The Elbe is Germany’s second most distinguished river after the Rhine. It rises from a gurgling stream of crystal-clear water high in the Krkonoše (or giant mountains), before winding its way through the breathtaking forests of Czech Republic and Germany, and finally splashing into the North Sea some 68 miles later.
What this river lacks in depth (special river cruise boats are used to crossing its often shallow depths), it more than makes up for in dramatic history. This area is where the fiery pastor Martin Luther started war against the Catholic Church in 1517, the US and Russian forces shook hands in April 1945, and it was the setting for Stalin’s Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
But history is not the only thing on offer here. The river passes through lush green vineyards, the beautiful Sandstone ‘Saxon Alps’ and some of Eastern Europe’s most fascinating sights.