The Best European River Cruises

By: Freelance Contributor

Europe is the ultimate vacation destination. With history, culture, natural beauty, and a bevy of architectural masterpieces, there is little wonder why millions flock to the continent each and every year. There are many ways to travel through Europe but nothing quite compares to experiencing Europe from the water’s edge.


1. Rhine River

Meandering through five different countries onboard a Viking river cruise is an experience all by itself. With the amenities of a five-star hotel, there is no better way to see Europe than onboard one of the fleet’s vessels cruising down the Rhine. From Amsterdam to the castle adorned Black Forest of Germany, this is the ultimate European river cruise.

Rhine River

2. Danube River

A 12-day journey through six countries and the heart of Europe on board the MS Primadonna is an equally impressive experience. With spacious accommodations, two bars, a sauna, and countless other features, your journey from Germany to Budapest could not be any more pleasant.

Danube River

3. Dnieper River

If Eastern Europe is on your itinerary, then a 17-day river cruise down the Dnieper River from Kiev to Istanbul is a perfect holiday choice. Not only does the vessel of choice offer luxury accommodations and superb dining, but seeing Eastern Europe from another view is an experience to remember for a lifetime.

Dnieper River
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4. Rhone River

There is no better way to capture the beauty of the Rhone Valley than a cruise down the Rhone River on board the newly built River Royale. On this five-star river cruise, you can wind your way through the beautiful landscape of Avignon and still find time to dock on dry land for some wine tasting or dining at one of Lyon’s famous bistros.

Rhone River


5. Guadalquivir River

If traveling through the majestic Andalusian region of Spain sounds enchanting, then a Spanish river cruise may be your cup of tea. A river cruise down the Guadalquivir River on board the Belle de Cadix takes you through the heart of Spanish horse and wine country, while making stops in Seville and Jerez for a true taste of Spanish culture.

6. Douro River

A lesser-known European river, the Douro travels through some beautiful wine-making regions of Portugal and Northern Spain. The eight-day trip starts at the historic Citadel de Porto and travels through beautiful northern Spain before returning to Porto.

7. Po River

It may be the shortest European river cruise on the list, but this charming five-day river cruise embodies the romance of the northern Italian regions it visits. A trip on board the MS Michelangelo through the mountain landscapes of northern Italy is full of natural and architectural beauty that harkens back to the times of the Renaissance.

Po River

8. Volga River

It may not be as luxurious as the other trips on this list, but the uniqueness of sailing down Europe’s longest river cannot be dismissed. Complete with 13 days of activities, beautiful scenery, and full immersion into Russian culture, a river cruise down the Volga on the MS Litvinov is perfect for adventurous and fun-loving travelers.

Volga River

9. Elbe River

Spending 12 days on board the comfortable accommodations of the Schumann vessel is a terrific way to experience the Czech Republic and Eastern Germany. Though the ship is not well-known for having the most luxurious of accommodations, they are still quite comfortable. The journey begins in Berlin and travels through Dresden, incorporating some of the most opulent gardens and Baroque palaces in al of Europe along the way.

Elbe River


10. Gota Canal

The Gota Canal takes travelers right through the heart of beautiful Sweden. The six-day summertime journey from Gothenburg to Stockholm takes place on board a basic vessel that lacks the amenities of other ships on the list. More of a Scandinavian immersion than a luxury trip, if you truly want to experience Scandinavia, this river cruise may be the perfect solution.

Gota Canal