A river cruise gives you the opportunity to visit several countries in one holiday and see the most famous sights of every town and city that you visit.
You can enjoy river cruises across the world, from Europe’s many rivers to Asia, China and even Africa’s spectacular waterways. Here are our some of the most popular rivers to cruise on across the world.
Where can you sail on a river cruise?
Beautiful countryside, wine-rich valleys and dramatic gorges are all yours to experience as you travel and with a river cruise, the scenery is constant and ever-changing. As you travel from port to port, you’ll see wonders both natural and man-made, passing through stunning valleys and intricate lock systems.
One of Europe’s most iconic rivers, a river cruise on the Danube offers the opportunity to visit a host of countries including Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Covering 1,770 miles, from Germany’s Black Forest and emptying into the Black Sea, via the Danube Delta, this vast river provides the opportunity to explore large cities including Strasbourg, historic Vienna and the ever popular Budapest.
Douro river cruises provide a delightful way to experience the dramatic scenery and sun-soaked landscapes of Spain and Portugal. Experience the dramatic scenery and sun-soaked landscapes of Spain and Portugal along the 550-mile long Douro river, the third-largest river on the Iberian Peninsula. The Douro is one of Europe’s most photogenic river valleys with its dramatic cliffs and vineyards, flowing gently across central Spain and northern Portugal to its outlet into the Atlantic Ocean.
Streaming through the Netherlands and Belgium, the Dutch Waterways are the densest inland waterways in Europe. From flower-filled fields and impressive windmills to historic cities and picturesque villages that line the banks of these waterways, a river cruise along the Dutch Waterways is a perfect way of seeing the beautiful lowlands of Holland and Belgium. Travel between some of the region’s most enthralling and historic towns and cities such as Amsterdam, Kinderdijk and Antwerp.
At 680-miles long, the Elbe is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. An Elbe river cruise is the perfect way to experience the true beauty of Saxony and discover the 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.
One of the more significant of the Rhine’s numerous tributaries, the Main begins its journey near Kulmbach at the convergence of the Red Main and White Main waterways. From there, it flows through the valleys of the German Highlands before crossing the Lower Main Lowlands, where it then discharges into the Rhine river. With a length of 527-miles, it is the longest right tributary of the Rhine and the longest river lying entirely in Germany.
The 340-mile long Moselle flows through the beautiful Lorraine region, before entering the southern corner of Luxembourg where just west of the town of Trier, it turns away towards Germany and eventually joins the Rhine at Koblenz.
The river Po flows to the east across northern Italy from its source in the scenic hillsides of Pian del Re, before ending its 400-mile journey at the Venice Lagoon. Cutting through the heart of Italy, a river cruise along this stunning waterway provides guests with the chance to explore beautiful towns and cities across the north of Italy, including famous destinations such as Venice, Turin and Verona.
A river like no other, the Rhine’s banks are home to more historical and world famous cities than any other river in the world. Flowing through countries including France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, a cruise down the Rhine offers fashion and art lovers the opportunity to take in the cosmopolitan city of Dusseldorf, whilst history and art lovers can enjoy a visit to the 2,000 year old city of Cologne.
Cruise the Rhône river and immerse yourself in the natural and cultural wonders of France and Switzerland on one of Europe’s major waterways. The river splits into two smaller waterways, known as the Great Rhône and Little Rhône, at the city of Arles, flowing through many historically significant and fascinating towns and cities and has been an important trade route and important cultural icon for centuries.
The Saone is a major tributary of the River Rhone, passing through a wide selection of captivating ports across Switzerland and France on its way to the city of Lyon, where it joins the Rhone. Cruises along the Saone therefore, often link to the Rhone at some point in order to lengthen itineraries and offer a more expansive tour of France, sailing further south towards the beautiful and iconic French Riviera.
The River Seine, one of Paris’ most iconic landmarks, flows for 486 miles and takes you through some of France’s best-known cities and regions. On a Seine River cruise, typically travelling from Honfleur or Rouen on the Normandy coast to Paris or vice-versa, you will discover the true beauty of Northern France, gliding past storybook chateaux and medieval towns, discovering why artists throughout the centuries have found inspiration in these regions, from the suburbs of Paris to the fishing villages of Normandy.
Venture further afield
Further afield, river cruisers can explore the exotic landscapes and tropical scenery of Asian riverbanks or African waterways. As these are further, they tend to last a little longer and include a flight to and from your destination.
With wonderful wildlife, captivating cultures and national parks galore, the Chobe river offers the best chance to capture life along the banks of Botswana and Namibia as you sail. Pass the borders of Chobe National Park, home to fauna including trooping elephants, hippos and sunbathing water monitors. Soak up the exciting atmosphere of bustling cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg, spot the Big Five at Kruger National Park, or even compliment your Chobe river cruise with a journey on the stunning Rovos Rail train.
One of Southeast Asia’s most important waterways and flowing through six rivers, the Mekong provides the perfect opportunity to sample the delights of the Far East. Sail through areas of outstanding natural beauty, stunning ancient landmarks and a wealth of cultural experiences, via historically important cities, including Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.
A Dnieper cruise generally begins in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, before passing through gently rolling hills, green forests and rich agriculture. Along the way, pass ancient villages, historic sites and modern industrial complexes before you cross the northern Black Sea from Kherson to the legendary Ukrainian shoreside towns of Yalta and Odessa. With ancient cities and grand monuments to uncover, Dnieper river cruises offer the perfect way to experience Ukraine’s rich history and culture.
The Irrawaddy River – also known as Ayeyarwaddy – stretches across the Asian nation of Myanmar, flowing from north to south through numerous captivating towns and cities. Travellers looking for new cultural experiences and a wealth of sightseeing opportunities will enjoy a luxury river voyage along the natural beauty of the Irrawaddy river. Taking in quaint villages, archaeological sites and the historical significance of the region, itineraries along the Irrawaddy River create memories that really will last a lifetime.
Discover authentic American culture in each new destination on your Mississippi river cruise itinerary, soaking in the sights and sounds of true Americana and observing the beautiful scenery passing by as you sail in style along this world-famous waterway. A voyage along the Mississippi is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, during which you’ll truly appreciate some of America’s most fascinating and endearing towns and cities from one of the nation’s most legendary rivers.
The Nile is the longest river in the world and certainly one of the most famous, with many wonderful sights along the banks and ports. The river runs right through Cairo, the largest city in the whole of Africa, and is flanked by some of the most famous landmarks you’d find anywhere in the world. As such, Nile cruises are among the best in the world for a holiday filled with historic sights and wide-ranging culture.
The Volga is a unique river running through some of Russia’s iconic regions and passing extraordinary landscapes. Alongside Russia’s huge network of natural lakes and man-made canals, the river provides cruisers with a glimpse of some of Russia’s most fascinating and historically rich architecture from the comfort of their river view cabin or suite.
The Yangtze is the largest and longest river in China, flowing through 11 provinces and making a 4,000-mile journey through numerous major cities. Experience authentic Chinese culture and cuisine in a plethora of destinations along this mighty waterway, from the world-famous cities of Beijing and Shanghai, where ancient landmarks and soaring modern skyscrapers combine to create a unique and unforgettable setting, to the stunning areas of natural beauty and quaint towns situated along the banks of this iconic river.
If you’re longing to explore the world’s waterways aboard a luxurious cruise vessel, browse our fantastic river cruises and find the perfect itinerary for you.
If you have any questions about your cruise or would like more information on the cruises, call our Cruise Concierge team on 0800 197 0854 for award-winning assistance and service.