When you embark on a grand voyage of the Danube River (ideally onboard your floating hotel, also known as a river cruise) … A river that bends and winds through 10 countries and four capital cities, you are bound to see and do a lot. Here are just five things you should include on your must-experience list.
1. City of Music
Walk in the footsteps of composers such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss in Vienna. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, here you can see the Vienna Boys’ Choir, dazzling Lipizzaner stallions, the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House and the 150-year-old Ringstrasse. Before you leave, be sure to enjoy a piece of Sachertorte in one of the classic coffee houses.
2. Wachau Valley
Enjoy the lush, rolling hills of the picturesque and famed Wachau Valley. Take in the view from the comfort of your river cruise ship or take part in a biking tour along the Danube Bike Trail. No matter how you go, by land or sea, you must taste the famous wines of the region. I also recommend taking a hike through the ruins of a castle above Durnstein: A place that once imprisoned England’s King Richard the Lionheart.
3. Benedictine Abbey (in Melk, Austria)
On a rocky cliff that overlooks the Danube sits one of the largest monasteries in Europe: The 11th-century Benedictine Abbey. Behind its ancient walls is a library that invites you to step back in time while you gaze upon an incredible collection of 80,000 books and manuscripts. Many date back to the 15th century.
4. Medieval Regensburg
Founded under the tutelage of Marcus Aurelius, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. Two millennia of history have provided this city some of the world’s most interesting and renowned architectural heritage. In fact, Regensburg’s “Old Town” was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006. There, you can happen upon nearly 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Also in the city center, nestled along the Danube, you can find Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants.
5. Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände
It’s a tongue twister, but this place is worth the spelling and pronunciation conundrums it imposes. On these former Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg is a museum with a permanent exhibition called “Fascination and Terror.” As part of this moving (and dark) experience, visitors are led through the rise and fall of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party.