5 Lesser Known Scenic River Cruise Routes in Europe

by Jane Sophia
Moselle Scenic River Cruise

I promised to cover the lesser known but scenic river cruise routes in Europe when I published about all the 4 major river cruises in Europe.

So, here I am, more excited than ever to tell you about several lesser-known small rivers in Europe (some which are tributaries of the 4 major European rivers). They offer memorable scenic river cruise packages.

Based on the response received for river cruises and ocean sailings, new cruise routes are developed, more remote and untouched islands and small towns are added to the inland tour itineraries. In addition, hitherto unknown comforts and luxuries are offered by cruise ships and yachts.

When you come to know about the cities and countries where the cruise ships dock for an inland tour, you would curse yourself for not knowing such an exciting vacation option. You may forget the plane travel for a few more years till you enjoy sailing on all the rivers in Europe.

Who buys scenic river cruise packages?

I guess the Europeans and more so who are living along the scenic river cruise routes are more likely to enjoy these absolutely enchanting river cruises.

The reason for the local residents that patronize river cruises is mainly because the co-voyagers are also invariably compatriots and there will certainly be a sense of comradery between them.

  1. Moselle Scenic River Cruise

Moselle Scenic River Cruise

Moselle River is a tributary of the Rhine River. In fact, your Moselle scenic river cruise can be extended after it merges with the Rhine in Germany, in a place called ‘Koblenz’. You can cruise further on the German side of the Rhine that is unspoiled and pure. I read that invariably all cruise ships on the Moselle go on for a further cruise on the Rhine too for at least two days because it gives the passengers a wonderful chance to see and appreciate the ancient German castles and vineyards.

Nevertheless, Moselle River is mainly a French river flowing through most of France starting from the Vosges Mountains in northern France.

It flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. This means, your Moselle River cruise would call upon Luxumberg and that gives you an opportunity to enter Belgium too for a short rural Belgium tour. This is possible depending upon the cruise operator’s itinerary.

The Moselle River Cruise call on the following cities:

  • Trier
  • Luxembourg city
  • Bernkastel
  • Cochem
  • Koblenz

I am sure most you have not even heard of these French and Luxembourg cities. Luxembourg that is bordered by France, Belgium and Germany is a lush green place surrounded by, deep ravines guarded by rocky hills and dense Ardennes forest.

The Moselle River cruise can be also be called a ‘wine cruise’ as the scenic river cruise route is through some of the famous wine regions and vineyards such as Riesling, Kerner, and Elbling.

Do you like to know whom to contact for Moselle Scenic River cruise?

Here are a few Moselle river cruise operators:

  • Emerald Waterways
  • Scenic Tours and CroisiEurope
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Viking River Cruises
  • AmaWaterways
  1. Rhône Scenic River Cruise, Europe

Once you tasted the merry of a scenic river cruise, especially a European small river cruise, you would surely want more of it.

Rhône Scenic River Cruise

You will look out for a lengthier scenic river cruise that would last a full two weeks. If so, try a Rhône River cruise because the Rhône when it joins the Saone River, your cruise would stretch up to 800 km! Isn’t that what you are looking out for?

The Rhône River cruise goes along the vicinity of the lovely Mediterranean Sea that you always wanted to set your eyes on.

The Rhône River cruise can also be called a ‘wine country cruise’ as the scenic river cruise routes touch the famous wine towns and Swiss villages namely:

  • Sion
  • Sierre
  • Arles
  • Vienne
  • Tournon-sur-Rhône
  • Avignon
  • Lyon
  • Viviers

The Rhône originates from the Swiss Alps, more exactly from the Rhône Glacier and flows rapidly through the some of the Switzerland, Valais, Geneva, and southeastern France.

Rhône River Cruise is offered by Cruise operators such as:

  • Avalon Waterways
  • APT
  1. Volga Scenic River Cruise, Russia

Flowing for a nearly 3600 km through most of western Russia, you must be wondering why I have classified the Volga River under small rivers of Europe. It is because not many cruise ships sail on this national river of Russia, it is not considered as a main river cruise route.

Certainly, the Volga River is the longest river in Europe though it starts is run from Russia’s Valdai Hills.

The Volga Scenic River cruise covers mostly Russia though I don’t think this river cruise covers the entire 3500 km. You can see the following Russian cities:

  • Volgograd
  • Moscow
  • Kazan
  • Saratov
  • Nizhny Novgorod
  • Astrakhan
  • St. Petersburg

Cruise companies that offer Volga River cruise packages are:

  • Wilderness Travel
  • Express to Russia
  1. Elbe River Cruise, Europe

This European river cruise is your chance to see several cities in central Europe which otherwise you won’t dare to see in your lifetime.

As I kept telling you, a scenic river cruise is the best chance of visiting so many cities, small towns, and villages. You know the European villages and small towns ooze charm and friendliness.

The Elbe River originates from the Krkonoše Mountains, Czech Republic.

It flows through Bohemia, major parts of Germany and emptying in the North Sea at Hamburg’s Cuxhaven,.

Discover all of our itineraries on the Elbe, Germany’s second longest river, and embark on a river cruise that combines nature and culture.

Cities you can see during your Elbe River cruise, Europe:

  • Prague
  • Potsdam
  • Sans-Souci
  • Dresden
  • Wittenberg
  • Meissen

Approach any one of the following cruise operators that offer Elbe River cruise package.

  • Lueftner Cruises
  • Nicko Cruises
  • Viking River Cruises
  1. Loire River Cruise, Europe

Two cruise companies that come to my mind which offer cruise holiday package in Loire River, France.

  • Croisi Europe
  • European waterways

You can explore the real, culture-rich old France as the Lore River flows through France from East to West.

Lore River

From what I gathered, the Croisi Europe is more enthusiastic about the Lore River cruise deal. That promises sightseeing of inland tours in places that include:

  • Châteaux of the Loire Valley
  • Château d’Azay-le-Rideau
  • Châteaux of Chinon
  • Ussé Château

All those French names assure you an authentic French cruise holiday staying at the inns, eating French food and tasting as many French wines as possible.


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