While traveling one of the most romantic rivers in the world, be prepared for a smorgasbord of visual sights and delights!
The Danube River is over 1,700 miles long and travels from Germany to the mouth of the Black Sea. Along the route, magnificent European countries provide you access to experience, firsthand, the pages of times past and present.
Here is a snippet of what to expect in the towns and villages you’ll encounter on a Danube River Cruise.
In the medieval town of Regensburg–the oldest city on the Danube–the 12th century Old Stone Bridge and the towering spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral capture the essence of old world history.
In Passau, walk along cobblestone streets and listen to the rich cords of the largest pipe organ in Europe at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Then head to the Glass Museum to feast your eyes on over 13,000 pieces of handcrafted artwork.
Nuremberg combines medieval and modern sights. You have many options like a tour through Zeppelin Field, the former Nazi parade grounds, and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials; or, you a World War II tour of the illuminating Documentation Center Museum and a walk from the imperial palace grounds.
You could also explore Nuremberg Castle dating to 1050 and the medieval Hangman’s Bridge, continuing to the German Rail Museum and Dolphinarium, and ending with a one-hour ride on the ICE train to Munich.
Bratislava is the heart of Slovakia with many sights of interest.
The Old Town district is renowned for its Baroque architecture and splendid structures such as Bratislava Castle, Devin Castle and Holy Savior Jesuit Church. You can also enjoy the beautiful gothic green and gold of St. Martin Cathedral, the impressive Novy Most Bridge, and the 14th century fortifications at Michael’s Gate, one of the only surviving medieval gateways.
Immerse yourself in Vienna’s culture and atmosphere with a drive on the Ringstrasse that loops around the center of the city. Vienna’s architecture is a focal point with exquisite structures such as the Hofburg Palace, Schronbrunn Palace, and the Vienna State Opera house.
Another destination of interest is the wine-rich Wachau Valley. Wander the ancient Benedictine abbey at Melk and visit the castle ruins where, during the Crusades in 1192, Richard the Lionhearted was imprisoned.
Or consider seeing Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and Roman ruins.
From either side of the river, interesting things are visible such as the State Opera House and Hero’s square located on the Pest (eastern) side of the river. Or trek to Castle Hill located on the Buda (western) side with stunning views of the river ambling by below.
The Chain Bridge is one of seven bridges connecting both sides of the river. In the evening, it adds a touch of magic and romance to the sky as it sparkles and glows like burning embers from twinkling lights adorning the bridge.
During the day, consider visiting the Art Nouveau Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden, touring Matthias Church with its artwork and medieval crypt, Buda Castle, or experiencing the adventure of exploring the caves under Budapest.
Take a step back in time in Vukovar nestled beside the Danube. While charming and low-key, it’s the largest river port on the Danube.
The city features detailed architectural buildings and the Vukovar Municipal Museum located in the Eltz Castle. You’ll find many memorials and remembrances in this town of war, alongside a strong feeling of hope and strength.
Along the route, magnificent European countries provide you access to experience, firsthand, the pages of times past and present.
In Belgrade, the bustling capitol city blends Roman fortresses and stately cathedrals with a lively and upbeat atmosphere. Walking around the famed Kalemegdan Fortress, you’ll encounter stalwart walls that loom over the Old Town; impressive medieval gates enclosing Orthodox churches, Turkish baths, a soaring monument to “The Victor” and more.
To truly get a feel for the people, head to the Zeleni Venc market to find homemade treats like pickled chilies honey, rakija (a fruit brandy) and other fresh foods. Feeling more adventurous? A little farther up the river, you’ll find the Petrovaradin Fortress, built in 1692, in Novi Sad which resides on a hilltop with exceptional views of the waters of the Danube.
When entering the Iron Gates Gorge, be prepared for breathtaking scenery, cliffs and lush landscape in this corridor through the Balkan and Carpathian Mountains. It’s wild and untamed, yet peaceful and serene with the Iron Gates Natural Park bordering the Romania side and Derdap National Park bordering the Serbian side.
Along the way sights of interest include a medieval fort, carved rock sculpture, and the Roman plaque, “Tabula Traiana,” carved at the base of a cliff on the Serbian side.
In Bucharest, be an explorer for the day and soak up Romanian culture while visiting the Romanian Athenaeum, the Arch of Triumph, Royal Palace Square and the National Art Museum.
Vidin is a picturesque Bulgarian port. One of the favorite stops is the Belogradchik Fortress, built right into the striking Belogradchik Rocks. See the fortress’s amazing construction, begun in Roman times and greatly extended by Bulgarian tsars and the Ottomans, and enjoy breathtaking views.
You can also explore Vidin’s city center, Orthodox churches and the ruins of the city’s once-grand synagogue.
The options are truly endless in these towns which transport you back in time.