To cruise down the rivers of Europe is an enriching experience. You have the joy of floating down some of the world’s most majestic waterways, visiting some of the continent’s most enchanting cities and eating some of the most exquisite cuisine along the way. Travelling down such rivers is a privilege to cherish. Here are some of the best rivers to take a cruise, plus a few tips on what to should eat or drink during your travels.
Claiming the proud title of Europe’s second longest river, the Danube flows for 2,580 kilometers and passes through 10 different countries: Austria, Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia, Romania and the Ukraine. Going one of these cruises will give you your money’s worth, therefore, allowing you to call in at several of these countries. You’ll stop in cities like Budapest, with its famous outdoor thermal pools – when it’s snowing, you’ll see the random sight of locals playing chess on floating boards; and Vienna, with its cultural riches such as the Kunsthalle Wien, the Leopold Museum and the Museum of Modern Art (MuMoK). A glass of Wiener Gemischter Salz – a crisp and refreshing white wine in Vienna – would be good to sip during your trip.
A cruise along the Douro gives you that glorious blend of a glistening river, lush greenery and gleaming sunshine as your cruise liner takes you into Port country. Porto, Portugal’s second largest city spoils you with medieval streets, a taste of the good stuff, street art and architecture. Even when you step off your cruiser liner and venture well into the city, you never feel far away from the calmness of the Douro.
A Douro cruise could also carry you as far as the majestic capital, Lisbon. The famous Gothic tower, the Torre de Belém, is one of the city’s most iconic sights, standing guard over the river harbor. While you’re in the capital, try one of the pastels de nata, an egg crème tart – it would be rude not to!
A cruise down the Seine offers the befitting luxury to match the starting and ending port of call, sophisticated Paris. Steeped in culture, the city invites you to soak it all up like a sponge in the form of illustrious museums like the Louvre and the center devoted to the arts, the Pompidou. Nothing short of a French rosé will be the tonic to accompany you in this highly appealing city.
From there you can head on to Le Havre, the city that built itself remarkably following the devastation of the Second World War and has, by and large, preserved the original vision of the Belgian architect Auguste Perret, who was tasked with the immense responsibility of reconstructing the city. Le Havre’s André Malraux Museum of Modern Arts houses a range of Impressionist paintings, including pieces from Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’.
A river cruise is the opportunity to experience Europe at its most elegant, courtesy of its waterways. You should never pass it up.