The popularity of river cruising has been increasing over recent years, and nowhere is this trend more evident than across the legendary European waterways. New river cruise ships are sailing European rivers every year.
Some of this popularity is attributed to baby boomers’ desire to see something other than the Caribbean and common spots offered on traditional cruises.
Here we’ve collected some of the best, most exclusive European river cruise options:
Germany, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria
Known by various names in other languages, The Danube, is Europe’s second longest river after the Volga. The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world.
To sail though the German Black Forest, Passau, Dürnstein, Vienna, Avalon River cruises offer many affordable options.
An 8-day river cruise from Vienna to Budapest starts at $2,052 per passenger without airfare.
Holland, Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland
Flowing from the Swiss Alps to Holland’s North Sea, the Rhine is perhaps most famous for its legendary Lorelei rock and the imposing medieval castles that line its banks. Taking a cruise down the Rhine is perfect for exploring what’s referred to as the heart of Europe. The Rhine river cruises offer dining at breathtaking Bavarian castles, gliding past Dutch windmills & picture-book villages and tastings in biergarten & vineyards. Explore the region with one the Rhine’s top tour companies, Viking Cruises.
An eight-day river cruise from Basel to Amsterdam that visits four countries including Belgium, Switzerland, France and Germany begins at $1,999 per person.
Quaint, quiet, and quintessentially Germany, the Main winds leisurely through the country’s most stunning areas, passing hilltop castles and storybook medieval villages alike. Twisting and turning across Central Germany, the Main River is formed by the joining of the Red Main and the White Main, meeting the Rhine River at the town of Mainz. Main River cruises are always combined with other waterways, unless it’s a day or evening cruise. The most common package includes the Main with the Rhine and Danube. Explore using one of Germany’s top tour companies, Avalon Waterways.
A 5-day river cruise from Wiesbaden, Germany to Basel, Switzerland begins at $1,649, per passenger without airfare.
France, Luxembourg, Germany
Flowing through France, Luxembourg, and Germany, the Moselle River is known for the excellent wines produced along its banks as well as for its picturesque medieval castles. Avalon Waterways offer fabulous cruise options for travelers looking to explore one of the Rhine’s longest tributaries, covering over 340 miles from its source at Ballon d’Alsace, high in the Vosges Mountains in France, to its end when it joins the Rhine at the city of Koblenz, Germany.
An 8-day ‘Canals, Vineyards and Castles’ river cruise from Remich to Amsterdam begins at $2,748 per guest.
An important inland trade and transportation route since Greek times, the Rhône River flows south to the Mediterranean, winding through the orchards and vineyards of the fertile Rhône Valley. Experience the fine foods of France, traverse the scenic wine-growing regions and wander through charming Provençal villages and historic cities like Avignon and Arles. Tauck tours are a reputable company to explore the Rhône region with.
A 9-night ‘Savoring France: Paris, Lyon & Provence’ cruise starts at $5,590 per passenger.
Saône River Cruises
The Saône River, its name derived from the Gallic river goddess Souconna, flows from northeastern France to join the Rhône River in Lyon. The Saône passes through the picturesque wine-making landscapes of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Avalon Waterways have many options for guided sightseeing tours of well-known French treasures and some hidden gems.
An 8-day river cruise from Arles to St. Jean-De-Losne starts from $2,949 per passenger.
The Seine rises just northwest of Dijon and flows in northwesterly through Paris before emptying into the English Channel at Le Havre. It’s one of Europe’s great historic rivers and since the early Middle Ages has been considered the river of Paris. Take a trip down the Seine with Viking Cruises.
An 8-day ‘Paris and the Heart of Normandy’ cruise begins at $1,999 per passenger.