During your time with Emerald Waterways, you'll have the oppurtunity to enjoy lots of bespoke excursions which encourage you to stretch your legs, find your centre and keep active, whether you're on-board or onshore. This may consist of guided hikes to centuries-old castles, cycle rides from one spectacular town to the next, and canoeing excursions inviting you to get even closer to the rivers

Introducing on-board Activity Managers to all eight of our Star-Ships sailing the Rhine, Main, Danube, Moselle, Rhône and Douro rivers in Europe. These dedicated members of the team perform a varied role, from coordinating on-board fitness classes and active onshore excursions, to organising the evening’s entertainment.

With at least one active excursion included in all our river cruise itineraries, you can look forward to yoga and Pilates sessions, aqua aerobics in our heated pool and our ‘walk-a-mile’ classes on the Sun Deck. And, on selected evenings, we’ll have karaoke nights, cards tournaments and gameshow-style quizzes.

To get you started, we’ve picked our favourite active excursions on each of the European rivers we navigate.

*EmeraldACTIVE activities vary by Star-Ship and cruise itinerary. Call us for full details.

Active shore excursions on the Danube

Running through delightful cities and stunning countryside for 1,780 miles; the Danube offers an amazing selection of excursions close to its banks.
Guided bike tour between Durnstein & Melk
A couple riding Emerald Waterways e-bikes

Enjoy a 23-mile bike tour through rolling vineyards and quaint towns in the Wachau Valley, a beautiful region of northern Austria designated UNESCO World Heritage Site status for its dramatic landscapes and viticultural heritage. On this unique active excursion, look forward to stopping for lunch on the banks of the Danube, where you may see your Star-Ship pass by on its way to the next docking point.

The duration of this guided bike tour is approximately four hours. The going is relatively flat, and with compelling views all around, it’s an unmissable highlight for those feeling up to the challenge.

You can enjoy this unforgettable cycling sojourn on our Splendours of Europe, Danube Delights and Danube Explorer river cruise itineraries.

Hike the Cobbled Streets and Buda Hill in Budapest

With its 1,000-year heritage and web of cobblestoned streets, Budapest’s Castle Hill district is ripe for an immersive guided hike. Take up your walking poles and set forth up through the curious byways of Castle Hill in the company of an experienced local guide, who will provide intriguing insight into the history of the area. At the summit, Buda Castle astounds with its Baroque façade and offers a far-reaching panorama of the city – views which make all that effort truly worthwhile.

Due to some reasonably steep climbs and the uneven nature of the cobblestone streets, this guided hiking excursion is recommended for those who enjoy a good leg stretch – just make sure you remember to pack a pair of comfortable walking shoes!

Take to the streets of Castle Hill on our Splendours of Europe, Danube Delights and Danube Explorer river cruise itineraries.

a train crossing Chain Bridge over a body of water

Walking excursions on the Main River

The Main runs through the heart of Bavaria, perfect if you want to explore a world of half-timber houses and enchanting beauty.
A guided walk to Wertheim Castle
a castle with a clock at the top of a building

 After exploring the medieval town centre of Wertheim – a place revered as one of the most beautiful medieval settlements in Germany’s Baden-Württemberg district – take a guided tour to the small town’s picturesque castle. Dating back to the 12th century, the castle is perched protectively overlooking Wertheim and is built with distinct redbrick – making it a distinctive feature of the Main river basin. The castle has proved a strategic defensive structure for generations, with the town of Wertheim developing around it throughout the Middle Ages.

As part of this guided active hike, you’ll be in the company of an experienced local guide, who will fill you in on the details of the castle’s history as you make your way towards its distinctive red ramparts.

Learn more about the traditions of Wertheim and the history of the castle on our Splendours of Europe river cruise.

River Rhine active excursions

Fairy-tale backdrops illuminate the banks of the Rhine, producing a region absolutely ripe for exploration.
Guided nature walk through the Black Forest 
black forest

Few places capture the spirit and romance of rural Germany like the Black Forest. With its chocolate-box villages and ancient folklore, this is a place which inspires stories and fairy tales. As part of a guided active hike, you’ll venture through its mystical woodlands, chancing upon quiet hamlets and dense pine forests which seem straight out of the imagination of the Brothers Grimm.

Begin at Breisach, where your Star-Ship will dock, take a one-hour hike into the mystical woodlands of the Black Forest, as a local guide entertains with stories of regional folklore. It’s a wonderful introduction to his charming, iconic region of southern Germany.

Explore the Black Forest on our Legendary Rhine & Moselle river cruises.

An enriching hike to Altes Schloss in Baden Baden
a stone castle next to a brick building

Baden Baden’s Altes Schloss rewards those who hike to its charming hillside location with eerie dungeons, enigmatic hallways and stunning views. Although largely a ruin, the site remains a wonderful place to explore on foot, and an active guided tour will provide you with everything you need to know about its 900-year-long history.

Known locally as Hohenbaden Castle, this is one of the most spectacular castle ruins in central Europe, and one that promises to capture your imagination. With dramatic views at the top, there’s never been a better reason to strap on your walking boots.

Take a hike to Hohenbaden on our Majestic Rhine river cruise.

Stay active of your Rhône River cruise

Meandering through some of the world’s richest wine regions, the River Rhône absolutely invites you to explore on foot or by bicycle. 
Hike the vineyards of the Côtes du Rhône
a close up of a yellow flower

Beyond the limits of medieval Tournon lies the terraced vine slopes of the Côtes du Rhône, one of France’s most esteemed wine-making appellations. It’s here, within sight of the weaving passage of the river, that you can enjoy an active vineyard hike – taking in the fragrant grape rows, inspiring scenery and warm, Mediterranean climate.

Climb from the river’s edge to the summit of the valley through these celebrated wine lands, taking in landscapes you’ve only ever seen in film. And don’t worry, while you may be keen to sample the wines on offer, your efforts will be rewarded with a post-walk tasting session – the perfect end to a perfect excursion.

Take to the terraces of Tournon on our Sensations of Lyon and Provence itinerary.

On-board yoga lessons against a backdrop of Southern France
rolling up a yoga mat

Are you a self-confessed yogi who likes nothing more than finding their centre at the start of each new day? Then prepare for the yoga session of a lifetime, as you begin another wonderful day on the Rhône with an invigorating on-board yoga lesson – with the iconic landscapes of Provence as your backdrop.

Taking place on the Sun Deck, an open-air leisure space at the top of your Star-Ship, this wonderful event gives you the chance to practice yoga with an experienced yogi as you pass through stunning Avignon. A great workout for body and mind, this class is suitable for beginners and those experienced in yoga alike.

Take part in this unforgettable yoga session as part of our Sensations of Lyon & Provence itinerary.

Active excursions and events on the Douro River

Running through the Douro Valley in beautiful Portugal, the Douro can be explored on foot, bicycle, or even by canoe.
Canoeing experience with expert guides
canoeing at sunset

If cruising the Douro River on-board our boutique Star-Ship, Emerald Radiance, sounds a little too serene for you, then we’re giving you the opportunity to get closer to the water with an unforgettable canoeing experience. With an expert guide teaching you the ropes and leading the way, you’ll soon be navigating these amazing waters in invigorating style.

Taking place in the Coa Valley, whose waters are serene and ideal for beginner canoeists, this is a wonderful opportunity to try something new amid spectacular surroundings. Have a go yourself – you might just discover a new hobby!

Enjoy this active excursion on our Secrets of the Douro river cruise.

Guided Walking Tour of Porto
a castle like building in a city

Where the Douro meets the sea, Porto’s rich history and heritage opens up in all its splendour. A delightful mix of modern and ancient architecture, Porto provides a stunning setting for a walking tour. With an expert guide on hand, you’re bound to learn plenty about Portugal’s second city.

While walking tours aren’t traditionally classed as ‘active’ excursions, the nature of Porto’s winding, uphill streets mean that this in-depth tour is certainly for those up to a challenging walk. Bring along a comfortable pair of shoes and look forward to getting to grips with this irresistible Portuguese city.

Take a hike through Porto on our Lisbon & Secrets of the Douro river cruise.