River cruising may just be the most authentic, inspiring way to see and experience the world today.
On the world’s rivers, travelers bend and wind through historic and dramatic landscapes reminiscent of impressionist paintings depicting vineyards, castles atop hilltops and medieval villages from the days of yore. And while river cruisers enjoy access to thriving cities like Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Amsterdam and Prague byway of the world’s rivers, they also have the opportunity to step back into history and experience lesser-known towns and hidden landmarks time – and most travelers – have passed by.
We recently asked our Avalon Waterways’ Cruise Directors to tell us about their favorite, off-the-beaten-path places and experiences found along Europe’s rivers. Here are their top 9:
Bourgogne, France: Wine abounds throughout France but it’s not every day you get a chance to sample Chardonnay in the salubrious grounds of a 12th-century castle about the Rhone River. – Cruise Director Anthony Jenkins
Viviers, France: Is there anything better than ending a day of cruising by Southern French villages and chateaus with a picnic in the lavender fields near the famous Madame Sevigne Chateau Grigan? – Cruise Director Anthony Williamson
Normandy, France: Where else in the world can you explore Monet’s home and garden (with its famous water lily pond), hike up to Richard the Lionheart’s castle, admire a countryside donning historic thatched roofs and walk through World War II history on landmark beaches? – Cruise Director Yvette Laurent
Regensburg, Bavaria (Germany): A walk through the city of Regensburg will take a visitor to bygone centuries. The Porta Praetoria … the original Roman Gate … the Old Stone Bridge … the Gothic Cathedral and the house of Oskar Schindler … This is a very special place. – Cruise Director Christine Bremberger
Rothenburg, Germany: Rothenburg is Germany’s best-preserved, walled medieval town. It’s an absolute must-see. Here, travelers stroll through cobblestoned streets and around every corner, they will enjoy a picturesque view. If I could only visit one place in all of Germany, I would pick Rothenburg. – Cruise Director Mark Wismeijer
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic: If you have ready Grimm Brothers fairytales, you have already been to Cesky Krumlov in your childhood dreams. Time has stopped in this town where colorful buildings stand tall, cobblestone streets are small and crooked and the bridges are romantic. – Cruise Director Sabine Klockner
Les Andelys, France: This is a place where time has stopped and history has remained intact. – Cruise Director Jean Loup Domart