Guide and Reviews on Best River Cruises and Anything That Relates to Them
Best River Cruises

Elegant Elbe – Your Journey with Viking Cruises

From exciting Berlin to beautiful Prague, with a hotel stay in each of these cities. Opulent palaces and landscaped gardens, medieval towns and contemporary cities, baroque architecture and stunning scenery – for sheer splendor and variety, the River Elbe is in a class of its own.

DAY 1 BERLIN

Viking Fontane cruiser on Elbe

From Berlin airport Viking takes you to your hotel where you can settle in and enjoy free time in Germany’s historic capital. Explore the city’s famous landmarks, including the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie and Brandenburg Gate. If you wish, join a ‘Welcome Walk’ in the evening to get acquainted with the city.

DAY 2 POTSDAM AND MAGDEBURG

After breakfast, we take you to Potsdam. Enjoy a tour of the rococo Sanssouci Palace or the 200-room baroque New Palace, both built by Prussian King Frederick the Great in the 18th century. After lunch, transfer to your ship at Magdeburg.

Included excursion: guided tour of rococo Sanssouci Palace or baroque New Palace.
Included meals: breakfast, dinner.

DAY 3 DESSAU

Enjoy an excursion to the beautiful parks and gardens of Wörlitz Park, Germany’s fi rst landscaped garden and UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a guided tour inside Wörlitz Castle, styled on an English country house. Cruise the beautiful Elbe to Wittenberg and enjoy a dinner of traditional German cuisine.

Included excursion: tour of Wörlitz Park and Gardens.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 4 WITTENBERG AND TORGAU

In Wittenberg, birthplace of the Reformation, follow in Martin Luther’s footsteps, with a tour inside Luther’s house and the church where he preached. See Castle Church where he posted his 95 Theses on the door.

Enjoy free time to explore the town, before an afternoon’s scenic sailing. In the evening, take a walk through Torgau, with its Renaissance houses, Hartenfels Castle, Market Square and the riverside monument marking the historic 1945 meeting between US and Soviet troops.

Included excursions: guided walk in Wittenberg featuring Martin Luther’s house and Castle Church and escorted walk of Torgau.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 5 MEISSEN

With remarkable views of the river, the town of Meissen is as enchanting as it was hundreds of years ago. On a visit to the Meissen porcelain factory, see how the porcelain is made and trademarked with the famous
crossed swords. Your tour takes you past Albrechtsburg, the 15th-century Meissen castle.

Included excursions: porcelain factory tour and demonstration, guided city walk.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 6 DRESDEN

In Dresden, drive through the 19th-century residential area to the Dresden Castle complex, where you can see the vast collection of the Saxon monarchs’ crown jewels in the Green Vault.

Continue on foot to see the baroque Zwinger Palace, Semper Opera House and the stunning Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady). Enjoy some free time in this beautiful city that has been almost completely rebuilt since the war.

Included excursions: city tour featuring Dresden Castle and Green Vault; guided walk to Zwinger Palace and Semper Opera House.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 7 SAXON SWITZERLAND

Cruise a spectacular stretch of the Elbe, through the soaring rock formations of Saxon Switzerland. From the picture-book beauty of Bad Schandau, travel to the 636-foot high Bastei (Bastion) tower, with sweeping, panoramic views of the Elbe.

Included excursion: Bastei Tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 8 LITOMER ICE

After sailing through the beautiful area of Porta Bohemia, arrive in the pretty Czech Republic town of Litomeˇrˇice. On your walking tour, see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Market Square and other buildings from the baroque, Renaissance and Gothic periods. Enjoy a tasting of several Bohemian beers. The evening brings the Captain’s Farewell Dinner.

Included excursions: guided tour through city centre and sampling of regional Bohemian beers.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 9 MELNIK AND PRAGUE

After breakfast, leave your ship and enjoy a drive to Prague. Join a panoramic tour of this beautiful city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, including a visit to Hradcany Castle with its palaces, St. Vitus Cathedral,
and museums.

Visit the Old Town with the famous 15th-century Astronomical Clock. After your tour, check in to your hotel and enjoy free time.

Included excursion: panoramic city tour.
Included meal: breakfast.

DAY 10 PRAGUE

After breakfast, Viking takes you to Prague airport for your return flight.

Included meal: breakfast.

Viking River Cruises Itinerary: Elegant Elbe

Danube Waltz – Viking River Cruise Overview

This extraordinary 8 day river cruise shows you the highlights of Passau, Salzburg, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, and still allows plenty of time for you to relax, as you glide alongside the most spectacular scenery.

The Danube Waltz is a truly memorable holiday that will tug at your heart strings long after you return home.

DAY 1 PASSAU

From Munich airport Viking takes you to your ship where you can settle in and enjoy free time and become acquainted with this elegant city.

Included meal: dinner.

DAY 2 PASSAU

Viking Legend - Danube river cruise

Built on three rivers – the Inn, Ilz and Danube – Passau is home to many impressive buildings. Enjoy a walking tour of the city, taking in the 18th-century New Bishop’s Residenz and the town’s beautiful old streets and traditional patrician houses. See the Oberhaus Fortress and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephan’s Cathedral, with Europe’s largest pipe organ. The afternoon is free for you to further explore the city.

Included excursion: walking tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 3 LINZ AND SALZBURG

From your ship docked in Linz, drive through scenic countryside for a full-day excursion to the legendary town of Salzburg, location for the film The Sound of Music. Take a walking tour of the charming Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, featuring the birthplace of Mozart, and the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Enjoy free time to stroll through Salzburg’s cobbled streets and colorful shops, and lunch in one of the inviting cafes.

Included excursion: Salzburg walking tour.
Included meals: breakfast, dinner.

DAY 4 MELK AND DURNSTEIN

Enjoy a tour of 900-year-old Melk Abbey, perched high on the cliffs, with its magnificent frescoes and library with priceless medieval manuscripts. After lunch on board, sail through Austria’s stunning Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site rich in culture, history and natural beauty.

Viking stops at the picturesque valley town of Durnstein where you have free time to explore. Or join an optional wine-tasting tour to sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region.

Included excursion: Melk Abbey tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 5 VIENNA

In one of Europe’s most elegant and romantic cities, enjoy a panoramic tour along the Ringstrasse, lined with imposing palaces and grand residences. See magnificent Hofburg Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its shining spire and the beautiful State Opera House. Relax at one of the city’s famous cafes, with a delicious pastry or Sachertorte.

Enjoy free time to further explore Vienna or take an optional tour to the wonderful baroque Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with lovely formal gardens. In the evening, you can see an optional concert of Mozart and Strauss performed by a Viennese orchestra in one of Vienna’s palaces.

Included excursion: panoramic city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 6 BRATISLAVA

Set at the foot of the Little Carpathian Mountains, Slovakia’s Bratislava is the only national capital that borders two other countries, Austria and Hungary. A coach and walking tour of this charming city uncovers
many attractions. See the medieval fortifications at the 15th-century Michael’s Tower, St. Martin’s Cathedral and several baroque palaces from the Habsburg Dynasty. Enjoy an afternoon of scenic cruising, sailing into Budapest late at night.

Included excursion: guided city tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 7 BUDAPEST

Starting on the cosmopolitan Pest side of Budapest, enjoy a city tour. See the elegant boulevards and mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and famous Chain Bridge. Visit Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungary’s history. Cross the Danube to the castle district of Buda, and explore Matthias Church and Fishermen’s Bastion for magnificent views of the city.

Enjoy lunch on board with the rest of the day free to explore on your own, or take an optional tour to discover the heritage of the legendary Hungarian Puszta horsemen, and watch these fearless riders in action. Your day ends with a farewell dinner.

Included excursion: city tour of Budapest.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 8 BUDAPEST

After breakfast – to Budapest airport for your return flight.

Included meal: breakfast.

Danube River Cruise 2012

Rhine Discovery with Viking River Cruises

Fairytale castles, grand cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and spectacular scenery – little wonder that the Rhine is one of Europe’s best-loved rivers. The Rhine Discovery is a magical journey that transports you to another world.

DAY 1 Amsterdam

From Amsterdam airport Viking takes you to your ship where you can settle in and enjoy free time to explore this charming city. You may want to visit the Anne Frank House, or stroll along the canals and connecting bridges, admiring the Dutch gabled architecture.

Included meal: dinner.

KINDERDIJK river view - European river cruise

DAY 2 Kinderdijk

Sail to scenic Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy a tour of this historic network of windmills and flood management devices.

Visit a working windmill for a glimpse into Holland’s past. Later, sample delicious Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). Welcome Dinner on board.

Included excursion: Kinderdijk windmills.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 3 Cologne

The jewel of the Rhine, take a tour though Cologne, visiting the Old Town, St. Martin’s Church and Cologne Cathedral. Known as The Dom, this Gothic cathedral, with its iconic spires and stained glass windows, is the
largest in northern Europe and a World Heritage site. Spend a leisurely afternoon exploring this lovely city with its Roman Tower, Renaissance City Hall, old Jewish Mikvah (ritual bathhouse) and inviting dockside cafes and bars. Enjoy an optional evening walking tour through the beautiful illuminated alleys to discover Cologne’s beer culture!

Included excursion: walking tour.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 4 Koblenz and Rudesheim

A tour of Marksburg Castle is a perfect start to the day; this 700-year-old fortress appears much as it did when it was first constructed. Enjoy a glorious voyage along the Middle Rhine, a UNESCO site, with hilltop castles overlooking the river. Look out for the legendary Lorelei rock formation. In Rüdesheim, wander through the traffi c-free, cobbled streets of the Drosselgasse and enjoy some late night shopping, or a glass of local wine in one of many taverns.

Included excursion: Marksburg Castle.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 5 Heidelberg and Speyer

Home of Germany’s oldest university founded in 1386, Heidelberg is also famous for its red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle. From its hilltop location you are treated to incredible views of the Neckar River Valley, and the city’s red rooftops. See the Old Town and famous city gates. In Speyer, once an important center of Jewish culture, visit the ruins of the 11th-century synagogues and the UNESCO site of the imposing
Romanesque Kaiserdom (Imperial Cathedral), with its soaring interior and stained glass window.

Included excursion: Heidelberg Castle.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 6 Strasbourg

In this lovely multicultural city, see the European Parliament and the city’s remarkable Renaissance architecture. A tour around the Old Town and Cathedral Square takes you to Strasbourg Cathedral, one of Europe’s finest Gothic cathedrals. Enjoy a free afternoon discovering the city’s beautiful churches, medieval covered bridges and fabulous food. Take an optional tour into the French region of Alsace, famous for its wine and gastronomy.

Included excursion: city tour featuring Strasbourg Cathedral.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 7 Breisach

Discover Germany’s beautiful Black Forest, with its dense forests, mountains and enchanting scenery. Famous for its cuckoo clocks, visit a local workshop for a clock-making demonstration. Enjoy free time in Breisach, or choose an optional excursion to the charming Alsace town of Colmar with its half-timbered houses, canals and museums. Or take an optional WWII tour.

Included excursion: Black Forest.
Included meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

DAY 8 Basel

After breakfast, we take you to Basel airport for your return flight.
Included meal: breakfast.

A beautiful cruise on the Rhine in Germany

The Great Rivers of Europe to Discover

The Rhine and the Moselle

The Germans refer respectfully to their longest and most important river as Father Rhine. The Rhine is one of Europe’s major arteries; 820 miles long from its source in the Swiss Alps to the North Sea at Rotterdam.

Elbe river view - European river cruises

An international waterway, the river runs through six countries and forms an international border in several places. Castles are an unmistakeable feature of the river and most of Germany’s vineyards owe their existence to the Rhine. Through its tributary, the Main River, it is connected to the Danube by the Main-Danube Canal. Another tributary of the Rhine, the Moselle flows through France, Luxembourg and Germany. Its
landscape comprises of meadows and plains, lakes and forests, dotted with picturesque villages.

In the Middle Ages, aristocrats and monks settled along the Moselle and founded vineyards, many of which still exist. Riesling, in particular, flourishes on its steep slopes. The Main From the Rhine you can join the Main River near Mainz and travel through beautiful Bavarian countryside, alongside cities and towns including Frankfurt, Würzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg. In former times, the river was primarily used by rafts carrying wood downstream to the Rhine. From the 19th century, chain shipping was a feature of navigation. Today, the Main and the Main-Danube Canal form an important link between the Rhine and the Danube, from where ships can sail on to the Black Sea.

The Danube

Since ancient Celtic times, the Danube, flowing through nearly 1,800 miles of central Europe, has fascinated and attracted. It brought legions of Romans, Mongols and Turks and has been a central player in Europe’s
sweeping history from the Habsburg Dynasty to the 20th century. Beginning in the Black Forest region of Germany, it fl ows to the Black Sea through more European countries than any other: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldavia and Ukraine. Its strategic location makes the Danube important to central Europe, and its beauty makes it one of the most popular rivers.

The Elbe

774 miles long, the River Elbe rises in the Giant Mountains of the Czech Republic and runs through Germany to the North Sea. The Romans knew the river Elbe as Albis and in the Middle Ages it formed the Chain Bridge on the Danube. Following World War II the Elbe formed part of the border between East and West Germany. Today, the Elbe is one of Europe’s most peaceful and gentle rivers, fl owing through Saxon Switzerland and Dresden, alongside Torgau, Wittenberg, Dessau and Magdeburg northwards.

The Rhone and the Saone Rising high in the Swiss Alps, the fast moving Rhone flows into Lake Geneva and then south through southeastern France to the Mediterranean Sea. 300 miles in length, the Rhône joins the Saône at Lyon where it becomes navigable.

The countryside on both sides of the river comprises rich farmland and vineyards that produce the grapes for the region’s renowned wines. The lovely countryside of the Saône is mainly farming country with green meadows broken by rows of poplars and charming villages and towns, many with medieval centres. Since ancient times, the Saone has played an important role in the economic development of the whole region. A series of recently completed canals linking the Saône to the Rhine enables ships to traverse Europe from the North Sea all the way to the Mediterranean.

The Seine

The name Seine is derived from the Latin word sequana, meaning ‘snake’. Look at a map and you will immediately see why the river was thus christened. It meanders snakelike through the interior of France and through beautiful countryside towards the Normandy coast and the English Channel. Between Paris and the sea the Seine measures nearly 240 miles, but the distance as the crow flies is only 110 miles.

In Paris, countless bridges span the Seine (there are more than 30 in the city centre alone), each with its own unique appearance.

The Douro

In the beautiful, unspoilt region of northern Portugal, terraced vineyards and rolling landscapes provide a dramatic backdrop for the River Douro. The Douro River originates in Spain and fl ows west through the
north of Portugal until it reaches Porto, and the Atlantic Ocean. Once the Douro enters Portugal it becomes less populated, and the microclimate allows for cultivation of olives, almonds and especially grapes that are important for making the famous Port wine. Traditionally the wine was taken down river in flat-bottom boats called rabelos, still seen today at Porto.

A beautiful cruise on the Rhine in Germany

10 Great Reasons to Book with Viking

Award-winning expertise

Viking has won more awards than any other river cruise company. In 2011 the public voted us Best River Cruise Line at the British Travel Awards for the third year in a row. And Cruise Critic UK Editors’ Pick also voted us Best River Cruise Line in the same year.

These are just two of the many accolades that they are proud of.

Travel the world and unpack just once

Viking river cruises on Rhein river

With who else but Viking River Cruises can you explore dozens of destinations and unpack just once? Imagine. One evening you’re dining under the twinkling lights of the Chain Bridge in Budapest and the next, you’re listening to a concert of classical music in Vienna. What more rewarding way to travel?

Inspiring destinations

When you’ve cruised the world’s waterways for as long as Viking you know all the best places to visit. Carefully-crafted itineraries ensure that you see well-known attractions with expert guides, including UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as some delightful surprises. Of course, you can also choose to explore independently.

Just about everything is included in the price

On a Viking river cruise the price you pay covers just about everything, so you won’t find any hidden surprises and budgeting for your holiday couldn’t be easier.

No wave motion, no sea-sickness, no long days at sea

No waves plus Viking’s cleverly designed ships ensure a smooth and quiet ride. So smooth, in fact, that many guests are not even aware when the ship is sailing. And with no long days at sea, every day brings constantly changing views and new discoveries.

Smaller ships for a more intimate experience

One of the joys of cruising with Viking River Cruises is that you sail on smaller, stylish ships that can travel to places inaccessible to larger vessels. With between just 112 and 260 guests on board you’ll
enjoy a warm, friendly atmosphere.

Casual and comfortable

After a busy day exploring you want to be able to relax in comfort. The ambiance on board every Viking ship is casual and informal, so you can enjoy being yourself. Open seating in the elegant restaurant adds to the warm atmosphere. In the evening, smart casual is perfect – with definitely no dinner jacket required.

Explore independently

One of the best-loved features on a Viking river cruise is the choice of excursions and guided tours. But, of course, you can choose to wander independently and make your own wonderful discoveries. Viking’s on board Concierge will help you make the most of every moment ashore.

We don’t compromise on quality of airline

Viking doesn’t use low cost carriers, only the services of scheduled airlines, including British Airways, KLM, Thai Airways and Lufthansa. As with every aspect of a Viking holiday, you can be sure that you will fl y in comfort at no extra cost.

Travel safe, you are fully protected

As members of ABTA, Viking is a fully bonded and licensed tour operator, with air holidays protected by ATOL and administered by the CAA. All of which gives you complete peace of mind when you book your cruise with Viking.

Best European River cruises with Viking

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