Although most of our river cruises take place on Europe’s major rivers, there are many fantastic places to explore along some of the continent’s tributaries. Whether you just take a detour to visit a certain port or your entire river cruise is situated on a smaller river that feeds into one of the main waterways, it’s good to show some love to these important yet lesser-known routes.
Here are some of the best tributaries which you may find yourself sailing along during your European river cruise.
Although one of the better-known tributaries, the Main River is a tributary nonetheless. It is situated entirely in Germany, starting in Franconia and meeting with the Rhine near Mainz. Many of the towns and cities along the river are suffixed by the phrase ‘am main’ including Frankfurt am Main and Wertheim am Main. Cruises along the Main often include sections of the Rhine and Danube too, visiting ports such as Frankfurt and Wurzburg before travelling through the Main-Danube Canal.
The Ilz is a small Danube tributary famous for being one of the three rivers that meet in the town of Passau, the other two being the Inn and the Danube. Known as the ‘three rivers city’ Passau is the starting point for many European river cruises and excursions here include the chance to hike along the bank of the Ilz.
Another well-known tributary, the Moselle branches off the Rhine on the other side to the Main. Some of the most visited ports include Cochem, known for its baroque architecture and imperial castle, and Bernkastel, famous for its well-preserved half-timbered houses. The point where the Moselle meets the Rhine, at Koblenz, is known as Deutsches Eck (German Corner) and offers fantastic views of both rivers. The charming towns along the Moselle are perfect for sampling some of the region’s sumptuous wine.
Another Danube tributary, the Sava has its source in Slovenia and travels through Croatia and Serbia. It touches the capital cities of Zagreb and Ljubljana before flowing into the Danube at Belgrade, meaning a cruise along its length is a great way to see some of Eastern Europe’s greatest cities.
The most visited port along the Vltava River is Prague. With its fantastic history, famous bridges, striking astronomical clock and glistening Christmas markets, many people choose an Elbe river cruise that also includes a stop here. Another popular Vltava port is Cesky Krumlov, which provides a unique look at Czech history and medieval architecture away from the capital.
As you can see, these tributaries play an important role in or European river cruises, enhancing these trips by taking you to much-loved ports that don’t lie on the major rivers. If you would like to sail along any of these waterways and visit the towns and cities mentioned, contact us today.