Europe river cruises have the advantage of allowing easy travel through multiple countries, without the stress involved in road trips or the difficulties of catching trains.
The best river cruises in Europe take passengers on picturesque voyages through some of the most romantic regions of Europe. European river cruises give passengers the opportunity to explore some great European cities, and to discover many beautiful, interesting and historic places.
Small river cruise ships accommodate around 150 passengers in comfort and provide a relaxing environment for cruising quietly through the countryside, with time for watching wildlife and photographing pretty places on the way. Spring and summer are the best seasons for seeing the European countryside at its best.
Rhine River Cruises
On a small boat cruise along the Rhine River, passengers should watch out for the Lorelei Rock in the upper middle Rhine valley. It is on this rock that an alluring young lady is supposed to have been seen combing her long hair, while singing a beautiful song. By entrancing passing sailors, so they did not look where they were going, she caused many ships to crash against the rocks, presumably to get hold of their precious cargoes.
There are many romantic medieval castles to be seen and visited on a Rhine River cruise, and passengers who stop off at the great city of Cologne, in North Rhine-Westphalia, can go inside one of the finest and most famous Gothic cathedrals in Europe.
There are many great temptations for passengers cruising the Rhine River through the wine regions of southern France, and there is always time to sample some local produce on a Rhine river cruise. The quality of French cuisine is world famous, and Province in the south is renowned for its local food. Lyon in the Rhone Valley claims to have the best chefs and finest gastronomy in all of France. The city does have some excellent cafes, bistros and food stores.
Passengers on a Rhone valley river cruise should enjoy some wonderful countryside between Lyons and Arles, and stop off at the historic city of Avignon, with its famous ruined bridge and vast Palace of the Popes.
The longest river in Europe provides some of the best river cruise experiences for birdwatchers and nature lovers. Passengers on a Danube River cruise get to see a great many bird species and watch wild animals in their natural habitats. The Danube flows through Austria, Hungary, Serbia and Bulgaria, passing though some lush meadow land, deeply forested areas and attractive wetlands.
Rare bird species, which birdwatchers can look out for on a Danube River cruise, include the Pygmy Cormorant, the Black Stork, the White-tailed Eagle, the Dalmatian Pelican and the Red-breasted Goose.
The Main River in Germany is a tributary of the Rhine and is a great river cruise choice for culture lovers. There is plenty of art and architecture to enjoy on a Main River cruise, with the opportunity to visit some Baroque buildings, medieval towns and city museums.
Visitors to the impressive palace of the Prince-Bishops, in the city of Wurzburg, can see the world's largest ceiling painting. This palace and the Court Gardens are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The Old Town at Bamberg on the Main is another World Heritage Site, with more than 2,000 protected buildings of historical and architectural interest.
Passengers on a Main River cruise can also stop off at Frankfurt, a city of culture where most of the museums are located along or close to the river. Frankfurt also has two botanical gardens, historic buildings and some great modern architecture.
European river cruises appeal to people who like to see wildlife, enjoy history and love the natural beauty of the countryside. A small river cruise ship provides easy access to places that would involve long and difficult journeys using other forms of transportation. There is nothing more relaxing than cruising on a small river ship to explore some of the less well known regions of Europe.