If you’re thinking of embarking on a European river cruise, chances are you’re considering either the Rhine or Danube. Both these rivers flow through some of the most remarkable scenery in Europe and take in a plethora of historic, culturally-rich towns. But, no matter how hard you try, you can only be on one cruise at a time. To help you make the right choice, here’s all the info you need to decide whether the Rhine or Danube river cruise is the best for you.
Which river cruise is right for you?
Rhine River Cruise
The Rhine River flows from Basel in Switzerland down to Amsterdam, passing through a large chunk of Germany, with stop-offs at Cologne and Strasbourg along the way.
Sprawling vineyards, fairy tale castles and mesmerising fortresses are the highlights you can expect to see as the cruise ship makes its way along the Rhine. With a number of low bridges and over 60 locks, you’ll also get to experience plenty of fascinating examples of river engineering. The only downside to the scenery is that it can be a bit industrial in parts, with the beautiful views tainted by cargo ports and power plants.
- Locally-produced dry to sweet Riesling wines in Strasbourg
- Marksburg Castle: a 700-year-old magical piece of architecture at the start of the Rhine Gorge
- Thriving art scene in Basel, especially at the Art Basel Gallery
- Day trips to WW2 battlefields, such as Colmar
- Cologne Cathedral which took a staggering 650 years to build
Danube River Cruise
The Danube River begins in Budapest and travels through to Passau in Germany, running primarily through Austria. In addition to its starting point, this river takes in 3 other impressive capitals – Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia and Belgrade in Serbia.
A UNESCO-protected landscape of rolling green hills speckled with red-roofed houses and charming historical buildings frames the Wachau Valley section of the Danube River. You’ll get some of the most captivating views in dock after dark, when the dazzling lights of buzzing river towns illuminate the waterways.
- Famous Viennese coffee with a generous slice of Sachertorte in Vienna
- Mesmerising Black Forest in Germany
- Classical music concerts highlighting Mozart and Strauss in Vienna
- Budapest’s Buda Castle on the hill, just a walk away from the cruise dock
- Cycling along the Wachau Valley in Austria
Which river cruise to choose
Choose a Rhine River cruise if…
You want the cosmopolitan energy of Amsterdam; the intriguing art museums of Basel and the picturesque windmills of Kingerdijk scattered amongst quaint European towns and scenic castles.
Choose a Danube River cruise if…
You want a more naturally beautiful experience, with plenty of lush greenery lining the river banks, classical concerts in Vienna, the Old World charm of Budapest and a more tranquil waterway.