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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

A cruise on the Danube is a journey through history. It’s a channel through landscapes. A passage through cultures.

A cruise on the Danube is nothing short of wondrous.

Europe's second-largest river runs for over 1700 miles, passing through 10 unique countries and a spectrum of beautiful cities. The river itself is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and it's easy to see why. Home to over 5000 species of animals, birds and plants and flanked by either lush greenery or striking architecture, it really is a sight to behold.

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

Our Danube River Cruises stop off at these seven countries (amongst others):

Let the voyage begin.

The historic town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Bavaria, Germany

Germany

Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria

Austria

The river Vah river in Strecno, Slovakia on an autumn morning

Slovakia

The Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest

Hungary

Balchik Palace and Gardens, Bulgaria

Balkans

Explore all

Explore all

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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

The Danube originates in Germany's Black Forest – a magical place of majestic evergreens, sprawling meadows and chiselled valleys. Germany itself is a country of great variety. Urban skylines and unexpected natural beauty co-exist harmoniously, creating a beguiling blend of the modern and traditional. Dreamy forests and fairytale castles work with striking gothic architecture and post-war tower blocks to build an unmistakable, confident character. Sharing borders with nine other nations, it's also home to Europe's largest economy.

German culture

From Christmas trees and festive markets to Oktoberfest and Snow White, traditional German culture is more present worldwide than you may have noticed. Germany has played a pivotal role in the history of Europe, and has struggled with national pride for a long time due to its past. Today, however, to celebrate being German is to celebrate diversity and strength. Times have changed, and Germany now owns discussing and dealing with its past. There is even a word in German which translates as “coping with the past”: vergangenheitsbewältigung.

German travel tips

  • Germans can be quite direct. Don’t take it personally!
  • A lot of places are still cash-only
  • Lose something on your walk through the park? Re-trace your steps. Germans are a helpful bunch, and may just have hung your lost item on a tree branch so you can find it easily.
  • Lots of shops close on Sundays.
  • Punctuality is taken seriously here, so expect things to run right on time.

From country landscapes to city sights

Peppered with scenery, Germany is popular with hikers, cyclists and even skiers. Go mushroom-foraging, hit the beach, explore the Bavarian Alps, take to one of many off-road cycle routes or go canoeing – this country is a veritable playground for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Then, there are the cities. Germany’s main cities, Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Hamburg are packed with history at every turn, as well as excellent shopping spots and nightlife. However, go off the beaten track to some lesser-known cities, and your wanderlust will thank you.

Must-see Danube River attractions in Germany

Discover the enchanting cities of Passau, Regensburg and Nuremburg on a Danube River cruise.

Passau: one of Bavaria's oldest cities

Visit Ortspitze

Often referred to as the "City of Three Rivers", Passau hosts the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube. This is the spot where the three rivers swirl together – the white, black and teal hues are mesmerising.

Climb Veste Oberhaus

This fortress was built back in 1219, and houses a museum, youth hostel, restaurant and open-air theatre. It offers remarkable views of the city.

Take in local history at the Roman Museum

Notice how Italian-looking this city is? The Romans ruled here for over 400 years. Learn more at this museum.

Make time for chocolate

A local favourite since 1903, Café Simon is the best place to indulge in cake, coffee and of course, the area’s most delicious chocolate.

Regensburg: Bavaria's original capital city

Wander the Medieval centre

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city square, Haidplatz, was once the scene of jousting tournaments.

Visit St Peter’s Cathedral

A majestic example of southern German Gothic architecture. Don’t miss it.

Explore Altes Rathaus

Easy to spot, this is the bright yellow old town hall, and is home to a fascinating history. There’s even a dungeon with an interrogation room and authentic torture devices.

Marvel at St Emmeram’s Basilica

The interior of this ornate church will take your breath away. Don’t forget to look up at the beautifully-painted wooden ceiling.

Nuremburg: Bavaria's second-largest city

Ascend Kaiserburg

This castle was powerful back in the days of the Roman Empire. Walk up to the observation platform for panoramic views of the city.

Visit the Nuremberg Trials Memorial

The courtroom where high-ranking Nazis were brought to justice after WW2 is still used today, so you’ll need to visit between sessions. You can take an audio tour on Saturdays, or visit the museum on the courtroom's top floor.

Discover Albrecht Dürer’s House

Albrecht Dürer, one of Germany’s greatest painters, lived in this imposing timber framed townhouse between 1509 and 1528. Standing at five storeys high, it was restored after the war and eventually reopened in 1971.

Stop by the Stadtmuseum Fembohaus

This interesting museum will take you on a whistle-stop tour through Nuremburg’s cultural history. The building itself is a sight to behold, too.

German cuisine: eat like a local

Hearty, wholesome and moreish, German food works wonders for the soul.

Nürnberger bratwurst

Due to being protected under EU law, this local sausage can only be produced in Nuremburg. Seasoned with marjoram, they are usually served with sauerkraut, potato salad and horseradish.

Black Forest gâteau

A classic for a reason. This rich chocolate sponge cake is usually made up of several layers of sponge sandwiched with whipped cream and a rich cherry filling. Kirschwasser, a clear cherry brandy, is traditionally added to the sponge.

Beer

Beer is a huge part of German culture. In fact, Germany is home to over 1200 breweries. There’s also a 500-year-old Germany Beer Purity Law stating that only hops, barley, yeast and water can be used to make beer here – so you can enjoy your pint additive-free.

Currywurst

Served with a dollop of curry ketchup, currywurst is delicious sausage that is steamed then fried. Usually served with a side of fries.

Traditional German cuisine including bratwurst and beer
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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

Austria is traditional elegance intertwined with modernity. Stunning Alpine scenery begs to be explored, while the Baroque streets of Vienna will leave you in a state of wonder. Yet, within all this country’s perceived grandeur, a feeling of contemporary cool is rising. It really is an exciting time to visit Austria.

Austrian culture

Austria's most famous ruling house, the Habsburgs, were big advocates of the arts. Their influence therefore hugely impacted Austria's rich music and art heritage. Known as Europe's musical capital, several famous composers (including Mozart and Johann Strauss) have learned, composed, taught and played music in Vienna. Austria also has a big outdoor sports scene, and boasts several world-class athletes.

Austrian travel tips

  • Austrians are generally quite conservative, yet relaxed and sociable.
  • Pack for all weather – there are plenty of thunderstorms in summer, and snow sometimes makes an appearance during the spring.
  • Tipping is basically compulsory in Austria. Aim to tip about 10% of your bill.
  • Austria is well-equipped for cyclists. There are plenty of bike rental shops if you’d like to explore on wheels.

From country landscapes to city sights

Peppered with scenery, Germany is popular with hikers, cyclists and even skiers. Go mushroom-foraging, hit the beach, explore the Bavarian Alps, take to one of many off-road cycle routes or go canoeing – this country is a veritable playground for anyone who loves the outdoors.

Then, there are the cities. Germany's main cities, Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Hamburg are packed with history at every turn, as well as excellent shopping spots and nightlife. However, go off the beaten track to some lesser-known cities, and your wanderlust will thank you.

Must-see Danube River attractions in Austria

Explore majestic Vienna and dynamic Linz.

Vienna: a proud capital city

Visit Schönbrunn Palace

Containing 1,441 rooms, this magnificent Baroque palace is one of the country’s key monuments. Learn its history on a guided tour.

Stop by St. Stephen’s Cathedral

A true symbol of Vienna and one of the country’s most important Gothic structures, St. Stephen’s is an absolute must-visit. The almost 500-ft tall tower offers fantastic city views.

Stroll through the green Prater

This sprawling park covers six million square meters. Brimming with beautiful trees and water features, it’s also home to the Wurstelprater theme park, which dates back to 1766. Its Ferris wheel is one of the city’s most popular attractions.

See famous art at the Belvedere

The Kiss (Lovers) by Gustav Klimt is undoubtably the most famous Austrian painting, and you can see it in the flesh in the Upper Belvedere. Be sure to visit the museum within this historic complex (a UNESCO World Heritage), too.

Sip a coffee at Café Central

The Viennese coffee house is an institution, and Café Central is one of the city’s most opulent places to indulge in some coffee and cake. Previous patrons include Klimt, Trotsky and Freud.

Insider tip!

Gregor from The Vienna Blog told us that the best wiener schnitzel in town can be found at Figlmüller.

Linz: a modern gem

Be amazed at the Ars Electronica Centre

Also known as the Museum of the Future, this spectacular building showcases some fantastic technology and interactive displays. Discover everything from virtual ping pong to captivating satellite images of the planet.

Ride the Pöstlingbergbahn

This charming old railway takes one of the steepest journeys in the world to the top of Postlingberg. Witness unparalleled scenery before hopping off at the top to explore.

Visit the Main Square

One of Austria's largest enclosed squares, the picture-perfect Hauptplatz is well worth a visit. Depending on the day, you may stumble across a market or festive event.

Hit the shops on Landstraße

This is one of Austria's best shopping spots. Find all your favourite brands, as well as interesting independent shops. You can pick up some souvenirs, or treat yourself to a special keepsake.

Stop by the open air gallery

Linz harbour plays host to over a hundred pieces of graffiti created by artists from around 50 nations. Take a guided tour and create your own piece of art at the end.

Austrian cuisine: indulge yourself

Sweet tooth? You'll love it here

Linz cake

The people of Linz claim this to be the oldest cake in the world. It's made of crumbly pastry containing ground nuts, with a jam filling and lattice design.

Kaiserschmarren

The Austrian emperor Franz Joseph I was a big fan of this delicious shredded pancake, so they named it after him.

Apple strudel

Thin sheets of pastry, apple and hot vanilla sauce come together in a match made in heaven. Available at any traditional coffee house.

Sachertorte

This famous chocolate cake is one of Vienna's most famous specialties. There is much dispute around who invented the original (ask any Viennese local) – but don't get involved in the politics! All versions of this delicious torte are divine.

Wiener schnitzel

Not all Austrian cuisine is sweet. This classic breaded meat cutlet is traditionally made with veal, but you'll see plenty of pork, chicken and turkey variations too.

Insider tip!

Anita from Private Taste recommends ordering "Gemischtes Brat'l" (roast pork with dumplings and hot cabbage salad) at typical Austrian tavern, Wia z´Haus Lehner.

A delicious apple strudel
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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

Slovakia is a powerhouse of natural beauty. Sharing borders with Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Ukraine, it’s easy to reach from anywhere on the continent. A respect for tradition thrives alongside buzzing city life. In the countryside, wondrous castles grace already charming landscapes of vast mountains and glistening waterfalls. A rare travel experience awaits.

Slovakian culture

Slovakia sits at the heart of Europe, so has been influenced by both eastern and western cultures over the centuries. The population is diverse – you will notice a large Hungarian population here. Past rulers (the Czechs, Hungarians and Austrian Hasburgs) have heavily influenced the unique culture that intrigues visitors daily.

Slovakian travel tips

  • Slovaks value the healing properties of a good spa session. The country is home to 23 spa towns.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for castles – there are more than 100 of them in Slovakia.
  • Slovaks can appear quite reserved, but this is just because they value their privacy.
  • Prepare for very cold winters and very hot summers, but know that this country is beautiful whenever you visit.

Must-see Danube River attractions in Slovakia

Experience a charismatic capital city.

Bratislava: the "Beauty on the Danube"

Explore Bratislava Castle

This huge, striking building is a symbol of the city. Discover the Museum of History inside and climb up the 47-metre-high crown tower for fantastic views.

Step back in time at St. Martin’s Cathedral

This impressive Gothic building has been a church since the 15th century. You can find it just below Bratislava Castle.

Take in the views from UFO Tower

Visit this iconic building for panoramic views over the Danube and beyond. You can also enjoy a meal at 95 metres high.

Seek out the Blue  hurch

This Catholic church is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. An Art Nouveau masterpiece, it’s painted in baby blue and white.

Roam the Old Town

Pass through St. Michael’s Gate – one of the oldest buildings in the city – into Bratislava’s Old Town. The charming main square is worth stopping to appreciate. It’s home to the Old Town Hall, which houses the country’s oldest museum.

Visit Matej Krén Passage in Palffy Palace

Created by artist Matej Kren, this installation gives the illusion made from books gives the impression of infinite space. Not to be missed.

Slovakian cuisine: comfort food personified

Nourishing, comforting, and packed with flavour.

Dumplings with sheep cheese

If you only have time to try one meal while in Slovakia, this should be it. It’s the national dish, and is best served with a sprinkling of smoked bacon pieces and sausage.

Cabbage soup

Enjoyed as part of a traditional Christmas dinner, this soup is also popular as a starter at any time of year. With paprika, black pepper and garlic, it packs more of a punch than its name suggests.

Funnel cake

Usually enjoyed in winter with a mug of mulled wine, these are delicious cakes made with sugar and cinnamon. You can now buy them with ice cream stuffed inside, making them the perfect summer treat, too.

Fried cheese with fries and tartar sauce

As indulgent as it sounds, especially when savoured with a glass of beer. The cheese in question is usually Edam, and your meal should be served with pickles on the side.

A delicious funnel cake
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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

Around a third of the Danube’s total length lies in Hungary. In fact, the capital city of Budapest is often called "Queen of the Danube". The whole country is brimming with architectural wonders, with Roman ruins, Baroque churches and Art Nouveau bathhouses punctuating towns and cities. There’s something electric about the atmosphere in Hungary, and the Danube could well be its source.

Hungarian culture

Hungary is very proud of its folk heritage, with folk arts and crafts still being produced to this day. Folk, popular and classical music have also been influenced by Hungary over the years. In general, though, Hungarian culture differs quite enchantingly across the country.

Hungarian travel tips

  • Strike up a conversation with a local if you can. Hungarians are a generally proud, friendly and honest bunch.
  • Avoid clinking beer glasses. Austrians once celebrated their victory over Hungary, and so Hungary vowed to never clink beer glasses for 150 years. That time has passed, but many people uphold this tradition.
  • Be aware of your spending. Hungarian Forints convert to around 300 for every pound, making the note denominations rather large. This can make it easy to accidentally tip too much!

Must-see Danube River attractions in Hungary

Find Hungary’s beautiful capital city on a Danube River cruise.

Budapest: grandeur incarnate

See the Parliament Building

Best viewed from across the Danube, this is one of Hungary’s largest buildings, and was built in the Gothic Revival Style. Guided tours are available.

Visit the Shoes on the Danub Bank

Conceived by film director Can Togay, this stirring memorial is designed to honour those killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in Budapest during WWII.

Enjoy a drink at the Faust Wine Cellars

There are over 22 Hungarian wine regions. Located beneath Buda Castle, this is a wonderfully atmospheric place in which to taste some Hungarian wine.

Sink into a thermal bath

Szechenyi Bath is the most famous of Budapest’s thermal baths. It’s over 100 years old, and is also one of the biggest natural hot spring spa baths in Europe.

Discover the Invisible Exhibition

Ideal if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten track in Budapest, this tour is intended to give you an idea of what life is like for a completely blind person.

Stop by a ruin bar

Pop-up bars in Budapest’s old Jewish quarter, these are fun, fascinating places to explore – even if you don’t fancy staying for a drink!

Hungarian cuisine: rich sophistication

Think traditional, homecooked perfection.

Goulash

A delicious meat stew garnished with paprika and other spices. It dates back to Medieval Hungary. Rumour has it that Budapest Bistro serve the best goulash in the capital.

Dobos cake

A tasty sponge cake layered with chocolate buttercream and topped with caramel. Gorgeous to look at and even better to eat.

Főzelék

This dish is so Hungarian that it can’t actually be translated into English. It’s essentially a cross between a stew and a soup, and is like a hug in a bowl.

Lángos

This deep-fried flatbread is a treasured Hungarian favourite. It’s usually eaten with garlic sauce, cheese and sour cream.

A warming bowl of Goulash
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Cruise the Danube

Where culture and nature intertwine

Our Danube River Cruises don’t stop there. There are three countries left to journey to.

Serbia

Serbia is all warm hospitality and rugged landscapes. The capital, Belgrade, is the perfect setting for riverside drinks and relaxation. Visually striking, it boasts a captivating blend of socialist tower blocks and opulent Art Nouveau architecture.

Top 3 things to see in Belgrade

  • The Museum of Yugoslavia and the House of Flowers
  • Kalemegdan Fortress
  • The Church of Saint Sav

Top 3 Serbian foods

  • Ćevapi
  • Krofne
  • Pečenje

Romania

Far-reaching hills and rocky mountains make up Romania’s astonishing landscape. The capital of Bucharest is packed with enough parks, museums and cafes to entertain – but it’s this country’s history and character that will hold your attention.

Insider tip!

When in Bucharest, Luka from Zece Rece recommends trying “Sarmalute in Foi de Vita” (minced goose breast stuffed in vine leaves) at popular restaurant, Zexe.

Romania is also where we reach two key points of interest on the Danube.

The Iron Gates

This dramatic gorge forms part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. It’s a breathtaking part of the crossing. On the Romanian side of the gorge lies the Iron Gates natural park, while the Derdap national park lies on the Serbian side.

Danube Delta

The second-largest river delta in Europe, this well-preserved delta is a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, and thus home to a colourful array of wildlife. In fact, the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve is home to the world’s third largest biodiversity (there are more than over 5,500 species of flora and fauna).

Bulgaria

Nature and history interlace with ease in Bulgaria. Its golden beaches beckon sun-seekers year after year, and yet there are still several unspoilt, undiscovered coves. There are also seven mountain ranges here, making it a popular destination for skiers, hikers and mountain bikers. Our cruise will take you to the elegant city of Rousse (or Ruse).

3 facts about Rousse

  • It’s Bulgaria’s fifth-largest city
  • It hosts a mesmerising array of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture from the 19th and 20th centuries
  • It’s Bulgaria’s biggest river port

The sound of the Danube

Creativity must be fed with vision, and what could be more inspiring for an artist than the sublime River Danube?

Long called "the River of Kings", it’s little surprise that the Danube has motivated musicians, poets and writer for centuries. When it comes to music, some of the world’s most cherished melodies were sparked from its shores.

Schloss Schönbühel

Some of the composers who have lived by the Danube

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Johann Strauss II
  • Franz Liszt
  • Antonin Dvorak

The Blue Danube

Perhaps the most famous piece of music inspired by the famous river is The Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II. It’s a well-known waltz that was first performed in February 1867 at a concert in Vienna. Words were initially added to the song, but Strauss removed them and made it purely orchestral for the 1867 Paris World’s Fair to much acclaim.

A voyage through music

Join us on a music-themed cruise on the Danube to learn more about this river’s powerful influence.