The Best Trips for Exploring the World's Most Famous Rivers

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Gethin Morgan

Content Editor

From the Danube to the Nile, the Mekong and even the Amazon, these are the ultimate Culture Trip itineraries to book if you’re drawn to the biggest, most iconic rivers on the planet.

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View of the Nile river in Luxor, Egypt

Ultimate Egypt

Let’s start with the world’s longest river, the Nile, which winds its way through most of the major countries in northeast Africa. The river was a vital element in the development of Ancient Egypt and, naturally, should therefore play a big part in any visit to the country. It certainly does on our nine-day Egypt trip, which aims to offer the definitive tour of this famous land. Starting with a locally-guided exploration of Cairo and Giza, we’ll jump on the sleeper train south to Luxor, much of which tracks the Nile itself. Here we’ll spend a night at a hotel with glorious views over the river, before spending the next four nights on an incredible luxury Nile cruise. Gently floating upstream offers an incredible insight into the countryside and urban landscapes of this unique nation, as well as offering easy passage between Luxor, Aswan and the countless archeological wonders between them. On our last full day you’ll even swap the ship to navigate the river via kayak, stopping off at some of the beautiful islands of Aswan before tucking into an authentic Nubian farewell dinner.

From US$1807

Next available from 26th Sep 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Cairo, Egypt

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ENDS AT

Aswan, Egypt

DURATION

9

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Light

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STYLE

Discovery

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Local Vietnamese paddling on sampan boat through Mekong river canals surrounded by green palm trees and coconut trees

Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam

The Mekong is the third longest river in Asia, passing through southwest China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, almost as if it’s a teenage traveller taking a year off from its studies. You can explore three of those countries on our Southeast Asian odyssey. You won’t come into direct contact with the river until our final border crossing. Having explored Bangkok, Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh, we’ll cross into Vietnam in the coolest way imaginable, whizzing down the Mekong to a gorgeous riverside hotel in Chau Doc. The next day we’ll go for a slightly gentler ride on a Mekong River Cruise, set on a beautiful old wooden riverboat made using the materials once used for traditional rice barges. You’ll go on a guided excursion to rural villages and orchards before spending sunset on the top deck and dozing off onboard. The following day we’ll go even more authentic as we hop onboard traditional sampan rowing boats to explore some of the Mekong’s many canals and islets, meeting locals, learning about local music and cycling along the canals before heading to our final destination, Ho Chi Minh City.

From US$2374

Next available from 14th Sep 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Bangkok, Thailand

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ENDS AT

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

DURATION

11

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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Woman Walking In The Middle Of A Wooden Bridge In A Waterfall in Ecuador

Adventurous Ecuador

Staking a controversial claim to be the world’s real longest river – sorry, Nile – the Amazon is arguably the world’s most famous. It originates in Peru, passing countries like Colombia en route to its final destination, Brazil. Many people forget that one of the Amazonian nations is the incredible Ecuador, home to far more natural beauty than its relatively small area. Our eight-day exploration of the country heads towards the Amazon basin, starting in the capital, Quito. After visiting Quilotoa Lake and the Banos Waterfall Route (the water from these falls eventually end up in the Amazon) we’ll wind our way down to the city of Tena, AKA the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. We’ll spend two nights at a beautiful Amazon tropical lodge, heading out to go white-water rafting down Jatunyacu – one of the Amazon’s main tributaries – and two jungle treks – one to stop animals, the other to discover the Amazon’s abundance of natural essential oils.

From US$1954

Next available from 24th Aug 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Quito, Ecuador

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ENDS AT

Quito, Ecuador

DURATION

8

GROUP SIZE

16

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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Majestic Turkey

Ok, admittedly, we’re breaking the rules on this one. The Bosphorus might look like a giant river that separates the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, but in reality it’s an ocean strait that connects the Black Sea to what eventually becomes the Mediterranean. We’re willing to make an exception since this famous old metropolis feels like a classic river port city, you just have to ignore the waves, the salty waters and the endless seagulls. Our comprehensive 12-day Turkey tour kicks off with a deep-dive of Istanbul, which includes multiple ferry cruises down the Bosphorus, hopping between the European and Asian sides of the strait (not a river) to tuck into baklava and discover some of the city’s coolest neighbourhoods.

From US$2798

Next available from 16th Aug 2024

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Trip highlights and details

STARTS AT

Istanbul, Turkey

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ENDS AT

Antalya, Turkey

DURATION

12

GROUP SIZE

18

PHYSICAL RATING

Moderate

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STYLE

Discovery

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