European River Cruise Routes
You can cruise the rivers and waterways all over Europe, especially in France, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Russia. Most regions have navigable rivers and canals, with several different types of boats. The longest cruise it is possible to do now stretches all the way from the English Channel to the Black Sea!
European river cruise companies offer a broad range of interesting itineraries, including popular trips like Danube river cruises, Seine river cruises, Rhine river cruises, Volga river cruises and many more. Travel along the famous rivers of Europe and discover fascinating history and authentic experiences with comprehensive sightseeing plus your own exploration.
- Discover the Rhine, Main and Danube, by cruising across Europe from Amsterdam to Vienna and Budapest, or all the way to the Black Sea.
- Take a trip on the Elbe, the gateway to Eastern Europe.
- Travel on the great rivers of France, from Paris to Normandy, or to Burgundy and Provence in the south.
- Experience colorful tulips (at the right time of year) on Dutch and Belgian waterways.
- Cruise the Douro in Portugal and Spain.
- Visit the birthplace of the Renaissance in northern Italy (but no cruises in 2006 as water levels too low on the Po).
- Explore the natural highways of Russia and Ukraine with a trip down the imperial rivers and lakes.
Here are some of the most popular river cruise options. Most of them also offer several days in major cities before and after a cruise:
Danube River Cruises
The Danube (Donau in German) River is Europe's second longest
river, originating in Germany's Black Forest region and flowing through eight
countries before reaching the Black Sea. Often combined with a Rhine-Main cruise, a trip down this famous river, immortalised
by Strauss in his Blue Danube waltz, shouldn't be missed (though it's not blue!).
Spain & Portugal's Douro River
Experience a unique cruise through vineyards and valleys on Europe's most western river connected to the Atlantic Ocean.
Elbe River Cruises
The Elbe is considered the gateway to Eastern Europe. A cruise along the river offers views of hilltop castles and medieval towns, contrasted with cosmopolitan cities such as Berlin and Prague.
Netherlands and Belgium River Cruises (Rivers - Ijssel, Schelde & Waal)
Springtime is the time to go, when the Netherlands and Belgium are aflame with flowers in full bloom. Cruising through the scenic Dutch & Belgium waterways is probably the best and certainly the most peaceful way to discover this region, and is worthwhile at all times of the year.
Rhine and Moselle River Cruises
Cruises on the Mosel River (known as the Moselle River in France) are usually combined with Rhine River cruises and are a marvellous way to experience some of Europe's oldest and most romantic towns and cities. A Rhine-Moselle River Cruise will take you past German castles, along the border
of France and into Switzerland.
Oder River Cruises
Oder River cruises are, or were, a great way to discover the fascinating attractions of interesting and little-known towns in Germany and Poland. I say 'were' because I couldn't find any going in 2006. But if you can, you'll be able to experience everything from nature preserves and beautiful riverside landscapes to lively centres of folkloric and modern Eastern European culture.
Po River Cruises
Cruises on the Po River in Italy were very popular, but unfortunately low water levels mean that as far as I know there are no cruises planned for next year. However, if you can find one, a Po River cruise will have you appreciating the myriad charms of Northern Italy in a completely different way to the landbound tourist. Sweeping landscapes, historic cities, sleepy fishing villages, magnificent art and great food - well worth pursuing.
Rhine River Cruises
Rhine River cruises are probably the most popular of all European river cruises. Some riverboats just sail on the Rhine River (known as the Rhein in Germany), but you'll probably be more interested in the ones that combine the Rhine with other waterways in Germany, Austria, Hungary or the Netherlands.
River Cruises in France - Rhône, Saône, Seine.
A romantic cruise through Burgundy and Provence along the Saône and Rhône rivers lets you experience French history, culture and scenery in two regions famous for works of art, fine wines and their cuisine. Further north, take a cruise through the heart of Normandy, whose historic towns, beaches and pastoral landscapes lie along or close by the Seine's scenic river valley.
Saône-Rhône River Cruises
Experience the picturesque, vineyard-covered countryside in France's famed Burgundy wine region, and the legendary landscapes and cities of Provence, inspiration to so many artists.
Seine River Cruises
From Paris to Joan of Arc's Rouen, the D-Day beaches to Monet's Giverny, a Seine River cruise has to be the most luxurious way to experience the history, culture and beauty of northern France's Normandy region, the birthplace of Impressionism.
Russian River Cruises
Explore Russia along its natural highways with a cruise through the imperial rivers and lakes. Whether it's Moscow's golden onion domes and red-walled Kremlin or the legendary palaces and canals of St. Petersburg, or the romantic vastnesses of the Ukraine and Crimea, a Russia cruise has to be the most relaxing way to experience this still relatively unknown area of the world.
Volga River Cruises
The unique cultural heritage and stunning architecture of Russia's most interesting cities are waiting for you when you take a Volga River cruise. By travelling along the Volga River, the Moscow Canal and other waterways, you can visit Russia's two most important cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Dnieper River Cruises
Kiev, Odessa, Yalta - experience the best of the Ukraine via the Dnieper River, the third largest river in Europe, flowing 1,370 miles from the heart of the Ukraine to the Black Sea.
OUR ADVICE: concentrate on the ship you want to travel on and the route you want to travel, rather than the tour aggregator (of course, there's also price!). Be sure to check out our "Things to watch for" page too!
Next page: the Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise route