The Danube is Europe’s second-longest river and is the longest river in the European Union region. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows basically southeast and either passes through or touches the borders of Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before ending at the Black Sea.
The classic Danube river cruise will typically start or end in Budapest and go as far northwest as Nuremberg. There are also other points in between where Danube river cruises start and end. There are many wonderful cities, towns, and villages to visit along the way however I’m just going to mention a few of my favorites.
I don’t think any Danube river cruise can be complete without a visit to Budapest. The city is divided into two distinct parts, Buda and Pest, by the Danube river. These were actually two different cities until they merged into one in 1873. And they are very different. Buda is built on a series of hills and Pest is very flat. In Buda you can visit places like Fisherman’s Bastion offering panoramic views across the river to Pest. And Pest is bustling with energy where you will find all kinds of restaurants, shopping, cafes, and bars. This is a unique city and while most river cruise lines offer a city tour of Budapest, do yourself a favor and plan on spending a couple of nights here either before or after your cruise if you can.
Vienna, beautiful Vienna is another popular stop on Danube river cruises. Vienna is the capital and largest city of Austria. Vienna is regarded as the City of Music because of its musical history. Musicians that were either born in Vienna or came there to work include Schubert, Strauss I and II. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms just to name a few. That musical tradition continues today with museums, concerts, and other activities including music.
Viennese cafés have a very long and rich history dating back centuries. The local coffee houses are somewhat unique to Vienna although attempts to copy them have been tried. Please do yourself a favor and refrain from Starbucks at least for a day and do try one of the local coffee houses. You will not be disappointed.
Passau is a town in lower Bavaria in Germany. It is called the city of three rivers because in Passau the Danube is joined by two other rivers, the Inn and the Ilz. St. Stephens Cathedral is one of the main sights in Passau. The organ at St. Stephens in Passau has 17,774 pipes and 233 registers. Organ concerts are held daily between May and September and are highly entertaining.
Melk is in lower Austria next to the Wachau valley. It is best known as the site of Melk Abbey, a massive baroque Benedictine monastery. The abbey was founded in 1089 and today’s Baroque abbey was built between 1702 and 1736. A tour of this abbey is a must do on our Danube river cruise. Be sure to take note of the spectacular wall and ceiling frescoes.
These are just a few of the cities and towns along the Danube river. There are so many more so when looking for a river cruise consider the Danube river and decide which are your favorites.
Ciao for now!
Richard “The Vacation Guy”®