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What is the Best Way to Tour Europe?

Updated: May 13

Alex is in Europe this week learning about many different river cruise operators and the itineraries they offer.

While sailing along the rivers through Europe is a fabulous way to explore this amazing part of the world, you may prefer touring on land!

The best way to tour depends on you!

Consider these options when you are dreaming about your next journey to Europe.

map of rotterdam and surrounding cities
Book your hotel in Rotterdam and travel to different cities during the day. Here are just a few of the possible cities you could visit.

Hub and Spoke

If you are interested in taking your time to explore nearby areas of a major city, the hub and spoke type of touring might be what you prefer.

With this type of touring, travelers establish a 'home base' with a comfortable hotel in a major city.

From your home base, you can head out in several different directions and explore during the day, then return to your hotel in the evening.

Having a home base allows you to unpack once for the duration of your journey and have a familiar location to relax after a full day of touring.

European public transportation is excellent and allows you to easily travel to different areas to explore, visit museums, dine on local cuisine and much more.

The downside to this type of touring is that you are limited by how far you are willing to travel in one day.

Here is a sample: Check into a hotel in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Enjoy day trips (travel an hour or less) into nearby cities like Delft, The Hague, Hoek van Holland (beach!) and Gouda!

If you are interested in going to Amsterdam, it is about an hour and a half by train.

map of sample tour from Rome to Paris

City to City

City to City is probably the most common type of touring.

Your tour begins in one city, travels through the country visiting various cities along the way to your ending point. (it is also possible to find an itinerary that covers a large part of the country yet returns to the starting point for the end of the tour).

This type of touring allows you to explore more cities and potentially more countries depending on the itinerary.

You will usually have a couple of days in each destination to explore and tour before heading out to the next stop.

The downside is that you are unpacking and re-packing often and you are not in any destination long enough to 'settle in'.

map of Danube river cruise

River Cruise

River cruising is a type of touring that allows you to unpack and settle in to your accommodations while the ship travels the river and takes you to multiple cities or countries.

A river cruise travels at a leisurely pace, so you have mostly full days to enjoy excursions at the port stops.

While river cruises do give you a good amount of time is most ports, you are limited by the ships itinerary.

Many river cruises will be found on major waterways, like the Danube, Rhine and Rhone.

You have the option to visit more unique rivers like the Seine, to explore Paris and the Douro, to explore Portugal.

However, some cities and even countries are not served by river cruises.

map of river cruise plus additional tours

Cruise Tour

A hybrid of some of these options is to combine the river cruise with a tour before or after your river cruise.

You can even do both!

Most river cruise lines offer extension packages that seamlessly add a few days to either end of your river cruise so you can spend time touring the cities where the cruise starts and stops.

In many cases, the cruise director of the river cruise will be the one to host the tour so you will have a familiar guide available to you for any questions or assistance.

Storyline Travel works with amazing tour companies and river cruise lines!

We look forward to helping you design your next dream European vacation!

Bon Voyage



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