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Seven facts about the Danube River

Once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, the Danube is one of Europe’s most famous waterways. Located in Central and Eastern Europe, the river has become a firm favourite amongst cruisers looking to explore the majesty of the Danube in all its glory; from the famous capital cities it winds through, to witnessing the magnificent wildlife that calls the Danube region home.

Being so long, and so varied, the Danube has a rich history - and still plays a vital role in many ways to this day. If you’re thinking about planning a trip along the Danube for the first time, or even if you’re a repeat visitor to this beautiful part of the continent, we’ve rounded up a few of the facts that help to show what makes the river quite so unique.

Danube River Map

1. Danube river is navigating through 10 countries

The path of the Danube river flows through or along 10 countries, starting from Germany’s Black Forest and ending up in the Black Sea. This alone makes it unique, as no other river in the world runs through as many countries. This route offers up tons of things to see and do - and plenty of itinerary options to choose from if you’re planning on enjoying a river cruise. You’ll be spoilt for choice with countries like Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, and Romania all accessible from the river’s shores.

2. The Danube is Europe's second longest river

The Danube is the European continent’s second longest river, beaten only by the Volga. It flows southeast for 1,770 miles and has been a traditional and important trade route in Europe since ancient times. To this day, 1,501 miles of the river’s length is navigable, by both river and ocean ships in many parts.

3. Danube's diverse ecosystems

The wildlife of the Danube is a truly impressive sight - with the delta playing host to an incredible array of birds, animals, sea life and plants. From the vast number of waterbirds, including pelicans, herons and cormorants, to otters, weasels, wolves, black bears and snakes, there’s plenty of opportunities to witness the incredible species that call the region home from the vantage point of a boat.

4. Importance of the Danube during WWII

During World War II, the Germans sailed their ships along the Danube and sunk them in a bid to avoid capture by the Soviet Union. As a result, to this day visitors to the Danube are able to see the sunken warships from the riverbank during the summer, as the water level falls and the ships become visible. This history has led to the Danube being nicknamed as a graveyard for the old boats - certainly making for a unique sight if you manage to witness any during your visit!

5. The artistic world hotspot

The Danube region has long been a hotspot for artists and is widely known as one of Europe’s cultural landmarks. From Greek legends to modern novels, folk songs to classical music, the river’s presence is felt in many ways in the artistic world. The Blue Danube Waltz by Austrian composer Johann Strauss is one of the most famous examples of this cultural referencing, along with the river featuring in several modern films.

6. Life source in Central Europe

Not only is the Danube a thing of beauty, but it also plays an important role in the countries around it. In fact, it’s one of Central Europe’s most vital sources of fresh drinking water - with some estimates showing that approximately 20 million people rely on the Danube River for their drinking water.

7. Eight National Parks are nestled along the Danube

The beauty of the Danube region is something that becomes evident to all who are lucky enough to visit. Not only are the selection of countries bordering the river beautiful in their own right, but they also play host to some truly magical natural settings - all of which can be enjoyed during a trip along the Danube. A total of eight national parks can be found along the Danube’s shores, including two in Germany, one in Austria, one in Hungary, one in Croatia, one in Serbia, and two in Romania. Perfect if you love to get back to nature during your adventures.

Ready to explore the Danube for yourself?

To truly understand the magic of the Danube River, you need to experience it for yourself. Spirit of the Danube will be taking you to all of the Danube’s most breathtaking and memorable highlights.

From city breaks to back-to-nature adventures, there’s a Danube itinerary to suit everyone. Find out more about our all-inclusive Danube river cruises offerings, and start planning your adventure.

Danube River Map

Danube River Map

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.