A European river cruise is one of the best ways to explore the continent's iconic cities and charming towns. Though Europe is vast, river cruises visit multiple destinations in one trip and often port right in the center of the continent's coolest cities.
Whether biking through Germany's wine regions or exploring historic castles, there's a European river cruise that matches your interests. The most popular cruises sail the Rhine, which runs from Amsterdam to Switzerland; the Danube, which spans Austria, Hungary and parts of Eastern Europe; the Douro in Portugal; and the Seine in France.
River cruises feature less sailing time in favor of shore excursions and exploring destinations along the way (and most lines offer free tours when in port). You'll find European river cruise itineraries from lines including Viking, Uniworld, AmaWaterways, Avalon and Scenic.
Spring and fall are two of the best times to take a river cruise in Europe, with milder temperatures and less crowding. Cruising Europe's rivers during the summer months means warm weather, but crowds are huge. It's also worth checking out late fall cruises, as many destinations host charming Christmas markets.