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During a chilly winter it is sometimes difficult to visualise the first flush of spring, but rest assured it will arrive eventually!
The leaves will begin to bud, the air will fill with that unique springtime aroma and the temperatures will start to climb. Could there be a more ideal time to take a river cruise?
The outdoors are calling your name and we’ve got the perfect destinations for you to explore during those lovely spring months.
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Dutch and Belgium waterways
The Groot-Bijgaarden Castle and Gardens, Belgium.
First on the list is Belgium. Explore the history of this beautiful country and stop in cities like Brussels, Antwerp or Ghent to get a taste of local culture.
Although the Netherlands are often touted as the place to be for tulips, there are a number of beautiful tulip destinations for visitors to Belgium.
The Vredehof Tulip Garden, the Groot-Bijgaarden Castle and Gardens, and the National Botanic Gardens of Belgium are blooming marvelous.
For a touch of Dutch tradition, embark on a Dutch waterway river cruise that visits the Keukenhof Gardens.
Discover brilliant blooms on a cruise of Holland's waterways Find out more here.
The River Seine and other French waterways
The Notre Dame de Paris from the River Seine, Paris.
France is gorgeous in any season, but especially so during spring. Cruising along the Seine is a wonderful and unique way to get better acquainted with France and its history.
Along this integral waterway lies access to Versailles, Normandy and the former home of William the Conqueror in Caen. Plus, who would want to miss out on Paris in springtime?
Take the opportunity to spend a day or two in the city of love and explore everything from the Musee Rodin to the Eiffel Tower. Alternatively, you could cruise through the Provence region, passing vineyards and touring ancient sites.
Admire the picturesque scenery along the Seine during a six-night cruise through France Find out more here.
Aerial view of Danube River, Kahlenbergdorf Village, Donauinsel Island and Vienna International Centre from Kahlenberg Hill in Vienna
The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river and can make for a stunning springtime cruise location.
A cruise along the Danube can be as short as a few days spent sailing from Salzburg to Vienna in Austria or span more than a week as you journey through countries like Germany, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary.
Big cities like Prague and Budapest are always exciting, but also take the opportunity to venture out into small riverside towns like Passau (known as the Venice of Bavaria”), 2,000-year-old Bratislava, or Heviz, which is home to a lovely spa.
Cruise along the beautiful Danube and discover the charms of Vienna Find out more here.
The River Douro, Portugal
The Douro Valley vineyards and view of the Douro River
If you’re looking for a warmer spring cruise, try sailing along the “River of Gold”, the Douro. This river goes through both Spain and Portugal and there is plenty to see and do.
Spring is an especially great time to go, as some amazing festivals take place in Lisbon. The celebration of Saint Anthony, patron saint of the city, is celebrated with costumes, beautiful paper lanterns and a parade down the Avenida de Liberdade.
Most cities in Portugal and Spain have festivals to celebrate their patron saints, especially during April, May and June, so travelers shouldn’t miss the chance to join in the fun.
Explore the many sides of Portugal on a Douro Discovery river cruise Find out more here.
Lake Garda, Venice and other Mediterranean waterways
The Grand Canal in Venice, Italy
Not only is the Mediterranean warm during the spring months, it is also home to some of the most spectacular rivers, ancient sites and cities in the world.
Explore the history of Athens while visiting the Acropolis or compare Italy's Lake Garda with the Venetian Lagoon.
Although Mediterranean cruises often mean more time on the ship, you also get to see a larger quantity of countries and fully experience beautiful places across Greece, Turkey, Italy, Spain and Croatia.
The Mediterranean is the place to go if you’re looking for sunshine and spectacle.
Compare Italy's Lake Garda with the Venetian Lagoon on a fabulous cruise and stay holiday Find out more here.