4th July, 2023
The Danube river cruising with Saga
The beautiful blue Danube flows for nearly 1,800 miles through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.
You’ll be delighted with the wealth of fascinating cities and wonderful scenery– including the four capital cities of Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, and Belgrade.
Why cruise with Saga
Explore the Danube’s capital cities
Divided by the river, the two parts of Budapest have very different personalities. On the West side, sedate Buda is filled with museums, castles and elegant dwellings. On the East side, lively Pest offers unmissable sights: St Stephen’s Cathedral, the Great Synagogue, the Museum of Terror, spooky Vajdahunyad Castle and the iconic riverside Parliament Building.
Graceful Vienna is a hub of European culture – especially music. The former homes of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Strauss and Haydn are now museums, and the modern House of Music provides fascinating, interactive experiences.
Don’t miss magnificent Schonbrunn Palace. Situated right in the heart of Vienna, the baroque 1,441-room palace was formerly the Imperial summer residence.
Bratislava was created in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union. It’s a fusion of ancient and modern, with a medieval old town, baroque palaces, stark communist-era blocks and Bratislava Castle in all its Renaissance glory.
Walk through the lively, pedestrianised Old Town. Discover superb classical artworks in the Mirbach Palace. Visit St Martin’s Cathedral, built in the 1200s over the catacombs of a vast cemetery: St Stephen’s Crown is displayed here.
For centuries, the city of Belgrade has been of prime strategic importance to the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Serbian and Austrian empires – hence the formidable Beogradska Tvrđava fortress, built on the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Nowadays, the fortress is home to several interesting museums.
For contrast, head to the Residence of Princess Ljubica. This lavish palace, dating from the early 1830s, was intended as a seat for the Serbian court. There’s a permanent exhibition of authentic period furniture and decorative pieces.
So much more to see on Saga’s Danube river cruise
Also known as ‘Little Vienna’ for its 19th and 20th-century Neo Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, Rousse boasts over 300 important architectural landmarks including the Holy Trinity Cathedral, which stands next to the Opera House. The cathedral was built underground in 1632, defying the Ottoman occupation. It’s a place of pilgrimage, housing the relics of several saints.
Vlad the Impaler, ruler of Wallachia, built the first of Bucharest’s castles in 1459; it’s one of many that still survive. Starting along ancient Strada Franceză - once home to Vlad - explore the atmospheric cobblestoned streets of the picturesque Old Town.
Then, for something completely different, perhaps visit opulent Spring Palace – dictator Nicolae Ceauseşcu’s former residence, now a museum.
Regensburg is a UNESCO World Heritage site, listed as ‘the only authentically preserved large medieval city in Germany.’ The 12th century Stone Bridge, with its 16 arches, crosses to the Old Town and was the only bridge across the river for more than 800 years
Highlights include the twin-spired 13th century Regensburg Cathedral, and the Old Town Hall. with its tower and palace, Gothic Imperial Hall, and Baroque Town Hall.
Prague, Czech Republic
Walk across the famous 14th century Charles Bridge to the 600-year-old Old Town Square.
Here, you’ll see The Church of Our Lady before Tyn, Kinsky Palace, the Gothic House at the Stone Bell, the Baroque church of St Nicholas and the Old Town Hall. If possible, time your visit so you can watch the Town Hall’s medieval mechanical clock mark the hour.
Time your visit to Prague Castle, too, arriving just before midday to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard, before entering to see St Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane and the Basilica of St George.
Sail through spectacular scenery
The Iron Gates
As you sail past the border of Serbia and Romania, you’ll pass through the 80-mile- long Iron Gates.
This dramatic gorge is lined with unique rock formations and the ruins of ancient castles and fortresses. Look out for the face of Decebalus, the Dacian King, which has been carved into one of the rocks.
The Wachau Valley
This beautiful valley stretches between Melk and Krems. Lined with medieval castles, historic villages and modern wineries, the entire Wachau Cultural Landscape was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2000.
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.
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