Despite widely held impressions, cruises don’t have to involve enormous ships, hordes of guests and cheesy on-board entertainment. There’s a whole other category that might appeal to those eager for on-the-ground experiences.

River cruises combine a traveller’s desire for exploration and discovery with the convenience of having your room follow you through multiple cities and scenic destinations. That means you see a ton of different locations and there’s no need to keep packing and unpacking your luggage or navigating various modes of transit to get from one town to the next. Like traditional cruise ships, you’ll cover longer distances while you’re sleeping, making it a pretty efficient mode of travel. But unlike larger vessels, you’re never out at sea for days on end so there’s always something interesting to peer out to.

Avalon Waterways specializes in river cruises and their European itineraries are among their most popular routes. With plenty of unique destinations along rivers like the Rhine, the Rhône and the Saône, river cruises in Europe combine bustling cities with idyllic countrysides in one continuous itinerary.

One of Avalon’s best European routes is their nine-day Active & Discovery on the Danube. Starting in Budapest and ending in Linz in northwestern Austria, this cruise strikes a good balance between kicking back, getting active and appeasing your inner history nerd. There are a host of included activities at each stop for you to choose from, like kayaking excursions, guided tours of historic castles and wine tastings. But if you choose to simply soak in the view from your comfy room a little longer, we don’t blame you at all.

A room with a view

Avalon Waterways river cruises

Wake up to a beautiful scene every morning with beds that face wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows. They also open up so you can lounge in your suite and feel like you’re on an open-air balcony. Marble countertops, plush towels and your choice of mattress firmness complete the luxe experience.

Whatever floats your boat

Avalon Waterways river cruises

On Avalon’s Active & Discovery sailings, you can take your pick from a handful of activities at each destination. Tour secret spots of a 15th-century castle, canoe through quaint waterways or taste wine made from grapes grown on 1,000-year-old stone terraces.


Avalon Waterways river cruises

Keep your travel plans organized with the AvalonGO app that puts your flights and transfers in once place. The app also includes GPS-navigated maps for each destination along with food and shopping suggestions so you can explore without draining your data.