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Italy River Cruises 2024/2025

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Italy Travel Guide

Italy river cruises offer an enchanting way to experience the country's legendary beauty and rich heritage. These cruises typically wind through iconic rivers like the Po, taking you into the heart of classic destinations such as Venice, as well as lesser-known yet equally captivating regions like the picturesque Veneto countryside. What makes an Italian river cruise special? It's the unique mix of experiencing Italy's famous art, history, and cuisine from the serene perspective of its waterways. Imagine floating into Venice, with its grand canals and palazzos, or exploring the hidden gems of small river towns, each with their own story. These cruises combine the ease of travel with deep cultural immersion, making every stop a chance to explore Italy's treasures – from ancient Roman ruins to Renaissance art, and from bustling markets to quiet, lush vineyards. With river cruise volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 50% versus the brochure price! Book your Italy river cruise today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted river cruise headquarters.

Italy Travel Guide
Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

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Showing 1 - 40 River Cruises

Sail Date Operator Ship Departs Returns Length Price
Jun 19, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyParisPrague21$15,250
Jun 19, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyParisBudapest18$14,590
Jun 22, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyAmsterdamBudapest15$13,290
Jun 22, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyAmsterdamPrague18$13,950
Jun 22, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyAmsterdamNuremberg8$6,495
Jun 23, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$10,399
Jun 24, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaMoraBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jun 24, 2024ScenicScenic CrystalAmsterdamZagreb19$18,225
Jun 24, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestAmsterdam15$17,990
Jun 28, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como13$5,607
Jun 29, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como12$5,248
Jun 30, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$3,899
Jun 30, 2024TauckMS InspireMilanAmsterdam11$7,590
Jun 30, 2024Gate1MS Monarch BaronessMilanAmsterdam13$4,199
Jul 01, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jul 06, 2024EmeraldEmerald SkyBudapestAmsterdam15$16,190
Jul 07, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$2,499
Jul 08, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaMoraBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jul 08, 2024ScenicScenic JasperAmsterdamBudapest15$17,090
Jul 10, 2024EmeraldEmerald DawnCopenhagenBudapest18$14,215
Jul 10, 2024ScenicScenic JewelAmsterdamZurich29$25,450
Jul 14, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$2,899
Jul 15, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jul 15, 2024ScenicScenic AzurePortoMadrid21$21,170
Jul 16, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaLake ComoAmsterdam12$4,898
Jul 20, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaAmsterdamLake Como8$6,189
Jul 21, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$2,499
Jul 22, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaAmsterdamBasel8$3,999
Jul 22, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaMoraBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jul 22, 2024ScenicScenic JasperBudapestAmsterdam15$17,090
Jul 24, 2024ScenicScenic OpalViennaAmsterdam29$25,450
Jul 24, 2024EmeraldEmerald DestinyPragueAmsterdam24$15,640
Jul 25, 2024EmeraldEmerald LunaAmsterdamNuremberg8$6,395
Jul 26, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como13$5,757
Jul 26, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaMilanVenice10$4,999
Jul 27, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaAmsterdamLake Como12$5,398
Jul 28, 2024UniworldSS La VeneziaVeniceVenice8$3,399
Jul 28, 2024Gate1MS Monarch BaronessMilanAmsterdam13$4,349
Jul 29, 2024AmaWaterwaysAmaSerenaBaselAmsterdam8$3,999
Jul 30, 2024Avalon WaterwaysVistaLake ComoAmsterdam12$5,148

Italy Travel Guide

Italy River Cruises Highlights

  • Venice: Venice is often the starting or ending point for Italian river cruises. The cruise terminals are conveniently located, offering easy access to the city's famed canals, St. Mark's Square, and the Doge's Palace. Venice is a city like no other, where every turn brings a new discovery, from historic landmarks to hidden, picturesque alleys.
  • St. Mark's Square and Basilica (Venice): The heart of Venice, known for its stunning architecture and historical significance as a symbol of Venetian wealth and power.
  • Rialto Bridge (Venice): The oldest bridge spanning the Grand Canal, offering picturesque views and a bustling market nearby.
  • Doge's Palace (Venice): A masterpiece of Gothic architecture, this palace offers a glimpse into Venice's past, with its lavish chambers and the infamous Bridge of Sighs.
  • Ferrara: Accessible from the Po River, Ferrara is a UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its Renaissance architecture. The Estense Castle and the Cathedral of Saint George are must-visits, showcasing the city's rich history and art.
  • Estense Castle (Ferrara): An imposing medieval fortress in the heart of Ferrara, surrounded by a moat and featuring lavish Renaissance interiors.
  • Cathedral of Saint George (Ferrara): An architectural marvel blending Romanesque and Gothic styles, with a striking façade and rich artistic works inside.
  • Chioggia: A short distance from Venice, Chioggia is a charming fishing port known as 'Little Venice.' It offers a more laid-back atmosphere and is home to bustling fish markets, lovely beaches, and the beautiful Corso del Popolo street, lined with quaint cafes and shops.
  • Chioggia's Canals and Fish Market: Often described as a miniature Venice, Chioggia charms with its less crowded canals and vibrant fish market.
  • Po Delta (Chioggia): A unique wetland offering scenic boat tours and rich biodiversity, ideal for nature enthusiasts.
  • Mantua: Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Mantua (Mantova), is known for its architectural treasures, including the Ducal Palace and the Teatro Bibiena. The city's historical significance and vibrant cultural scene make it a fascinating stop.
  • Palazzo Ducale (Mantua): This expansive palace complex is known for its intricate frescoes, particularly in the Camera degli Sposi, and its significant role in the Renaissance era.
  • Rotonda di San Lorenzo (Mantua): Mantua's oldest church, notable for its circular design and ancient frescoes.

Italy River Cruises Travel Tips

  • Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring the cities and towns.
  • Check your travel documents for errors and keep them accessible and handy for quick retrieval.
  • The currency in Italy is the Euro, and while credit cards are accepted in most places, carrying some cash is useful for smaller purchases, especially in markets or smaller towns.
  • Pack your clothes so you only bring what you need. You should only need to travel with a carryon and a soft and small-wheeled duffel bag with a telescopic handle for easy transport.
  • Carry a power adapter for European outlets, a camera to capture the scenic beauty and historic sites, and perhaps a travel guidebook.
  • Carry a light sweater or jacket in case the air conditioning is too cold or you get caught in a shower.
  • Use Google Translate to help you read Italian language menus and signs.

Italy River Cruises Things To Do

  • Venice
    Venice

    Venice is incomparable when it comes to seeing unique European sights. Because it is smaller, you can see the sights in a few days. No other place in Europe showcases the canals, architecture, and gondolas like Venice. When you land at this port, you know that you are exploring a one-of-kind place.

    Best Time To Visit

    According to U.S. News World travel, you should visit Venice is between September and November, or when the rush of tourists leave town. While temperatures range from the upper 30's to the middle 70s on the Fahrenheit scale, the reduced hotel rates and less crowded canals make wearing layers a minor inconvenience.

     

    You Should Know

    Climb up the Campanile di San Marco, a Venice bell tower that can be prominently seen on Venice's skyline. If the wind is too blustery or the temperature is too cold, the campanile usually closes. If you are taking a gondola ride, negotiate the time and price with your gondolier. An additional fee is charged if you ask the gondolier to sing. The Doge Palace was constructed in the gothic and Venetian styles, it served as a residence for the Doge (elected chief of state), and is now a museum.
  • Burano
    Burano

    Burano, which is a Venetian island, reveals a colorful personality, both figuratively and literally. You cannot help but love the town, located in the Venetian Lagoon, whose colors dance in the green waterways, and where vibrantly painted homes display varied-colored blooms.

    Best Time To Visit

    If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy a slower pace, the best time to see Burano is in September. By that time, most of the tourists have left Venice and its metro and suburban areas.

     

    You Should Know

    Burano is only a 45-minute boat ride from Venice. Burano is known as a lace-making town – Burano lace is well-known in Burano and throughout the world. Burano is home to the Lace Museum, which is located in Galuppi Square at Podesta of Torcello, a palace in Burano. The building was once used as a lace-making school. Burano is a fishing village. It is said that Burano's homes are brightly colored so the fishermen can see the town during foggy days.
  • Murano
    Murano

    Rich with culture and tradition, Murano is a small isle near Venice. If you want to see glass-making at its finest, you will find what you are seeking when you visit Murano. Home to 5,000 people, the city's population comprises families who are direct descendants of the town's original glassmakers.

    Best Time To Visit

    The best time to see Murano is in the early fall when you can enjoy the quietude and see the sights uninterrupted.

     

    You Should Know

    To visit Murano means to see the Venetian way of life from a bygone era. The site once served as a refuge for Venice glassmakers who had to leave Venice in 1291. You can visit a Murano glass-making factory to learn more about the traditional process of making glass. Some of the factories allow you to participate in the manufacture of the product. Because furnaces are used for this type of production, the factories usually close in August because of the outside heat. 
  • Chioggia
    Chioggia

    Being one of Italy's oldest fishing towns, Chioggia offers a vast array of seafood selections. The town is home to both a wholesale fish business and a retail seafood market. Chioggia is similar to Venice but less busy. The Adriatic coastal town allows you to sight-see at a slower pace.

    Best Time To Visit

    Plan on visiting Chioggia in the early fall. However, Chioggia also offers a nice way to break away from the crowds during the summer. 

     

    You Should Know

    Like Venice, canals crisscross Chioggia, which is situated on a group of small isles. It is linked to the Italian mainland by causeways. When visiting Chioggia, you will want to walk its beautiful beach. All you need to do is take the bridge leading from the town's center and proceed to Sottomarina to trek the 10K longshore. Locals like walking the beach in the low season, especially near dusk, when the almost black sand of augite, silicates, and quartz glistens in the last remaining light.
  • Ravenna
    Ravenna

    Although Ravenna is located inland, it can be easily accessed by Italy's Candiano Canal. The city is known for its Byzantine and Roman architecture. Lying within the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, Ravenna is famous for its beautiful mosaics that can be seen on central buildings, such as Basilica di San Vitale.

    Best Time To Visit

    To make the most of your time and money, it is best to visit Ravenna during the fall.

     

    You Should Know

    During Ancient Roman times, Ravenna was called Classe. It served as an imperial port and naval stronghold. The bustling pedestrian-friendly center of Ravenna is an ideal place to cycle and walk. The 1,400-year-old Basilica di San Vitale conveys brilliant mosaics as does the Mausoleum of Galla Placida, which is across from the basilica, and across the courtyard.
  • Polesella
    Polesella

    Situated in the Province of Rovigo, the Italian commune of Polesella is home to about 4,000 residents. Many river cruise visitors like to explore the area outdoors, whether they shop or eat or sight-see. Some of the must-see places include the picturesque Villa Morosini and the Palazzo Grimani.

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit the port of Polesella in September when the sun still shines and the crowds have tapered off.

     

    You Should Know

    Although it is often used for wedding receptions, you may be able to see the Villa Morosini when it is not being occupied. With its lovely garden and architecture, it provides a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of river cruise travel. The Palazzo Grimani is a mix of different architectural designs and features a center staircase that once led to the shoreline of the Po River.
  • Ferrara
    Ferrara

    An influential port city, Ferrara is located in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and provides plenty of sight-seeing opportunities for Italy river cruise visitors. The city boasts a myriad of beautiful old buildings, including the Palazzo dei Diamanti. The public area of Parco Massari provides a place to rest and relax, and to enjoy the natural scenery.

    Best Time To Visit

    Schedule your trip to Ferrara during the early autumn when things begin to settle down.

     

    You Should Know

    The Castle of Saint Michael is a medieval castle that sits on its own isle. Situated in the middle of old town, the building is also surrounded by a moat. Also known as the Cathedral of Saint George, the Ferrara Cathedral is known for its stunning interior design and architecture. 
  • Bologna
    Bologna

    The capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, Bologna is known as a foodie's paradise, given its pasta dishes, cheeses, meats, and wines. The city is also home to cultural and historical sight-seeing. Most of the city's piazzas and basilicas can be accessed by foot by way of a series of pedestrian-friendly streets. For example, from Piazza Maggiore, you can ascend the Asinelli Tower and see panoramic city views.

    Best Time To Visit

    Maintain a September or October travel itinerary if you plan to see Bologna, as you will like the slower pace and lower temperatures.

     

    You Should Know

    If you want to sample a variety of cuisine, follow the scent of fresh-baked bread to the city's historical markets where you can also buy some of the city's cured meats, such as Mortadella (Italian sausage). Check out the main shopping district of Bologna, or the Quadrilatero, which takes up a small area of the city's downtown. The walking streets link visitors to Bologna's best shops, some of which are housed in the upscale mall of Galleria Cavour. The mall features well-known brands, including Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.

Italy River Cruise Packages

  • Getting There

    Starting your Italian river cruise is straightforward and exciting. Most cruises begin in the enchanting city of Venice, a unique destination that's easily accessible by plane from major cities worldwide. Venice's Marco Polo Airport is well-connected to the city, with options like water taxis and buses to reach the heart of Venice. Here, the cruise terminals are conveniently located, often just a short ride from the city center. For cruises that start along the Po River, transportation is typically organized from Venice to the cruise's departure point. This ensures a smooth and stress-free beginning to your journey through Italy's stunning landscapes and historic cities. The accessibility and efficient organization make getting to your Italian river cruise an easy and enjoyable part of your adventure.

  • The Perfect Time for an Italian River Cruise

    When it comes to an Italian river cruise, particularly along the Po River and in the Venice area, timing is crucial for an optimal experience. Late spring to early autumn, generally from May to September, is considered the ideal period for such a cruise. During these months, the weather in Italy is warm and inviting, providing perfect conditions for both cruising and exploring the rich cultural and scenic landscapes. The temperature during this time usually hovers between a comfortable 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F), ideal for enjoying various sightseeing and outdoor activities along the river.

    However, it's important to note that the peak tourist season in Italy falls in the summer months, especially July and August. While this period offers excellent weather and a vibrant atmosphere, it is also associated with larger crowds and higher prices. For those who prefer a quieter river cruising experience with fewer tourists, the shoulder months of May, June, or September are excellent choices. These months still boast pleasant weather but with a significant reduction in tourist numbers. This allows for a more tranquil exploration of Italy's famous landmarks and lesser-known spots. Additionally, river cruising during these shoulder months often comes with the benefits of lower prices and a more authentic experience of Italian life and culture. Therefore, for a balance of good weather and a less crowded experience, late spring and early autumn are the best times for an Italian river cruise.

  • Immerse Yourself in Italian Culture

    Immersing yourself in Italian culture during a river cruise is a journey through a land rich in traditions, art, and history. Italy is known for its strong family values, love for life, and deep appreciation of food and wine. Italians often greet each other with two light cheek kisses, a sign of warmth and friendliness.

    Italian festivals, like Venice's Carnevale or the numerous local "sagre" (food festivals), are vibrant and colorful celebrations that showcase the country's love for life. These festivals often feature traditional music, dance, and regional cuisine, offering a genuine taste of local culture.

    Visiting historic sites like churches and museums, you'll encounter Italy's deep-rooted religious and artistic heritage. Respectful attire is appreciated, especially when entering religious sites. Engaging with the locals, enjoying an espresso at a streetside café, or simply wandering through historic town centers, you'll experience the essence of Italian culture, making your river cruise a truly enriching experience.

  • Experience the Flavors of Italy

    Experiencing the flavors of Italy is a highlight of any river cruise in the country. Italian cuisine is renowned for its regional diversity, fresh ingredients, and rich flavors. In Venice and the Veneto region, seafood is a staple, with dishes like "risotto al nero di seppia" (squid ink risotto) and "sarde in saor" (sweet and sour sardines). As you travel inland along the Po River, the cuisine shifts to heartier fare like "tortellini" (stuffed pasta) and "bollito misto" (mixed boiled meats).

    For a sweet treat, "tiramisu," originating from the Veneto region, is a must-try, as well as "gelato," found in a myriad of flavors across Italy. The country's wines, from Prosecco in Veneto to Chianti in Tuscany, are perfect accompaniments to any meal.

    For an authentic dining experience, seek out local "trattorias" or "osterias" in the smaller towns along the river, where traditional dishes are served in a warm, rustic setting. Many river cruises also offer onboard dining experiences featuring regional Italian specialties, providing a convenient and delicious way to savor the country's culinary delights. Each meal on your journey is not just food on a plate; it's a taste of Italy's rich culinary heritage and an integral part of your travel experience.

  • Why Book an Italian River Cruise?

    Booking an Italian river cruise is an excellent choice for those seeking a blend of cultural immersion, scenic beauty, and convenience. These cruises offer a unique perspective of Italy, allowing you to experience its iconic cities and hidden gems from the tranquil waterways. The value for money is significant, as cruises typically include accommodation, transportation, and guided tours, simplifying your travel planning and budgeting. On board, you get to enjoy Italian cuisine and entertainment, enhancing your cultural experience. A major advantage of river cruising in Italy is the ease of access to historical centers and attractions, often unreachable by larger vessels. This means you can dock right in the heart of cities like Venice and Ferrara, stepping off the boat and into centuries of history. Additionally, river cruises often provide exclusive access to experiences and locations, from private wine tastings in renowned vineyards to behind-the-scenes tours of historical landmarks. The combination of convenience, exclusive access, and the chance to see Italy from a unique vantage point makes an Italian river cruise a compelling and enriching travel option.

  • Ready to Book Your Italian River Cruise?

    If you're dreaming of a journey that combines stunning scenery, rich history, and unparalleled cuisine, then an Italian river cruise is the perfect choice for you. Glide along the picturesque waterways of Italy, from the enchanting canals of Venice to the serene Po River. Each stop along the way offers a unique glimpse into Italy's diverse culture, from bustling markets and historic sites in Venice to tranquil countryside views and traditional trattorias along the Po. Onboard, you'll enjoy the comfort and convenience of a floating hotel while indulging in Italy's famous culinary delights. This cruise is more than just a holiday; it's an immersive experience in the heart of Italian life.

    So why wait? Book your Italian river cruise now and prepare to be swept away by the romance and beauty of Italy's legendary waterways.

Italy River Cruises Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Are Italy River Cruises?

    Italy river cruises enable you to fully appreciate the culture and history of Italy. One of the rarer itineraries offers are adventures along the Po River. Not only can you see Venice and some of its islands, but you can also include an extension to your river cruise, and add the cities of Florence and Rome.

  • What’s Included on Italy River Cruises?

    All-inclusive amenities are provided for packaged river cruises that cover northern Italy or Italian cities that lead to other European ports. You get ship-wide Wi-Fi and Internet and can enjoy all your meals and beverages for free. The river cruises also include built-in gratuities, airport transfers, and daily off-shore excursions.

  • What’s the Best River Cruise for an Italy River Cruise?

    The best provider of Italy river cruises is Uniworld – a company that features boutique river cruise services that are next to none. If you want to see the above-listed cities, Uniworld is a preferred choice. European Waterways is also a top choice if you wish to travel by barge.

  • How Much Do Italy River Cruises Cost?

    What you will pay for an Italy River cruise will depend on where you plan to go, what you wish to see, and the length of your river cruise holiday. On average, expect to spend about $500 per person per day if you want to enjoy more amenities or an all-inclusive river cruise package.

Learn More About Italy Cruises

  • Newly Recognized UNESCO Sites

    UNESCO stands for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. They preserve pieces of culture and land, as well as buildings by marking them as historic sites. This year, 2021, there have been newly added and newly recognized UNESCO sites to the list. The list is already full of hundreds of sites, and if you’re interested in history and culture then visiting these sites is important. Here are the newly added sites.

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