Off-board tours at ports of call can be as spectacular as being on board the cruise. A distinctive array of experiences comes with any European river cruise. Open yourself to new adventures and new worlds by cruising one of Europeâ€™s magnificent rivers. You will gather limitless insights into Europeâ€™s lively cultural centers, its historic treasures as well as its picturesque vistas. Sailing on these smaller, well-appointed riverboats, perfect for docking in town centers, close to the important sights, is a fine way to celebrate Europeâ€™s most luminous ports. Sail one of Franceâ€™s many scenic rivers and allow it to take you to some of the countryâ€™s most treasured areas. From its magnificent Bordeaux region and gastronomic Lyon, to historic Normandy and charming Provence, not to mention elegant Paris, France has something for everyone. The farms and forests of Aquitaine, once one of the most powerful places in Europe, are as beautiful as its renown wine region and picturesque ports. PÃ©rigord is home to the legendary Camus Cognac distillery, where you can develop your own individual blend, and offers truffle hunting for adventurous food aficiondos. Stop for a lunch of delicious oysters in the seaside resort community of Arcachon. Taste Saint-Ã‰milion, MÃ©doc and Sauternes in their own â€terroirâ€. Whichever river you prefer for your trip through France â€“ the Gironde, Seine, RhÃ´ne, or Dordogne -- the countryâ€™s interesting history, beautiful art, and delicious food culture will delight. Cruises on the Elbe River go through Germany and the Czech Republic on a journey lined by ancient fortifications and medieval villages. The Mosel River, referred to as the Moselle in France, highlights the German area mostly known for its Riesling wines. In Central Europe, Danube River cruises take passengers to intriguing Old World cities like Budapest where you can soak up the steam in a traditional banya (thermal baths) or Vienna where you can be taught the waltz, a dance which gained popularity in the ballrooms of the Austrian court. Go on to savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine at one of the regionâ€™s well-known restaurants, or discover lesser-known Central European cities such as Bratislava and Passau. See the historic Red Square in Moscow and take in its typical Russian architectural design, or stop for a tour of St. Basilâ€™s Cathedral. Russiaâ€™s Hermitage Museum is the second largest sized museum in the world, and the structure itself is also breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Envision Peter the Great luxuriating in gigantic Peterhof Palace, then see how multiple families shared living space at a Soviet-era kommunalka. Russia has some tasty culinary specialties which you will really need to try out when you are there: borscht, pirog, solyanka, blini pancakes, and perhaps the most celebrated, caviar. If you travel down the Dnieper River you will see lands that were heavily influenced by Mongol, Greek, Russian, Cossack, Jewish, Tatar, and Ottoman forces. Historic cathedrals and monasteries, Soviet-era structures, museums and displays of legendary horsemanship, and music and dance are found along the riverâ€™s banks from Kiev to Odessa. In Portugal you can cruise the Douro River to the capital city, Lisbon, with its picturesque old town and thriving newer parts with trendy restaurants, bars, and cafes. Wine lovers will want to stop in the lovely vineyard region to sample local wines, while the typical foods and fado singing will be a delight for all. The Douro River Valley is the worldâ€™s first demarcated wine region and a UNESCO site. Start off by seeing the spectacular Nordic sights from the sea before heading to the exciting Rhine River. Begin in historic click here adventures Bergen, a city with significant Viking roots, and set off for Norwayâ€™s striking fjord landscapes, cruising to scenic FlÃ¥m, cosmopolitan Stavanger, history-rich Kristiansand and vibrant Oslo. Art lovers will want to stop in Denmarkâ€™s coastal town of Skagen, once summer home to the legendary group of Scandinavian artists known as the Skagen Painters, as well as Amsterdam to see the many masterpieces there, before heading to Kinderdijk to see the enchanting windmills of Holland. Admire Cologneâ€™s famous cathedral and explore Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. Explore the turreted fortresses, huge cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and dazzling scenery of the Middle Rhineâ€”a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore Franceâ€™s multicultural Strasbourg and Germanyâ€™s storied Black Forest before disembarking in cultured Basel. Simply being onboard is exciting and entertaining, and your excursions should be the same. Dive right into the distinct aspects of each intriguing place along the way. And, just as each vessel is a work of art on water, each location you travel to is a work of art on land.