From the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea in Romania, the Danube passes through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria.
Seven-day itineraries on the Upper Danube sail between Budapest in Hungary and Passau or Vilshofcn in Germany, as well as between Budapest and Nuremberg in Germany. There are direct flights to Budapest , but for Passau , Vilshofen and Nuremberg, passengers fly to Munich with a one-and-a half-and two-hour transfer.
The city is a top excursion from Passau or Linz. Visitors see where Mozart was born, where he played concerts and where he drank coffee. Tours also take guests along lively Getreidegasse, Salzburg’s most famous shopping lane. The modern funicular railway up to the Hohensalzburg Castle is great for views across the city and a horse and carriage (Fiaker) ride is always popular.
CESKY KRUMLOV, CZECH REPUBLIC
A few companies offer this beautiful Czech town as an alternative to an excursion to Salzburg. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes by coach from Linz but well worth the journey. Tours start at the top of the town and wend their way down through the old castle into the centre for shoppi ng and stopping for a drink and sampling local specialities.
MELK AND DURNSTEIN, AUSTRIA
These two Austrian towns in the pretty Vachau Valley are usually visited on the same day and guided bike rides are offered between the two. The 32km route is mostly flat, with one steep hill, but there are regular stops to enjoy the scenery. In Melk, tours visit the Ornate Benedictine Abbey (it’s good to take the coach up and walk down through the village). Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in Durstein in 1190. Nowadays, it is more popular for wine tour options and even a saffron workshop.
The Danube cuts through the middle of the city, which makes for magnificent views.It once divided the two cities of Buda and Pest, which were united in 1873. Today visitors can enjoy a destination packed with history, culture and fun attractions. Do not miss Heroes’ Square, built in 1896 to celebrate Hungary’s 1 ,000th anniversary.
IRON GATE GORGE
The Iron Gate Gorge is made up of four gorges to the east of Belgrade and they stretch for 90 miles to divide the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. When coming from the east, enter through giant locks that lili: the vessel almost 27 metres in 60 minutes. A 40ft statue of King Decebalus marks the entrance.
Cultural Vienna is the jewel in the crown on the Danube, with an artistic and intellectual legacy shaped by residents including Mozart, Beethoven and Sigmund Freud. Tour highlights include the Ringstrasse , home to the opera house, Burg Theatre and Houses of Parliament, as well as the Schonbrunn Palace and Belvedere Palace, one of Vienna’s greatest baroque landmarks. This famous building houses an art collection that i ncludes Gustav Klimt’s painting ‘The Kiss’. Take a break for coffee and the original Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel.
Crowned capital of the new country Slovakia i n 1993, Bratislava is the youngest capital city in the world. Severalcompanies run Communist tours on a Soviet-style bus to visit the city’s stunning war memorial, although visitors can also enjoy the delightful Old Town which is a short walk from river cruise moorings.
Tours visit the seaside town of Varna or Ivanovo and Basarbovo where there are two rock churches – the former covered in frescoes, the latter filled with icons. There are also day trips to Veliko, the capital of Bulgaria under the Ottomans, and Arbanassi, a 14th century village once used as a holiday retreat by Communist party officials.
A French-style city with tree-lined boulevards and the palace built by former dictator Nicholas Ceausescu. The palace is the world’s second largest building and has more than 3,000 rooms with marble floors and pillars, grand chandeliers and silk panels. Ceausescu and his wife were tried and executed on Christmas Day 1989 and never moved into the palace.