The Most Beautiful River Cruise in Europe: A Scenic Exploration of Majestic Waterways

Choose the river cruise you think is the most beautiful!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 29, 2024 05:26
Discover the enchanting beauty of Europe's waterways through the eyes of fellow travelers and cast your vote for the most breathtaking river cruise on our continent! With countless picturesque destinations, StrawPoll invites you to navigate the winding rivers of Europe and help us crown the ultimate river cruise experience. From the timeless elegance of the Seine to the majestic Danube and the serene Douro, our ranking features a diverse array of cruises to satisfy every wanderlust. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into our captivating list, share your top pick, or even suggest a hidden gem that's missing from our collection. Together, let's embark on a journey to uncover Europe's most stunning river cruise!

What Is the Most Beautiful River Cruise in Europe?

  1. 1
    14
    votes
    The Danube River is the second-longest river in Europe, flowing through ten countries and offering stunning views of historic cities, castles, vineyards, and natural landscapes. The cruise takes you through the heart of Europe, from Budapest to Vienna, passing through Germany, Austria, and Slovakia.
    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
    29
    votes
    Rhine River Cruise
    HenSti · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Rhine River cruise is one of the most popular and scenic river cruises in Europe. The river flows through six countries, from Switzerland to the Netherlands, and offers breathtaking views of medieval castles, picturesque towns, and vineyards.
    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
    18
    votes
    The Douro River cruise takes you through Portugal's wine country, providing stunning views of the Douro Valley's terraced vineyards and historic towns. The cruise also includes visits to local wineries and tastings of the region's famous port wine.
    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.
    • Duration: The average duration of a Douro River Cruise is 7 to 10 days, allowing ample time to explore the region's highlights.
    • Scenic Landscapes: Passengers are treated to breathtaking views of steep terraced vineyards, rolling hills, olive groves, and charming riverside towns.
    • Wine Tasting: Douro Valley is renowned for its port wines. The cruise often includes visits to local wineries for wine tastings and vineyard tours.
    • UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Douro Valley is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic city of Porto, the vineyard terraces, and the Douro River itself.
    Douro River Cruise in other rankings
  4. 4
    20
    votes
    The Seine River cruise offers views of Paris's iconic landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Louvre museum. The cruise also takes you through the charming towns of Normandy, where you can explore the region's rich history and culture.
    The Seine River Cruise is a picturesque river journey through the heart of France, offering breathtaking views of iconic landmarks and charming landscapes. It is a popular choice for travelers seeking a romantic, cultural, and historical experience.
    • Duration: Typically 7-10 days
    • Starting Point: Paris, France
    • End Point: Various options including Normandy coast
    • Key Destinations: Paris, Giverny, Rouen, Honfleur
    • Landmarks: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral
    Seine River Cruise in other rankings
  5. 5
    15
    votes
    Volga River Cruise
    Mike1979 Russia · CC BY-SA 3.0
    The Volga River cruise is the perfect way to explore the vastness of Russia, from Moscow to St. Petersburg. The cruise takes you through the heart of Russia, passing through historic towns and cities, including Uglich, Kostroma, Yaroslavl, and Kazan.
    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
  6. 6
    13
    votes
    Elbe River Cruise
    Biberbaer · CC BY-SA 4.0
    The Elbe River cruise takes you through some of Germany's most beautiful landscapes, including the Saxon Switzerland National Park and the Elbe Sandstone Mountains. The cruise also includes visits to historic towns and cities, including Dresden and Prague.
    The Elbe River Cruise is a breathtaking river journey through Central Europe, offering a delightful blend of scenic beauty, history, and cultural richness. It stretches from the upper reaches of the Elbe River in the Czech Republic to its picturesque conclusion in Germany's historic city of Hamburg. This cruise provides a unique opportunity to explore a region steeped in history and adorned with stunning landscapes.
    • Duration: 7-14 days
    • Starting Point: Prague, Czech Republic
    • Finishing Point: Hamburg, Germany
    • Countries Visited: Czech Republic, Germany
    • Major Cities Visited: Dresden, Meissen, Wittenberg, Berlin, Magdeburg, Hamburg
  7. 7
    10
    votes
    The Loire River cruise takes you through France's famous wine region, offering stunning views of the Loire Valley's chateaux and vineyards. The cruise also includes visits to historic towns and cities, including Nantes, Tours, and Angers.
    The Loire River Cruise is a spectacular journey along the longest river in France, known for its breathtaking beauty and rich cultural heritage. This cruise takes travelers through the heart of the stunning Loire Valley, also referred to as the 'Garden of France', renowned for its picturesque landscapes, charming châteaux, and delightful vineyards. The Loire River is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a unique opportunity to explore the captivating architecture, history, and natural wonders of the region.
    • Duration: 7 to 10 days
    • Starting Point: Typically Nantes or Saint-Nazaire
    • Ending Point: Usually Chalonnes-sur-Loire or Ancenis
    • Number of Stops: Approximately 6 to 10 stops
    • Major Attractions: Château de Chambord, Château d'Amboise, Chenonceau, Rigny-Ussé Castle, Saumur
  8. 8
    9
    votes

    Po River Cruise

    River Cruise Lines
    The Po River cruise takes you through Italy's famous food and wine region, including the cities of Venice, Verona, and Bologna. The cruise also includes visits to local wineries and tastings of the region's famous food and wine.
    The Po River Cruise is a picturesque river cruise that takes travelers on a remarkable journey along the longest river in Italy, the Po River. This leisurely cruise allows passengers to explore the stunning landscapes, charming towns, and historic cities that line the riverbanks. From the sparkling Adriatic Sea to the heart of the Italian countryside, the Po River Cruise is a truly captivating experience.
    • River: Po River
    • Countries Visited: Italy
    • River Length: 652 kilometers
    • Cruise Duration: 7 to 10 days
    • Starting Point: Venice
  9. 9
    9
    votes
    The Guadalquivir River cruise takes you through Spain's historic Andalusia region, from Seville to Cadiz. The cruise offers stunning views of the region's architecture, including the Alhambra Palace and the Giralda Tower.
    The Guadalquivir River Cruise is a picturesque river journey that takes visitors through the stunning landscapes of southern Spain. Flowing through the heart of Andalusia, the Guadalquivir River offers an enchanting experience with its tranquil waters and scenic surroundings.
    • Length: 657 kilometers
    • Source: Cazorla Mountains
    • Mouth: Gulf of Cádiz
    • Major Cities: Seville, Córdoba, and Sanlúcar de Barrameda
    • Historical Significance: It served as a vital trade route during the Moorish era.
  10. 10
    9
    votes
    The Moselle River cruise takes you through Germany's Moselle Valley, offering stunning views of the region's vineyards, castles, and charming towns. The cruise also includes visits to local wineries and tastings of the region's famous Riesling wine.
    The Moselle River Cruise is a breathtaking river journey that takes travelers through the stunning and picturesque landscapes of the Moselle River in Europe. This cruise offers a unique and immersive experience, allowing visitors to soak in the charm and beauty of the region.
    • Scenic Highlights: Vineyard-covered hills, charming towns and villages, medieval castles
    • Duration: Typically 7-10 days
    • Starting Point: Mainz, Germany or Luxembourg City
    • End Point: Cologne, Germany
    • Countries Visited: Germany, Luxembourg, France

Missing your favorite river cruise?

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Ranking factors for beautiful river cruise

  1. Scenery and Landscape
    The picturesque views, natural beauty, and stunning landscapes along the river cruise route play a significant role in its overall appeal. This includes a blend of charming towns, quaint villages, medieval castles, lush vineyards, and dramatic cliffs.
  2. Cultural and Historical Attractions
    The opportunity to explore significant cultural and historical sites can greatly enhance the experience of a river cruise. Look for cruises that offer visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient ruins, historic landmarks, cathedrals, and museums.
  3. Variety and Uniqueness of Destinations
    A diverse collection of destinations adds to the interest and excitement of a river cruise. It should include a mix of famous cities, lesser-known towns, and unique regions, each offering its own individual flavor and character.
  4. Onboard Amenities and Services
    The quality of the ship and onboard facilities also contribute to the overall enjoyment of the cruise. Comfortable accommodations, a range of dining options, and various recreational facilities are all factors to consider.
  5. Shore Excursions and Activities
    High-quality guided tours, as well as a variety of engaging activities, should be available at each destination. It's essential that these excursions are well-organized, informative, and cater to different interests and fitness levels.
  6. Quality of Service and Staff
    A knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive crew is essential for enhancing the overall guest experience. Exceptional customer service and expert guidance can make all the difference.
  7. Itinerary and Trip Duration
    The length of the cruise and the amount of time spent at each destination should strike the perfect balance between relaxation and exploration, with ample time to soak up the ambiance of each destination.
  8. Price and Value for Money
    The cost of the river cruise should accurately reflect the quality of accommodations, services, and overall experience. The cruise should provide great value for the investment while meeting the passengers' expectations.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most beautiful river cruise in Europe. 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!

Statistics

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  • 146 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.

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More information on most beautiful river cruise in europe

River cruises in Europe have become increasingly popular in recent years, offering travelers a unique and luxurious way to explore the continent's stunning waterways. From the Rhine to the Danube, Europe's rivers are home to some of the world's most iconic landmarks and picturesque landscapes. But with so many river cruises to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is the most beautiful. Whether you're looking for breathtaking scenery, cultural immersion, or simply a relaxing getaway, there's a river cruise in Europe that's perfect for you. So, let's dive in and explore some of the most beautiful river cruises that Europe has to offer.

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