Danube River cruises set sail on one of Europe's greatest rivers, which stretches through a major slice of Central and Eastern Europe. Whether you're planning a multi-night itinerary or an afternoon cruise, you'll experience one of the most romantic and stylish ways to travel. A Danube river cruise in Budapest or Vienna is one of the best ways to discover these cities from a new angle.
The Blue Danube flows from the Black Forest in Germany to the Black Sea. The second longest river in Europe (after the Volga) passes through major cities and small communities for a total length of 1,771 miles. Danube River cruises long have been a favorite way to travel the river that cuts Budapest in two and flows through the grand city of Vienna.
Along its way, the Danube flows through ten countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, into the Eastern European countries of Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine, and finally Romania. Many of the river cruises visit a portion of the river, such as the Danube River cruises in Vienna, but some of the more ambitious itineraries travel the whole route.
Even since ancient times, people have been enjoying Danube River cruises. The river formed one of the borders of the Roman Empire; over the centuries, many of Europe's great cities grew up along the river, including four capital cities. Besides Austria's capital city, the river winds through Hungary's capital of Budapest before heading to Belgrade, Serbia's main city and Slovakia's capital of Bratislava. No other river flows through as many capitals as the river made famous in the song "Blue Danube." Along with longer itineraries, it is also possible to take shorter day cruises or river tours in these more major cities.
Along the length of the river, vessels of various ships ply the waters of the Danube. Not all of them are designed for the entire river, but the smaller boats are well-suited to traveling through the cities. On a Danube River cruise in Budapest, the tour boats are sleek vessels specially made for luxury river cruises . Some of the excursions depart for a few hours, serving lunch or cocktails on board, while others are much longer. Any of these trips, even the cheap river cruises, give you chance to admire the city's scenery in a way that you can't duplicate from the ground.
Viking River Cruises, a leading company in European River cruises , has several itineraries that sail this mighty river. One Danube River cruise in Budapest begins in the European city, giving enough time to discover the cosmopolitan side of the river-Pest-and the most traditional Buda.
After flying into Budapest and boarding the luxurious riverboat, the journeys through some of the most scenic parts of the city, with some time to get off the boat and explore. Then you can sail to some of the other great cities of Europe, even as far as Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
Viking's Danube River cruises in Vienna are especially delightful in the wintertime. At Christmas, many of the cities in and around Vienna celebrate the holiday with all the Old World charm and none of the commercialism. After the boat arrives in Vienna, you'll have the chance to take a horse-drawn carriage through the Vienna Woods, a holiday experience to treasure.