The delight of a river cruise is the ever-changing scenery you get to see out of your window: one day the view might be lush lowland vineyards, another may reveal the ruins of a long-forgotten castle, and the next the twinkling lights of a bank-side city. A cruise along the River Danube allows you to wend your way through ten different countries and four capital cities, making it the perfect holiday for cruisers with a desire to experience continental Europe. |
Delights Along the Danube
The Danube is the second longest river in Europe, spanning 1,775 miles from the depths of Bavaria to the Black Sea, where its delta fans out on the Romanian coast. 2000 years ago the river formed the frontier of the Roman Empire; since then it has been a vital transportation route through Europe.
Today, 87% of the river can be navigated by ships; swift passage is helped by the 16-lock Main-Danube Canal, the construction of which started in the eighteenth century and was finished in 2002. This allows Danube cruises to travel all the way from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
There are a number of companies which offer a Danube cruise, including Scenic Tours, Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, and Emerald Waterways. A week-long trip will give you the chance to sail through some of Europe’s most diverse and culture-rich cities.
This picturesque town is located on the border of Germany and Austria, where three great rivers – the Danube, the Inn and the Ilz – converge. For centuries it was a prosperous trading hub which profited from dealing in central Europe’s ‘white gold’: Bohemian salt. Get lost among the narrow streets, tunnels and Italian architecture of its Altstadt, which was once the home of the prince-bishops of the Holy Roman Empire.
Vienna needs no introduction – just the sound of its name conjures the lilting melody of Strauss’s Blue Danube Waltz. The Austrian capital is known as the City of Music, as it has been home to so many of the world’s most distinguished composers. Make sure that you stop off at the Staatsoper, Vienna’s stunning main opera house, the Musikverien, where the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has its home, and the Haus der Musik museum.
Hungary’s genteel capital city has so much to offer the Danube cruiser. Relax and unwind in the balmy bathhouses of Buda on the west bank of the river, or cross the bridge to Pest on the eastern bank to explore the art nouveau boulevards and gothic parliament.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you set off on your Danube cruise:
- Be wary of motion sickness – although river cruising is usually less problematic than ocean cruising, it is worth bringing along some medication if you are prone to motion sickness.
- Pack sensible shoes – exploring the riverside cities may mean walking across cobblestones, or climbing old, uneven stone steps.
- Bring some binoculars – make the most of the stunning Danube riverscape as you cruise.
- Have your travel insurance sorted before you go – although your EHIC will provide cover for certain issues on a river cruise through Europe, it is subject to limitations. It is always advised that you carry a private policy to ensure that your romantic Danube cruise doesn’t end in heartbreak.
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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