If you want to go on a vacation that is off the beaten track, you may want to consider European river cruise.
There are some amazing rivers across this continent, allowing you to discover Europe in a relaxed, welcoming environment.
Sitting in a sun lounger on the deck watching medieval villages and castles go by is the opportunity of a life time.
What about Ocean Cruises?
If you really want an unforgettable trip, forget about the ocean cruises.
When you book on Viking River Tours, you will be able to get a real bird’s eye view of some of Europe’s most scenic and cultural sites and you never have to rush between the different places.
Ocean cruises are great if you enjoy spending most of your time surrounded by water on all sides.
With a river cruise, you will have direct access to a huge number of towns and cities, as well as breathtaking and ever-changing natural wonders. Forests, towns, vineyards and castles will all be within sight.
If you are adventurous, you will also have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors.
You can go hiking, join guided tours, go shopping, enjoy local food and more.
Why River Cruise Are Perfect
You have a stress-free vacation.
Your travel plans are fully taken care of.
You don’t have to pack and unpack whenever you arrive at a new destination and everything you need is onboard.
The dining options on river cruises are amazing.
In most cases, the menu will follow that of the local region, which means you will have an opportunity to try foods you have been unfamiliar with thus far as well.
River cruises offer great value for money. You will know exactly how much everything costs before you leave.
Most river cruises offer all inclusive packages, which means your travel, meals, entertainment and accommodation is paid for.
Some even include shore excursions in your booking.
All you have to bring is a bit of money for shopping and the occasional tip.
River cruises are romantic and therefore perfect for honeymooners.
There is just a certain charm about gently sailing down a river, enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds you and the various villages that you can stop in.
Sipping champagne on the balcony together at night is an experience you will never forget.
You can even ask that your tour operator makes a few special arrangements for a romantic dinner.
They will do everything they can to make sure your honeymoon is memorable and enjoyable, and that you can build memories to last a lifetime.
Customer satisfaction in river cruises is incredibly high.
In fact, few people who have gone on such a cruise will return and say they would never do it again.
Quite the contrary, with many people choosing nothing but river cruises again and again once they have given it a try.
Broaden Your Horizons Even More
Let’s not be too negative about ocean cruises, though.
There are plenty of cruises across Europe and beyond for you to choose from as well.
Or, you could even take in 2 continents, such as on a Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona ocean cruise.
Cruise holidays have been popular for many years.
They have always had a sense of luxury about them, and many people still see them as incredibly expensive and designed only for the wealthy and famous.
As a result, people miss out on the opportunity to have fantastic voyages around the globe.
However, many company’s offer fantastic cruise opportunities at affordable prices.
This means everybody is finally able to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime, and truly expand their own horizons as well.
One of our favorite trips is the Rio de Janeiro to Barcelona cruise.
With this amazing trip, you will start in the fantastic city of Rio de Janeiro.
From there, you will make your way to Salvador de Bahia and on wards to Maceio.
Your final stop in Brazil is Recife, after which you will start your journey across the Atlantic Ocean.
Your first stop after that crossing will be Porto Grande, where you will have ample opportunity to shed your sea legs for a while.
You will then go on to Lanzarote, before heading to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Sangier.
From there on, you will cross over to Europe, spending some time in Malaga, before finally going on to Barcelona.
The trip also includes as many as 36 free shore excursions.
These have been designed to allow you to really experience the different ports at which you will call. Best places to visit when on a European cruise
Our choice of ship would be the Seven Seas Mariner, which is an internationally acclaimed ship.
It was the first ship of its kind, as all rooms were en-suite and had a balcony.
Ocean and Cruise News awarded it the prestigious “Ship of the Year” Award.
The ship really is a ship of firsts, as it was the first in the world to offer Le Cordon Bleu of Paris in their restaurants, which is a world-famous dining experience.
River cruises in Europe that are perfect for anti-cruise people
Some people don’t like cruises for the simple reason that you spend a lot of time in the middle of the ocean, sometimes for days without ever leaving the ship.
But you don’t have to sign up for a 10-day cruise across the Atlantic to enjoy beautiful scenery, you can instead choose shorter cruises for just a day or two, and a cruise that always gives you a beautiful view and ever-changing scenery. Best places to visit when on a European cruise
Douro Valley – Portugal
The Douro valley in Portugal is a beautiful wine region where you’re surrounded by lush valleys, steep wine plantations and can cruise on traditional rabelo boats.
We only had time for a short evening cruise up the river from Porto, but next time we’re back in the area we will make sure we take a longer trip.
All the locals we met told us that river cruising was the best way to explore the Douro valley, but that the best scenery started further into the valley – a good option was to take the cruise one way and the train the other.
Danube Day Trip
You almost can’t write about European cruise alternatives without mentioning the Rhine and Danube, the arteries of Europe’s waterways.
Danube river cruises are already very popular, so while it’s far from “off the beaten track”, it does give way for lots of competition, good deals and variety of choices.
Sometimes the road more traveled is traveled for a good reason.
One of the most beautiful parts of the Danube river is in the Wachau Valley between the Austrian towns Krems and Melk – there are some great and very convenient day cruises from Vienna to the valley with several stops where you can get off to discover.
The Highlands – Scotland
There are many beautiful rivers, lochs and lakes in Scotland, and you can choose cruises that last for a few days or just an hour.
Last year we took a mini cruise on Loch Linnhe and saw the most amazing scenery, with orange, rust, red and olive green colors – Fall is definitely the right time to take a cruise in the highlands!
The Geirangerfjord – Norway
Taking a cruise along the Geirangerfjord in Norway is high on my bucket list.
The trip seems incredible and the scenery out of this world.
When taking a cruise on the Milford Sounds a few years ago I was stunned by the scenery, but a guy next to me said it was nothing compared to Norway – so my expectations are through the roof.
Fall is a good time as it has started to rain more which means that the waterfalls are even better, and the colors surrounding you are ever more colorful.
European River Cruises – The Best Way to Go
Scenic cruises cruises have become one of today’s most popular choices for vacations, tourism and sightseeing.
Some of the best river cruises offer picturesque sailing aboard luxury ships.
This is truly the way to go when travel is on your mind.
Luxury Danube river cruises have to be experienced to be fully enjoyed.
Imagine this… the surreal feeling of sailing along the beautiful river past many of the most exciting landmarks, beautiful cities and historic towns.
Here are three European River cruises you won’t want to miss:
The Luxury Danube River Cruise
Spend eight days aboard a ship that glides as gracefully as a swan along the Danube River from Nuremberg to Budapest.
If eight days isn’t enough, experience the eleven-day Classic Prague to Nuremberg to Budapest cruising soiree.
These are some of Europe’s oldest and most historic cities filled with tourist delights and impressive architecture of centuries’ old castles and buildings.
Days and nights full of glorious food, fun and activities aboard ship or ashore sound just perfect don’t you agree?
The Temptations of the Magical Moselle and Thine River
Another luxury river cruise to enjoy is the Moselle and Rhine River Cruise.
This twelve-day cruise is a veritable fairy tale full of all of the romance of the Black Forest, picturesque castles and delightful temptations of regional cuisine.
The Moselle and Rhine River Cruise begins upon arrival in Basel, Switzerland.
The next day the fairy tale begins with a visit to the Black Forest followed by the exclusive elegance of Strasbourg,
Mainze and several other of Europe’s loveliest, traditional cities.
No cruise on the Moselle and Rhine is complete without a stop in Amsterdam.
Cruising the Great Rivers of Europe in Classic Elegance
Ship accommodations offer a level of luxury that make guests feel like royalty.
Cabins, state rooms and one-bedroom suites are furnished in upscale design with every amenity provided.
Relax aboard the spacious deck or take a daily swim in the pool.
At night, enjoy the bar and lounge with its enticing views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Enjoy late evening cocktails with a romantic view seen only from a cruise ship.
No other form of travel offers this level of elegance or scenic vistas.
When the travel urge begins, consider booking a river cruise, we promise you won’t regret it!
Have you experienced a river cruise yet in an exciting location?
Best River Cruises In Europe
Best River Cruises In Europe have never been more popular, and it’s easy to understand why – on one of their cruises, you can enjoy some of Europe’s most enchanting scenery from the deck of a luxury ship and visit towns, castles and palaces that feature in some of the continent’s most significant historic tales.
The best thing about a Europe river cruise is that you don’t miss a thing, even some weird foods, with plenty of time to take in the view as the ship travels slowly on wards.
Here are four of Europe’s most enticing rivers for cruising holidays, along which a plethora of historic sites and stunning vistas await.
- Best River Cruises In Europe Rhine
Steeped in myth and legend, a cruise on the Rhine is one of the most magical in Europe.
Winding over 830km from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, the river has always featured prominently in the Europe’s history and story books.
The majority of the river snakes through Germany, and it is here that ships embark on adventures through lands of medieval castles and vineyards.
Explore the city of Cologne with its majestic cathedral, stroll through the narrow streets of historic Koblenz, and boat along the canals of Strasbourg.
- Best River Cruises In Europe Douro
In terms of natural, wild beauty, river cruises don’t get any better than those along the Douro of Portugal.
Rolling hills adorned with sleepy villages, sprawling vineyards and verdant meadows line the route between the Spanish boarder and coastal town of Porto on the Iberian Peninsula.
This tranquil trip is all about laying back and enjoying the scenery, with meadows filled with wild flowers in spring and the vineyards decorated with gold and auburn during autumn.
One of the oldest wine regions in the world, there is plenty of opportunity to sample local tipples on a cruise, with vineyard tours aplenty.
Explore the cobbled, gleaming streets of Spanish Salamanca, enjoy the vistas on the stint through the Douro Valley, and explore the UNESCO world heritage city of Porto.
- The Danube River Cruise
Longest of the European rivers, the Danube winds through ten countries making it the perfect river cruise for those seeking diversity and adventure:
Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine – travel from some of Europe’s beat loved cities to some of its best kept secrets.
With the fertile banks of the river having served as the perfect place to settle for pioneers throughout history, a cruise will take you past a number of captivating cities including Belgrade, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna and the German city of Nuremberg. For folklore, culture and enchanting forests, this river cruise is the perfect choice.
- The Rhone River Cruise
The south of France has been the inspiration for countless artists, its colors and landscape featuring in the work of Monet and Van Gogh among many others.
For those with an artistic, romantic temperament, this is a river cruise to quench the imagination and inspire.
Cruising through Provence and Burgundy, expect breathtaking vistas, a sumptuous pallet of colors and story-book villages.
Buy fresh bread and cheese at the outdoor markets in Tauron, visit the Roman ruins in Lyon, and take a walking tour through Avignon, City of Popes.
Things To Do In Porto
Porto is a beautiful city in northern Portugal, priding itself on its production of the very special Port Wine – it’s also Portgual’s second largest city, full of fun attractions and sights for the visitor.
The trick with finding good deals on flights to Porto is to look for flights leaving early, and often the earlier it leaves the cheaper it is.
There are hotels and parking at Heathrow airport, so you can arrive the night before without the stress of finding a parking spot, and then check into an airport hotel for the night so that you can give yourself a little more sleep than if you were to drive from faraway.
- Things To Do In Porto
If you finally decide to visit this charming place, here is a quick guide to what to see and what to do…
Visit The Port Wine Cellars
Since Porto is world famous for its sweet, flavorsome Port wine, it wouldn’t be more than right to visit one of the many wine cellars to get a deeper insight into the wine, and taste (for free) this heavenly drink.
A tour generally costs between 3-5 Euro, including a tasting.
Many of the tours offer guides in English, French, Spanish and of course Portuguese.
Take A Boat Cruise
Taking a cruise up the river is both inexpensive and a great way to see the beautiful views and landscapes of Porto.
If you go as far up as Pinhao, you’ll see the beautiful vineyards perched on the hills surrounding the river.
This is the wine making area, and if you come in Autumn this otherwise sleepy place is full of activity, as that’s the harvesting time of the year.
Walk The Streets Of Porto
The streets of Porto are very quaint, and although hilly, that’s part of the charm.
Take in the bohemian chill atmosphere and get lost in the maze of streets.
Small boutiques and cafes line the steep streets in colorful tiled buildings, and sitting down at one of the cafes tasting the local sweets and pastries is definitely a highlight of any trip to Porto.
When doing a self-guided tour around Porto, make sure you visit Mercado do Bolhão, a traditional market selling fruits, vegetables, meat and fish – to give you a glimpse into the local’s daily lives.
Porto is all about the atmosphere, it might not have many attractions in terms of churches, museums and such things – but it’s a city which is simply a lot of fun to just walk around in.
Best Way to See Nordic Countries
The stunning Nordic countries have to be seen to be believed. From the imposing glaciers of Iceland to the picturesque fjords of Norway, the charming, dreamscape palaces of Sweden and Denmark to the isolated indigenous communities of Lapland and Greenland, the Nordic countries will enchant you at every turn.
To travel through this unique region is to experience breathtaking scenery and landscapes beautiful enough to make your spirit soar.
This is a land of contradictions: steeped in history yet utterly modern, as strongly associated with the Vikings from yesteryear as its cosmopolitan cities; as famous for its never-ending summer days as its black star-spangled nights, when northern lights dance across the sky.
It is a truly magnificent to behold, so here are some of the very best ways to see it.Nordic Countries
Take a Cruise around Norway
Step aboard one of Hurtigruten’s Norwegian cruise ships and sail into a dazzling sunset.
Watch the stunning landscape pass from the comfort of the deck whilst the crew introduces you to some unforgettable people.
Cruises are available year round, so you can choose whether to experience Norway as it bathes in endless sunlight, or as the Northern Lights glitter above you.
Winter, summer, spring or autumn, the country is enchanting, and a sea-faring voyage is guaranteed to show you it at its very best.
Ride a Fjord Horse in Fjord, Norway
Travel to Tjøstheim Ridesenter in Ryfylke and go horseback riding in the fjords and mountains of Norway.
Ride up steep mountainsides shrouded in mist to look out over the stunning vistas below.
On the way, experience the fairytalesque beauty of the fjords and the woodland bordering the summit.
When you reach the top, take a deep breath of mountain air and enjoy seeing the world stretched out below, with a clear view all the way to Stavanger.
Go Dog Sledding in Greenland
Let Greenland’s powerful huskies take you for a ride across the country’s frozen landscape.
Wrapped up snugly in the warmest sealskin, comfortably seated among a pile of reindeer furs, watch the frozen wastes fly by as the sun blazes down on you, the only sound the heaving breaths of the dogs and the quiet crunch of the snow compacting beneath the sled.
Dog sledding is a thrilling treat for anyone with a touch of wanderlust or a hunger for adventure.
Escape the world for a little while; it will just be you, the snow-covered wilderness and a pack of beautiful hounds to lead you in a thrilling dash across the snow.
Take a Reindeer Ride in Lapland
The reindeer is an icon of Finnish Lapland.
They are so populous in the region that the number of deer equals the number of citizens in the province.
So when in Rome… jump on a sleigh and ride them like Santa!
This ancient Sámi method of travelling is the best way to get close to the festive icons.
A sleigh ride is the very essence of that magical holiday experience that travel agents promise to deliver: steeped in ancient tradition, sit back and glide through a snowy forest in a wooden sleigh, all of your festive childhood fantasies coming to life around you.
Cycle in Denmark
It is claimed that Denmark is the world’s best country for cycling, and Zealand, its largest island, is a biker’s paradise.
With a quaint landscape combining little villages full of thatch-roofed cottages and castles straight from the pages of a fairy tale, it provides scenery which simply begs to be seen.
The beach is a vast expanse of pale sand, dunes rising up behind it, dotted with brightly colored beach huts.
The roads are well-signed and largely flat, the streets enticingly lined with little chocolate shops.
Stop at the roadside to drink in the sweeping views out to sea, before coasting back to a cozy hotel at day’s end, where you can tuck into the excellent regional cuisine.
Hiking in Sweden
Sweden is a perfect destination for a walking holiday, with excellent hiking across the length and the breadth of this vast country.
Offering rich cultural heritage areas in the South, transforming into wild mountainous expanses in the North, Sweden is a land of open skies, far-reaching horizons and untamed wildernesses.
Companies such as Nature Travel offer an extensive variety of guided and self-guided tours to suit any intrepid adventurer.
Packages range from scenic walks through the forests of Dalsland to hut-to-hut tours on the King’s Trail in Lapland and journeys through the mighty wilderness of Sarek.
Wherever you want to go and whatever you want to do, from city sightseeing to exploring the wilds of the Nordic countries, there is a holiday package to suit everyone, whether that’s a leisurely cruise around Norway or dog sledding in Greenland.
A tour custom-tailored to you is guaranteed to give you a truly unforgettable travelling experience.
Or just go skiing in the Swiss Alps
Things To Do In Trondheim
Trondheim is a city beautifully located by the Norwegian fiords, and is one of the oldest cities in the country.
From once having been the capital city, and a significant trading center for northern Europe, there is plenty of history to explore on a visit to the city.
Here are three sights not to miss…
Tronheim’s most significant landmark is the Nidarosdomen (cathedral) and is a great place to visit.
This cathedral dates from 1070 and has rows of statutes of bishops and saints along its façade. Get up close and personal to these figures and there are many small features to be spotted.
Look particularly for the small sad or happy faces where the arches end.
Indeed, a day of face spotting on this Europe travel trip will be a long lasting memory for sure.
Norway is best known, among Europe travel circles, as the home of the Vikings. It would go amiss then to side step the Rustkammeret.
They have displays of war weapons etc starting from the Viking era right up to World War 11 and beyond.
Since the entrance is free, take the opportunity to make some great holiday videos and photographs of the uniforms, Nazi propaganda and even more weapons here.
History buffs will be very interested in this exhibition.
Ringve Manor House
Music lovers are catered for here too with the Ringve Manor House.
The story goes that a Russian woman fell in love with a rich Norwegian merchant and ended up marrying him.
After this, she started to put together a collection of musical instruments from all over the world.
In a converted barn, the instruments are all on display and tourists can take photos as long as they don’t use flash facilities.
In the house, wander around rooms that have been decorated in the time of the composer it represents.
For example, there is one room dedicated to Beethoven, one to Chopin and so on.
No photos allowed in this part of the museum, unfortunately, but the guides play on the instruments to give the visitors an idea of what they sound like.