Whether you want to break a sweat or simply stretch your legs, there are many ways to stay active on a Scenic river cruise. European cities are perfect for exploring on foot or by e-bike - arguably the best way to discover charming laneways and hidden local gems. In 2023, you can enjoy these new all-inclusive, handpicked Scenic Freechoice experiences to stay active while exploring Europe’s wonders.
Cycle to Château Siaurac
Bordeaux has a stunning selection of grand wine-making mansions. Among the prettiest of them all is Château Siaurac, perched on the banks of the Dordogne River on the French plateau of Pomerol. You could spend hours exploring the 15 hectares of parkland and gardens here, bordered by neat rows of grapes that make the estate’s exceptional single-vineyard wines. Arriving by e-Bike speeds things up, so you can venture inside sooner to claim your wine-tasting reward. Château Siaurac vintages are a treat and they will taste extra-special after a little light exercise.
LEFT: E-bikes, Bordeaux, France
Experience this on the Beautiful Bordeaux itinerary in 2023 and 2024.
Tour Les Baux-de-Provence
Make sure you have comfy walking shoes on and set your pedometer – your step-count will be right up there today, but you’ll barely notice as the French village of Les Baux-de-Provence offers scenic distractions at every turn. A labyrinth of cobbled streets web the medieval village, leading you upward to the ruins of a 10th-century fortified castle, 244 metres above sea level and with views over the Val d’Enfer. Take your time, as there are countless reasons to linger en route, including charming ‘hole-in-the-wall’ shops specializing in local wine, nougat, honey, sorbet, lavender, pretty soaps and (the region’s piece de resistance) first-press olive oil.
RIGHT: Les Baux-de-Provence, France
Experience this on the Tastes of Southern France river cruise in 2023 and 2024.
Hike around Rüdesheim am Rhein
If you’re a fan of German rieslings, not to mention fairy-tale villages, you’ve come to the right place. Leave the half-timbered buildings of Rüdesheim’s Old Town behind and hike through precipitous vineyards that cover the slopes of the Rhine River, with medieval castles and abbeys along the way. Hard work done, you can relax into a cable car and appreciate the panorama – part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge – from a different perspective: river ships gliding through the water, grapes being harvested, and locals enjoying the fruit of the region along Drosselgasse, Rüdesheim’s atmospheric main street.
LEFT: Scenic Freechoice activity, Rüdesheim, Germany
Experience this on the Jewels of Europe river cruise in 2023 and 2024.
Step up on the Paiva Walkways
Before taking your first step on Portugal’s Paiva Walkways, take a moment to appreciate those who built this cliff-hugging wooden path, zig-zagging for eight kilometres across rocky hillsides hemming the Paiva River within UNESCO-recognized Arouca Geopark. There are around 300 heart-starting steps between you and the 516 Arouca, the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world at (you guessed it) 516 metres. It hangs 175 metres above the Paiva River, offering mesmerizing views of the surrounding gorge and Aguieiras Waterfall. Back at ground level, Arouca’s whitewashed churches and tiled town square are worth an extra step or two.
RIGHT: Paiva Walkways, Portugal
Experience this on the Unforgettable Douro river cruise in 2023 and 2024.
Kayak the Pinhão River, Portugal
The Douro Valley is one of the world’s oldest demarcated wine regions, and its terraced vineyards carved into mountains are a drawcard to this day. This – along with gorgeous granite bluffs, whitewashed quintas (estates), postcard-pretty villages and 18th-century wine cellars – will be your backdrop while paddling along the Pinhão River. Guided kayaking tours through this pocket of northern Portugal traverse the country’s most prolific port-making region. Which means that at the end of the day, you can relax in charming Pinhão village with a glass of something delicious in hand, knowing that you have earnt every last drop.
LEFT: Pinhão River, Portugal
Experience this on the Delightful Douro river cruise in 2023 and 2024.
More Scenic Freechoice active experiences to enjoy
These activities have been on our program and are loved by guests who enjoy a more active pace when exploring Europe
2. Cycle around Libourne
Explore the postcard-worthy wine-growing region of Libourne, where your sweat to get to Château Siaurac is rewarded with a tasting you won’t forget in a hurry. It’s easy to enjoy the views as you ride on Scenic’s complimentary electronic-assisted bikes.
Experience both on Scenic’s Beautiful Bordeaux, Bordeaux Affair, Flavours of Bordeaux itineraries.
3. Hike to a fortress in Normandy
Lace up your walking shoes and get set to reach new heights in Normandy, France, when you hike to the 12th-century Château Gaillard, built by Richard the Lionheart. The sweeping views over the Seine River are a well-deserved reward.
Experience this on Scenic’s Normandy & Gems of the Seine itinerary.
4. Climb Europe’s tallest sand dune
We all know walking in the sand requires extra effort. But it’s worth it when you get to climb the 107-metre-high Dune du Pilat – Europe’s tallest sand dune, just outside the French city of Bordeaux – and admire Atlantic Ocean panoramas from the summit.
Experience this on Scenic’s Beautiful Bordeaux itinerary.