Top 10 river cruises
So, you’ve decided that a river cruise is right for you and now want to settle on which of the world’s great waterways to explore; we round up the best and look at what you can expect along each of our top 10 river cruise recommendations.
Rhine River cruise
Sail through Holland, Germany, France and into Switzerland over the course of around two weeks. Sights along Europe’s most popular river include rolling fields, broad waterways and castle-topped craggy cliffs, whilst windmills, cathedrals, ancient fortresses and medieval towns also compete for your attention. What’s more, you can make a detour along the Moselle to Luxembourg. Ideal for first-timers, this trip is also good for gourmets and people interested in history and architecture.
Danube River cruise
Drift down the romantic ’Blue’ Danube, all the way from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. Although the river is more often than not a dirty grey colour, it remains one of Europe’s mightiest waterways. Passing through ten countries it visits four capital cities, countless medieval towns and then vast tracts of wilderness to end in an estuary teeming with birdlife. All of these attractions, coupled with the opportunity to enjoy classical music concerts, folk dancing and beer tasting, ensure that it’s Europe’s second most popular river cruise, with people traditionally travelling from Budapest to Bucharest.
Rhône River cruise
Cruise from the Swiss Alps or north-east France to a point near Lyon where the Rhône and Saône converge; the Rhône then continues south to eventually spill into the Mediterranean. Set sail from Chalon-sur-Saône and uncover the vineyards and landscapes of Beaune and Burgundy. Lyon, Vienne, Arles and Avignon provide historic distractions, old city centres and ancient buildings or monuments to visit as you work up a thirst. Ideal for fans of France and wine, add on time in either Paris or Nice for a chance to enjoy a thoroughly French affair.
Douro River cruise
Spend a week on the less well known Douro, which bisects Portugal, and drop in at Porto and Pinhão to sample the local speciality, port. Unencumbered by distractions, the route allows you to immerse yourself in the landscape and the regional produce, whilst excursions are usually available to the original Portuguese capital of Guimarães and the Spanish town of Salamanca.
Elbe River cruise
Explore the history and culture at the heart of Europe whilst journeying through Eastern Germany and the Czech Republic, from Potsdam to Prague, making sure to spend time in Berlin and Prague itself as well. Attractions as you venture upstream include Baroque palaces and opulent parks, plenty of renaissance architecture and a range of churches, castles and buildings from a variety of eras.
Russian waterways cruise
Explore the rivers, canals and great lakes that lie between Moscow and St Petersburg over the course of two weeks, travelling from the Baltic to the country’s capital and taking in the dramatic history of this thrilling destination. There’s also the option to spend time in each of Russia’s iconic, atmospheric cities before or after you set sail in order to take in the architectural and art treasures of Moscow and St Petersburg, including the Kremlin, Red Square and St Basil’s Cathedral in the former and the hermitage, Catherine Palace and St Isaac’s Cathedral in the latter.
Yangtze River cruise
Sail through the Three Gorges for a flavour of China. Start in Chongquing and visit Fengdu, the Snow Jade Cave, the Three Gorges Dam, Dongting Lake and Wuhan, with the option to take in additional sites such as the mighty Terracotta army in Xian. Spend time in both Beijing and Shanghai too to tick off Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the buzzing modern metropolis spearheading the country’s march into modernity
Mekong River cruise
See both Cambodia and Vietnam by travelling on the Mekong from Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City, taking time too to explore Phnom Penh. Witness daily life, drop in on floating markets, fish farms and temples along the way, or simply sit back look out for the birdlife that teems along the river banks; it’s also possible to add on a visit to the legendary Khmer temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, where you can watch the sunrise over what is reputed to be the largest religious structure in the world.
Irrawaddy River cruise
If you’ve experienced Asia on a Mekong River cruise or want a more adventurous alternative in the region, take to the Irrawaddy in Myanmar (Burma). Cruise from Mandalay along the timeless Irrawaddy to take in the country’s Buddhist temples and pagodas and traditional way of life. This is an excellent way to tour this emerging destination, with all the hassle of arranging transport, accommodation and local sightseeing in sometimes difficult conditions removed.
Nile River cruise
Perennially popular as a result of the temples and tombs in the region, the Nile carries you from Luxor to Aswan. Visit Abu Simbel, Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and the tomb of Hatshepsut along the way to be transported from contemporary Egypt to the past, whilst expert Egyptologists on board add background and context to what you’re seeing.
Having read our recommendations, if any of these river cruises take your fancy talk to our team of specialists on 0800 6123 354 to see what we can do for you or learn more about river cruising on our site in order to set sail on your perfect river cruise.