Have you been thinking about traveling in Europe? Don't' forget to include river travel in the various options that you should look at. Not doing so would be a shame, as you would be missing out on one of the most pleasant and surprising ways to discover the continent.
River travel is probably one of the most comfortable and stylish ways to travel, and going on a river cruise in Europe will be the experience of a lifetime for you, whether you go alone, with one or more friends, with your significant other, or decide to go with members of your family.
On a river trip you have access to inland areas of countries that big ships just can't get to, and you get to sail along serene waterways, rather than to drive along congested highways. Your comfortable hotel travels with you and you usually moor very centrally in most towns that you will visit.
It is true that ships for European river travel are smaller than ocean liners, but most are very comfortable and quite roomy, and there are several that have a movie rooms and fully equipped restaurants, as well as a dancing area. Plus, of course, viewing areas to look at the lovely landscape around you.
Before looking at the boating companies that you may want to book your trip with, it would make sense to decide on the length of your voyage, as well as on the location that interests you and on the number of amenities that you would expect to come with your package.
As for the length, you can find anything from three days cruised to break up a longer holiday to leisurely four-week trips down major rivers such as the Danube. One or two weeks are pretty standard lengths.
As for the location, trips tend to concentrate on the bigger rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube and the Seine, but there are also lesser-known alternatives, such as the tributaries of the Elbe in Germany, the Po in the north of Italy, or the rivers of Poland and European Russia.
Another crucial thing to consider is the season of the trip. The south of France or the flower-growing areas of Holland are great for a late spring or summer trip, for instance.
Trips in Germany are great in the winter months, especially if you like a traditional Christmas atmosphere and homely cooking and baking.
Concerning the level of comfort, you will find that there are a great number of alternatives, from Spartan drive-your-own houseboat hires to luxury cruise ships that have a lot in common with high-end hotels, but that retains an individual character.
Tell us if you have ever done an European river travel and if you have shared your experience with us.