a castle on a hill

The Beautiful Rivers of Europe

Europe is home to some of the planet’s most charming, beautiful rivers – waterways which stretch through awe-inspiring regions against simply stunning backdrops. From tiny, untouched Medieval villages to geographical phenomena; the rivers of Europe explore some of the finest regions the continent has to offer.

Every one of the continent’s major rivers possesses its own unique personality and charm – each distinctly different from one another. So, here we’re taking a look at the beautiful rivers of Europe, and the highlights they have to offer.


The mighty Danube River offers a front-row seat to the amazing history of Europe, winding through some of the continent’s major settlements and sites. Passing through capital city after capital city, the Danube offers a true insight into the history of Europe. Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava and Belgrade are just a few of the cities perched on the life-giving banks of this incredible waterway.

danube river

One of our favourite European river cruise itineraries is the Danube Explorer, where guests spend eight wonderful days travelling between the beautiful city of Passau and Eastern Europe’s bustling cosmopolitan hub, Budapest. For those who want to get closer to the local sights and sounds, a guided hike to Budapest’s iconic Buda Hill is included as one of our optional EmeraldACTIVE activities.


The Main River offers one of Europe’s most scenic river cruise routes. Picturesque medieval towns and villages line the river’s banks and give way to lush green forests and spectacular views of hilltop castles and churches. The longest river lying entirely in Germany, the Main provides wonderful insight into this spectacular nation.

Guests on our Legends of the Moselle Rhine and Main river cruise can enjoy the many cultural highlights of the Rhineland and Bavaria on-board one of our luxury Star-Ships. Departing in the east of Germany on the Rhine-Main-Danube canal, this river cruise weaves calmly west and along the Main, stopping at the picturesque village of Miltenberg. Here, guests are free to join a guided tour of Wertheim Castle. More active guests can opt for a guided hike instead.


The iconic Rhine River is renowned for its evocative beauty and exceptional power. A symbol of Germany, the Rhine winds through some of the country’s iconic towns, exceptional settlements and wondrous scenery.

rhine luxury river cruises

A journey along this majestic waterway on the Jewels of the Rhine river cruise is the perfect way to explore some of Central Europe’s historic cities, including Cologne, Koblenz and Basel. The tour includes several outstanding Rhine river excursions for those keen to delve deeper into the history of the region, including a guided bike tour of Amsterdam.


The tranquil Rhône River cuts a lazy, leisurely path through the heart of France towards the Mediterranean Sea. From its source in the French Alps down to the sunny Mediterranean where it empties into the sea, the Rhône dissects beautifully peaceful stretches of French countryside, and passes through many of the nation’s famed wine regions.

Explore ancient landmarks and indulge in regional delicacies along the Saône and Rhône rivers on our Sensations of Southern France tour. You will travel between Lyon and Arles, stopping to explore some of the area’s most iconic and culturally significant landmarks, including the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) of Avignon. Of course, no visit to the South of France would be complete without the opportunity to sample some of the region’s wines. On day five of the tour, guests are invited to join a regional wine tasting on-board the ship.


The River Douro runs alongside some of Portugal’s legendary riverside wine lodges and hillside vineyards. From the sun-drenched slopes that stretch as far as the eye can see to the traditional wine caves of Porto, everything about this rousing waterway evokes a sense of wonder at the long and fruitful history of the region.

Douro luxury river cruises

Our custom-built River Douro cruises give guests the opportunity to discover the history of this much-loved wine-producing region and include a range of unique EmeraldPLUS and EmeraldACTIVE activities. A highlight of the Secrets of Douro river cruise is a visit to the Douro Museum, where visitors can learn more about the fascinating wine-making heritage of the region.

For the chance to experience the highlights of the beautiful rivers of Europe on-board a luxury Emeralds Cruises river cruise, click here to browse our collection of river cruises, or talk to our friendly sales team on 855 444 0161.