Europe’s maze of rivers crisscross through history rich countries, winding next to major cities and cutting through beautiful landscapes. Take a Europe River Cruise with Avalon Waterways and explore the cities, towns, and cultures that lie around each river bend. Immerse yourself in the raw, rural lands of the Balkan Peninsula, or learn the history of the Holy Land Crusaders. Listen to music from famed composers on the Main River, or indulge upon delicious wines on the Moselle. Discover Roman ruins on the Rhine, or find romance near the Swiss Alps—all wonderful features of an Avalon Waterways Europe River Cruise.
Things to Do on an Europe River Cruise with Avalon Waterways
Danube River – As you traverse the heart of Europe on the Danube you’ll visit some of the most interesting cultural capitals, like Vienna and Prague. Here you’ll see historic palaces and castles while tasting some delicious strudel, all from the nearby convenience of your Avalon Waterways river ship.
Vienna Culture (Vienna, Austria)
Take a guided tour of the major sites in this capital of culture in Eastern Europe. Vienna was home to the Habsburg Empire and here you’ll see the Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, home to the Royals. You’ll also explore the city’s rich musical history with a visit to the Vienna Boy’s Choir and you’ll get the opportunity to attend a concert in the evening. You’ll also want to try the delicious Apfelstrudel at a classic Viennese coffee house.
Benedictine Abbey (Melk, Austria)
Travel to Melk’s cherished Benedictine Abbey, which was built in the 11th century. This is one of the largest abbeys in Europe and houses a collection of 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You’ll wonder at the amazing painted ceilings and stunning marble statues. In the evening you’ll be able to try some of the local wines produced in the Wachau wine region.
Perfect Prague (Prague, Czech Republic)
On an Avalon Waterways tour with a local guide you’ll visit the highlights of this European capital that was miraculously not touched during World War II. You’ll see an astronomical clock built in 1410 and visit the Hradcany Castle Grounds. A special experience is a walk over the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest in Prague. In your free time you can visit the local shops and keep a special eye out for hand cut crystal.
Rhine River – The Rhine offers a romantic journey to cities and towns rich with history. For instance, with Avalon Waterways you’ll see the home of Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the revolutionary printing press, and visit the idyllic canals of Amsterdam.
Explore Strasbourg (Strasbourg, France)
Take a tour of the historical sites in Strasbourg, along with the quaint neighborhoods. On this tour you’ll see a red-sandstone gothic cathedral and admire the stained glass windows. You’ll venture to a district called La Petite France where you’ll see cafés, bistros, small shops and half-timbered houses. From here you can venture into the wine country of Alsace or the nearby Black Forest.
Gutenberg and Wine (Mainz, Germany)
Mainz is the place where Johannes Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press, was born and died. At this stop you’ll visit the Gutenberg Museum which explores the man and his invention which helped spread the written word across the world. This town is also known for holding Germany’s largest wine market in the summer, where many vintners come to sell their varieties.
Dutch Masters (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Sail through the canals of Amsterdam and see the beautiful buildings, the blossoming tulips and the ubiquitous bicycles. Then visit the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gogh Museum to uncover the arresting images of Dutch artists like Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Rubens and Vermeer.
Main River – Germany has played an integral role in the history of the world. Uncover some of its legacy as you visit cities like Miltenberg, Wurzberg and Bamberg.
Miltenberg Tour (Miltenberg, Germany)
Before disembarking your Avalon Waterways river ship for a guided tour of Miltenberg you’ll watch a baking demonstration onboard your ship. Then when you’re on land you’ll discover the quaint and lovely Bavarian town of Miltenberg. You’ll explore the fountain in the Marktplatz and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen.
Wonderful Wurzburg (Wurzburg, Germany)
Discover the beauty of Wurzburg on a guide tour. This town is surrounded by vineyards and sloping hills and guarded by Fortress Marienberg. The highlight of your tour will be the Bishop’s Residenz, which has the largest frescoed ceiling ever painted. You should also try a Schneeball here, the local version of a snowball.
Beautiful Bamberg (Bamberg, Germany)
Enjoy a lecture about the European Union before arriving in Bamberg, which was once home to one of Germany’s most powerful dynasties. As you are guided through the streets you’ll see the 13th century Romanesque cathedral that will amaze you. Then you’ll see the old town hall which was built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River because the bishop wouldn’t give up land for this building.
Moselle River - Visit one of Europe’s oldest cities, Trier, and taste some of the region’s most acclaimed wine in Bernkastle when you sail along the Moselle River with Avalon Waterways.
Roman Trier (Trier, Germany)
Trier is one of the oldest cities in Europe; many believe it’s older than Rome. Here you can take a guided tour that delves into this past where you’ll visit a 20,000-seat amphitheater, the remains of the Roman town and imperial baths. One of the highlights is a visit to Porta Nigra, a part of the fortified gate into the city built during the original Roman settlement.
Reichsburg Castle (Cochem, Germany)
Sitting atop a vine-covered hill is the Reichsburg Castle, which was built in 1,000 AD. This castle is filled with both Renaissance and Baroque furniture and is a great place to take in views of the splendid Moselle River along with the charming town of Cochem, which is famous for its cultivation of the Riesling grape to make Riesling wine.
Wine History (Bernkastel, Germany)
Take a guided walk through the town of Bernkastel which is a picturesque town surrounded by vineyards. On this tour you’ll visit the Town Hall built in 1608 and the pointed house, which is one of the most photographed houses in the area. The pointed house represents the transition from the Renaissance to the Baroque. You will then have time to explore the Wine Museum and try a few of the local wines at the Moselle Vinoteque.
Seine River – Explore the beauty of France, from the beaches of Normandy to Monet’s gardens in Giverny – and of course the exquisite capital Paris – on a Seine River cruise with Avalon Waterways.
Monet’s Giverny (Vernon, France)
Monet, perhaps the most celebrated of the French Impressionists, called Giverny home for 43 years. On this excursion you’ll visit his charming house and spend time in his garden which inspired his most enduring work, his Water Lillies paintings. In his house you’ll also discover more about this creative genius and see some of his collection of Japanese prints, which influenced his work.
Normandy Landing Beaches (Rouen, France)
For Americans, June 6, 1944 will always be known as D-Day. It’s the day when many of our bravest stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight for the world’s freedom over tyranny. On this excursion you will have an opportunity to see Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery to pay your respects. You will also visit the Point du Hoc monument, which commemorates the battle and provides an amazing view of the coast.
Romantic Paris (Paris, France)
It might take you more than a day to truly soak in the splendor of Paris, but on this day-long tour your guide will try their best to hit all the most interesting points. You’ll travel along the Champs Elysees, spend time near the Louvre and get your picture snapped near the Eiffel Tower. You might also visit the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Monmarte and later enjoy the bright and bouncy dancers of the Moulin Rouge.
Rhone and Saone Rivers – Wind your way through the South of France via the Rhone and Saone Rivers with Avalon Waterways. You’ll stop at some of the most quaint and peaceful towns and cities in Europe, like Arles and Avignon
Hotel Dieu (Beaune, France)
This excursion takes you to a hospital built by the chancellor of Burgundy in 1443 to help the people of Burgundy who were ravaged by the One Hundred Years War. Now this hospital is the home to artwork by Van der Weyden, including the famed piece The Last Judgement. This building is also a work of art in its own right with many architectural highlights.
Palace of Popes (Avignon, France)
Explore the Palace of Popes, a complex built in the 14th century to house the popes who at one time moved from Rome to Avignon. Then there was a period known as the Western Schism where the papacy returned to Rome, but another group broke off and continued to have a pope in Avignon. You’ll also see the city’s Pont Saint Benezet, made popular in the song “Sur le Pont d’ Avignon.”
Roman Ruins (Arles, France)
Take a guided tour to the Roman remains that have made Arles a sought after destination. You will visit an amphitheater that dates back to the 1st century and walk along the small streets. You may also choose to take this time to visit spots where Vincent Van Gogh found inspiration. Arles was the painter’s home from 1888 to 1889 and where he created more than 180 paintings.