Top Destinations on a European River Cruise

Looking for a river cruise but not sure which itinerary to choose? We know it is confusing! You may be thinking "I know I want to take a European River Cruise but I don’t know which itinerary is the best." There are so many different and marvellous places to visit on a European river cruise but here is what we believe to be some of the best destinations on Europe’s waterways!

Keukenhof Gardens – Amsterdam

Most people visit Amsterdam to tour the legendary canals, visit the many museums and of course to see Anne Frank’s house. But do you know about the Keukenhof Gardens? Here you can wander through endless acres of Dutch tulips bursting with colour. Planted annually the colourful tulips feature both traditional and innovative designs flowing across 79 acres of fields. The Keukenhof Gardens is in fact, the largest flower garden and one of the most beautiful in the world. Unsurprisingly, in spring the gardens become one of Holland’s most popular attractions for tourists. These spectacular gardens are located in the town of Lisse, roughly an hour away from Central Amsterdam & easy to get to.

Keukenhof Gardens

When is the best time to visit the Keukenhof Gardens?
The gardens open to the public at the end of March until mid-May. The bulbs usually have flowered by the end of April.

River Cruises that include the Keukenhof Gardens
? Avalon Waterways – Tulip Time Cruise – the Keukenhof Gardens are one of their excursions on this particular cruise!

? AmaWaterways – Tulip Time Cruise – the Keukenhof Gardens are also one of the excursions included with this cruise!

The Douro Wine District – Portugal

The Douro region has been producing wine for over 2000 years & this long-lived tradition has created one of the most beautiful and cultural landscapes, the Douro Wine District- a UNESCO World Heritage!

Not far from the town of Pinhao you will find Quinta da Avessada, a century-old winery in the heart of the Douro Wine District – here you will be immersed in the culture and will learn about the production of their famous wines PLUS you will sample their famous port wine – the perfect museum for wine lovers! & even if you don’t drink very much wine – it is worth the visit to see the picturesque Douro Wine District!


When is the best time to visit the Douro Wine District?
Most river cruise operators visit the Douro region between March and September.

River Cruises that include the Douro Wine District
? AmaWaterways - Enticing Douro River Cruise - Excursion includes Quinta Avessada!

? Viking River Cruises - Viking River Cruises sail along the Douro between March and December - many of which include visits to Quinta Avessada.

? Uniworld River Cruises - Uniworld's Queen Isabel sails along the Douro between March and November - many of these cruises include visits to Quinta Avessada.

Be sure to book your Douro River Cruise at least 6 months in advance to avoid disappointment!

Upper Middle Rhine Valley

Otherwise known as the Rhine Gorge, the Upper Middle Rhine Valley is a 65km stretch of the Middle Rhine Valley, flowing between Bingen and Koblenz. Labelled a UNESCO World Heritage since 2002, the Rhine Gorge is known for its picturesque towns, steep vineyards and medieval castles that sit on the river banks! In fact, there are over 30 castles on this stretch of the Rhine alone! The Upper Middle Rhine Valley has been attracting and inspiring artists and tourists since the 19th century & when you relax on top deck with a glass of wine as the cultural landscapes and beautiful castles pass you by you will come to realise what’s so exceptional about the Rhine!

Rhine Valley

When is the best time to take a river cruise on the Rhine?
Not sure – between the end of March and October – not in the winter!

River Cruises that sail the Upper Middle Rhine Valley
? Avalon Waterways - Romantic Rhine - sail along the beautiful Rhine Gorge with Avalon Waterways!

? Emerald Waterways - Jewels of the Rhine River Cruise - highlights include sailing through the Rhine Gorge and past the Lorelei Rock!


Commonly referred to as the ‘City of Music’ & home to Mozart, Beethoven and many more famous artists, if you love music, Vienna is perfect for you - from theatre to film and festivals to concerts there is something exciting for everybody to discover! But not only famous for its music, from Baroque Palaces to legendary coffee houses Vienna has a lot to offer and is full of culture. If you are particularly interested in the history and culture of Vienna, visit the Cathedral of St. Stephen. The cathedral is in the heart of Vienna and topped with a tower standing 137 metres tall. The roof of the cathedral has an estimated 250 000 colourful tiles, arranged in patterns! Alternatively, visit the magnificent Schonbrunn Palace – one of the most beautiful Baroque castles in Europe surrounded by a beautiful park and gardens. Together the Schonbrunn Palace and Gardens were titled a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Vienna Schonnbrun Palace

When is the best time to visit Vienna?
You can visit Vienna all year round – it is beautiful in the summer sun and winter snow! However, may consider the summer months the best time to visit – blue skies, blooming flowers and busy streets!

River Cruises that stop in Vienna
? Scenic Tours River Cruises - Danube Discovery River Cruise - A particular highlight of this river cruise is the overnight in Vienna which includes a Viennese concert and a guided tour of Schonbrunn Palace!

? Avalon Waterways - Blue Danube Discovery - This particular river cruise with Avalon Waterways docks in Vienna for an over night stay and excursions include St Stephen's Cathedral!

? Tauck River Cruises – Amsterdam to Budapest – During a night stay in Vienna with Tauck you will enjoy a private gala evening in the Palais Pallavicini! And during your second day in Vienna there are opportunities to visit Sconbrunn Palace! Call 0800 810 8229 to find out more about Tauck River Cruises!

German Christmas Markets

If you are a fan of the Christmas Markets – a festive river cruise is definitely for you! & where better than the traditional German Christmas Markets? Europe by winter is truly spectacular, the towns and cities transform into somewhat of a Winter Wonderland! Which towns have the best Christmas Markets? Nuremberg is commonly known as the number one Christmas City in Germany, it is world famous for its one of a kind Christkindlesmarkt! Alternatively, Bamberg is considered the perfect location for a Winter Wonderland - situated in the heart of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bamberg turns into a magical city at Christmas and is known world-wide for its famous nativity trail! Looking for something extra special? Wurzburg is known to be the most picturesque and enchanting Christmas markets, situated in a historic market square!

German Christmas Markets

When is the best time to visit Germany for the Christmas Markets?
The Christmas markets start to open from mid-November – Travel anytime between the end of November and Christmas Eve and you are certain to experience the spectacular Christmas Markets!

River Cruises that visit the German Christmas Markets
Choose a themed river cruise and be sure to visit the best German Christmas Markets!

? Avalon Waterways - Christmas in the heart of Germany - Avalon Waterways visit Nuremberg, Bamberg and Wurzburg on their Christmas markets river cruise!

APT Cruising - Magnificent Europe - Amsterdam to Budapest - This Christmas markets river cruise includes Nuremberg, Bamberg and Wurzburg plus many more!

Discover your next river cruise at Alternatively, call one of our river cruise experts on 0800 810 8229!

Would you like some top tips for your first river cruise? Click Here

Which do we believe to be the best river cruise line? Find out what we think here!

Think I’ve missed something or want to know more? Leave a comment, let me know!

Come back soon. Jess Nuttall -