Starting in Budapest, a journey along the Lower Danube will mix scenic cruising with immersive time ashore. There are chances to sail through the extraordinary Iron Gates Gorge; step foot in five different countries (Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania); see the wildlife of the Danube Delta and witness the post-war rebuilding of Vukovar in Croatia including its imposing, but evocative, monument in the shape of a cross, raised to commemorate those who lost their lives in their War of Independence.
Three glittering capital cities are the draw for cruising this section of the Danube – Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava. A beautiful way to spend a week on the rivers, a Fred. Olsen River Cruise itinerary balances these iconic destinations with some lesser-known highlights. You'll have the opportunity to cruise the UNESCOlisted Wachau Valley, which is a jaw-dropping experience and visit the German cities of Passau and Regensburg – both offering historic charm in spades. Austria's Melk Abbey is a must-visit too.
Once a boundary of the Roman Empire, The Rhine is a hub of trade, culture and commerce with many awe-inspiring sights and sites along its banks. From the twin-spired Gothic cathedral of Cologne to the famous, romantic castles perched on the cliffs of the Rhine Gorge, you're sure to be charmed and captivated by a river that has formed borders and battlegrounds from ancient times, shaping so much of Europe's history.
The Main is characterised by the quaint towns that line its banks, and the gastronomic treats you'll find ashore, such as the smoked beer of beautiful brewing town, Bamberg. For those who love to witness extraordinary engineering feats, the Main is an unparalleled source of interest; the river is a lock lover's dream, with our cruises taking in the astounding 106-mile Main-Danube canal, connecting two of Europe's most significant rivers in a miracle of navigational determination.
Even by the lofty standards of European rivers, The Moselle is particularly beautiful. A tributary of the Rhine which winds its way from Koblenz in Germany and through to Luxembourg, it is dotted with picturesque little towns, cenestealing vineyards, imposing castles and lush green valleys. Some parts of the river are size-restricted too, so you won't see many river ships taking this route down to Remich, in fact, Brabant is one of a tiny number of ships sailing into Luxembourg in 2020.
Each spring, the Netherlands bursts into vibrant colour, thanks to the nation's dedication to the simple but stunning tulip. From market squares to the largest flower garden in the world at Keukenhof, this is the best time to visit the country and its beautiful, calming waterways which include the Ijssel and Lek Rivers. With stops at the UNESCOlisted Kinderdijk windmills, an extended stay in bustling capital Amsterdam and a pleasant diversion to medieval Antwerp all to look forward to.