The Elbe River offers cruisers the ultimate bohemian rhapsody, meandering from the Czech Republic and on through Germany. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery and captivating river vistas with something new after every bend in the river.
As an important commercial waterway, it’s no surprise that some significant towns and cities lie along the course of the Elbe, including Prague, Berlin, Meissen, Dresden – known as the Florence of all along the Elbe – – Wittenberg and Hamburg. For centuries, trade has unfolded on the banks of this river, creating a rich tapestry of history and culture dating back to medieval times.
Tailormade itineraries pique the interest of cruising newbies and experienced travellers. Soak up the local culture, tour historic cities and picturesque towns, indulge in tasty cuisine or relax on the sun deck; the choice is yours.
Discover one of Central Europe’s major rivers on a cruise of a lifetime with our Elbe River Cruises. Experience the sheer beauty of the river Elbe, famous for inspiring artists and writers of the Romantic Movement, with our luxury River Cruise deals, the ultimate blend of history, culture, and stunning views.
In partnership with our trusted river cruise company and operator partners, experience the delights of Elbe River Cruises with complete peace of mind and total confidence. Handpicked for their premier service and dedication to the customer experience, our trusted partners guarantee an unforgettable Elbe River cruise experience.
*This is an example itinerary of one of many of our Elbe River cruises. We have a vast selection of river routes, cruise lines, and ships. Speak to our crui.se advisor today to find your perfect Elbe cruise.
Day 1 is spent getting acquainted with Berlin from the comfort of your hotel. Join our Welcome Walk or explore by yourself.
One day in Berlin is just not enough. We offer guests a tour of all the key attractions, including the Reichstag with its spectacular glass dome and the historic Brandenburg Gate. See the old division between the east and west cities with the iconic Checkpoint Charlie whilst enjoying the Berliners’ warm hospitality and traditional German cuisine at a variety of restaurants and cafes throughout the capital city itself.
Travel from Berlin to Potsdam and marvel at the Sanssouci Palace, built by the Prussian King, Frederick the Great, and a shining example of German Rococo architecture. The name ‘Sanssouci’ means without a care, and the whole palace is a testament to this, a real Prussian Arcadia, with stylish displays of grandeur, elegant interiors and beautiful vineyard terraces. Guests then embark on the ship at Wittenberg.
Wittenberg is closely associated with Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation. Guests can tour his house and St. Marien’s Church, where he preached. The town is sleepy and charming, with a picturesque market square surrounded by streets of 16th-century houses, hardly synonymous with a revolution. The town church is a beautiful example of medieval architecture, and it’s worth visiting the home and art studio of Lucas Cranch, who documented much of the Reformation with portraits and woodcuts.
A coach takes guests to Meissen, renowned for its fine porcelain-making history since the early 1700s. There is a museum, a chance to tour the Meissenware factory to see how it is made, and a tour of the Old Town.
Dresden is known as the ‘Florence of the Elbe’ and is a truly historic and beautiful location with a castle complex that houses what many believe to be the world’s most extensive collection of priceless jewels and treasures. The Semper Opera House and Zwinger Palace are not to be missed. This Elbe cruise offers a full-day excursion of Dresden’s castle and baroque houses, or guests can visit the state-of-the-art Volkswagen manufacturing site. The cruiser remains overnight in Dresden, a chance to enjoy the city at night and experience some of that famous German hospitality.
Guests can enjoy another morning in Dresden, and in the afternoon, the cruiser sails to Saxon Switzerland, a stunning national park and hidden gem with fantastic views of the river Elbe and an outdoor lover’s paradise. There are steep cliffs and a wide choice of hiking trails for the sedate right through to the adventurous.
Prague, known as the ‘City of a Hundred Spires’, offers history and culture on every street corner. Described by many as the ultimate 3D architectural textbook, guests can enjoy a stroll through the Old Town and visit Romanesque chapels, Baroque palaces and gardens, Art Nouveau buildings, and even Cubist buildings. With the backdrop of the picturesque river, the Vltava, spanned by bridges and footbridges, there are ten islands to explore, plus Prague Castle. Visitors can enjoy the café culture, a great way to relax and a celebrated feature of this iconic city. Why not extend your stay for a further two nights to explore this celebrated location?
Carefully crafted programmes with expert guides breathe life into port stops with all the unmissable top attractions, a handful of destinations which are a little less well-known, and hidden gems. Just take your pick. Visit iconic attractions alongside handpicked marvels known only to someone with local knowledge. Follow cruise itineraries or head off and explore on your own.
Our gourmet chefs take inspiration from the riverside surroundings so you can experience the true essence of the areas we sail through with carefully chosen menus brimming with local produce. There are vegetarian and vegan options daily, plus unique dishes for passengers with restricted dietary requirements, all prepared to the same exacting standards and a total treat for your tastebuds.
Book Your Dream Cruise Holiday
Embark on an extraordinary journey along the enchanting Elbe River, where our incredible cruise deals will transport you through stunning landscapes and captivating towns. The Elbe River cruise unveils Europe’s mesmerising beauty and cultural legacy, meandering through Germany, the Czech Republic, and other captivating destinations. Traverse picturesque valleys, vineyards, and charming towns, surrounded by natural wonders and historical treasures, as unforgettable experiences await you at every turn.
Enjoy the Elbe with crui.se
Dawn, Crui.se Expert
As a veteran cruiser on several major European waterways, I was struck by how unknown the Elbe is as a cruise choice – people always go for the big hitters first, but this is one seriously underrated waterway! The river’s route is historically so fascinating, bearing in mind the history of the last one hundred years. The Elbe was commercially significant, so that makes it exciting but don’t think that makes it dull. The Elbe is one of the most beautiful rivers I have travelled on – I can see why Bohemia is associated with rhapsody! It’s very picturesque and just a little bit different, and that will appeal to discerning cruisers and those who have never been before.
“New to cruising, we decided to avoid the big-name rivers and pick something a little less obvious, and we were not disappointed. The cities were fascinating, and sailing from Germany through Bohemia to Prague was truly memorable. It’s definitely an underrated journey and really gets under the skin of the culture and vibe of both countries. The boat was beautifully appointed, and the tour guides were really knowledgeable.”
“Not your obvious choice for a romantic getaway, but to be honest, it was nice to avoid some of the popular rivers, and it’s not like you don’t get to see some amazing German cities. We did our own thing and avoided the planned excursions, but the tour guides were helpful and gave us many tips on where to visit. Cuisine on board is excellent, with plenty of local tastes and flavours depending on where you are.”
“I was nervous as this cruise was a surprise birthday present for a significant other and a special age, but I needn’t have worried. The vessel was luxurious, with thoughtful touches like champagne and flowers in the room as they knew it was a special occasion. We didn’t go on every excursion and enjoyed a couple of days just relaxing on board; we are new to river travel, so this was a real novelty. It would still be a great holiday if you never got further than the Sun Deck!”
“We like to think we are experienced cruisers and just a little bit discerning. This was a new company for us and a new experience with Viking River Cruises, and we were not disappointed. The stopovers are a great mix of history and culture with a few less well-known destinations, so it’s a real mix – Saxon Switzerland was really different and definitely, something you wouldn’t get on other cruises. We thought the vessel was elegant and luxurious and the staff polite and helpful. We would retake this journey and with the same company.”
You can check our frequently ask questions here anytime
Let us know when you book if you have any special dietary requirements. Our skilled gourmet chefs are experts at creating a range of international and locally-inspired cuisine and offer vegetarian and vegan options daily, plus specially adapted dishes for guests who cannot eat a regular diet. Quality and taste are always top of the menu, whatever the ingredients.
All our cruisers have access to people with physical restrictions or who are disabled. Chat with one of our team and let us know what modifications you require and how we can tailor our accommodation to give you the best cruise experience. We’ll plan the whole trip from start to finish to take account of your particular requirements, including tailoring port excursions, so you don’t miss out.
Our expert staff will advise you when you book an exclusive cruise and keep in touch with guests should protocols change. We follow the World Health Organisation’s current health policies and stay ahead of more local guidance and restrictions depending on where the vessel is visiting. Our onboard staff are all fully vaccinated.
You may need visas depending on where the vessel visits and the length of the cruise journey. You are responsible for arranging your own visas ahead of travel, and our booking team can advise you on how to do this and how far in advance you should apply when you make your reservation.
Yes, you will need a valid passport for an Elbe River cruise. As the river travels through multiple countries, such as Germany and the Czech Republic, it is necessary to have a passport to cross international borders and comply with immigration requirements. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your cruise, and check the specific visa requirements for each country you will be visiting. It’s always a good idea to consult with our Crui.se experts or the cruise line to ensure you have all the necessary travel documents before embarking on your Elbe River adventure.
The River Elbe is a remarkable waterway in Central Europe, stretching over 1,094 kilometres (or 680 miles) in length. It begins its journey in the majestic Krkonoše Mountains in the Czech Republic, flowing through a number of countries, including Germany, and briefly touching Poland.
As it meanders through Germany, the Elbe River gracefully winds its way through a variety of landscapes, showcasing the enchanting beauty of the region. It passes through eastern Germany, enriching the scenic countryside of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Lower Saxony.
Along its course, the Elbe River encounters several captivating landmarks. One such gem is the renowned Elbe Sandstone Mountains, where stunning rock formations rise majestically, creating a truly awe-inspiring sight. These natural wonders, often referred to as Saxon Switzerland, add an extra touch of beauty and grandeur to the Elbe River’s journey.
As the Elbe River continues its flow, it gracefully passes through diverse cities and towns, leaving its mark on the cultural and historical landscape. Prominent urban centres like Dresden, Magdeburg, and Hamburg owe their prosperity in part to the vital connection provided by the Elbe River.
Eventually, the Elbe River finds its way to the North Sea, forming an estuary near Cuxhaven. This connection with the vast waters of the North Sea opens up avenues for maritime trade and navigation, enriching the region’s economy and fostering international connections.
While not directly related to the Elbe River, it’s worth mentioning the picturesque Havel River, which is another notable waterway in the region. The Havel River intertwines with the Elbe River at certain points, further enhancing the intricate river network that contributes to the region’s natural beauty and water-based activities.
Overall, the River Elbe is not just a waterway but a living testament to the captivating geography, cultural heritage, and natural wonders that grace the heart of Europe.
Absolutely! The Elbe River proudly showcases its association with a number of UNESCO World Heritage sites. One such gem is the historic city centre of Dresden, which lies gracefully along the banks of the Elbe. This remarkable site is recognized for its outstanding cultural value, encompassing stunning architecture and centuries-old treasures. Moreover, the Elbe River Valley, particularly the captivating region known as Saxon Switzerland, forms part of the transboundary Elbe River Biosphere Reserve, which has received the prestigious UNESCO designation.
Yes! The Elbe River graciously flows past several enchanting medieval Hanseatic cities. Among these gems is Magdeburg, situated in the captivating region of Saxony-Anhalt. This city, once a prominent member of the Hanseatic League, exudes a medieval charm and showcases architectural wonders from centuries gone by. Exploring these cities along the Elbe River allows you to immerse yourself in the fascinating heritage and rich trading history of the Hanseatic League.
While the Elbe River itself doesn’t offer a direct route from Berlin to Prague, some Elbe River cruises provide the opportunity to extend your journey or embark on side trips to these iconic cities. This allows you to combine the delights of an Elbe River cruise with the exploration of Berlin and Prague. These two culturally vibrant cities, each with its own unique character and historical significance, can be experienced as part of an unforgettable itinerary that encompasses the beauty of the Elbe River.
Embarking on an Elbe River cruise allows you to traverse the captivating landscapes of northern Germany. The specific destinations covered may vary depending on the cruise itinerary, but you can expect to encounter the picturesque beauty, charming towns, and cultural highlights that adorn the northern German region. As you sail along the Elbe River, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the allure of northern Germany and experience its diverse treasures.
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