Brand new ship the  American Jazz on Lower Mississippi just in time for the holidays Nov and Dec. Special offer $1500 off a cabin. Offer good until June 30th.

Current sold-out dates are Nov. 17th and 24th on the American Harmony.

Columbia & Snake River Cruise – The American Song : a brand new, modern riverboat that is now cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers between Washington and Oregon offering iconic NW cruises.

Northwest Pioneers: 10-night Columbia River Cruise – American Pride : Our 7-night Columbia River cruises are popular every year, but so often we want just a little more time to explore! The new ‘Northwest Pioneers’ itinerary affords you that time to dig a little deeper.

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Inclusive experiences means less time planning, and more time relaxing.

Last but certainly not least: USA River Cruises takes the guesswork out of planning a trip in the first place. You’ll no longer have to fret over the cost of every little perk — because the perks are part of the all-inclusive experience aboard a USA River Cruise. No need to tally up the numbers when you order beer, a glass of wine, room service, soda, cappuccinos, or decide to take a shore excursion.

The world is waiting for you. Imagine your most wonderful journey. Then contact USA River Cruises to make it come true.

Ever thought about a VIP-style, front row seat to breathtaking waterfalls, rolling vineyards, and stunning mountain peaks? Try one of our Columbia River Cruises.

Envision paradise, adventure and relaxation with USA River Cruises

Imagine exploring the ins and outs of the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth — and then hop aboard our Great Lakes River Cruises .

Perhaps you’ve always wondered what it would be like to explore the Deep South in comfort and style. Our Mississippi River Cruises are the place to be.

Or maybe you’ve always wanted to experience Europe from a ship’s-eye view. Well USA River Cruises has those, too, with our sweet suite of European Cruises .

There’s so much for you to see and do. From the Great Lakes and the mighty Mississippi to the Columbia River and our Alaskan Cruises ports of call — all the way to our cruises throughout Europe and the Caribbean.

USA River Cruises has been making travel dreams come true since 1999. We’re experts at matching people with the experiences they seek. There’s something for everyone. There’s something for you.

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11 Best River Cruise Itineraries to Book in 2023 and 2024

By Paris Wilson

11 Best River Cruise Itineraries to Book in 2023 and 2024

The best river cruises have always had a mystique to draw travelers in—even those who are new to cruising. For history buffs, they could be an excellent way to visit ancient sites or historical landmarks. For those that love the outdoors, river journeys are a way to experience the natural landscape of the dream destinations. This year, the river cruise market has been anticipating more travel, so consider booking these once-in-a-lifetime voyages as early as you can. 

Here, we’ve highlighted 11 of the most exciting river cruise itineraries to book for this year and next—from Amazonian expeditions to kid-friendly European voyages , these cruises have something for every kind of traveler.

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Colombia's Magdalena River with Amawaterways

Amawaterways is now accepting reservations for its highly anticipated cruises on Colombia's Magdalena River departing from both Cartagena and Barranquilla in 2024. Both seven-day itineraries explore Colombia's rich musical and cultural history, along with a chance to experience the country's natural wonders and local cuisine. Amawaterways is the first major river cruise line to highlight Colombia’s beauty with these types of voyages. Ship amenities are plentiful, as both vessels feature staterooms with balconies, a main restaurant, a fitness center with three spa treatment rooms, and a sun deck with a relaxing whirlpool.

Family river cruises on the Danube and Rhine with Emerald

Emerald is opening up two of its Europe river itineraries to younger guests, with  kid-friendly menus and exciting onboard activities such as video games, movies, and tournaments. Children must be 10 years old or older to take part in Emerald’s kid-friendly voyages. Both itineraries have been modified and feature destinations the whole family can enjoy. The Danube Explorer includes stops in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary . While the Jewels of the Rhine explores the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland.

Mississippi River Cruises with Viking

Float down the mighty Mississippi with Viking's first U.S. voyages. Featuring five different itineraries with stops in New Orlean s, Memphis, and St. Paul, you’ll explore the French Quarter, enjoy authentic Memphis barbecue, and get an up-close look at America’s national bird, the bald eagle. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Viking is offering special fares, reduced airfare and a$25 deposit on select voyages.

Black history and culture in France with Amawaterways

During Amawaterways' Black History cruise, guests aboard the AmaKristina will sail through the South of France along the Rhone River. The journey from Arles to Lyon will include stops in Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, and Vienne. After arriving in Lyon, passengers will stay in Paris for an exclusive guided tour showcasing jazz, food, and wine, all while shining a light on Black heritage.

Amazon River voyages with Seabourn

Journeying through the Amazon's small channel of the Boca dos Botos, Seabourn's expedition team, will immerse you in the region's one-of-a-kind ecosystem. The three itineraries are broken up into regions: Flooded Forests and Blackwater Tributaries; The Frontier Amazon; and The Peruvian Amazon. Each major region exemplifies a new, unique environment that differs from the next. Take in the natural beauty of the flora and fauna as you share space with sloths, howler monkeys, and more. 

Christmas markets in Europe with Scenic

Scenic Cruises is amping up the holiday cheer with six itineraries this November and December. Each city will showcase a unique Christmas experience as you stop in Amsterdam , Munich, Paris, and Prague, just to name a few of the festive ports in store. It will be a holiday like no other as you dock at quaint riverside villages aglow in fairy lights. Walk over the cobblestones with mulled wine in hand while you browse handmade goods and enjoy festive treats and age-old traditions.

Viking's Nile River Cruises

Follow the footsteps of the ancient Egyptians with Viking's voyages down the Nile . Delve into the history of those that called Cairo home, built the Pyramids, and looked upon the great Sphinx. With stops in Luxor, Quena, and Esna before docking in Aswan—it’s a timeless voyage you won’t want to miss. As part of Viking’s anniversary sale, a $25 deposit is applicable for this booking. 

India’s Golden Triangle aboard Uniworld

Immerse yourself in India’s “Golden Triangle”—Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. The 10-day itinerary features visits to the Taj Mahal, Rajbari temple complex, and Mother Teresea’s home. While en route, you’ll enjoy meals created with fresh ingredients, take part in welcome and farewell gala dinners, and have complimentary house wine, local spirits and beer, soft drinks, and tea served throughout your voyage. 

Portugal's Douro River with Scenic 

Experience the past and present of Portugal as you travel through the Douro River Valley. The river flows from Spain to the Northern Portuguese countryside, which is known for its wine production. Five different tours are being offered with stops in Lisbon , Porto, Madrid, and Salamanca. Passengers will have the chance to explore charming villages, see the Palace Duques de Bragança, kayak along the Pinhão River, and sample delicacies of the region. Plus, every stateroom aboard Scenic's ship comes with private butler service to ensure the journey is truly stress free.

Aqua Expeditions Mekong River cruise

Along with visits to bustling cities like Phnom Penh and Ho Chi Minh City , Aqua Expeditions' Mekong River cruises also visits serene ports in the countryside. Imagine kayaking to floating villages, watching silk weavers at work, and biking to village markets. Beyond the beautiful sights in Cambodia and Vietnam, the ship, Aqua Mekong , is a marvel in itself. The vessel has 20 suites that feature full-length windows and onboard amenities include a cinema, top deck plunge pool, and sun deck with lounge chairs and cabanas. If you book a river cruise between now and 2025, you can receive 30 percent off your voyage.

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The 9 top river cruise lines for 2024.

Sail through Europe, Asia, the U.S. and more on one of these exquisite river cruise lines.

The Top River Cruise Lines

Top River Cruises

Courtesy of Viking River Cruises

Not one for the high seas? Explore the world along its rivers instead.

If you'd like to take a cruise but aren't interested in the hustle and bustle of a massive ocean liner, consider a river cruise. River cruises offer the chance to visit lesser-known ports around the world, thanks to the small size and maneuverability of the vessels. These sailings are known to provide exceptional, personalized service, as most welcome fewer than 200 guests at a time. On top of that, you'll spend the majority of your trip exploring a different port each day, as most destinations along the waterways are fairly close together.

Read on to discover the best river cruise lines around the world, with details about where they sail, the number of passengers you can expect onboard, a snapshot of amenities and experiences, and sentiment from recent travelers.

Viking River Cruises

Uniworld boutique river cruises, american cruise lines, amawaterways, avalon waterways, emerald cruises.

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CroisiEurope Cruises

Viking Longship Idun on the Main River in front of Johannisburg Palace, Aschaffenburg, Germany.

Number of passengers: 75 to 250 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, U.S.

Viking's 60-plus ships – known as longships – traverse major rivers across Europe, including the Danube , the Rhine, the Douro and more. Other popular routes sail Egypt's Nile River as well as the Mississippi River , and newer options include a series of Great Lakes itineraries.

What to expect: Travelers may be familiar with Viking Ocean Cruises , which operates larger ocean voyages with an emphasis on opulent accommodations and diverse enrichment activities. Viking's river cruises follow a similar road map, with meals, daily walking tours and Wi-Fi access (where applicable) included in the base fare. Other amenities and activities span guest lectures, cooking demonstrations, musical performances, libraries, outdoor decks and more. Select Viking riverboats are also equipped with swimming pools, while cabins feature minibars, premium toiletries, purified water and TVs.

On board, you can expect to find mostly English-speaking passengers. Viking's price point generally attracts older crowds in the 55-plus age group, and travelers must be at least 18 years old to cruise on the line.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers thoroughly enjoyed their experience with Viking, praising the scenic shore excursions, top-notch service and comfortable rooms. Some, however, expressed disappointment with the service as well as the food.

Book a Viking River Cruise on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Pool and pool chairs on a Uniworld Boutique River Cruises ship.

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Number of passengers: 32 to 159 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America

Uniworld offers luxurious sailings in historic cities across central Europe, France , Italy , Portugal , India, Egypt and Peru.

What to expect: Its 17 ships aim to create the feel of a boutique hotel with stylish decor, antique artwork and specialty restaurants. The ships hold an average capacity of 120 cruisers, and the company boasts one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry: about one crew member for every two travelers.

Stateroom amenities vary by vessel but may include marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton linens, French balconies, iPod docking stations, Nespresso coffee machines, rainfall showers and more. The line's all-inclusive rates cover meals, alcoholic beverages, select excursions, gratuities, onboard fitness classes and Wi-Fi access, on top of entertainment and enrichment classes. Uniworld prides itself on its top-notch cuisine, which is made with local ingredients sourced from the ports on your itinerary and also includes vegetarian and vegan options.

Uniworld's typical clientele tend to be in their 50s or 60s and reside in North America, the U.K. and Australia . The river cruise line has select itineraries aimed at families, LGBTQ cruisers and solo travelers.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers offered abundant praise for Uniworld's voyages, complimenting the stylish accommodations, attentive staff and fascinating excursions. Though complaints were few and far between, a handful of past travelers felt the experience was not worth the high price point.

Compare Uniworld Boutique River Cruises on GoToSea.

 American Cruise Lines ship on river during sunset.

Courtesy of American Cruise Lines

Number of passengers: 90 to 180 Sails to:  U.S.

As the name suggests, American Cruise Lines sails exclusively on the rivers and coastlines of the United States. Popular cruises visit destinations along the Mississippi River, on the Hudson River, throughout New England , and lining the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The line also tours Alaska , the Southeast coast including Florida , and the Puget Sound between Washington state and the Canadian border.

What to expect: American Cruise Lines operates 19 relatively new small ships and river vessels (the average ship is about 5 years old), ranging from modern riverboats to small coastal ships to authentic paddlewheelers. Comfortable cabins can accommodate up to three people per room, and all ships offer single staterooms designed exclusively for solo travelers . Each room boasts picture windows, a spacious bathroom and – in some cases – a private balcony. In the ships' public spaces, cruisers can enjoy daily onboard entertainment like jazz and blues performances, as well as presentations by historians and area experts.

The line promises an all-American experience. As such, you can expect to find American staff aboard the American-built ships as well as food that pays homage to the destinations you will visit, from New Orleans -style andouille sausage gumbo to New England-inspired seafood boils. Complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres are served every night prior to dinner; all meals, snacks, and wine and beer are included in the base fare. Shore excursions are not typically included in the rate.

Passengers on American Cruise Lines tend to lean North American and are typically mature retired travelers.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers enjoyed their experience, particularly on the line's themed cruises.

Read:  Cruise Packing List: Essentials for Your Next Cruise

AmaWaterways cruise ship on river near town.

Courtesy of AmaWaterways

Number of passengers: 28 to 196 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America  

Consider a river cruise with AmaWaterways, whether you're looking to sail through the heart of Europe or seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure touring destinations like Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa or (beginning in 2024) Colombia. A family-owned business founded in 2002, AmaWaterways operates 29 river cruise boats that welcome 150 passengers on average.

The cruise line aims to provide excursion-rich experiences and offers unique themed sailings for passengers with certain interests. Wine-themed voyages are perfect for oenophiles wishing to explore some of Europe's most popular wine regions, while a concierge golf program will transport passengers from one famous golf course to the next. Or, opt for a holiday river cruise to visit magical Christmas markets around Europe. In 2024, AmaWaterways will offer three new Black history-themed itineraries.

What to expect: On board, guests can expect cabins suitable for couples or single travelers, as well as a set amount of connectible rooms designed for multigenerational families. Staterooms are spacious, with perks like bathrobes, slippers and plush bedding. Cabins can feature up to two balconies with AmaWaterways' twin balcony design, which allows for a full, step-out balcony alongside a French balcony with sliding glass doors. In-room Wi-Fi is complimentary, and guests will have access to movies and music on demand.

Outside of their cabins, passengers can enjoy amenities spanning small pools, sun decks, fitness equipment, a hair salon, massage services and more.

AmaWaterways primarily attracts North American travelers in their 50s who enjoy taking part in active shore excursions that involve walking or cycling. Passengers from the U.K. and Australia sail on this river cruise line as well. You can expect to find a mix of couples, families and solo cruisers – including a growing number of millennial travelers – on your vessel, thanks to AmaWaterways' diverse cabin offerings. Adventures by Disney charters AmaWaterways ships for select sailings each year as well.

What travelers say: Recent travelers say AmaWaterways exceeded their expectations, with many noting it was especially enjoyable for families. Still, some were disappointed, particularly with the food.

Find AmaWaterways cruises on GoToSea.

Interior of guest cabin on an Avalon Waterways river cruise ship.

Courtesy of Avalon Waterways

Number of passengers: 16 to 166 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America

Avalon Waterways sails 19 riverboats along popular thoroughfares like the Danube, the Rhone, the Seine, the Nile, the Rhine, the Moselle, the Mekong, the Ganges and more. In 2024, it will also sail the Douro River in Portugal.

What to expect: Launched in 2004, Avalon stands out for its spacious vessels – known as Suite Ships – which feature some of the largest rooms in the river cruise industry and beds that face wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, providing panoramic views. Additional stateroom perks include complimentary breakfast in bed, L'Occitane toiletries, sitting areas, ample storage space and mattress toppers.

Across the ship, passengers can enjoy amenities like a sun deck with lounge chairs, whirlpools and a game area, in addition to numerous restaurants and bars and a 24-hour self-serve coffee station. You will also have your pick of Classic, Active or Discovery shore excursions – ranging from standard tours with a local guide to hiking outings along a hilltop castle – depending on your interests and physical abilities.

Avalon Waterways attracts English-speaking cruisers from a variety of countries, typically in their 50s and 60s. However, children ages 8 and older are welcome on board (though there are no designated kids clubs), and some voyages draw younger or older passengers.

What travelers say: Most recent reviews are positive, with travelers highlighting the friendly, knowledgeable staff and tasty food.

Explore Avalon Waterways cruise deals on GoToSea.

Dining area on Tauck river cruise ship.

Courtesy of Tauck

Number of passengers: 84 to 130 Sails to:  Europe

Travel company Tauck wears multiple hats: It operates small-ship voyages around the world, land tours across seven continents, small group journeys for an average of 24 travelers at a time, family tours and – finally – European river cruises. Six new river itineraries in Europe are on the docket for 2024. Take your pick from nine river vessels to explore popular waterways like the Douro, the Moselle, the Rhine, the Danube and the Rhone.

What to expect: All-inclusive fares cover shore excursions, onboard activities and entertainment, gratuities, beverages and more. Plus, Tauck offers exclusive access to unforgettable experiences like wine tastings at private vineyards and gala dinners in historic castles.

More than 80% of the staterooms feature French balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for excellent views. Other in-room amenities may include adjustable climate controls, satin linens, pillow-top mattresses, terry cloth robes and more. Outside of your cabin, you'll find perks such as a sun deck, a putting green, enrichment programs like cooking demonstrations, a fitness center and complimentary bikes for onshore exploring.

Tauck caters to affluent, English-speaking cruisers – primarily Americans in the 55-and-older age group – though you may also find families with adult children on board. The line appeals most to travelers who prefer all the details of their trip to be taken care of for them, versus those who like to plan activities independent of the cruise line.

What travelers say: Recent passengers generally speak highly of their Tauck river cruise experiences, pointing to the exceptional level of organization and spacious, luxurious accommodations. Others said they were underwhelmed for the price.

Aerial of Emerald Cruises river cruise ship on river in Urbar, Germany.

Getty Images

Number of passengers: 84 to 180 Sails to:  Europe, Asia

Previously known as Emerald Waterways, Emerald Cruises transports travelers across some of the most popular rivers in Europe and Asia, including the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro and the Mekong.

What to expect: The cruise fare covers all meals, beverages with lunch and dinner, daily shore excursions − which include more physically rigorous options called EmeraldACTIVE – Wi-Fi access and gratuities.

Emerald operates nine river vessels, all of which boast luxurious public spaces and accommodations with en suite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Common-area amenities span heated indoor pools, sun decks, spa and wellness facilities, and a variety of eateries. Onboard fitness classes are available, as are other forms of entertainment. On shore, cruisers can borrow bicycles to explore historic city centers.

Typical clientele aboard Emerald Cruises' voyages includes American and British passengers around retirement age, though some younger travelers may make an appearance as well. Children 12 and older are permitted on board and on tours, but there are no kids clubs or designated activities for younger cruisers. Special rooms and dinner reservations are available for solo travelers.

What travelers say: Cruisers on recent sailings – especially first-time sailors – enjoyed their experiences on Emerald Cruises. High points included the attentive crew members and the stress-free booking and planning process. However, some felt that customer service and communication were subpar.

Interior of guest cabin on Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours river cruise ship.

Gillies Zaiser | Courtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours

Number of passengers: 68 to 163 Sails to: Europe, Asia

From the Danube to the Mekong, Australian travel company Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours offers lavish, all-inclusive river sailings with an emphasis on customization. The more upscale sister brand of Emerald Cruises, Scenic affords travelers the opportunity to do as much or as little as they want while on board and ashore.

What to expect: Enrichment activities are hand-picked by the line's "Journey Designers," and vessels provide a top-notch level of service thanks to their high crew-to-passenger ratios. In fact, each passenger receives a designated butler who can complete nightly turndowns and make laundry arrangements, among other tasks.

Spacious suites on board are larger than those on most other riverboats (ranging from 160 to 510 square feet). High-tech balcony controls allow lodgers to let in as much air as they'd like with the touch of a button. Cruisers will also enjoy special in-room touches like pillow menus, slippers and robes.

When it comes to dining, Scenic sources local ingredients and culinary inspiration from the ports visited on the itinerary to provide an authentic experience. All meals are included in the base cruise fare, along with beverages, gratuities, Wi-Fi access, shore excursions and electric bicycle usage in select destinations.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers were pleased with their experiences aboard Scenic's vessels, praising the spacious cabins, pampering butler service, and knowledgeable crew members and tour guides. However, some travelers were particularly disappointed with the food.

Side view of CroisiEurope Cruises river cruise ship.

Helwin Goetzinger | Courtesy of CroisiEurope

Number of passengers: 22 to 200 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa

CroisiEurope is a family-run French cruise line that has been in business since 1976. This line has more than 50 ships and barges that sail to countries around the world, including Egypt, Cambodia and Spain . Unusual in river cruising, the line operates two custom-built ships that sail on Lake Kariba in southern Africa. Additionally, CroisiEurope has a division that sells barge cruises throughout France on six different canals, such as Burgundy or Provence.

What to expect: CroisiEurope is known for its wide range of destinations and is one of the only river cruise lines that operates custom-built ships on Germany 's Elbe river, the Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers in Spain and Portugal, and Venice 's canals. Onboard accommodations are relatively basic, which keeps the cruise fare to a budget-friendly minimum. The cruise line aims to provide the best value for money in the cruise industry. Cuisine is focused on French food with some local flair in the main dining room, which is included in the cruise fare.

The passenger mix on a CroisiEurope cruise is relatively international, featuring large contingencies from France, Germany, the U.K. and North America. Announcements are typically given in both French and English. The cruise line sees a mix of older couples and groups as well as younger families, depending on the itinerary and time of year.

What travelers say: Several cruisers echoed that some of CroisiEurope's river ships are due for a refurbishment and that internet connectivity leaves a lot to be desired, while others maintain that the experience was superb.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Size: River cruise ships are smaller in size and the number of passengers they can accommodate, with one lounge and one main dining room being a typical setup.
  • Atmosphere: The overall vibe on a river cruise is more relaxed and far less busy than that of an ocean liner.
  • Onboard entertainment: River cruising is notoriously sleepy at night, with a focus instead on local enrichment like cooking demonstrations or liqueur tastings. Due to the busy schedule of port calls and excursions, most passengers are tired after a long day of sightseeing and don't mind a lack of nightlife.
  • Excursions: Most of your time on a river cruise is spent out exploring the destinations, which can sometimes be two stops in a single day. Passengers can choose from a variety of activities in port – including biking, kayaking and hiking – or explore the destination at a leisurely pace.
  • Cuisine: Cuisine tends to be focused on local specialties but is prepared to accommodate predominantly American tastes. Not every river cruise line offers unlimited drinks, but the majority include beer and wine at lunch and dinner, often showcasing regional varieties.
  • Price: River cruising typically comes at a much higher price point than ocean-based itineraries.
  • American Queen

Note that inclusions can vary by cruise line. For example, Viking rates – while not fully all-inclusive – cover beer and wine at meals and one tour per day, while gratuities and other drink packages are left to the discretion of the guest.

Avalon Waterways, on the other hand, offers a number of included tours in every port on select itineraries that range from cultural or culinary-focused to active.

In terms of inclusions and service ratios (the number of crew on board to guests), the following river cruise lines are considered the most luxurious:

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Cruises on Small Ships
  • The Top Adults-Only Cruises
  • The Best Cruise Insurance Plans
  • The Best Annual Travel Insurance Plans
  • The Best Travel Insurance for Seniors and Retirees

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Explore America’s Most Iconic Waterways With the 5 Best U.S. River Cruises

Discover natural and cultural treasures close to home.

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You don't need to fly to Europe for a river cruise, with new ships and routes creating even more options right here in the United States. Some of the most scenic itineraries traverse the Mississippi, Hudson, Columbia, and Snake rivers, showcasing natural, cultural, and historical attractions along the way. Passengers can visit wineries in Washington, taste Creole cuisine in New Orleans, or learn about the Siege of Vicksburg right where it happened.

On these voyages, you'll sail with anywhere from 100 to 400 other guests aboard either modern riverboats or classic paddle wheelers that hearken back to a different time. Like their European counterparts, river cruises in the U.S. typically package everything at a single price, including staterooms, meals, guest lectures and enrichment programs, entertainment, and most shore excursions. Some even include pre-cruise hotel stays.

Here are five river cruises that will show you the U.S. in a whole new light.

American Cruise Lines’ Music Cities Cruise from Memphis to Nashville

It's hard to choose from American Cruise Lines' 35 itineraries. For arts and culture lovers, the eight-day Music Cities Cruise along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Cumberland rivers presents an opportunity to visit several charming cities and towns in the South. The itinerary is offered on four different 180-passenger ships, including the American Serenade and the classic American Splendor paddle wheeler.

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

The voyage begins in Memphis, where passengers can visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, take in a show at one of the nightclubs along legendary Beale Street, or tour Elvis Presley's mansion, Graceland. After a day of cruising, the ship stops at Paducah, Kentucky, where you can admire the more than 50 murals on the floodwall along Water Street before exploring the National Quilt Museum. The next day, the ship travels through the Barkley Lock and past the stunning coves and limestone bluffs of the Cumberland River's Lake Barkley– a view best enjoyed from the balcony of your stateroom. In Dover, Tennessee, guests visit historic Fort Donelson National Park and learn about the garrison's role during the Civil War. The next day, passengers can tour the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center and Fort Defiance in Clarksville, Tennessee, and cap off the experience with a whiskey tasting at Old Glory Distilling Co. The voyage ends in Nashville, where you can stroll along historic Lower Broadway, visit museums dedicated to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, and take in a Grand Ole Opry show. 

American Queen Voyages' Upper Mississippi Cruise from St. Louis to Minneapolis

History buffs will love this nine-day cruise along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers aboard American Queen Voyages' 245-passenger American Countess paddle wheeler. The itinerary offers guests a chance to explore the idyllic river towns that inspired the Father of American Literature.

After departing St. Louis, the cruise arrives in Alton, Illinois, where guests can play golf on championship courses, explore the National Great Rivers Museum , or just stroll around the town's historic districts. Day three brings passengers further upriver to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, from which the author drew inspiration for several of his novels. On day four, the ship stops at Bettendorf, Iowa, for a hop-on hop-off tour of museums, artist studios, the German American Heritage Center , and the Quad City Botanical Center . In Dubuque, Iowa, guests can take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, billed as "the world's steepest, shortest scenic railway". Day nine, finds the the ship at La Crosse, Wisconsin, famous for its rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas. The final port is Red Wing, Minnesota, home to beautifully preserved artisan workshops, factories, and pioneer-era architecture. After disembarking, passengers can explore nearby Minneapolis before going home.

American Cruise Lines’ Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise

This eight-day fall foliage-themed cruise takes leaf peeping to a new level. The round-trip voyage out of New York City takes nature lovers through the heart of the Hudson Valley  –  swathed every fall in a blanket of bright orange, red, and yellow. Whether you sail on the classic 48-stateroom American Star or the 100-passenger American Eagle , you'll enjoy a stunning display of colors from the comfort of your balcony. On shore, you’ll have the opportunity to hike to the highest waterfall in the Empire State , walk across the longest pedestrian bridge in the world , and visit the homes of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park and author Washington Irving in Sleepy Hollow.

Viking Cruises’ New Orleans & Southern Charms Lower Mississippi Cruise

This eight-day round-trip cruise takes in historic estates, military sites, and comunities bursting with Cajun and Creole culture. After departing New Orleans, the Viking Mississippi stops in the Louisiana towns of Darrow and St. Francisville, which boast Greek Revival mansions, Spanish moss-draped avenues, and even a haunted house . Day four brings travelers to the oldest city on the river, Natchez, Mississippi, home to a rich African American heritage . The next day, guests can learn about one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War at Vicksburg National Military Park before setting sail for the vibrant capital city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The ship then returns to New Orleans, where guests can stay longer or catch a flight home.

Courtesy of Viking

UnCruise Adventures’ Rivers of Adventure & Wine Columbia and Snake River Cruise

Spotting wildlife and sipping wine go hand-in-hand on this UnCruise Adventures expedition around the Pacific Northwest. The seven-night round-trip journey from Portland isn't your typical leisure cruise. Instead, passengers get to go on rainforest hikes, rafting adventures, winery visits, and scenic kayaking excursions through dramatic canyons.

After the champagne departure from Portland and a stop at Astoria, Oregon, the ship passes through the Columbia River Gorge. Passengers can disembark for a guided hike, then return for a wine tasting with the ship's sommelier. The gourmand adventures continue with an excursion to Walla Walla, Washington, which includes visits to olive oil makers, chocolatiers, and family-owned wine cellars. Day five begins at the mouth of the Palouse River, where guests can kayak or paddleboard. The next day, passengers can visit Columbia Hills State Park and Rowena Plateau on foot or by skiff boat while enjoying river dips, farm-to-fork delights, and a wine tour and tasting. Guests then disembark at The Dalles, Oregon, for whitewater rafting or a relaxing winery tour. The adventure ends with a farewell dinner back at Portland.

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From the Danube to the Nile river

From the Danube to the Nile river

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River cruises.

Set sail on one of our river cruises with us to discover fascinating history, new cultures and breath-taking landscapes. No matter where you choose to go, we believe river cruises offer one of the best ways to see the beautiful countries the globe has to offer.

Cruise Holidays 2024

Looking for cruise holidays in 2024? Look no further than Travel Department! Sail with us down the River Nile and through Egypt with us, enjoying multiple excursions to see the sights you’ve always wanted to see. Ancient Egypt is on everyone’s bucket list and it’s no surprise; Temples of Horus, the Valley of Kings and the High Dam are all amazing landmarks that we’ll get to see on our river cruise.

See more of Austria , Hungary , Germany and Slovakia with our escorted river cruise holiday. Taking you into the heart of most cities you visit, travelling by river cruise gives you more time to explore some of Europe’s most exciting places. Like the highlights of France , gliding down the River Seine in the luxurious MS Amadeus Diamond, a 4-star boutique hotel on the water. From the Eiffel Tower to the beautiful Gardens of Giverny, our European river cruises from Ireland are the best way to holiday.

Another great example of our cruises for 2024 is our Rhine River cruise, taking you through The Netherlands, Germany , France & Switzerland. With optional excursions and guided walking tours, we create our itineraries so you get the most out of your travels.

Whether it's the Rhine, Danube, Seine or the Nile, on all our river cruise holidays, we include return flights, guided transfers, and full board accommodation aboard the ship, so all you need to do is start packing for the trip of a lifetime!

Select A Guided River Cruise Holiday

Why choose a travel department river cruise holiday.

Sail To The Heart of the City

Sail To The Heart of the City

As the ships used on our European river cruises and Nile cruises are smaller than traditional ocean liner cruise ships, we are able to dock in the heart of almost every city we visit. By making our way into the centre of each city, our holiday will include more time to explore all of the incredible destinations that we offer. Each river cruise includes several ports of call including visits to world-renowned cities like Vienna, Budapest and Paris.

Explore More With Included Excursions

Explore More With Included Excursions

On all of our holidays, we make sure to include plenty of guided tours and trips to help us get the most out of our time away. Our river cruises are no different and offer multiple shore excursions, some included and some optional, throughout our journey. We’ll have the opportunity to visit the home of classical music in Vienna, explore the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and hear the history of one of Europe’s oldest universities in Salamanca, Spain. On each excursion, we’ll be accompanied by a local, expert guide.

Enjoy Onboard Entertainment

Enjoy Onboard Entertainment

While travelling on our river cruises, we’ll have the opportunity to experience local culture through unique onboard entertainment. On our river cruise holiday through Vietnam, we’ll participate in the ancient art of Tai Chi and traditional cooking demonstrations. On our river cruise through Germany, we’ll hear traditional Bavarian music and sample authentic regional cuisine. Whether it be traditional dance lessons in Cambodia or a folklore show in Budapest, each river cruise offers something unforgettable for us to enjoy.

Savour Local Flavours

Savour Local Flavours

One of the best ways to learn about a new culture while travelling is to sample their local delicacies. Whether it’s goulash in Hungary or pretzels in Bavaria, every country or region has something new to discover. When travelling with us, each of our river cruise holidays offer full board and an exciting selection of both authentic regional cuisine and international dishes. So, we can enjoy Port in Porto or Pho in Vietnam.

riverboat cruise holidays

What To Expect On A River Cruise Holiday

River cruises are a fantastic way to discover hidden gems in multiple destinations as we cruise along the most stunning waterways in Europe and beyond. We hand pick our 4 and 5 star ships to make sure they offer a range of fantastic facilities, including restaurants, bars, spas and lounge areas. Beyond the amenities of the ship itself, we’ve chosen a superb selection of cruises to some of the world’s most wonderful destinations. Choose from cruises along the Danube, Rhine, Nile, Mekong and more. Some of our most popular European river cruises are along the Danube, which include excursions to the famous European cities of Munich, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, among others. With expert, local guides to give us the history in some of the places we visit, we’ll be sure to get the most out of our ports of call.

River Cruise Holiday FAQs

Are river cruises expensive.

Our river cruises are fantastic value for money as flights, transfers, accommodation aboard the ship, meals and some guided offshore excursions are all included in the price. Drinks are not included and will have to be signed for whilst on board, along with other expenses like beauty treatments and extra excursions. A final bill for these extras will be given to you on your last evening onboard. Local wine is included with dinner with Lueftner cruises and an optional drinks package is available with Nicko cruises.

What river cruise shore excursions are included?

A number of excursions are included in your package and other optional tours can be booked on board at extra cost. We’ll be sure to get the most out of our ports of call as excursions are led by local guides who will give us the best insights in some of the places we visit. This usually consists of short walking tours of beautiful historical towns, full day tours and sometimes we’ll have free time to do our own exploration. The advantage of a river cruise is that your ship takes you to the heart of each destination, giving you more time to experience the attractions and enjoy your time ashore. A Travel Department Representative will be onboard for your holiday to deal with any issues that may arise. They have experienced all the places you are to visit and will be happy to make recommendations for free time activities.

What are the river cruise cabins like?

Accommodation varies from ship to ship, and the style and layout of cabins will differ, depending on which deck/cabin type has been booked. Travel Department’s River Cruise holidays include a lower deck cabin as standard and upgrades to middle and upper decks are available at a supplement. Many lower deck cabins have smaller, non-opening windows, while middle and upper deck cabins generally have opening panoramic windows. Detailed information can be found in the individual holiday descriptions. All cabins have a bathroom with shower and are equipped with a hairdryer, safe and air conditioning. 

What on-board facilities of a river cruise ship are provided?

General facilities vary from ship to ship but most include a sun deck, bar/lounge area and restaurant. Wi-Fi is also available at an additional cost but please note that due to the movement of the ship and varied geographical locations, the signal can be weak. When not exploring the ports of call, it is possible to relax on the top deck or in the lounges reading or sunbathing, chatting with fellow passengers or just watching the river life pass by. 

How long will we be sailing for on a river cruise ship?

Although each itinerary varies, on most tours much of the sailing takes place overnight, so you will wake up in a different destination and be ready to disembark and explore a new place. When the sailing is by day, there are opportunities to relax on the top deck or in the lounge and take in magnificent landscapes and scenic river views; such as castles and abbeys along the Rhine or Danube, or the villages and vine-clad hills of the Douro Valley. 

Is there a dress code on river cruises for dining?

On our river cruises there is no formal dress wear for meal times but the cruise operator does ask that you dress smart-casual for dinners and special meals. All of the towns on the cruising route offer their own traditional specialties and the food on board sometimes will mirror these. Following dinner each evening entertainment is provided by the onboard musicians or local groups displaying their traditional song and dance. Quizzes and other types of evening entertainment are also sometimes provided.  

Are gratuities included on a river cruise?

Gratuities for your river cruise crew are not included in your holiday. The amount of your tip is left to your discretion and should be seen as a reward for good service. If you would like a recommendation we suggest, as a guideline, €8 per guest per day for general staff and €2 per guest per day for the Cruise Director.

Are river cruising holidays suitable for people with reduced mobility?

Generally, river cruise holidays are not suitable for those with reduced mobility. Many of the ships do not have lifts and often ships are moored beside other vessels which you will have to walk across to get to your own. Likewise, some guided excursions will involve periods of walking and standing, at times on uneven or cobbled surfaces. There will be steep inclines or steps to negotiate at some locations. For all our tours we have an activity level guide to help you decide which holiday suits you best. For specific advice regarding our river cruises and to discuss any special needs, please contact us directly and we will be happy to assist.

Can you get motion sickness on a river cruise?

It’s usually very smooth sailing on a river cruise, unlike some ocean cruises where the seas can get rough, so there’s a much smaller chance of travel sickness. 

What if there is an emergency?

We have local representatives in all of our destinations who are available 24/7 as well as an emergency contact number for our offices in Ireland should you ever need it.

Reviews, Travel Tips & Advice To Inspire Your Next River Cruise Holiday

What To Expect On A Danube River Cruise

What To Expect On A Danube River Cruise

7 Excellent reasons for taking a river cruise

7 Excellent reasons for taking a river cruise

Top 5 river cruises in Europe and beyond

Top 5 river cruises in Europe and beyond

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Nile River Cruises

  • Nile River Cruise Luxury
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250+ Nile river cruises with 911 reviews

4 Days 3 nights  5 stars Nile Cruise Aswan to Luxor Tour

River Cruise Family Temples Historical +1

4 Days 3 nights 5 stars Nile Cruise Aswan to Luxor

"The ship is very nice, Has a pool, an indoor and an outdoor bar. Meals are Served as a Buffet, there is Always good for every one." Nadja, traveled in May 2024

From Luxor 5 Days 4 Nights Nile Cruise WITH GUIDED TOURS + FREE GIFT TOUR \"ABU SIMBEL TEMPLE\" Tour

River Cruise Temples Historical +1


"The communication from the tour company kept us always informed. I highly recommend this as a way to travel around Egypt!" Samantha, traveled in October 2022
  • 10% deposit on some dates

Holiday In Egypt 4 Days – 3 Nights Nile Cruise From Cairo by Flight Tour

River Cruise Family Temples Sightseeing Historical Christmas & New Year +3

Holiday In Egypt 4 Days – 3 Nights Nile Cruise From Cairo by Flight

From Aswan 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise Tour

River Cruise Temples Sightseeing Historical +2

From Aswan 3 Days 2 Nights Nile Cruise

"It's one of the best lite and cheap Nile cruises in Egypt. The boat was great, and the cabin is so clean and large." Solly, traveled in September 2019

Cairo and Nile Cruise Tours - Included Internal Flights Tour

Temples Sightseeing Historical +1

Cairo and Nile Cruise Tours - Included Internal Flights

"Getaway Egypt went out of its way to accommodate and customize our experience. Egypt is too hot in late May." William, traveled in May 2024
  • €110 deposit on some dates

River Nile Story - 4 Days 5 stars Nile Cruise Aswan to Luxor with meals and Sightseeing Tour

River Nile Story - 4 Days 5 stars Nile Cruise Aswan to Luxor with meals and Sightseeing

"it was a great tours, also you so kind." Lu, traveled in April 2024

River Nile Dream - 4 Days from Luxor to Aswan (5 Stars Nile Cruise & Sightseeing) Tour

River Nile Dream - 4 Days from Luxor to Aswan (5 Stars Nile Cruise & Sightseeing)

"This trip was absolutely incredible! Seeing all of these historical sights was truly amazing."

Nile Cruise 4 days 5 stars including internal flights Tour

Nile Cruise 4 days 5 stars including internal flights

"All of the tours were so informative and well worth the cost. Everyone was so friendly and helpful." Megan, traveled in December 2019

Nile Odyssey: Luxor to Aswan with Abu Simbel A 5 days Guided adventure Tour

In-depth Cultural Temples Sightseeing Historical Christmas & New Year +3

Nile Odyssey: Luxor to Aswan with Abu Simbel A 5 days Guided adventure

"The staff at Direct Tour was great! They keep in constant contact with you to make sure everything is running smoothly." Julian, traveled in March 2021

Movenpick MS Royal Lily Nile Cruise Tour

Movenpick MS Royal Lily Nile Cruise

"The ship was good, our cabin very good." Annette, traveled in December 2022

Movenpick Royal Lily Easter Nile Cruise Tour

Movenpick Royal Lily Easter Nile Cruise

Nile River Cruise 4 Days with 3 Nights Start from Luxor Tour

Nile River Cruise 4 Days with 3 Nights Start from Luxor

"It was a wonderful cruise, we saw all sightseen between luxor and aswan and Stuff." ahmed, traveled in February 2019

5 Days 4 Nights Cruise from Luxor to Aswan Tour

5 Days 4 Nights Cruise from Luxor to Aswan

"Arranged the Nile Cruise for us from Aswan to Luxor with a guide and all activities before and after." Tala, traveled in December 2022

Marvelous the Nile River Tour Between Luxor and Aswan – 5 Days Tour

Marvelous the Nile River Tour Between Luxor and Aswan – 5 Days

"Everything about this tour exceeded our highest expectations. The Symphony cruise ship was also first class." ROBERT, traveled in November 2023

5 Days Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan Including Abu Simble Tour

5 Days Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan Including Abu Simble

"The Nile cruise was a memorable experience with stunning landscapes and a tranquil Nile view from our room." John, traveled in July 2023

Reviews of Nile Cruises

Great value for money. We got to see many temples and had one guide to a small group. The rooms are well kept and the food was decent.
Ein wundervolles Erlebnis auf dem Nil für 4 Nächte und 5 Tage zu einem sehr günstigen Preis. Wie in jedem Moment der Tour sind die Ägypter so freundlich und unser Führer war fantastisch, das Boot war erstaunlich, vielen Dank für dieses Erlebnis, unser einziger Rat ist Was das Essen angeht, braucht es mehr Abwechslung. Wir kommen nicht, um das Gleiche zu essen, das wir in unseren Ländern essen, wir müssen die ägyptische orientalische Küche mehr erleben, aber jedes andere Detail war mehr als perfekt.
This was such a great tour to explore some amazing temples and also get to stay in a boat and sail down the Nile! Our guide Anas was awesome!! He knew so much about the temples and the history and would always give us extra time to wander around ourselves and take photos etc. Anas and the company made sure to provide water (temperatures was insanely hot) and they also gave us umbrellas each for the duration of the tour. Definitely recommend Abu Simbel as an optional tour! The temple is just incredible. The hot air balloon ride is also the perfect was to finish the tour on the last day! The sun rise was beautiful! The tour was great from start to end with everything being so easy (The hotel pick ups/drop offs, transportation to temples and flights)

Top operators

Holiday In Egypt

"Great value for money. We got to see many temples and had one guide to a small group. The rooms are well kept and the food was decent.

Holiday In Egypt is an expert in:

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Egyptology Travel

"Sehr schöne Reise mit wunderbaren Erfahrungen. Die Kreuzfahrt war nett, das Personal werden wir in Erinnerung für die Freundlichkeit behalten.

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Mississippi River Cruises

Stretching for 2,350 miles down the United States, from Minnesota's Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico, our new cruises on the "Mighty Mississippi" offer a different type of cross-country journey for the curious explorer—one that allows you to be immersed in American history and culture.

Step on board the newest and most modern ship on the Mississippi with all outside staterooms, private verandas, spacious public areas and our signature, clean Scandinavian design, reimagined for the Mississippi River.

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Highlights of mississippi river cruises.

A Mississippi River cruise offers the rare opportunity to sail through America's heartland on the world’s #1 river cruise line. Explore picturesque towns and boom cities; take in views of pastoral farms and towering bluffs; and immerse yourself in the region's rich history and culture with an included excursion in every port. Here are a few highlights Viking reveals to you:

  • Festive French Quarter and Creole cuisine in New Orleans
  • Cajun heritage in Baton Rouge
  • Civil War history at Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Memphis BBQ, Graceland and appreciation of the Delta Blues
  • Steamboat sailings with diverse wildlife sightings
  • Mark Twain's boyhood home and America’s literary history
  • Up close look at America’s national symbol, the bald eagle
  • Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the pioneering spirit of the Midwest
  • Norwegian cultural experience at Vesterheim
  • Intricate locks and dams of the Upper Mississippi

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9 hot river cruises to book this year

Donna Heiderstadt

There are classic river itineraries — the Danube, the Rhine, the Rhone and the Nile — that anyone who appreciates the ease and camaraderie of river cruising can book with most of the top cruise lines. But those aren't your only options.

The most exciting river cruises to book this year are the new offerings that go off the beaten path, explore an unsung river or combine a standard seven-night sailing with a novel land tour.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Here are nine new itineraries for 2024 and 2025 that are taking river cruising beyond the familiar, including several on recently launched or soon-to-debut river ships.

AmaWaterways' 7-night Wonders of Colombia and Magic of Colombia

riverboat cruise holidays

Love South America but have already cruised the Amazon? Consider AmaWaterways ' newest ship, AmaMagdalena. Debuting in January 2025, the 60-passenger ship will sail two alternating seven-night itineraries year-round on Colombia's Magdalena River, traveling from Cartagena to Barranquilla and vice versa.

With the Wonders of Colombia itinerary , you'll board AmaMagdalena in coastal Cartagena, a popular Caribbean port on Panama Canal transits that you can now also enjoy on a river cruise. Arrive a day early or book a two-night precruise add-on to see sights such as the historic Walled City, San Felipe de Barajas Castle and the Gold Museum.

Following a sunset sail away, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of Colombia via a local music experience in Palenque, the first "free town" in the Americas after a 1713 decree from the Spanish crown freed residents from slavery. You can also check out 19th-century Calamar on a paola (a two-person bicycle taxi) and the jazz music and local handicrafts available in Santa Barbara de Pinto and Mompox.

El Banco and Magangue round out the list of port calls before the cruise ends with a tour of the floating village of Nueva Venecia and an evening Carnival celebration in the seaside port of Barranquilla.

Choose the Magic of Colombia itinerary , from Barranquilla to Cartagena, and you'll visit the same ports, just in a different order. Rather than end your cruise with the Carnival celebration, you'll experience it on your first day. You can also book several precruise and postcruise land tours, including three nights precruise in Medellin, three nights postcruise in Panama or both.

AmaMagdalena will be joined in June 2025 by 64-passenger AmaMelodia. Both vessels will offer spacious (237- to 516-square-foot) staterooms and suites, as well as a heated pool on the sun deck and two dining options: the main restaurant, serving Latin American cuisine and Western favorites, and an intimate alfresco dining experience.

Related: Best river cruise lines around the world

American Cruise Lines' 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers

riverboat cruise holidays

American Cruise Lines ' itineraries on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington already attract travelers who appreciate the stunning landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, but now the cruise line has a 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers itinerary that takes scenic appreciation to another level.

The trip combines an eight-night cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers with a seven-night land tour to three national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The itinerary visits five states and begins or ends in either Portland, Oregon, or Jackson, Wyoming, depending on whether you do the land or cruise portion first.

What will you see on this cruise? If you start in Portland, you'll overnight before boarding one of the company's modern, 180-passenger river ships: American Jazz, American Harmony or American Song. Your first day will be spent enjoying scenic cruising along the Columbia River, with Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens as a backdrop, as you head to Astoria, Oregon. The historic seaside city is known for its beautiful Victorian houses and red trolleys.

Geology enthusiasts and anyone who remembers the devastating May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens will be fascinated by the port call in Kalama, Washington, where you can take an included guided excursion to the National Volcanic Monument. The following day will be spent cruising the Columbia River Gorge before you arrive in Stevenson, Washington, where a visit to 620-foot Multnomah Falls is a highlight. The final two days feature views of the dramatic landscapes of the Snake River in eastern Washington as you call on Richland before disembarking in Clarkston.

The guided national parks tour begins with a drive to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for a lake cruise followed by an overnight in Kalispell, Montana. Once in Glacier National Park, you'll navigate Going-to-the-Sun Road and dine at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge.

The tour continues on to Yellowstone National Park, where your adventure guides will offer insight as you explore Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Tower Fall and Old Faithful, among other highlights. A visit to Grand Teton National Park and its Jackson Lake Lodge follows, with your final day spent admiring the park's incredible mountain vistas and abundant wildlife.

Related: The best US river cruises

American Cruise Lines' 50-night The Great United States

riverboat cruise holidays

If 15 nights aren't enough to satisfy your wanderlust, American Cruise Lines offers a 50-night version of The Great United States program for 2025.

The 2025 sailing encompasses three cruises. It takes the 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers itinerary described above and adds a 21-night Mississippi River cruise from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota, aboard 180-passenger American Serenade, which will call on 21 ports in six states. Along the Mississippi, you'll have a chance to visit Civil War battlefields in Vicksburg, Mississippi; Mark Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri; and the landmark Gateway Arch in St. Louis. You can also enjoy legendary blues music on Beale Street in Memphis.

That segment will be followed by a 14-night, 14-port cruise along the coast of New England on 125-passenger American Pioneer (debuting in 2025). The ship will sail round-trip from Boston and visit scenic coastal ports in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including the quintessential New England islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Tour options will include visits to the Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor and Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, an SUV adventure along the dunes of Provincetown on Cape Cod and a tour of the gilded mansions of Newport in Rhode Island.

In total, you'll check off 15 states from your must-visit list during this river cruise. That's an impressive number of destinations to visit in a single trip.

Avalon Waterways' 7-night Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro

riverboat cruise holidays

Portugal's Douro River Valley is beloved by oenophiles. Over the past few decades, it has also attracted river cruisers seeking a relaxing itinerary punctuated by sleepy small towns and the daily enjoyment of local food and wine.

In March 2024, Avalon Waterways added the Douro River to its offerings when it debuted 102-passenger Avalon Alegria sailing an itinerary called Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro . The seven-night cruise is round trip from Porto, where there's time at the start and end of your cruise to explore this colorful city's historic port-wine cellars, churches and bridges (including the Ponte de Dona Maria Pia, designed in 1877 by Gustave Eiffel).

Noteworthy stops range from an afternoon call on Porto Antigo, with included excursions to monasteries and churches in Braga and Guimaraes, to a call at Peso de Regua, where sightseeing and wine tasting go hand in hand. You'll even have an opportunity to add an optional excursion from Pinhao to the elaborate 18th-century Baroque palace Casa de Mateus (of rose wine fame).

Save time for the onboard activities, too. After a full-day excursion from Barca d'Alva to Salamanca, Spain — a city known for its mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural styles — you can learn how to paint azulejos (Portugal's famous blue-hued handmade tiles) or enjoy a pastry-making demonstration on the ship the next morning.

Related: The best river cruises in Europe

CroisiEurope's 7-night A Cruise Through Four Exquisite European Valleys

riverboat cruise holidays

Germany is known for its scenic river valleys, and a new itinerary from French river cruise line CroisiEurope doesn't skimp on beautiful vistas. Called A Cruise Through Four Exquisite European Valleys , the seven-night, round-trip sailing departs from Strasbourg, France, and visits the Rhine, Neckar, Moselle and Saar river valleys.

The ship for this itinerary, 81-passenger Elbe Princesse II, is one of CroisiEurope's three paddle river boats. It normally navigates the Elbe River between Berlin and Prague. However, from July to October 2025, the ship will be cruising the Rhine and its tributaries.

This river cruise kicks off on the Saar River, famous for the Great Bend at Mettlach (the river equivalent of a hairpin turn), and overnights in the town of Saarburg, Germany. After a morning scenic cruise onto the Moselle River, you'll visit Trier, Germany, known for its ancient Roman structures and its photogenic medieval buildings, before continuing on to Cochem, Germany, where you can enjoy an afternoon visit to the hilltop Reichsburg Castle.

Larger cities like Koblenz, Germany, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and home to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, are also on the itinerary. The trip features a stop in wine-centric Rudesheim, Germany, as well, so you can sample some vino and enjoy a ride on a scenic train while in the Rhine Valley.

The final day calls on a trio of German ports on the Neckar River. In the morning, you'll visit Mannheim and disembark for a coach transfer to Heidelberg, home to pink-hued Heidelberg Castle, historic churches and atmospheric beer halls. You'll then reboard Elbe Princesse II in Heidelberg and sail to Eberbach, a medieval city with an abundance of half-timbered homes and ancient fountains. The ship will overnight as you enjoy a final gala dinner before disembarking in Strasbourg the next morning.

Riverside Luxury Cruises' 11-night Danube and Main River Discovery

riverboat cruise holidays

With the March 2024 debut of 110-passenger Riverside Debussy, Europe-based newcomer Riverside Luxury Cruises has added more than a half-dozen new three- to 21-night itineraries, with options on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube rivers. In October 2024, the ship will sail an 11-night Danube and Main River Discovery itinerary from Budapest to Frankfurt that combines the highlights of two rivers and visits four countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.

You'll embark Riverside Debussy in Hungary's capital before cruising past the illuminated Hungarian Parliament Building on your way to Bratislava. The capital of Slovakia is home to a hilltop castle, a walkable pedestrian zone and pubs serving local beer.

The next day, discover the history and artistry of Vienna with visits to its Hapsburg-era palaces, 16th-century St. Stephen's Cathedral and numerous museums. Charming Durnstein, Austria, is known for its medieval castle and a riverfront abbey with a pretty blue-and-white spire, while the golden-hued abbey in nearby Melk, Austria, celebrates the flavor of apricots in preserves and liquors.

As you reach Passau, Germany, which sits on the confluence of three rivers, you'll enter Bavaria and discover a walkable city with a domed 17th-century Baroque cathedral. The next day on the Main River (a Rhine tributary), you'll tour Regensburg, Germany, including its UNESCO World Heritage-listed city center, before spending two days exploring Nuremberg, Germany, which has a notably complex history.

Rounding out the cruise are calls on Bamberg, Wurzburg and Wertheim, Germany, with bustling Frankfurt — where historic remnants of the Middle Ages meet modern skyscrapers — serving as the departure port.

Related: River cruise packing list: What to pack when traveling by riverboat

Tauck's 13-night Romantic Capitals: Prague to Paris

riverboat cruise holidays

Tauck's newest river offering in Europe for 2025 is its 13-night Romantic Capitals: Prague to Paris itinerary. This multiriver and land journey is available from April to October on Tauck ships Joy and Savor.

You'll start your journey with two nights at the Fairmont Golden Prague Hotel and enjoy ample time to take in sights such as Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. You'll then transfer to Regensburg, Germany, for a nine-day cruise to Trier along the Main, Rhine, Moselle and upper Danube rivers, as well as the Main-Danube Canal.

Ports and cities visited on excursions include Frankfurt, Koblenz, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Wertheim and Boppard, Germany. Exclusive experiences available to Tauck guests range from a private reception and dinner at Schlosshotel Kronberg near Frankfurt to a visit to the legendary Nurburgring racetrack near Koblenz.

You'll continue your trip on land with a quick stop in Luxembourg for a walking tour of its capital city. Afterward, you'll board a train to Paris, where your journey will conclude with a two-night stay at L'Hotel du Collectionneur.

Uniworld's 14-night Delightful Danube & the Castles of Transylvania

riverboat cruise holidays

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises' newest offering for 2024 and 2025 is a 14-night cruise-and-rail itinerary, Delightful Danube & the Castles of Transylvania , that visits six countries: Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria and Germany.

In Istanbul, the starting point, you'll have a day to check out many of the city's top sights, such as the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and the Basilica Cistern Museum, before you board the private Golden Eagle Danube Express for a four-night train journey through Bulgaria and Romania. Stops you'll make along the way include Bulgaria's ancient capital of Veliko Tarnovo and the rugged mountain landscapes — and famous landmarks that inspired Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel — of Romania's Transylvania region.

Before your train journey ends in Budapest, you'll enjoy a traditional Hungarian puszta horse show and two nights at the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace Budapest. The latter serves as a terrific home base for enjoying local sights like the Danube-spanning Chain Bridge, the neo-Gothic Hungarian Parliament Building and the hillside Castle District with its palace and 14th-century Matthias Church.

Your Danube cruise begins as you board Uniworld's 130-passenger River Duchess and set sail north through Austria, visiting Vienna (for imperial and artistic immersion in palaces and museums) and Krems (to tour a castle set amid the beauty of the Wachau Valley). You also will call on Passau, Germany, a city that resides where three rivers — the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube — meet; it's a picturesque spot for a walking tour or riverside bike ride. Then, you'll make your way to Regensburg, Germany, with its charming medieval Old Town, transit the Main-Danube Canal and dock in Nuremberg for a special nighttime celebration before disembarkation.

Viking's 10-night Rhine & Main Explorer from Nuremberg to Basel

riverboat cruise holidays

Viking 's newest itinerary for 2025 is the 10-night Rhine & Main Explorer , which cruises from Nuremberg to Basel (or vice versa) from May to November and visits cities in Germany, France and Switzerland. It's a new mix of ports for Viking, including some lesser-known historic towns in Germany's Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria regions.

You'll board one of the cruise line's 190-passenger Viking Longships in Nuremberg, where an overnight offers time to learn about the city's medieval structures and past as a staging ground for Nazi rallies. More medieval architecture awaits in Bamberg, famous for its river-spanning Altes Rathaus (Town Hall) and its rauchbier (smoked beer). If wine is your preferred spirit, you're in luck, as Wurzburg, a city in Germany's Franken wine region, is also on the itinerary.

As you continue your cruise, you'll see the vibrant half-timbered houses and sample the hearty Bavarian cuisine (think: bratwurst and pork knuckle) of Marktheidenfeld, Germany. A visit to bustling Frankfurt, which provides a stark contrast between historic and modern Germany, is also in order after an afternoon spent sailing past the Main River's castle-topped hillsides.

France's Alsace region gets its turn when you call on Strasbourg, known for its beautifully preserved Old Town encircled by the Ill River. The itinerary also includes a stop across the Rhine in Breisach, Germany, the gateway to the Black Forest and a town full of vineyards. You'll end your journey with a full day of exploring charming guild house-lined Marktplatz, history-rich streets and more than 40 museums in Basel.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

  • The 5 most desirable cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • A beginners guide to picking a cruise line
  • The 8 worst cabin locations on any cruise ship
  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
  • A quick guide to the most popular cruise lines
  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

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Christmas Market River Cruises

Embrace the magic of the holiday season aboard a Christmas market river cruise as you discover the Christmas markets in Germany and Austria and participate in age-old holiday traditions aboard your cruise along the Rhine and Danube rivers.

Christmas Markets


Welcome to Europe's Christmas Markets

This 700-year old holiday tradition gets right to the heart of what Christmas is truly all about. The old world feel comes into focus this time of year as you stroll through the cobblestone streets and enjoy the sparkle of holiday lights, handcrafted surprises found around every corner, and mulled red wine on offer to keep you warm... adding to the yuletide experience.

The river of kings – the danube, old world europe – rhine river cruises, aboard our christmas markets river cruises, a christmas markets river cruise... with your riverboat done up for the holidays.

So many of our river cruise guests tell us that it's often the little extras they enjoy aboard their Tauck riverboat that make every day of their cruise that much more memorable... and that's before they even step ashore for their first excursion! Your Christmas Markets cruise will be no exception. Along with unlimited complimentary beverages (including beer, wine and premium spirits, specialty coffee, tea, water and soft drinks) aboard ship, and snack baskets available from 10:00 AM to midnight... you'll enjoy special onboard holiday touches like a tree-trimming party, caroling and other festive gatherings... a traditional European Christmas dinner with all the fixings... special evenings of holiday-themed entertainment, and much more!

Experiencing Europe's Christmas Markets

Treasure the magic of europe's christmas markets along the rhine or danube.

In every stop on your Christmas Markets cruise along the Rhine or Danube, you'll enjoy all the magic of your destination's holiday markets, each of which has taken on a distinctive character of its own over the centuries. You'll discover those local traditions… like the hot mulled wine known as glühwein, served in collectible mugs unique to each market… that have caught on to become an indispensable part of the holiday celebration. And on our Rhine Christmas Markets cruise, you'll experience some special holiday magic on an exclusive visit to the Thurn und Taxis family's Palace of St. Emmeram in Regensburg. Tour this lavish Baroque family home – converted from a monastery in the 18th century – and browse its private Christmas Market.

Journey Collection

Experience Europe's Christmas Markets

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Inspired by the Destination

For 90+ years, the Tauck family has had a passion for sailing — aboard small ships and yachts at sea, riverboats along great inland waterways, and at home on the rivers and lakes of Connecticut and New York. When we began blending our land experience with our strong passion for cruising in our first European river cruise back in 1992, we knew that no "ordinary" river cruise experience would do for our guests. We wanted them to travel Europe's rivers in the same beyond-the-ordinary Tauck style they experienced on our land trips. With that in mind, we searched to find a company to partner with that would share our values and our commitment to "do the right thing" by our guests... and found it in another family-owned company, Scylla. Together, we crafted a river cruise experience that was ahead of its time and inspired by the destinations we explore.

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Sophisticated, Intimate Atmosphere

Tauck's Destination Fleet is custom-designed for comfort – guests enjoy a relaxed, congenial atmosphere

Distinctively Inclusive

No options sold; all gratuities to Tauck Directors & Cruise Director, ship staff local guides included

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Call us, or call your travel advisor, to book your preferred departure date today – and explore our beautiful brochures to find your inspiration for your next journey.

riverboat cruise holidays

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riverboat cruise holidays

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River cruises europe.

View Europe River Cruise Deals View Last Minute Europe River Cruise Deals

Europe is one of the world’s most popular destinations for the  best river cruises and provides travellers with plenty of choice. With Europe river cruises you can visit wonderful villages, towns, and cities across a plethora of iconic European nations, from Spain river cruises in the south to stunning cities on a France river cruise , Germany river cruise , in the west; to Hungary river cruises and Serbia river cruises in the east.

From the ancient landmarks and vine-clad hillsides along the banks of the Rhine and Danube to the sun-soaked scenery of the Douro, Europe offers unforgettable cruise experiences in every corner of the continent. Elsewhere, popular European waterways include the Rhone, Moselle, Saone, Main, and Dutch Waterways, among others.

River Cruises Europe Destinations

View Rhine River Cruises View Danube River Cruises   View Seine River Cruises   View Douro River Cruises

At, we have some of the finest European rivers for you to explore. Our major river destinations include the Rhine, Danube, Seine, and Douro. Each river cruise offers amazing city breaks and unbeatable views. 

Make the experience all the better with our European river cruise deals . 

Destinations along the Rhine range from a river cruise in Holland to the vibrant cities seen in a Basel river cruise , Cologne in a Cologne river cruise , and a Strasbourg river cruise to peaceful settlements including Rudesheim, Speyer, and Breisach in the Rhine Valley—Germany’s gateway to the beautiful Black Forest—offering the perfect blend of cultures and landscapes.

As Europe’s longest river, the iconic Danube offers a captivating and diverse cruise experience, flowing through a plethora of magnificent river ports from its source in the Black Forest of Germany to its end at the mouth of the Black Sea. It makes for the perfect summer river cruise . 

This phenomenal waterway either passes through or borders 10 countries and an incredible four capital cities on its way across Europe. These cruises include river cruises in Vienna and Bratislava river cruises , each of which is home to a wealth of historic landmarks and cultural attractions. Other intriguing and popular ports along the river include Linz, Esztergom, Passau, and Vidin.

The Seine flows directly through the French capital of Paris in a beautiful Paris river cruise , that offers guests the ideal opportunity to disembark and explore this world-famous destination, where landmarks and attractions include the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre.

Being a shorter river, the Seine makes for a perfect short river cruise , showing all the beauty that France has to offer from a completely new angle on the water. 

Last but by no means least, the river Douro offers some of our Europe river cruises' most beautiful destinations. Enjoying a river cruise in Portugal is the perfect way to soak up the sun on a spring river cruise . Just some of the many amazing locations include Porto, Regua, Pinhao, and Salamanca, as well as the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, which, although not situated on the river, is often included at the start of many Douro itineraries.

Europe River Cruises Deals

At, we have the very best Europe river cruises, and when you take advantage of our fantastic river cruise deals , you can find a fantastic deal on many of our river voyages . If you plan to book a river cruise for 2024, a river cruise for 2025 and beyond, you can take advantage of our amazing early booking deals.

You can find the perfect cruise for great prices with our cheap European river cruises or with our last minute river cruise deals . Get a cruise for an amazing deal without having to wait long to go on your river cruise in Europe.

Get In Touch

If you are looking for a Europe river cruise and need some help with your booking or just need some travel advice , then be sure to get in touch with us and call our freephone service at 0800 1970854 or email us at [email protected] , and one of our friendly and helpful staff will be on hand to assist you with any queries.

Europe Ports

Situated along the banks of the Danube River, Vilshofen i...


Weissenkirchen, Austria, is situated in the heart of the...

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria. Located o...

Mauthausen, Austria, was once the site of the notorious M...

Linz is a city in northern Austria located on both banks of...

Salzburg, tucked away in the heart of Austria, is a city...

Situated on the banks of the Danube river, Aschach boasts...

Spitz, Austria, is a charming village situated in the Wac...

Dürnstein is a town located in the Northeast of Austria, sit...

Aggsbach, situated within the Wachau Valley alongside the...

Krems an der Donau is a city in Northeast Austria located ap...

Grein, home of the historic 15th century Greinburg castle...

Sitting on the banks of the Danube River, Emmersdorf is a...

Engelhartszell an der Donau

Recognised for the magnificent Engelszell Abbey, Engelhar...

Melk is an Austrian town situated on the River Danube. Locat...

Neuhofen an der Ybbs

Neuhofen an der Ybbs is a must-visit for adventurers and...

Bossuit, located in Belgium's Flemish region, is a charmi...

Namur, sitting alongside the Meuse River in Belgium's Wal...

Oostende (Ostend)

Oostende, widely known as Ostend, is a lively coastal cit...

Gent (Ghent)

Gent (Ghent) is a must-visit Belgian city adorned with me...

In 1895 work began to construct a new seaport and harbour ne...

Brugge (Bruges)

Brugge (Bruges) is a city pulled straight from a fairy-ta...

Brussel (Bruxelles)

Experience Belgium's capital, a city renowned for its cul...

Explore Antwerp, Belgium's second city. Known for its diamon...

Characterised by lively markets, medieval architecture, a...

Situated in the Flemish region of Belgium, Hasselt is fam...

Rich in World War I history, Ypres sits in the Flanders r...


Le verdon-sur-mer.

Situated on the Garonne River, 70 miles (113 km) inland from...



Situated in the Normandy region of France alongside the r...

United with France only since 1860, Nice has its own hist...

Glénan Islands

The gateway to the Atlantic Ocean and the country’s seventh...

Adorned with stunning Gothic architecture, Rouen is a cit...


Ushant island.

Tournus, characterised by Romanesque architecture and the...

La Voulte-sur-Rhône

Marseilles-lès-aubigny, boulogne-sur-mer, palavas-les-flots, bouchemaine, aigues-mortes, talmont-sur-gironde, châteauneuf-du-rhône, la rochelle, île-d'yeu, saint-cyr-sur-mer, l'île-rousse.

“Where the mountains meet the sea,” the beautiful island of...

Sitting on the banks of the Saône River is Mâ...


Birthplace of the renowned photography pioneer Nicé...


At first glance, it really doesn't look all that impressive....



The fishing village of Sète serves as gateway to Montpellier...



At the mouth of the Rhône in southern France, Port-...

Visit Locronan, France’s most picturesque medieval village....


Propriano, corsica, porto-vecchio.

Set on a hillock overlooking a beautiful deep blue bay, Port...


Since being designated a European Capital of Culture for 201...

La Roche-Guyon

Château-thierry, le lavandou, baume-les-dames, tournon-sur-rhône, porticcio, corsica, dives-sur-mer.

France's iconic and enchanting capital, Paris, is a globa...

Renowned for its wine heritage, prestigious vineyards and...


Anse de morgat, saint-florent, lutzelbourg, montbéliard, waltenheim-sur-zorn, cavalaire-sur-mer, montoir-de-bretagne, baie de roccapina, corsica.

Corsica's northern capital, Bastia, is the centre of commerc...


Ajaccio, corsica.

Considered Corsica’s primary commercial and cultural hub, th...

La Seyne-sur-Mer

Gulf of sant'amanza, corsica.

Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points withi...


Caudebec-en-Caux, situated along the Seine in the Normand...

Le Havre, founded by King Francis I of France in 1517, is lo...


Cannes is pampered with the luxurious year-round climate tha...


Santenay, cote d'or, niederviller, calvi, corsica.

Calvi, Corsica's slice of the Riviera, has been described by...

Honfleur, the most picturesque of the Côte Fleurie's seaside...


Although one might think that a name like “the beautiful isl...


Bonifacio, corsica.

Located in the South of Corsica, Bonifacio is one of the isl...


Saint-étienne-des-sorts, gulf of morbihan, saint-émilion, belleville-sur-saône, port-sur-saône.

Strasbourg is a picturesque city in northeastern France,...


Located in the Yvelines department of the Île-de-Fr...

Sanguinaires Islands, Corsica

Île-de-bréhat, parata peninsula, corsica, saint-jean-les-deux-jumeaux, casabianda beach, aleria, corsica, villefranche-sur-mer.

Villefranche-Sur-Mer is located on the Côte d’Azur in Proven...



A city with long maritime history, Saint-Nazaire is mostly k...

The city of Dijon, capital of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comt&...



Located in the southeast of the French Provence region, Anti...


Originally a little fishing village, Cherbourg has developed...

Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by te...

Les Andelys

Situated in France's Normandy region, Les Andelys is an e...


Port-navalo, île-d'aix, isles-les-meldeuses, cape corse, corsica, sant' amanza, saint-mammes, tralicetu, corsica, batz island, porto, corsica.

Seurre is a peaceful escape nestled along the Saône...


Aix-en-provence, saint martin island, caribbean.

Warnemünde, officially a suburb of Rostock, is a quaint seas...

Known for the Kiel Canal and Kiel Week, the city boasts an i...

World-renowned for its vivacious arts and fashion scene,...

A charming town known for its winemaking traditions, Kitz...

Anderten, Hanover

Travemünde is a beach resort with history: The town was foun...

Breisach is a town located in Southwest Germany on the Frenc...


Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city with a history dati...

Zeil am Main

Niederfinow, bremerhaven.

Bremerhaven was founded in 1139. In 1827 the decision was ta...

A town characterised by enchanting medieval charm, Cochem...

Rüdesheim am Rhein

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany...


One of the oldest cities in Germany, Trier's rich history...

Passau is a German city located in the Southeast of Germany...

Lahnstein sits at the confluence of the Lahn and Rhine ri...


Hohenwarthe, spandau/berlin.

Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers,...


Königswinter, bad schandau, berlin-tegel.

Speyer is a town located in southwest Germany situated besid...

Moselweiss, Koblenz

Nuremberg is a medieval city located in northern Bavaria in...

In the heart of Bavaria, Roth is home to charming streets...


Situated on the banks of the Rhine, Mainz is a German cit...

Lutherstadt Wittenberg


Kehl is a town located in southwest Germany on the River Rhi...


Bernkastel-Kues is an enchanting fairytale town situated...


The third largest city in Germany, and one of the most pr...

Located in the West of the country, Koblenz is one of the ol...

Deggendorf is a city and district capital located in Bavaria...

Regensburg is a medieval city of Bavaria in southeast German...

Heligoland Archipelago

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhin...

Boppard, Germany, is home to the iconic Romanesque St. Se...

Marktbreit am Main

Bamberg is a German town located over a landscape of seven h...

List, Sylt Island


Würzburg is a city in Bavaria in southern Germany. It is loc...

Sankt Goarshausen

Situated in the Franconia wine region of Bavaria, Germany...


Baden-baden, hennigsdorf, plittersdorf, ludwigsburg.

Miltenberg is a city located in Bavaria and Southern part of...

Rüdesheim is a popular stop on the Rhine, renowned f...


Frankfurt, birthplace of the iconic writer Johann Wolfgan...


Ludwigshafen is situated on the Rhine in southwestern Ger...


Lauffen am neckar.

The charming seaside resort town of Ahlbeck, situated on...

Rügen Island

Boltenhagen, freudenberg, freiburg im breisgau, schwetzingen, linz am rhein.

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and is located over...

Known for its vibrant red paprika fields, Kalocsa is a de...

Visegrád, Hungary, is home to the magnificent Vise...

Mohács is situated on the banks of the Danube rive...


Willemstad, an enchanting Dutch town with a rich maritime...

Zaandam, famous for its iconic windmills, colourful woode...

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century...

Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands, known for its medie...

Fort Bay, Saba Island


Maastricht is a Dutch city with an allure that extends be...

Hoorn was once a vital centre for trade and shipping duri...


North Holland’s ‘Gate to the North Sea’, IJmuiden has four h...

Rotterdam is a city that's a long way removed from most peop...

Situated in the province of Zeeland, in the Netherlands,...

Keukenhof Gardens, Lisse

Nijmegen, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, bo...


Pico island, selvagem grande island, savage islands, entre-os-rios.

Nestled amongst the scenic landscape between the Tâ...

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Offering solace on the long journey across the Atlantic, Pon...

Horta, Azores

Set on the five-sided island of Faial, Horta is decorated wi...

Vila do Porto

Flores island.

Portimão is a major fishing port, and significant investment...

Porto Antigo

Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Port...

Sometimes known as Peso da Régua, Régua is...

Corvo Island

Vila real de santo antónio, calheta, island são jorge, azores, viana do castelo, angra do heroísmo.

Ever since the Romans constructed a fort here and began usin...

Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo

Caldas de aregos.

Situated along the banks of the Douro, Caldas de Aregos i...

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon h...

Senhora da Hora

Praia da vitória, funchal, madeira.

Formed by a volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stre...

Barca d’Alva

Blessed with rural charm, the tranquil village of Barca d...

Situated in the heart of the Douro Valley, Pinhão...

Pocinho is a remote village in northern Portugal, along t...

Porto Santo Island

Graciosa island, são jorge island, desertas islands, santa maria island, terceira island, azores, vila nova de gaia, vega de terron, portugal.

Sitting on the banks of the Danube River, Giurgiu is a Ro...

As the River Danube flows through the Carpathian Mountain...

Oltenita is an embodiment of culture and history, situate...

Hârșova, Romania, is a town steeped in history with...

Fetești is located in the Ialomița County, Romania, and i...

Drobeta-Turnu Severin

Crișan, tulcea, sfântu gheorghe.

In the heart of the Danube Delta, Sfântu Gheorghe i...

Sitting on the banks of the Danube, Golubac is a small to...

Novi Sad, situated in the north of Serbia, is recognised...

Donji Milanovac

Donji Milanovac offers a breathtaking backdrop for explor...

Belgrade, Serbia's capital, is characterised by its rich...

Veliko Gradiste

Lepenski vir archeological site, sremski karlovci.

Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia and is located al...

Cíes Islands

Santa cruz de la palma.

Also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the beautiful island), La Pa...

Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Perhaps the prettiest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is...

La Savina, Formentera

Puerto de la estaca, santa cruz de tenerife, canary islands.

A Mediterranean city and naval station located in the Region...

Castellón de la Plana

Hedonistic and historic, Eivissa (Ibiza, in Castilian) is a...

The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies...

Vilagarcía de Arousa

Santa cruz de tenerife.

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a beautiful a...

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the...

San Sebastian

La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is am...

Time in Bilbao (Bilbo, in Euskera) may be recorded as BG or...

Valencia, Spain's third-largest municipality, is a proud cit...

Whether you pronounce it Seville or Sevilla, this gorgeous S...

Puerto Banús

Famed for its 12th Century prestigious university, Salama...

Mahón, Menorca

The capital of Menorca since 1721, Mahon has a impressive na...

Isla Minima, Seville

Known as the ‘Round Isle’, La Gomera is one of the oldest an...

Palma de Mallorca

If you look north of the cathedral (La Seu, or the seat of t...

Villagarcía de Arousa


The second-largest of the Canaries after Tenerife, Fuerteven...

The provincial capital of the Valencian Community serves as...

Nestled in south-eastern Spain, Aguilas captivates visito...

The autonomous city of Ceuta is a tiny Spanish city-enclave...

Dating from Roman times, the Galician city of Vigo has a fin...

Motril is located in the Spanish region of Andalucia on the...

El Ferrol has been inextricably linked to the sea for more t...

El Hierro Island

Playa blanca, lanzarote.

The autonomous city of Melilla is a Spanish enclave located...

Ciudadela de Menorca

Puerto de santa maria, port de sóller, palma, puerto del rosario, fuerteventura, los cristianos, tenerife.

One of the best ways to arrive in Catalonia is by sea, espec...

The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, a...

Vega de Terrón

A gateway to the Douro Valley, Vega de Terrón is a...

San Sebastian de la Gomera

Arrecife, lanzarote.

A volcanic island designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Lan...

Formentera Island

As you sail into Malaga you will notice what an idyllic sett...

Saint Carles de la Rapita

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, Fr...

Saint Moritz

Lake lucerne, you may also be interested in.

riverboat cruise holidays

Normandy & Gems of the Seine

18 Aug 2024 - 10 Nights

riverboat cruise holidays

Madrid & Secrets of the Douro

28 Sep 2025 - 6 Nights

riverboat cruise holidays

Paris & Normandy

01 May 2025 - 7 Nights

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated along the banks of the Danube River, Vilshofen is a charming riverside town best-known for its breath-taking landscapes and traditional architecture. The city seamlessly integrates authentic Bavarian charm with modern amenities, presenting a valuable opportunity to explore the quaint city streets, visit local landmarks and experience the region's rich cultural heritage.

riverboat cruise holidays

Weissenkirchen, Austria, is situated in the heart of the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its breath-taking hillsides adorned with vineyards. Visitors find themselves enamoured by the village's stunning architecture, in particular the iconic church tower, and are invited to indulge in the local wines for a truly immersive experience.

riverboat cruise holidays

Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria. Located on the Danube River in the East of the country, the city is renowned for its strong music heritage and rich culture, and is the largest German speaking city in the world, outside of Berlin. In 2001, Vienna was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts magnificent architecture. The city is home to over 27 castles and 150 palaces including the symbolic Gothic St Stephen’s Cathedral and the iconic Schönbrunn Palace. Art and music are in abundance and all tastes are catered for. Live music venues offer everything from Rock to Opera. Enjoy world class performances at Vienna State Opera and experience the epicentre of international concert life at Musikverein. Modern and historical art can be found in indoor and outdoor spaces around the city, and a visit to the famous Kunsthistorisches Museum (KHM) is highly recommended. Enjoy views of the city from the Danube Tower and the Giant Ferris Wheel, then relax in the ample cosy coffee houses, cafes, bars and restaurants where traditional and international cuisines are served, as well as the locally produced wines.

riverboat cruise holidays

Mauthausen, Austria, was once the site of the notorious Mauthausen concentration camp during World War II. Today, its remnants serve as a sobering reminder of the atrocities, and stand as a poignant memorial site giving visitors a space to reflect on that dark period in history.

riverboat cruise holidays

Linz is a city in northern Austria located on both banks of the Danube River and is a short distance from Salzburg and Vienna. Linz has been awarded UNESCO City of Media Arts status and prides itself on offering a broad spectrum of events, activities and cultural institutions. Enjoy popular open air concert such as Klassik am Dom and extravagant street performances, which attract large crowds and popular international artists. Art galleries and centres are in abundance around the city as well as many museums housing international collections and depictions of the history and heritage of Linz. The architecture of the city also plays an important role in Linz’s cultural heritage with Main Square, Old Town and Mariendom Cathedral being some key attractions. Families will enjoy a trip to Postlingberg, located high up in the mountains and featuring a zoo, the Grottenbahn and spectacular views of the river and city below.

riverboat cruise holidays

Salzburg, tucked away in the heart of Austria, is a city with music and harmony woven deeply into the tapestry of its culture, as it was once the birthplace of the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Paying tribute to its orchestral legacy, Salzburg now hosts the annual Mozart Festival, attracting a global audience of classical music enthusiasts. What's more, the city's historic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and features historic landmarks such as Hohensalzburg Fortress and the iconic Mirabell Palace and Gardens, offering visitors a journey through centuries of history.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated on the banks of the Danube river, Aschach boasts idyllic landscapes, rich culture and a tranquil retreat for visitors. The vibrant local community, serene riverside promenade and historic architecture contribute to the town's appeal as a must-see Austrian destination.

riverboat cruise holidays

Spitz, Austria, is a charming village situated in the Wachau Valley along the Danube River. A popular destination in the heart of the Wachau region, Spitz lies encompassed by terraced vineyards producing world-renowned Austrian wines, offering an enticing blend of natural beauty and cultural enchantment.

riverboat cruise holidays

Dürnstein is a town located in the Northeast of Austria, situated on the Danube river. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site and wine region of Wachauer. It is a popular destination for wine lovers as many wineries offer accommodation. In addition to wine tasting and vineyard tours, visitors will find exploring the area on foot is easy and enjoyable. Take one of the many beautiful hiking trails across ancient rocks and admire the impressive views across the Danube valley. Children will enjoy exploring the outdoors of Dürnstein too, with outdoor playgrounds and theme trails available to keep them entertained. In addition, children and adults will enjoy Austria’s only outdoor biological swimming pool, Kuenringerbad, with an average temperature of 23 degrees celsius. Enjoy views of the town from overhead helicopter tours, leisurely river excursions, or hike up into the mountains and explore some of Dürnstein’s ruins. The mountains offer the ruins of Dürnstein castle and city wall as well as beautiful flora and fauna to spot.

riverboat cruise holidays

Aggsbach, situated within the Wachau Valley alongside the Danube River, is best known for providing a serene ambience against a backdrop of hillsides adorned with vineyards. Visitors are taken in by the beauty of the surrounding landscapes as they meander along the riverside, entranced by the charm of the picturesque Austrian locale.

riverboat cruise holidays

Krems an der Donau is a city in Northeast Austria located approximately forty three miles from Vienna. The city is situated on the banks of the river Danube and is one of the oldest of the Wachau Valley. Krems prides itself on historical preservation and has recently been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The history of the city dates back more than a thousand years with evidence found in its streets, squares, monasteries, churches and fortifications. Krems is also a modern city which celebrates its contemporary art and modern literature as well as being a leader in biotech application research. Exploring Krems is easily done on foot with city walking tours being very popular. Discover Old Krems and the Art Mile and learn about the city’s rich history at Museum Krems. As with many wine cities, food and drink is in abundance with popular restaurants and wine bars housed in historical buildings which enhance and deepen the dining and wine tasting experience.

riverboat cruise holidays

Grein, home of the historic 15th century Greinburg castle, is a delightful town situated on the banks of the Danube River. Overlooked by the historic landmark, the town is set against picturesque mountains and landscapes and offers visitors a glimpse into Austria's abundant culture.

riverboat cruise holidays

Sitting on the banks of the Danube River, Emmersdorf is an enchanting village recognised for its striking architecture, particularly its parish church. Framed by rolling hills, Emmersdorf is home to a number of breath-taking parks, gardens and vineyards, immersing visitors into the scenic surroundings and cultural richness that defines the village.

riverboat cruise holidays

Recognised for the magnificent Engelszell Abbey, Engelhartszell an der Donau is a serene village celebrated for incredible natural beauty and rich history. Characterised by its brewing traditions, idyllic landscapes and lush surrounding forests, Engelhartszell an der Donau is a perfect opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in Austria's countryside beauty.

riverboat cruise holidays

Melk is an Austrian town situated on the River Danube. Located west of Vienna, the town is mostly famous for its 11th Century Melk Abbey, a magnificent monastery built high above the town. Melk Abbey is the largest example of Baroque architecture in the Wachau Valley, with the valley itself awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2000. Its steep terraced vineyards mean vinters cultivate with traditional manual practices and the springtime sees this unique landscape covered in apricot tree blossoms. Strolling around the streets of Melk Old Town, visitors will find the Town Hall Square, the Main Square, the old Post Office, now a local museum, Old Abbey Tavern, and Kremser Strasse. River cruises, self-guided walking tours and cycle tours are also extremely popular around Melk, as the Wachau Valley offers unique landscape to be explored and enjoyed. Art festivals and Baroque music is celebrated each year with the Melk Baroque Days, an international festival.

riverboat cruise holidays

Neuhofen an der Ybbs is a must-visit for adventurers and nature lovers, nestled in the foothills of the Alps. The perfect destination to hike, ski and explore natural wonders, Austria's countryside enchants with its historic architecture, quaint streets and traditional Alpine charm. The Ybbs River meanders gracefully through the town, offering an idyllic retreat for relaxation and outdoor activities.

riverboat cruise holidays

Bossuit, located in Belgium's Flemish region, is a charming village famed for picturesque landscapes and historical architecture. Delightful village streets alongside the peaceful Kortrijk–Bossuit Canal present a welcome opportunity to explore a quiet corner of Belgium and appreciate the country's history and cultural tapestry. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Namur, sitting alongside the Meuse River in Belgium's Wallonia region, is abundant in history and charm. Overlooked by its medieval citadel, which was once the castle of the counts of Namur, the city offers an alluring fusion of old-world allure and modern vibrancy. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Oostende, widely known as Ostend, is a lively coastal city famed for its vibrant seaside promenade and sandy beaches, as well as the historic Royal Galleries. Oostende blends alluring seaside city charm with rich cultural vibrancy, boasting an elaborate maritime heritage and diverse culinary scene alongside a rare taste of Flemish beach culture.

riverboat cruise holidays

Gent (Ghent) is a must-visit Belgian city adorned with medieval architecture, such as the Gravensteen castle and the iconic Belfry of Ghent. Visitors to Gent are enamoured by charming canals and taken in by the local cuisine, finding opportunities to immerse themselves into the vibrant local culture at every turn.

riverboat cruise holidays

In 1895 work began to construct a new seaport and harbour next to the tiny village of Zeebrugge, situated on the North Sea coast. Today the fast-expanding port of Zeebrugge is one of the busiest in Europe and its marina is Belgium’s most important fishing port. Many attempts were made to destroy this important port during both World Wars. Zeebrugge is ideally located for discovering the historic city of Bruges, and delightful seaside resorts with long sandy beaches can be visited by using the trams that run the whole length of the Belgian coast. Please note that no food may be taken ashore in Belgium. We shall not be offering shuttle buses to Bruges, but you may visit the city on an optional excursion: those visiting Bruges should note that there may be quite a long walk from the coach to the town centre.

riverboat cruise holidays

Brugge (Bruges) is a city pulled straight from a fairy-tale, famed for its medieval architecture sitting alongside romantic canals, not to mention the iconic Markt square featuring the historic Belfry. Visitors to Brugge are enchanted by cobblestone streets, traditional chocolate shops, the serene Minnewater lake and a timeless ambiance of the city, transporting them to a bygone era.

riverboat cruise holidays

Experience Belgium's capital, a city renowned for its cultural influence and significance in European politics. Brussels (Bruxelles) hosts iconic landmarks such as the Grand Place, Atomium and the Manneken Pis, and seamlessly blends historic allure with contemporary character. Between marvelling at the sites, enjoy world-famous gastronomy, chocolate and Belgian waffles, and find yourself immersed in the essence of Belgian tradition and innovation.

riverboat cruise holidays

Explore Antwerp, Belgium's second city. Known for its diamond cutting industry, fashion and the many great artists that lived in its vicinity, Antwerp is a city focused on art and culture.

riverboat cruise holidays

Characterised by lively markets, medieval architecture, and the Meuse river, Liège is a historic city situated in eastern Belgium and home to several renowned landmarks including the impressive Prince-Bishops palace and iconic Liège Cathedral. Blending traditional Belgian allure with contemporary energy, Liège presents a unique experience to explore the diverse cities of Belgium and appreciate the rich cultural tapestry.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in the Flemish region of Belgium, Hasselt is famed for its welcoming feel and picturesque backdrop. Graced with historic architecture, including the beautiful Virga Jesse Basilica and the compelling Jenever museum that seeks to celebrate traditional Belgian spirit, Hasselt presents a harmonious blend of cultural depth and modern appeal.

riverboat cruise holidays

Rich in World War I history, Ypres sits in the Flanders region of Belgium and is world-renowned as home to the Menin Gate, a poignant tribute to the fallen soldiers of the war. With a serene yet nostalgic feel to the city, Ypres is a destination built on expansive and compelling heritage, symbolised by the Cloth Hall and the Belfry.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated on the Garonne River, 70 miles (113 km) inland from the Atlantic, Bordeaux's origin can be traced back to the 3rd century when it was Aquitaine's Roman capital called Burdigala. From 1154 to 1453, the town prospered under the rule of the English, whose fondness for the region's red wines gave impetus to the local wine industry. At various times, Bordeaux even served as the nation's capital: in 1870, at the beginning of World War I, and for two weeks in 1940 before the Vichy government was proclaimed. Bordeaux's neo-classical architecture, wide avenues and well-tended public squares and parks lend the city a certain grandeur. Excellent museums, an imposing cathedral and a much-praised theatre add to the city's attractions. The principal highlights, clustered around the town centre, can easily be explored on foot.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in the Normandy region of France alongside the river Seine, Vernon is a must-visit town best known for the iconic Monet's Garden at Giverny, located just a short distance away. Within the town, art enthusiasts and nature lovers are enchanted by timber-framed houses, a medieval bridge and the awe-inspiring Collegiate Church of Our Lady.

riverboat cruise holidays

United with France only since 1860, Nice has its own history and atmosphere, which dates back 230,000 years. It was on Colline du Château (now château-less) and at the Plage des Ponchettes, in front of the Old Town, that the Greeks established a market-port in 350 BC and named it Nikaia, which would become Marseilles' chief coastal rival. The Romans established themselves a little later on the hills of Cimiez (Cemenelum), already previously occupied by Ligurians and Celts, and quickly overshadowed the waterfront port. After falling to the Saracen invasions, Nice regained power as an independent state, becoming an important port in the early Middle Ages.  So cocksure did it become that in 1388, Nice, along with the hill towns behind, effectively seceded from the county of Provence, under Louis d'Anjou, and allied itself with Savoie. Thus began its liaison with the House of Savoy, and through it with Piedmont and Sardinia, it was the Comté de Nice (Nice County). This relationship lasted some 500 years, tinting the culture, architecture, and dialect in rich Italian hues.  By the 19th century Nice was flourishing commercially, locked in rivalry with the neighbouring shipping port of Genoa. Another source of income: the dawning of tourism, as first the English, then the Russian nobility, discovered its extraordinary climate and superb waterfront position. A parade of fine stone mansions and hotels closed into a nearly solid wall of masonry, separated from the smooth-round rocks of the beach by what was originally named Camin deis Anglés (the English Way), which of course is now the famous Promenade des Anglais. This magnificent crescent, which is seeking UNESCO recognition, is one of the noblest in France. Many of Nice's most delightful attractions—the Cours Saleya market, the Old Town streets, the Hotel Negresco, and the Palais Masséna—are on or close to this 10-km (6-mile) waterfront, making it the first stop for most visitors, while the redevelopment of Nice's port, around the other side of the Colline du Château, makes it easier for amblers who want to take in the Genoese architecture or peruse the antiques at the Puces de Nice, now part of the Promenade des 100 Antiquaires, along Quai Papacino. Nice also has the distinction of the "Family Plus" label, with free strollers, play areas, and restaurants with child-friendly activities.

riverboat cruise holidays

The gateway to the Atlantic Ocean and the country’s seventh largest city, Nantes is located on the north bank of the Loire River. Although officially no longer the capital of Brittany since Nantes was included in the Pays de Loire administrative region, many of the city’s inhabitants regard themselves still an integral part of Brittany. During medieval times, much of the city’s prosperity resulted from colonial expeditions and the slave trade. Today Nantes is the most important commercial and industrial centre in west-central France, and appears as a particularly well-managed city with fine museums and carefully tended parks and gardens. One of the museums is dedicated to Jules Verne, born here in 1828. The Loire, foundation of Nantes’ riches, has dwindled from the city centre. As recently as the 1930s the river crossed the city in seven separate channels. However, they were filled in after World War II but, fortunately, left the area’s 18th-century mansions intact. They once were the trademark of rich merchants who made their fortunes from the slave trade. French influence was brought to Nantes by the Loire and its trade from the end of the 18th century when the city became known as "Little Paris." The Place Royale and the Place Graslin were first laid out during that time. One of the most impressive landmarks is the Chateau des Ducs, most of which is preserved in its original form built by the last two rulers of independent Brittany, Francois II, and his daughter Duchess Anne, born here in 1477.

Adorned with stunning Gothic architecture, Rouen is a city steeped in history situated in the Normandy region of France. Notable city landmarks include the breath-taking Rouen Cathedral, immortalised by Claude Monet's artwork, and the medieval astronomical clock, the Gros-Holorge. The charming old town paved with cobblestone and lined with half-timbered houses only serves to enhance the medieval charm, providing a fitting backdrop to the city's rich cultural heritage and associations with iconic figures such as Joan of Arc, seamlessly blending historical implication with French provincial charm.

riverboat cruise holidays

Tournus, characterised by Romanesque architecture and the iconic Abbey of Saint-Philibert, is a historical town situated in the Saône-et-Loire department. Its cultural significance exudes through its well-preserved structures, and visitors find themselves immersed in vibrant local markets showcasing regional produce, or enjoying serene walks along the stunning Saône River.

riverboat cruise holidays

“Where the mountains meet the sea,” the beautiful island of Corsica, set in the blue waters of the Mediterranean between Italy and France, is steeped in history. Ile Rousse is built on the site of an old roman settlement. She rivals Calvi as a seaside resort, with nice sandy beaches and good accommodation facilities. The port of Ile Rousse was built by Pasquale Paoli –most famous Corsican Patriot-in 1758 to replace Calvi, still in Genoese hands, has taken the place of first port in this region for exporting fresh fruit and olive oil. The harbour is located on an peninsula, red coloured rock, that just comes out of the sea hence the name of Ile Rousse which means “ reddish island”. There is a lighthouse at the outer end of the island with an old ruined tower. Returning to the mainland a street leads from port to town centre along a nice sandy beach, towards the main square Place Paoli. In the middle of the square there is a statue of Pascal Paoli. During Summer season, the square surrounded by palm trees welcomes numerous tourists looking for some shade and refreshing ice cream. The old market situated in the middle of the town, faced to the Paoli square, offers a large choice of fresh fruits and veggies as well as fish from the catch of the day, or a sample of the famous Corsican delicatessen, cheeses, honeys and wines.

riverboat cruise holidays

Sitting on the banks of the Saône River is Mâcon, a stunning town in the Burgundy region best known for its wine production. Characterised by its enchanting streets, lively markets and iconic historic landmarks, including the Saint-Pierre Church. Not only is Mâcon a charming town, it is also a significant hub for the wine industry situated amidst the world-famous vineyards of Burgundy, inviting visitors to explore the local vineyards and wineries and to indulge in tastings of the region's exquisite white wines.

riverboat cruise holidays

Birthplace of the renowned photography pioneer Nicéphore Niépce, Chalon-sur-Saône celebrates its rich artistic legacy with museums and galleries showcasing the art form. Situated in France's Burgundy region, the town offers opportunities for scenic walks along the riverbanks, indulging in the region's renowned Burgundian cuisine and wines, and an authentic French experience in a town brimming with history and charm.

riverboat cruise holidays

At first glance, it really doesn't look all that impressive. There's a pretty port with cafés charging €5 for a coffee and a picturesque old town in sugared-almond hues, but there are many prettier in the hills nearby. There are sandy beaches, rare enough on the Riviera, and old-fashioned squares with plane trees and pétanque players, but these are a dime a dozen throughout Provence. So what made St-Tropez an internationally known locale? Two words: Brigitte Bardot. When this pulpeuse (voluptuous) teenager showed up in St-Tropez on the arm of Roger Vadim in 1956 to film And God Created Woman, the heads of the world snapped around. Neither the gentle descriptions of writer Guy de Maupassant (1850–93), nor the watercolor tones of Impressionist Paul Signac (1863–1935), nor the stream of painters who followed (including Matisse and Bonnard) could focus the world's attention on this seaside hamlet as did this one sensual woman in a scarf, Ray-Bans, and capris. Vanity Fair ran a big article, "Saint Tropez Babylon," detailing the over-the-top petrodollar parties, megayachts, and Beyoncé–d paparazzi. But don't be turned off: the next year, Stewart, Tabori & Chang released an elegant coffee-table book, Houses of St-Tropez, packed with photos of supremely tasteful and pretty residences, many occupied by fashion designers, artists, and writers. Once a hangout for Colette, Anaïs Nin, and Françoise Sagan, the town still earns its old moniker, the "Montparnasse of the Mediterranean." Yet you might be surprised to find that this byword for billionaires is so small and insulated. The lack of train service, casinos, and chain hotels keeps it that way. Yet fame, in a sense, came too fast for St-Trop. Unlike the chic resorts farther east, it didn't have the decades-old reputation of the sort that would attract visitors all year around. For a good reason: its location on the south side of the gulf puts it at the mercy of the terrible mistral winter winds. So, in summer the crowds descend and the prices rise into the stratosphere. In July and August, you must be carefree about the sordid matter of cash. After all, at the most Dionysian nightclub in town, a glass of tap water goes for $37 and when the mojo really gets going, billionaires think nothing of "champagne-spraying" the partying crowds—think World Series celebrations but with $1,000 bottles of Roederer Cristal instead of Gatorade. Complaining about summer crowds, overpricing, and lack of customer service has become a tourist sport and yet this is what makes St-Tropez—described by the French daily newspaper Le Figaro as the place you can see "the greatest number of faces per square meter"—as intriguing as it is seductive.

riverboat cruise holidays

The fishing village of Sète serves as gateway to Montpellier, in the North. Other noteworthy destinations in this area include Carcassone, Aigues Mortes, the Abbaye de Fontfroide, and Pezenas. For a look at the real fisherman's life, however, stay right where you are. Sète is the Mediterranean's biggest fishing port. Canals winding through town make it fun to stroll around, and there are a number of good walking paths leading to the beach (about 30 minutes to the west). Although it's small and unspectacular, Plage de la Corniche has calm, pristine waters that are perfect for swimming. For a panoramic view of the area, climb Mont St-Clair or Les Pierres Blanches and pick a beach to settle down on.

riverboat cruise holidays

At the mouth of the Rhône in southern France, Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône attracts a global audience with its maritime charm and rich history. Bustling with fishing boats and sailboats, the stunning harbour's strategic location along the Mediterranean coast positions the town as a gateway to the Camargue region, and holds a long-standing seafaring heritage. Beyond its maritime significance, the town is also home to cultural treasures such as the Martigues Tower and the nearby Parc Naturel Régional de Camargue, making it a haven for nature lovers and history enthusiasts alike.

riverboat cruise holidays

Visit Locronan, France’s most picturesque medieval village. Once there, you will have a guided visit and will see the church with its 15th century stained glass depicting the passion of Saint Ronan. At Le Guillou bakery you can taste the traditional Breton butter cake known as “kouign amann” before watching a group of Breton dancers in their traditional costumes, introducing you to Brittany’s rich culture and identity.

riverboat cruise holidays

Set on a hillock overlooking a beautiful deep blue bay, Porto Vecchio, 15 miles (25km) north of Bonifacio, was rated by Scottish author James Boswell as one of "the most distinguished harbours in Europe". It was founded in 1539 as a second Genoese stronghold on the east coast, Bastia being well established in the north. The site was perfect; close to the unexploited and fertile plain, it benefited from secure high land and a sheltered harbour, although the mosquito population spread malaria and wiped out the first Ligurian settlers within months. Things began to take off mainly thanks to the cork industry, which still thrived well into the twentieth century. Today, a third of Corsica's wine is exported from Porto Vecchio, but most revenue comes from visitors. Around the centre of town explore the well-preserved fortress and the small grid of ancient streets backing onto the main place de la République. East of the square you can't miss the Porte Génoise, which frames a delightful expanse of sea and salt pans and through which you'll find the quickest route down to the modern marina, lined with cafés and hotels.

riverboat cruise holidays

Since being designated a European Capital of Culture for 2013, with an estimated €660 million of funding in the bargain, Marseille has been in the throes of an extraordinary transformation, with no fewer than five major new arts centers, a beautifully refurbished port, revitalized neighborhoods, and a slew of new shops and restaurants. Once the underdog, this time-burnished city is now welcoming an influx of weekend tourists who have colonized entire neighborhoods and transformed them into elegant pieds-à-terre (or should we say, mer). The second-largest city in France, Marseille is one of Europe's most vibrant destinations. Feisty and fond of broad gestures, it is also as complicated and as cosmopolitan now as it was when a band of Phoenician Greeks first sailed into the harbor that is today's Vieux Port in 600 BC. Legend has it that on that same day a local chieftain's daughter, Gyptis, needed to choose a husband, and her wandering eyes settled on the Greeks' handsome commander Protis. Her dowry brought land near the mouth of the Rhône, where the Greeks founded Massalia, the most important Continental shipping port in antiquity. The port flourished for some 500 years as a typical Greek city, enjoying the full flush of classical culture, its gods, its democratic political system, its sports and theater, and its naval prowess. Caesar changed all that, besieging the city in 49 BC and seizing most of its colonies. In 1214 Marseille was seized again, this time by Charles d'Anjou, and was later annexed to France by Henri IV in 1481, but it was not until Louis XIV took the throne that the biggest transformations of the port began; he pulled down the city walls in 1666 and expanded the port to the Rive Neuve (New Riverbank). The city was devastated by plague in 1720, losing more than half its population. By the time of the Revolution, Marseille was on the rebound once again, with industries of soap manufacturing and oil processing flourishing, encouraging a wave of immigration from Provence and Italy. With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Marseille became the greatest boomtown in 19th-century Europe. With a large influx of immigrants from areas as exotic as Tangiers, the city quickly acquired the multicultural population it maintains to this day.

riverboat cruise holidays

France's iconic and enchanting capital, Paris, is a globally recognised symbol of art, culture and romance, sitting along the banks of the river Seine. Home to world-famous landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum and the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris is a beacon of timeless elegance, cultural richness and historical magnitude. Affectionately named the City of Light and the City of Love, Paris enchants with its stunning boulevards, charming cafes and world-class culinary scene, with the Seine gracefully winding through the city and further enhancing the romantic allure. The artistic haven of Monmartre contributes to the city's heritage and status as a global symbol of fashion, art and culinary excellence, serving as an epitome of sophistication in a destination that seamlessly intertwines history and modernity.

riverboat cruise holidays

Renowned for its wine heritage, prestigious vineyards and medieval past, Beaune is a stunning town in the heart of the Burgundy wine region that exudes quaint charm and a unique, traditional Burgundian-Flemish feel. With cobbled streets and historic architecture, Beaune offers a wealth of sights to explore and a vibrant culinary scene, all against a backdrop of timeless beauty.

riverboat cruise holidays

Corsica's northern capital, Bastia, is the centre of commerce and industry and a thriving freight and passenger port. Commerce, more than tourism, is its main focus, providing employment for many Corsicans. Bastia's industrial sprawl, however, is offset by its aged charm. The presence of an overwhelming Italian atmosphere adds to the city's attraction. Two distinct areas comprise the city: Terra Vecchia, the old quarter, consisting of haphazard streets, flamboyant Baroque churches and lofty tenements, with their crumbling golden-grey walls set against a backdrop of fire-darkened hills; and the more orderly Terra Nova, the historic district favoured by prominent doctors, lawyers and architects. The city dates from Roman times, when a base was set up at Biguglia to the south. Under the Genoese, Bastia was the island's capital for four centuries and of major importance for the export of wine to the Italian mainland. They built a fortress (bastiglia), which gave the town its name. The Genoese also were responsible for laying the foundation for the area's prosperity by planting vines, olives, chestnut trees and other experimental crops. This resulted in an energetic and enterprising region, still a characteristic of today's northern Corsica. Although Napoleon had appointed Ajaccio the capital of the island in 1811- initiating a rivalry that still exists - Bastia established a stronger trading position with mainland France. As a result, the Nouveau Port was created in 1862 to cope with the increasing traffic with France and Italy. Bastia's economic prominence and a German division based here during World War II accounted for severe bombing attacks. Many buildings were destroyed, including much of the old governor's palace. Of the two largest towns on the island, Ajaccio and Bastia, the latter boasts a more genuine Corsican character. Visitors can experience an authentic feel of island life by wandering through the maze of narrow streets of Bastia's old quarter and by exploring its fortifications. Don't miss the vast Place Saint-Nicolas just north of the old quarter; it is the focal point of the city. Open to the sea and lined with shady trees and sidewalk cafes, it is a perfect place for people watching and for taking in the local ambiance. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to dock at the port of Bastia. The city's focal point, Place Saint-Nicolas, is a distance of 650 feet (200 metres) to walk. Taxis are generally available at the pier but it is highly recommended to book in advance if you want to be sure to get one. It is recommended to establish the fare before leaving the port. Shopping The main shopping streets, Boulevard Paoli and Rue Cesar Campinchi, are less than one half miles (500 metres) from the port terminal. Handicrafts and the area's specialties such as honey, wine and liqueurs may be of interest. Most shops are open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Shops are closed for the day on Sundays and some shops may also close Monday mornings (some souvenirs shops may open Sundays during the high season of July-August). The local currency is the euro. Cuisine A variety of restaurants offer a good choice of eating possibilities. Some of the best restaurants are found around the Vieux Port and on the Quai des Martyrs. French cuisine and seafood feature prominently on menus as well as such Corsican specialties as wild boar, charcuterie and aziminu, a local version of bouillabaisse. Evidence of Bastia's strong Italian influence is apparent in the numerous pizza and pasta places in the Nouveau Port area. For outdoor dining and people watching, cafes around lively Place Saint-Nicolas are a perfect place. Other Sites Oratoire de Saint-Roch Located in the Terra Vecchia quarter, the chapel is a Genoese Baroque extravaganza built in 1604. The walls are covered with finely carved wooden panelling and the organ is magnificent with its decoration of gilt and wooden sculpture. Oratoire de L'Immaculee Conception Although its exterior is rather austere, the flamboyant interior of this 17th-century church with gilt and marble ceiling, frescoes and crystal chandeliers creates an ambiance of an opera house. Vieux Port Site of the original Porto Prado, the area around the Vieux Port is the most appealing part of town. Its soaring houses seem to bend inwards towards the water. Once busy with Genoese traders, the building of the ferry terminal and commercial docks have reduced much of the action at Vieux Port. Terra Nova As the administrative core of old Bastia, Terra Nova displays a distinct air of affluence. Its most impressive building is the 14th-century Governor's Palace. During the Genoese heyday the governor and the bishop lived here, entertaining foreign dignitaries and hosting massive parties. Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board, subject to the availability of English-speaking guides.

riverboat cruise holidays

Considered Corsica’s primary commercial and cultural hub, the largest city and regional capital of Ajaccio is situated on the west coast of the island, approximately 644 km (400 miles) southeast of Marseille, France. Founded in 1492, vestiges of ancient Corsica in this ville impériale revolve around the city’s most famous son, Napoléon Bonaparte, whose family home—now the national museum Maison Bonaparte—pays tribute to the emperor’s historical influence.Remnants from what was originally a 12th-century Genoese colony are still visible around the Old Town near the imposing citadel and watchtower. Perfect for exploring, the luminous seaside city surrounded by snowcapped mountains and pretty beaches offers numerous sites, eateries, side streets, and a popular harbor, where sailboats and fishing vessels moor in the picturesque Tino Rossi port lined with well-established restaurants and cafés serving fresh local fare.

riverboat cruise holidays

Bordeaux as a whole, rather than any particular points within it, is what you'll want to visit in order to understand why Victor Hugo described it as Versailles plus Antwerp, and why the painter Francisco de Goya, when exiled from his native Spain, chose it as his last home (he died here in 1828). The capital of southwest France and the region's largest city, Bordeaux remains synonymous with the wine trade: wine shippers have long maintained their headquarters along the banks of the Garonne, while buyers from around the world arrive for the huge biennial Vinexpo show (held in odd-number years).Bordeaux is, admittedly, a less exuberant city than many others in France, but lively and stylish elements are making a dent in its conservative veneer. The cleaned-up riverfront is said by some, after a bottle or two, to exude an elegance reminiscent of St. Petersburg, and that aura of 18th-century élan also permeates the historic downtown sector—“le vieux Bordeaux"—where fine shops invite exploration. To the south of the city center are old docklands undergoing renewal—one train station has now been transformed into a big multiplex movie theater—but the area is still a bit shady. To get a feel for the historic port of Bordeaux, take the 90-minute boat trip that leaves Quai Louis-XVIII every weekday afternoon, or the regular passenger ferry that plies the Garonne between Quai Richelieu and the Pont d'Aquitaine in summer. A nice time to stroll around the city center is the first Sunday of the month, when it's pedestrian-only and vehicles are banned.

Caudebec-en-Caux, situated along the Seine in the Normandy region of France, is a charming town known for its medieval charm, half-timbered houses and wonderful blend of history and beauty. The impressive Gothic architecture of The Church of Saint-Pierre is a particular highlight, with its breath-taking façade and panoramic views of the Seine valley. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Le Havre, founded by King Francis I of France in 1517, is located inUpper Normandy on the north bank of the mouth of the River Seine, which isconsidered the most frequented waterway in the world. Its port is ranked thesecond largest in France. The city was originally built on marshland andmudflats that were drained in the 1500’s. During WWII most of Le Havre wasdestroyed by Allied bombing raids. Post war rebuilding of the city followed thedevelopment plans of the well-known Belgian architect Auguste Perre. Thereconstruction was so unique that the entire city was listed as a UNESCO WorldHeritage Site in 2005. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Cannes is pampered with the luxurious year-round climate that has made it one of the most popular resorts in Europe. Cannes was an important sentinel site for the monks who established themselves on Île St-Honorat in the Middle Ages. Its bay served as nothing more than a fishing port until in 1834 an English aristocrat, Lord Brougham, fell in love with the site during an emergency stopover with a sick daughter. He had a home built here and returned every winter for a sun cure—a ritual quickly picked up by his peers. Between the popularity of Le Train Blue transporting wealthy passengers from Calais, and the introduction in 1936 of France's first paid holidays, Cannes became the destination, a tasteful and expensive breeding ground for the upper-upscale.Cannes has been further glamorized by the ongoing success of its annual film festival, as famous as Hollywood's Academy Awards. About the closest many of us will get to feeling like a film star is a stroll here along La Croisette, the iconic promenade that gracefully curves the wave-washed sand coastline, peppered with chic restaurants and prestigious private beaches. This is precisely the sort of place for which the French invented the verb flâner (to dawdle, saunter): strewn with palm trees and poseurs, its fancy boutiques and status-symbol grand hotels—including the Carlton, the legendary backdrop to Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief —all vying for the custom of the Louis Vuitton set. This legend is, to many, the heart and soul of the Côte d'Azur. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Calvi, Corsica's slice of the Riviera, has been described by author Dorothy Carrington as "an oasis of pleasure on an otherwise austere island." Calvi prospered by supplying products to Genoa; its citizens remained loyal supporters of Genoa long after the rest of the island declared independence. Calvi also claims to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. During the 18th century the town endured assaults from Corsican nationalists, including celebrated patriot Pasquale Paoli. Today Calvi sees a summertime invasion of tourists, drawn to the 6-km (4-mile) stretch of sandy white beach, impressive citadel overlooking the Old Town, lively restaurants, and buzzing nightlife.

riverboat cruise holidays

Honfleur, the most picturesque of the Côte Fleurie's seaside towns, is a time-burnished place with a surplus of half-timber houses and cobbled streets that are lined with a stunning selection of stylish boutiques. Much of its Renaissance architecture remains intact—especially around the 17th-century Vieux Bassin harbor, where the water is fronted on one side by two-story stone houses with low, sloping roofs and on the other by tall slate-topped houses with wooden facades. Maritime expeditions (including some of the first voyages to Canada) departed from here; later, Impressionists were inspired to capture it on canvas. But the town as a whole has become increasingly crowded since the Pont de Normandie opened in 1995. Providing a direct link with Upper Normandy, the world's sixth-largest cable-stayed bridge is supported by two concrete pylons taller than the Eiffel Tower and designed to resist winds of 257 kph (160 mph).

riverboat cruise holidays

Although one might think that a name like “the beautiful island in the sea” might be a little too poetic, artists and painters have come to love the nature of this largest of the Brittany islands. “Les Aiguilles de Port Coton”, a famous painting by Claude Monet, depicts the wild southern coast and rocks exposed to wind and waves. The island has a ‘soft’ side too. Its northern shore has two ports and long sandy beaches. At the port of Le Palais is one of the historical gems of the island. Mentioned by Alexandre Dumas in his second book about the Three Musketeers, the Citadelle de Belle Ile had great strategic importance as access to the south of Brittany was controlled by Belle Ile and its smaller neighbours Houat and Hoed. The beautifully maintained fort is now a museum. There are other spectacular and unique fortifications along the island’s shore.

riverboat cruise holidays

Located in the South of Corsica, Bonifacio is one of the island’s most beautiful destinations. From its breathtaking views and sandy white islands to its historic citadel, the city is a must visit for anyone travelling to the island.

riverboat cruise holidays

Strasbourg is a picturesque city in northeastern France, notable for its unique blend of French and German influences. Thanks to well-preserved, awe-inspiring medieval architecture such as the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral and the historic La Petite France district, Strasbourg has earned its spot on the map as a famous, must-visit European destination.

riverboat cruise holidays

Located in the Yvelines department of the Île-de-France region in France, at the confluence of the Seine and Oise rivers, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is a charming town with a stunning waterfront and breath-taking views. Steeped in maritime history, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is home to the Musée de la Batellerie, a museum that chronicles the history of river navigation.

riverboat cruise holidays

Villefranche-Sur-Mer is located on the Côte d’Azur in Provence – known for its fields of lavender and warm weather – and is highly appreciated for its 14th Century architecture.

riverboat cruise holidays

A city with long maritime history, Saint-Nazaire is mostly known for its shipbuilding industry. Rebuilt after World War II, it offers activities and sights for a wide range of interests, from history buffs to sports enthusiasts.

riverboat cruise holidays

The city of Dijon, capital of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region, is world-renowned for its gastronomic delights and rich cultural heritage. Offering an enchanting blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture, Dijon is home to both the Palais des Ducs de Bourgogne and the iconic Notre-Dame de Dijon, a complement to the city's stellar reputation as a gastronomic haven. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Located in the southeast of the French Provence region, Antibes ranks among France’s oldest cities. Originally named ‘Antipolis’, Antibes was founded by Greek merchants in the 5th century. The Old City is a maze of small, flower-bedecked streets with Roman and Medieval sections. A portion of the impressive 16th-century ramparts overlooking the Mediterranean Sea still protect the heart of the Old City. Antibes is comprised of three distinct sections. The first is Antibes, which includes the Old City and ramparts. Next is Juan les Pins, a famous beach resort once praised by Francis Scott Fitzgerald and the site of the annual International Jazz Festival. Antibes’ third section is Cap d’Antibes, a wooden peninsula that has become a haunt for the rich and famous. Antibes is also home to Europe’s largest yacht harbor, Port Vauban, where the super-yachts of the wealthy are anchored. For cruise vessels, Antibes offers an opportunity to visit some of Provence’s prettiest areas. It also serves as a convenient starting point for trips to the walled-in hilltop village of St. Paul de Vence. Pier Information The ship is scheduled to anchor in the bay and tender guests ashore. The town centre is within walking distance from the tender pier. Taxis are not easy to find; therefore, it is recommended that private travel arrangements be planned in advance. Shopping The Old City offers a wide range of souvenir shops, home decoration, antiques and Provencal artifacts. Postcards are easily found, and must be sent with French postage stamps. Most shops, however, do close between 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. The local currency is the euro. Cuisine The cuisine in the southeastern part of France is considered to be varied and healthy, thanks to the common use of quality fresh products and olive oil. Fresh local fish caught daily, excellent vegetable stew, or ratatouille , and great local wines highlight the wide range of gastronomical delights that can be found here. In addition, restaurants in the harbor area typically offer the chef’s daily special, or plat du jour , on their menus. Other Sites Antibes primarily serves as a starting point for trips into the surrounding areas, which are included in the organized excursions. An early-morning stroll through the local fruit and vegetable market may also be of interest. Private Arrangements For those guests interested in touring at their leisure, we are pleased to offer .Silver Shore Privato - both half-day and full-day private arrangements by private car or van. This program may be booked in advance at or purchased on board the ship, subject to availability. Other private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Tour Office on board the ship.

riverboat cruise holidays

Originally a little fishing village, Cherbourg has developed into a historic port designed by Vauban. This was also a strategic naval port during the Napoleonic wars; there is a marina with over 1000 moorings. “Cap de la Hague” is to the West and the “Pointe de Barfleur” to the East. This port, which belongs to Normandy, is a region that has provided inspiration for countless artists and writers, and is the land of apple orchards and rolling farmland dotted with villages of half-timbered houses. Boasting a wealth of abbeys and châteaux, as well as a superb coastline, it offers something for everyone. Cherbourg was also the first stop of RMS Titanic after it left Southampton, England. On 19 June 1864, the naval engagement between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama took place off Cherbourg. The Battle of Cherbourg, fought in June 1944 following the Normandy Invasion, ended with the capture of Cherbourg on June 30.

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Thrust out into the sea and bound to the mainland only by tenuous man-made causeways, romantic St-Malo has built a reputation as a breeding ground for phenomenal sailors. Many were fishermen, but others—most notably Jacques Cartier, who claimed Canada for Francis I in 1534—were New World explorers. Still others were corsairs, "sea dogs" paid by the French crown to harass the Limeys across the Channel: legendary ones like Robert Surcouf and Duguay-Trouin helped make St-Malo rich through their pillaging, in the process earning it the nickname "the pirates' city." The St-Malo you see today isn’t quite the one they called home because a weeklong fire in 1944, kindled by retreating Nazis, wiped out nearly all of the old buildings. Restoration work was more painstaking than brilliant, but the narrow streets and granite houses of the Vieille Ville were satisfactorily recreated, enabling St-Malo to regain its role as a busy fishing port, seaside resort, and tourist destination. The ramparts that help define this city figuratively and literally are authentic, and the flames also spared houses along Rue de Pelicot in the Vieille Ville. Battalions of tourists invade this quaint part of town in summer, so arrive off-season if you want to avoid crowds.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in France's Normandy region, Les Andelys is an enchanting town along the banks of the Seine River. Characterised by its stunning river views and the monumental Château Gaillard, a medieval fortress built by Richard the Lionheart, the town attracts history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike thanks to its quaint streets, half-timbered houses ands vibrant market square.

riverboat cruise holidays

Seurre is a peaceful escape nestled along the Saône River, offering stunning landscapes and historical charm. Renowned for well-preserved medieval architecture, such as the Saint-Martin Church, and picturesque surrounding countryside, Seurre is a haven for culture and nature enthusiasts alike to explore.

riverboat cruise holidays

Warnemünde, officially a suburb of Rostock, is a quaint seaside resort town with the best hotels and restaurants in the area, as well as 20 km (12 miles) of beautiful white-sand beach. It's been a popular summer getaway for families in eastern Germany for years.There is little to do in Warnemünde except relax, and the town excels brilliantly at that. However, Warnemünde is a major cruise-ship terminal. Whenever there is more than one ship at dock, the town explodes with a county fair–like atmosphere, and shops and restaurants stay open until the ships leave at midnight. The city celebrates the dreifache Anlauf, when three ships dock simultaneously, with fireworks.

riverboat cruise holidays

Known for the Kiel Canal and Kiel Week, the city boasts an important maritime history. Kiel is also a great place to sight-see, do some shopping and take part in one of the many festivals taking place there.

riverboat cruise holidays

World-renowned for its vivacious arts and fashion scene, Düsseldorf sits along the Rhine River in western Germany and beautifully blends contemporary architecture with historic significance, offering its visitors a wonderfully diverse experience. Düsseldorf boasts an array of museums, galleries and boutiques, making it a key cultural hub.

riverboat cruise holidays

A charming town known for its winemaking traditions, Kitzingen is located in Bavaria alongside the Main River, home to historic landmarks including the Old Main Bridge and the Kitzingen Fortress, reflecting its medieval past. With festivals and events celebrating its wine culture, Kitzingen's vibrant atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts, as well as those seeking a taste of regional Bavarian hospitality.

riverboat cruise holidays

Travemünde is a beach resort with history: The town was founded in 1187 by Count Adolf III zu Schauenburg, who recognized the strategic value of its site at junction of the River Trave and the Baltic Sea. In 1329, Lübeck bought the village and its castle, thereby securing access to the Baltic for international trade. Fishing was the village's main source of income until the late 18th Century, when tourism entered the picture. Throughout the 50s and 60s, Travermunde was to Germany, what St. Tropez was to France. Even though that is perhaps not the case anymore (you’ll see no megayachts or Russian billions here), Travermunde has retained a very charming and inviting olde-worlde appeal of beach huts, boats and barbeques. A long river of sand greets the happy traveller who disembarks here and if the gentle Baltic sea and distinctive – and very comfortable – wicker strandkörbe (hooded beach seats), are not enough to keep you busy, then exploring the attractive riverfront is a worthwhile pastime. The stroll into town provides the perfect excuse to sample some of the excellent many draft beers on tap and for these feeling a bit peckish, the fish restaurants are reputed to be some of the best in the country. Do not miss a chance to taste the local speciality of young herring served with salad and salted, boiled potatoes that have been rolled in cumin. To work off your feast, then the short hike or cycle ride (bike hire shops are found almost everywhere) to the conservation area around Brodtener Steilufer is well worthwhile, and commands spectacular views.

riverboat cruise holidays

Breisach is a town located in Southwest Germany on the French border. The town is situated in the Rhine Valley on the banks of the river Rhine and dates back over four thousand years. Breisach and its history can be experienced through the City History Museum, which houses a permanent exhibition taking you from Stone Age through the Celtic, to the Romans and Middle Ages, right up to modern day. St Stephen's Cathedral is home to the city’s famous art treasures, the wheel wells, which are housed in the neighbouring Radbrunnenturm with the forty one metre deep water well. The cathedral is also home to many other treasures including the High Altar of Master HL and wall paintings by Martin Schongauer as well as High Gothic and Roman architecture. A visit to the Blue House, the former Jewish Community Centre, is highly recommended. Now owned by the Friends of Former Jewish Community House Breisach it exhibits memorials to Breisach’s Jewish heritage.

riverboat cruise holidays

Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city with a history dating back to Charlemagne. A major port, this vibrant city is home to art and culture, extensive shopping facilities, Baroque buildings and waterfront vistas. With its well-known fish market, art galleries and Museums together with several beautiful parks including a botanical garden, this is a city with something for everyone. British visitors who remember the Swinging Sixties may like to visit the streets around Grosse Freiheit, where an unknown pop group called The Beatles gave their first public performances in various local clubs before achieving worldwide fame.

riverboat cruise holidays

Bremerhaven was founded in 1139. In 1827 the decision was taken to make this small fishing town a huge deep-sea port, and today Bremerhaven, along with Bremen, forms the smallest of Germany’s federal states. This busy port is still part of the municipality of Bremen, and half of Germany’s fishing fleet deposit their catch here. Bremerhaven’s lighthouse, a famous landmark, dates back to 1853 and is the oldest working lighthouse on Germany's mainland North Sea coast. Bremerhaven is home to the German Shipping Museum, founded in 1971, which houses many interesting exhibits including a well-preserved 14th-century Hanseatic trading vessel, found at the bottom of the River Weser during dredging operations. Another attraction is the German Migration Museum, which tells the stories of Germans who migrated to the New World and of foreigners who have made their homes in Germany.

riverboat cruise holidays

A town characterised by enchanting medieval charm, Cochem sits along the stunning Moselle River in Germany, overlooked by the fascinating hilltop Reichsburg Castle. Cochem's skyline looks as though it were lifted directly from a postcard, decorated with half-timbered houses, charming streets and the Moselle river meandering alongside. A reputable hub for impeccable Riesling wines, Cochem is also famed for its local vineyards, offering visitors a taste of traditional German wine production. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Rudesheim am Rhine is a town in the Rhine Valley in Germany and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rhine Gorge. It is known for its production of Riesling wine and has been popular for its wine making since ancient times. The Medieval Bromserburg Castle is home to the Rheingau Wine Museum and wine is a crucial part of Rudesheimer culture. The town is surrounded with vineyards and wineries, as well as many local wine bars and seasonal wine taverns. Wine tasting is a must do in Rudesheim and dining out is a great accompaniment. The local cuisine is seasonal and is closely intertwined with the wine growing traditions together with soups such as Zwiebelkuchen, Handkäs mit Musik and Spundekäs. Nordic Walking is popular around town, with five adventure trails around the vicinity, as well as many popular cycling routes. Great views of the town can be found from the water, the cable car to Niederwald Monument and the Monument itself. Old Town has the best examples of the town’s architecture with Eagle Tower, Oberstrasse and Rheinstein Castle some key sites to visit.

riverboat cruise holidays

One of the oldest cities in Germany, Trier's rich history dates back over 2,000 years as the former capital of the Western Roman Empire. The city is home to an impressive array of well-preserved Roman ruins, including the iconic Porta Nigra, a massive city gate. What's more, Trier boasts several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Roman amphitheater and the Imperial Baths. Besides its captivating past, Trier also offers a unique blend of contemporary and traditional elements, with an enchanting old town, lively market squares and a vivid cultural scene.

riverboat cruise holidays

Passau is a German city located in the Southeast of Germany on the Austrian border. It is situated at the confluence of the rivers Danube, Inn and Ilz. The Three Rivers City, as it’s also known, is unique for its three contrasting currents of blue, green and black. Old Town of Passau is home to towering buildings of striking architecture: the majestic fortress Veste Oberhaus, the Pilgrimage Church Mariahilf and St Stephen's Cathedral. Many of Passau’s attractions can be found in this area, including the New Bishop’s Residence, the Gothic Town Hall, as well as many churches and museums. Visitors can stroll along the riverfront promenades and romantic lanes whilst enjoying the picturesque landscape. For modern art, The Museum of Modern Art and Glass Museum Passau are recommended as they offer something a bit different. Theatre and cabaret are a popular evening pastime, with performances at the former Prince Bishopric Theatre or some lively cabaret and Jazz at the Scharfrichterhaus. Visitors will also find many traditional local Bavarian and Austrian cafes and restaurants offering a cosy atmosphere with home cooked food from local produce.

riverboat cruise holidays

Lahnstein sits at the confluence of the Lahn and Rhine rivers, and is decorated with stunning medieval architecture such as the famed Lahneck Castle. The picturesque German town is bursting with character and rich history, located along the Rhine Gorge and offering a serene experience for visitors exploring Germany.

riverboat cruise holidays

Located at the confluence of the Tauber and Main rivers, Wertheim is a German town best known for picturesque medieval architecture, including the impressive Wertheim Castle overlooking the quaint Old Town. The cobblestone streets are testament to the town's rich history, and the timber-framed houses paint a vivid picture of Germany's past.

riverboat cruise holidays

Speyer is a town located in southwest Germany situated beside the river Rhine. Originally founded by the Romans, it is one of the oldest settlements in Germany and is situated in the popular wine growing region of the Palatinate. A key attraction of Speyer is the Historical Museum of the Palatinate, which is one of the most celebrated culture-history museums in Germany. It features five permanent collections including Prehistory, Roman Times, Cathedral Treasury, Modern Era and Wine Museum. Not far from the museum, visitors will find the Imperial Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is considered the largest preserved Romanesque church in Europe. Originally constructed by Konrad II, this magnificent and looming building was intended to demonstrate the Lord’s religio-political claim to power against the papacy. Speyer has been producing wine since its Roman beginnings and wine tasting, festivals and events are popular all year round. The town is popular for outdoor activities such as hiking and cycling as well as guided walking tours of the town.

riverboat cruise holidays

Nuremberg is a medieval city located in northern Bavaria in Germany. It is Bavaria's second largest city and is noted for its iconic red roofed buildings and medieval architecture. The imperial Castle overlooks Nuremberg and was one of the most important fortifications of the Roman Empire. For more significant cultural history, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, one of the largest cultural history museums in the German speaking world, offers visitors exhibitions from Prehistoric all the way to present day. Walking tours around the city offer an enjoyable and active way to learn of Nuremberg’s history and culture. Through Old Town, discover fountains, wells, churches, and art treasures, as well as learning of the colourful past and cosmopolitan present of the city and its people. Nuremberg is also home to one of the oldest Christmas markets in Germany, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt, where visitors can purchase traditional handmade decorations and enjoy the famous gingerbread, mulled wine, and grilled sausage from over one hundred and eighty wooden stalls.

riverboat cruise holidays

In the heart of Bavaria, Roth is home to charming streets, historic architecture and lush countryside, offering a tranquil retreat for visitors looking to explore nature and appreciate the outdoors. Famed for its annual world-renowned Challenge Roth triathlon, the town draws athletes and spectators from all over the world, bolstering community spirit. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated on the banks of the Rhine, Mainz is a German city with an intricate history dating back to the Roman era, as the capital of the Rhineland-Palatine state. Celebrating its cultural heritage, Mainz is home to several iconic landmarks that represent the city's historical significance, including the Mainz Cathedral, the Old Town and the Gutenberg Museum, which honours the inventor of the printing press. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Kehl is a town located in southwest Germany on the River Rhine, across from the French City of Strasbourg. The town is not known as a tourist destination, however it benefits from idyllic landscape and a water-rich environment. Walk or cycle along the Reinpromenade or the garden of the Zweubüchter and enjoy a picnic at one of Kehl’s numerous excavation lakes. Nature lovers will enjoy spotting animals hiding along the rivers, lakes and bushes. Discover Kehl’s turbulent war and peace history with a guided tour of the centre and its surrounding villages. Visitors will also experience the town’s habitat and culture which is characterised through the half timbered houses and streets. Kehl town centre features a large pedestrian zone with many retail outlets, street cafes and outdoor dining to enjoy. A few minutes by public transport and visitors will find themselves in the centre of metropolitan Strasbourg.

riverboat cruise holidays

Bernkastel-Kues is an enchanting fairytale town situated along the Moselle River, Germany, with streets paved with cobblestone and lined with half-timbered houses. Famed for its medieval architecture, the lively market square is home to the iconic Spitzhäuschen (Pointed House), a narrow, gabled timber-framed building dating back to the 15th century. Alongside its rich cultural heritage, the town is renowned for its vineyards and wine production, offering its visitors delightful wine-tasting experiences and stunning views of the surrounding vine-covered hills.

riverboat cruise holidays

The third largest city in Germany, and one of the most prosperous and fastest growing, Munich is a city characterised by its lively energy blended seamlessly with its tranquil atmosphere. For tourists looking to explore the city and discover its rich history, or for those interested in the finest beers, stunning views or mind-blowing cuisine, Munich is host to an incredible variety of beer gardens, museums, parks, lakes, historical sites, retailers and restaurants, meaning that there really is something for everyone in Munich.

riverboat cruise holidays

Located in the West of the country, Koblenz is one of the oldest cities in Germany. It is situated on both banks of the river Rhine, at its confluence with the Moselle River. The beginnings of Koblenz can be traced back to its military beginnings around 8 BC. The city is rich in its history and heritage and is easily explored on foot. Take the cable car crossing over the river Rhine for spectacular aerial views or enjoy the city from the one thousand year old fortress, Ehrenbreitstein. The upper middle Rhine Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its unique landscape can be enjoyed and discovered through the interactive multimedia journey at the Romanticum. Historical and architectural sites of interest include Stolzenfels Castle, the Electoral Palace of Koblenz and Old Town. From the romantic winding streets and small squares of Old Town, stroll through the alleyways from the Church of the Holy Virgin to the St Kastor Basilica and enjoy the picturesque buildings and squares along the way. Koblenz is also very popular for its Riesling and strong Spatburgunder wines since the Romans introduced it two thousand years ago.

riverboat cruise holidays

Deggendorf is a city and district capital located in Bavaria in Southeast Germany. The city is situated on the banks of the river Danube which provides a natural border from the south. Deggendorf is populated with many hills, creating plenty of outdoor space to walk, cycle, horse-ride, and hike around or downhill and cross country skiing in the winter months. The wooded mountainous backdrop to this city has given Deggendorf its title as the Gateway to the Bavarian Forest and visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the countryside between the Danube and the Bavarian Forest. Head back down into the historical town centre and pass through the Spitaltor town gate where Deggendorf’s first iconic landmark can be seen: the Church of St Peter and St Paul. Further into the centre is the Old Town House, featuring its Gothic tower and original night watchman's apartments. As well as historical sites, Deggendorf offers traditional Bavarian hospitality and a lively atmosphere in its bars and restaurants, together with the city square and broad market streets for modern and traditional shopping.

riverboat cruise holidays

Regensburg is a medieval city of Bavaria in southeast Germany. It is situated on the northern point of the Danube River at its confluence with the Regen and Naab rivers. The city is famous for its iconic 12th Century stone bridge and sixteen arches, crossing the Danube into Old Town and is the oldest preserved bridge in Germany. Regensburg is also noted for its 13th Century Regensburg Cathedral and Gothic twin spires that feature prominently on the city’s skyline. Recently awarded UNESCO World Heritage status, the city is home to many preserved sites. Visit the the 2nd Century Porta Praetoria which served as the north gate to a Roman camp and St Peter’s Cathedral, with its French Gothic architecture. Also the 18th Century Thurn and Taxis Palace and the Old Town Hall, which is now home to the Imperial Diet Museum, are also worth a visit. Regensburg benefits from lots of parks and gardens for visitors to relax in, as well as walks and cycle paths along the banks of the rivers.

riverboat cruise holidays

Cologne is a city in western Germany located across the Rhine river. It is the oldest in Germany, dating back 2000 years and is considered the region’s cultural hub. The city is known for its iconic landmark of the twin-spired Cologne Cathedral set against the reconstructed Old Town buildings. When in Old Town, visit the historic Old Town Hall and the Roman Church Great St Martin, or take time out and sit at one of the traditional breweries and enjoy the scenery around you. Historical sites such as the Roman Dionysus mosaic and the medieval Overstolzenhaus are worth a visit too. Another iconic sight in Cologne is at Hohenzollern Bridge. Here, local and tourist couples affix padlocks to the railings of the bridge and swear their loyalty to each other, they then throw the key into the Rhein to ensure everlasting love. Cologne is home to over 30 stages providing cabaret, free ensembles, theatre and dance and also celebrates its openly gay culture.

riverboat cruise holidays

Boppard, Germany, is home to the iconic Romanesque St. Severus Church, a well-preserved medieval building that exudes timeless elegance and captivates visitors, situated along the scenic Rhine River. Surrounded by picturesque vineyards, stretching along the Rhine Valley hillsides, the town is known for its fine wine production, drawing attraction from wine enthusiasts worldwide. Boppard offers historical charm combined with natural beauty, complemented by warm German hospitality, making it a must-visit destination. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Bamberg is a German town located over a landscape of seven hills and the confluence of Regnitz and Main rivers. The town is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre with Old Town home to structures dating back to the 11th century. An iconic landmark to visit in Bamberg is the town hall Altes Rathaus, located on an island in the Regnitz and covered in murals. Bamberg Cathedral, with its four towers and numerous stone carvings, is a striking example of Romanesque architecture. Head to the Market Gardeners District and visit the historical houses where centuries ago the town gardeners would grow and export produce such as onions, seeds and liquorice. In the town centre and heart of Little Venice, the rivers and arched bridges connecting the island city are reminiscent of Venice, with a lively atmosphere and modern shops set in historical surroundings. After a day shopping, head to one of the many Brewery pubs for some popular German beer. Bamberg is famous for its beer and is where its name originated from, with the town being populated by nine traditional breweries.

riverboat cruise holidays

Würzburg is a city in Bavaria in southern Germany. It is located on the River Main and is famous for its lavish baroque architecture and Franconian wine. The Residence Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is highly recommended. It is a well known example of Baroque architecture with its acclaimed staircase, impressive frescos and imperial hall. Other impressive sites in Würzburg include the towering fortress of Festung Marienberg, the Alt Mainbrücke old bridge, which offers ideal views of the Marienberg, Dom St. Kilian cathedral and the many churches of Würzburg including the Romanesque Neumünster. Many of these sites have their own museums for visitors to learn of the history or view unique collections. Other museums of interest are the Mineralogical Museum, exhibiting the world of minerals and stones, and the Botanical Gardens, with various greenhouses and outdoor areas to enjoy. Wine lovers will find an abundance of wineries in Würzburg, offering cellar tours and wine tasting as well as traditional Bavarian cuisines and hospitality. Enjoy wine soup, Gerupfter (cheese spread) and Sauerbraten (braised beef in wine) in a friendly traditional wine tavern.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in the Franconia wine region of Bavaria, Germany, Volkach is celebrated for its impressive vineyards and wine culture. Delightfully blending historic buildings, such as the Pilgrimage Church of Maria im Weingarten, with scenic landscapes adorned with vineyards, Volkach invited wine enthusiasts to explore its idyllic surroundings and savour the local wines.

riverboat cruise holidays

Miltenberg is a city located in Bavaria and Southern part of Germany. Located on the banks of the river Maine the city grew from its medieval roots through Viniculture, wine trade, fishery, and general river traffic, into the established and preserved town of today. Visit the Museum Stadt Miltenberg, housed in the half timbered house called the Alte Amtskellerei (The Provost’s Office) and discover the town’s history through collections depicting culture back to the Romans. A visit to castle Miltenberg is also recommended. The castle dates back to the 11th century and is now owned by the city administration. With the castle in need of rehabilitation, the Museum Burg Miltenberg was opened to exhibit classic icons and contemporary art in a historical and significant setting. The keep of the castle, which reaches twenty seven metres high, offers picturesque views of the Main Valley below and is the perfect setting to relax and enjoy some refreshments.

riverboat cruise holidays

Rüdesheim is a popular stop on the Rhine, renowned for vineyards and medieval architecture. A notable feature of the town's vibrant cultural scene is the Drosselgasse, a narrow street paved with cobblestone and lined with wine taverns and local retailers, showcasing a delightful combination of local wine and traditional German hospitality. Encompassed by rolling vineyards and adorned with historic landmarks, Rüdesheim provides a quintessential German experience in a setting that seamlessly marries natural beauty with cultural richness.

riverboat cruise holidays

Frankfurt, birthplace of the iconic writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, boasts a wealth of cultural attractions, vibrant modernity and rich history. The cityscape is dominated by sleek skyscrapers, a showcase of the city's status as a dynamic metropolis and the financial capital of Europe. Home to world-class museums, diverse cuisine and lively markets, Frankfurt offers a varied array of experiences that complement its cosmopolitan character and enduring legacy.  

riverboat cruise holidays

Ludwigshafen is situated on the Rhine in southwestern Germany, and is best known for its significance as a major chemical industry hub. Alongside its industrial brilliance, Ludwigshafen blends cultural attractions and rich history as home to the iconic Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, the Fredrich-Ebert-Park.

riverboat cruise holidays

The charming seaside resort town of Ahlbeck, situated on the island of Usedom in north-east Germany, invites visitors to indulge in serene beaches, historic architecture and tranquil ambiance. Recognisable for its elegant pier, Ahlbeck offers panoramic views of the Baltic Sea and serves as a focal point for leisurely strolls and scenic sunsets. The town's well-preserved villas, built in the traditional Bäderarchitektur style, exude a nostalgic charm, harkening back to the golden age of seaside holidays in the late 19th century. Visitors can indulge in wellness treatments at luxurious spas, explore the lush parks and gardens, or sample freshly caught seafood at waterfront restaurants. With its timeless allure and idyllic coastal setting, Ahlbeck provides a tranquil escape for travellers seeking relaxation and rejuvenation by the sea.

riverboat cruise holidays

Budapest is the capital city of Hungary and is located over the River Danube. It is one of the largest cities in the European Union and much of its historical sites have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Originally formed in 1873 by the joining of Buda, Pest and Old Buda, the city suffered heavy destruction during World War II and was rebuilt into the country's political, cultural and commercial hub it is now. Bridges and railways connect the city over the Danube, including the six small islands situated on the river themselves. Some of Budapest’s UNESCO World Heritage sites include Chain Bridge, Budapest Parliament, the striking Matthias church and the iconic Royal Palace visible from every location within Budapest City. The Castle Hills district architecture represents over a thousand years of the city's history with examples of Roman, Turkish, Gothic, Renaissance and Art Nouveau styles. Budapest also has a rich Jewish heritage and is home to the largest synagogue in Europe. The city has an abundance of restaurants offering international cuisines, as well as traditional Hungarian dishes ,including goulash soup, a very popular lunchtime dish. Hungarians enjoy their coffee so a traditional cafe is never hard to find.

riverboat cruise holidays

Known for its vibrant red paprika fields, Kalocsa is a delighing town situated along the banks of the Danube adorned with intricate architecture and famed for its culinary prowess. With a rich tapestry of cultural heritage and history, Kalocsa embodies traditional folklore and tradition, attracting a global audience of visitors to engage in its lively festivities. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Visegrád, Hungary, is home to the magnificent Visegrád Castle, a medieval fortress that sits atop the hills and overlooks the Danube Valley. The old town boasts streets paved with cobblestone, centuries-old architecture and quaint cafes evoking a sense of warmth and nostalgia. With a vibrant atmosphere, scenic vistas and cultural landmarks, Visegrád offers a window into Hungary's fascinating past against a backdrop of stunning landscapes.

riverboat cruise holidays

Mohács is situated on the banks of the Danube river in southern Hungary, celebrated for its significance in history and warfare strategy as the site of the 16th Century Battle of Mohács, which saw the Ottoman Empire defeat the Kingdom of Hungary in what became a pivotal event in history. The town offers a number of historical landmarks to reflect its diverse past, including the Mohács Castle and the Turkish House. Moreover, Mohács is host to the renowned Busójárás festival, a unique carnival featuring elaborate masks and traditional rituals.

riverboat cruise holidays

Willemstad, an enchanting Dutch town with a rich maritime heritage, is located in the South-West of the Netherlands. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Willemstad boasts captivating pastel-coloured buildings showcasing a unique Dutch colonial style. Alongside its stunning beauty, Willemstad is also renowned for its 17th-century fortifications such as the incredible Fort Amsterdam. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Zaandam, famous for its iconic windmills, colourful wooden houses and charming canals, is a postcard-worthy town located just north of Amsterdam. With a blend of old-world charm and contemporary allure, Zaandam tells a story of Dutch heritage and tradition complemented by modern amenities, including shopping venues, cultural hotspots and culinary variety. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Amsterdam combines the unrivaled beauty of the 17th-century Golden Age city center with plenty of museums and art of the highest order, not to mention a remarkably laid-back atmosphere. It all comes together to make this one of the world's most appealing and offbeat metropolises in the world. Built on a latticework of concentric canals like an aquatic rainbow, Amsterdam is known as the City of Canals—but it's no Venice, content to live on moonlight serenades and former glory. Quite the contrary: on nearly every street here you'll find old and new side by side—quiet corners where time seems to be holding its breath next to streets like neon-lit Kalverstraat, and Red Light ladies strutting by the city's oldest church. Indeed, Amsterdam has as many lovely facets as a 40-carat diamond polished by one of the city's gem cutters. It's certainly a metropolis, but a rather small and very accessible one. Locals tend to refer to it as a big village, albeit one that happens to pack the cultural wallop of a major world destination. There are scores of concerts every day, numerous museums, summertime festivals, and, of course, a legendary year-round party scene. It's pretty much impossible to resist Amsterdam's charms. With 7,000 registered monuments, most of which began as the residences and warehouses of humble merchants, set on 160 man-made canals, and traversed by 1,500 or so bridges, Amsterdam has the largest historical inner city in Europe. Its famous circle of waterways, the grachtengordel, was a 17th-century urban expansion plan for the rich and is a lasting testament to the city’s Golden Age. This town is endearing because of its kinder, gentler nature—but a reputation for championing sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll does not alone account for Amsterdam's being one of the most popular destinations in Europe: consider that within a single square mile the city harbors some of the greatest achievements in Western art, from Rembrandt to Van Gogh. Not to mention that this is one of Europe's great walking cities, with so many of its treasures in the untouted details: tiny alleyways barely visible on the map, hidden garden courtyards, shop windows, floating houseboats, hidden hofjes(courtyards with almshouses), sudden vistas of church spires, and gabled roofs that look like so many unframed paintings. And don’t forget that the joy lies in details: elaborate gables and witty gable stones denoting the trade of a previous owner. Keep in mind that those XXX symbols you see all over town are not a mark of the city's triple-X reputation. They're part of Amsterdam's official coat of arms—three St. Andrew's crosses, believed to represent the three dangers that have traditionally plagued the city: flood, fire, and pestilence. The coat's motto ("Valiant, determined, compassionate") was introduced in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina in remembrance of the 1941 February Strike in Amsterdam—the first time in Europe that non-Jewish people protested against the persecution of Jews by the Nazi regime.

riverboat cruise holidays

Utrecht is a city in the Netherlands, known for its medieval center. It has tree-lined canals, Christian monuments and a venerable university. The iconic Domtoren, a 14th-century bell tower with city views, stands opposite the Gothic Cathedral of St. Martin on central Domplein square. The Museum Catharijneconvent shows religious art and artifacts in a former monastery.

riverboat cruise holidays

Maastricht is a Dutch city with an allure that extends beyond its landmarks, renowned for cobblestone streets, medieval era churches and vibrant cuisine. Boasting a rich tapestry of architectural marvels spanning several centuries, such as the Saint Servatius Bridge, Maastricht exudes a blend of history, culture and modernity.

riverboat cruise holidays

Hoorn was once a vital centre for trade and shipping during the Dutch Golden Age, thanks to its location on the shores of the IJsselmeer. A picturesque town with a rich maritime history, Hoorn's beautifully well-preserved architecture, including the imposing Hoofdtoren (Main Tower), reflect the town's cultural tapestry and the prosperity of the era. Visitors are invited to meander the cobblestone streets, take in the scenic harbour and take a trip to the Westfries Museum, immersing themselves in Hoorn's maritime history and old-world character.

riverboat cruise holidays

North Holland’s ‘Gate to the North Sea’, IJmuiden has four harbours: the Vissershaven, Haringhaven, IJmondhaven and the Seaport Marina - the latter used by pleasure craft. It is the largest Dutch fishing port, but is a relatively young town: it grew up in the 1870s when the North Sea Canal was opened. During World War II, the German Navy demolished much of the town and built huge fortified concrete bunkers for their torpedo boats and submarines. After 1945, the town was rebuilt by the architect Willem Marinus Dudok. He designed IJmuiden’s most impressive building, the Stadhuis van Velsen, which houses local government offices. For cruise passengers IJmuiden is the gateway to Amsterdam, the Dutch capital and one of Europe’s truly great cities, where elegant canals are lined by old brick gabled houses, and superb art galleries and museums are home to some of the world’s best-known paintings. Please note that complimentary shuttle buses operate from the port to the centre of IJmuiden, not to Amsterdam.

riverboat cruise holidays

Rotterdam is a city that's a long way removed from most people's stereotypical notion of the Netherlands. There are few, if any, canals to be found here nor are there any quaint windmills. There is, however, a thriving modern city which is one of the busiest ports in the entire world.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in the province of Zeeland, in the Netherlands, Middleburg is a city famed for historic charm and maritime heritage. The captivating city centre is adorned with well-preserved medieval buildings, paved with cobblestone and home to notable landmarks such as the imposing abbey complex of Lange Jan (Long John) and the impressive Town Hall. Thanks to a rich history combined with cultural attractions, Middleburg delightfully blends Dutch tradition with scenic beauty.

riverboat cruise holidays

Nijmegen, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, boasts a rich cultural heritage and stunning landscapes, adorned with Roman ruins such as Valkhof Park, offering a glimpse into the city's ancient past. The bustling city centre is populated by quaint cafes, boutique shops and lively squares that burst with activity year-round. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Nestled amongst the scenic landscape between the Tâmega and Douro rivers, the quaint village of Entre-os-Rios is known for brilliant landscapes and historical bridges. Despite the unfortunate collapse of the Hintze Ribeiro Bridge in 2001, the village has since worked towards reconstruction and emerged as a serene, picturesque destination within the Douro Valley.

riverboat cruise holidays

Offering solace on the long journey across the Atlantic, Ponta Delgada is the Azores Islands' largest city, and a welcome relief for any weary sailor. Located on an archipelago of Portuguese islands, some 1,100 miles from the mainland, you can explore humbling volcanic scenery, as well as Sao Miguel's verdant landscape - which glows with colour when the hydrangeas that the Azores are known for bloom into life during the summer months. The striking black and white facade of the Church of Sao Jose welcomes you to the city itself, while you can head to the markets to pick up the pineapples, tea leaves and coffee beans that add a little flavour to the island. As the largest city of the Azores, Ponta Delgada is well stocked with places to eat delicious local seafood, or pick up a little shopping, as you enjoy setting your feet on dry land, following a long journey at sea. Volcanic firepower has carved these stunning islands, and a journey up to Caldeira das Sete Cidades is a must do, where you can hike beside the water-filled crater, and admire views of steep green walls, and the uninterrupted Atlantic Ocean stretching beyond them. Lagoa de Fogo offers yet more humbling views, with the crater lake dropping off sharply to rippled ocean far below.

riverboat cruise holidays

Set on the five-sided island of Faial, Horta is decorated with a colourful cacophony of artworks, which have been daubed across its concrete marina by visitors from around the globe. Left behind by sailors, they tell thrilling stories of life on the high seas. Sitting in the midst of the vast Atlantic, 1,100 miles away from the Portuguese mainland, Horta is the ideal pit-stop for yachts traversing the Atlantic, and one of the world's most visited marinas. The tapered, imposing peak of the Pico volcano, on neighbouring Pico Island, provides a glorious backdrop to the jostling yacht masts of the marina. For the ultimate view, however, you'll need to head up to Faial's own volcanic treasure - Caldeira. Look out from this colossal crater, to absorb the extraordinary views, and a demonstration of a volcano's ability to create as well as destroy. The crater is a natural reserve that blooms with wildflowers and lush green scenery, and scattered sky-blue hydrangeas. Flowers spread colour right across these islands - and you can learn more about the native species at the Faial Botanical Garden.

riverboat cruise holidays

Portimão is a major fishing port, and significant investment has been poured into transforming it into an attractive cruise port as well. The city itself is spacious and has several good shopping streets—though sadly many of the more traditional retailers have closed in the wake of the global economic crisis. There is also a lovely riverside area that just begs to be strolled (lots of the coastal cruises depart from here). Don’t leave without stopping for an alfresco lunch at the Doca da Sardinha ("sardine dock") between the old bridge and the railway bridge. You can sit at one of many inexpensive establishments, eating charcoal-grilled sardines (a local specialty) accompanied by chewy fresh bread, simple salads, and local wine.

riverboat cruise holidays

Lively, commercial Oporto is the second largest city in Portugal after Lisbon. Also called Porto for short, the word easily brings to mind the city's most famous product - port wine. Oporto's strategic location on the north bank of the Douro River has accounted for the town's importance since ancient times. The Romans built a fort here where their trading route crossed the Douro, and the Moors brought their own culture to the area. Oporto profited from provisioning crusaders en route to the Holy Land and enjoyed the riches from Portuguese maritime discoveries during the 15th and 16th centuries. Later, port wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade and the end of gold and gem shipments from Brazil. In the 19th century, the city went through a period of new prosperity with the rise of industries. In its wake followed the building of workers' quarters and opulent residences. Since the declaration of Oporto as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the city aims to build up a cultural reference that will provide it with a new image, based on deep historical roots. Among the attractions that make Oporto such an interesting place are its graceful bridges spanning the Douro River, a picturesque riverfront quarter and, most notable, its world-famous port wine lodges. Although Oporto is a bustling centre and home to many different businesses, the source of its greatest fame is the rich, sweet fortified red wine we know as port.

Sometimes known as Peso da Régua, Régua is a key hub situated in the Duoro Valley and serving as a central location for the region's wine production. Home to a number of port wine lodges and museums, the town offers stunning views of the surrounding vineyards combined with a unique insight into the legacy and craftmanship of Portugal's iconic fortified wine.

riverboat cruise holidays

Ever since the Romans constructed a fort here and began using it as a trading post, Oporto has been a prosperous commercial centre. In the 15th and 16th centuries the city benefited from the wealth generated by Portugal’s maritime discoveries, and later, the establishment of a lucrative wine trade with Britain compensated for the loss of the spice trade. Today, Portugal’s second-largest city is a thriving, cosmopolitan place and is famous for its production of the fortified, sweet 'port' wine. Its historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was also awarded the status of European Capital of Culture in 2001. A large sandbar prevents ships from sailing into Oporto itself, so for over a century they have used nearby Leixões instead, a man-made seaport constructed nine miles from the city. Leixões is one of Portugal's major sea ports and is also home to one of the country's oldest football clubs, winners of the Taça de Portugal cup in 1961.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated along the banks of the Douro, Caldas de Aregos is renowned as an ultimate destination for relaxation and wellness for centuries, thanks to its natural thermal springs believed to have healing properties and therapeutic benefits. Against a backdrop of historic architecture, charming riverside landscapes and a welcoming atmosphere, Caldas de Aregos is a must-visit retreat for tranquillity and rejuvenation.

riverboat cruise holidays

Set on seven hills on the banks of the River Tagus, Lisbon has been the capital of Portugal since the 13th century. It is a city famous for its majestic architecture, old wooden trams, Moorish features and more than twenty centuries of history. Following disastrous earthquakes in the 18th century, Lisbon was rebuilt by the Marques de Pombal who created an elegant city with wide boulevards and a great riverfront and square, Praça do Comércio. Today there are distinct modern and ancient sections, combining great shopping with culture and sightseeing in the Old Town, built on the city's terraced hillsides. The distance between the ship and your tour vehicle may vary. This distance is not included in the excursion grades.

riverboat cruise holidays

Formed by a volcanic eruption, Madeira lies in the Gulf Stream, about 500 miles due west of Casablanca. Discovered by Portuguese explorer João Gonçalves Zarco in 1419, this beautiful island became part of Portugal’s vast empire and was named for the dense forest which cloaked it - 'Madeira' means 'wood' in Portuguese. Sugar plantations first brought wealth here, and when King Charles II of England granted an exclusive franchise to sell wine to England and its colonies, many British emigrants were drawn to the capital, Funchal. Today’s travellers come to Madeira for the varied and luxuriant scenery, from mountain slopes covered with vines to picturesque villages and a profusion of wild flowers. The natural beauty of the island has earned it many pseudonyms such as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’, 'The Island of Eternal Springtime' and ‘God’s Botanical Gardens’ and our selection of excursions aim to show you why.

riverboat cruise holidays

Blessed with rural charm, the tranquil village of Barca d'Alva is known for its tranquillity, serenity, and proximity to the Douro River. Situated in northeastern Portugal, the village provides a peaceful starting point for exploring the scenic beauty and vineyard-covered hillsides of the Douro Valley.

riverboat cruise holidays

Situated in the heart of the Douro Valley, Pinhão is a charming riverside town characterised by terraced vineyards and traditional wine estates, locally known as quintas. Visitors are invited to explore historic wineries and savour the rich flavours of the region's iconic port wines.

riverboat cruise holidays

Pocinho is a remote village in northern Portugal, along the banks of the Douro River. With its tranquil charm and natural beauty, the village exudes a quaint allure and a sense of peaceful seclusion that offers respite from the hustle and bustle of the world beyond. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Sitting on the banks of the Danube River, Giurgiu is a Romanian city best known for its historical significance, home to landmarks such as the Clock Tower and the Giurgiu Fortress. What's more, Giurgiu acts as a vital transportation hub that connects Romania to Bulgaria via the Danube Bridge, and is also recognised for its agriculture.

riverboat cruise holidays

As the River Danube flows through the Carpathian Mountains, the breath-taking gorge known as the Iron Gates is formed, creating a natural border between Serbia and Romania. Characterised by steep limestone cliffs towering dramatically over the water, painting a magnificent landscape, this awe-inspiring stretch of the Danube is not only rich in natural beauty but also holds significance culturally and historically, home to archaeological remnants that date back to ancient times. The Iron Gates Dam is also situated within the Iron Gates, one of Europe's largest hydro-electric power stations, only further enhancing the gravity of the geographical marvel. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Oltenita is an embodiment of culture and history, situated along the banks of the Danube in Romania. Located the Călărași County, Oltentia is characterised by charm, serenity and tradition, boasting a vibrant community where age-old customs are observed with fervour by the locals. Visitors are immersed in the warmth and hospitality that exudes from the town, exploring enchanting streets rich with timeless allure.

riverboat cruise holidays

Hârșova, Romania, is a town steeped in history with a strategic location alongside the Danube, making it a significant crossroads throughout the ages with remnants of ancient civilians adorning the landscape. Hârșova's cultural heritage is eloquently showcased through iconic landmarks, notably the stunning bridge that spans the Danube and the Ethnographic Museum, which serves as a powerful representation of the town's significance in history, as well as offering visitors a window into its vibrant past.

riverboat cruise holidays

Fetești is located in the Ialomița County, Romania, and is a lively town bursting with modern vitality and historical depth. Resting along the banks of the Danube, Fetești acts as a crucial transportation hub that connects various regions of Romania, fostering a rich cultural exchange over the centuries. This blend of influences is evident in the diverse culinary traditions, architecture and bustling markets adorned with local produce.

riverboat cruise holidays

In the heart of the Danube Delta, Sfântu Gheorghe is a haven of natural beauty and ecological diversity, exuding tranquillity amidst lush greenery and meandering waterways. Named after Saint George, the town is recognised for its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, marshlands and river channels, with a unique blend of Romanian and Lipovan culture, tradition and folklore woven into daily life.

riverboat cruise holidays

Sitting on the banks of the Danube, Golubac is a small town best recognised for its medieval fortress standing prominently atop a hill overlooking the river. With a storied history dating back to the 14th century, The Golubac Fortress is a significant cultural landmark that has been instrumental to the region's defence. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Novi Sad, situated in the north of Serbia, is recognised for its stunning landscapes, cultural richness and historical architecture. The famous Petrovaradin Fortress dominates the city scape, and plays host annually to the EXIT music festival, drawing crowds from across the globe. With its enticing old town, colourful culinary scene and welcoming feel, sitting along the banks of the Danube, Novi Sad offers a delightful blend of history, entertainment and Serbian hospitality.

riverboat cruise holidays

Donji Milanovac offers a breathtaking backdrop for exploration and relaxation, situated at the confluence of the Danube and the Iron Gate Gorge. Steeped in natural beauty, the town boasts stunning vistas of rugged cliffs and serene waters, adorned with archaeological sites including the Lepenski Vir, an ancient settlement dating back thousands of years.

riverboat cruise holidays

Belgrade, Serbia's capital, is characterised by its rich cultural tapestry, resilient spirit and lively nightlife. Situated at the confluence of the Sava and Danube, Belgrade beautifully blends history with modernity, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the magnificent Belgrade Fortress, wander through the bohemian Skadarlija district, and enjoy the city's vibrant culinary scene. Adorned with an amalgamation of architectural styles, reflecting the deep and complex history of the city, Belgrade embodies the resilience and vitality of Serbia. 

riverboat cruise holidays

Bratislava is the capital city of Slovakia and is located along the Danube a river on the borders of Austria and Hungary. The city is surrounded by the Little Carpathians Mountains and vineyards as well as its iconic reconstructed Bratislava Castle overlooking Old Town. The castle offers a picturesque view of the city, the neighbouring countries and is home to the Museum of History. Bratislava offers a blend of historic and modern attractions including the Old Town Hall, now home to the Bratislava City Museum, the UFO Bridge, Martin’s Cathedral, Michael’s Gate and Blue Church St Elizabeth’s. Bratislava is home to one of the oldest city parks in Central Europe and is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists as is the city forest park and foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. The city is popular for its locally brewed beers and has many micro-breweries and underground beer cellars. The local cuisine of Bratislava is an eclectic influence of European cultures including Slovak, Hungarian, Austrian and German and serves as a reminder of the history of this cosmopolitan city. However, visitors will find an array of offerings to suit all tastes with lunch being the main meal of the day and roast goose with lokse considered a signature dish of the area.

riverboat cruise holidays

Also known as ‘La Isla Bonita’ (the beautiful island), La Palma is typified by lush forests of pine, laurel and fern which contrast with the rugged splendour of the gigantic Taburiente crater. The island is dotted with attractive villages, which are a delight to discover, and the capital Santa Cruz also makes for an interesting day of exploration. Perched on the edge of the volcanic crater of La Caldereta, Santa Cruz comfortably blends modern architecture with old colonial buildings. Perhaps visit the fascinating Natural History Museum, stroll around the historic quarters and the Plaza de Espana or travel a few miles outside the city to the exquisite Church of Our Lady. If you enjoy shopping, you can find reasonably priced silver jewellery, leather goods and beautifully embroidered clothes, tablecloths and napkins, a speciality of the Canary Islands.

riverboat cruise holidays

Perhaps the prettiest of the Canary Islands, Gran Canaria is an almost circular isle with the peak of Pozo de Las Nieves, its highest point, at the centre. With a wealth of natural beauty and all the exciting attractions of city life in the capital, the island offers the best of both worlds. You will no doubt wish to see the sights of the capital’s old quarter, which dates back to the 15th century and encompassses the Vegueta and Triana districts, and wherever you go you can enjoy the glorious subtropical climate, perfect for growing exotic palms and fruits.

riverboat cruise holidays

A Mediterranean city and naval station located in the Region of Murcia, southeastern Spain, Cartagena’s sheltered bay has attracted sailors for centuries. The Carthaginians founded the city in 223BC and named it Cartago Nova; it later became a prosperous Roman colony, and a Byzantine trading centre. The city has been the main Spanish Mediterranean naval base since the reign of King Philip II, and is still surrounded by walls built during this period. Cartagena’s importance grew with the arrival of the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century, when the Navidad Fortress was constructed to protect the harbour. In recent years, traces of the city’s fascinating past have been brought to light: a well-preserved Roman Theatre was discovered in 1988, and this has now been restored and opened to the public. During your free time, you may like to take a mini-cruise around Cartagena's historic harbour: these operate several times a day, take approximately 40 minutes and do not need to be booked in advance. Full details will be available at the port.

riverboat cruise holidays

Hedonistic and historic, Eivissa (Ibiza, in Castilian) is a city jam-packed with cafés, nightspots, and trendy shops; looming over it are the massive stone walls of Dalt Vila —the medieval city declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999—and its Gothic cathedral. Squeezed between the north walls of the old city and the harbor is Sa Penya, a long labyrinth of stone-paved streets that offer some of the city's best offbeat shopping, snacking, and exploring. The tourist information office on Vara de Rey has a useful map of walks through the old city.

riverboat cruise holidays

The infinite variety of street life, the nooks and crannies of the medieval Barri Gòtic, the ceramic tile and stained glass of Art Nouveau facades, the art and music, the throb of street life, the food (ah, the food!)—one way or another, Barcelona will find a way to get your full attention. The capital of Catalonia is a banquet for the senses, with its beguiling mix of ancient and modern architecture, tempting cafés and markets, and sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. A stroll along La Rambla and through waterfront Barceloneta, as well as a tour of Gaudí's majestic Sagrada Famíliaand his other unique creations, are part of a visit to Spain's second-largest city. Modern art museums and chic shops call for attention, too. Barcelona's vibe stays lively well into the night, when you can linger over regional wine and cuisine at buzzing tapas bars.

riverboat cruise holidays

The largest of the Canary Islands, Tenerife is a beautiful and scenic island which enjoys year-round sunshine and is dominated by Mount Teide. The mountain range runs through the centre of the island, with fertile valleys on the northern side. In the central part of the range is the gigantic natural crater of the Cañadas del Teide, about 14 miles in diameter. Santa Cruz, the island’s pretty capital, was originally a small fishing village but has now grown into a modern city, and also contains 16th-century civic buildings and ornate private mansions. Near the pier is the Santa Cruz Palmetum, a Botanical Garden covering an area of 29 acres, specialising in palms.

riverboat cruise holidays

Believed to be the oldest town on the Iberian Peninsula, the Andalusian port of Cádiz enjoys a stunning location at the edge of a six-mile promontory. The town itself, with 3,000 years of history, is characterised by pretty white houses with balconies often adorned with colourful flowers. As you wander around be sure to take a stroll through the sizeable Plaza de Espãna, with its large monument dedicated to the first Spanish constitution, which was signed here in 1812. Cádiz has two pleasant seafront promenades which boast fine views of the Atlantic Ocean, and has a lovely park, the Parque Genoves, located close to the sea with an open-air theatre and attractive palm garden. Also notable is the neo-Classical cathedral, capped by a golden dome.

riverboat cruise holidays

La Coruña, the largest city in Spain's Galicia region, is among the country's busiest ports. The remote Galicia area is tucked into the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula, surprising visitors with its green and misty countryside that is so much unlike other parts of Spain. The name "Galicia" is Celtic in origin, for it was the Celts who occupied the region around the 6th-century BC and erected fortifications. La Coruña was already considered an important port under the Romans. They were followed by an invasion of Suevians, Visigoths and, much later in 730, the Moors. It was after Galicia was incorporated into the Kingdom of Asturias that the epic saga of the Pilgrimage to Santiago (St. James) began. From the 15th century, overseas trade developed rapidly; in 1720, La Coruña was granted the privilege of trading with America - a right previously only held by Cadiz and Seville. This was the great era when adventurous men voyaged to the colonies and returned with vast riches. Today, the city's significant expansion is evident in three distinct quarters: the town centre located along the isthmus; the business and commercial centre with wide avenues and shopping streets; and the "Ensanche" to the south, occupied by warehouses and factories. Many of the buildings in the old section feature the characteristic glazed façades that have earned La Coruña the name "City of Crystal." Plaza Maria Pita, the beautiful main square, is named after the local heroine who saved the town in 1589 when she seized the English standard from the beacon and gave the alarm, warning her fellow townsmen of the English attack.

riverboat cruise holidays

Time in Bilbao (Bilbo, in Euskera) may be recorded as BG or AG (Before Guggenheim or After Guggenheim). Never has a single monument of art and architecture so radically changed a city. Frank Gehry's stunning museum, Norman Foster's sleek subway system, the Santiago Calatrava glass footbridge and airport, the leafy César Pelli Abandoibarra park and commercial complex next to the Guggenheim, and the Philippe Starck AlhóndigaBilbao cultural center have contributed to an unprecedented cultural revolution in what was once the industry capital of the Basque Country.Greater Bilbao contains almost 1 million inhabitants, nearly half the total population of the Basque Country. Founded in 1300 by Vizcayan noble Diego López de Haro, Bilbao became an industrial center in the mid-19th century, largely because of the abundance of minerals in the surrounding hills. An affluent industrial class grew up here, as did the working class in suburbs that line the Margen Izquierda (Left Bank) of the Nervión estuary.Bilbao's new attractions get more press, but the city's old treasures still quietly line the banks of the rust-color Nervión River. The Casco Viejo (Old Quarter)—also known as Siete Calles (Seven Streets)—is a charming jumble of shops, bars, and restaurants on the river's Right Bank, near the Puente del Arenal bridge. This elegant proto-Bilbao nucleus was carefully restored after devastating floods in 1983. Throughout the Casco Viejo are ancient mansions emblazoned with family coats of arms, wooden doors, and fine ironwork balconies. The most interesting square is the 64-arch Plaza Nueva, where an outdoor market is pitched every Sunday morning.Walking the banks of the Nervión is a satisfying jaunt. After all, this was how—while out on a morning jog—Guggenheim director Thomas Krens first discovered the perfect spot for his project, nearly opposite the right bank's Deusto University. From the Palacio de Euskalduna upstream to the colossal Mercado de la Ribera, parks and green zones line the river. César Pelli's Abandoibarra project fills in the half mile between the Guggenheim and the Euskalduna bridge with a series of parks, the Deusto University library, the Meliá Bilbao Hotel, and a major shopping center.On the left bank, the wide, late-19th-century boulevards of the Ensanche neighborhood, such as Gran Vía (the main shopping artery) and Alameda de Mazarredo, are the city's more formal face. Bilbao's cultural institutions include, along with the Guggenheim, a major museum of fine arts (the Museo de Bellas Artes) and an opera society (Asociación Bilbaína de Amigos de la Ópera, or ABAO) with 7,000 members from Spain and southern France. In addition, epicureans have long ranked Bilbao's culinary offerings among the best in Spain. Don't miss a chance to ride the trolley line, the Euskotram, for a trip along the river from Atxuri Station to Basurto's San Mamés soccer stadium, reverently dubbed "la Catedral del Fútbol" (the Cathedral of Football).

riverboat cruise holidays

Valencia, Spain's third-largest municipality, is a proud city with a thriving nightlife and restaurant scene, quality museums, and spectacular contemporary architecture, juxtaposed with a thoroughly charming historic quarter, making it a popular destination year in year out. During the Civil War, it was the last seat of the Republican Loyalist government (1935–36), holding out against Franco’s National forces until the country fell to 40 years of dictatorship. Today it represents the essence of contemporary Spain—daring design and architecture along with experimental cuisine—but remains deeply conservative and proud of its traditions. Though it faces the Mediterranean, Valencia's history and geography have been defined most significantly by the River Turia and the fertile huerta that surrounds it.The city has been fiercely contested ever since it was founded by the Greeks. El Cid captured Valencia from the Moors in 1094 and won his strangest victory here in 1099: he died in the battle, but his corpse was strapped into his saddle and so frightened the besieging Moors that it caused their complete defeat. In 1102 his widow, Jimena, was forced to return the city to Moorish rule; Jaume I finally drove them out in 1238. Modern Valencia was best known for its frequent disastrous floods until the River Turia was diverted to the south in the late 1950s. Since then the city has been on a steady course of urban beautification. The lovely bridges that once spanned the Turia look equally graceful spanning a wandering municipal park, and the spectacularly futuristic Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències (City of Arts and Sciences), most of it designed by Valencia-born architect Santiago Calatrava, has at last created an exciting architectural link between this river town and the Mediterranean. If you're in Valencia, an excursion to Albufera Nature Park is a worthwhile day trip.

riverboat cruise holidays

Whether you pronounce it Seville or Sevilla, this gorgeous Spanish town is most certainly the stuff of dreams. Over 2,200 years old, Seville has a mutli-layered personality; home to Flamenco, high temperatures and three UNESCO-World Heritage Sites, there is a noble ancestry to the southern Spanish town. Not forgetting that it is the birthplace of painter Diego Velazquez, the resting place of Christopher Columbus, the inspiration for Bizet’s Carmen and a location for Game of Thrones filming, Seville is truly more than just a sum of its parts. This city is a full on experience, a beguiling labyrinth of centuries old streets, tiny tapas restaurants serving possibly the best dishes you’ll taste south of Madrid and a paradise of Mudejar architecture and tranquil palm trees and fountain-filled gardens.

riverboat cruise holidays

Famed for its 12th Century prestigious university, Salamanca captivates visitors with an impressive blend of history, culture and academia. Home to architectural marvels, such as the ornately decorated Plaza Mayor and stunning Salamanca Cathedral, Salamanca showcases centuries of artistic heritage alongside a lively nightlife buzzing with vibrant tapas bars, cafes and flamenco venues.

riverboat cruise holidays

The capital of Menorca since 1721, Mahon has a impressive natural deep water harbour, which is one of the largest in the world. This, coupled with its strategic location, has made it a stronghold for many nations throughout history. Mahon has an abundance of historical buildings, the oldest being the Arch of Saint Roc which is all that remains of the wall that once encircled the whole town. The island was occupied by the British during the 18th century and Lord Nelson is thought to have stayed there. Indeed, San Antoni Mansion, located on the north side of the harbour, houses a collection of Nelson memorabilia. The legacy of colonial rule can be seen in the muted Georgian style of some of the buildings, but Mahon still boasts attractive examples of neo-Classical, Baroque and Romanesque architecture. With narrow streets to explore, pleasant shaded squares and welcoming pavement cafés, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Please be aware that most shops in town close for a siesta between 1330 and 1730.

riverboat cruise holidays

Known as the ‘Round Isle’, La Gomera is one of the oldest and smallest of the Canary Islands. Perhaps overshadowed by the obvious charms of its neighbour, Tenerife, from a distance this cone-shaped volcanic isle with its massive grey skyline can appear foreboding. But once ashore, a different world awaits discovery. Steep valleys and ravines hide a host of surprises such as terraced fields and laurel rain forests. The climb to the top of the island reveals breathtaking views and some rare flora and fauna in the mist-covered heights of Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a relatively modest tourist industry and less explored than its neighbouring islands, La Gomera is a fascinating place to visit. San Sebastian is the capital and main port of the island, set on the east coast and with a distinctly rural feel, with a few small plazas and colourful houses lining the hillside. The port is famous for its visit by Christopher Columbus, who stopped here in 1492 before sailing to the Americas.

riverboat cruise holidays

If you look north of the cathedral (La Seu, or the seat of the bishopric, to Mallorcans) on a map of the city of Palma, you can see around the Plaça Santa Eulàlia a jumble of tiny streets that made up the earliest settlement. Farther out, a ring of wide boulevards traces the fortifications built by the Moors to defend the larger city that emerged by the 12th century. The zigzags mark the bastions that jutted out at regular intervals. By the end of the 19th century, most of the walls had been demolished; the only place where you can still see the massive defenses is at Ses Voltes, along the seafront west of the cathedral.A torrent (streambed) used to run through the middle of the old city, dry for most of the year but often a raging flood in the rainy season. In the 17th century it was diverted to the east, along the moat that ran outside the city walls. Two of Palma's main arteries, La Rambla and the Passeig d'es Born, now follow the stream's natural course. The traditional evening paseo (promenade) takes place on the Born.If you come to Palma by car, park in the garage beneath the Parc de la Mar (the ramp is just off the highway from the airport, as you reach the cathedral) and stroll along the park. Beside it run the huge bastions guarding the Almudaina Palace; the cathedral, golden and massive, rises beyond. Where you exit the garage, there's a ceramic mural by the late Catalan artist and Mallorca resident Joan Miró, facing the cathedral across the pool that runs the length of the park.If you begin early enough, a walk along the ramparts at Ses Voltes from the mirador beside the cathedral is spectacular. The first rays of the sun turn the upper pinnacles of La Seu bright gold and then begin to work their way down the sandstone walls. From the Parc de la Mar, follow Avinguda Antoni Maura past the steps to the palace. Just below the Plaça de la Reina, where the Passeig d'es Born begins, turn left on Carrer de la Boteria into the Plaça de la Llotja (if the Llotja itself is open, don't miss a chance to visit—it's the Mediterranean's finest Gothic-style civic building). From there stroll through the Plaça Drassana to the Museu d'Es Baluard, at the end of Carrer Sant Pere. Retrace your steps to Avinguda Antoni Maura. Walk up the Passeig d'es Born to Plaça Joan Carles I, then right on Avenida de La Unió.

riverboat cruise holidays

The second-largest of the Canaries after Tenerife, Fuerteventura is geologically the oldest of all the islands in the archipelago. It has the longest coastline and is blessed with gentle valleys and sweeping plains. Near the capital, Puerto del Rosario, there are lovely beaches, and other beaches in the north and south of the island can be compared with the best in the world. Among the features of the island are its windmills, dotted around the landscape - evidence of the island's traditional agriculture. Puerto del Rosario, the capital, is on the east coast and was originally a watering-hole used by local farmers for their goats. In the early 19th century, Maria Estrada opened a tavern here, which paved the way for the development of the port. It has been the island’s capital since 1860. Among its attractions are the old harbour area, with its narrow alleyways lined with picturesque Canarian-style houses, and the Church of Nuestra Senora del Rosario.

riverboat cruise holidays

The provincial capital of the Valencian Community serves as a gateway to the huge influx of tourists that flock to the Costa Blanca resorts every year. Alicante is popular with holidaymakers who arrive for the warm, Mediterranean climate and seemingly endless golden beaches. However, there is much more to this city than sand and sun. With a picturesque waterfront, a hugely impressive castle, buzzing nightlife and a rich, complex history, Alicante is a fascinating destination all year round.

riverboat cruise holidays

Nestled in south-eastern Spain, Aguilas captivates visitors with stunning Mediterranean vistas and impressive cultural heritage. Home to charming beaches, architecture and a vibrant seaside promenade, Aguilas is an inviting spot for travellers to indulge in laid-back ambience and Spanish sun. Evidenced by its old fishing quarter and lively harbour, where colourful boats bob gently in the waters, the town is steeped in Maritime history and significance. Aguilas also hosts festivals, concerts and art exhibitions throughout the year, offering visitors a taste of authentic Spanish culture. Whether strolling along the palm-lined boulevards or savouring fresh seafood delicacies in local tavernas, Aguilas invites visitors to experience the essence of Spanish coastal living.

riverboat cruise holidays

The autonomous city of Ceuta is a tiny Spanish city-enclave on the Moroccan side of the Straits of Gibraltar, separated from the Spanish mainland by just 12 miles. The city's strategic location has ensured it has endured a turbulent history, often being used as a trade and military outpost. Originally an old Carthaginian colony, it has since been held by the Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, and Arabs, and has been known as 'Abyla', 'Septem' and 'Cibta'. It was finally taken over by Spain in 1580 and has remained Spanish since then, with the name 'Ceuta'. Covering an area of just ten square miles, the enclave is dominated by the hill of Monte Hacho, sometimes believed to be the legendary Pillars of Hercules. With a fascinating mix of both Spanish and African influences and surrounded by massive 14th-century city walls, Ceuta has a charm and grandeur all of its own. As an autonomous region of Spain, Ceuta is part of the territory of the EU, but is considered a special low-tax zone. Leather goods, ceramics and embroidery are common purchases from the city.

riverboat cruise holidays

Dating from Roman times, the Galician city of Vigo has a fine natural harbour and is renowned as the biggest fishing port in the world. It is also full of history - it was in this fjord-like quay that the English and Dutch defeated the French and Spanish fleets in 1702. Today, the attractive marinas stand in contrast to the industrialised areas of the city, while further exploration will reveal the characteristic 17th-century architecture and attractive countryside beyond. The charming Old Town is a delight, with its labyrinth of winding narrow streets and shaded squares. Nearby is the Cathedral city of Tui, and further to the north is the pilgrimage centre of Santiago de Compostela, which can be reached by car in approximately 1¼ hours.

riverboat cruise holidays

Motril is located in the Spanish region of Andalucia on the Costa Tropical. It is the biggest town on the Costa with a thriving commercial, fishing and leisure port. An hour and a half's drive east of Malaga and within easy reach of the magnificent Sierra Nevada mountain range, Motril makes an ideal base for exploring the many delights of the Andalucian coastline and its hinterland. Halfway between the resorts of Malaga to the west and Almeria to the east, nestling in the foothills of the Sierra Lujar mountains, Motril is at the heart of one of the most fertile and productive agricultural areas of Spain. The Costa Tropical takes its name from its sub-tropical climate which enables the cultivation of exotic fruits and crops such as sugar cane, oranges, lemons, apples, avocadoes, mangoes and bananas. One of the sights of Motril is the 17th-century church of Nuestra Señora de la Cabeza, dedicated to the town's patron saint.

riverboat cruise holidays

El Ferrol has been inextricably linked to the sea for more than two millennia, being a major shipbuilding centre for most of its history. From its beginnings as a tiny fishing port in the 1st century BC, it endured conquests by Vandals, Suebis, Arabs and Christians. With the arrival of the Bourbons in the 18th century, Ferrol became a leading maritime centre, largely due to its large natural harbour on the Ferrol Inlet, an arm of the Atlantic. Now a large commercial port, Ferrol is also the gateway to the northern Spanish province of Galicia, a region noted for its green mountains, deep gorges and fast-flowing rivers. It is also well placed for visiting the medieval holy city of Santiago de Compostela. Interestingly, Ferrol's city centre is modelled on Lisbon in Portugal, a country with which it has strong historical and linguistic ties. The layout comprises of a rectangle lined with six parallel streets, with two squares on each side. These squares have the city's best shops, restaurants and bars.

riverboat cruise holidays

The autonomous city of Melilla is a Spanish enclave located on the Mediterranean Rif coast of North Africa, bordering Morocco. Its chequered past embraced periods of Phoenician, Punic, Roman and Byzantine rule before it was conquered by Spain in 1497. The latter part of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th century saw hostilities between Rif berbers and the Spanish, with the latter finally reinstating their control in 1927. The city was used by General Franco as one of the staging points for the rebellion of 1936. As part of the Spanish protectorate, Melilla developed the architectural style of 'Modernisme', the Catalan version of Art Nouveau, and boasts the second most important concentration of Modernist works in Spain, after Barcelona.

riverboat cruise holidays

One of the best ways to arrive in Catalonia is by sea, especially via the Costa Brava. This coastline, also known as the Rugged or Wild Coast, stretches from Blanes to the French border. Its name aptly refers to the steep cliff of ancient twisted rocks, which runs its entire length and is bounded inland by the Catalan mountain ranges. The intensity of the coast’s colour, the ruggedness of the rocks and the scent of the plants all combine to add to its attraction. The history of this region is long and varied. Traces can be found of the advanced culture of the Iberians, Greeks, Romans, Visigoths and Arabs. With Wilfred I and the independence of Catalan countries, the Catalan dynasty was born. Later, in 1479, Catalonia became a part of unified Spain following the marriage of Isabel, Queen of Castile, and Fernando, King of Aragon. The port of Palamos, some 36 miles northeast of Barcelona, has been in existence for nearly 700 years thanks to its location on one of the deepest natural bays in the western Mediterranean. The town itself is the southernmost of a series of resorts popular with sun worshippers. For the most part, Palamos has managed to retain some of the charm of a fishing village. The port also serves as a gateway to such inland locations as Girona, the capital of the province. Art lovers may want to visit Figueras, famous for its bizarre Teatre-Museu Dali, the foremost of a series of sites associated with the eccentric surrealist artist, Salvador Dali. If you choose to stay in Palamos, you can enjoy the pleasant atmosphere of the town or spend some time at a nearby beach. The town has a long seagoing tradition and busy harbour. The fish auction, prompted by the arrival of the fishing boats, is a spectacle worth seeing. The Fishing Museum illustrates the history and the life of the families who live off the sea.

riverboat cruise holidays

The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, and other reminders of Gijón's time as an ancient Roman port remain visible downtown. Gijón was almost destroyed in a 14th-century struggle over the Castilian throne, but by the 19th century it was a thriving port and industrial city. The modern-day city is part fishing port, part summer resort, and part university town, packed with cafés, restaurants, and sidrerías.

riverboat cruise holidays

A gateway to the Douro Valley, Vega de Terrón is a port town offering its visitors access to the breathtaking landscapes and magnificent vineyards of the region. Located close to the Spanish border in North-East Portugal, near the Spanish town of Barca d'Alva, the town serves as a strategic base to explore both Portuguese and Spanish cultural gems.

riverboat cruise holidays

A volcanic island designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Lanzarote’s dramatic landscapes were shaped by an explosive past. Today, its pretty beaches and virtual absence of rain together with duty-free shopping make the island an extremely desirable destination. The main port and capital, Arrecife, is a pleasant town with a modern seafront and colourful gardens. Outside the capital there is plenty to explore, from the dazzling white salt flats of Janubio and the rugged terrain of Fire Mountain to the eerie caves of Los Verdes and an array of unspoilt fishing villages scattered around the coast. The island is home to a great selection of restaurants and local specialities including garbanzos compuestos – a chickpea stew; papas arrugadas – potatoes with carrots, peas, ham and green pepper; and of course, plenty of fresh seafood. Please note that those planning to participate in one of the shore excursions from this port may need to take an early lunch on board ship to suit the excursion schedules.

riverboat cruise holidays

As you sail into Malaga you will notice what an idyllic setting the city enjoys on the famous Costa del Sol. To the east of this provincial capital, the coast along the region of La Axarqua is scattered with villages, farmland and sleepy fishing hamlets - the epitome of traditional rural Spain. To the west stretches a continuous city where the razzmatazz and bustle creates a colourful contrast that is easily recognisable as the Costa del Sol. Surrounding the region, the Penibéetica Mountains provide an attractive backdrop overlooking the lower terraced slopes which yield olives and almonds. This spectacular mountain chain shelters the province from cold northerly winds, giving it a reputation as a therapeutic and exotic place in which to escape from cold northern climes. Malaga is also the gateway to many of Andalusia's enchanting historic villages, towns and cities.

riverboat cruise holidays

Basel is a city in northwestern Switzerland on the Swiss, French and German borders. It is located on the bend of the River Rhine and benefits from a Mediterranean climate. It is the third most populated city in Switzerland and has been the commercial hub for Swiss arts and culture since the Renaissance. In 1967 the people of Basel voted to acquire two paintings by Picasso, who was so moved by the Basel people that he donated 3 paintings and a study to the city's Kunstmuseum (Museum of Fine Arts). Visit the Augusta Raurica, one of the largest Roman archaeology parks in Switzerland, and enjoy a river crossings over the River Rhine by non-motorised ferries. During the summer months, time is spent outdoors, either swimming in the River Rhine, dining al fresco, enjoying open air concerts, cinema, street parties and festivals. Basel is home to over 20 restaurants that have won GaultMillau or Michelin awards, and boasts Switzerland's largest collection of theatre shows, including modern contemporary dance, touring and puppetry theatre.

riverboat cruise holidays

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Have Fun on Virginia Waterways with These Riverboat Tours and Cruises

odyssey boat cruise on DC waterfront

See the Potomac or James rivers from a new perspective with these adventures.

By Bennett Freeze June 20, 2024

Looking for something new to do this summer? A boat cruise is an entertaining way to spend time with friends and family or grab brunch with a view. 

Two prime locations for these adventures are the Potomac River near Washington, DC, and the James River near Richmond. These riverboat tours offer everything from close encounters with bald eagles to Fourth of July dinners to cruising the canals of Richmond. While most tours offer shelter from the elements, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. 

 Those sensitive to seasickness should perhaps opt for a shorter experience. Always book a cruise in advance, and don’t forget sunscreen if you plan to spend time on the deck. Make sure to plan where you’ll park the car ahead of time — most embarkments will have public parking with street parking close by.  

If you’re planning on making the drive down to Richmond, be prepared to spend a whole day, and that means considering meals for your group. Most cruises and riverboat tours offer refreshments of some kind, but some are BYOB, so be sure to verify ahead of time if you want food or drink during your tour experience. Always make sure to arrive more than 15 minutes before the start of your tour.  

For a memorable experience, try one of these riverboat cruises. 

Potomac River 

For a family-friendly cruise:  , boomerang boat tours  .

Set off from Washington Harbour in Georgetown for a scenic tour perfect for taking in the monuments and the National Mall with family. As you sail down the Potomac, you’ll see landmarks as far south as Reagan National Airport. The experience is an hour long and offers light prepackaged snacks as well as a cash bar. Parking is available at Washington Harbour at $12 an hour, and street parking can be found nearby. 3050 K St. NW, Washington, DC, starting at $20  

For a romantic sunset cruise:  

Capitol river cruises  .

At dusk, take in the breathtaking views of Washington, DC, embarking from Georgetown on one of Capitol River Cruises’ Nightingale vessels. Starting at the Key Bridge, the tour sails south down the Potomac so that you can capture the perfect golden hour selfie. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and is ideal for a first or second date. 3050 K St. NW, Washington, DC, starting at $30  

For a boozy cruise:  

City experiences  .

History may be fun, but a bottomless mimosa brunch is even more so. Enjoy a chic, spacious setting with a chef-prepared buffet-style lunch and panoramic views of Washington, DC. The dress code calls for cocktail attire such as slacks, button-up shirts, blouses, and skirts. City Experiences offers many themed cruises, including a Fourth of July fireworks cruise, a dinner cruise, and a VIP tour of Mount Vernon. There are several parking garages near The Wharf for your convenience. The cruise lasts two hours and runs on Saturdays and Sundays. Pier 4, 580 Water St. SW, Washington, DC, starting at $95  

James River 

For a nature tour:  , discover the james bald eagle tours  .

See the national bird in its natural glory. This riverboat tour sails south of Richmond to Jefferson’s Reach, an area with over 350 pairs of mated bald eagles. Learn about conservation efforts to protect the Bald Eagle’s habitat in both two-hour and three-hour tours throughout summer and fall. Embrace your inner ornithologist before the birds migrate in September. 9950 Hoke Brady Rd., Richmond; 9525 Deep Bottom Rd., Henrico, starting at $95  

For a narrated history tour:  

Riverfront historic canal cruises  .

Depart from the Turning Basin for a family-friendly narrated history tour up the James and Kanawha Canal along the Richmond Canal Walk. The canals, initially envisioned by George Washington with construction beginning in 1789, were once predominantly used for commerce. If you don’t want a narrated tour, private charters are also available. 139 Virginia St., Richmond, starting at $15 (adult 13 and older), $8 (children 5 to 12 years old)  

For a BYOB party cruise:  

Sea suite tiki club cruise  .

Kick back and relax at Richmond’s only BYOB floating tiki bar. The cruise is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday and can accommodate up to 30 people. Feel free to mingle with strangers-turned-friends or charter in advance for a company party. Public voyages tend to last 1 hour 45 minutes. 4708 Old Main St., Richmond, starting at $45

Feature image courtesy Odyssey Boat Cruises

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8 best river cruises in Europe, from the Douro to the Danube

E urope is a continent built on its rivers, with many having played a vital role in the formation and development of its most important cities . From the Thames to the Tiber , they are an ever-flowing reminder of the continent’s long and varied history.

The opportunity to sail along these rivers, among the world’s most beautiful and peaceful waterways, is a temptation that’s easily given in to. Of course, a river cruise is about more than just spending time floating on the water (although that option is available, should you wish). It’s about the towns, cities and landmarks along the way.

These trips will take you on a relaxing and slow-paced journey to vineyards and valleys, tours and excursions, returning each night to your own floating hotel. Each day offers quick stops to discover some of the continent’s most important cultures at your own pace.

The Independent has rounded up eight of the best Europe river cruise packages, from epic continental crossing and to the finest Christmas markets to explore.

Capitals of Eastern Europe, Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises’ Capitals of Eastern Europe itinerary is a 16-night trip covering the main cities on the Danube. It sets sail from Vienna, the elegant and sophisticated Austrian capital, and it finishes in Constanta, Romania, before a quick final journey overland to Bucharest to end your trip with a two-night stay.

Read more on Europe travel :

  • The underrated European holiday destination with fabulous forests and brilliant beer
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  • The lesser-known Croatia destinations you may not have considered

On the way you’ll visit a host of towns in Hungary, Serbia and even Bulgaria, but on this trip the bigger cities are the main attraction. Vienna is followed by Bratislava – where Baroque palaces meet a typically Eastern European Old Town – and then Budapest . The Hungarian capital is a highlight: from festooned “ruin bars” and thermal baths to a spectacular neo-Gothic parliament building, the city has a wide variety of architecture, activities and things to do.

How to book

The tour lasts for 17 days, starting from £5,445pp. This price includes return flights, one excursion in each port of call and all meals.

North Rhine & The Netherlands, TUI

Alongside the Danube, the Rhine is one of Europe’s main cruise rivers. Many operators have several Rhine packages; TUI’s offering covers a stellar range of cities for a very affordable price. Its ships have two dining options (a bistro and a more formal restaurant) with al fresco seating, as well as a wellness and activity area on the top deck. No excursions are included, but this does give you free rein to choose whatever activities you like.

The first two days are spent in Amsterdam , where you’ll have ample time to wander its canals and green spaces, such as the Vondelpark, or visit attractions such as the Anne Frank Museum, Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum.

Days three and four bring you to Rotterdam and Dusseldorf. You can enjoy the port area in the Netherlands ’ second city or simply marvel at its dramatically different modern architecture, while Dusseldorf provides a variety of museums and concerts alongside a lively Old Town. On days five to seven, you’ll visit four picturesque riverside cities and towns: Bonn, Koblenz, Boppard and Oberwesel. There are waterfront bars and restaurants galore, and each has its own slice of history (think of a Beethoven museum in Bonn and a memorial to the ruler who united Germany in Koblenz).

From £1,639pp for this seven-night trip, including three meals per day (you can add coffee, alcohol and other drinks on an all-inclusive basis for an extra £20 per night) and return flights.

The Douro, Riviera Travel

A trip along the northern Douro River can offer views to rival even the most idyllic of Algarve beaches. This trip starts in Porto , where bars and restaurants line the banks in the Ribeira (Riverside) district, but it is worth climbing the various hills to see other areas and sites, such as the cathedral and Dom Luis I Bridge.

After setting off along the Douro, your first two stops are Pinhao – a picturesque wine town, famous for being at the heart of the Port-producing region of the country – and Castelo Rodrigo, a 12th-century walled village located in the highlands. Day four will see you visit Salamanca, the Spanish sandstone city famous for its cathedrals and university.

The next two days are spent in Peso da Régua and Lamego – two small hillside towns – before returning to Porto on day seven. The cruise ends here, but the holiday doesn’t; this package also contains a three-night stay in Lisbon . After travelling to the capital by coach, you’ll visit the nearby towns of Coimbra (day eight) and Sintra (day 10), while you’ll have a day in the capital sandwiched in between; while in Lisbon, take in the city’s unique Manueline and Pombaline architecture while wandering through its grand squares, and visit Sao Jorge castle or the city’s famous Time Out Market.

This 11-day cruise is priced from £1,599pp, including all meals on board, excursions, airport transfers and coach travel where necessary.

Idyllic Rhône, Scenic Cruises

Scenic Cruises’ luxury Rhone sailing takes you through some of the best sections of southern France , starting in Lyon . The regional capital has 2,000 years of history, so it’s blessed with a Roman amphitheatre right through to a Renaissance Old Town. Your first trip will take you north along the Saone River to Macon, a famous wine region in Burgundy.

The next two towns, Vienne and Viviers, offer spectacular views of the Rhone before you arrive in Avignon. You can enjoy a private concert at the Palais des Papes – once a Papal residence – as well as a cooking class onboard, but a visit to the city itself is worth it to wander its narrow streets and charming squares, starting with the Place de l’Horloge. Your final day takes you to Arles, at the mouth of the Rhone – from here, you can travel home, stay in the city or carry on towards Marseille .

Prices start at £2,999pp for the eight-day cruise. The package includes 20 meals, the premium concert experience, cooking lessons and 19 shore activities, ranging from walking tours to wine tastings.

Holland & Belgium, Avalon Waterways

Avalon’s eight-day cruise of the Low Countries is an excellent way to experience some of the region’s best cities in a relaxing way. It starts and ends in Amsterdam , where you’ll have a number of nights to wander its scenic network of canals lined with beautiful 17th-century buildings.

When you move on to Belgium, you’ll visit Ghent , Brussels and Antwerp on consecutive days. More tranquil canals await you in Ghent, and those who enjoy being by the water can continue this in Antwerp’s waterfront area. Brussels has more than its fair share of landmarks and museums (all centred around Grand Place, the main square and Unesco Heritage Site), but the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (Antwerp) and St Bavo’s Cathedral (Ghent) are definitely places to visit during the other stops. Day six will take you to Rotterdam before you head back to the Dutch capital.

From £2,453pp. Meals and some activities are included; there are additional excursions in each destination that can be purchased.

Danube Delights, Emerald Cruises

This trip from Emerald Cruises takes you along the famous river to Regensburg. It starts with two nights in Budapest , with a traditional Hungarian folklore show and tour of Buda Hill on offer, along with any solo sightseeing you’d like to do. Days three and four take you to Bratislava and Vienna, where you can enjoy cycling tours and hikes.

Krems and Durnstein are the last two stops in Austria before you head to Passau, the German “City of Three Rivers”. At the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, the city is home to an impressive cathedral and Old Town. After disembarking at Regensburg, you make your way to Munich , where a good plan is to spend time exploring the Bavarian capital before you fly home.

From £1,849pp for this eight-day cruise, which includes five guided tours, 20 meals and complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board.

Christmas Markets on the Rhine, Ama Waterways

There’s something quite special about experiencing Christmas celebrations on a river cruise through Europe. On this AmaWaterways voyage, you sail the Rhine, boarding in Amsterdam and with a first stop in Cologne. The Gothic cathedral provides the backdrop for one of the country’s best Christmas markets, where you’ll find dozens of stalls selling festive items, many of them handmade. Other markets include the more elaborate Heinzels Wintermärchen in the Old Town and the Markt der Engel (a more rustic affair in the city’s Neumarkt square). For those who want to mix in a bit of sightseeing, the Museum Ludwig and Roman-Germanic Museum can give you a taste of arts and history.

Next on the itinerary, you’ll visit the German towns of Heidelberg and Speyer, where more markets await, before arriving in Strasbourg, France. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of French and German culture, a warm festive spirit and plenty of opportunities to wander the markets that are spread throughout the town. Wander further afield and you’ll find Petite France, a pretty district known for cobblestone streets and canals. Holidaymakers return to Germany for the penultimate stop in Breisach, before disembarking in Basel (though you can always stay in Switzerland for a taste of Swiss Christmas markets).

From £3.149, including meals and some activities; flights and airport transfer not included.

European Sojourn, Viking River Cruises

This ultimate itinerary bisects Europe to take passengers from Amsterdam to Bucharest, via sections of the Rhine, Main and Danube among other European rivers. Along the way, passengers will visit some of Europe’s principal cities – think Budapest, Amsterdam and Vienna – smaller (but just as beautiful) riverside settlements such as Passau and Bamberg, and lesser-known towns including Vidin and Kolocsa.

Hidden gems range from Melk, an Austrian town in the underrated   Wachau Valley wine-making region, Osijek, the fourth-largest city in Croatia, and Kinderdijk, a Dutch village famous for its set of 19 windmills. With 23 days, eight countries, 20 towns and cities, and at least 10 Unesco World Heritage Sites, there’ll be plenty to see as you traverse the length of central Europe.

From £8,045pp, including flights, 19 guided tours, all meals, transfers and amenities.

Read more: Best hotels in Europe 2024: Where to stay for a city, beach or retreat break

The Independent is the world’s most free-thinking news brand, providing global news, commentary and analysis for the independently-minded. We have grown a huge, global readership of independently minded individuals, who value our trusted voice and commitment to positive change. Our mission, making change happen, has never been as important as it is today.



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