The mighty Danube flows through the heart of central Europe. Its 1,795 miles travel from east to west, flowing through 10 countries including Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Germany.
Vacationers flock to this destination because of the vast selection of itineraries that feature large cities, such as Budapest and Vienna, along with the small towns and villages that dot the coastline.
The growing interest in European River Cruising has made the Danube even more popular, and dozens of river cruise ships call the river home throughout the season. One popular itinerary begins in Budapest, with its iconic Parliament building, the magnificent Chain bridge, interesting local markets, historical sights and, of course, the thermal baths and spas.
From Budapest, visitors alight in places of interest like Bratislava in Slovakia, Melk with its historic monastery, and Vienna and Linz in Austria. A visit to Salzburg reminds you the hills are most certainly “alive with the sounds of music” in this part of the world, where the famous movie and Von Trapp family story is a source of pride and visitors can see shows and concerts featuring the popular music.
Nearly all river cruises will sail toward Germany next and stop in the town of Passau, where there is a view of the Three Rivers, the spot where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers all converge. The cobblestone streets of Passau also offer a fun place to ride bikes, and many river cruise ships now have them on board to borrow for the day.
Cruising the Danube is an almost year-round activity; there are only a few winter months that ships stop sailing. Spring and summer are magnificent in this picturesque region, especially in the vineyard-dotted Wachau Valley. Christmas market cruising is also extremely popular, and millions of people descend on the town squares in central European cities to shop for handmade ornaments, trinkets and other Old World souvenirs. The weather can be cold and the wind a bit blustery, so make sure a coat and scarf are part of your packing list!
A Danube discovery cruise is filled with history, culture and relaxation—with a bit of sausage, schnitzel and strudel thrown in!