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Travel advice

What is the best river to cruise?

When it comes to river cruises, you can easily find yourself spoilt for choice. The world is full of beautiful rivers offering cruisers the chance to take to the water and explore - whether you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, a relaxing sail, or the chance to explore a myriad of historical sites.

If you’re thinking about trying a river cruise for the first time, or perhaps you want to branch out and explore somewhere new, then we’re here to help you decide where to head next.

We’ve enlisted the help of some top river cruise influencers and specialists to share their favourite rivers to cruise and why, to help get you feeling inspired.

The Danube

The beautiful Wachau Valley

Laura Pedlar, who runs the Cruise Lifestyle blog, says she would highly recommend a Danube river cruise for first-time river cruisers, and those who enjoy European city breaks. She explains why here:

"Well-known ports of call on a Danube River cruise include Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, and the scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley is breathtaking. The beauty of a river cruise is that the riverscape is constantly changing. I particularly enjoyed waking up in the morning to watch the scenery go by from the comfort of my bed."

"One of my favourite river cruise destinations is Budapest. River cruise ships stop in the heart of destinations and I loved the fact that I could walk off the ship and straight into the city to explore. The view from Fisherman's Bastion is worth the effort!"

"One of my top tips for anyone new to river cruising would be to pack some comfortable shoes. Many river cruises offer walking tours, so a comfortable pair of trainers or shoes will help you to enjoy your time without worrying about tired feet."

The Rhone

The bridge at Avignon

Running from the Swiss Alps through to southeastern France, the Rhone is one of Europe’s major rivers - and a popular choice for cruisers. Emma from Cruising Isn’t Just for Old People, loves exploring the Rhone on her river cruise adventures, saying:

"My favourite river to cruise is the Rhone river. There are so many amazing destinations to visit, such as Arles, Lyon and Avignon, all of which are full of history and culture. Due to the fact that most destinations on this river are relatively close together, this means that the ship is docked for much longer than on other rivers. This gives passengers more time exploring each destination and the opportunity to explore in the evenings and early mornings, which might not be an option on other rivers. When docking we were always located centrally, which made it very easy to go and take a bike ride or a walk."

The Rhine

Cologne Cathedral

Flowing through six countries, the Rhine is an impressive river - one of the longest in Europe, in fact. Cruising with Matthew’s set off on a river cruise along the Rhine, and now would recommend it to everyone.

"I’ve only had the chance to cruise the Rhine from Cologne to Amsterdam, but I absolutely loved it! Being able to view Cologne’s Cathedral from the river was such a unique experience. My trip was in November, so although it was quite chilly, I stayed up on deck – it was so unique to be able to gently meander through towns and villages as the sun set (even passing Dusseldorf!). Then, after a good night's sleep, you’re in the centre of Amsterdam. It’s incredible that you get the chance to be right in the centre of such historic cities every day."

Getting ready to set sail?

We’re always adding incredible new itineraries to our selection of available river cruise holidays, meaning that there’s never been a better time to take to the water. Why not take a look at what our bespoke Spirit of the Rhine ship has to offer?

Browse our river cruises today and find your next river cruise holiday today.

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.