In the first of a new series, we will take a look at one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of Eastern European travel, the river cruise.
The Dnieper River, Europe’s third largest, represents one of the most adventurous river cruises that money can buy. Flowing for 1,370 miles the Dnieper begins in the heart of the Ukraine and snakes its way across the landscape of this intriguing nation on its way to the majestic waters of the Black Sea.
The vast majority of Dnieper river cruises begin in Kiev, the culturally rich capital city of Ukraine, where travelers can enjoy the many interesting sights and attractions before embarking. Most river cruise boats will stop off at the nearby Monastery of the Caves, a huge religious complex founded in the 11th century by St. Anthony of the Caves.
The monastery was constructed atop of a network of underground tunnels which were originally excavated by the monks living there as a place of retreat during wars and religious purges. Unlike the Cu Chi tunnels in Vietnam, these are none too claustrophobic, and so most visitors will be able happily explore the depths.
Yalta is another regular stop for Dnieper river cruises. The famous city, noted for its World War II conference between Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, is also home to many gorgeous palaces such as the White Palace, once the summer residence of Tsar Nicholas II, and the old imperial winery at Massandra.
Sevastapol, the last stop on the Moscow–Crimea railway, is also a stop on many Dnieper river cruises, while fans of Albert Einstein will be keen to explore his birthplace at Odessa, home to the famed Potemkin Steps.
A Dnieper river cruise makes for a truly relaxing Ukrainian tour with a difference, and comes highly recommended for anyone wanting to explore the key cultural highlights of this fascinating country.
Dnieper river cruises last for around 12-14 nights, costing from $1,800 all inclusive. Major operators include Viking, Value World and Imperial River Cruises.