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7 Amazing River Cruises in Europe for 2020

  • Inspiration and holiday ideas for some of the best river cruises of 2020 in Europe including the Rhine, Rhône, Danube and Douro.
  • Cruise ideas for every taste – from discovering the flavours of the Rhône with to the historic and artistic splendours of a Seine, Paris and Normandy cruise.
  • The latest itineraries including must-see stops such as Switzerland’s Lucerne, Burgundy’s wine capital Beaune, or Budapest’s Parliament Building.

With Europe’s beautiful waterways within easy reach, a river cruise in Europe could be the perfect way to indulge your interests – or discover new ones – in 2020. There’s something for everyone. Art, history, gastronomy and fine wines will bring any holiday to life; no less as you meander along the greatest rivers of Europe on a well-appointed ship. Here are seven of the best river cruises for 2020 in Europe.

Fables and Fairy Tales: A Rhine Cruise to Switzerland

Immerse in the spectacular fabled landscape along the Rhine.

The landscapes that hug the Rhine are truly enchanting; it’s no wonder this region has inspired fables and legends for centuries. On a Rhine river cruise, glide past the forested volcanic hills of the Siebengebirge – locale of many Brothers Grimm stories. Travel into the depths of the Black Forest Mountains. Take a scenic mountain railway through breath-taking alpine vistas. And visit Lucerne – often regarded as Switzerland’s most beautiful city.

A gondola ride to the imposing and iconic statue of Germania will certainly be a highlight. And, stopping in beautiful Strasbourg, why not linger amongst the half-timbered houses for a crisp Riesling or delicious Gewürztraminer?

Even in summer months it can get chilly at altitude among the snow-capped peaks of Switzerland. Be sure to bring warm clothes, whichever time of year you travel.

Selected departures for a Rhine Cruise to Switzerland are from May to October 2020.

river cruises 2019 Europe Chapel Bridge Lucerne
Chapel Bridge in Lucerne, Switzerland

Gastronomic Delights: Discover the Flavours of the Rhône with Prue Leith Cruise

Enjoy fine wines and regional food along the Saône and Rhône

Lyon, France’s glorious culinary capital, is the perfect place to begin a cruising holiday in France. Heading briefly up the Saône, don’t miss a tour and tasting at a world-famous winemaker in Beaune, Burgundy’s wine capital. Back down the Rhône, it doesn’t get more magical than Tournon, and sitting down to a superb meal with the world-famous Hermitage vineyards as a backdrop. The Ardèche Gorges are certainly a contender for best highlight. As is the awe-inspiring Pope’s Palace in Avignon: the largest Gothic palace in the world.

Other selected departures for Rhône river cruises are from April to October 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Ardèche Gorges
View from the Ardèche Gorges in France

Christmas Cheer: Danube’s Imperial Cities and Yuletide Markets

Discover an enchanting winter wonderland along the Danube

This has to be one of the most magical river cruises in Europe in 2020. Along the mighty river on a Danube river cruise, you’ll stop at some of Europe’s grandest cities: Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna. They truly come into their own during the Christmas season, with markets galore.

The spires and domes of Budapest set a wintry scene, and the Parliament Building and ancient Castle District are grand highlights indeed. Bratislava also has much to admire: the churches, Christmas cribs and view from the Old Town Hall in particular. Be sure to sample the local delicacies: warming potato pancakes and poppy seed strudel. Mulled wine, perhaps?

Vienna hosts possibly the most delightful Christmas markets in Europe; Schönbrunn Palace is particularly enchanting. Here you’ll find traditional handicrafts and nostalgic toys for your family and friends. But don’t forget to treat yourself!

Selected departures for the Danube’s Imperial Cities and Yuletide Markets cruise are in December 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Vienna Christmas Market
Christmas market in Vienna
Wine Regions: Rhine and Moselle River Cruise

Travel through a world-famous landscape along the Rhine and Moselle. 

Whether you know your Müller-Thurgau from your Pinto Gris, or wouldn’t have a clue, this is a spectacular journey to take if you’re looking at river cruises for 2020 in Europe.

Visit Cochem, the traditional centre of the Moselle wine trade. The view of its multi-turreted castle and vineyard-covered hillside is unforgettable. As is simply gliding past the steep, tree-crested slopes and vineyards that line the river. If you love Roman history, the UNESCO World Heritage protected city of Trier will be a big highlight. And as if one World Heritage site isn’t enough, you’ll pass through the extraordinary Rhine Gorge.  

Arriving back in Cologne, there’s so much rich history to discover: visit the iconic dual-spired Gothic cathedral and be sure to take a city-wide tour to make the most of this historic centre.

Selected departures for the Rhine and Moselle River Cruise are from April to October 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Cochem
Cochem and the Reichsburg Imperial castle atop the hill.
Art and History: The Seine, Paris and Normandy River Cruise

Iconic sites of artistic inspiration along the Seine.

This wonderful journey could be one of the most enriching cruising holidays in France and river cruises on the Seine. Charming Les Andelys is your first stop. The far-reaching view from Château Gaillard, above, evokes the region’s incredible Norman past. In Rouen, visit the gothic cathedral, immortalised by Claude Monet. Down the river in Giverny, you’ll visit Monet’s home and see where he painted his famed Water Lilies; a once-in-a-lifetime experience for any art lover.

In Bayeux, see for yourself the famous tapestry that recorded one of the most significant moments in European history. A visit to Gold Beach, site of the D-Day landings, will be a poignant experience.  

What could be better than finishing this inspiring trip than a day in Paris? Visit the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Élysées and Sacré-Coeur – and explore areas such as Monmartre, made famous by the Impressionists. 

Selected departures for The Seine, Paris and Normandy River Cruise are from April to October 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Les Andelys
Les Andelys commune on the banks of Seine, Upper Normandy
Medieval Charm: Medieval Germany River Cruise

Discover enchanting historic towns along the Main and Danube.

For an enchanting escape, this has to be one of the best cruising holidays Germany has to offer and one of the most wonderful river cruises in Europe. In Mainz, a visit to the colossal six-towered 12th-century cathedral – the Martinsdom – sets the theme. And as if that’s not enough history for one day, at the Gutenberg Museum you can see two original Gutenberg Bibles; these are among the first books ever printed.

Beautiful Wertheim, with its 12th-century castle and Old Town will enchant as you pass. As will the Bavarian city of Würzburg, which dates to the 10th century and boasts the impressive Marienberg Fortress and Baroque palace, the Residenz. Bamberg is also a true gem – dating to the 11th century, it’s one of Europe’s prettiest small towns. 

A final stop in Nuremberg will round off this spectacular trip – it’s also your last chance to stock up on delicious German treats!

Selected departures for the Medieval Germany River Cruise are from May to September 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Bamberg
Bamberg City Hall building perched over the river
Cultural Delights: Douro, Porto and Salamanca River Cruise

Find adventures and new friendships along the Douro.

A journey down the Douro, one of the most picturesque rivers in Europe, will make 2020 a year to remember. Vibrant Porto is the perfect place to make new friends – perhaps over coffee and a freshly baked pastel de nata.

A visit to Castelo Rodrigo is a noteworthy highlight; this 12th-century walled village is tucked away in the highland ranges bordering Spain and was once a resting place en route to the Santiago de Compostela. In Salamanca, you’ll have a chance to explore extraordinary cathedrals, tiny streets, medieval squares, traditional shops, gardens and marketplaces. The main square, the Plaza Mayor, is unmissable.

Any trip to this colourful region on a Douro river cruise wouldn’t be complete without a tour of a world-famous port producer and live flamenco and traditional music performances; experiences made all the more wonderful, shared with new friends.

Selected departures for the Douro, Porto and Salamanca River Cruise are from March to November 2020. Exclusive departure dates for Solo Travellers: 8th and 13th November 2020.


river cruises 2019 Europe Porto
Porto Old Town on the Douro River
River cruises 2019 in Europe – start your adventure 

Inspired to see Europe from a new perspective? Our collection of river cruises in Europe for 2020 explore all the major rivers and enchanting stops, with a cruise tailored to every taste. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.