Bucket List Worthy
When many travelers consider taking a cruise for their vacation, they usually think about visiting the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, or some similar destination. While those escapes can certainly be relaxing and rewarding, a river cruise can often deliver a more meaningful and active experience. River cruises often offer more culturally immersive options, not to mention more scenic settings. The fact that they also take place on a smaller boat can make for a more friendly and intimate journey. With that in mind, here are five of the very best river cruises in the world.
A Nile river cruise between Aswan and Luxor in Egypt is perhaps the gold standard to which all other river cruises are compared. At 4258 miles in length, the Nile is the longest river in the world, but despite that great length, it rarely gets very wide at all. As a result, travelers aboard a boat on the Nile can sit on deck and watch the fertile lands that line the river give way to the beautiful Sahara Desert not far from its banks. Ancient Egyptian ruins dot the landscape, with the more impressive temples and tombs making for excellent stops along the way. It is a tranquil way to explore the culture of Egypt, which has a history that dates back for thousands of years.
Another river cruise that puts an ancient civilization on display is the Yangtze, which flows for 3915 miles through China. Passing through the legendary Three Gorges region on its way to Shanghai, the river offers travelers spectacular views of a surprisingly rugged and beautiful landscape that remains mostly wild and untamed. Daily excursions include visits to local temples and a tour of the massive Three Gorges Dam.
Perhaps the best river cruse in Europe can be found along the Rhine. The 820-mile cruise route passes through several countries including The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and France. Those who embark not this cruise are treated to visits to quaint medieval villages, storybook castles, and beautiful landscapes that include towering gorges. Of course, the European culture and cuisine are on fine display as well, making this a more comfortable, and familiar, river cruise than some of the others on this list.
Falling along the border of Vietnam and Cambodia, the Mekong River offers travelers a look at everything from vibrant cities, such as Ho Chi Minh, to sprawling ancient temples – including the legendary Angkor Wat. On the Upper Mekong, adventurous travelers will even venture into the infamous Golden Triangle, which is one of the richest opium producing regions in the entire world. The river wanders through dense jungles, and past simple fishing villages, with an occasional visit to unique floating markets, unusual local festivals, and other cultural delights.
The mightiest river on the planet is without a doubt, the Amazon. It wanders through dense rainforest, offering travelers a chance to visit one of the last truly unexplored and mysterious places on the planet. The Amazon is immense in size, and it often feels like you’re cruising on a large lake, rather than a river. Visits to remote villages, spotting river dolphins, and enjoying one of the more ecologically diverse locations on Earth are true highlight to this adventure. The Peruvian Amazon is a bit more wild and untamed, while the Brazilian section of the river offers more amenities and comforts. Both are spectacular experiences that any traveler will love.
A river cruise is a completely different travel experience from the big-ship cruises that sail the oceans. For those looking for something a bit more adventurous and unique, but without sacrificing the comforts that are the hallmark of a cruise, any one of these trips will make for a perfect escape.