Below are some of the top attractions of river cruises in Europe. Click the links below to see photos and money-saving offers.
Rhine River cruises navigate the Rhine Gorge, a scenic stretch of the river dotted with castles and vineyards. Among them are Castle Marksburg, above the town of Braubach near Koblenz, and Castle Katz in St. Goarshausen. Many itineraries stop in Strasbourg in France's Alsace region, where the attractive Petite France district is a favorite spot for a stroll. View Rhine River deals.
Danube River cruises sail into Old World cities like Budapest, which is divided by the river, and Vienna, where sightseeing excursions take in St. Stephen's Cathedral, the opera house and the avenue known as the Ringstrasse. The Danube converges with the Ilz and the Inn rivers in the German city of Passau. Perched on a river bluff, 900-year-old Melk Abbey in Austria is another highlight. View Danube River deals.
You can visit festive outdoor Christmas markets in towns along the Danube and Rhine on departures in late November and December. Sausages sizzle on grills, carolers sing and vendors' booths are decorated with evergreen garlands and white lights. View holiday deals.
Seine River voyages start with sightseeing in Paris and travel west to visit Giverny (former home of artist Claude Monet), D-Day landing sites in Normandy and the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. View Seine River deals.
Saone River cruises meander through France's Burgundy region, where passengers can learn about the region's wine industry in Chalon-sur-Saone and see the Hospices of Beaune, a 15th-century hospital complex famous for its intricately detailed, colorful roofs. In Tournus, passengers spend time at St. Philibert Abbey, a Romanesque church. View Saone River deals.
The Rhone River runs through France's Provence region to the Mediterranean coast; Rhone cruises usually are combined with Saone sailings. Ships call at the walled city of Avignon for visits to a 14th-century papal palace and at Lyon to see its Roman remains and Old Town. View Rhone River deals.
Douro River trips sail through the grape-growing regions of Portugal. Itineraries typically spend time in the city of Porto, a longtime center for the port wine trade, and at the Baroque-style Mateus Palace and gardens in Vila Real. View Douro River deals.
In spring, the tulip fields of Holland brim with colorful blooms. View them on a "tulip time" river cruise, which includes a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, where 7 million bulbs are planted annually. These sailings take place in March and April and also sail to ports in Belgium. View tulip time deals.
There are many other rivers in Europe and around the world that offer unforgettable sights, like the Po in Italy, the Main and Moselle in central Europe, the Mississippi in the U.S., the Mekong in Southeast Asia and the Nile in Egypt. To learn more about trips on these and other waterways, visit www.RiverCruise.com.