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  • Writer's pictureKrista Tovell

European River Cruising for the Beginner

Not a fan of Ocean Cruises? Or ready for a change? You should try River Cruises instead.

If you are looking for a relaxing and luxurious way to visit the many cities of Europe, and are interested history, culture, and authentic experiences, then a River Cruise may be for you.

With the small rivers and passageways, the ship average approximately 150 people on board and the largest “wave” you will experience will be the small wake of a passing ship.

River cruising in Europe is a cultural experience that takes in both major ports of interests and smaller cities throughout the continent. It is a way to experience otherwise unknown waterways while seeing the cities and landscapes from another perspective.

We’re sharing two of our most popular routes to tempt you to start planning your next European vacation, The Danube and the Rhine. On both rivers you can experience castles, cathedrals, historic structures and traditional markets. The Rhine is known for castles and history and the Danube is known for wineries and lochs. The itinerary you choose should focus on not only the cities you want to explore but the one that best suits your interests as well.

Exploring Europe’s Second Longest River, The Danube

Cruising down the Danube River takes travellers along one of Europe’s longest rivers, a river that passes through 10 countries, starting in Germany’s Black Forest, winding its way through regal capitals including Vienna, and Budapest (where the river ends) and former communist outposts including Bratislava and Belgrade. The Danube River extends 2850 kilometres.

With gentle sailing and attractive options for land excursions, a Danube River cruise is a top pick for first-time travellers looking to experience a river cruise with various cultural and authentic experiences included depending on the itinerary and route. Visit the famous coffee houses and former royal palaces of Vienna. Take in the communist-era architecture in ports of call such as Bratislava in between stops for hearty soups and stews and authentic dishes Slovakia is known for.

Budapest, often the last stop in the Danube River cruise, maintains its majestic feel after years under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Take the funicular up to Castle Hill and visit Buda Castle before wandering over to the Fisherman’s Bastions on the Buda side of the Danube. The views across the river provide stunning views of Pest including the gothic revival style Hungarian Parliament, the largest parliament buildings in Europe. Tuck in to some good Hungarian fare in one of the local restaurants throughout the Jewish district. And be sure to visit one of the cities many natural springs for a relaxing wellness day before returning home. Gellert Baths is a popular one not only for the spa, but the art-nouveau building.

Watch this short video from AmaWaterways to become inspired about the river cruising experience on the Danube.

Cruising the Rhine River

The Rhine River, at over 1200 kilometers long, winds through Switzerland, north through Germany, France and in to the Netherlands.

Cruising the Rhine River provides opportunities for interesting cultural experiences and smaller ports of call which may include sailing to Kinderdijk in the Netherlands, home to 19 windmills in this picturesque part of the country. Wine tasting in France’s Alsace region, and wandering amongst medieval villages may be part of the authentic experiences travellers enjoy in the various ports of call.

Rhine River cruises typically start in exciting Amsterdam where you’ll want to do as the locals do and cycle around town, explore the canals and visit the Anne Frank House and Van Gogh Museum for some local culture. Expect to end in Basel, a city famous for its medieval old town, and location that makes exploring the Alps a perfect starting point.

This virtual experience let's you discover the Rhine with AmaWaterways:

Let’s go!

Ready to explore Europe by river cruise? Contact Krista at Tovell Travel to start planning your European holiday today!

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