There’s no shortage of glistening water highways just waiting to be cruised around the world. Better yet, some of the best sights await just by the water’s edge, from historic forts and ages-old temples to landscapes that defy what you thought it meant to be ‘beautiful’. Here are just a few of the river cruising highlights of the world’s best, the most famous and the most beautiful waterways on the planet.
Winding through France, Luxembourg and Germany, the Moselle is adorned by medieval castles, beautiful rolling countryside and character-laden towns. Discover fine Roman monuments in Trier, explore the former goldmining glories of Zell and taste-test fine French wines amongst gorgeous Gothic architecture in Metz.
Perched along the river banks of the Douro, terraced hills, quaint villages and sun-soaked vineyards offer a clue as to what cruising through Spain and Portugal is all about: fabulous food, wine, music, history and weather. Have an affair with the arts in Porto’s historical heart, catch a flamenco show in Salamanca and meet winemakers in the breathtakingly beautiful, UNESCO-designated Douro Valley. You’ll also get the chance to wander Portugal’s character-laden capital Lisbon and visit 12th-century medieval walled villages steeped in time.
The Nile is commonly regarded as the longest river in the world, and while it snakes its way through northeast Africa, it’s practically synonymous with Egypt. An iconic way to see the best of Egypt, you could find yourself drifting through the archeologically-rich Valley of the Kings, meeting locals in virtually untouched local villages and heading ashore to explore the world’s largest ancient temple complex.
The mighty lifeline of Cambodia, the Mekong also graciously flows through the south of Vietnam to offer fascinating insight into this slice of Southeast Asia. Sail through traditional floating markets and past lush green rice paddies. Feel the life and chaos of bustling Phnom Penh, trawl through colourful markets and wander the extravagant Royal Palace. Excursions also bring to chance to delve into the astonishing Cu Chi Tunnels and marvel at the intriguing fusion of cultures in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Danube is quite possibly the most popular river cruising destination in Europe, spanning multiple countries and a spectacular forte of sights. Soak up the grand old-world charm of Budapest, immerse yourself in the medieval allure of enchanting Prague and wander the imperial palaces and galleries of classic Vienna. Float further east and find yourself drifting past medieval wine-making villages or standing atop a magnificent fortress in Belgrade.
Meandering through six European countries, a Rhine river voyage presents a kaleidoscope of cultures, flavours and scenery, from the Black Forest to towering snow-capped mountains. Jump off in Cologne for museum and art discoveries, wander the medieval-infused streets of Basel and experience the collision of French and German culture in quaint yet beautiful Strasbourg. From the Netherlands to Austria, the Rhine overflows with European favourites.
A river that passes through the heart of one of the most famous, popular and cosmopolitan cities on the planet, Paris is just the beginning of what the Seine has to offer. Beyond the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Elysees and the Louvre, visit the home and iconic gardens of Monet in Giverny and take in the stunning gothic cathedrals and streets of pre-Roman Rouen. A side trip to explore the beaches and battle sites of historic Normandy is another must-do on a Seine river cruise.
Take a pilgrimage along India’s holy river Ganges for a taste of this exotic nation of aromatic spices, exquisite temples and mystifying spiritual and cultural influences. Marvel at colourful markets and French colonial architecture in Chandannagar, wander the many exotic temples of Kalna and catch a beautiful morning sunrise at the world-famous Taj Mahal. Life in India is unlike anything you’ve ever witnessed, which truly comes alive in ‘old India’ in thriving Kolkata.
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