Rivers bring life to some of the world's most beautiful and impressive cities, and hopping on a river cruise is a great way to explore them. Here are some to plan for.
Beauty, freedom and joie de vivre make up the lifestyle of the world's most romantic city.
After you've ascended the Eiffel Tower and waved hello to Mona Lisa at the Louvre, join the sidewalk café brigade, take a canal tour and explore one of the city's lesser known museums (we recommend Musée Rodin and a stroll along the banks of the Seine).
Highlight: Parisians embrace warmer weather with delight, heading out to the city's parks to sun-worship, read, flirt and play. Join them at Place des Vosges, Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg before dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge.
Buy: Shoes, bags and fragrances from Galeries Lafayette's main store on Boulevard Haussmann. The summer sales offer fabulous markdowns.
Eat: Ladurée macarons are lauded around the world, but the dessert powerhouse also turns out gorgeous tarts, slices and cakes. Stop by the sweet and pretty stores for a sugar hit to remember.
Prepare to indulge when you visit France's gastronomic capital, which sits at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. At the famed indoor and outdoor markets, shop for fresh baked goods, the season's best fruits, delicious cheeses and souvenir-worthy local wines at unbeatable prices.
There's more to the city than food: a UNESCO World Heritage site, Lyon's cobblestone streets hold the secrets of more than 2000 years of history. Two intact amphitheatres are testament to the area's Roman legacy, while Vieux Lyon boasts avenues of impressive Renaissance architecture.
Highlight: Les Halles de Lyon, the bustling indoor food market where more than 60 stallholders dish out the freshest and best food, from gooey cheeses to just-caught seafood and artisan macarons. Also plan for a stop at the Michelin-starred L'Auberge du Pont de Collonges restaurant on the banks of the Saône.
Buy: Saucisson de Lyon, a local sausage variety, a selection of cheeses, and crusty baguettes. Picnic: sorted.
Eat: Choose from the blackboard specials in one of Lyon's traditional taverns, known as bouchons.
On a first visit to Austria's showstopper capital, Vienna, tick off a slice of Sachertorte, and explore St Stephen's Cathedral. With a few more days to spare, immerse yourself in the city's cosmopolitan café culture, and enjoy a cocktail reception and a private orchestral performance at the Liechtenstein City Palace.
Highlight: The Kunsthistorisches Museum, opened on the Ringstrasse 125 years ago, continues to display the extensive priceless art collection of the regal Habsburgs.
Buy: Swarovski's glittery crystal trinkets or locally made schnapps.
Eat: Crisp schnitzel and potato goulash are national dishes for a reason.
Separated by the Danube River, Buda and Pest were separate towns until their merger in 1873. Together they form one of Europe's most beautiful cities, lavished with castles, palaces and cathedrals befitting a fairytale. Panoramic views are the reward for climbing Buda's hilly peaks, while Pest's flat terrain makes ambling around the waterfront's upmarket bars and restaurants a cinch.
Highlight: Dip into the healing waters at one of Budapest's more than 100 hot springs, or set off on a twilight cruise through the city, taking in the lights of the remarkable Hungarian capital sparkling around you.
Buy: Hungarian wines are so good - and popular - that they rarely make it to export. Pick up a bottle of tokaji aszú dessert wine or traditional fruit brandy.
Eat: Everyday local dishes such as hearty chicken paprikash stew and potato gratin will warm the heart and fill the tummy. Budapest cuisine is more traditional than trendy, with home kitchen recipes setting a high bar.
This article is presented by helloworld and APT River Cruises.