Think back to the first time you heard your parents mention a family vacation—was it a ski trip, a beach, maybe Disneyworld? More importantly, think back to that anticipation you felt counting down until the big day of departure: It was palatable, you could feel it in the air like a static charge. In any case, two lessons present themselves with this memory exercise. First, the joy of travel transcends age. But, more importantly: It’s never, ever too soon to start getting excited about your next getaway.
Taking a page out of childhood fantasies, your next vacation could easily be touring magical kingdoms—but this time, the original ones. For a few ideas of what you could look forward to, we’ve compiled a helpful smattering of European river cruises certain to awaken your inner child.
Starting in the Swiss Alps and flowing north, the Rhine river traces an idyllic path through the likes of France, Germany and the Netherlands before finishing into the North Sea. Each port downriver proves more enchanting than the last: the sleepy streets of Basel play prequel to the likes of Strasbourg—the cathédrale Notre Dame seemingly a stone’s throw from the fabled Black Forest. Heidelberg castle in Mannaheim serves as a dose of baroque, while the iconic canals of Amsterdam house world-class art museums as well as an undeniable air of fairytale.
Winding through the southeastern French countryside, the Rhône river acts as a conduit to the charmed life you’ve always imagined. The monasteries and botanical displays of Lyon prove especially romantic when viewed during a breezy bike ride through the city, while further downstream, the culinary offerings of Tournon (Valrhona chocolate, fresh goat cheese and wine) will certainly pamper your palate. Marvel at the gothic majesty of Palais des Papes or the serene Ochre Trail while in Avignon, and then head to Arles to partake in a truffle hunt—as with the cruise, the journey is just as much a delicacy as the final destination.
Threaded through the heart of Europe, the Danube river flows approximately 1,700 miles from the Black Forest in Germany to the Romanian shores of the Black Sea. Along the way, expect to find a different shade of wonder with each and every port—just traversing half of Europe’s second-longest river would present the chance to visit four countries. A typical river cruise sees you starting in Budapest—the capital of Hungary, containing a treasure-trove of rich culture—and ending in Vilshofen—the prototypical quaint German town. In between, expect to tour baroque palaces in Bratislava, sample countless strudels in Vienna, discover Benedictine abbeys and medieval castles in Melk as well as the year-round spirit of Oktoberfest within the breweries of Passau. With such a litany of experiences peppered between tranquil periods of river cruising, you’ll find it difficult to pick a favorite moment.
Already anticipating the magic of a European river cruise? Elevate your vacation by speaking with one of our travel agents. Their insights and expertise into each locale promise experiences worth their weight in gold, while their professional connections with industry-leading names in travel provide you with exclusive perks and amenities. Enjoying any of the above river cruises through Adventures by Disney is already certain to be a wonderful getaway; our travel agents can help guarantee an experience tailored to thrilling your inner child.