Cruisers on Europe’s rivers are often inundated with plenty of cathedrals, castles and historic sites. But that’s not all.
We find ten things on a European river cruise where you can give yourself a break from usual scenery.
Speyer Technic Museum – Speyer, Germany
Pop into this museum in Speyer, along the Rhine River. It has exhibits of all sort of vehicles and feats of engineering like aircraft, vintage cars and motorcycles, historic fire engines, steam locomotives. The centrepiece is a Lufthansa Boeing 747 aircraft hoisted up on a pedestal. The museum also offer an exclusive experience where you can access the cargo hold of the jumbo jet and climb the left wing at a height of 20 metres.
Faber Castell pencil factory and museum – Nuremberg, Germany
Stationery and art fanatics will enjoy a visit to the museum of one of the world’s largest and oldest manufacturers of pens, coloured pencils art supplies and more. Visit the museum to learn how the earliest pencils were made and the history of the company’s innovations since they start in 1761. On weekdays, you can also get a behind the scenes look of pencil production at the on site production plant.
Gutenberg Museum – Mainz, Germany
This one is right opposite the cathedral in the heart of the old part of Mainz. Learn about the history of printing since the first Gutenberg printing press was invented. There are original Gutenberg bibles on display along with other historic documents. You can even watch a printing press demo at this museum.
Van Gogh Museum – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Most Amsterdam visitors would have heard of the Rijksmuseum. But two streets away is the Van Gogh Museum which is dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. This includes renowned pieces like Almond Blossom, Sunflowers, The Bedroom and his self portraits. The museum shop also offers a great range of merchandise featuring his artworks.
Keukenhof Gardens – Lisse, Netherlands
This garden only opens for just eight weeks from mid-March to May each. It is definitely a treat for visitors in Spring. More than seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths as well as other bulbs are planted each year. When it is open, the Keukenhof receives 26,000 visitors per day. In Spring, there are express bus and train services that will take you to Keukenhof from Amsterdam in 30 minutes.
Gerbeaud Café – Budapest, Hungary
Take part in the coffee house culture of Budapest in and visit 150-year-old Gerbeaud Café in Vörösmarty Square in downtown Budapest. Gerbeaud Café was frequented by celebrities of the 19th Century, including the Habsburg royal family. The cakes they offer are not to be missed. The cream cake is one of the local specialties.
Valrhona factory and museum – Tain L’Hermitage, France
The famous premium chocolate manufacturer opened City of Chocolate in 2013. Be greeted by a chocolate waterfall the size of a wall right after the entrance and go on to sample the fifteen tastings on offer as you tour the place and you learn all about chocolate and its production process.
Baux Valley Olive plantation – Les Baux-de-Provence, France
The town is a 30-minute drive from Arles and is home to one of France’s best olive plantations. The olive oil from this region carries the AOC quality label. Hike on the path of Tremaie for sprawling views of olive groves or head down to the plantation for a taste of the prized oil. Perhaps, take some home with you.
Rock Sculpture of Decebalus – Romania
Find this impressive Rock Sculpture as your ship sails into the Iron Gates Gorge of the lower Danube between Serbia and Romania. The 40 metre high carving is the face of Decebalus, the last king of the Decian Empire. The carving started in 1994 and it took 10 years to complete.
Street art – Bucharest, Romania
Bucharest the capital city of Romania has a growing number of street art adorning their walls and buildings. There are maps available online that mark out where exactly you can find them. However, some of them are on private property like the Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism, Bucharest National University of the Arts, restaurants, houses and more. Many of them are large enough to be able to spot them from a distance, but for a closer look you might have to approach the security for permission.
Have you visited any of these? Now share with us your favourites.