River Cruises: Into the Heart of Europe
An outside cabin, charming towns, artisanal wines and foods? No wonder demand is booming for intimate, leisurely cruises along these five European rivers. Sign us up!
A classic Russian cruise includes the longest river in Europe, which runs for almost 2,300 miles. Most Volga itineraries involve journeys between St. Petersburg and Moscow and traverse other waterways in addition to the "Great Mother Volga" itself.
Major providers: AMA Waterways, Gate 1 Travel, Viking River Cruises.
Sample itinerary: Gate 1 Travel has a weeklong cruise itinerary with stops in Moscow, including a city tour with stops at Red Square and Lubyanka, the former headquarters of the KGB; ancient Uglich, where the pastel-colored Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood, raised in honor of the murdered son of Ivan the Terrible, still graces the banks of the river; and Kizhi, a small island on Lake Onega, northeast of St. Petersburg, where the onion-domed, wooden Church of the Transfiguration complex, built without a single nail, is located. Prices start at $1,149 per person, including guided shore excursions, 20 meals, entrance fees, and all transfers.