Famous rivers are located all around the world from South America to Europe to Asia. The major world rivers aren’t necessarily the longest rivers in the world, but they are certainly some of the most beloved, traversed, or utilized. They have always been the waterways of commerce and cultural exchange. Along some, great cities have grown, and others, like the mighty Amazon, have entered into legend. Famous rivers draw in tourists from all over to cruise, walk, run, hike, kayak, canoe, swim, and just enjoy their waters and surrounding riverbanks.
There are few who haven't heard of the Amazon River because it is the largest river on the face of the planet and a great river for Amazon cruises. An exceptional backdrop for countless outdoor adventures, an incredible source of natural resources, and housing an endless array of amazing tropical plant and animal species, the Amazon and its surrounding rainforest is one of the most biodiverse and important ecosystems in the world.
Anyone who has ever traveled in Thailand will know that the Chao Phraya is a lifeline for the Thai people. It is a popular transportation route within Bangkok used in conjunction with the city’s famous Sky Train, and also used for myriad water needs. Culture and history is rich within the entire area of the Chao Phraya River.
The Danube River has major appeal. It runs through several countries along its 1,700-mile course, which is its most attractive quality. Beginning in Germany, the Danube flows through Hungary, Austria, and Croatia along with five other countries before ending in Romania where it empties into the Black Sea. It is one of the most popular European rivers for river cruises that make stops in places like Budapest and Vienna.
Ganga Maiya or Ganga Ma are the names for the Ganges River, or Mother Ganges. The iconic river is associated with both life and death, and is a cardinal religious setting in India. People travel thousands of miles on pilgrimages to the Ganges River, especially to places like Varanasi, one of the most sacred cities in the country. As one of the major world rivers, it is immortalized in books and films.
Flowing from the north to the south within New York’s eastern region, the Hudson River is 315 miles long, rises in the Adirondack Mountains, and forms a boundary between New Jersey and New York. The famous Bannerman fortess is located on an island in the Hudson River. It was once used to store mass quantities of weapons.
The Mississippi River is the basis of hundreds of major historical events and has an incredibly storied past, which is marked by tragedy, hope, and survival. It is one of the most famous rivers in the world and the most famous in the United States. It is the largest river in the US. It has been a major waterway since long before Mark Twain piloted a paddle wheel steamer along its course, and Mississippi river cruises on "Old Man River" remain popular today.
The timeless Nile River flows south to north through the entire length of Egypt until it reaches Alexandria and empties into the Mediterranean. Surrounded by the vast Sahara Desert, virtually all Egyptian civilization grew up along the course of the river, which reveals ancient temples and the remarkable Valley of the Kings where King Tut's tomb was discovered.
As the largest of all Mississippi’s tributaries, the Ohio River is a prominent artery of the east-central region in the United States. The Ohio River meets the Mississippi after almost 1,000 miles in Cairo, Illinois, and marks boundaries between Indiana and Kentucky, Kentucky and Illinois, West Virginia and Ohio, and Ohio and Kentucky. Because it flows from east to west, it played a major role in the westward expansion of the United States.
The Rio Grande conjures images of the quintessential Texas cowboy, or of basically any image related to the Wild West. It is a trans-boundary river, creating a border between Texas and Mexico and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Two famous attractions along the Rio Grande Valley are Big Bend National Park and the scenic area it runs through in south Colorado.
Also called the Isis River, the Thames is a famous waterway slicing through central London, and one of the best-known major world rivers. The Thames River flows through Reading, Oxford, and Windsor. It is the largest in England and second largest in the entire United Kingdom.
Stretching for almost 4,000 miles, the Yangtze is the longest river in Asia. Along its course are historic cities, scenic misty mountains, and beautiful temples. One of the modern world's most amazing engineering projects, the Three Gorges Dam provides electricity for millions. All these attractions can be seen while on one of the popular Yangtze cruises.