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Travel advice

Top five European river cruises for the spring

Spring is a beautiful time of year - full of the promise of brighter, warmer days to come, and bringing a wave of new life after the winter months. In fact, travelling during the spring months is a great way to start your year off on a high; making the most of some of the world’s most popular destinations before the crowds arrive during the peak summer months.

Not only can spring travel allow you to beat the crowds, but it can also give you the opportunity to witness some of Europe’s top destinations at their best - from festivals and events to simply soaking in the glorious weather.

Here are our top five European river cruise destinations to get you inspired.


See the floats of Haarlem’s annual flower parade

If there’s an area of the world that truly shines in the spring months, it’s Holland. And what better way to explore it than on our Spirit of the Rhine river ship. Cruise along Dutch & Belgian waterways to some of the region’s most spectacular floral displays, including the Floria flower show in Brussels. Experience the Utrecht Botanical Gardens, as well as marvel at the gardens in Amsterdam or Vondelpark - we’re not exaggerating when we say you’ll witness millions of tulips!

The Douro Valley

The winding Douro river

A Douro river cruise through the Douro Valley gives you the perfect opportunity to enjoy seeing Portugal from the river’s vantage point. Experience the magic of Oporto combined with beautiful, balmy weather, and it’ll be a holiday you’ll never forget.

The Netherlands

Millions of flowers bloom in Keukenhof Gardens

Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof in the Netherlands is one of the world’s largest flower gardens - and a truly must-see experience for any green-fingered holidaymakers. Approximately seven million flower bulbs are thought to be planted in the gardens each year, making it no surprise that Keukenhof is often also dubbed one of the most beautiful spring gardens in the world.

If you’ve never been before, head out on a Dutch river cruise and enjoy a visit to this magnificent place.

The Danube Delta

Keep an eye out for pelicans while cruising the Danube Delta

As the largest river delta wetland in Europe, the Danube Delta is widely accepted as one of the finest wildlife areas in the continent. This biodiverse expanse stretches for hundreds of thousands of hectares, where the Danube meets the Black Sea, and offers visitors a chance to see some of the world’s most impressive wildlife - including the more than 300 species of bird who call the Delta home.

One thing’s for sure, the wide open expanses and majesty of nature will truly take your breath away.


Budapest’s Chain Bridge and Buda Castle

Europe is a paradise for city break lovers - with so many opportunities to explore the depth and history of a country in a seemingly never-ending list of beautiful cities. Vienna in Austria is definitely high on this list, with a rich artistic and musical history against a backdrop of beautiful architectural grandeur. Wander baroque palaces, enjoy some of the countless museums, or catch an evening performance from a renowned musical composer - in Vienna, anything is possible.

But exploring the wider region, through Austria, Slovakia and into Hungary, also offers guests an exciting array of natural wonders and artistic delights. A springtime Danube river cruise gives you the opportunity to witness these tranquil, memorable riverscapes. It’s the perfect introduction to the way of life in this picturesque part of the continent.

Looking ahead to warmer times?

Our spring river cruises are the perfect kick-start to a new year, each offering a unique experience - whether you want to witness the impact of the natural world, or get a taste of history in one of Europe’s famous cities.

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.