River cruise companies have gone above and beyond in their range of ships and itineraries.
While the Daunbe and Rhine are two of the most popular and beautiful rivers to cruise, there are so many other estuaries not only in Europe, but also Asia, Africa, South America and more to explore. Here are the best rivers in the world to add to your river cruising experience.
It’s one of the best ways to see old Europe as the river runs through 10 countries and it is also a great way to be introduced to river cruising. The Danube River is the perfect place to see iconic cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna and much more. If exploring cities with cobblestone streets and majestic castles like Cesky Krumlov (UNESCO world heritage site) is right up your alley, this river cruise is for you. Attending evening concerts or cycling through the European cities are also possible itinerary options. Itineraries along this river can range from five to 23-days, with Uniworld offering itineraries that go beyond to explore the Main-Danube Canal.
The famous Seine River which flows through Paris and into the English Channel needs little introduction. River cruising on the Seine lets you explore the city, country and even the seaside villages of France. Tauck river cruises offer 10-day itineraries that bring you to the historic Normandy beaches, Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny, Honfleur where the impressionist painting style first began as well as a medieval castle, Chateau Gaillard. It is a return cruise that departs from Paris. This way, you won’t be missing out on any of the iconic Parisian landmarks and experiences such as visiting the Louvre, Eiffel Tower or just people watching while enjoying French pastries and macarons.
Flowing through Portugal is Douro River which roughly translates from Portuguese as ‘river of gold’. The waters get its name from its liquid gold gleam at sunset and you’ll get to witness it as you glide through Douro Valley which is yet another UNESCO world heritage site. This itinerary is perfect for wine lovers as vineyards adorn both sides of the river in this 2000-year heritage wine growing region that is renowned for its rosé and port. There will be plenty of opportunities to visit the vineyards and indulge in wine tasting. You will also be able to enjoy the historical architecture and local life in cities like Salamanca which dates all the way back to the Iron age. Scenic river cruises offer an 11-day return itinerary departing from Porto or a 14-day option that begins in Lisbon, the capital city of Portugal.
The Volga River flows through Central Russia which allows you to see ancient towns with features from the 10th-century like Uglich and Yaroslavl. You will also get to cross Lake Beloye, formerly known as the ‘czar’s fishing grounds’ and explore Kizhi Island’s Church of the Transfiguration (UNESCO world heritage site), an architectural marvel that looks like it came straight from a Russian fairy tale. River cruise lines like APT also often include iconic cities: St Petersburg and Moscow, in their itineraries where you’ll be able to tour lavish imperial palaces, take in art and history at Hermitage Museum, the second-largest art museum in the world or even catch a Russian ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre.
The Amazon River is the largest river in the world and river cruising here is a great option to discover the Amazon jungle. Cruising takes you to rainforests with protected wildlife area that is only accessible by boat such as the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve. Scenic river cruises offer three-day cruises where you will get to explore remote Amazon River tributaries, spot monkeys and birds whilst walking along a jungle trail, visit local villages and even meet with native Amazonians. Their itineraries are usually coupled with exploring Peru, Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro so it can range from a two to three-week escape.
The longest river in the world goes to the famous river of Egypt, the Nile. Its impressive length flows through nine countries in north-eastern Africa and river cruising is especially popular in the Egyptian waters. Uniworld offers a 12-day return itinerary that departs from Cairo and features an eight-day voyage along the river. While onboard, you’ll be stopping by the Temple of Karnak, the world’s largest ancient religious complex, as well as the Temple of Luxor. Along the way are also many other temples dedicated to mythological figures and the country’s first female ruler. You will also get to visit the Valley of the Kings, the ancient burial grounds of Egyptian royalty and even enjoy a ride on a traditional Nile River sailboat.
Seeing Africa’s big five, is a bucket list for many and you can cruise the Chobe River in Botwswana aboard APT’s Zambezi Queen. The luxury ship is designed for seeing wildlife with its panoramic balconies and public spaces. You’ll encounter elephants, giraffes, leopards, lions, gazelles, zebras and buffalos on excursions by boat or open-air vehicle. Conclude your journey with two nights at legendary Victoria Falls, one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. Also part of this spectacular holiday is visits to local African villages as well as winery tours.
The Mekong begins in China and flows through six Asian countries including Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. River cruising on the Mekong is a perfect introduction to the Southeast Asian region which boasts cultural and ecological diversity. The itineraries sailing the lower Mekong to explore Vietnam and Cambodia are the most common and you’ll get the chance to go on walking tours in rural villages to discover their food and artisanal specialities and see how Cambodian Silk is made. Heritage Line river cruises offer four to five-day short escapes as well as longer journeys that are just over a week long if you are looking for a longer getaway. Meanwhile, Travelmarvel offers a just over two weeks itinerary for people who want to visit Myanmar. For cruisers who are looking to explore the upper Mekong, Pandaw offers 11-day expeditions to experience Laos and 15-day expeditions that brings you all the way to China from Laos.
The river which originates from the Himalayas and flows through North and East of India is central to Indian Civilisation and scared to Hindus. River cruising the Ganges is an option to consider if you would like to explore India while avoiding congested roads as much as possible. The river boasts sights such as mosques, terracotta temples, the Maha Bodhi temple (UNESCO world heritage site) and palaces. Daily excursions will also bring you to the famous Bihar School of Yoga, a centre of silk production and even the world’s largest opium factory. Pandaw river cruises offer seven-day itineraries that focus on the lower Ganges or a 14-day itinerary that brings you all the way into the upper Ganges where you also get to take a drive through the Indian landscape.