Places to visit on a Danube river cruise

Aimee Spicer ( 23 July 2018 )

Read our top tips for the best places to visit when sailing on a Danube river cruise - one of the main waterways of Europe.

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The Danube is a vast and long river, and one of the main waterways of the Continent, since it criss-crosses central Europe. 

Flowing a staggering 2,860 km, the Danube meanders through countries like Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania, before finally ending at the mouth of the Black Sea.

As a result of the distance it covers, travelling the length of the Danube on a river cruise feels like a lesson in history. 

Journey through time on board your ship as you see the changes wrought by the rising and falling empires of Europe, religion and hundreds of years of immigration. 

The countries that line the banks of the Danube certainly have stories to tell.

Few rivers can match the sheer variety that the Danube has to offer Find out more here.

Cruise to Budapest and Bratislava

The first stop you’ll make on your cruise tour down the Danube River will be Budapest in Hungary. 

Originally two cities, Buda and Pest, that perched on either side of the Danube, these bustling communities united in 1873 to create the beautiful whole we know today.

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Made up of architecture that displays Roman, Medieval, Gothic, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Modern and – most famously – Art Nouveau features, this city wears its history on the outside, and what a beautiful façade it is.

Take a day to visit the Royal Palace, see the grand Parliament buildings on the banks of the Danube, or walk into the impressive Basilica of St. Stephen. 

Alternatively discover your own slice of Budapest by walking its cobbled streets, shopping its markets or eating in the city’s many vaunted restaurants.

The next stop on your Danube river cruise is the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. The old town here has hosted the 11 Kings of Hungary, who made it their home in the 1500s whilst the Turks, and their Ottoman Empire, occupied Budapest. 

Often overlooked for its romantic neighbours of Prague and Budapest, Bratislava is still a somewhat undiscovered gem for travellers from the UK.

This small, pretty city, dates back as far as the pre-Roman era, and is set in a valley surrounded by hills. The Danube lends the city the same kind of majesty it brings to its larger cousins in the Czech Republic, and it is a wonderful stop to travel to on river cruise ships.

Sail through Austria and Germany

You will feel like a time traveller when you enter Austria on your ship and cruise through its cities of Vienna, Durnstein and Melk. 

Between Krems and Melk, you will find one of the most dramatic stretches of the Danube River, called the Wachau

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its cultural and natural attributes, this region of the Danube winds its way around vineyards and hamlets, while forests flourish high above you on rolling hills, with fortresses teetering on their summits.

Crossing then into Germany, your ship will sail into the small city of Passau, which was once a seat of power for the Prince-Bishops of the Middle Ages, who wielded their authority over the Austrian Danube valley.

Regensburg marks another port of call in this region, a place where you can visit medieval churches dating back to the 7th century.

Complete your holiday in Prague

The last stop on your cruise down the historic Danube River is the city of Prague in the Czech Republic. 

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This picturesque UNESCO World Heritage City is considered to be one of Europe’s greatest beauties. 

The sun glints off the bridges crossing the Danube, while the Old Town boasts one of the prettiest town squares in Europe. 

Attractions here include the Gothic Old Town Hall, with its Astronomical Clock, and the lovely Baroque Church of St. Nicholas.

Tour the famed Jewish Quarter, which houses some of the most well-preserved monuments of this culture in Europe. 

Or stroll to the New Town (new, being the 18th century!) where there is a vibrant scene of shopping, restaurants and a lively nightlife.

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.