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European river cruises: Choosing your river

If you’ve been considering going on a cruise holiday, then you might fancy one of the big hotspots, such as the Caribbean or the Mediterranean. But you probably haven’t considered taking a river cruise along one of Europe’s great rivers.

Several of the largest rivers in Europe span more than one country. So rather than choosing a country of interest, you should research which big river is right for you. You may like to make a list of your top European countries, then work out which river runs through most of them—or at least two of your top choices. Below, find an overview of the biggest rivers and the countries found along their banks.

The Volga
The largest river in Europe, the Volga runs through Russia and feeds into the Caspian Sea. The river cuts through 11 cities, including the capital. As there is so much to do in Moscow, you may like to go through The Lonely Planet’s guide to Moscowand make a few notes before you go. However, many people cruise in order to see several countries in one trip, so perhaps the Volga, which never leaves Russia, won’t appeal to many readers.

The Danube
The Danube is over 2,000 miles long. Along its meandering journey, the Danube visits Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. The River Cruise Line offer specialist Danube cruises, with an impressive range of excursions. Find out more on the site.

The Rhine
Where the Danube travels into Eastern Europe, the Rhine sticks firmly to Central and Western Europe. It begins in Switzerland and passes through Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and finishes in the Netherlands. The German leg of the river is famous for its vineyards, so it’s the perfect cruise for any wine lovers. The Rhine perhaps has the most impressive roster of countries of any European river, but there’s also a good chance the most hardened travellers will have already been to many of the countries on the list and would prefer somewhere less touristy and more exciting places.

The Moselle
The Moselle passes through France, Luxembourg and Germany. It is a tributary of the Rhine, but a substantial river in its own right. A river cruise along the Moselle will show you Germany’s impressive castles, French mountains and Luxembourg’s charming medieval towns. A much smaller river than the others on this list, the Moselle is perfect for those who want to see some of Europe’s smaller towns and cities.Whether you take the Moselle, Rhine, Danube or something else altogether, you’ll see Europe from a completely different perspective. Bon voyage.

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