6 Colorful Cities of the Danube River

The longest river in the European Union

The Romantic Danube River

Sponsored by Viking Cruises

While traveling one of the most romantic rivers in the world, be prepared for a smorgasbord of visual sights and delights!

The longest river in the European Union, the Danube River begins in the Black Forest region of Germany and runs some 1,700 miles through 10 countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine) on its way to the Black Sea.

Much older than the Rhine, its basin is thought to have been the site of some of the earliest human cultures, and it remains one of Europe’s most important and historic waterways; it’s a river cruise destination that’s hard to beat.

While the options are endless, these are a few of our top recommendations for how to spend a day during port stops on a Viking® River Cruise.

Budapest Parliament, Hungary
This is, after all, the “City of Music” where more composers have lived than anywhere else.

Budapest, Hungary

Enjoy a panoramic tour of the east side of the city with a journey along Andrássy Avenue to take in the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Budapest Parliament building and Chain Bridge.

Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, as told through intricate statues on the buildings around the square. Then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District, where you can walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church to enjoy brilliant views as the sun begins to set. If these buildings feel mind blowing during the day, they’re magical at dusk.

View from Danube on Regensburg Cathedral and Stone Bridge in Regensburg, Germany

Krems, Austria

After breakfast, explore the timeless town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate of a wall built in the 15th century.

Next, head to Göttweig Abbey, a working Benedictine monastery that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. The splendid ceiling fresco in the Imperial Staircase is one of the largest in the world, and the abbey location’s sweeping views will have you considering a more serene life. Meanwhile, the church is a masterpiece of baroque architecture that will inspire you with its granduer.

Rejoin your ship and cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lower Austria. Taste traditional Austrian specialties like wiener schnitzel and cream cheese strudel, as you spot historic riverside towns and castle ruins along the way.

Take time to stroll the streets, shop or visit Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Wurstküche.

Krems, Austria

After breakfast, explore the timeless town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate of a wall built in the 15th century.

Next, head to Göttweig Abbey, a working Benedictine monastery that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. The splendid ceiling fresco in the Imperial Staircase is one of the largest in the world, and the abbey location’s sweeping views will have you considering a more serene life. Meanwhile, the church is a masterpiece of baroque architecture that will inspire you with its granduer.

Rejoin your ship and cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lower Austria. Taste traditional Austrian specialties like wiener schnitzel and cream cheese strudel, as you spot historic riverside towns and castle ruins along the way.

Schonbuehel castle, Danube river, Austria

Passau, Germany

A guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through the Old Town and past traditional baroque houses of the city rulers. You’ll see the Bishops’ Residenz, which holds a bevy of treasures from the Bishops who once ruled the city, and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you’re treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.

The riverfront promenade is perfect for a slow stroll, a moment to relax with a Bavarian beer or gold-capped praline from the Confiserie Simon.

Regensburg, Germany   

Enjoy a guided dockside walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps.

You’ll also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets, shop or visit Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Wurstküche.

Then travel by road to Kelheim and board a boat to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. Visit Weltenburg Abbey, renowned for the dark ale brewed here by monks since 1050

Nuremberg, Germany

Nuremberg, Germany

You’ll sail through the locks that comprise the Main–Danube Canal, an engineering marvel that stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube. It began as Charlemagne’s dream in 793 and was completed in 1992 with 16 locks that raise the water level 1,332 feet. Today, it enables river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

Arrive in Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city, around lunchtime. Afterward, a city tour features the former Nazi rally grounds and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials; or, you can join an optional World War II tour of the illuminating Documentation Center.

Your tour comes to a close with a walk from the Imperial Palace grounds to the Market Square, with its elaborate Gothic Schöner Brunnen, or “Beautiful Fountain”.

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