Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways

8 Reasons Why This River Cruise Is the Best Way to See Europe By ShermansTravel Editors

Avalon Waterways' 15-day Magnificent Europe river cruise is the kind of trip that will make you the envy of your friends and family. You aren't heading to just one or two places in Europe; you're getting a close-up, insider view of five countries – Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, and Holland – as you cruise the calm waters of Central Europe's most famous rivers.

On the Danube, you'll explore some of Europe's most important historical cities, medieval villages, and half-timbered towns. The Rhine adds the additional attractions of slope-side vineyards and so many castles you'll think you're in a fairytale. And you cap your cruise in Amsterdam, a place fascinating both historically and as a modern metropolis.

Here's why this river cruise is the best way to see Europe:

1. You'll explore world-class cities and delightful towns.

We all have our bucket lists, but it's rare to be able to hit several of the targets in one fell swoop. On this itinerary, you'll stroll the magnificent boulevards of Vienna, admire the famous bridges that connect ancient Buda with Pest and explore the canals of Amsterdam. Riverside cities such as Cologne and Nuremberg, medieval fortresses and magnificent churches bring lasting impressions and you may find yourself marveling how one route could possibly feature so many picture-perfect towns.

2. You'll enjoy a front-row view of castles and vineyards.

Getting there is half the fun and from your Avalon Waterways ship – even through the wall-to-wall panoramic windows that transform each suite into an open-air balcony – you will be presented with an array of incredible sites including the vineyards of Austria's famous Wachau Valley and castles that cling to cliffs along the Rhine. Have your camera ready!

3. You'll gain amazing insights.

Avalon's certified local guides will lead the way as you visit places like the 11th-century Benedictine Abbey in Melk, Austria, and the Gothic, twin-spired Cologne Cathedral, one of several UNESCO World Heritage Sites en-route. You'll marvel at the insight these guides provide into local history and culture.

4. You can walk, run, or pedal your way around.

In the riverside towns and cities, there's time to do some walking, jogging, or hiking on your own. Or explore by bike – your ship has several available onboard for guests to borrow. Group biking excursions are also an option in Amsterdam and other select locations.

5. But also, you can completely relax.

We all lead busy lives, but in this case your vacation has been expertly planned. Avalon Waterways is part of the Globus family of brands, a tour operator that is renowned for its extensive experience with land vacations and comprehensive customer support. There's no need to consult guidebooks or think about where you're going to have your next meal. Everything is taken care of for you. On the ship, you can kick back with a good book or simply admire the passing river scenery – perhaps while you sip a cappuccino in the library, or lounge in the whirlpool on the sky deck.

6. You'll eat local.

Views of vineyards are part of the experience and so is the opportunity to sip the renowned Austrian and German wines that those vineyards produce, with complimentary tastings both shipboard and on shore. German beer tastings are on the menu too (try the Kölsch pale lager in Cologne!) as are local specialties like bratwurst and wiener schnitzel.

7. You'll be immersed in culture.

Avalon’s Local Favorites℠ introduce you to local culture and cuisine – from intimate performances and onboard discussions taught by local artisans to onshore experiences that introduce you to the traditions of the town. You might find yourself joining a folk dance or clinking steins in a beer hall – here, you aren’t just an observer; you’re part of the scene.

8. And you'll still feel completely at home.

With fewer guests on board your intimate ship, it's easy to find like-minded people and make fast friends. As you explore exciting new destinations, you'll be in expert hands and have friendly, familiar people to share the experience with. Don't be surprised if your dinner conversation includes discussions of the amazing things you saw that day.

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