Looking for a unique and refreshing way to spend your next vacation? Consider taking a river tour! There’s something extraordinary about experiencing the beauty and culture of a destination on the water! These five best river holidays can offer a wide range of experiences. Ranging from luxury cruises with fine dining and entertainment to rugged adventures through remote wilderness areas.

If you’re an adventurous traveller, taking a vacation riverside can help you explore the world in an exciting way. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the water!

The Danube

The Danube River | Best River Holidays

The Danube River | Best River Holidays

is Europe’s second-longest river and one of Europe’s most popular destinations for river tours. Originating in Germany’s Black Forest region stretching for 1,770 miles (2,850 km), this iconic river flows through 10 countries. These include Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Romania, before emptying into the Black Sea. 

The “Danube Waltz” route takes you from Budapest to Passau, Germany, where you can explore historic landmarks, sample local cuisine and learn about the region’s culture.

Along the way, you can stop at cities like Vienna, Melk, and Linz, where you can sample local wines. You can also visit picturesque vineyards and the Iron Gates Gorge, which host stunning natural landscapes and historical landmarks.

Aquatic animals that inhabit the river include the European sturgeon, the largest freshwater fish in Europe, and the Danube salmon, now critically endangered. A variety of fish species, including the Danube bleak, unique to the river, are seen in this enchanting river.

The surrounding forests and hills are home to the European brown bear, grey wolf, and lynx. You can find a wide range of bird species along its riverbank, including the common kingfisher and white-tailed eagle. This is one of the best river holidays you can go on this summer.

Amazon River

The Amazon River is the world’s largest river, with a total length of 6,992 kilometres. It accounts for 20% of the world’s river flows, and 40% of the total area of South America. The Amazon River originates in the Peruvian Andes and flows into the Atlantic Ocean in the Amazon delta basin. 

The number of tributaries exceeds 1100 and flows through many countries, but 63% of the rivers are in Brazil. 

This is the best river holiday to go on if you’re a fan of wildlife. This is because this river weaves through the Amazon rainforest, one of the world’s most essential and fragile habitats. It is home to over 5,600 known fish species!

You must not miss the various colourful rainforest exploration activities and experience the original style. This includes visiting local tribes, watching toucans, macaws, sloths, and water lilies, and fishing for piranhas and bone tongue fish. 

You can also travel through the jungle, watch the sunrise on the Amazon River, visit Monkey Island, catch alligators, and get up close and personal with pink dolphins.

This best river tour on the Amazon allows you to explore this incredible ecosystem and spot exotic wildlife. You can also learn about the cultures of the indigenous people who call the region home. You can cruise along the river and visit wildlife reserves to see animals like dolphins, jaguars, and capybaras.


Located in the northeastern part of Africa, the Nile is the world’s longest river, spread over about a whopping 4,132 miles. It flows through 11 countries in total and plays a significant role in the history of ancient Egypt. Most of the major Egyptian cities were built along the Nile; thus, around 95% of Egypt’s population lives along the Nile. 

It is an essential water source for irrigation and agriculture, particularly in Egypt, having supported its civilisations for thousands of years. The river has played a significant role in the history, culture, and economy of the countries through which it flows.

This classic cruise, a journey along the Nile, is a voyage back in time. It allows you to marvel at 4,000 years of history, ranging from ancient temples to royal tombs. Most river cruise lines ply the stretch between Luxor and Aswan. Sights include the atmospheric temples and the exquisitely painted tombs concealed under the surface of the dusty Valley of the Kings. 

One of the great pleasures of a Nile cruise is simply taking life along the river while enjoying the distant call to prayer, roosters crowing, water buffalo standing like statues in the shallows, and desert dunes that change colour as the sun crosses the sky. This is the best river tour for you if you’re a culture and beauty fanatic.

The Yangtze

A list of the best river holidays won’t be complete without the third longest river in the world, the Yangtze. This river flows for 3,917 miles through China’s nine provinces. 

Coming from the mountain range of Tanggula to Shanghai East China Sea, it is Asia’s longest river. It acts as a line of division between North and South China. For more than 2,000 years, this river has been an important route for transportation in China. 

One of the highlights of a Yangtze River tour is visiting the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. You can also explore the ancient city of Fengdu, known as the “City of Ghosts,” and visit traditional fishing villages along the river.

Animals that inhabit the Yangtze include the Chinese sturgeon, Chinese paddlefish and the Yangtze finless porpoise.

The surrounding forests and hills are home to the giant panda, golden snub-nosed monkey, and South China tiger. 

A river tour on the Yangtze offers a unique and fascinating way to experience China’s natural beauty, history, and culture, from ancient temples and traditional villages to modern cities and engineering marvels.

The Ganges

Merchant close to Ganges river

Merchant close to Ganges river

Starting from the Gangotri glacier in the Himalayan mountains, the River Ganges runs for around 1569 miles across India and Bangladesh.

The Ganges River is considered highly sacred or holy in the Indian religion of Hinduism. So much so that people worship the river as the goddess Ganga and some cities through which the river flows are famous places of worship in the country, with millions of people visiting the river yearly. 

The Ganges is home to more than 90 species of amphibians and 140 species of fish. Also found here are unique species, such as the Ganges river dolphins and the Ganges river sharks, and the Ganges river carp.

In contrast to what’s often a whirlwind tour around India’s classic sights, a slow boat along the Ganges from Calcutta will show you a different side of India: rural villages where tourists are still a curiosity, temples, mosques and battlefields. 

Choose a cruise that adds a few days in Varanasi, a city on the banks of the river that’s considered one of the holiest places in Hinduism. Here, you can witness traditional Hindu rituals and ceremonies and explore the city’s ancient temples and monuments.

Cruising along the Ganges is one of the best river tours to go on and visit small villages and towns along the river, learn about local traditions and customs, and try delicious Indian cuisine.

To Conclude

Whether seeking a luxurious experience with fine dining and entertainment or a rugged adventure through unspoiled wilderness, you can find these best river holidays to suit your tastes. So, if you’re looking for a new and exciting way to explore the world, consider a river holiday for your next adventure.

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