European river cruises are a great way to experience the grandeur of the continent. Sail through the waterways past spectacular landscapes, serene rural settings, medieval castles and modern cities. River cruises offer an unrushed way to tour Europe from the relaxed comfort of a luxurious river boat. Several operators offer cruises on different rivers and routes; itineraries vary depending on the duration of the trip and the countries visited. Here are some river cruise ideas and cruise tips.
1. 8-Day Cruise through Holland and Belgium
This cruise starts from Amsterdam, which is known for its Van Gogh museum, Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and its exciting night life. Cruise through the scenic shallow water lake of Ijsselmeer (Lake Yssel) to Volendam, where Picasso and Renoir are said to have resided. The town is also famous for its unique music called Palingsound. The town of Edam, famous for its cheese is a short distance away. Arnhem is the next port of call; here, you can visit the Arnhem museum with its many artifacts and exhibits from World War II. As you sail to Antwerp in Belgium, catch the spectacular night view of the city of Nijmegen.
At Antwerp, you can take a guided tour of the city. Visit the Church of our Lady and the beautiful Grote Market or take a bus ride to the capital city of Brussels. The medieval city of Ghent is next on the itinerary; here you can visit the well preserved “Castle of the Counts,” or take a bus ride to the world heritage site of Brugge. The quaint city of Willemstad is your next stop; explore the city on foot before setting sail for Dordrecht. On the way, you can see the famous windmills of Kinderdijk, the largest in the Netherlands. Stunning scenery greet you as you sail the Amsterdam-Rhine canal to Ultrecht; here, visit the tulip fields at the world famous Keukenhof gardens before returning to Amsterdam. This escorted tour is conducted by Collette Tours and costs $1,999.
2. 8-Day Cruise on the Danube
Conducted by Collette Tours, this trip originates from Nuremberg and ends at Budapest. Cruise through the main Danube canal to Regensburg on the confluence of the Danube and the Regen. Walk through the city and see the perfectly preserved Old Chapel dating back to medieval times. At Passau, you have a choice of excursions. You can take a tour of the town and cruise through the European Alps. You can either visit Salzburg the birth place of Mozart or explore the beautiful Czech town of Cesky Krumlov.
The magnificent Benidictine Abbey at Melk is your next stop, where you can listen to an organ recital by the monks. A walking tour of the vineyards awaits you at Durnstein in the famous wine valley of Wachau. Enjoy some enchanting countryside as you sail to the city of Vienna. Here, a city tour includes the Ringstrasse, Hofburg and Schonbrunn Palaces. Visit the State Opera house and any of the numerous museums. You can also catch up on shopping at the Kartnerstrausse and spend the evening at a musical concert. At Budapest, take a guided tour of the city or relax in a Thermal bath and Spa. The tour has a starting price of $1,499.
Enjoy your European river cruise. Keep these cruise tips in mind, and come away with some great memories.