Lush vineyards, ancient riverside castles and ruins, cobblestone market squares, vibrant tulip fields and timeless villages – these are just some of the wonderful discoveries you’ll make cruising the waterways of Europe.
Evoking a sense of wonder and enchantment, a European river holiday is unlike any other cruise experience. Intimate and comfortable, yet exciting and magical, each new day brings with it plenty of anticipation.
With so many iconic rivers and alternate experiences to choose from, deciding which waterway to choose for your unforgettable holiday can understandably be a little daunting for first-timers.
To make that decision a little easier, here’s a snapshot of what distinguishes the great European rivers from each other.
One of the most fabled in all of Europe, the Danube winds its way through nearly a dozen countries, all the way from Germany’s Black Forest to the mouth of the Black Sea.
Europe’s second longest river, the banks of the Danube present a living history lesson. Once a highway of commerce for the Roman Empire, this strategic thoroughfare was duly populated by the grand and powerful architectural statements we see today.
This majestic river was an inspiration for Johan Strauss whose famous ‘Blue Danube’ waltz is regularly featured in ancient venues along the route.
Explore the Danube on Scenic’s ‘Black Sea Explorer’ river cruise.
Claiming more river-side castles than any other river in Europe, the Rhine offers spectacular scenery with centuries of history and culture.
Flowing from Switzerland to the Netherlands, where it empties into the North Sea, the scenic beauty along the Rhine can only be described as spectacular. Serving as a major transport artery through the ages, this mighty river would become central to the power and wealth of those who harnessed its energy.
Follow the Rhine on a map, and you’ll notice it takes on several different incarnations based on local languages and dialects. In the Netherlands, it’s known as the Rijn, in France, Rhin and Germany, the Rhein.
Explore the Rhine on Scenic’s ‘Rhine Highlights’ river cruise.
This 525-kilometre German river was linked to the Rhine and the Danube in one of the world’s great engineering feats. In 1992, completion of a man-made canal made it possible for river cruises to navigate Europe’s waterways from Amsterdam all the way to the Black Sea in one unbroken journey.
Much of the area along the Main sustained damage during World War II. Cruise the Main today, and you’ll be met not only by historic ruins but the castles, abbeys and breweries that escaped the war.
If you’re cruising the full length of the Main, you’ll navigate 34 locks with another 16 on the Main and Danube Canal. These locks reveal a treasure trove of unspoiled landscapes as well as historic towns and villages.
Explore the Main on Scenic’s ‘Jewels of Europe’ river cruise.
Snaking its way from the Langres Plateau near Dijon in north-eastern France, through gorgeous Paris and onto the beaches of Normandy, the Seine is one of France’s – if not the world’s – most famous rivers.
Nestled beside the river’s edge north-west of the French capital is Giverny where Claude Monet forever changed the world of art. Monet captured moments in time in a unique style that would become the hallmark of Impressionism. You don’t have to be an art lover to enjoy visiting his family farmhouse and gardens to walk through the pages and canvases of history.
A cruise along the Seine also allows you to honour World War II heroes at Normandy. Visit the pivotal beaches and landmarks that turned the tide of war in France, before strolling through the nearby seaside towns for authentic local dining and shopping.
It’s all there on the Seine. History, culture and more. Be dazzled by the City of Lights, explore ancient castles and abbeys, wander through dreamy orchards and vineyards and take in all the splendid French countryside has to offer.
See the Seine on Scenic’s ‘Normandy and Gems of the Seine’
Enchanting and beautiful, the city of Koblenz, Germany, straddles two of Europe’s most beautiful waterways – the Rhine and Moselle. The city also marks the entrance to the 545-kilometre long Moselle.
Known for its rolling vineyards and quaint small towns such as the medieval gem of Cochem, you will feel as if you’re stepping into a fairy-tale landscape. Be sure to explore this charming city on a tour that culminates with a visit to the iconic Reichsburg Castle.
The Moselle has a history of civilization that pre-dates Roman times, so the further you glide along the river, the more enchanting the landscape and castles become. The picture book villages only accentuate the terraced beauty of the slate hillsides which form one of the world’s richest wine regions.
See the Moselle on Scenic’s ‘Romantic Rhine and Moselle’ river cruise.
Beginning in northern Spain and extending all the way to Porto on Portugal’s stunning coastline, the Douro is one of the Iberian peninsula’s largest and most travelled rivers.
Meaning ‘river of gold,’ the Douro takes its moniker from the bright Iberian sun that bathes the river.
Venturing up the Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of port and ‘sticky wine’ fame, you will be transported back in time with its picture-postcard-perfect villages, steep rolling vineyards and traditional Portuguese culture.
Experience the Douro on Scenic’s ‘Unforgettable Douro’ river cruise.
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