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Castles, Chocolate, and Cobblestones

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

Excursion Ideas on a European Civer Cruise

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Would you love to take an extraordinary European river cruise, and journey through time, cultures, and landscapes? Of course you would. I LOVE river cruising! River cruises are an incredible way to feel immersed in local experiences, and connect with your surroundings in life-changing ways.

River cruises happen on major waterways throughout Europe, Asia, Egypt, and even South America. Today I’m highlighting European river cruise excursions; here are seven types of excursions and experiences you can have on your next river cruise in Europe.

1. Explore fascinating historic sites.

Discover the rich history of Europe as you visit towns and cities along the river. Travel along the Danube and marvel at ancient ruins like the Roman fort of Carnuntum in Austria. Visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam, follow in the von Trapp family's footsteps through their filming of “The Sound of Music,” or discover the fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. See the windmills and tulips in the Netherlands, and the cathedrals along the Rhine River.

2. Indulge in Culinary Delights

This is one of the most fun perks of a river cruise! Not only do you get to eat some of the best food you’ve had in your life onboard, specially crafted to match the region you’re sailing through, but along the way you get to disembark and explore the tastes of the towns and villages you visit. Delight in a food tour through Lyon, France, the gastronomic capital of the world, where you can sample local cheeses, pastries, and the famous Lyonnaise cuisine. Indulge in tapas tastings and wine pairings in charming Spanish towns like Seville and Porto. Join a cooking class in Italy's culinary heart, Bologna, and learn the secrets of traditional pasta-making. Enjoy a chocolate-tasting (and making) class in Brussels, Belgium.

3. Have Some Outdoor Adventures

Get ready to explore Europe's breathtaking landscapes and charming villages on exciting outdoor excursions. Explore beautiful cycling paths along the Danube, or Rhine River. Pedal your way through Vienna, cycling along the famous Ringstrasse to see iconic landmarks such as the Vienna State Opera and Hofburg Palace, while enjoying the city's charming atmosphere.

Go hiking in the Swiss Alps, kayaking or canoeing activities in the Douro Valley in Portugal, or enjoy an outdoor picnic along the Seine River. And if you’re in Venice, you can’t miss taking an iconic gondola ride!

4. Engage in Creative Workshops.

Unleash your inner artist as you participate in hands-on workshops offered during your river cruise. Join a mask-making workshop in the enchanting city of Venice, where you'll learn the craft from local artisans and create your own Venetian masterpiece. Head to the Portuguese city of Porto for pottery classes, where you can shape clay into unique creations inspired by the country's rich artistic heritage.

5. Seek Thrills and Adrenaline.

Experience heart-pumping adventures that will leave you with an unforgettable adrenaline rush. Dive into water sports in Croatia's stunning Adriatic coastline, exploring hidden coves and swimming in crystal-clear waters. Kayak along Europe's rivers, such as the breathtaking Danube, immersing yourself in nature's tranquility while enjoying the thrill of paddling on the water. Feel the adrenaline rush as you paraglide above the picturesque landscapes of Austria's Alps or Switzerland's Interlaken.

6. Connect With Nature.

Immerse yourself in Europe's breathtaking natural wonders on nature-oriented excursions. Take scenic hikes through the Swiss Alps, where you can admire stunning vistas of snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. Explore the natural beauty of Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park, known for its cascading waterfalls and emerald-green lakes. Spot wildlife along the banks of the Danube in Austria's Donau-Auen National Park, home to a diverse range of plant and animal species.

7. Unwind with Spa Treatments.

Many river cruise ships have onboard spa facilities where you can unwind and pamper yourself. These spas often offer a range of treatments such as massages, facials, body wraps, and more. Relax in the serene atmosphere, rejuvenate your mind and body, and indulge in some well-deserved self-care. Some ships offer hot tubs or jacuzzis, and others have saunas onboard. If you’re cruising on the Danube, be sure to make time for the thermal Baths in Budapest. Relax in the naturally heated pools, saunas, and steam rooms.

Every stop on your extraordinary European river cruise offers a new adventure. River cruise excursions offer a diverse range of experiences, allowing you to immerse yourself in history, culture, nature, and culinary delights along your journey, and in relaxation and spa treatments on and off the ship.

I’d love to help you book your next amazing river cruise adventure! If you’re interested in helping commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Beaches of Normandy in 2024, I’d invite you to go with me and my husband Sean on a French river cruise, Oct. 19-26, 2024.

Highlights of our 2024 French river cruise:

- Flying into and home from Paris – you can spend extra time there either before or after the cruise.

- The Beaches of Normandy. Spend a whole day immersed in the history and majesty of this sacred ground.

- The birthplace of Joan of Arc. Visit and explore the town of Rouen, which has been around since about 1000 BC, and learn all about Joan of Arc standing up for her ideals, and being burned at the stake for them.

- Claude Monet’s gardens. Spend time in the beautiful gardens and ponds which belonged to Claude Monet. These have been preserved and maintained, and are a wonderful tribute to the Impressionist artist.

- Cruise with our very own French chef! My friend Romina Rasmussen, owner of the recently-closed French bakery Les Madeleines, will be joining us on our cruise. We’ll enjoy all of her insights on France (where she has spent a LOT of time), and delve into wonderful culinary delights in the region! We’ll participate in workshops, demos, and tastings with the fabulous Romina throughout the week.

Click here for more details!


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