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Hidden Gems That Make River Cruises Sparkle
2nd September 2014

River cruises are a great way to explore any part of the world. And with more and more itineraries opening up in previously remote regions, there is now an even bigger chance of discovering some hidden gems.

Beyond the famous cities that we all know and love, such as Paris, Ho Chi Minh, and St Petersburg, there are many more towns just waiting to be discovered. Whilst you may never have pinpointed them as destinations for a dedicated trip, the fact that they are part of a river cruise itinerary will open your eyes up to the beauty of these often overlooked ports.

Here are a few towns which act as hidden gems waiting to be unearthed on the banks of the world’s rivers.

Pinhão, Portugal –

Pinhao

Situated in the centre of Portugal and around one hundred miles downstream from the capital of Porto, Pinhão is a regular stop on our Douro river cruises. This quiet and peaceful town is transformed in autumn when the grape harvest brings many tourists and plenty of entertainment to town. Whilst in this port you will be able to enjoy beautiful views of the Douro and the surrounding area, whilst this is also the perfect place to sample some the region’s best-known produce; port-wine.

Edam, Netherlands –

Edam

Many people will be aware of the name Edam, but few will know that the name refers to a Dutch city as well as the popular cheese which originates here. This unmistakably Dutch settlement features many beautiful canals and plenty of picturesque streets to explore. As well as sampling the local dairy delights, there is also a museum displaying the history of the cheese and a cheese-filled market that graces the town every Wednesday during the months of July and August.

Away from the curds and whey, there are also a number of churches to enjoy. Among these is that which is dedicated to St Nicholas; one of the largest three-ridged churches in Europe. You can visit the quaint city of Edam on one of our excellent Dutch and Belgian waterways cruises.

Pyay, Myanmar –

Shwesandaw Pagoda

Pyay, also known as Prome, can be explored on a Myanmar river cruise as you make your way through modern day Burma along the Irrawaddy River. This beautiful town is one of great historical and archaeological importance and is home to many wonderful sights that help to show off the rich culture in this part of the world.

A prime example is the spectacular Shwesandaw Pagoda which stands at an impressive two hundred and ninety feet tall and has sixty-four smaller pagodas dotted around it. This building is thought to be of great religious significance because it houses a replica of the Buddha’s Tooth relic. This duplicate is said to be just a powerful as the real thing due to the amount of time it spent in close proximity to it.

From the town of Pyay, travellers can also get an excellent look at the nearby Akauk Taung Mountain which has miniature Buddha statues carved into its face.

Rudesheim, Germany –

Niederwald Monument

Rudesheim am Rhein, to give it its full name, is a town located on the German section of the Rhine, to the south-west of Frankfurt. Famed mostly for its winemaking, there is even an annual festival at which a queen and princess are chosen to represent the town and its wine for the whole year.

As well as the pleasant surroundings that show off the way the land is shaped by the river, there is plenty to see and do on this leg of your Rhine river cruise. A cable car can take you up to the famous Niederwald Monument, one of the country’s most visited tourist landmarks, and offers up an opportunity to look down on the vineyards below.

Upon returning to the town centre there is sure to be some time to indulge in a bit of shopping or pull up a chair in one of the many taverns and wine bars to enjoy a relaxing drink. The streets themselves are attractions in this quaint part of Germany and so merely exploring the different alleys will help you discover the unique side of Rudesheim.

If there’s still time, be sure to visit a couple of the many castles that can be found here. These range from the delicately poised Mouse Tower on an island in the middle of the river to the stunningly restored Rhienstein castle directly on the bank.

There are so many hidden gems just waiting to be discovered along the many rivers of the world. By taking one of our Asian, African, American, or European river cruises you will not only uncover some of those mentioned above but bring to light some of your own favourites as well. Just call the Fred.\ team on the number at the top of this page for more information.

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