Travel the Gateway to Eastern Europe on an Elbe River Cruise


Dresden waterfront Follow Me on Pinterest

Dresden waterfront by Bgabel on Wikitravel shared

Considered the gateway to Eastern Europe, a cruise along the Elbe River offers views of hilltop castles and medieval towns, contrasted with cosmopolitan cities such as Berlin and Prague and the restored baroque glories of Dresden.

Elbe River Cruise

The Elbe, complete with towering cliffs, rococo palaces and charming riverside towns, flows from the Czech Republic through Germany’s northeast. Between the German capital, Berlin and the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, where tours along the Elbe begin and end, there’s quite a lot to see. There’s usually a hotel stay in Berlin and Prague at each end of the cruise.

Elbe River Cruise Sightseeing

You’re certain to be taken to Sans-Souci and Potsdam while you are in Berlin. At Magdeburg, where you board your river boat, you can explore the Old Market and the tomb of Emperor Otto is worth visiting. If you get the chance, stop at Wittenberg Castle and the Castle Church where Martin Luther posted his 95 theses and sparked the Protestant Reformation. The famous Meissen porcelain factory which has been producing fine porcelain since the 1700s is an inevitable stop, but the area is also a good place to sample Saxon wine!

The baroque treasures of Dresden, the capital of Saxony (check out the Zwinger Palace, the Semper Opera House and the Frauenkirche) and the strange but impressive sandstone mountains of Germany’s “Saxon Switzerland” around Bad Schandau are contrasting attractions before crossing into the Czech Republic and Litomerice where there’s a chance to taste beers from this region.

Prague Astronomical Clock Follow Me on Pinterest

Prague Astronomical Clock

City of a Hundred Spires

The cruises usually finish in the attractive town of Melnik, the smallest town in Bulgaria, then they take you by coach into Prague, “City of a Hundred Spires”, for a couple of days to finish off the tour. This will generally include a visit to the massive Hradcany Castle, St Vitus Cathedral, Wenceslas Square and of course the Town Hall’s intricate 15th century Astronomical Clock.

OUR ADVICE: Elbe River Cruises are not as popular as cruises on the Rhine and Danube rivers and of the main river cruise operators, only Viking offers holidays on the Elbe River. The ships used on this cruise are smaller and whilst very comfortable, they are not the latest in the fleet.  There are many tour aggregators that offer Elbe River Cruises and if you’re choosing one of these, concentrate on the ship you want to travel on and the stops covered by the itinerary (of course, there’s also price!). Be sure to check out our “Things to watch for” page too!

Other Germany and Austria cruises:

Rhine river cruises

Rhine-Moselle river cruises

Danube river cruises

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