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IJssel River Cruises 2024/2025

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IJssel Travel Guide

Embark on a journey along the Ijssel River, a captivating waterway in the Netherlands offering an unforgettable cruising experience. Originating in Westervoort, near Arnhem, the Ijssel meanders through the scenic provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel before gracefully merging with the IJsselmeer. This river is more than just a waterway; it's your gateway to the heart of Dutch culture and history. As you sail its tranquil waters, you'll discover charming towns with unique stories and picturesque beauty. Picture yourself wandering through cobblestone streets of quaint villages, tasting local Dutch delicacies, and soaking in a warm, inviting atmosphere. The Ijssel River cruise stands out for its perfect blend of peace and exploration. Relax on the deck, surrounded by tranquil scenes of lush greenery and the river's gentle flow. For those seeking adventure, the Ijssel does not disappoint. Explore hidden beaches, discover the local culture at museums, visit historical sites, and enjoy festivals celebrating the region's rich heritage. Whether you're a history enthusiast, a lover of culture, or searching for a serene getaway, the Ijssel River cruise in the Netherlands promises a diverse and delightful experience. Come aboard and let the enchanting beauty of the Ijssel River captivate your heart. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your IJssel river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

IJssel Travel Guide

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IJssel Travel Guide

IJssel River Cruises Highlights

  • The Hanseatic Museum in Zutphen: Is a treasure trove of artifacts and stories from Zutphen's days as a Hanseatic League city. It gives you a glimpse into the region's medieval trade and daily life.
  • Deventer's Historical Center: Walking through Deventer's old town is like stepping into a storybook. The city's well-preserved buildings and cobbled streets speak volumes of its history as a prominent trading center.
  • Stedelijk Museum in Kampen: Located in an old town hall, this museum showcases Kampen's art and cultural history. It's a great place to understand the artistic heritage of the region.
  • Walburgis Church, Zutphen: An architectural marvel, this church offers stunning views of the city from its tower. Its mix of Gothic and Romanesque styles reflects the region's diverse historical influences.
  • IJsselstrand Beach, Doesburg: A relaxing spot to enjoy the river's beauty. The beach area is perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic, offering a peaceful break from sightseeing.
  • The Lebuïnus Church, Deventer: This church stands as a symbol of Deventer's rich religious history. Its impressive Gothic architecture and ornate interior are a must-see for architecture enthusiasts.
  • Kampen City Gates: The ancient gates of Kampen are a testament to the city's medieval past. These historic structures are not just beautiful; they tell stories of a time when they protected the city.

IJssel River Cruises Travel Tips

  • The Euro is used in the Netherlands, so make sure to have some on hand for small purchases, even though cards are widely accepted.
  • The weather can be unpredictable, so bring a mix of light clothing for sunny days and a jacket or sweater for cooler evenings.
  • Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the towns and villages.
  • Don't forget to pack a raincoat or umbrella, as showers are common.
  • Make sure all the contact information and details are correct on your travel documents and that they can be accessed easily.
  • A small backpack or day bag is useful for carrying your items during excursions. If you plan to bike or kayak, consider suitable gear like sunscreen and a hat.
  • To stay connected, bring a plug adapter for charging or using your electronics.
  • Download Google Translate to make it easier to read signs, menus or communicate.

IJssel River Cruises Things To Do

  • Amsterdam

    Originally a fishing village in the late 1100s, Amsterdam was established after the building of a dam on the Amstel River. From that time, Amsterdam developed quickly. Today, the city boasts one of the most beautiful and unique historic centers in Europe. The center is made up of 7,000 historic structures and 400 bridges that link 90 islands across the city's canals. Some of the historical buildings include the Royal Palace, whose home is Dam Square, and the Westerkerk, a church built in the 17th century. The city is also home to numerous stores and shops – effective for anyone who is seeking a little retail therapy.

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit any part of the Netherlands is in the spring when you can see the fields of tulips in bloom. Plan your itinerary for tulip-watching in April or the early part of May.


    You Should Know

    Pre-book tickets to see the Anne Frank House, where Anne and her family hid from the German occupiers during the Second World War. Visit Keukenhof Gardens to observe the beautiful blooms. Another attraction is the Van Gogh Museum showcases the works of the legendary artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Rijksmuseum displays the Golden Age paintings of Dutch artists, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Vermeer.
  • Hoorn

    Founded in the 1200s, Hoorn served as a connection to the Flanders and Baltic areas. Many of the structures in Hoorn were built in the Dutch Golden Age (17th century). The buildings can be seen on a river cruise tour, and have been preserved, over time, to retain Hoorn's charm and elaborate style. A visit to the city's historic center will give you a better appreciation of the Golden Age design.

    Best Time To Visit

    Go during tulip time in the spring, so you can enjoy the milder temperatures, see the lovely flowers, and meet up with fewer crowds.


    You Should Know

    Former Statencollege, going back to 1632, features paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries. Hoofdtoren Tower overlooks the busy Hoorn harbor. Stroll through Rode Steen Square and view its tall houses and statues. West Fries Museum, with its exquisitely adorned façade, shows how the Dutch Golden Age influenced the city of Hoorn. Visit Oosterkerk Church, built in 1519.
  • Kampen

    Sitting on the shore of the lower River IJssel, the city of Kampen is located in the Overijssel Province. The IJssel River will provide you with unspoiled views of this lovely Netherlands' city and its verdant countryside. The gothic church, Bovenkert, gives you a clue at the type of historical sites you will see on your tour of this enchanting Dutch town.

    Best Time To Visit

    Take an IJssel River cruise during the spring, so you can see the trees budding and lovely tulips growing abundantly at this time of year.


    You Should Know

    Kampen features one of the best-preserved historic town centers in the Netherlands, which boasts an incredible 500+ monuments – an unprecedented number of historical attractions. A collection of fine churches can be seen in Kampen, including the neo-classical designed Burgwalkerk, and the Buitenkerk, and Broederkerk. To get more insight into the interesting shipping history of Kampen, visit the Museum Kampen, which is located in the city's 14th-century town hall.
  • Arnhem

    This city is best known for its role during the Second World War during the 1944 Battle of Arnhem, later dramatized in the war film A Bridge Too Far. The city's Airborne Museum and War Museum offer more in-depth insights into the battle and the city's wartime history. However, you will find more than the city's battle history to keep you entertained. You can also discover Arnhem's event-filled history, which stretches back to the 1100s. 

    Best Time To Visit

    Many IJssel River cruises take place during the spring when tulips bloom. Therefore, this is a good time to also take in the views of Arnhem. 


    You Should Know

    Don't miss seeing the striking gothic designed St. Eusebius Church with its 305-foot tower. Escape to the city's fairy tale Doorwerth Castle, built during the 12th century. Take a brief sojourn in Sonsbeek Park and visit the spectacular summer residence of the Dutch Royal Family, Paleis Het Loo (built in the 17th century).
  • Kinderdijk

    A listed UNESCO village, Kinderdijk is a famous Netherlands attraction. Sitting in the heart of polder lands, where the Lek and Noord rivers meet, Kinderdijk serves as the home for the largest display of historical windmills in the world. The village's windmills, which were built during the mid-1700s, were constructed to guard against floods and keep the lower-lying land of Alblasserwaard, about 23 feet below sea level, dry. 

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit Kinderdijk in early May, when the spring showers begin to taper off.


    You Should Know

    The village features 19 iconic Dutch windmills, which are connected by a network of roads and dikes. The best way to appreciate the landscape is to bike. For more of a look into windmill history, visit the Nederwaard and Blokweer windmill museums. A visit to Wisboomgemaal Visitors Center provides a good introduction to Kinderdijk.
  • Rotterdam

    To look at Rotterdam, you would not guess that it is a centuries-old city. After World War II, Rotterdam, which was almost obliterated, had to be extensively rebuilt. Today, the city enjoys a thriving economy and modern and towering buildings. The city's iconic cable-styled Eramusburg bridge is the second largest bridge in the Netherlands. 

    Best Time To Visit

    Mark your travel calendar for spring to visit Rotterdam and other parts of the Netherlands.


    You Should Know

    To escape the hustle and bustle of the city, visit Rotterdam's botanical garden and its large zoo. Surviving post-war structures include Rotterdam's windmills, which were built during the 1700s and 1800s. The super modern Markthal building features a busy indoor market.
  • Antwerp, Belgium
    Antwerp, Belgium

    Both charming and historic, Antwerp, Belgium is a popular destination on river cruise journeys. The Diamond District in Antwerp gives visitors the opportunity to buy their own customized jewelry. About 80% of the world's rough diamonds regularly go through Antwerp. Cobbled walkways lead to vibrant cafes – a great way for shoppers to relax or enjoy an afternoon repast. 

    Best Time To Visit

    If you go on an IJssel River cruise, visit Antwerp in April or May when you can also see the tulips in bloom in the Netherlands.


    You Should Know

    Even though Antwerp received extensive bombings in the Second World War, it still retained much of its medieval charm. You will note this feeling when you visit the city's Cathedral of Our Lady in Benelux. The church features four altarpieces, each designed by the Baroque artist, Pieter Paul Rubens. Antwerp's Grote Markt, which is the center square in old town, displays Flemish Renaissance-styled architecture. Visit the Rubens House, built in the 1600s, to see the works of Flemish Baroque artist, Pieter Paul Rubens.
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
    Dordrecht, Netherlands

    While Dordrecht is believed to have been first settled in 1049, it was officially named a city in 1220. Located on an island in the province of South Holland, the city sits in the midst of a variety of channels and tributaries. Historically, the riverside city was once a vital center of trade, importing and exporting goods, such as cereals, wood, and wines.

    Best Time To Visit

    Set sail during the springtime when you can also enjoy the tulips blooming in all parts of the Netherlands.


    You Should Know

    Dordrecht's history can be found in the city's picture-postcard city center, which features museums, monuments, and lovely buildings, all revealing Dordrecht's fascinating past. Explore the narrow streets of the city on foot and visit historical landmarks, such as the Grote Kerk church with its 67-bell carillon. The city boasts 700 municipal monuments and about 900 listed buildings.

IJssel River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    Planning your Ijssel River cruise adventure is straightforward. The river is easily accessible from major cities in the Netherlands. If you're flying in, the nearest major airport is in Amsterdam. From there, it's a smooth journey to the river's starting point near Arnhem.

    Cruise ships typically access the Ijssel from the Rhine, as the Ijssel is a branch of this famous river. This means your journey will often begin in the bustling city of Westervoort, a short distance from Arnhem. Many cruise operators offer transportation from nearby cities to your boarding point, making it convenient to reach your ship.

    Once on board, get ready to be swept away by the tranquil beauty of the Ijssel, with its winding path through the heart of the Dutch countryside. Your river cruise adventure is just a trip away.

  • Immerse Yourself in the Ijssel River Culture

    Exploring the Ijssel River is not just about the scenery; it's also about immersing yourself in the rich culture and customs of this region. The Ijssel flows through areas steeped in history, where age-old traditions are still a part of daily life.

    The towns along the Ijssel take pride in their heritage, often celebrated through various festivals and events. For instance, Deventer hosts the famous annual Deventer Book Market, the largest of its kind in Europe, transforming the city into a haven for book lovers. Similarly, Zutphen and Kampen hold historical festivals, where the past comes to life with people dressed in period costumes, medieval markets, and re-enactments.

    The locals are known for their friendly and welcoming nature. Engaging with them offers a deeper understanding of the Dutch way of life. You'll find that they're often eager to share stories about their town's history and customs.

    Participating in these cultural experiences enriches your river cruise, adding a layer of connection to the places you visit. The Ijssel River is more than a waterway; it's a living tapestry of Dutch culture waiting to be explored.

  • Experience the Flavors of the Ijssel on a River Cruise

    A journey down the Ijssel River isn't just a feast for the eyes and a delightful adventure for your taste buds. The region is known for its rich culinary traditions, offering an array of flavors that are as varied as the landscapes you'll sail through.

    One of the must-try dishes is 'Stamppot,' a hearty Dutch classic made of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables like kale or sauerkraut, often served with smoked sausage. It's simple, filling, and gives a real taste of traditional Dutch home cooking. For cheese lovers, the Netherlands is a paradise. Be sure to taste the local cheeses, like Gouda or Edam, which are famous worldwide.

    Seafood enthusiasts will enjoy the fresh river fish dishes, a staple in many riverside restaurants. Try the 'Paling' (eel), smoked or grilled, which is a regional delicacy.

    For something sweet, 'Stroopwafel' – two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet syrup – is an absolute delight. Pair it with a cup of Dutch coffee for a perfect snack.

    When it comes to drinks, the Netherlands is known for its beer, so don't miss out on trying some local brews. Dutch hot chocolate is rich and comforting for a non-alcoholic option, especially on cooler days.

    Most of the towns along the Ijssel have a range of restaurants and cafes where you can sample these local specialties. Don't hesitate to ask your cruise staff for recommendations – they often know the best spots for an authentic dining experience. Indulging in the local cuisine is a key part of the Ijssel River cruise experience, adding another layer of richness to your journey.

  • Why Book an Ijssel River Cruise?

    Booking an Ijssel River cruise is the perfect way to explore the heart of the Netherlands in a unique and convenient manner. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the unparalleled access it offers to a variety of experiences while unpacking only once. Imagine waking up each morning to a new destination, with the comfort of your floating hotel always nearby. This means you're saving time on transportation and getting a comfortable and consistent lodging experience throughout your journey.

    Another great aspect of cruising the Ijssel is the value for money. Your cruise fare often includes accommodations, meals, and various onboard activities, making it a cost-effective way to see multiple destinations. Additionally, you get unique coastal views that you simply can't experience by land. The perspectives of historic towns and beautiful landscapes from the river are truly special.

    Cruise ships often have exclusive arrangements for tours and activities, giving passengers a more intimate and in-depth experience of the local culture and history. This could mean private guided tours, special entry to museums, or exclusive events unavailable to the general public.

    Lastly, there's the convenience factor. Everything is planned for you, from meals to excursions, making it a hassle-free way to travel. You don't have to worry about navigating through unknown cities or dealing with multiple hotel check-ins. This ease of travel is perfect for those who want a relaxed yet engaging vacation experience.

  • Ready to Book Your Ijssel River Cruise?

    If you're looking for a unique and enriching travel experience, an Ijssel River cruise is a perfect choice. This journey offers a blend of scenic beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture, all from the comfort of a relaxing river cruise.

    Sailing along the Ijssel, you'll discover charming Dutch towns, each with its own character and stories. From exploring historical landmarks to indulging in local cuisine and participating in lively festivals, there's never a dull moment. The convenience of a cruise means you get to experience all these without the hassle of constant packing and unpacking.

    Whether you're a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or just in need of a peaceful getaway, the Ijssel River cruise caters to all. It's not just a trip; it's an adventure into the heart of the Netherlands.

    So why wait? Book your Ijssel River cruise today and get ready for an unforgettable journey through some of the most picturesque and culturally rich regions of the Netherlands. Your adventure awaits.

IJssel River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are IJssel River Cruises?

    Most Ijssel River cruises begin in Amsterdam and end there, with major port stops scheduled for Hoorn, Kampen, Arnhem, Rotterdam, Kinderdijk, Antwerp, Belgium, and Dordrecht. All-inclusive river cruise passages allow for luxury travel at affordable prices.

  • What’s Included on IJssel River Cruises?

    IJssel River cruises provide en-suite accommodations with a flat-screen TV, a hairdryer, and Wi-Fi access. Gratuities and the airfare to the embarkation city are often included in the price. All meals onboard are free, as well as the beverages. Escorted tours round out the amenities.

  • What’s the Best River Cruise of IJssel River Cruises?

    The best river cruise will be the cruise that offers the best value for what you can afford. Therefore, look at cruises that feature luxury accommodations and a regular schedule of activities. Popular river cruise lines include Viking River Cruises and AmaWaterways, both of which include Dutch ports in their pan-European river cruise offerings.

  • How Much Do Don River Cruises Cost?

    Depending on your deck plan, you can set sail and enjoy an all-inclusive IJssel River cruise for as low as $2,000 per person for nine nights. That price includes the airfare.

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