Gary Diskin - Nov 26, 2018
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River cruise tourism is the fastest growing sector of the cruise industry and Europe has enough rivers and navigable canals to offer all kinds of magnificent cruises. The itineraries of European river cruises include numerous world renown attractions and sights. selected for you the most beautiful cruises in Europe and the most interesting river tourism attractions on the continent.

The most beautiful cruises on the Rhine

The Rhine is an important river in Europe. There are several superb river cruises from Strasbourg. They will take you along the river to many castles and through vineyards to beautiful cities and sites in southern Germany. You will reach cities steeped in history such as Frankfurt (which combines modern buildings and half-timbered houses, and hosts an impressive cathedral), Mainz (with its old town, at the confluence of the Rhine and the Main), Nuremberg (with its castle and zoological park, one of the most beautiful ones in Europe) or Regensburg (whose medieval old town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Many legends relate to the Rhine, especially that of the Lorelei and its Rock. It should be noted that there are also superb river cruises on the Elbe towards northern Germany; they pass through Berlin and go to Hamburg through major cities such as Magdeburg and Lüneburg.

River cruise destinations on the Danube

With a length of nearly 3,000 kilometres, the Danube is the second largest river in Europe. It has the particularity of crossing the continent by connecting Germany to the Black Sea (via 19 countries!), so that travelling on the Danube allows you to discover a very wide variety of landscapes. It also passes by superb cities such as Vienna (Austria), Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary) or Belgrade (Serbia), among others. If you find yourself in Serbia, you can even go for a private Belgrade boat tour. Each of these cities plays an important role in Europe and each has a very specific cultural interest. A cruise on the Danube, therefore, offers the opportunity to compare and appreciate the cultural identities of these different cities. Cruises along the Danube can also take you to the Iron Gates where the river flows down 600-metre high cliffs that are monumental rock walls.

The Seine: for a cruise on the Parisian river

Although less well known than others, river cruises on the Seine are extremely rewarding. They can take you from Paris to the port of Saint-Nazaire (capital of shipbuilding in France) via the large seaport of Nantes (the largest on the Atlantic coast). During the stopover, you can discover the castle of the Dukes of Brittany and the historic districts of the city as well as the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and the Mosque of the Turks.
Other cruises also depart from Paris but eastwards to the Epernay marina, a city renowned for its champagne, in the heart of Champagne-Ardenne. These crossings pass through the towns of Saint-Jean-Les-Deux-Jumeaux and Château-Thierry where you will make a stopover during which you can visit the ancient convent of the Capuchins, the Maison Jean de la Fontaine or the ruins of the old castle.

The Loire: cruises on the longest river in France

The Loire is one of the most beautiful rivers in Europe (and the longest in France) and it is no surprise that you can enjoy magnificent river cruise destinations there. Indeed, rich in their exceptional heritage, the Pays de la Loire combine culture and history, notably because of the many castles along its route. The most emblematic of them are of course the castles of Chambord and Chenonceau, not to mention Azay-le-Rideau. Cruises on the Loire River include excursions to these royal sites.

The Volga – Long and Impressive River

A river cruise along the Volga river, the longest one in Europe, offers impressive cities, historical towns, and fascinating scenery. It is the main waterway of western Russia and is divided in three parts – the Upper, Middle, and Lower part. Given the sheer length of the Volga, and the size of Russia, it would be impossible to see everything on a single cruise. Many cruisers thus decide to sail between Moscow and St. Petersburg, which can take between seven and 10 days, depending on excursions en-route. Over the course of this journey, you will cross two of the continent's largest lakes.

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