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The Elbe: A river cruise guide

Destination Reviews

The Elbe is one of Europe's most unspoiled rivers, natural and unaltered by human technology. As a result, if an Elbe cruise is on your wishlist - and it certainly should be - you will have to hunt around to find it.

Although the river flows from the Czech Republic's Giant Mountains through Germany all the way to Hamburg and the North Sea, the river is so shallow that it is not navigable for most of its course, and very few vessels are able to operate cruise itineraries on it at all.

Elbe river, Saxony

Expect spectacular beauty, particularly as the river meanders through Saxon Switzerland, with wetlands and woodlands which are virtually untouched. Amazing cities, risen from the rubble in war-torn East Germany, dot your route.

You start your trip in edgy Berlin, one of the most exciting cities in the world, before joining your ship in rococo Potsdam, and visit magnificently restored Dresden, Meissen, with its fine porcelain, and Wittenberg, birthplace of the Protestant Reformation. The journey finishes in magnificent Prague, where an extended stay to explore is a must.

Frauenkirche church, Dresden, Germany

The Elbe supports several wine-producing areas - the Saxonian Wine Route, Melnik and Litomerice - so take the opportunity for some unusual tastings.

Download our River Cruising Uncovered brochure

Thinking about a river cruise but don't know where to start? Our informative guide is packed full of everything you need to know, including which cruise lines we recommend, what to expect on each river and how to make the most of your trip...

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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