13 European Rivers And Waterways For Travel

By: LINDA GARRISON | Pulished on 2024-01-31

Spring Tulip and Windmill Cruises: Netherlands and Belgium

13 European Rivers And Waterways For Travel-Trip AdvisePeter Adams/Getty Images

A river cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium encompasses parts of well-known rivers like the Rhine and lesser-known rivers such as the Issel, Nedderrijn, and Schelde (or Scheldt). Some of the cruises are also on waterways such as the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal or Ijssel Lake. 


A spring tulip time cruise in the Netherlands and Belgium is a marvelous cruise for flower lovers, but also for those who appreciate quiet villages, windmills, and history. Travelers fascinated by the power of water will enjoy learning about how the Dutch have reclaimed much of their land from the sea and also how they keep the sea from flooding that precious land. The waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium have about 40 locks, all of which are important for flood control rather than height differences. (Don't worry, river cruises don't pass through all of them.)

Many of these cruises are roundtrip from Amsterdam, and a day touring this famous city is often included in the tour before the ship sails. 


The best time to see the tulip fields and world-famous Keukenhof Gardens is from late March to mid-May, so river cruise lines operate at full strength during this time. Most of the ships that sail the waterways of the Netherlands are 7 or 8 days long, while those that sail around the Netherlands and Belgium are usually 10-14 days.


A few cruise lines also sail the Netherlands and Belgium in the fall months, but you won't see any tulips blooming in the fields at that time of year. 

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