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12 of the world’s most incredible river cruises, including Vietnam, Brazil and Russia...

River cruises can give you a fresh perspective on familiar places and help ford hard-to-reach destinations. Here are 12 trips that will definitely float your boat, from India to Canada…

Boat on the Mekong (Dreamstime)

1: Vietnam & Cambodia - Meander the Mekong

Mekong River (Audley Travel)

Hop on board a replica 1920s steamer along one of Asia’s great waterways on Audley Travel’s Cruising the Mekong from Saigon to Siem Reap trip. 

Explore Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) before drifting north past floating markets and Cham villages into Cambodia. Witness the chequered history of Phnom Penh and the temples of Kampong Cham before ending at one of travel’s finest sights: the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat at dawn.

Who: Audley Travel (01993 838140)

When: Year round

How long: 15 days

How much: From £4,425 (incl flights)


2: Brazil - Discover an Amazon wilderness

Pink river dolphin (Wildlife Worldwide)

Float on a Voyage to the Heart of the Amazon with Wildlife Worldwide and see the rainforest’s lesser-known depths. 

Sail up the Rio Negro with a naturalist guide and spy branchclinging orchids and bromeliads in flooded igapó and lush várzea forests. See the clash of the Amazon and Rio Negro rivers and finish amid the vast Anavilhanas Archipelago, spotting pink river dolphins and chattering monkeys.

Who: Wildlife Worldwide (01962 302086)

When: Selected dates Aug-Dec 2017

How long: 12 days

How much: From £3,295 (incl flights)


3: Austria to Romania - Glide through Eastern Europe

Chain Bridge, Budapest (Amadeus River Cruises)

Ford 2,000km and seven countries on Amadeus River Cruises’ Beautiful Blue Danube trip. 

Cruise Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava, then glide the forested karsts of the Iron Gates, the border between Serbia and Romania, climaxing in the bird-rich Danube Delta.

Who: Amadeus River Cruises (0800 035 6411)

When: 2 July 2018

How long: 9 nights

How much: From £1,799 (incl flights)


4: Egypt - Float antiquity from Aswan to Cairo

Sphinx in Cairo (Jules Verne)

Discover ancient Egypt from the water up with Jules Verne’s The 600 Mile Nile tour. 

Glimpse the era in all its glory: spy the temples of Abu Simbel, Hatshepsut and Philae, gasp at the tombs and ruins of Amarna and the Valley of the Kings, and wander the pyramids of Giza and Dahshur.

Who: Jules Verne (020 3733 4017)

When: 3 & 29 Sep 2017; 15 Feb, 13 Mar, 8 Apr & 4 May 2018

How long: 12 nights

How much: From £2,345 (incl fl ights)


5: Germany & Czech Republic - Drift down the Elbe

Prague (Saga Holidays)

Soak up history and natural drama on over-50s tour operator Saga Holidays’ Berlin to the City of 100 Spires tour. 

From Berlin, wind the River Elbe from medieval Potsdam to gothic Magdeburg, and on to the infamous Colditz Castle. Drift into the Czech Republic through the Sandstone Mountains and finish in baroque Prague.

Who: Saga Holidays (0800 656 9919)

When: 10 Apr 2018

How long: 10 nights

How much: From £1,699 (incl flights)


6: Canada - Ride the Rideau across Ontario

Rideau Heritage Route (Le Boat)

Take charge of your own craft on Le Boat’s Southern Rideau Cruise, mastering locks and taking on wild Ontario. 

Float from historic Smiths Falls through mirror-like lakes before pit-stopping for treks along Portland’s Cataraqui Trail and Westport, for hiking in its lush mountains.

Who: Le Boat (0844 417 2028)

When: Selected dates May 2018

How long: 7 nights

How much: From £2,276 (per boat; excl flights)


7: Russia - Voyage down the Volga

Kul Sharif mosque (Regent Holidays)

Join Regent Holidays on its Moscow to Astrakhan River Cruise, taking in medieval Nizhny Novgorod, blue-domed mosques in Kazan and Soviet history in Samara with a visit to Stalin’s bunker. 

Wind past the old fortress city of Saratov before dropping anchor in Astrakhan for the wild wetlands of the Volga Delta.

Who: Regent Holidays (020 7666 1244)

When: 14 & 26 Sep 2017

How long: 13 days

How much: From £2,055 (incl flights)


8: India - Journey through cultures and wildlife

Brahmaputra River Cruise (Wild Rhino Adventures)

Coast the highlights of Assam on Wild Rhino Adventures’ Brahmaputra River Cruise tour. 

Slide past the rice fields and water meadows of Majuli Island to see villagers tending tea gardens, then swap water for land, spotting one-horned rhino at Kaziranga NP and wandering the living root bridges of Cherrapunjee.

Who: Wild Rhino Adventures (01621 741320)

When: Selected dates Oct-Apr

How long: 12 days

How much: From £3,127 (excl flights)


9: Burma (Myanmar) - Trace the wake of ‘Elephant Bill’

Laykyun Setkyar Buddha statue in the village of Khatakan Taung (Wild Frontiers)

Leave the tourist trail on Wild Frontiers’ Chindwin River Expedition, as you follow in the footsteps of 1940s’ adventurer James ‘Elephant Bill’ Williams. 

Drift the remote Chindwin Valley, snaking misty peaks, jungle and bankside communities, bookended with stops at historic Yangon and Mandalay, and the temples of Bagan.

Who: Wild Frontiers (020 3504 7690;)

When: 4 Nov 2017; 3 Nov 2018

How long: 15 days

How much: From £4,695 (excl flights)


10: India - Glide down the Ganges

Varanasi Ganges River Cityscape Boat (G Adventures)

Sail along a classic Asian waterway on G Adventures' India River Cruise – Ganges Experience trip. 

From Farakka, ford the ancient city of Gaur and travel along the Hooghly River to spy terracotta temples near Baranagar. Pedal a rickshaw to the gardens and tombs at Khushbagh, glide past Kalna's Shiva temple complex and conclude your cruise among the French-influenced architecture of Chandannagar.

Who: G Adventures (0344 272 2040)

When: Selected dates Aug-Sep 2017; Mar-Apr & Jul-Aug 2018

How long: 9 days

How much: From £624 (excl flights)


11: Russia - Sail between two cities

Cruise through Moscow (Fred River Cruises)

Cruise between Russia's two greatest cities on Fred River Cruises' Volga Dream Gold – Reverse trip. 

Explore St Petersburg's opulence before taking to the water, slipping past lakeside wooden lodges, admire the lush forested Kareliya region and taste two of the country's best-known drinks: tea and vodka. Pitstop at the ancient trading town of Uglich before docking in Moscow for its culture and history.

Who: Fred River Cruises (0800 0213186)

When: 13 Sep 2017

How long: 12 nights

How much: From £2,199 (incl flights)


12: Germany and Poland - From Berlin to the Baltic

Berlin old and new (UTracks)

Journey through wild swathes of Germany on UTracks' Berlin Bike & Barge tour. After wandering the capital, pedal and float your way to the Baltic Sea. 

Cycle through lush forests and the leafy Lower Oder Valley National Park, and float past historic German towns, such as medieval Wolgast, the UNESCO-listed gothic centre of Stralsund and Eberswalde, home to Germany's oldest working lock. You'll even have time to hop across to Poland, exploring the port city of Szczecin.

Who: UTracks (0845 241 7599)

When: 5 Aug 2017; selected dates Jun-Jul 2018

How long: 8 days

How much: From £930 (excl flights)


Thinking about taking a river cruise or another adventure? Know when you want to travel but don’t know where? Got an activity you long to try but not sure how? Try Wanderlust’s Trip Finder: www.wanderlust.co.uk/tripfinder

Main image: Boat on the Mekong river (Dreamstime) 

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