What is it about rivers in Europe? From the Danube River in Budapest to the River Thames in London, European cities are blessed with spectacular waterways that play integral roles in their cities. In fact, they’re so admirable that you can hop on a boat and go for a cruise in just about any city with a river. But where should you see local delights by boat? That’s what we’re here to find out with the best river cruises in Europe.
Tulip Cruises 🌷
Let’s start with one of the very best river cruises in Europe. The Tulip Cruises take you through Belgium and the Netherlands, showcasing iconic tulips along the way. The cruise navigates an array of smaller rivers, floating through charming cities like Antwerp, Arnhem, Ghent and Rotterdam. You can expect to see plenty of tulips and some of the most beautiful cities in Europe during this cruise.
The Mighty Rhine to Switzerland 🇩🇪 🇫🇷 🇨🇭
Take in the sights on Germany, France and Switzerland with a cruise on the Four-star MS Arena. During the trip, you can expect the best sights of the Rhineland, including the wine town of Rudesheim and the cliff faces of the mythical Rhine Gorge. The cruise also includes visits to Basel, a city in Switzerland where you can stop off and stay at a lakeside resort.
Danube River 🇭🇺
Cruise along the Danube River in Budapest and take in the majestic architecture, such as the Parliament Building and the Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial. Tour operators have plenty of cruise options, many of which come with three-course meals and traditional Hungarian dance shows.
Volga River 🇷🇺
Spanning an impressive 2,175 miles, the Volga River stretches from the hills north of Moscow down to the Caspian Sea. The primary route is between Moscow and Saint Petersburg but also makes its way through rural villages and some of Europe’s largest lakes. However, it’s between Moscow and Astrakhan where you will see the best sights: expect to find cathedrals, the UNESCO-listed city of Yaroslavl and lots of Russian history.
At 500 miles, the Rhone is much shorter than the Volga, but it still packs a mighty punch when it comes to scenic excursions down the river. Easily one of the best river cruises in Europe, sailing along the Rhone affords visits to the heart of the Burgundy region, chateaus, medieval cities and vineyards. It’s basically the best of France (minus Paris) in a nutshell.
Caledonian Canal 🏴
Not many people realise that Scotland is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries with its charming cities, vast countryside, magical islands and, of course, rivers – or should that be canals? Caledonian Canal is a charming route offering a chance to see the Highlands at their best. Take in the beauty of the country’s lochs alongside landmarks like Cawdor Castle and Ben Nevis.
River Douro 🇵🇹
Starting in the medieval dockyard of Porto, the Douro river heads all the way to the Spanish border. Enjoy sights such as quaint villages, vineyards, locks, rocky gorges and Douro Natural Park.
Main River 🇩🇪
Over in Central Germany, you can hop aboard a boat and cruise the Mine River. It’s formed by the bending of the Red Main and the White Main, with both meeting the Rhine River in the popular city of Mainz. The cruise offers you the chance to see German cities such as Nuremberg and Frankfurt, as well Heidelberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg and Bamber.
Seine Cruises 🇫🇷
We’re heading back to France for our next cruise, with a splash of the English Channel thrown in for good measure. The Seine River runs through Paris and brushes past Normandy and the English Channel. There’s plenty of history to discover here: you can see Normandy’s D-Day beaches, such as Omaha Beach.
Gauja River 🇱🇻
Latvia has many delights worth discovering, including its Gauja River. Filled with deep green landscapes and unspoilt countryside, it’s a place of genuine beauty, and you can see most of it by taking a trip down the Gauja River. Highlights include the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle and the Gauja National Park.
River Shannon 🇮🇪
One of the prettiest rivers in Europe, River Shannon is the country’s longest river. During your cruise, expect to see rolling greenery, Celtic monasteries and the odd traditional Irish pub along the way, where you can stop off and experience that world-famous friendly charm of the locals.
River Po 🇮🇹
Starting in the Cottian Alps and making its way to the Adriatic Sea, River Po takes you on a journey of stunning sights in Italy. You’ll enjoy trips to Verona, charming Italian towns and the Venice Lagoon. River Po offers a romantic option for love birds who want to soak up quintessential Italy.
The best rivers in Europe
Whether you’re cruising down the Danube or are seeing Paris from the waterways, Europe has an endless amount of river cruises where you can experience some of the most enchanting cities in the world from a different dynamic. Board a boat and see the best of Europe from the water.