Have you been thinking about traveling to Europe, but do not want to deal with the hassles of airports, flying, and heavy traffic? If so, have you heard of the booming industry of river cruises?
Taking a river cruise in Europe is the perfect way to travel the continent, there are no roads, just water, tranquility, and nature.
The European river cruises used to be some people's best secret, and now it is growing in popularity all for good reasons. According to research, over 1.6 million people sailed the European rivers in 2018, which is a big jump from only 852 thousand people in 2013.
So the problem is, with such a growing population, how do you know which cruises to take, and where are the best places to go?
Thankfully, we did that research for you. Start packing your bags because you are about to read the best destinations to take a river cruise in Europe.
Know Which Type of Cruise You Want
Before we get started on the best destination to take a river cruise in Europe, you need to know what type of experience you are searching for. Many different cruise lines focus on different themes of adventure.
For example, if you are traveling with your children, the last thing you want to experience is jumping aboard a cruise that solely focuses on wine tasting. Every cruise will have some level of wine experience, so you want to search for a cruise that offers something for everyone.
If you are a history buff, you are in luck. There are many cruises that focus more on the historical and political aspects of the regions you are exploring.
There are many other themes to choose from before you even get started on the destinations. These themes include:
- Beer and brewery themed cruises
- Musical cruises that focus on the different cultural music of each region
- Art lovers themed cruises, stopping at art galleries and street art in each region
- Culinary adventure tours to get your "fill" of the different cuisines in each region
- Bicycling cruises that offer a cycling tour at each port
- Garden and nature-themed cruises, focusing on the different landscapes and flowers of each region
Each River cruise line will offer different themed excursions, so doing your research to find out more before booking your cruise will help you to get the most out of what you want to experience.
Danube River Cruises
The Danube River is Europe's second-longest river, and at 1,770 miles long, it flows through ten countries, more than any other river in the entire world.
The Danube River passes through Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine, before draining into the Black Sea.
If you want to see the most amount of countries during your river cruise in Europe, then look into taking a cruise in the Danube River.
Along with these destinations, you will experience medieval towns, ancient monasteries, see the beautiful lakes in Austria, the exciting city of Budapest, Hungary, the Iron Gates that border Serbia and Romania, and so much more!
The ports of call in Eastern Europe tend to be less crowded and more unique than some of the Western Europe ports of call. If crowds do not appeal to you, this may be the best destination for you.
The Rhine River
If you are looking for a shorter cruise, the Rhine River (at 540 miles long) offers spectacular scenery, and a bit longer at each port because there are fewer countries to stop in. The Rhine River cruises stop in Germany, Netherlands, France, and Switzerland.
This region focuses on some incredible landscapes and in-depth historical experience. As you sail to Switzerland from Holland, you will experience many different cultural sights, as well as stunning cathedrals such as the famous cathedral of Cologne, Germany.
Once you stop in Rudesheim, you will not only taste delicious wines, but you will also get a chance to check out a 14th-century University.
The Main River
If you are a history buff with a passion for learning more about World War II, the Main River is an excellent destination for you. At 326 miles long, the Main River primarily runs through Germany and a bit of Austria.
Some of the excursions include Heidelberg and Nuremberg, which are known for an in-depth experience of WWII history. Of course, you cannot forget about the other experience that Germany is known for, the beer!
Stop at breweries, and pretzel houses to try your hand at the best brews and bites that Germany has to offer.
The Rhône River
If you are planning on celebrating your Honeymoon on a River Cruise in Europe, then the Rhône River is a perfect destination for you. The Rhône River makes its way through the south of France, which is known as the most romantic country in the world.
During this River Cruise, you and your partner will sample some pallet-satisfying wines through the Burgandy region of France. You will also learn about Roman ruins in Avignon, experience 2,000-year-old history in Lyon, and eat the delicious cuisine France has to offer.
The French Canals
If you are not in the mood for multiple excursions, history, and sightseeing, and you really just crave a good glass of vino, book a cruise along the French Canals.
Back in the day, there were thousands of miles of canals built in France for the transport of goods. However, now they also offer another benefit- incredible vineyard hopping!
This cruise includes the finest of fine wines, historical and medieval towns, and sights such as the Upper Loire, Champagne, Burgandy, and Alsace Lorraine.
Learn More About Taking a River Cruise in Europe
Now that you know the best destinations to take a river cruise in Europe, you now need to select which cruise line to take, and know what to pack!
Check out more travel-savvy articles like this in the travel section of our blog.