Choosing the Right Europe River Cruise

So you want to go on a European river cruise

Danube River Cruise

Photo courtesy of Aaron Saunders,

Did you know you can choose from 12 routes in Europe? It’s not easy deciding which to take when they all offer fantastic experiences. To help you narrow down where in Europe you would like to take your river cruise, here’s a summary of your options.

Bordeaux River Cruise

Location: Western France

Viking and Uniworld started offering river cruises to the famous wine region this spring and it has been well received by not only wine lovers but the travel enthusiasts. On a Bordeaux river cruise, learn about the operations of famous chateaux and visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites, whilst sailing past rolling hills along the banks of the Gironde estuary and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers.

Perfect for people interested in:  wine, French history and culture, foodies.

Danube River Cruise

Location: Eastern and Western Europe. Depending on your itinerary, countries include Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

Along with the Rhine river, the Danube river is a popular river cruise route. Whether you want to explore Western or Eastern Europe, a cruise along this busy waterway is one of the best ways to do so, bringing you to a handful of countries in 8 days. If you’d like to go from east to west or vice versa, longer trips are also available. You can even go from one end of the Danube to the other at nearly 2000 miles.

Perfect for people interested in: history, diverse culture, music, architecture, food and wine, beer.

Dnieper River Cruise

Location: Ukraine

Recent unrest in the area has had an effect on travel demand here, sailing through Ukraine on the Dnieper river gives you a look at life during the times of the Vikings, Tatars and Cossacks.  Influence from all three can be seen in Ukraine’s architecture, tasted in the cuisine, and experienced in the culture.

Perfect for people interested in: Ukrainian history and culture, Eastern European history, architecture.

Douro River Cruise

Location: Northern Portugal

Porto, Portugal

Porto, Portugal

The Douro Valley is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world. Not your typical Europe river cruise, you can’t just get off the ship and explore the town on a Douro river cruise. Towns are up in the hills, while terraced vineyards dominate the banks. Transportation to town is included in river cruises as are tours.

Perfect for people interested in: wine especially port, Portuguese history and culture, winemaking.

Elbe River Cruise

Location: Eastern Germany and part of the Czech Republic

Highlights along the Eble river include Baroque architecture, Germany’s capital city Berlin, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Worlitz Gardens. This route also takes you into the Czech Republic, visiting Litomerice, Melnik and Prague.

Perfect for people interested in: architecture, nature, German history.

Main River Cruise

Location: Germany

The Main river connects the Danube and Rhine rivers at the Main-Danube Canal. Usually, you’d sail the Main as part of a Danube and/or Rhine voyage, as well as the Moselle. There are Main only river cruises, though, that have you focusing on the Franconian and Bavarian regions of Germany.

Perfect for people interested in: German history, World War II, wine, architecture.

Moselle River Cruise

Location: Germany, France

Also spelled the Mosel (in France), you’ll see that a Moselle river cruise is often part of a Main or Rhine river cruise. Depending on the itinerary, you could be visiting France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Perfect for people interested in: wine, history, art, nature, pastries.

Po River Cruise

Location: Northern Italy

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Cutting through Northern Italy is the Po river. Like the Douro river cruise, it’s not your regular European river cruise. Sailing roundtrip Venice, you’ll visit destinations that require ground transportation from the river, places like Padua, Bologna, Verona, and Ferrara.

Perfect for people interested in: art history and the Renaissance, Italian culture.

Rhine River Cruise

Location: Western Europe. Countries visited include: Switzerland, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

The Rhine River is one of the top river cruise routes in Europe. With hilltop castles, medieval towns, and rolling vineyard hills, it’s easy to see why many people choose the Rhine river for their first river cruise experience. It’s a great way to see a few countries in one trip.

Perfect for people interested in: wine, poetry, art, history, nature, romance.

Rhone River Cruise

Location: Southern France

Sailing this Rhone river has you sampling cuisine in the gastronomical capital of France, sipping the famous wines of Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone, and exploring ancient ruins and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Avignon.

Perfect for people interested in: wine, art, history, gastronomy.

Seine River Cruise

Location: Northwestern France

Seine River in France

The quaintness of the banks of the River Seine.

A Seine river cruise immerses you in the streets of Paris, historic city centers along the Seine, and even takes you to the historic Normandy beaches. This route paired with a cruise on the Rhone river is an excellent introduction to France.

Perfect for people interested in: art, nature, fashion, WWII history.

Tulips and More River Cruise

Location: The Netherlands and Belgium

If you try to look up Tulips River, you won’t find one. This route visits Belgium and the Netherlands via the many waterways between the two countries  and you’ll find the itinerary under the Rhine River.We decide to call it Tulips and More here because all the river cruise lines have some marketing title mentioning these spring flowers. Offered only in the spring, most itineraries sail roundtrip Amsterdam, although Uniworld does offer a one-way cruises between Antwerp and Amsterdam.

Perfect for people interested in: medieval Gothic towns, 20th century battlefields, art lovers, and garden blossoms.

Still not sure where you want to go? Get all your questions answered by speaking with one of our River Cruise Specialists. Call 1-800-565-2784.

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