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7 European River Cruise Destinations For Museum Lovers

19th September 2017

One of the best ways to experience the culture of a destination is to visit some of its museums. Perfect in any weather, a museum can teach you about the history of a location, tell you more about its values and provide an insightful learning experience. Europe has some fantastic examples, many of which can be reached during a European river cruise. Here are some excellent options to consider.


Museum Tinguely

Basel can be found at one end of a Rhine River cruise and, despite being modestly sized, is home to more than 40 different museums. This Swiss city hosts the famous Art Basel festival every year and has some fantastic attractions showcasing works by some of the greats. The Foundation Beyeler is home to pieces by Monet, Cézanne and van Gogh, whilst there are three different buildings dedicated to modern art.

Aside from paintings, there is the Museum Tinguely, which is filled with the kinetic artist’s quirky moving structures, and the Vitra Design Museum. Plus, if you happen to arrive in Basel on the first Sunday of the month, the state-owned museums are free to enter.



It will come as no surprise that Paris is on this list, but it’s still worth pointing out the wealth of museums that can be discovered on this leg of a Seine River cruise. As well as the iconic Louvre and the ever-popular Musée d'Orsay, there are plenty more that you may not be so familiar with.

If you like French artists, try the Musée du Luxembourg and, if you are interested in history, the Musée Carnavalet will give you all the details without the crowds. Alternatively, if you want something completely different, the Museum of Sewers can show you the labyrinth that runs beneath Paris, something which was briefly shown in Les Misérables.


Van Gogh Museum

Amsterdam can be visited as part of a journey through the Dutch and Belgian Waterways and also on many Rhine River cruises. Whilst the city possesses plenty of beauty outside, in the form of its canals and charming streets, there is so much to see in its various museums too. The most famous of these is the Rijksmuseum, displaying thousands of objects pertaining to history and art within the Netherlands. Also in this cultured part of the city, you will find the Van Gogh Museum and the modern art-focussed Stedelijk.

The poignant and thought-provoking Anne Frank House is an obvious highlight, but there are some quirky alternatives too. The Houseboat Museum details the history of Amsterdam’s canals and the Tulip Museum is a brief look at how this flower became a symbol of the city.


Port Wine Museum

 By Manuel de Sousa (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

As the starting point of all Douro River cruises, Porto may not be able to offer the sheer volume of museums that the cities above can, but there are some great attractions that offer a look into the traditions of this beautiful city. The Port Museum will reveal why this alcoholic drink is loved so much in these parts and the Tram Museum will show you how locals historically navigated the hills of Porto.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to the Soares dos Reis National Museum, whilst anyone who prefers digitally captured images should check out the Portuguese Centre of Photography.


Museum of Historical Chamber Pots

If you like off-beat and alternative museums then Prague is the city for you. Often included as part of an Elbe River cruise, either by sailing down the Vltava or by travelling from Děčín in a coach, the Czech capital is home to all sorts of weird and wonderful attractions. Examples include the unique Museum of Historical Chamber Pots and Toilets, the chilling Museum of Torture Instruments, and the playful Lego Museum.

There are some more mainstream choices too, though. The National Museum (closed for refurbishments until 2020) focuses on natural history and is the largest museum in the country, whilst the National Gallery is home to paintings by such greats as Picasso, Rodin and Gauguin.


Vienna Modern Art Museum

A true city of culture, Vienna is one of the major highlights of a Danube River cruise. It has museums dedicated to art, sculpture and music – many of which are housed in ornate palaces and former royal residences, the Belvedere’s valuable art collection being a prime example. The most popular attractions here include the Kunsthistorisches Museum and the Leopold Museum, both of which are dedicated to modern art.

Elsewhere, the Albertina houses the largest collection of graphic art in the world and the Natural History Museum can take you on a journey through millions of years in our planet’s past.

St Petersburg


Stately St Petersburg is another example of a city which can boast some magnificent settings for its best museums. Passengers sailing on Russian River cruises can look forward to walking the halls of the world-famous Hermitage and admiring the intricate displays of Russian fine art throughout the State Museum.

St Petersburg is also where you will find Russia’s first museum. Dating back to 1727, the Kunstkammer Building was opened by Peter the Great and houses an elaborate collection that details the history of the people of Russia. Lastly, the Fabergé Museum is a must for anyone who has ever dreamed of owning one of the design house’s famous eggs.

If you would like to visit any of these cities on a European river cruise, our team can help you find the right itinerary. Rivers of the World has so many great sailings to choose from, so call our team on 0800 028 4272 to book yours.

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24th March 2020
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10th March 2020
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