There’s something to be said about river cruises – don’t get us wrong, we love the look of a monumental liner cutting through the seas, but river cruises bring that same luxurious atmosphere on a smaller scale. River cruises will still take you to top European cities like Berlin and Amsterdam, and have you coasting past gorgeous scenery just along the river’s edge, pausing in ports and experiencing the local culture first-hand.
And it looks as if the secret’s out – more and more people are setting sail on river cruises, with cruise lines expanding their offerings to include even more European hotspots. To get your brain in the cruising mood, here are some top European destinations to explore by river cruise in 2016.
Renowned for its rows of narrow houses and elaborate waterway system, Amsterdam is a modern city whose streets retain their old-world charm. The city is widely known for its incredible array of art and history museums, with bucket-list-worthy spots like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House, plus works of art by Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer. Come sunset, Amsterdam is anything but dull, with outdoor terraces packed on warm summer nights, and illuminated windows springing to life in the city’s famous red light district.
The fabled ‘floating city’ is iconic for a reason, comprised of 117 small islands that are linked by canals and bridges. Much of Venice’s gorgeous old town is only accessible by canal or on foot, so you’ll have to get creative when exploring this beautiful city. Days here are spent dining along the water over a cappuccino, or ducking through hidden alleyways laden with centuries-old architecture.
Burgundy may not have as many monuments as Paris, but it won’t be outdone in the ways of wine – it’s the vino capital of the world, which means that while staying here, you had better be prepared to sip a glass of the local speciality. There’s a fortress, churches, museums and cathedrals to explore too – so there’s plenty to discover. Many online cruise retailers offer voyages through the Rhone all year round, so there’s no excuse to miss out our neighbour’s best bits.
Moscow is a city built with kingly proportions – it’s not only the largest city in Russia, but the largest in all of Europe. Winding down Moscow’s streets, you’ll find yourself in the footsteps of tsars and feeling pretty royal yourself, gazing up at buildings like St Basil’s Cathedral, with its ice-cream-topped spires, gold-capped cathedrals and the bright red Kremlin. Even the city’s subway systems are works of art, as each features a unique design.
This capital city is the crowning jewel in Germany’s cultural scene, with more than 150 museums and art galleries within its borders. Highlights when visiting include the Red City Hall, Berlin Cathedral and the staggering columns of the Brandenburg Gate, plus any number of the sprawling outdoor markets dotting the city. Cuisine here is international with a distinctly German twist, and as for the beer, that goes without saying. You can’t leave without having a pint of an authentic German brew.
This post was written by AmyJ Rutherford from cruise experts CruiseDeals.co.uk. AmyJ has covered the cruise sector extensively, and particularly has an interest in family and all inclusive travel.