A two-week river cruise along the dreamy Danube gives you the chance to see and explore a diverse selection of Europe’s historic towns and cities. You will pass through widely-known Danube-side destinations, such as Vienna and Budapest, but also through some lesser-known gems of the Balkans. |
Companies that offer a Danube cruise include Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, Scenic Tours and Emerald Waterways. Spending a fortnight on one of their luxurious riverboats or cruisers is a superb way to celebrate a special occasion, or simply take the opportunity to visit some of Europe’s beautiful destinations.
The River’s Route
The Danube flows for 1,775 miles through 10 different countries, including four capital cities – that’s more than any other river in the world. With its source in Germany’s Black Forest, it flows eastwards all the way to the Romanian and Ukrainian coast, emptying into the Black Sea.
A two-week Danube cruise allows you to watch the landscape change around you as you float serenely through dozens of different countries. Here are a few of the riverside destinations you can enjoy when you have the time to cruise the Danube from Germany to Romania.
Regensburg – Germany
This Bavarian city was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006, as it is the only authentically preserved large medieval city in Germany. Sit back and admire the reflection of the twin spires of Regensburg Cathedral and the brightly coloured riverside buildings on the sparkling waters of the Danube.
Melk – Austria
The imposing Benedictine Abbey of Melk is set on a bluff high above the valley and looks down on the river and part of the town. Its gold bullion-guilded statues and fairytale library are a must-see for any Danube cruiser. The quiet town also provides the perfect setting for a bicycle ride along the river, which takes you through the beautiful Wachau Valley.
Bratislava – Slovakia
This Slovakian city offers an alluring blend of old and new. In a day you can marvel over the ninth-century castle and charming old town with its narrow medieval streets, while also stopping off at its sensational modern art museum and sculpture park.
Belgrade – Serbia
Although Belgrade does not have the whimsical beauty of some of the other destinations on this list, it is a city of intriguing contrast. Art Nouveau buildings sit next to Soviet blocks and relics of the Ottoman Empire. Learn more about Serbia’s military history at Belgrade Fortress and the city’s military museum, or take the circular tram for a sightseeing ride around the city centre.
Iron Gates Gorge – Romania
Enjoy the spectacular Danubian surroundings from the deck of your boat as you pass through the Iron Gates. This series of narrow gorges forms part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania, with the Iron Gates Natural Park on the Romanian banks and the Ðerdap National Park on the Serbian side. This breathtaking route will make you feel like adventurers in a fantasy world.
Before You Set Sail ...
Before you set off on your Danube cruise, I would recommend that you are mindful of the following:
- Comfortable shoes make a world of difference – when you are clambering across cobblestones or cycling along the riverbank, you will be thankful for a sensible pair of shoes.
- Motion sickness may affect you – if you suffer from motion sickness, normally a river cruise is much easier on the stomach than ocean cruising. However, it is better to be safe than sorry – remember to bring your medication with you.
- Travel insurance is always a good idea – on a river cruise through Europe your EHIC will cover certain issues, but it is subject to limitations. Just in case, heaven forbid, you end up in an unfortunate situation, it is better to make sure you are fully covered before you leave home.
- Remember to take your binoculars with you – glory in the beautiful vistas and varied views that you will be treated to on your Danube cruise.
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of InsureMore, an award-winning team of specialists in global single trip, family, annual and cruise travel insurance. If you're heading off on a Danube cruise, or cruises to any other destination worldwide, InsureMore has the best policies to suit. Besides offering great deals on travel insurance, Patrick also collects and shares the best free travel competitions to help his clients get the most out of their holidays.
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