The Most Beautiful European River Cruise: Exploring the Gems of Europe's Waterways

Choose the cruise you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 06:22
Discover the enchanting beauty of Europe's majestic waterways by casting your vote in our latest ranking - "What is the most beautiful European river cruise?" With thousands of breathtaking river cruises to choose from, we at StrawPoll have curated an exquisite list of top contenders. From the romantic Seine to the historic Rhine, immerse yourself in Europe's diverse cultures, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. But which river cruise will reign supreme? We need your expertise! Cast your vote, share your thoughts, or suggest a hidden gem that deserves to be on this prestigious list. Unravel the mystery of Europe's finest river cruises and be a part of this enthralling journey!

What Is the Most Beautiful European River Cruise?

  1. 1
    Danube River
    Gabor Eszes (UED77) · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Danube River

    Natural formation
    The Danube is one of the most popular rivers for cruising in Europe, with stunning scenery and historic cities such as Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava.
    The Danube River is one of the most beautiful and historic rivers in Europe. It stretches across ten countries, starting from the Black Forest in Germany and flowing through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. The river offers stunning landscapes, picturesque towns, and cultural heritage sites along its banks. Cruising the Danube allows travelers to experience the rich history, remarkable architecture, and diverse cultures of Central and Eastern Europe.
    • Length: 2,850 kilometers
    • Countries touched: 10
    • Source: Black Forest, Germany
    • Mouth: Black Sea, Romania and Ukraine
    • Major cities: Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Belgrade
    Danube River in other rankings
  2. 2
    The Rhine is another classic river cruise destination, with castles, vineyards, and charming towns along its banks.
    The Rhine River is one of the most beautiful and iconic rivers in Europe. It stretches over 1,230 kilometers, originating in the Swiss Alps and flowing through six countries before emptying into the North Sea in the Netherlands. The river is renowned for its stunning landscapes, medieval castles, picturesque villages, and vibrant cities that dot its banks.
    • Length: 1,230 kilometers
    • Source: Swiss Alps
    • Countries: Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, Netherlands
    • Mouth: North Sea (Netherlands)
    • Landscapes: Stunning scenery, vineyards, rolling hills
    Rhine River in other rankings
  3. 3
    Seine River
    User Arpingstone on en.wikipedia · Public domain
    The Seine flows through Paris, offering a unique perspective on the city's famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre-Dame.
    The Seine River is a picturesque river in Western Europe that flows through France. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful European river cruises, known for its stunning landscapes and charming cities along its banks.
    • Famous landmarks: Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral
    • Scenic highlights: Châteaux of the Loire Valley, picturesque countryside
    • Length: 777 kilometers (483 miles)
    • Source: Burgundy region, France
    • Mouth: English Channel at Le Havre, France
    Seine River in other rankings
  4. 4
    The Douro is known for its picturesque wine country and terraced vineyards in Portugal, as well as historic cities like Porto.
    The Douro River, also known as the River of Gold, is one of the most beautiful European river cruises. Flowing through Portugal and Spain, it offers stunning landscapes, charming towns, and breathtaking vineyards along its course.
    • Location: Portugal and Spain
    • Total Length: 897 kilometers
    • Source: Duruelo de la Sierra, Spain
    • Mouth: Atlantic Ocean, Portugal
    • Major Cities: Porto (Portugal), Salamanca (Spain)
  5. 5
    The Elbe flows through Germany and the Czech Republic, with highlights including the historic city of Dresden and the natural beauty of Saxon Switzerland.
    The Elbe River is one of the most beautiful European river cruises, flowing through several countries including the Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria. With its picturesque landscapes, charming towns, and rich cultural heritage, the Elbe River offers a unique cruising experience.
    • Length: 1,094 kilometers
    • Source: Elbe Spring in the Krkonoše Mountains, Czech Republic
    • Mouth: North Sea, near Cuxhaven, Germany
    • Countries: Czech Republic, Germany, Austria
    • Major Cities: Prague, Dresden, Hamburg
  6. 6
    Moselle River
    Areks · CC BY-SA 3.0

    Moselle River

    The Moselle is a tributary of the Rhine, winding through the vineyards and medieval towns of Germany and Luxembourg.
    The Moselle River is a picturesque river that flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It is known for its stunning landscapes, charming vineyards, and enchanting medieval towns.
    • Length: 545 kilometers
    • Countries: France, Luxembourg, Germany
    • Source: Vosges Mountains, France
    • Mouth: Rhine River, Germany
    • Notable Cities: Trier, Bernkastel-Kues, Koblenz
  7. 7
    Main River
    Frazafraaaz · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Main is a lesser-known river in Germany, but offers scenic views of Franconian wine country and charming towns like Würzburg.
    The Main River is a picturesque river that flows through Germany. It is a popular destination for river cruises, offering stunning scenery, charming towns, and historic landmarks along its route. The river spans approximately 525 kilometers, making it one of the longest tributaries of the Rhine River. The Main River starts in the Franconian Forest and joins the Rhine River near Mainz. It is known for its calm waters and gentle flow, making it ideal for leisurely cruises. The Main River showcases a combination of natural beauty and man-made wonders, blending lush landscapes with architectural gems.
    • Length: 525 kilometers
    • Origin: Franconian Forest, Germany
    • Endpoint: Joins the Rhine River near Mainz
    • Flow: Calm and gentle
    • Scenery: Picturesque landscapes
  8. 8
    Loire River
    LPLT · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Loire flows through the heart of France's château country, with stunning Renaissance castles and picturesque villages.
    The Loire River is the longest river located entirely in France, flowing through the stunning Loire Valley. With its picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and magnificent castles, the Loire River is often referred to as the 'Royal River' or the 'Garden of France'.
    • Length: 1,012 kilometers
    • Source: Mount Gerbier de Jonc in the Cévennes Mountains
    • Mouth: Atlantic Ocean near Saint-Nazaire
    • Major Cities: Orléans, Tours, Angers, Nantes
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Several, including Château de Chambord and Historic Centre of Orléans
  9. 9
    Volga River
    Bruce A. Harms · Public domain
    The Volga is the longest river in Europe, flowing through Russia and offering a unique perspective on the country's history and culture.
    The Volga River is the longest and largest river in Europe, spanning over 3,500 kilometers across Russia. It is a prominent waterway that holds great cultural and historical significance. The river serves as a major transportation route, connecting various regions and cities along its course.
    • Length: 3,530 kilometers
    • Location: Russia
    • Length: 3,530 kilometers
    • Source: Valdai Hills, Russia
    • Mouth: Caspian Sea, Russia
    Volga River in other rankings
  10. 10
    Guadalquivir River
    Fchgds · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Guadalquivir flows through the beautiful city of Seville in southern Spain, offering a glimpse into the country's rich history and culture.
    The Guadalquivir River is a beautiful river located in southern Spain. With a length of approximately 657 kilometers, it is the fifth longest river on the Iberian Peninsula. The river starts in the Sierra de Cazorla mountain range and flows through Andalusia, eventually reaching the Gulf of Cádiz.
    • Location: Spain
    • Length: 657 kilometers
    • Origin: Sierra de Cazorla mountain range
    • Flows through: Andalusia
    • Endpoint: Gulf of Cádiz

Missing your favorite cruise?


Ranking factors for beautiful cruise

  1. Cultural and historical experiences
    The river cruise should offer the opportunity to explore the rich history, culture, and local traditions of the destinations visited during excursions or guided tours.
  2. Cruise itinerary
    The variety of destinations and attractions included in the itinerary, the pace of the journey, the duration of the cruise, and the ease of traveling between destinations are all significant factors.
  3. Ship comfort and amenities
    The quality and comfort of the cruise ship, including the cabin accommodations, dining options, onboard amenities, and entertainment and enrichment programs.
  4. Quality of service
    The efficiency and friendliness of the cruise ship's staff and the quality of the guided tours and excursion experiences are essential.
  5. Value for money
    The overall cost of the river cruise, including any additional fees or charges for excursions or onboard experiences and the value that is provided for the cost.
  6. Availability of departure dates
    The ease of finding a cruise that fits your schedule and the climate and weather conditions during the travel season.
  7. Reputation and reviews
    The cruise line's reputation and the experiences of past guests on similar cruises should also be taken into account.
  8. Cruise theme or focus
    Some river cruises might have a specific theme, such as food and wine, history, art, or music. Choosing one that matches your interests can enhance the experience.
  9. Sustainability and environmental practices
    The cruise line's commitment to sustainable and environmentally responsible practices can also be an important factor for some travelers.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful European river cruise. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or Cruise is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 204 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each Cruise once every 24 hours. The rank of each Cruise is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most beautiful european river cruise

European river cruises have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering a unique way to explore the continent's stunning scenery and historic sites. With so many beautiful rivers to choose from, deciding which one to cruise can be a daunting task. From the romantic Rhine to the picturesque Danube, each river offers its own charm and allure. Whether you're looking to soak up the sun on the deck, indulge in delicious local cuisine, or immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Europe, there's a river cruise that's perfect for you. So sit back, relax, and let us take you on a journey down some of the most beautiful rivers in Europe.

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