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The cities of the Danube

The Danube River famously flows through or along 10 countries - starting in Germany, at the Black Forest, and ending up in the Black Sea. The river winds through some of Europe’s most magnificent cities, from bustling capitals to modern metropolis’, each offering up something unique to explore.

If you’re a fan of a city break, then a Danube river cruise is the perfect way to enjoy a whole host of incredible cities. Let’s take a look at just five of the magical cities you can enjoy as part of an adventure along the Danube.


Scenic Passau

Often called the “city of three rivers'', Passau is a beautiful medieval city with tons to offer. Situated at the point where the river Inn and the river Ilz meet the Danube, it’s the most easterly city in Bavaria, close to the Austrian border. It holds an important spot in Roman history, thanks in part to its strategic position amongst the surrounding hills. The architecture in the region is one of the highlights, from the 13th-century hilltop fortress of Veste Oberhaus, overlooking the city, to the baroque St Stephen’s Cathedral - home to one of the biggest church organs in the world. You can also get a feel for the city’s pilgrimage history at the Mariahilf Monastery, accessed via 321 covered steps - with pilgrims traditionally kneeling and praying at each step.


Enjoy your visit to Vienna

Austria’s capital Vienna has a rich and cultured history with a truly impressive range of past residents, including Sigmund Freud and Mozart. Thanks to its 600 years as the centre of the Hapsburg Empire, visitors to the city are now able to witness the legacy of the monarchy throughout the city’s imperial architecture, including the impressive Hofburg palace complex. Take some time to wander through Vienna’s many museums and galleries, from traditional imperial art at the Kunsthistorisches Museum to the contemporary MUMOK, or enjoy a performance at one of the ‘City of Music’s’ many venues. One thing’s for sure, there need never be a dull moment during a trip to Vienna.


Breathtaking Budapest

As the capital city of Hungary, and the most populous, the vibe in Budapest is electric. This vibrant city is in fact divided by the Danube River, into Buda and Pest - with both sections offering a host of incredible things to see and do. Often regarded as one of the most photogenic cities in Europe, Budapest has something for everyone, from thermal baths and quirky cafe culture, to visiting the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buda Castle, perched above the river on the west bank. Don’t forget to check out the impressive Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank too, and keep your eyes open for the historic remnants of WWII and the 1956 uprising - some are particularly poignant.


The Main Square in Linz

Famous for its churches, museums and cultural history, the capital of Upper Austria is well worth a visit for those wanting to see more of Austria than just Vienna. It’s a varied and cosmopolitan city and there’s always something going on, whether you’re looking to enjoy an open air concert or take in some of the extensive collections of modern art found within the city’s museums and galleries. As a previous European Capital of Culture and a UNESCO Media Arts City, Linz has positioned itself as a modern metropolis - where the contemporary blends perfectly with the city’s historic past.


The Danube flows through Bratislava

Found at the border of three countries, Bratislava is a city that perfectly balances the hustle and bustle with a small-town feel. Surrounded by hills and vineyards, it’s great for outdoorsy adventurers who like to mix some natural wonders in with their city break trips. Bratislava is perfect for exploring, with its small city centre easily traversable, including the pedestrian-only Old Town - a great spot to grab a coffee or some traditional Slovakian fare and watch the world go by. It’s a laidback addition to the Danube’s line-up of cities, offering up a touch of balance to the buzzing atmosphere scene in some of the river’s other neighbouring capitals.

Where will you explore first?

Our river cruise ship - Spirit of the Danube is ready to take you to all of the Danube’s most memorable cities - so if you’re not sure where to start your adventure, let us help.

Find out more about our Danube river cruise offerings, and start planning your adventure to one of these beautiful cities today.

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.