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Best river cruise excursions for action, adventure and sightseeing

Author: Savannah Bowles

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Avalon Waterways boasts an array of adventure cruises from its cruise collection Active & Discovery. Check out some of the top experiences in Europe.

Avalon Waterways guests can take advantage of the Active & Discovery River Cruise range across Europe for an all-around immersive experience – perfect for those with a longing for exploration and a desire to delve deep into action-packed activities.

Most cruise lines tick the box for families or those who wish for a little luxury during their travels, but with Avalon’s Active & Discovery range, anyone who thinks of themselves as young and adventurous will be sure to enjoy these hands-on cruising opportunities.

Best of all, whether you’re searching for action-fuelled activities or interactive discoveries, designing your very own personalised cruise has been made possible with Avalon Choice.

You can tailor your getaway to suit your range of interests and ideal pace with a variety of included day by day itinerary options on offer.

Avalon inspires you to take your pick of Active & Discovery cruise excursions that appeal to you the most, so that you can enjoy the perfect cruise for you. Here are just some of the fabulous experiences guests can enjoy

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Avalon cruises: Best active shore excursions

Within your extensive choice of tours on an Active & Discovery river cruise, Avalon offers some particularly energetic excursions to get your heart racing.

Calling all hikers! Cruising with Avalon Waterways is fun, but even better when you jump off the cruise ship, stretch your legs and get ready for a breath-taking nature walk. With the Active & Discovery range, hike through captivating green spaces such as Djerdap National Park in Serbia, trek along the Rhine River or be led on a guided hike along the Danube trails.

If a climb up a mountain or an adventure through woodlands isn’t what you’re looking for hike wise, you can even join an equally-as-intense guided jogging tour of Amsterdam!

- READ MORE: Rhine river cruise guide with Avalon Waterways -

For those who wish to uncover more natural wonders within less time, Avalon’s Active & Discovery river cruises also boast some tempting cycling tours across some stunning landscapes. On a cruise along the Rhine River, depart the ship and jump onto two wheels for an e-bike tour through Germany’s enchanting Black Forest.

You can also be at one with nature on a cycling tour which takes you through the picturesque German vineyards in Koblenz. Cycling enthusiasts also have the option to bike through Brussels with photo stop opportunities or to pedal around beautiful Vienna on an Avalon Danube River cruise.

On an Active & Discovery cruise with Avalon, you can also choose to take to the water during your cruise tours. This is a great way to delve deeper into a destination's heritage and culture and see things from a unique perspective. Dive into the action on a kayak tour on a cruise along the Seine River in Rouen, France, or set out on scenic canoe tours on cruises along the Danube.

Take a kayak tour on a cruise along the Seine River in Rouen, France. Credit: Shutterstock

Avalon Waterways cruise: Best activities on shore excursions

If you’d still like to be in on all of the action on an Active & Discovery cruise with Avalon but you’d rather take a step back and discover things at a more relaxed pace with a more inquisitive approach, you can attend a range of exciting events and once in a lifetime experiences.

Wine connoisseurs and those who enjoy a tipple can sip local vintage wines at a traditional wine tasting along the Danube River in Austria.

- READ MORE: Discover gorgeous panoramic views in Avalon cabins -

An Active & Discovery cruise with Avalon Waterways will also merge particular passions to suit those with niche interests, so if you’re a wine lover and a nature lover, you can head on a guided speleological excursion which means you’ll be exploring and learning about the wonders of caves, with an added wine tasting experience underground.

If you’d prefer to just explore winemaking surroundings rather than taste region-specific wines, Avalon Waterways also provides winery tours on which you can unravel the local production and vineyard history.

More into beer? An Active & Discovery river cruise along the Mainz or Moselle rivers in Germany will give you the option to head out on a handful of exciting beer tours.

In Germany enjoy the option to head out on a handful of exciting beer tours. Credit: Shutterstock

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If the way to your heart focuses more on food than drink, you’ll be pleased to hear you can also embark on culinary walking tours across a range of Active & Discovery river cruises across Europe.

Grasp the chance to devour delicious crêpes during your cruise onboard if you sail through Les Andelys in France. Here, you can also improve your baking skills as you watch a pastry demonstration.

For more cooking tips, you can choose to take on speciality cooking classes en route to Paris. When cruising certain itineraries to the chocolate capital of Brussels, you can choose to attend a Belgian chocolate workshop to learn about how this decadent ever-popular treat is made.

- READ MORE: Win a 7-night Avalon Waterways Christmas cruise -

Within an Avalon Rhine cruise itinerary, join other hands-on experiences that the Active & Discovery collection offers including riveting activities for art enthusiasts; you can enjoy painting classes in Amsterdam and join in on ceramic painting workshops in Rotterdam.

Nature admirers can also shadow farmers and can lend a hand with crops or head to a Provencal farmhouse in Avignon when cruising the Rhone River. There’s also the option to try something potentially out of your comfort zones such as archery lessons or a Roman clothes-making workshop.

Head to a Provencal farmhouse in Avignon when cruising the Rhone River. Credit: Shutterstock

Avalon cruises: Best sightseeing cruise excursions

If you prefer to marvel at iconic sites or uncover hidden gems of a destination with a local guide, the sightseeing choices on a river cruise from Avalon’s Active & Discovery range may just be for you. You’ll be spoilt for choice when cruising Europe’s waterways and stepping off into a variety of historical and charming cities.

For those who like to wake up early and start the day with adventure, go on a walking tour of Vienna before rewarding yourself with breakfast at a Viennese café. Some other walking tours from the range include a tour of controversial graffiti in Ghent, a culinary walking tour in Strasbourg and a sightseeing tour off the tourist trail in Amsterdam.

Embrace your inner historian and enjoy a historic Brussels guided tour or pay a visit to Habsburg’s Military Museum in Switzerland. History buffs will also love an Active & Discovery cruise where you’ll remain comfortable on your ship as you cruise through the iconic Iron Gates Gorge along the lower Danube River between Serbia and Romania.

- READ MORE: What to pack for your next river cruise -

Other famed treasures you’ll spot on an Avalon Active & Discovery river cruise along Europe’s waterways include Lyons-la-Forêt in France, Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Museum in Germany and hidden gems scattered throughout Amsterdam during a canal sightseeing cruise.

From a laid-back Avalon Danube River cruise passing scenic landmarks to an action-packed Avalon Rhine cruise itinerary, you’re sure to find an ideal Active & Discovery cruise for you.

With such a vast variety of choices when it comes to your tours and activities, you’ll have one of the best cruises of your life if you wish to merge your interests into travel. After all, there’s nothing quite like a cruise holiday that meets your needs entirely when it comes to pace, passion and price…

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