River cruising has fast become a popular way to experience some of Europe’s most treasured cities, offering travellers the chance to unpack just once. They call home to a luxurious suite on board modern and intimate ships full of world class amenities, dining and being entertained as they sail to new and exciting destinations each day.
With so many options available, it’s hard to set your heart on just one, as each river offers a distinct personality and landscape; whether it’s the Rhine (often heralded as the Romantic Rhine) dotted with medieval castles, hillside vineyards and quaint towns; the Seine, Saone & Rhone Rivers of France offering superb wine tasting opportunities and visits to many historical points of interest or the mighty Danube River which offers a glimpse into many fascinating cultures passing up to 10 countries along the way. As a seasoned river cruiser, here are insights into my favourite rivers to visit in Europe…
The Danube River is the second longest river in Europe and the main artery on the continent stretching at 2,860 kilometres long. Rising from the Black Forest mountains and flowing south to the Black Sea, the river rages through:
- Hungary and
- Romania, just to name a few
Thus, giving you the chance to discover the diversity and rich history of so many of Europe’s cultural gems.
Take in UNESCO World Heritage listed Bamberg and see the medieval 14th century Old Town Hall built on the middle of the Regnitz river, accessible only by two bridges.
Fall in love with the magical city of Vienna home to the finest music and art ever created and spend time in grand Budapest one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities offering a vibrant art scene and traditional coffee house culture. The city is packed with famous attractions such as Fisherman’s Bastion offering incredible sweeping views of the Danube River and the Parliament Building and Chain Bridge, beautifully illuminating the Danube and the most photographed of the eight bridges in the city.
The Rhine River boasts some of the most incredible vista’s lined with ancient castles, sprawling vineyards, historic towns, and winding gorges that simply take your breath away.
Starting in the Swiss Alps, the river flows through the Rhineland before spilling onto the North Sea in the Netherlands. Some of the highlights on the Rhine include:
- Amsterdam and its network of canals and classic architecture
- Cologne buzzing with cafes, bars and shopping opportunities and famous for its gothic twin steepled Cathedral
- Rudesheim deep in the Rhine Valley known for its lush vineyards and famed Riesling wines and
- Strasbourg, with its canals and half-timbered houses perfectly blending both German and French culture.
The Seine, Saone and Rhone
Cruising along the Rivers of France you are spoilt with exquisite countryside, ancient Romanesque architecture, monumental war heritage and word class wine and cuisine.
From Paris, the romantic City of Light, you can choose to cruise the Seine River through Northern France to the upper Normandy region visiting Monet’s House and Gardens in Giverny and Normandy’s Landing beaches.
Or south, down the Saone and Rhone Rivers traversing through the Burgundy Region past vivid lavender fields, rolling hills sprinkled with vineyards and ancient roman ruins sparkling with the Provencal light that inspired the likes of Van Gogh and Picasso.
Whichever river you choose to journey on, you will be captivated by France’s grandeur and beauty.