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[A] What is the longest river in Europe?
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April 2, 2019
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Zack Creach
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The Top 5 River Cruises for 2019

If all you’ve experienced are ocean cruises aboard massive ships, a small-boat cruise down a river will likely be a pleasant surprise. River cruises are known for being more laidback and offering longer, more leisurely shore excursions, resulting in a more intimate experience. River cruises can also access places a larger ocean liner can’t go and typically avoid overcrowded ports, thereby creating a more personalized experience.

It’s for these reasons that riverboat tours are becoming a more popular way to discover a new country. From the quirky charms of Eastern Europe to the untamed Amazon Jungle, check out our top 5 river cruises for 2019:

5. Portugal’s River of Gold, Viking River Cruises

Credot: kavalenkava/Shutterstock

If Portugal has been on your bucket list for a while, consider Viking River Cruises and its 10-day River of Gold Tour, offering a slow-paced cruise that hits all the highlights. The tour begins in Lisbon, where two leisurely days are spent admiring the capital city’s architecture and learning about the multi-cultural history in the city’s Alfama District. Then it’s overland to Porto for exploration of the historic city center and a visit to a Port wine-making facility. The cruise gets underway on day five along the Douro River. In the second half of the trip, you’ll visit the extraordinary Mateus Palace in Regua and wind through the dramatic rock formations before arriving in Barca D’Alva to tour one of its ancient parishes. Cross over to Salamanca, Spain, and feast your eyes on the bustling cosmopolitan that seamlessly blends its Old World architecture with heavy-handed modern touches. After this, it’s time to head back into Portugal and hit the village vineyards of Pinhao on your way back to Porto.

4. The Legendary Danube 2019, Avalon Waterways

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This 10-day tour crosses four countries and visits over 10 destinations all while cruising Europe’s iconic Danube River in a luxuriously equipped vessel. The adventure starts in Prague where you’ll enjoy a guided city walk interspersed with views of the city’s famously charming architecture, market shopping and traditional Czech cuisine. Next, you’ll cruise through Germany where Nuremberg and Regensburg’s gothic cathedrals and medieval architecture await. Naturally, you won’t leave Germany without a hosted beer tasting night onboard. You’ll then cross into Austria and make three stops in Passau, Melk and Vienna. Enjoy countryside treks, stunning frescoes, bohemian towns and a classic Royal Waltz. The final stop is Budapest, Hungary, a lively city famed for its thermal baths, scenic rolling hills and happening nightlife.

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