'Pour-fect' For Wine Lovers: European River Cruise Ports Of Call

27 October 2017
Read Time: 5.3 mins

When you close your eyes and imagine a European river cruise holiday, the picture just isn’t complete without a glass of wine in hand.

Thankfully, the gourmet indulgences aren’t just on board.

Europe’s winding rivers so conveniently snake through many ‘pour-fect’ ports of call to step ashore and indulge in a local drop (or three) while soaking up the local culture and sights.

Here are our favourites.

Mainz, Germany

Village on Rhine River, Germany Pretty villages dot the Rhine near Mainz, Germany. Image: Getty

Where:

At the confluence of the Rhine and Main Rivers.

Don’t miss:  

The Mainz Wine Market. It Germany’s largest and most important wine market – a place where you literally taste test your way around the country and compare myriad drops in one place. While you’re there, explore the local history – the town dates back to around 38 BC.

Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Castle, Germany Heidelberg Castle is enchanting, no matter how many times you visit. Image: Getty

Where:

A short drive from Mainz.

Don’t miss:

Heidelberg Tun – in the cellars of Heidelberg Castle. Here you’ll find the famed GREAT VAT, the “World’s Largest Wine Barrel”. Built in 1751, it stands nearly 7 metres high and 8.5 metres wide and holds over 260,000 litres of wine. The best part? It has a dance floor built on top of it!

Prague, Czech Republic

Vltava River, Prague The Vltava River winds its way through the beautiful city of Prague. Image: Getty

Where:

Vltava River.

Don’t miss:

The Prague Christmas Markets (if passing through during November or December) for a glass of mulled wine in the Old Town. Hearty, warm and filled with zesty spices, it’s a unique wine tasting experience complete with the kind of festive atmosphere you’d never find back home.

Strasbourg, France

Alsace, France Taste test your way around Alsace in France. Image: Getty

Where:

On the Rhine River.

Don’t miss:

A day trip into the rolling vineyards of Alsace wine country. This thousand-year-old wine producing region is famous for its whites, particularly Riesling, Pinot Gris, Muscat and Gewurztraminer. It’s also beautiful – dotted with picturesque villages all with their own selection of wine cellars ripe for taste-testing.

Regua, Portugal

Vineyard Follow the Douro river on your river cruise and enjoy the delights of the region. Image: Getty

Where:

Douro River.

Don’t miss:

An excursion to the splendid 18th-century Mateus Palace and its gorgeous gardens to explore this living museum – still owned by the Count of Vila Real – and learn about its connection to Mateus Rose wine. Be sure to enjoy some wine tasting while you’re there too.

Beaune, France

Burgundy wine in a cellar in Beaune, France. Cobbled streets run through Beune, regarded as the capital of Burgundy wines. Image: Getty

Where:

A short drive from St. Jean De Losne on the Saone River.

Don’t miss:

Visiting this beautiful medieval town that is the capital of the Burgundy wine region and surrounded by the Cote d'Or vineyards. Step into wine vaults – some ancient, dating back to the Middle Ages – that run beneath Beaune to taste Burgundy wines in a atmosphere like no other.

Rhine Gorge, Germany

White wine, Rhine, Germany Note your travels by grape variety as you cruise along the Rhine. Image: Getty

Where:

Rhine River.

Don’t miss:

The views, over a velvety glass of red, a spritely white or some bubbles as you kick back on your river cruise ship and take in the natural splendour of the beautiful Upper Middle Rhine Valley Gorge. Drift past vine-covered slopes, fairytale castles and strongholds and soak up the views, before sitting down to dinner to more winding river panoramas.

Pinhao, Portugal

Pinhao, Portugal Pinhao is nestled in the heart of wine country along the Douro River. Image: Getty

Where:

Douro Valley, Douro River.

Don’t miss:

Tasting the local port wine – Portugal’s most famous tipple – at a local quinta, while staring out at spectacular views over the Douro Valley.

Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal

Port in Porto, Portugal Where else better to try port than in Porto? Image: Getty

Where:

Douro River.

Don’t miss:

A tour of a local port winery. Not only will you get the chance to taste more delicious port, but also explore the vineyards and winery and learn about how this uniquely sweet, red, fortified wine is produced and gain insight into its prominence in Portuguese culture.


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Tijana Jaksic

Tijana loves new adventures as much as she enjoys reliving old ones. Favourite stops on the map so far include Greece (beyond the islands!), Mexico City (hello ancient ruins and wonderful art), Poland (for the history and off-the-beaten-track finds), Berlin (so artsy and chilled) and Bosnia (ahhh the natural beauty). Choosing is always hard though - that's why her list is so long and she spends her 'real life' time writing about travel until she's out there on the road again.