The Best River Cruises in Europe

The Best River Cruises in Europe for Your Next Vacation

If you’re looking for the best river cruises in Europe, you have some choices to make. Does sailing down the Seine River with a bottle of champagne float your boat? Or maybe you’re most interested in the Danube River, where you can sail past thousands of years of history and historical port cities. So what are the best river cruises in Europe? We’ve made it easy to choose your perfect river cruise through Europe based in your specific vacation needs.

Romance – Paris

best river cruises in europe

The Seine is one of the best river cruises in Europe for its perfect location through the heart of France. Sip on rich wines straight from the source as you float past small villages on the river. Paris offers river cruisers the chance to explore a city thousands of years old; You can even see some of those previous residents in the catacombs. Go in the spring for a chance to see the famously beautiful and fragrant cherry blossoms or in winter for a romantic wonderland full of flurries. River cruises through Paris also stop in picturesque cities like Rouen, Honfleur, and Les Andelys.

Party – Amsterdam

best river cruises in europe

Because of its numerous waterways and paths, Amsterdam hosts some of the best river cruises in Europe. Sail down the Amstel through the Netherlands or on the famous Danube. While you’re in Amsterdam on a river cruise, enjoy nonstop partying and nightlife from punk reggae clubs open until the wee hours of the morning to bars with liquors from around the world. The walk through town will be enjoyable too; Stroll across centuries-old bridges by foot or rent a bike to get into the spirit of the city. Make sure you’re visiting the right coffee shop around town on the way back to your river cruise.

Relaxation – Basel

best river cruises in europe

Situated on the Rhine River, Basel is at the top of our list for the best river cruises in Europe because of its stunning nature and healing qualities. Surrounded by mountains like the Wasserfallen and Mt. Pilatus, you’ll have a stunning backdrop for a variety of spa services during your river cruise. Soak in one of the thermal hot springs the Swiss love so much or take it to the next level in an infrared sauna.

Family – Prague

best river cruises in europe

One of the best river cruises in Europe is when you can take everyone along and still have a fun time. If you’re taking a river cruise down the Danube, you’ll probably make a stop in Prague, an old city with charm and activities the whole family can enjoy together. Take the kiddos for a walk around town and try the delectable chimney cake with a fresh dusting of cinnamon.

Czech Repubrick is an exhibit of national landmarks all made from Legos that the kids will love. The tallest Lego building is almost 8 feet high; the entire structure took over 1800 days to build and even includes a working model of a ferris wheel. River cruises are the perfect way to spend a few hours ashore exploring everything a city offers.

History – Vienna

best river cruises in europe

For history buffs everywhere, the best cruises in Europe will stop in Vienna, where landmarks line every street. The seat of power for the Hapsburg dynasty for centuries, Vienna offers beautiful palaces like Schönbrunn and Hofburg alongside the stunning Opera House, flower gardens, and cobblestone Straßen. You’ll have plenty of time during your river cruise through Europe to explore old cathedrals like St. Stephen’s and try some Viennese favorites including sachertorte (a dense and delicious chocolate cake). An added bonus of Vienna is the delicious food!

Fear not first time river cruisers! You only need to find the cruise line and destinations you want to see (still a daunting task), and everything else will be taken care of. River cruises in Europe offer delicious food, tasty beverages, and outstanding shore excursions. If it's your first time in a city or country, you can get help onboard to assist you in planning or join a shore excursion to take any guesswork out. 

You'll find excursions ranging from guided walking tours to hiking and everything in between. Adventure or relaxation is yours for the taking. With river cruising, it's easy to plan as much or as little as you want and still have a great vacation around the world.

By: Devyn Woolsey

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