8 of the Best River Cruises in Europe

Author: Josh Stephenson

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Want to experience Europe’s great waterways without splashing out? Here are some of the best bargain Europe river cruise holidays for 2019 and 2020

Sensational Seine
It’s one of Europe’s greatest rivers and it flows through one of the world’s most romantic cities, but the Seine is overlooked by many river cruise passengers. Help to put that right with this scenic journey between Paris and Honfleur with CroisiEurope.
4-night ‘The Seine’ cruise from Paris to Honfleur via Poissy and Rouen, departing 2 April 2020, from £653, croisieurope.co.uk

Seine river cruise in Paris

Dutch Waterways
Everyone should see Holland when the tulips are in bloom (between mid-March and mid-May). And exploring the Dutch waterways is a must for any serious river-cruise fan. Credit to Titan Travel for combining the two at a great-value price.
5-night ‘Tulips & Windmills’ cruise, round trip from Amsterdam via Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Keukenhof and Zaandam, departing 4 April 2020, from £799, titantravel.co.uk

Windmills and Tulips in Holland

Rhine Time
Europe’s most popular river continues to enchant with its picturesque medieval towns and gorgeous scenery – and this Rhine cruise with Shearings offers all that for less. The inclusive cruise starts in the beautiful city of Cologne and calls into Koblenz, which has an abundance of cultural sites and historic buildings to explore, and Boppard, also known as ‘The Pearl of the Rhine’.
5-night ‘Rhine Inclusive’ cruise, round trip from Cologne via Koblenz, Boppard and Rudesheim, departing 14 October 2019, from £769, shearings.com

Rhine river cruise with medieval castles

Dazzling Danube
Culture vultures will jump at the chance to see three great European capitals in one river cruise – and here’s how to visit Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest for less than £500 on this amazing budget river cruise. Discover the birthplace of Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud in Vienna, the historic Old Town in Slovakia’s capital and the spectacular spa baths in Budapest.
5-night ‘A Taste of the Imperial Danube’ cruise, round trip from Passau via Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, departing 11 October 2020, from £499, rivercruiseline.co.uk

Horse and carriage outside Alte Hofburg, Vienna, Austria

Festive Cheer
With bells jingling, lights twinkling and the scent of glühwein in the crisp night air, Europe’s Christmas markets are the very essence of the festive season – as you can discover for yourself on a cruise with Riviera Travel.
4-night ‘Enchanting Rhine & Yuletide Markets’ cruise, round trip from Cologne via Rudesheim, Koblenz and Bonn, departing 4 December 2019, from £798, rivieratravel.co.uk

Cologne cathedral christmas market

Dutch Delight
Looking for a home-from-home on the river? No one knows British cruisers’ little ways like Saga, and this trip to Holland should be everyone’s cup of tea.
5-night ‘Springtime in Holland’ cruise, round trip from Amsterdam via Beverwijk, Zaandam, Enkhuizen and Hoorn, departing 2 April 2020, from £799, travel.saga.co.uk

Amsterdam Netherlands, city skyline at canal waterfront with tulips

From Venice with Love
Could there be a more romantic destination than Venice? Every couple should visit this magical city of canals and palazzos at least once – and what more natural way to do it than by ship?
4-night ‘The Gems of Venice’ cruise, round trip from Venice via Chioggia, departing 29 October 2019, from £793, iglucruise.com

Grand Canal and Basilica Santa Maria della Salute in Venice,Italy

Waltzes from Vienna
Add sparkle to your festive season with this bargain deal from Planet Cruise. Packed with dazzling architecture – and fabulous cafés – Austria’s capital is one of the world’s great cities, and they certainly know how to put on a Christmas concert.
5-night ‘The Danube’s Imperial Cities’ cruise, round trip from Budapest via Bratislava and Vienna, departing 6 December 2019, from £749, planetcruise.com