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Do you know the difference between the Rhone and the Rhine? What about the Rhine and the Seine?!

European river cruises are a wonderfully tranquil way to explore some of the most historic towns and cities in Europe. Float down some of the most famous rivers in the world while enjoying the passing sights of both major cities and delightful, small towns and villages. Discover medieval castles, cathedrals and palaces during sightseeing stops, and wander through fantastic cities during daily shore excursions; the fabulous thing about river cruising being no flights or stressful transit involved. Retire to your room after a full day exploring ashore, and wake up in a magnificent new city the next day!

However like all travel, the biggest challenge is deciding where to go. So to help, here are a list of the top river cruise destinations in Europe.

Seine River

Great for romantic couples, culturists and art lovers, Seine river cruises take you straight through the heart of France. With a heavy focus on sightseeing in and around Paris, Seine river cruises generally also include parts of the English Channel with stops in Giverny, Rouen and Normandy.

Seine River. Photo CC by Artur Staszewski.

Seine River. Photo CC by Artur Staszewski.

Douro River

Running through Portugal and on into Spain, a cruise of the Douro River is a great choice for those with a passion for food, history and music.

Feel the warm European sun on your skin as you cruise past terraced hills, quaint villages and acres of ripe vineyards. Take in a traditional flamenco show, visit a local cafe, and indulge in memorable food and wine tastings.

This is the best way to spend a brilliant weekend in Spain and Portugal.

Rhine River

Running through Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland, the Rhine River is one of Europe’s most famous. Experience a variety of cultures and sights as you start in the Swiss Alps and slowly float through Austria, Germany, France and Belgium. 

See the famous Cathedral in Colon, Germany, and sample the finest Riesling wines in Rudesheim. 

View of Cologne Cathedral over the Rhine. Photo CC by Motiqua.

View of Cologne Cathedral over the Rhine. Photo CC by Motiqua.

Danube River

For first time cruise lovers, the Danube is a fantastic option for a river cruise. Flowing through multiple countries including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Croatia and many more, the Danube offers travelers easy access to Eastern Europe. 

Highlights of a Danube river cruise include main ports in Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. Float through the Austrian Lake District, explore palaces and cathedrals of Vienna, organize some amazing things to do in Budapest, wander through medieval towns and discover Baroque monasteries. 

The Danube is a fairly epic European river cruise, the river itself stretching for 1,777 miles across Europe from Black Forest to the Black Sea. 

View over Budapest from the Danube. Photo CC by Nicolas Vollmer.

View over Budapest from the Danube. Photo CC by Nicolas Vollmer.

Main River


Ever wanted to experience Germany? Choose a Main river cruise. Wine and beer connoisseurs along with WWII history buffs will be in heaven with this highlights of Germany river cruise.

The Main connects with the Rhine and the Danube, and travelers can continue through to Austria for an even longer vacation.

Rhone River

For wine lovers, honeymooners and history buffs, this 813km river begins in Switzerland and ends in France.  Spend your days exploring Roman ruins in Alrles and discovering the gothic buildings of Avingnon. Wander through ancient city and UNESCO World Heritage listed Lyon, and visit some of France’s premiere vineyards in Burgundy.

A river cruise of the Rhone is an ultimate tour of France and surrounds, with passengers enjoying unrivalled views of the picturesque French countryside, before reaching the Mediterranean Sea.

 About Megan Claire

Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging around the world for the last 7 years to inspire others to embark on their own worldwide adventure!  Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Follow their journey on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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