A Moveable Feast: Taste Your Way Along Europe’s Rivers with Scenic

A vital part of any travel experience is the cuisine. With Scenic, you can indulge in the culinary flavours of your destination during a rich mix of gastronomy experiences and the exceptional all-inclusive on board dining options available on your Space-Ship.
Our Scenic Freechoice programme of onshore activities has been designed with you in mind, letting you tailor your holiday to suit your interests (and taste buds!). We offer an array of included Scenic Freechoice culinary experiences that will take you on a sensory journey, inspired by your destination. From sampling unusual local ingredients and authentic regional dishes, to participating in exciting cooking demonstrations and tastings, a foodie adventure awaits.

We’ve handpicked a few of our favourite Scenic Freechoice culinary experiences that you can enjoy on selected European river cruise itineraries.

The Eclectic Flavours of Amsterdam

Many of our European river cruises begin or end in Amsterdam. Although this city might not be the first that comes to mind when you think of Europe’s culinary scene, Amsterdam offers an eclectic mix of dishes and delicacies. You’ll have the opportunity to wander the streets of the Dutch capital, sampling delicious Dutch treats.
If you’re feeling particularly brave, you may want to try herring the Dutch way –⁠ once the head and insides of the fish are removed, it’s dipped in salt and best enjoyed by tipping back your head and swallowing the whole herring in one. As well as fish, Amsterdam offers many different types of cheeses and a mouthwatering selection of desserts, including fluffy poffertjes (small pancakes) and stroopwafel (a syrupy wafer cookie).

Gouda’s Vibrant Cheese Markets

As part of our Windmills, Tulips & Belgian Delights, cheese enthusiasts have the opportunity to visit the historic city of Gouda. Renowned for its famous namesake cheese, the Dutch city boasts traditional cheese markets dating back all the way to 1395. 
Wander around the bustling town square at the heart of the cheese markets, watching the iconic haggling process of the farmers and traders. The back and forth negotiations are particularly amusing to watch –⁠ traders participate in the handje klap, a hand clapping game which eventually settles a price.

Medieval Influences in Miltenberg

On our best-selling Jewels of Europe river cruise, you can choose from four different food and drink orientated Scenic Freechoice experiences in the medieval town of Miltenberg. The German town is located in the Bavarian region and offers a rich blend of culinary influences.
For a quintessential German experience, enjoy a guided tour of Engelberg Monastery where the resident monks brew their own beer. You will be shown around by one of the monks, letting you try the homebrewed beer alongside locally cured sausages and cheese. Another traditional culinary Scenic Freechoice experience invites you into the home of a local farming family; discover more about the local delicacies and the farming way of life.
If you would prefer to toast to your river cruise with a tipple, you can visit a local Schnapps producer. Taste the many flavours of this traditional German spirit, from fruity varieties to more herbal infusions. Wine lovers can delight in a tour of a local winery in the neighbouring Wertheim. Understand more about the vinification process, with the chance to sample some of the wines yourself.

Viennese Coffee Culture

Immerse yourself in Vienna’s coffee culture on another Scenic Freechoice activity available on our Jewels of Europe river cruise. Coffee has been an integral part of the Viennese society for centuries, so much so that Vienna has elevated coffee creation to an art form. You will visit the historic Café Central, one of the grandest Viennese coffee houses. First opened in 1876, the coffee house has welcomed the likes of famed authors and scholars, including Sigmund Freud, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin. Sit among the striking polished stone columns and high-vaulted ceilings, savouring some of the finest coffee around. A slice of classic Viennese sachertorte (a rich chocolate cake) is not to be missed.

The Famed Wines of the Douro Valley

There are dozens of delightful wineries (known as Quintas in Portuguese) along the Douro Valley. When you travel on one of our Portugal river cruises, you can rest assured that our expert team of Journey Planners and Tour Directors have handpicked the very best selection of wine experiences for you to savour in this renowned wine region. Two of the finest Quintas you will have the opportunity to visit are Quinta Aveleda (a sparkling wine producer) and Vila Nova de Gaia (one of the most famous wine cellars in Porto). Learn more about the winemaking process on the Douro Valley’s sun-soaked vineyards. Whether you prefer red, white or sparkling, there’s a wine to suit all palates.

Portugal is also home to a delicious fusion of cuisine. Indulge in authentic flavours and dishes in the Côa Valley, visiting Casa Painova for an immersive tasting session of their almond, olive and fruit products. You will also be invited to participate in a hands-on workshop to create your very own sugar-coated almonds. In Régua, join a local family for a home-hosted baking demonstration and tasting, letting you gain insight into how fresh crusty bread is baked in a traditional wood fire oven –⁠ a particular highlight for baking enthusiasts.

Traditional German Altbier

In the same way that coffee culture has become synonymous with Vienna, beer culture is deeply embedded in the German lifestyle. When travelling through Germany, you will not want to miss the chance to experience the vast history of the country’s beer making. As part of our Romantic Rhine & Moselle river cruise, you will visit Düsseldorf, a city known for its beer and art scenes. Wander along the cobbled streets of the city’s charming Old Town, where you can sample the local Altbier produced in this Lower Rhine region. Directly translating to ‘old beer’, the name derives from it being top-fermented, which is an older method than the bottom fermentation of other lager beers. Prost!

Delightful Dining in France

There’s no denying that France delivers some of the finest and most elegant food and wine experiences in Europe. For truly exceptional gastronomy, look no further than our South of France river cruise. On most of your cruise days, you’ll have the chance to choose from at least one food or wine experience as part of Scenic Freechoice. Savour local wines, visit a truffle farm, or participate in our ‘Shop with a Chef’ tours, which include a visit to a local food market before an immersive cooking demonstration on board with our exclusive Scenic Culinaire cooking school. The magical Rhône and Saône are the perfect river cruise destinations for those wishing to taste their way through France.

Alternatively, Bordeaux presents its own plethora of culinary and wine experiences. Join our Beautiful Bordeaux river cruise for the chance to enjoy wine tastings at Chateau de la Riviere, tour a foie gras farm, participate in a truffle tasting event, or sample the seafood of neighbouring Arcachon. There’s plenty to whet your appetite in this beautiful region of France.

For those seeking the ultimate food and drink river cruise experience, explore our brand new France Culinary Cruises: Flavours of Bordeaux or Tastes of Southern France.

Dining in Europe with Scenic

Whichever corner of Europe you wish to uncover, you can ignite your inner chef, food adventurer or wine connoisseur through our vast array of Scenic Freechoice food and drink experiences. From the renowned wines of the Douro Valley and the elegant gastronomy of France to the cosy cafes of Vienna and eclectic food markets of the Netherlands, there is something to pique all taste buds. 
Discover more Scenic Freechoice experiences and explore our 2021 collection of Europe river cruise including the Early Booking Incentives to find your next perfect culinary journey.