With so many rivers coursing through Europe, Asia and beyond, it can prove difficult to plan the best river cruise for you. From the 6,300km length of the Yangtze to the ten countries visited along the Danube, the choice is extensive. So, we have compiled the five river cruise destinations you really should visit before you kick the bucket, making it easy for you to choose from the best.

Budapest

Nighttime cityscape of Budapest along the Danube

Visiting ten destinations along its journey, the Danube is the perfect setting for river cruises. Hungary is a particular highlight, nestled between Austria and Romania and hosting its memorable capital city, Budapest.

Effortlessly combining historical attractions and cosmopolitan city life, Budapest is a top river cruise destination to please everyone. Visit its cobbled streets, baroque architecture and scenic squares, paired with some of the most sophisticated culinary styles and captivating cultures.

Siem Reap

Landmark in Cambodia - Siem Reap is a popular destination

For a trip further afield, a river cruise along the Mekong provides a taste of Asia like no other – visiting a range of outstanding landmarks and enchanting towns. One of the most popular ports is Siem Reap, Cambodia’s gateway to the temples of Angkor and one of the most historically significant archaeological sites in all of Asia.

It is easy to spend your days here, exploring the lively markets, sitting down at the bars and restaurants at night and taking a visit to the nearby floating villages on Tonle Sap lake.

Turin

View of the rooftops in Turin

Cruise through Italy along the Po River and visit Turin – home to art, architecture and artisan living. Enjoy the compact city life where narrow cobbled streets lead to exceptional sights at every turn. This Alp-fringed country takes inspiration from a number of other cities seen in the Parisian tree-lined boulevards and Viennese art nouveau cafes.

Turin is also the place where chocolate was first sold and was deemed the sweet’s capital throughout the late 18th Century. Try the giandujotto, a combination of roasted hazelnut and fruit flavours which later inspired the infamous chocolate spread, Nutella.

Chongqing

Intricate temple in Chongqing

A popular port on Yangtze river cruises, Chongqing is a modern city on the upper reaches of the river. Providing a stopover on the way to and from the Three Gorges as well as being close to several Giant Panda reserves and centres, Chongqing is the perfect place to experience China and its fascinating culture.

Sample the spicy hot pot, including thinly sliced meat, quail eggs and mushrooms; a staple within the region. Hike through Wulong Karst Geological Park, a few hours away from Chongqing and a stunning UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore Ciqikou Old Town for a journey back to the Ming and Qing dynasties, where tourists can find porcelain pieces and pastries for sale.

Aswan

Picturesque port of Aswan - featured on river cruises on the Nile

A calm and peaceful region along the Nile, Aswan is home to colourful villages, museums and magnificent temples. Far from the hustle and bustle of Cairo, Aswan offers a laid-back atmosphere that is perfect for those looking to combine their Egypt river cruise with both discovery and relaxation.

Visit the Sharia as-Souq and take your pick from Nubian talismans, African masks and colourful baskets, as well as locally sourced foods and hand-made products. Take to the Nile and cross to Elephantine Island, where a charming Nubian museum, Animalia, resides and villages thrive.

Whether you visit riverside markets or spiritual temples, the rivers of the world are fascinating to explore and enjoy. Each one offers diverse voyages of discovery that make for the perfect 2018 river cruise.

Have you been to any of these destinations? Let us know in the comment box below.

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About Emma Smith

Emma has more than six years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for over a year. She loves learning of new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in diary for 2020! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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