At 680 miles long, the River Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. Originating in the Krkonoše Mountains of north-western Bohemia, it crosses the lowlands of the Czech Republic into Germany, where it powers its way through the Elbe Sandstone Mountains before flowing out into the North Sea, 60 miles northwest of Hamburg. The Elbe basin is home to some of the most rewarding and breathtaking vistas of Europe, naturally making it a popular choice with many river cruisers.
An Elbe River cruise is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of Saxony and discover many treasures of Germany and the Czech Republic’s past whilst majestic sandstone rock formations, vast woodlands, ornate Gothic castles and inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Sites provide a spectacular backdrop to your journey. A host of historic, medieval towns and cities can be explored on your route, such as the beautifully restored capital city of Saxony, Dresden. A large number of itineraries start with overnight stays in Berlin and end with a stay in Prague or vice-versa, depending on which way you travel on the river.
Germany’s legendary capital offers a wealth of history to explore and of course, it’s the perfect place to visit if you want to immerse yourself in the legacy of the Second World War but also if you want to experience some of the country’s finest contemporary architecture. The legendary Reichstag Building, the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall Memorial are all tourist must-sees while the Pergamon Museum houses a host of world-renowned treasures.
Often regarded as Germany’s second city, Hamburg is one of a number of European cities which sometimes goes by the name of the Venice of the North and with its network of scenic waterways and canals, it’s not difficult to see why. It’s also a major port and a stroll along its Aussenalster area is a popular choice. Key architectural landmarks include the beautiful old Town Hall and the expansive Church of St Michael, with the city’s thriving botanical garden another key attraction.
Extensively rebuilt after being almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, Dresden survives today as one of Germany’s most thriving and contemporary cities boasting expertly-landscaped areas of lush greenery. There’s plenty of opportunity to step back in time too, with a visit to the celebrated Green Vault, home to a wealth of incredible artefacts and Zwinger, an ornate palace which houses a number of art galleries home to works by the likes of Rubens and Titian.
Dating back to the 10th century, this charming Czech city is one of the country’s oldest and set against a backdrop of some of its finest scenery. A walk through its winding streets is a showcase of incredible architecture from numerous historical periods, with must-see landmarks being St Stephen’s Cathedral, the eye-catching bishop’s residence and the 16th century House of the Black Eagle. A myriad side-streets offer a wealth of quant shops and food outlets to enjoy.