The Most Beautiful River Cruise: Discovering Nature's Serenity

Choose the cruise you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Sep 18, 2023 06:05
Discover and embark on a mesmerizing journey as you cast your vote in our latest ranking - "What is the most beautiful river cruise?" Here at StrawPoll, we've curated a stunning collection of the world's most enchanting river cruises, showcasing the breathtaking beauty of nature and the captivating charm of diverse cultures. As you sail through our list, you'll be captivated by the allure of the Amazon, the magic of the Mekong, and the romance of the Rhine, among many other extraordinary destinations. So, don't let your favorite river cruise sail away without your vote! Make your voice heard and even suggest a hidden gem that we may have missed. Dive into the world of river cruising and let your wanderlust set the course for the ultimate river cruise experience. Cast your vote now and let the voyage begin!

What Is the Most Beautiful River Cruise? (September 2023)

  1. 1
    The Danube River is one of the most popular and scenic river cruises in Europe. The cruise takes you through several countries such as Germany, Austria, and Hungary, offering a glimpse of their rich culture and history. The river is also home to some of the most picturesque cities in Europe, including Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava.
    The Danube River Cruise is a scenic and enchanting river journey that takes travelers along the majestic Danube River in Europe. This iconic river cruise offers a unique and awe-inspiring way to explore some of the most beautiful landscapes, historic cities, and charming villages in the region.
    • Length: Approximately 1,770 miles (2,850 kilometers)
    • Countries: Passes through ten countries including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine
    • Major Cities: Visits cities such as Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, and Bratislava
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Cruises pass by or stop at several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Wachau Valley, Melk Abbey, and the Iron Gate
    • Scenic Landscapes: Offers stunning views of vineyards, castles, rolling hills, and picturesque villages
    Danube River Cruise in other rankings
  2. 2
    Rhine River Cruise
    HenSti · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Rhine River is another popular river cruise destination in Europe. The river flows through several countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The cruise offers a chance to witness the stunning scenery, quaint villages, and historic castles along the river.
    The Rhine River Cruise is a picturesque river journey that stretches along the stunning Rhine River in Europe. It offers travelers a unique opportunity to explore the magnificent landscapes, charming towns, and historic sites that dot the riverbanks.
    • Length: Approximately 1,230 kilometers (760 miles)
    • Countries Visited: Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland
    • Major Cities: Amsterdam, Cologne, Strasbourg, Basel
    • Scenic Views: Vineyards, castles, charming villages, and rolling hills
    • Historical Sites: Rhine Gorge, Cologne Cathedral, Marksburg Castle
    Rhine River Cruise in other rankings
  3. 3

    Nile River Cruise

    Various cruise operators
    The Nile River is the longest river in the world and offers an unforgettable experience of cruising through the heart of Egypt. The cruise offers a chance to explore the ancient temples, tombs, and monuments along the river.
    The Nile River Cruise is a breathtaking journey along the world-renowned Nile River, offering a unique and unforgettable experience of Egypt's rich history, diverse landscapes, and captivating culture. As the longest river in Africa, the Nile is often referred to as the 'Lifeblood of Egypt' and has been the lifeline for civilizations dating back thousands of years.
    • Duration: Typically 3-7 days
    • Starting point: Cairo or Luxor
    • Ending point: Aswan or Luxor
    • Historical sites visited: Luxor Temple, Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple Complex, Philae Temple, Edfu Temple, Kom Ombo Temple, etc.
    • Scenic views: Sail through lush greenery, desert landscapes, picturesque villages, and iconic ancient temples
  4. 4

    Mekong River Cruise

    Mekong River Commission
    The Mekong River flows through several countries in Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand. The cruise offers a chance to explore the rich culture and history of these countries while taking in the stunning scenery along the river.
    The Mekong River Cruise is an enchanting river journey that takes travelers along the majestic Mekong River, which flows through multiple countries in Southeast Asia. This river cruise offers unparalleled opportunities to witness stunning landscapes, ancient cultural sites, and local village life.
    • Length: Approximately 4,350 kilometers
    • Countries visited: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar
    • Duration: Typically 7-14 days
    • Accommodation: Luxurious river cruise ships
    • Highlights: Visit to Angkor Wat, rural Mekong villages, floating markets, ancient temples, and vibrant cities
  5. 5
    The Amazon River is the largest river in the world, and a cruise along it offers a chance to explore the unique ecosystem of the Amazon rainforest. The cruise offers a chance to witness the exotic wildlife, indigenous communities, and stunning scenery of the region.
    The Amazon River Cruise offers a mesmerizing experience of exploring the world's largest and most diverse tropical rainforest. It spans over 4,000 miles and winds its way through nine South American countries. This cruise provides an opportunity to marvel at the Amazon's rich biodiversity, encounter indigenous communities, and witness stunning natural landscapes.
    • Duration: Typically 4 to 15 days
    • Starting Point: Manaus, Brazil
    • Countries Visited: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana
    • Wildlife: Opportunities to spot unique species like pink river dolphins, jaguars, sloths, howler monkeys, macaws, anacondas, and numerous exotic bird species
    • Activities: Guided hikes, canoeing, fishing, birdwatching, visiting indigenous villages, exploring flooded forests, night safaris, and piranha fishing
    Amazon River Cruise in other rankings
  6. 6
    The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and offers a chance to explore the stunning scenery and cultural heritage of the country. The cruise takes you through several cities, including Shanghai, Chongqing, and Wuhan, offering a glimpse of China's rich history and culture.
    The Yangtze River Cruise is a scenic river cruise along the Yangtze River, one of the most iconic rivers in China. This cruise offers a magnificent journey through stunning landscapes, picturesque gorges, and historical cultural sites. It is an immersive experience that allows tourists to discover the beauty and diversity of China's landscape and culture.
    • Duration: Typically 3-9 days
    • Starting point: Typically Chongqing or Yichang
    • End point: Typically Yichang or Chongqing
    • Highlights: Three Gorges (Qutang, Wu, and Xiling Gorges), Three Gorges Dam, Shennong Stream, Fengdu Ghost City
    • Scenery: Stunning landscapes, towering cliffs, tranquil countryside, and flowing waters
  7. 7
    The Mississippi River is the second-longest river in the United States and offers a chance to explore the rich history and culture of the country's heartland. The cruise takes you through several cities, including New Orleans, Memphis, and St. Louis, offering a glimpse of the region's unique heritage.
    The Mississippi River Cruise is a scenic river journey along the iconic Mississippi River, covering a distance of approximately 2,320 miles (3,734 kilometers). This cruise is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful river cruises in the world, offering breathtaking views of stunning landscapes and rich cultural experiences.
    • Starting Point: Minneapolis, Minnesota
    • Ending Point: New Orleans, Louisiana
    • Duration: 8-15 days, depending on the itinerary
    • River Length: Approximately 2,320 miles (3,734 kilometers)
    • States Visited: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana
  8. 8
    The Douro River flows through Portugal and Spain and offers a chance to explore the stunning scenery, vineyards, and historic towns along the river. The cruise takes you through several cities, including Porto, Salamanca, and Pinhão, offering a glimpse of the region's rich culture and heritage.
    The Douro River Cruise is a captivating and scenic river journey in Europe, renowned for showcasing the beauty and charm of the Douro Valley in Portugal. This cruise offers a unique experience to explore the picturesque landscapes, quaint villages, and vineyard terraces that adorn the riverbanks.
    • Route: The cruise typically starts in Porto, Portugal, and follows the Douro River through the heart of the Douro Valley, reaching as far as the Spanish border.
    • Leisurely Pace: The Douro River Cruise offers a relaxed and leisurely pace, allowing passengers to enjoy the tranquility of the river while exploring the surroundings.
    • Cultural Immersion: Passengers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture by visiting traditional villages, interacting with locals, and experiencing authentic Portuguese traditions.
    • Onboard Comfort: Cruise ships sailing on the Douro River provide comfortable and well-equipped accommodations, dining options, and amenities to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable journey.
    • Duration: The average duration of a Douro River Cruise is 7 to 10 days, allowing ample time to explore the region's highlights.
    Douro River Cruise in other rankings
  9. 9
    Volga River Cruise
    Mike1979 Russia · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Volga River is the longest river in Europe and offers a chance to explore the rich culture and history of Russia. The cruise takes you through several cities, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Kazan, offering a glimpse of the country's unique heritage.
    The Volga River Cruise is a breathtaking river journey that spans across Russia, offering a mesmerizing exploration of the country's diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Flowing for over 2,300 miles, the Volga is the longest river in Europe and is often referred to as the 'Mother Volga' by locals due to its immense significance in the Russian psyche.
    • Duration: 7 to 14 days
    • Embarkation/Disembarkation Point: Moscow, Russia or St. Petersburg, Russia
    • Popular Stops: Uglich, Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Samara, Saratov, Volgograd
    • Scenic Highlights: Stunning panoramas of vast Russian landscapes, picturesque countryside villages, and historic landmarks
    • Cultural Experiences: Visits to ornate Orthodox cathedrals, ancient monasteries, traditional Russian folk shows, and local craft demonstrations
    Volga River Cruise in other rankings
  10. 10

    Ganges River Cruise

    Ganges River Cruises Ltd.
    The Ganges River is the most sacred river in India and offers a chance to explore the country's rich culture and history. The cruise takes you through several cities, including Varanasi, Kolkata, and Patna, offering a glimpse of India's unique heritage.
    The Ganges River Cruise is an enchanting journey along one of the most sacred rivers in India. Flowing through the heartland of the country, the Ganges cruises offer a unique opportunity to experience the rich cultural and spiritual heritage of the region. The cruise takes you past ancient temples, bustling cities, and serene landscapes, providing a glimpse into the diverse tapestry of India.
    • Highlight: Witnessing the Ganga Aarti ceremony in Varanasi
    • Languages: English-speaking guides and crew
    • Best Time to Go: October to March
    • Notable Feature: Opportunity to interact with local communities along the river
    • Duration: 7-14 days

Missing your favorite cruise?


Ranking factors for beautiful river cruise

  1. Scenery and Views
    One of the main aspects of a beautiful river cruise is the scenery that the cruise passes through. This includes picturesque landscapes, charming villages, historical landmarks, and stunning views.
  2. Time of year
    The best time to take a river cruise can have a significant impact on the overall experience. Seasonal changes can affect the scenery and landscapes, as well as the availability of activities and excursions.
  3. Cruise Itinerary
    The itinerary should include interesting and diverse destinations, allowing passengers to fully immerse themselves in the local culture and history. It should also offer a good balance between onboard relaxation and shore excursions.
  4. Vessel and Accommodation
    The river cruise ship should be comfortable and well-maintained, providing quality accommodations, dining options, and onboard amenities. The guest-to-crew ratio is also important, as it affects the level of service and attention to detail that passengers receive.
  5. Shore Excursions and Activities
    A beautiful river cruise should have a diverse range of shore excursions and activities that cater to the interests of travelers. These may include walking tours, cultural sightseeing, culinary experiences, or adventure activities.
  6. Food and Dining
    High-quality and diverse dining options are essential to providing a memorable river cruise experience. The food should be fresh, delicious, and cater to dietary restrictions and preferences.
  7. Service and Staff
    Excellent service can significantly enhance a river cruise experience. The staff should be professional, attentive, and knowledgeable about the destinations visited.
  8. Price and Value for Money
    The overall cost of the river cruise should be proportional to the amenities, activities, and experiences offered. The best river cruises provide exceptional value for the money.
  9. Passenger demographics
    The ideal river cruise should cater to a diverse range of travelers from different backgrounds, ages, and interests. This will allow passengers to connect with like-minded individuals and make the trip more enjoyable.
  10. Sustainability and Environmental Impact
    A beautiful river cruise should have sustainable practices and focus on reducing its environmental impact. This may involve using energy-efficient technology, recycling, and partnering with local businesses to promote sustainable tourism.

About this ranking

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


  • 162 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 river cruise

River cruising is a popular way to explore the world's waterways and experience stunning landscapes from a different perspective. A river cruise is a unique way to explore the beauty of nature, culture, and history along the rivers of the world. River cruises offer a comfortable, relaxed, and luxurious way to travel while enjoying the spectacular views of rivers, valleys, and charming towns along the way. The most beautiful river cruises take you through some of the world's most scenic waterways, including the Danube, Rhine, Seine, Nile, and Mekong. Each river has its own unique charm, history, and culture, and offers an unforgettable experience for travelers. The Danube, for example, is Europe's second-longest river and flows through ten countries, offering a glimpse into the rich history and culture of Central Europe. The Rhine, on the other hand, is a picturesque river that flows through Germany, France, and the Netherlands, offering stunning castles, vineyards, and charming towns. Whether you're a first-time river cruiser or a seasoned traveler, there's no denying that river cruising is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the world. So, if you're planning your next vacation and want to experience the beauty of the world's waterways, consider a river cruise and discover the wonders of the world from a different perspective.