One of the best places to start? The Danube river. It passes through 10 countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine) and is the perfect trail to follow if you’re interested in sampling a variety of Europe’s attractions. And the best way to explore a river? On a river cruise, of course.
A river cruise along the Danube is one of the most popular ways to take in a number of those aforementioned countries to maximise what you see and experience, while minimising the effort of planning and getting around. You don’t have to waste time at airports in transit, or endure traffic in a bus or car. Plus, you get to take in the scenery every step of the way, and you only need to unpack once!
As the Danube is lined with so many spectacular destinations and sightseeing hotspots, you may not be able to squeeze in everything if you only have a couple of weeks up your sleeve. But here are a few highlights that are not to be missed:
It’s not hard to see why much of Hungary’s capital city has been granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status. The architectural beauty of Fisherman’s Bastion (not to mention its panoramic views of Budapest), the open-air Szechenyi Spa Baths, the iconic Chain Bridge which connects the Buda (west) and Pest (east) sides of the city, or venturing a little further than the city centre to Gödöllő Royal Palace are all worth a visit.
The artistic culture in Vienna is as strong as the caffeine served in its traditional coffee houses. Given Vienna is a music city, it would be a shame to simply see its concert halls from the outside alone. Mozart and Strauss are just two of Austria’s famous composers whose works can be heard and appreciated at the regal City Palace.
Uncover the lesser-known town of Regensburg in southeast Germany. By foot, a guided walking tour of the city allows you to take in the iconic Old Town Hall and the World Heritage-listed city centre. And once you’ve worked up an appetite, treat yourself to lunch at Michelin-starred restaurant, Storstad.
If you do only have a short amount of time to explore the best of the Danube, try APT’s 15 Day Magnificent Europe river cruise, which travels from Budapest to Amsterdam (or reverse). It takes you to five countries and up to 16 destinations in 15 days. Plus, it ticks all the boxes for both first-time river cruisers and seasoned travellers alike, such as fine dining (with a total of 41 meals included), all-inclusive sightseeing, Freedom of Choice Inclusions in 10 locations, luxury suites and more.
Prices for the APT Magnificent Europe river cruise start from $7,095 pp, twin share. Fly Free or Fly Business Class for $3,995 - all suites, all dates. Visit aptouring.com.au/EUMCR15 for further details.