Making Waves on the Waterways of Europe


A tour of Europe with a twist: on it’s rivers and canals.

Pam Brophy, via Wikimedia Commons



The thought of a European river cruise tour never really crossed my mind before, but it looks like an incredible way to see Europe from a different perspective. The first image that came to mind of a boat tour was of old, narrow boats and cramped quarters but it’s actually far from the truth. Most tours have luxurious boats that are more like floating hotels than boats. With some even offering silver service! That’s a bit out of my league, but there are plenty of options when it comes to touring around on the waterways of Europe.

Exploring the waterways of Europe are a super way to experience countries and catch a spot of relaxation at the same time. The slow pace of cruising is perfect for families, large groups or anyone looking for a more slow paced way of traveling.

The majority of tour companies seem to offer the all in one solution, even sometimes including flights. Usually, food is included and perhaps some drinks. Then there’s also the DIY option where you just rent a boat for around 6 people and you crew it yourself. As with most things, there’s options for everyone and everyone in-between.


Here’s a few top destinations in Europe perfect for a boat cruise :




A trip down the Danube is a highlight of any trip to Germany. The Danube has it’s source in the Black Forest, west of Munich. It flows through Germany into Austria and further into Hungary, Slovakia, Romania before joining the Black Sea. It takes in no less than 4 capital cities.

The longest river in the EU makes for one of the great European cruises. A 14 day trip from Budapest to Bavaria in Western Germany, taking in Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna and the smaller towns along the way, is an incredible experience.


By Hgmichna, via Wikimedia Commons


By High Contrast, via Wikimedia Commons


The Netherlands


Probably the country most famous for it’s waterways, the Netherlands has an abundance of canals and waterways to explore. I’d have to say, exploring the rivers through the Netherlands countryside looks like heaven. You will pass through quaint villages, gorgeous landscapes and into stunning cities.

Not to mention, the city famous for it’s canals, Amsterdam is a fantastic stop. check out the Rjiksmuseum – one of the best art museums in the world. A trip to Anne Franks house is also a recommended afternoon.

By Steve Collis, via Wikimedia Commons



The river Danube also flows through Vienna, a beautiful city full of old architecture and character. The top visits here are the Schonbrunn palace, the Vienna Opera house where if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket, you can experience world class classical music in an incredible setting.

By Hans Peter Schaefer, via Wikimedia Commons



Budapest is fast becoming one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. Benefiting from cheap flights courtesy of Ryanair, it’s never been easier to visit Eastern Europe. Take a walk up to Buda Castle for a great view over the city. Better yet, do a walking tour of the castle hill district to learn more about the history of the castle and surrounding area. Definitely try out a thermal bath, one of Budapests treasures. It is one of the only cities in the world with an abundance of thermal springs underneath.

By Lepeltier.ludovic, via Wikimedia Commons


Whichever route or country you take, if you’re looking for a relaxing break, a boat cruise around Europe will be right up your street.

Have you been on a cruise on the waterways of Europe? Share your comments below!


Enda Glacken is a native of Ireland who loves writing on all topics relating to Ireland, particularly history and folk tales. When he is not busy running The Celtic Jeweller he can be found exploring around Ireland or on a football (soccer!) pitch somewhere.

One response to “Making Waves on the Waterways of Europe

  1. Hey Enda, very nice article dude on the canals of Europe………..these places are so beautiful that if once I go there I’ll never return back to my country.

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