Reading time 6 minute read

Which are the best rivers of Europe and why? In this article I will introduce you to the 13 most magnificent rivers in Europe and tell them why they are worth visiting. Ready to learn more? Keep reading…

13 Best Rivers of Europe

Rivers of Europe

Are you enthusiastic about rivers, waterfalls, or natural water reserves? Looking for the best rivers of Europe to explore? Well, worry not; this article is your perfect tour guide. Here I will present you with the list of the 13 best rivers of Europe. 

The Thames 

Rivers Of Europe
The Thames River By elxeneize

How is it possible? It is a category of the best rivers of Europe, and we don’t talk about the Thames. Agreeably the Thames is at the top of our list because London is among the most popular cities in Europe. The Thames runs from Gloucestershire and falls into the North Sea at Essex. Its length is 346 km / 215 miles. 

The trail covers some popular cities like Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, and Surrey. On its trail in London, you will see famous attractions. Passing under the London Bridge, you can enjoy the sight of the London Eye. Other remarkable spots you can view while on the route are: Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, House of Parliament, and Shakespeare’s Globe. 

The Rhône 

Rivers Of Europe
Rhone River by sam741002

The Rhone being the second-largest river in France, makes second on my list of the best rivers of Europe. From the Swiss Alps, Rhone passes some of the most exquisite landscapes of France before setting in the Mediterranean. Its course length is 813 km / 505 miles.

For someone who loves food, this route is best to cruise. It moves past Lyon, the food paradise of France. Which has around 1500 eateries. Most of them are located on the bank of the river. Next, you can witness the mesmerizing lavender fields in Burgundy. Making the river bank look like a soft purple blanket. The course has picturesque beauty throughout. The notable places that it covers are Provence and Paris. 

The Danube 

Rivers Of Europe
Danube river by stevanovicigor

The next on our list of the best rivers of Europe is The Danube. It is known to be the second-largest river in Europe. It arises from Germany’s Black Forest and passes through ten countries. A few are Austria, Hungary, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Finally merges into the Black Sea of Romania. Its total length is 2,870km / 1,784 miles. 

The Danube is known for poets and composers. Well credit goes to its scenic beauty. Definitely making it one of the romantic trails. The hypnotizing historic beauty along the route takes you back to ancient times. Covering centuries old villages, fortresses, and castles. If you are being selective and want to visit a few sites. Then go to Melk Abbey, Wachau Valley, and Budapest. 

The Rhine 

Rivers Of Europe
Rhine River By Kinek00

Talking about the best rivers of Europe. One can surely not skip The Rhine. It begins its route from the Swiss Alps. On the way, it crosses Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and France. Finally, it ends at the Black Sea near Amsterdam. Its complete trail is 1,233km / 766 miles long.

The route is occupied with scenic landscapes particularly of Switzerland. A perfect course to take your love interest with you. The river exudes romance, and the beautiful track is a bonus. You can view the UNESCO city of Literature Heidelberg. Here we will definitely mention Amsterdam’s captivating windmills and flower fields. That will bring the child out of you. Other noteworthy attractions on the river are Worm Cathedral,  The Palatinate Forest, Wiesbaden, and The museums of Mainz. 

The Douro 

Rivers Of Europe
Douro River by korneevamaha

Moving forward with the best rivers of Europe. Next comes The Douro, which starts its trail at Spain’s Serra de Urbión mountains. It passes through Spain and Portugal. It ends its journey at the Atlantic in Porto, Portugal. The Douro has 895 km / 556 miles long route. 

The route explores the diverse cultures of Spain and Portugal. If you are a wine lover, well, this is your dream trail to cruise. Throughout the trail are fields of grapes. You can find a wine at any stop on the way. Several cruises offer wine tasting on the route. Depending on the cruise program you choose,  you may visit six famous bridges. Furthermore, two of the UNESCO-listed sites are located on this river. One is the medieval Ribeira Quarter, and the other is a heritage site at Salamanca. One can not miss the Pombaline architecture of Lisbon. 

Not to forget the heavenly sunset in Portugal, which makes it a “river of gold.”

The Seine 

Rivers Of Europe
Seine River By photocreo

Listing the best rivers of Europe and not including the Seine is unfair. The Seine takes its course from the Northwest of Dijon, France. It crosses some of the world’s famous cities and architects. The river falls into the English Channel at Le Havre. The Seine is 780 km / 485 miles long.

Planning to take your love interest with you on the cruise? Well, a perfect choice would be The Seine. The Seine passes through the city of love, Paris, where you encounter the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Grand Palais, the Parliament, Institut De France, and the Notre Dame cathedral. The river takes you to the Jumieges Abbey of Normandy. That captivates you with its mysterious ruins. This is a perfect romantic gothic trail.

The Po 

Rivers Of Europe
The Po River by GJoCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Po is the longest river in Italy and fits well in our listing of the best rivers of Europe. It outsets its trail from the Cottian Alps in western Italy. Passing through several Islands, it ends its course at the Adriatic Sea. Its trail is 652 km / 405 miles long. 

If you are planning to dive into Italian culture and its essence. This is your call to book a cruise on The Po. One of the best passages to explore Italian culture. The voyage begins from Venetian canals. Passing through the islands of Murano and Burano. Among many cities that the river crosses, particular ones are Ferrara, Venice, Piacenza, Ravenna, Bologna, and Mantua.

The Guadalquivir 

Rivers Of Europe
The Guadalquivir River by sevillamoving.com

Keep scrolling to learn about the best rivers of Europe. Now we are talking about The Guadalquivir. It begins its magnificent journey from Seville, Spain. Being the second largest river in Spain, its routes cover many cities of Spain. It ends its journey by falling into the Atlantic Ocean. The Guadalquivir has a length of 657 km / 408 miles. 

En route to this river will let you pass through major historical cities. Hypnotising you with the captivating beauty of ancient architecture through various monuments and bridges. The most popular landmarks this river witnesses are Plaza de Toros, Monastery of Santa Maria de las Cuevas, Towers of Plaza Espana, and Barrio de Triana. While at the river, you can enjoy the beautiful sunset of Cordoba on the Roman Bridge.

The Elbe 

Rivers Of Europe
Elbe river by NomadSoul1

The best rivers of Europe listing is incomplete without The Elbe. Beginning from the Krkonose Mountains in the Czech Republic. While passing through major cities of Germany, it meets the North Sea at Hamburg. The Elbe’s length is 1094 km / 680 miles. 

The journey on the Elbe is one of a kind. On the one hand, the scenic beauty of  Saxony vineyards and the Saxon Alps captivates you. On the other hand, the charismatic architecture and culture of Europe hook you with its mysteries. The towns of Magdeburg and Dresden are worth mentioning here. You can enjoy the first European water tunnel, the Elbe Tunnel, in Hamburg. The major cities you will pass through are Berlin, Potsdam, and Prague.

The Dnieper 

Rivers Of Europe
The Dnieper River NovoklimovCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While on the go, you can not miss the third longest river in Europe, aka the Dnieper. Starting from the Valdai Hills of central Russia. Passing through most of Ukraine, it finally meets the Black Sea. It is 2200 km / 1400 miles long. 

It certainly is one of the best rivers of Europe. The passage is filled with beautiful hills, forests, enthralling cities, and ancient hamlets. The major enroute attractions are Trukhaniv island, Kiev, Kherson, and Odessa. Cruising through the Dnieper is the best way to explore the modern and ancient essence of Ukraine. 

The Main 

Rivers Of Europe
The Main By  JEFF & LOUISE DAVIS

Next comes The Main. It arises from the Fichtel Mountains of Bavaria. Passing through central Germany, it meets the River Rhine at Russelsheim, Hesse. The total length of the Main is 525 km / 326 miles. 

If you are looking to explore Germany’s countryside. This is the route made for you. Enrouting, the main, will let you witness the scenic villages, forests, and hilltops. A few of the attractions along the bank of this river are the Town Hall of Bamberg, Old town, and Market Square of Nuremberg. The trail shows the diversity of Germany, introducing many cultures and spices and making it one of the best rivers of Europe for sure. 

The Moselle

Rivers Of Europe
Moselle River by Lightboxx

The Moselle is another tributary of the River Rhine. It emerges from the Vosges Mountains. Flows through France, Luxembourg, and Germany. It ends its trail in the Rhine at Koblenz. The entire length of the Moselle is 545 km / 339 miles. 

If you are a movies or TV shows addict, then you will love cruising in the Moselle. The best thing about cruising on the Moselle is discovering many shoot locations for films and Tv shows. The movie “In the Name of Rose ” was shot at Eberdach Valley. It was also used as a set for the popular GOT (Game of Thrones) season 5. Other than that, you can witness stunning vineyards, castles, medieval market places, and places that look like heaven on earth. En route attractions include Porta Nigra, the amphitheater, and the baths of the ancient Roman city. 

The Volga

Rivers Of Europe
Volga River by vvoennyy

Ending our listing of the best rivers of Europe, with the mighty Volga. The longest river of Europe lies in the transcontinental state of Russia. It begins its journey from Valdai hills in central Russia. It moves past most of the cities of Russia like Yaroslavl,Volgograd, Cheboksary, Ulyanovsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan and a few more. Finally it ends in the Caspian Sea in Southern Russia. It is 3531 km / 2194 miles long.

If exploring Russia is your goal, then this voyage is designed for you. You can enjoy Russian history while travelling between St. Petersburg and Moscow. The significant attractions en route are: Kizhi, Armory Museum, Hermitage Museum, and Czar’s Cannon. Though it is the longest river in Europe, we listed it last, as it is in a Euroasia state.

Well, that was our selection of the best rivers of Europe. Now before concluding let us share a few tips. 

Tips For Travelling 

It’s never bad to get a free tip, so here is a few of mine-

  • Most of the rivers in Europe run through famous cities, monuments, and villages. So, if you are going to explore these rivers, you will have a memorable experience. Taking a cruise will come in handy. A cruise will let you see the majestic Eiffel tower or take you through the beauty of London or Italy. 
  • Obviously, the decision is yours. But I believe it will save you time and cash. So instead of visiting various cities or using a car along the bank of a river, prefer a public or private cruise. 
  • And never forget to plan your trip in advance. It will save much of the hustle that you may experience at a sudden tour. 
  • Must check the weather before planning your trip. Most of the cruise companies offer their services in spring, summer, and fall. Due to extreme weather, cruising in winters is avoided. But there might be exceptions. So, check beforehand. 
  • Well, never forget to ensure your trip is sustainable

Rivers Of Europe- Conclusion 

Europe is a hub of natural beauty and reserves. One of the easiest ways to explore this heaven on earth is cruising through its majestic rivers. Whether you want to explore London or view the golden sunset of Portugal. The best river of Europe should be on your go-to list. 

If you enjoyed this article on the best rivers in Europe, I am sure that you will enjoy these too-