Uncover the jewels of Europe

We’ve always known travelling by river offers a special way to experience a country. Coasting through idyllic countryside, past sleepy fishing towns and into vibrant cities, a river cruise affords a special view of each place and grants access to those hard-to-reach gems along the riverbank. So we’ve gathered up a few of our favourite little-known or overlooked spots that are unique to Europe’s three most iconic rivers – the Rhine, the Rhône and the Danube.

The Rhine

Cutting deeply into mountains and winding its way through rolling valleys, forests and terraced vineyards, the River Rhine is known for its alpine scenery, fairytale castles and verdant winelands. 

Rhine river cruises offer an added attraction each December, when Christmas markets spring up in all the riverside towns. Whether you’re doing a turn on the twinkling ice rink of Heidelberg or browsing the stalls in Strasbourg’s town square with a warming glühwein, our Rhine Christmas cruises are sure to put you in the festive spirit.

Cologne – from the water

The best views of Cologne’s landmarks come from the Rhine: the historic town centre, the Gothic cathedral (said to contain the remains of the Three Wise Men), the chocolate museum and the Rheinauhafen district with its modern crane-shaped houses.

The Rhine Gorge

Between Koblenz and Rüdesheim, the Rhine carves its way through slate mountains, winding between hillside castles and steep terraced vineyards. Craggy cliffs and idyllic villages complete the fairytale landscape, best seen from the river.

Heidelberg Castle

Victor Hugo waxed lyrical about it, JMW Turner painted it: Heidelberg Castle is the quintessential German romantic ruin. A sprawling sandstone mirage rising from the foot of the Königstuhl, it offers stunning views from every precipice.

Explore more of the Rhine's treasures

Romantic Rhine - Amsterdam to Basel

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Most popular

from £1,653 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 26 Oct 19
  • 37 dates available

One of Europe’s most legendary rivers awaits you on this exciting journey along the Rhine River, which takes you across Germany—and touches in Holland, France, and Switzerland! This magnificent river cruise begins in the ever popular, modern city of Amsterdam, Holland. The best way to see the treasures of this 700-year-old city is on a canal cruise along the elegant Grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”  You’ll also visit the dynamic city of Cologne, Germany - a 2,000 year-old city known for its Gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral, and the many shops, cafes, and taverns of popular Old Town.  You’ll sail through the spectacular Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River—where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Visit the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, and visit the unique Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum.  Continue your Rhine River cruise to Mainz for a guided walk and visit to the captivating Gutenberg Museum. Join a guided excursion to Heidelberg to visit the ruins of its red-walled castle. In Strasbourg, France, you’ll be amazed by the red-sandstone Gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. Before the end of your European river cruise vacation, stop in Breisach, Germany, the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest—an area of unrivalled natural beauty—best known for Black Forest ham, cherry cake, and the cuckoo clock.

Active & Discovery on the Rhine - Amsterdam to Mainz

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from £1,984 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 11 May 19
  • 6 dates available

Explore the Rhine River from a unique perspective on your Avalon Active & Discovery river cruise. With Avalon Choice, you’ll enjoy a wide variety of included excursions to match your interests and pace. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an art lover, you’ll find the inclusions that speak to you. Your Rhine River cruise begins in Amsterdam for a full day of activities. See the colourful corners of Amsterdam your way from a canal cruise to a leisurely culinary walk in one of Amsterdam’s famous districts, or a guided jogging tour of the city all at an easy pace. You might choose an included painting class, instead, to recreate the masterpieces of Dutch artists. With Avalon Choice inclusions, you choose how to discover fascinating sites on your Rhine River cruise. Visit the Chocolate Museum in Cologne, take a guided tour in Dusseldorf to discover its spectacular subway, and taste regional wines in Eltville. In Koblenz, take a cable car ride up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress for magnificent views of the surrounding area. Onboard, you’ll pass through the magnificent Rhine Gorge and enjoy speciality dishes while cruising. Join us for a Rhine River cruise like no other, with more included selections for every taste, passion and pace. Avalon Choice on Active & Discovery river cruises gives you the Active, Discovery, and Classic inclusions to see each destination your way! 

The Rhine & Moselle - Amsterdam to Basel

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from £2,799 per person

  • 12 days
  • Price based on 25 Oct 19
  • 6 dates available

Your river cruise holiday starts in marvelous Amsterdam where there is much to see! Discover the treasures of this popular, historic city on a canal cruise which takes you through the elegant Grachten lined with stately homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.” Explore the magnificent city of Cologne, Germany, which straddles both sides of the Rhine River. Visit Koblenz, strategically located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle Rivers, before coming to the charming wine village of Bernkastel with its half-timbered houses from the Middle Ages still standing! Here, you’ll go on a guided walk through the delightful marketplace and see the renaissance-era Town Hall and taste some of the famed Moselle wines! Sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge, considered the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River, and see ancient castles standing majestically on cliffs 400 feet above the water. Visit the charming Rhine Valley wine town of Rüdesheim, then visit the ruins of Heidelberg’s castle, towering magnificently over the city. Continue your stunning European river cruise to Strasbourg, France, where a local expert will show you the red-sandstone gothic cathedral with ancient murals and fascinating astronomical clock. Also, stroll through the lovely La Petite France district with its quaint shops, delightful bistros, and peaceful waterfront promenade. At the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain on the French-German border sits Breisach—known to be the gateway to Germany’s famous Black Forest, an area of unrivaled natural beauty. Disembark on this exciting river cruise in Basel, Switzerland.Beauty, new discoveries, and delightful surprises are plentiful on your European river cruise on the Rhine and Moselle Rivers!

Canals, Vineyards & Castles - Amsterdam to Remich

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from £1,721 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 02 May 19
  • 5 dates available

Start this magnificent European river cruise vacation in Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. See the treasures of this 700-year-old city from a unique perspective—on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten. Then, begin your scenic cruise along the Rhine River and come to Cologne, Germany—a 2,000 year-old city known for its gothic architecture. On a guided city walk, see the famous twin-spired cathedral and explore the cobblestone streets of the Old City. You’ll sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge—the most beautiful stretch of the Rhine River where ancient castles stand on cliffs 400 feet above the water. In the charming wine town of Rüdesheim, enjoy a stroll through its famous cobblestone Drosselgasse lined with shops, restaurants, and lively taverns. Along the Moselle River, you’ll stop at the picturesque town of Cochem where the Riesling grape is cultivated. Visit Reichsburg Castle, nestled among vineyards and offering breathtaking views of the town and river valley below. In Bernkastel, enjoy a guided walk and taste some of the region’s best-loved wines. Go on an excursion to historical Luxembourg City, offering unique and dramatic views as it is set on two levels—high above on straddling hills and dropping into two river valleys.

The Rhône

Joining the river along its southernmost stretch, Rhône river cruises offer a unique window into the rich heritage and serenity of Burgundy and Provence. Along the way, they twist and turn through the seductive landscapes that inspired Van Gogh and Cezanne, serve up the chance to sample the region’s fine wines and call at historic towns filled with impressive ancient and medieval architecture.

The Rhône Valley

Gently coursing south from France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, the Rhône passes the well-conserved Roman ruins of Vienne and the ancient vines of the Côtes du Rhône, before the landscape opens out to sun-drenched orchards and lavender fields of Provence. Tranquillity abounds at every turn.

Viviers

The Rhône is dotted with a number of medieval settlements, and the small walled city of Viviers is one of the most beautifully preserved, with its faded red roofs and narrow cobbled lanes. Highlights include an ornate cathedral, an ancient stone bridge and an 18th-century town hall. 

Camargue National Park

This beautiful nature reserve stretches inland from the Mediterranean coastline and incorporates an expansive wetland populated by noisy pink flamingos. This is where its eponymous Camargue horses roam freely, away from the black bulls that are bred here by gardians (cowboys). 

Find serenity on the Rhône

Paris to Normandy

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Most popular

from £1,909 per person

  • 8 days
  • Price based on 05 Nov 19
  • 16 dates available

This fabulous river cruise combines time in France’s unparalleled capital of Paris with beautiful scenery along the Seine River and the picturesque and historical region of Normandy. Embark on your adventure in Paris and sail to Vernon, where you’ll choose between two exciting guided visits—Claude Monet’s stunning gardens at Giverny or the remarkable Bizy Castle, known as “Normandy’s Versailles.” You may choose to go on an excursion to the historic Normandy Landing beaches, including Omaha Beach, the Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. In Rouen, best known as the home of Joan of Arc, you’ll go on a guided walk through the medieval quarter and visit the Gothic Rouen Cathedral—once the tallest building in the world. From Conflans, go on an excursion to the quaint and inspiring town of Auvers-Sur-Oise—associated with several famous artists, including Vincent van Gogh—or visit Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. On this French river cruise, you’ll enjoy wine, cheese, beautiful scenery along the Seine River, and stops in charming and historical parts of France, but your adventure would not be complete without some time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The “City of Light” has Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A guided walk through the historic Île St. Louis with its narrow streets, and Île de la Cité where medieval Paris was founded, will be a delight.

Burgundy and Provence - Côte d'Azur to Paris

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from £2,289 per person

  • 11 days
  • Price based on 01 Apr 19
  • 12 dates available

Take a wondrous journey through beautiful France along the Rhône and Saône Rivers with guided sightseeing in the well-known French treasures and some hidden gems too! Begin with an overnight on the captivating Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. On the Rhône River sits Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh and its 1st-century Roman Amphitheatre. On a guided tour of historical Avignon, see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes—the largest gothic fortress in the world. The twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage are beautifully nestled among vineyards and you’ll go on a guided walk of Tournon, a medieval treasure with plenty of Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle. Lyon, France’s gastronomic capital, sits at the junction of the Rhône and Saône Rivers and is a showcase of medieval and Renaissance architecture. Visit the popular Place des Terreaux and stand in front of the famous fountain you’ve seen on postcards. This river cruise vacation across France would not be complete without a stay in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic and vibrant cities! The City of Lights has Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum with its elegant glass pyramid contrasting its ancient architecture. A city tour will show you all the must-see sights and you’ll have free time to bask in the lavish cafés and enjoy the city at your own pace. Take time to leisurely take in the graceful lifestyle in Burgundy and Provence, enjoy the specialities of the region and the warmth of its residents while sailing through France’s exquisite shores.

Grand France - Paris to Côte d'Azur

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from £4,658 per person

  • 16 days
  • Price based on 29 Oct 19
  • 3 dates available

Enjoy wine, cheese, and stunning scenery on your France river cruise on the Seine and Rhône Rivers. You’ll have a choice of historical excursions in Normandy, including the famed landing beaches, Point du Hoc monument, and the American Cemetery. Visit Joan of Arc’s Rouen, and choose from Claude Monet’s Giverny or Bizy Castle; Vincent Van Gogh’s Auver-sur-Oise or Napoleon and Josephine’s Malmaison. Before you embark on the beautiful Seine River, you’ll spend time in Paris—one of the world’s most romantic cities! The “City of Lights” is home to Notre Dame Cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre Museum, and you can take a guided walk to see the Île St. Louis and ascend the Eiffel Tower. Taste some of Burgundy wines on board your ship, and visit the Chardonnay wine region. Cruise to France’s culinary capital of Lyon, and visit the Place des Terreaux fountain of famous postcards, then visit the Beaujolais region to taste famous wines. Beautifully nestled among vineyards, you’ll find the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, where you’ll go on a guided walk of 16th-century sites in Tournon, followed by a wine and chocolate tasting. Cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes and enjoy a wine tasting on a visit to the Châteauneuf du Pape wine country. Sail on the Rhône River to Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh. In the second portion of your cruise, a Master of Wine will travel with you and share lectures, tastings and food and wine pairing expertise. As a perfect finale to your river cruise holiday, spend time in the captivating French Riviera, also known as the Côte d’Azur. Explore this elegant area and relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Rhine & Rhône Revealed - Amsterdam to Côte d'Azur

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from £3,917 per person

  • 16 days
  • Price based on 29 Oct 19
  • 6 dates available

This fabulous European river cruise along the Rhine, Saône, and Rhône Rivers combines the best of Holland, France, and Germany. Begin in Holland’s vibrant capital of Amsterdam, with a canal cruise through the 700-year-old city. Visit Cologne, Germany, a 2,000-year-old city known for its gothic architecture and famous twin-spired cathedral, and sail through the dramatic Rhine Gorge. Strasbourg, France, located on the French-German border, perfectly blends the cultures of both countries, and Breisach, Germany, is the gateway to the unrivalled natural beauty of the Black Forest. Taste Burgundy wines on board your ship, take an excursion to the Chardonnay wine country and sail to Lyon, the culinary capital of France. Visit the picture-postcard Place des Terreaux fountain, choose to visit the Beaujolais region for a tasting of its famous wines. Also, visit the twin cities of Tournon and Tain l’Hermitage, and take a guided walk of Tournon, with its Roman ruins and a fascinating 16th-century castle, followed by wine and chocolate tasting. Cruise to historical Avignon and see the 14th-century Palace of the Popes. Sample wine in the Châteauneuf du Pape wine region, and cruise on the Rhône River to visit Arles, France—famous for inspiring the paintings of Van Gogh. A Master of Wine will join you for the second part of your European river Cruise for wine lectures, tastings, and food and wine pairing. Enjoy your last night in France on the captivating Côte d’Azur. Relax along the remarkably blue water of the Mediterranean Sea—a perfect ending to this once-in-a-lifetime European river cruise!

The Danube

Magnificent capital cities, medieval wine-making villages and idyllic landscapes: it’s no wonder that Danube river cruises are among our most popular holidays. Rising in Germany’s mountainous Black Forest, this famous river winds through nine more countries – Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Moldavia and the Ukraine – before meeting the Black Sea.

Dürnstein Castle

The ruin of Dürnstein is located on one of most beautiful stretches of the Danube in Austria. It was made famous by its 12th-century prisoner Richard the Lionheart, held here in 1192-1193 after betraying King Leopold V. At least he had a view to enjoy.

Budapest from the water

View of Budapest’s most iconic buildings can all be enjoyed from the comfort of the water. Aside from its crowning glory of the Castle hilltop complex, look out for the neo-Renaissance Hungarian Academy building, Art Nouveau Gresham Palace, Gothic-style Hungarian Parliament building and contemporary Palace of Arts and The Whale shopping centre. 

Iron Gates Gorge

The best way to see this gorge that separates Serbia and Romania is by sailing through it. You’ll pass through rocky fairytale passages, past a 43m-high sculpture of an ancient Romanian king, and get a view of scattered remnants of ancient Turkish settlements throughout the landscape.

Discover the Danube's best-kept secrets

The Legendary Danube

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Most popular

from £2,080 per person

  • 10 days
  • Price based on 11 Aug 19
  • 30 dates available

From Prague to vibrant Budapest, this Danube river cruise holiday takes you to four countries. And the scenic beauty along the way as you cruise past quaint towns can be experienced right from your stateroom or while sipping wine atop the Sky Deck of your ship. Enjoy two nights in Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Stand in front of Old Town’s medieval Astronomical Clock, which amazes as an intricate art piece and visualisation of time unlike anything else in the world. Travel to Nuremberg, Germany, to board your river cruise vessel docked on the Main Danube Canal and visit this thousand-year-old city with a Local Guide. Next, reach Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. Lovers of architecture will enjoy the many listed buildings of historic interest, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 CE. Passau, known for its narrow, winding streets, offers the magnificent Italian Baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In Melk, you will visit Austria’s majestic Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest monasteries, which sits high on a bluff. Take in the breathtaking views before continuing through the picturesque Wachau Valley to the romantic sounds of Vienna, the “City of Music.” Your European river cruise holiday ends in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, with guided sightseeing and free time to explore this vibrant city on your own.

Grand Danube

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from £6,319 per person

  • 17 days
  • Price based on 10 Sep 19
  • 3 dates available

Your charming cruise along the grand blue Danube River begins with two nights in the Czech Republic’s Golden City of Prague. You’ll have time to fully explore and enjoy this exquisite city, and enjoy a guided city walk to see such sights as Hradčany Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, and the world-famous Astronomical Clock.  Enjoy a guided city walk and the opportunity to hike from Oberhaus along the Ilz River with your Avalon Adventure Host® in Passau, the “City of Three Rivers.” Your afternoon sailing will take you through the Danube’s remarkable Schlögen Oxbow curve on your way to Linz. Cruising into Austria, you’ll arrive in Linz, with its beauty and charm, including the Hauptplatz medieval square and white-marble Trinity Column. Your Austrian river cruise then sails to Melk, with its magnificent Benedictine Abbey, then through the wonderful Wachau Valley on your way to Dürnstein. Your next port on your Danube River cruise is spectacular Vienna for guided sightseeing. Sail to Slovakia to visit the quaint streets of Bratislava and St. Martin’s Cathedral, then on to the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Your Danube River cruise ventures on to the Balkans, with a fascinating onboard lecture on the rich history and cultures of its states. Sail to Serbia for a tour of the sights of Belgrade, and continue to Cetate, Romania—with a pass through the incredible Iron Gates Gorge. You’ll arrive in Bucharest for a tour of the capital’s boulevards, Arc de Triomphe, Royal Palace Square, and historic sites from a dramatic history. Your grand adventure on the Danube River will be hard to match, with its visually stunning scenery, historic sites, magnificent architecture, and cultural specialties for mind, body, and spirit.

Active & Discovery on the Danube - Budapest to Linz

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from £1,836 per person

  • 9 days
  • Price based on 28 Oct 19
  • 9 dates available

Whether you’re an art lover, a foodie, a history buff, or an energetic adventurer, your Active & Discovery cruise on the Danube River invites you to experience culture and cuisine in creative ways that are perfect for you. With Avalon Choice, you can select the experiences that are perfect for your interests and pace—from Active to Discovery to Classic. Avalon Choice gives you a choice of included excursions in each port. Start by exploring Budapest your way—stroll its streets for classic sightseeing with a local guide or take a bike ride through town for a different perspective, or learn something new with a leisurely walking tour to discover a few local Hungarian phrases. Attend a Medieval Knights Tournament at a Visegrád castle, see Gustave Klimt’s renowned “Kiss” painting in Vienna. With Avalon Choice, each day is yours to spend your way. Whether you prefer browsing the art collection of the Habsburg Empire, sipping local vintages at an Austrian wine-tasting, or joining a canoe excursion, your Active & Discovery cruise is packed with Avalon Choice inclusions for every pace in every place we go. Sample cheese and beer made by Trappist monks and explore their Abbey gardens; take a hike to Count Dracula’s prison tower; or tour Mauthausen Concentration Camp, one of WWII’s most notorious sites—selecting from an unmatched variety of included excursions to choose from each day. Join us on this Active & Discovery cruise and experience the Blue Danube your way. No matter how you choose to explore new locales—from paddling canoes to picnic views—Avalon Choice includes the excursions and activities to invite you to discover each destination your way. Your Active & Discovery Danube River cruise can be as active or leisurely as you like!