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Europe's best rivers for a river cruise

Amanda Angus / 14 May 2015 ( 13 March 2017 )

Whether you’re in love with river cruising or thinking about jumping on board for the first time, Europe offers some incredible rivers just waiting to be discovered on a river cruise

A skyline of Dresden's old town, Germany
A skyline of Dresden's old town, Germany

Cruise some of the world's most beautiful waterways. Find out more here.

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The colours of the Danube

From its origins as a few unremarkable brooks and streams cascading through Germany’s Black Forest, to its final end as a mighty, powerfully flowing river draining into the Black Sea, the Danube has inspired musicians, poets, writers and artists throughout the centuries. 

Popularly known as the Blue Danube thanks to the well-loved waltz by Johann Strauss, it has also been described as a ‘flowing bronze ribbon’ by the Italian writer Claudio Magris, and Jules Verne once considered the title ‘Le Beau Danube Jaune’ (The Beautiful Yellow Danube) for his novel ‘The Danube Pilot’. 

What colours will you see in the river that the national anthem of Bulgaria describes as ‘sparkling’? 

Few rivers can match the sheer variety that the Danube has to offer. Find out more here

The song of the Rhine

As you sail from Koblenz to Rüdesheim on one of our Rhine river cruises you’ll hear start to hear tales of the beautiful and enigmatic Lorelei. 

Variously a mermaid, nymph or enchantress, depending on which version of the story you hear, Lorelei was said to be broken hearted after her beloved betrayed her, and would sing to passing sailors from her lofty perch on the 194-metre-high granite rock that towers above the narrowest point of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen. 

The legend is thought to be inspired by the noise created by strong currents and a small waterfall that together were amplified by the rock’s natural acoustics to produce a murmuring sound – perhaps if you listen carefully as you pass, you might hear the siren’s song…

Discover a fairy-tale world of hilltop castles, wooded hills and lush vineyards on a Rhine river cruise. Find out more here

The history of the Elbe

Anyone with an interest in Europe’s turbulent history need look no further than a river cruise on the Elbe. 

On our Elbe river cruise, Berlin to the City of 100 Spires, you’ll start in Berlin, where every now and then as you stroll around the city you’ll happen upon a line on the floor that marks where the Wall once stood, and you’ll find such fascinating sights as the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. 

On your way to Dresden you’ll be able to explore the forbidding Colditz Castle, notorious for imprisoning the most dangerous Allied officers during World War II. 

Then before you return home, you can explore Prague, which wonderfully remained virtually unscathed by the great wars of the 20th century, and as such boasts an eclectic mix of sights, like a 14th-century stone bridge, Renaissance palaces and gardens and a Cold War bunker.

Discover the Elbe, a river which winds through natural splendour and cities steeped in history. Find out more here

Whichever river you choose to navigate, you’re guaranteed to discover something new!


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.