Our Recommendations for the Best of Europe’s River Cruise Itineraries

Lockie Kerr

Written by Lockie Kerr

July 2023

Embark on a captivating European river cruise and explore the heart of the continent. Sail along picturesque waterways, discovering iconic cities, charming towns, and breathtaking landscapes. Immerse yourself in rich history and culture as you visit castles, medieval villages, and renowned landmarks. Indulge in exquisite cuisine and fine wines onboard your luxurious ship. From the Danube’s grandeur to the Rhine’s romance, each river offers a unique experience. Whether seeking relaxation or adventure, a European river cruise promises an extraordinary voyage through diverse and captivating destinations. Join us as we highlight our favourite itineraries with our travel partner, Riviera Travel, showcasing the best of Europe’s rivers.

Bavarian town of Miltenberg, Germany

8-Day Burgundy, the River Rhône and Provence River Cruise

Enjoy a delightful cruise to one of the most picturesque corners of France, where natural beauty and historical splendour intertwine. From the rolling slopes of the scenic winelands to the enchanting hills of Provence, immerse yourself in the impressive French landscape. Your journey will follow the path of the Saône and Rhône rivers, tracing the routes favoured by traders and invaders throughout history. The echoes of the mighty Roman Empire resonate everywhere, with remarkable remnants of their presence. Guided tours will take you to Lyon, a city steeped in history, as well as the historic gems of Vienne and Beaune, where you’ll indulge in a delightful wine tasting experience. Prepare to be amazed by the engineering marvels of the Arles amphitheatre and the grand Pont du Gard aqueduct. Avignon, once the Papal seat during medieval times, exudes a century of magnificence, embodied by the captivating Papal Palace and its remarkable Renaissance art collection. It was in the sun-drenched landscapes of Provence that Van Gogh found inspiration, creating some of his most iconic masterpieces. Prepare to be entranced by the landscapes, history, and artistic legacy that await you at every turn.

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Saint Benezet Bridge and Palace of the Popes, Avignon, France

8-Day Douro, Porto and Salamanca River Cruise

Discover one of Europe’s best-kept secrets in a region of Portugal and Spain that remains undiscovered by many. Immerse yourself in the charm of sleepy villages such as Peso da Régua and medieval towns that have stood the test of time, nestled within the breathtaking rolling hills and terraced vineyard slopes of the stunning Douro Valley. Your journey commences in the Roman city of Porto, renowned as the birthplace of Port wine. The once wild Douro River has been tamed into a series of finger lakes, thanks to impressive locks that enhance the valley’s ambiance. Leaving behind the lush greenery influenced by the Atlantic coast, you’ll find yourself immersed in a Mediterranean landscape adorned with olives, vineyards, and picturesque medieval villages perched atop hills. Your ultimate destination lies in the upper reaches of the valley, where you’ll venture to Salamanca, home to one of Europe’s oldest universities, magnificent cathedrals, Spain’s finest city square, and even remnants of the Inquisition. Prepare to fall in love with the tranquility of this off-the-beaten-path experience, as you visit some of Iberia’s most exquisite medieval towns, monasteries, and vineyards. You’ll feel as though you’ve been transported away for months, enveloped in the beauty and serenity that defines this remarkable region.

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MS Douro Serenity

8-Day The Blue Danube River Cruise

Immerse yourself in the cultural riches of Europe’s most cultured river, where grand baroque architecture, medieval cities, charming towns, and the inspirations of Strauss and Mozart await. Setting off from Budapest, embark on a fascinating journey that takes you north to Esztergom. Spend the morning exploring its historic centre, once Hungary’s capital, before continuing westwards to the captivating old town of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. As you navigate through Lower Austria, you’ll reach the romantic town of Dürnstein, known for its association with Richard the Lionheart’s imprisonment after a shipwreck during his return from the crusades. The next stop is the remarkable Melk Monastery, featuring the Emperor’s Gallery adorned with portraits of Austrian emperors. The journey continues to Linz, where you can explore its baroque old town on a guided tour. Alternatively, take a short trip to Salzburg for a guided tour of the charming old town. Arrive in classical Vienna, where you’ll witness the splendour of the Spanish Riding School. Finally, cruising back into Hungary, you’ll return to the imperial city of Budapest, with its picturesque presence along the Danube.

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Buda Castle and the Royal Palace on the Danube, Hungary

11-Day Cologne, the Rhine Gorge & Medieval Germany River Cruise

Embark on a remarkable cruise that unveils the awe-inspiring beauty of the renowned Middle Rhine Valley. You’ll navigate the Main-Danube Canal, a magnificent engineering achievement. Delve into the hidden gems of medieval treasures including ‘Town of the Roses’ Braubach and wander the cobbled streets of photogenic Miltenberg, venturing beyond the typical tourist path. Follow the legendary Romantic Road, visit the charming Rothenburg and immerse yourself in the enchantment of Germany’s exceptional winelands. Other highlights on this trip include Rüdesheim, Mainz, Würzburg, Ochsenfurt and Bamberg. Experience a journey that celebrates the wonders of nature, history, and the art of winemaking, promising an unforgettable exploration of stunning landscapes and cultural delights.

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Old Town Hall in Bamberg, Germany

8-Day The Seine, Paris and Normandy River Cruise

Experience the wonders of Normandy as you cruise along the majestic Seine, exploring historic sites that have left an indelible mark on the world. Your journey will take you through the enchanting city of Rouen, renowned for its magnificent cathedral and medieval charm. In the idyllic village of Caudebec, enjoy a leisurely evening stroll and immerse yourself in the authentic atmosphere of a typical French village. The next stop is Bayeux, where you’ll marvel at the legendary Bayeux tapestry and pay homage to the profound monuments along the Normandy coast. Reflect on the remarkable story of the D-Day landings when you visit Gold Beach and witness the remnants of Mulberry Harbour. In Vernon, a short drive will lead you to Giverny, where you’ll delve into the world of renowned artist Claude Monet at his home and the mesmerising gardens. As this journey concludes, arrive in the captivating city of Paris, a haven of romance and inspiration. From iconic landmarks like the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower to world-class cultural treasures like the Louvre and the Pompidou Centre, Paris never fails to leave a lasting impression.

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Port et bassin de Honfleur - Normandy Tourism/Valentin Pacaut/The Explorers
Avignon and Rhone River aerial view

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