The Best Active Shore Excursions For 2018 And Beyond
There has been a clear rise in the number of active excursions offered by river cruise lines over the past couple of years, as guests look to enjoy more energetic pursuits whilst also exploring the fascinating ports in which the ships dock.
So, if you like to get out and about on two feet, two wheels or with a paddle in each hand, here are some exciting active excursions to try on your next river cruise.
Klosterneuburg Monastery Bike Tour, AmaWaterways, Various Danube Sailings
When your ship docks in the beautiful city of Vienna, you will have the option to climb into the saddle of one of AmaWaterways’ bicycles (which are kept on board for guests to borrow as and when they like) and head outside of the city to Klosterneuburg Monastery. The journey may be 16 miles long but the route is flat and largely car-free, allowing you to take things at your own pace and enjoy your surroundings.
Legend says that the monastery was built in the 12th century by Margrave Leopold III on the spot to which the wind carried his wife’s veil on their wedding day. Since 1133, it has been home to the Order of the Augustinian Canons and the grounds also feature Austria’s oldest winery. After arriving by bike and enjoying your tour, you can refuel for the journey back to the ship with traditional Viennese coffee and cake.
Canoe Through The Ardeche Gorges, Avalon Waterways, Discovery On The Rhône
As you sail smoothly through France, a stop in Viviers will give you the opportunity to discover the breathtaking Ardeche Gorges from a unique perspective. Don your wetsuit and take to the water in a canoe so you can see the craggy shoreline and riverside beaches up close.
All equipment will be provided and there will be an expert on-hand to help you get to grips with the basics. During the summer months, the water flows at a gentle pace so there’s no better way to see the pleasant countryside in this part of France.
Open-air Wagon Ride Through The Rheinhessen Vineyards, CroisiEurope, Various Rhine Itineraries
One of the best things about Rhine river cruises is chance to sample some of the best wine in Europe. There are many different wine-growing regions in these parts and this particular tour will take you through one known as the Rheinhessen. After your ship docks in Mainz, you can tour some of the local vineyards in the back of an open-topped wagon.
As you trundle through the scenic landscapes, you can soak up the views over the very river you’re currently exploring and admire some of the castles in the distance. Following the wagon ride, there will be plenty of time to relax with some bread, cold cuts and, of course, the wine that surrounds you.
Hike to Belogradchik, Emerald Waterways, Enchantment of Eastern Europe River Cruise
This active excursion is offered on a river cruise that lets you experience some of the lesser-known ports that are not always visited on Danube River cruises – such as Kalocsa, Rousse and Vidin. It is in the latter where you can choose a hiking activity, which will take you to the town of Belogradchik.
Whilst the town is interesting enough, the tour will focus on exploring the rock formation which sits in the foothills of the Balkans, along with the nearby medieval fortress. The Belogradchik Rocks have many stories behind them and are arranged in various interesting shapes. Some of them reach up to 200 metres high.
Before you hike back to join the ship, some local refreshments will be offered – a pleasant reward for the morning’s hard work.
Kayaking On The Gardon River, Uniworld, Grand France
This is one of Uniworld’s fantastic ‘Let’s Go’ shore excursions, a programme of active pursuits that includes hiking, biking and, in this case, kayaking. Of all the spots in Europe, there are few more picturesque to kayak through than Provence and that is exactly what you will get to do during your time in Avignon – provided you are sailing between May and September.
The Gardon River is a small tributary of the Rhône that’s home to lots of wildlife, calm waters and beautiful scenery. As trout swim by and birds sing from the shore, you’ll make your way from Collias to Remoulins. Then, at the end of your two-hour paddle, the highlight of your excursion will come into sight – the Pont du Gard. This Roman aqueduct is over 2,000 years old and has three separate levels. No wonder it’s been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kinderdijk Windmills By Bicycle, Viking River Cruises, Grand European Tour
The Kinderdijk Windmills are a popular sight on many cruises along the Dutch and Belgian Waterways and Viking River Cruises offers the chance to see them as part of a cycling tour. Travel like the locals do in a country that loves life on two wheels and where the land is flat enough to explore at a steady pace.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to 19 different windmills, creating an interesting tour along the banks of the Lek River. As well as admiring them from afar, your guide will take you inside some of them to see what life was like as a miller and also tell you how the windmills are a key component of Dutch water management.
If you would like to learn more about how you can enjoy these or any of the other active shore excursions available on Europe’s rivers, call us on 0800 954 0064. You can also contact us via the website if you prefer.