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When is the best time for a Europe river cruise?

Updated: Jul 26, 2023


best time for a Europe river cruise
Nuremberg Christmas Market

I get that question all the time: what is the best time for a Europe river cruise? Here is the answer. The best time is April and May and early June. The weather is still moderate, the crowds are not there and the water levels are up because of snow melt and winter rains. In addition, the prices are not at their peak during what is called the shoulder season. The next best time is second part of September and early October.


Now, if you really want the best prices and do not mind a little (or some) cold then March is also a good time to go. In 2023 I went on the AmaMagna cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest and the weather was great and there was absolutely almost no one in the towns visited. The weather during the day was 60 degrees and and at night it was 50 degrees. Nowadays, however, the weather is unpredictable.


Another popular time is the holiday (Christmas) season. Rivers such as the Danube and the Rhine have fabulous Christmas markets and the best time to go are the last 10 days in November and the first two weeks of December. This way you will have all holiday markets open and can visit such fantastic markets as Nuremberg, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Strasbourg, Cologne. Do not go before November 15 since some markets will not be yet opened. And do not go after December 20th.


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