarks and vine-clad hillsides along the banks of the Rhine and Danube to the sun-soaked landscapes of Portugal, Spain and Italy on offer for those travelling on the Douro or Po, Europe offers unforgettable cruise experiences in every corner of the continent. Elsewhere, popular European waterways include the Seine, Rhone, Elbe, Moselle, Main and the Dutch Waterways among others.
The Rhine runs across large parts of western Europe, flowing through nations including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Rhine river cruises are very popular, offering travellers the opportunity to visit a combination of historic and scenic destinations across the European mainland, where beautiful vineyards, ancient cities and quaint ports provide the setting for discovery and exploration.
Destinations along the Rhine range from the vibrant cities of Basel, Cologne and Strasbourg to peaceful settlements including Rudesheim, Speyer and Breisach in the Rhine Valley – Germany’s gateway to the beautiful Black Forest – offering the perfect blend of cultures and landscapes.
As Europe’s longest river, the Danube offers a captivating and diverse cruise experience, flowing through a plethora of magnificent river ports between its source in the Black Forest of Germany to its end at the mouth of the Black Sea. This phenomenal waterway either passes through or borders 10 countries and an incredible four capital cities on its way across Europe. These include Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade, each of which is home to a wealth of historic landmarks and cultural attractions. Other intriguing and popular ports along the river include Linz, Esztergom, Passau and Vidin.
A river cruise along the Seine is the perfect way to see wonderful destinations across beautiful northern France. This stunning river rises in the town of Dijon near the Swiss Alps, running for nearly 500 miles across the spectacular French countryside and through numerous cities on its way to the port of Le Havre on the English Channel.
The Seine flows directly through the French capital of Paris, offering guests the ideal opportunity to disembark and explore this world-famous destination, where landmarks and attractions include the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre.
For a sun-drenched river cruise, the Douro is the perfect option, stretching across northern Spain and Portugal. Get a taste of local culture, visit historic cities and gain an insight into the region’s renowned wine production at a number of charming vineyards along the scenic riverbanks.
Some of the Douro’s most beautiful destinations include Porto, Regua, Pinhao and Salamanca, as well as the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, which although not situated on the river is often included at the start of many Douro itineraries.
Europe river cruise tips
- Though currencies do vary across Europe, the Euro goes a long way in many ports.
- Europe river cruises are an excellent choice for wine-lovers, especially in the Rhine Valley.