Updated: Sep 18
Danube River cruises can be considered the Godmother of all European river cruises! These departures encompass the majority of river cruise sailings and the Danube is oft described as the most picturesque river to sail with numerous medieval and imperial jewels along the way.
The second longest river in Europe, the Danube begins in Germany’s Black Forest region and traverses ten countries including Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and the Ukraine. A good portion of the river, about one third, is located in Hungary; perhaps you’ve heard Budapest’s nickname, “Queen of the Danube”? The Danube consists of three sections: upper, middle and lower. Most river cruises sailing the first two sections visit Germany’s Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau, Austria’s Melk and Vienna and Budapest, Hungary. If you prefer traveling through Eastern Europe – namely Budapest, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania – via the lower section – there are certainly excellent sailings to choose from. Keep in mind however that the images you see of Danube sailings are more than likely from departures west of Budapest sailing to Germany and Austria. This does not mean that the Eastern sailings won’t provide a lovely vacation, but you do need to be prepared to dock in industrial settings and travel an hour or so to the point of interest on the itinerary. The one exception is in Serbia where you dock in a charming location and are walking distance to the beautiful town.
What is Sailing the Danube River Like?