No matter which of the world’s rivers you want to explore, Avalon Waterways offers 70 cruises on 12 rivers in 22 countries. To help you plan your holiday, here are some tips on how to choose which river to cruise on in Central and Eastern Europe.  

Danube River 


Flowing through ten countries, past four capital cities and with thousands of years of history deep-seated in its waters, the Danube River is Europe’s ‘original’ river. With its immeasurable length, it is split into the Lower and Upper Danube.  

Lower Danube River 

Iron Gates Gorge
Iron Gates Gorge
Photo by the_traveling_hat on Instagram

The Lower Danube River runs between Budapest, Hungary and Bucharest, Romania, emptying into the Black Sea. Much of this area was hidden behind the Iron Curtain, a divide that separated the Soviet and Western influences during the Cold War. So, if you’re a history buff, places like Romania, Bulgaria and Serbia will be right up your alley. There is also beautiful Bucharest, regarded as the ‘Paris of the East’, while the Iron Gates Gorge is a truly awe-inspiring natural wonder to sail through with Avalon. 

Upper Danube River 

Photo by askaconcierge on Instagram

Looking to the west of Budapest, the Upper Danube River flows to Nuremberg, Germany. This section of the Danube takes you through grand countries like Hungary, Austria, Germany, Slovakia. Filled with vineyards, castles, and abbeys that line the riverbanks, you’ll bear witness to picture-perfect scenes whilst you sail. This stretch of the river is also popular for its magical Christmas markets – in particular, the German ‘berg’ villages like Nuremberg and Regensberg.  

Main River 

Photo by chrisorlis on Instagram

If you’re keen to delve into some of the lesser-travelled parts of Germany, a river cruise along the Main River could be for you. The Main is a tranquil link between the Upper Danube and the Rhine, creating a 3,500+ kilometre, all-encompassing waterway joining the North Sea to the Black Sea. Dive into the epitome of Bavarian traditions and culture along the Main, including highlights such as quaint Würzburg and bustling Frankfurt.  

Rhine River 

Rhine River
Photo by clairebanmantravels on Instagram

From its source in the legendary Swiss Alps to emptying out in the North Sea in the Netherlands, the Rhine River has strong French and German influences. For a variety of cultures and charming villages, the Rhine is unforgettable. Our favourite part? The picturesque UNESCO World Heritage Site Rhine Gorge with castle after castle along a concentrated stretch of river. In fact, this is the most concentrated area of castles that you’ll find anywhere in Europe.  

Moselle River 

Moselle River view
Gorgeous views along the Moselle from your Panorama Suite
Photo by Scott Bakken

Sometimes overlooked by its nearby, bigger sister – the Rhine – the Moselle River offers truly gorgeous views through France, Luxembourg and Germany. From the lush mountain forests of France to the vineyards of Germany’s Moselle Valley, the Moselle River merges with the Rhine in Koblenz. There are sprawling vineyards (this region is famous for its Riesling production), half-timbered houses in sleepy villages, and ruins of ancient fortresses. You’ll fall in love with places like Remich, Cochem, Bernkastel and Trier along the Moselle.  

If your travels take you through Central and Eastern Europe, add a river cruise to your plans to take advantage of seeing some of the towns and villages that you might not ordinarily visit. Take a look at the full range of Avalon Waterways river cruises today.  

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