The Elbe

The Elbe rises in the Czech Rebublic, flows into Germany an empties into the North Sea at Cruxhaven, near Hamburg.

Prague is linked to the Elbe by the Moldova River, also known as the Vltava, while beyond Hamburg, at the seaward end of the Elbe's flow, you'll find the famous Kiel Canal - which links the North Sea and Baltic Sea - and the Oder River, famed for its rich bird life, which allows access via the Havel River to Berlin.

Other notable towns and cities along the river's banks include Dresden, Meissen known for its delicate porcelain, Worlitz, home to magnificent castles and gardens, Wittenberg where Martin Luther began his Reformation and Magdeburg, with its atmospheric Gothic Cathedral.

With so much to explore, the Elbe is burgeoning in popularity as a river cruise destination.

Key events include the Duckstein Festival, an annual beer fest that takes place during July and August in Hamburg and Berlin; Hamburg's Reeperbahn Festival in September; and Christmas time, of course, when Hamburg, Prague and other cities along the river host magical markets.

Elbe sightseeing