river cruise vacations in europe

Travel Europe by River Cruise, Train or Car

Backpacking is probably one of the most creative ways to see Europe, but it’s not the only way to explore the continent off-the-beaten path.

Consider these modes of travel if you’re looking for a different perspective of Europe.

River Cruising

It’s easy to see why river cruising’s popularity is on the rise. Guests on these smaller ships, which usually carry up to 130 passengers, get to see stunning riverbank sights like centuries-old palaces up close. Onboard educational experiences highlighting local culture are perfect complements to shore excursions.

Which river to choose? The Danube River, stretching from Germany to Romania, is a good bet for first-timers. The Rhine River, which travels through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, is another popular route.

The holidays are a special time for European river cruisers because of the chance to enjoy festive seasonal markets with local crafts and food.

Click here to learn more or book a river cruise vacation with AAA. 


Riding the rails in Europe isn’t just about convenience; it’s also a good option for sightseeing. Norway’s Flam Railway is one of the world’s steepest rail lines, traveling from sea level to 2,800 feet while passengers enjoy waterfalls, mountains and tunnels. The Glacier Express, which connects Zermatt and St. Moritz, Switzerland, is a longer journey – about 7½ hours – but equally breathtaking thanks to the majestic Alps.

Click here to learn more. 

By Car

Don’t be intimidated by renting a car in a foreign country. Having your own vehicle can provide freedom to explore some of Europe’s most inviting roads. Two examples?

The 110-mile Ring of Kerry has long been a favorite way of seeing Ireland’s Iveragh Peninsula, and you’ll never forget skirting the sea on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Remember to get an international driving permit, observe speed in kilometers per hour and drive on the left in Ireland, the U.K., Malta and Cyprus.


Leave A Comment

Comments are subject to moderation and may or may not be published at the editor’s discretion. Only comments that are relevant to the article and add value to the Your AAA community will be considered. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.


Subscribe to Your AAA Newsletter

Sign up and receive updates for all of the latest articles on automotive, travel, money, lifestyle and so much more!