Europe's Scenic Rivers

  • 23 nights
  • Sails from Düsseldorf to Hirsova
  • Brabant
Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria

Experience an exhilarating exploration spanning seven incredible countries on this very special 23-night river cruise. With Brabant as your guide you’ll uncover the best of Germany, from charming cities to the breathtaking scenery of the Moselle and Rhine valleys, before discovering an abundance of delights along the Danube. Visit major cities such as Vienna and Budapest; marvel at the spectacular Iron Gates gorges; take the chance to explore the remote Danube Delta; and much more.

First you’ll catch a glimpse of the iconic twin-spired cathedral in Cologne, before diverting down the Moselle River to visit pretty Cochem and sail through the Lower Moselle Valley. Koblenz – home of the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress – is yours to explore the following morning, then a full afternoon is spent taking in the spires, castles and vineyards of the enchanting Middle Rhine Valley. The next three days combine treasure-laden German towns with yet more well-timed scenic cruising. The Main Valley, the red sandstone of the Middle Main Quadrangle and the Haßberge Mountains are among the scenic highlights to look-out for; while there’s time ashore to discover attractions such as Nuremberg’s castle and fascinating Railway Museum. This is before Brabant joins the Danube, stopping at Regensburg and Passau – your gateway to Salzburg – en route to Austria. A sail through the stunning Schlögener Schlinge; an evening in historic Linz; and daytime scenic cruising of the romantic Wachau Valley will be experiences to behold.

Discovery of three fantastic capitals follows. Starting with Vienna, you’ll have an opportunity to visit the highly recommended Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, Stadtpark and Ringstrasse; then in Bratislava encounter a wealth of historical and architectural wonders such as Bratislava Castle. Three days in Budapest allows plenty of time to explore at your leisure: Buda Castle, the Millennium Underground Railway, Andrássy Avenue and the thermal baths are not to be missed. You can then learn all about how paprika became Hungary’s ‘red gold’ during a stop at Kalocsa, before crossing the border into Serbia. Belgrade boasts a remarkable history, which is unveiled by impressive sites such as Kalemegdan Fortress. A momentous cruise through the breathtaking Iron Gates gorges – where lies the famous Rock Sculpture of Decebalus – leads you to Bulgaria. Here you’ll visit remote Vidin, where the Baba Vida Fortress is a must-see, followed by Ruse. Finally in Romania, you can opt to tour to Bucharest or stay aboard Brabant for an absorbing journey through the floodplains of the Lower Danube. After passing the point where the Danube meets the Black Sea, you can cap-off your cruise with a small boat tour of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.

Itinerary
Day Destination  
Day 1
  • Düsseldorf, Germany
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  • Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    At first glimpse of the city you can’t help but be impressed by the sight of Düsseldorf’s landscape-dominating modern marvels. The soaring, 240 metre-high Rhine Tower and the distinctive structures of the MediaHarbor – which is home to the city’s trendiest bars, restaurants, cafés and hotels – are particularly impressive, showcasing the city’s wealth and recent development. Away from the banks of the Rhine there’s much more to discover within the ‘Stadtmitte’ district, such as the bustling, internationally-famous shopping street of Königsallee; the Japanese quarter; and the bustling banking quarter.

    Take time to dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover a plethora of historic highlights in Düsseldorf too. Within the charming Altstadt district – which was almost completely destroyed in World War Two and subsequently rebuilt – you can take in the monuments of Castle Square, including the remains of the baroque palace and the city monument; centuries-old churches such as St Lambertus Basilika and Neanderkirche; the 16th century Rathaus and much more. The Carlstadt district, with its many museums, galleries, markets and collection of pretty baroque-style architecture, is worth a visit too. 

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Day 2
  • Cologne, Germany
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  • Situated on the Rhine River in the centre of the Rhine-Rhur region, charming Cologne is the beating heart of the beautiful Rhineland. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago by the Ubii tribe, Cologne was once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire and served as a major trade route throughout the Middle Ages. In recent years the city has been extensively rebuilt and restructured, and is now one of the most important historical and cultural centres in Europe.

    Situated on the Rhine River in the centre of the Rhine-Rhur region, charming Cologne is the beating heart of the beautiful Rhineland. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago by the Ubii tribe, Cologne was once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire and served as a major trade route throughout the Middle Ages. In recent years the city has been extensively rebuilt and restructured, and is now one of the most important historical and cultural centres in Europe.

    With such a rich history and heritage, Cologne is a picture book of fascinating highlights and experiences. The city’s most iconic site is without doubt the magnificent UNESCO-listed Cathedral, which has long been considered Germany’s single most popular attraction. The soaring gothic spires of this incredible 13th century structure can be seen from all over the city, however visiting the cathedral is a must to marvel at its spectacular architecture up-close and uncover the treasures within.

    The city’s many other must-visit sights and attractions include the impressive Hohenzollern Bridge, which spans the Rhine near the cathedral; a collection of 12 glorious Romanesque churches including St Kunibert, St Severin and St Andreas; the beautiful Forstbotanischer botanical garden; and several galleries and museums such as the Fragrance Museum and Museum Ludwig, which boasts one of the Europe’s finest Picasso collections. For a taste of the local culture – and of the local brew – be sure to stop by Altstadt district, where bustling pubs and beer halls serve the city’s famous sweet pale ale, Kölsch.

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Day 3
  • Cochem, Germany
  • Cruising Lower Moselle Valley, Germany
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  • Cochem

    Although small, the fairytale-esque German town of Cochem is sure to make a big impression. Situated within the breathtaking Moselle Valley on one of the winding Moselle River’s seemingly endless hairpin bends, Cochem is one of Europe’s most charming and picturesque locations. Sailing here is always simply unforgettable, with views of unspoilt lush-green countryside to enjoy from your river boat; while in the town itself there are plenty of eye-catching sights to discover too. 

    Although small, the fairytale-esque German town of Cochem is sure to make a big impression. Situated within the breathtaking Moselle Valley on one of the winding Moselle River’s seemingly endless hairpin bends, Cochem is amongst Europe’s most charming and picturesque locations. Sailing here is always simply unforgettable, with views of unspoilt lush-green countryside to enjoy from your riverboat, while in the town itself there are plenty of eye-catching sights to discover too.

    Tucked away within the town’s narrow streets and twisting, maze-like alleys you can uncover a jumble of restored and remarkably well-preserved half-timbered houses; remains of the old town walls and fortifications such as the Endert Gate Tower and the Guard House, which date back to the 14th century; and the baroque-style, early-18th century Town Hall. A walk along the Moselle promenade is highly recommended too; while it is also well worth stopping by one of the friendly pubs or restaurants to try Riesling wines which are produced from grapes sourced at nearby vineyards.

    Literally unmissable is the magnificent Reichsburg Castle. Towering above the town atop a 330-foot-high hill, Reichsburg is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable landmarks seen anywhere on the banks of the Moselle. The climb to this centuries-old structure is steep, but it’s well worth making the effort, if you have time, to admire the castle’s interesting mix of architectural styles, learn more about it’s fascinating history and capture a glimpse of the beautiful surrounding valleys, vineyards and towns.  

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  • Cruising Lower Moselle Valley

    With its beautiful, ever-changing landscape, which is marked by world-famous vineyards, imposing cliffs and steep hills, towering centuries-old castles and a string of postcard-perfect historic towns, the Lower Moselle Valley is widely considered the most picturesque section of the Moselle River. 

    With its beautiful, ever-changing landscape, which is marked by world-famous vineyards, imposing cliffs and steep hills, towering centuries-old castles and a string of postcard-perfect historic towns, the Lower Moselle Valley is widely considered the most picturesque section of the Moselle River.

    Here the river is the much narrower than it is in the Upper and Middle Moselle regions, so you’ll be closer to the spectacular landscapes as your riverboat negotiates the waterway’s many meanders. Have your camera to hand to capture the stunning scenery, or simply sit back and enjoy the view. 

Day 4
  • Koblenz, Germany
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  • Situated at the famous ‘Deutsches Eck’ where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and the magnificent Hunsrück, Eifel and Westerwald mountain ranges converge, it’s no wonder Koblenz is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Germany. The appeal of Koblenz isn’t just skin-deep however; over 2,000 years of history and an abundance of cultural and historical monuments ensure this ancient city is always a memorable and rewarding stop on a German river cruise.

    Situated at the famous ‘Deutsches Eck’ where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and the magnificent Hunsrück, Eifel and Westerwald mountain ranges converge, it’s no wonder Koblenz is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Germany. The appeal of Koblenz isn’t just skin-deep however; over 2,000 years of history and an abundance of cultural and historical monuments ensure this ancient city is always a memorable and rewarding stop on a German river cruise.

    While Koblenz’s beginnings date back to Roman times, the Franks, the French, the Prussians and of course, the Germans have all controlled and heavily influenced the city over the years. Many centuries-old fortifications and castles, impressive palaces and sculpted parks, which offer an insight into Koblenz’s fascinating past, highlight this rich and diverse history. The magnificent 19th century Stolzenfels Castle, watching over the Rhine on the left bank of the river; Alte Berg, the former electoral castle built in the 13th century; the Prussian Electoral Palace, where the Prussian Crown Prince and Kaiser Wilhelm I once resided; and the neo-romantic Prussian Government building are all among the highlights. Also not to be missed is the ancient Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which can be reached via the Koblenz cable car and offers stunning views of Koblenz and the surrounding river scenery from 118 metres above the city.

    It’s also well worth taking the time to venture into the charming Altstadt district, where pretty squares, ornate churches such as Liebfrauenkirche and St Castor Basilica, and the iconic Vier Türme towers await. In the old town you’ll also find a number of friendly bars and restaurants serving the finest local flavours.

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Day 5
  • Cruising Main Valley, Germany
  • Miltenberg, Germany
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  • Cruising Main Valley

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenic beauty of Bavaria as your river boat navigates the meandering Main Valley. An ever-changing picturesque landscape of tall forests, rolling hills, pretty vineyards and charming towns and cities is yours to admire while you relax on deck. 

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenic beauty of Bavaria as your river boat navigates the meandering Main Valley. An ever-changing picturesque landscape of tall forests, rolling hills, pretty vineyards and charming towns and cities is yours to admire while you relax on deck.

    The historic towns of Aschaffenburg and Seligenstadt – two of the oldest towns in Germany – are just two of an abundance of scenic delights to look out for as you sail through the tranquil waters of the valley.

  • Miltenberg

    Visit charming Miltenberg on a German river cruise and you’ll quickly understand why this quaint Bavarian town is affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the River Main’. Revered for retaining its scenic beauty and romantic historical charm, Miltenberg is one of only a few German towns not to have been extensively rebuilt after the Second World War, so many of the wonderfully well-preserved streets and structures here are as they were several centuries ago.

    Visit charming Miltenberg on a German river cruise and you will quickly understand why this quaint Bavarian town is affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the River Main’. Revered for retaining its scenic beauty and romantic historical charm, Miltenberg is one of only a few German towns not to have been extensively rebuilt after the Second World War, so many of the wonderfully well-preserved streets and structures here are as they were several centuries ago.

    Stretched along the banks of the Main and centred on the main street laid by the Romans during the town’s inception, Miltenberg is easy, relaxing and rewarding to explore. While away a couple of hours here and you can encounter a plethora of highlights and delights, from the Old Town district’s magnificent market square and medieval half-timbered houses to Gasthaus Zum Riesen – the oldest guesthouse in Germany – where Barbarossa, Emperor Frederick III, King Ludwig of Bavaria and even Elvis Presley have stayed over the years.

    Don’t miss Miltenberg Castle too. Originally built in the late 12th century and subsequently rebuilt after suffering extensive damage during the Margrave Wars and the Thirty Year War, the castle is now a museum exhibiting a collection of fantastic artwork. From the castle’s 27 metre-high keep you can also enjoy incredible views of the beautiful Main Valley. Also well worth a visit are the Old Town Hall, the old cathedral and the town museum, all of which offer an insight into Miltenberg’s interesting history and heritage.

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Day 6
  • Cruising Middle Main Quadrangle, Germany
  • Würzburg, Germany
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  • Cruising Middle Main Quadrangle

    The Middle Main Quadrangle is a picturesque stretch of the Main River, extending downstream from Gmünd all the way to Aschaffenburg. Along the way the river passes by a number of historic towns and cities such as Wertheim, Miltenberg and Klingenberg. 

    The Middle Main Quadrangle is a picturesque stretch of the Main River, extending downstream from Gmünd all the way to Aschaffenburg. Along the way the river passes by a number of historic towns and cities such as Wertheim, Miltenberg and Klingenberg.

    The spectacular scenery of the Spessart Mountains and forests are the highlight in the north; while the rolling hills and gorgeous countryside of Odenwald is well worth looking out for in the southwest. As you sail along the river be sure to have your camera to hand to capture the region’s famous red sandstone rock faces and cliffs.

  • Würzburg

    Although Würzburg’s extensive history, in fact, stretches back over several centuries, very little here pre-dates the Second World War. In 1945 Würzburg was almost completely decimated by an Allied bombing raid which destroyed approximately 90% of the city and razed a number of historic churches, cathedrals and medieval monuments to the ground. Plans were made to leave Würzburg in its battle-scarred state after the war to serve as a reminder of the destruction caused; though thankfully these plans were cancelled and the city was painstakingly rebuilt into the Bavarian gem it is today.

    Although Würzburg’s extensive history in fact stretches back over several centuries, very little here pre-dates the Second World War. In 1945 Würzburg was almost completely decimated by an Allied bombing raid which destroyed approximately 90% of the city and razed a number of historic churches, cathedrals and medieval monuments to the ground. Plans were made to leave Würzburg in its battle-scarred state after the war to serve as a reminder of the destruction caused, though thankfully these plans were cancelled and the city was painstakingly rebuilt into the Bavarian gem it is today.

    Now restored to its resplendent former glory, this scenic city situated on the River Main is one of Germany’s most rewarding and interesting destinations, world-renowned for its exceptional architecture, arts and culture. Wandering the city’s renovated and rejuvenated streets and alleys is always memorable, with impressive sights and attractions to encounter at almost every turn. Among the very best are the imposing Festung Marienberg fortress, which offers fantastic views of the city and the Main; St Kilian Cathedral, the fourth largest Romanesque church in Germany; the extravagant Neumünster church; and multiple museums such as Röntgen Gedächtnisstätte and Museum am Dom. There are plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants serving delicious traditional cuisine and local Franconian wines too.

    The most impressive of the city’s sights though is without doubt Balthasar Neumann’s architectural masterpiece, the Residenz Palace. Originally built in the 18th century, Würzburg’s crowning glory is UNESCO-listed and recognised as one of Germany’s finest and most important examples of Baroque architecture. As stunning internally as it is externally, the ‘castle above all castles’ boasts over 300 rooms spread across three wings, 40 of which are open to the public. Not to be missed is the palace’s spectacular Treppenhaus staircase, which is adorned by the world’s largest fresco.

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Day 7
  • Cruising by the Hassberge Mountains, Germany
  • Bamberg, Germany
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  • Cruising by the Hassberge Mountains

    As you sail by Germany’s beautiful Haßberge Mountains you might be surprised to learn that their name roughly translates to ‘Hate Mountains’ in English, so peaceful and pretty are the region’s gently rolling hills and lush-green vineyards. 

    As you sail by Germany’s beautiful Haßberge Mountains you might be surprised to learn that their name roughly translates to ‘Hate Mountains’ in English, so peaceful and pretty are the region’s gently rolling hills and lush-green vineyards.

    Look out for a number of Haßberge’s historical delights as your river boat glides along the River Main, including charming medieval towns, noble palaces, the ruins of centuries-old formidable fortresses and magnificent rural castles.   

  • Bamberg

    Bamberg’s incredible history dates back to Roman times. Once the jewel in the Roman Empire’s crown, the town became its own diocese after the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II made it a family inheritance in 1007, and was a major influence on the introduction of Christianity to Bavaria. By the 13th century prince bishops ruled here, overseeing the town’s development and the construction of many magnificent monuments and buildings. 

    Bamberg’s incredible history dates back to Roman times. Once the jewel in the Roman Empire’s crown, the town became its own diocese after the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II made it a family inheritance in 1007, and was a major influence on the introduction of Christianity to Bavaria. By the 13th century Prince Bishops ruled here, overseeing the town’s development and the construction of many magnificent monuments and buildings.

    Fast forward several centuries and today the beautifully Bavarian town of Bamberg – spread across seven hills where the Main and Regnitz rivers meet – is one of Germany’s most picturesque and beguiling destinations. The town’s entire historic heart is UNESCO-listed in recognition of its fascinating heritage and wonderfully well-preserved medieval streets and structures. Exploring the town centre is like stepping back in time or into a fairytale, with stunning sights to discover with every turn.

    Among Bamburg’s many must-visit sites are the magnificent Romanesque cathedral and the centuries-old churches perched atop the town’s tall hills, including the spectacular Michaelsberg Abbey, the gothic-style Church of Our Lady and St Martin’s Church – Bamburg’s only baroque church. Also not-to-be-missed is the unique Altes Rathaus, perched on a bridge across the Regnitz River; and Neue Residenz, home of the town’s Prince Bishops from the mid-17th century to 1802. Be sure to stop by one of the friendly pubs to sample locally-brewed traditional smoked beer too.  

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Day 8
  • Nuremberg, Germany
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  • A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    There’s much more to Bavaria’s second largest city than contemporary delights though. While Nuremberg tries it’s best to shake off the shackles of its infamous past, there’s simply no ignoring the city’s diverse – and often damaging – history. With origins dating back to Roman times – the city was once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire – Nuremberg is a picture book of centuries-old structures, especially in the old town ‘Altstadt’ district. Historic highlights here include the collection of medieval half-timbered houses and gothic churches such as the mid-13th century St Lorenz Cathedral; the 13th century Nassauer Haus; and the city’s most impressive sight, the towering Kaiserberg Imperial Castle.

    No time spent in Nuremberg is complete without examining the city’s importance in World War Two. An icon of the Nazi regime, Nuremberg hosted several of Adolf Hitler’s fanatical propaganda rallies throughout the war before being largely destroyed by Allied bombing raids in 1945; and after the war was chosen as the site of the war crimes tribunal, now known as the Nuremberg Trials. Reichsparteitagsgelände – where the famous black and white images of Nazi supporters hailing Hitler were taken – and the Nuremberg Trials Memorial are both must-visit sites, offering an emotive and unforgettable insight into this remarkable period of the city’s history.

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Day 9
  • Regensburg, Germany
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  • Nicknamed ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, resplendent Regensburg is considered amongst the finest medieval cities in Europe. Originally settled by the Romans in 179AD under the control of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Regensburg was the first capital of Bavaria and a Free Imperial City for around 600 years. Today it is simply one of Germany’s oldest and finest cities.

    Nicknamed ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, resplendent Regensburg is considered amongst the finest medieval cities in Europe. Originally settled by the Romans in 179AD under the control of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Regensburg was the first capital of Bavaria and a Free Imperial City for around 600 years. Today it is simply one of Germany’s oldest and finest cities.

    The locals here are rightly proud of their hometown’s remarkable 2000-year-old history and it shows. Incredibly well-preserved, this stunning city – situated in a scenic setting at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen – is an unmolested maze of historic streets, squares, landmarks and monuments, which are sure to delight and enchant from the moment you arrive here. Approximately 1500 listed buildings are packed into the historic heart of Regensburg, 984 of which are within the UNESCO-listed Stadtamhof Old Town. The 12th century Stone Bridge across the Danube; striking German-Gothic cathedral; Collegiate Church of St John; castle-like Patrician ‘Heuport’ house; and historic Adler pharmacy are among the most significant. You’ll even uncover the world’s oldest sausage house within Stadtamhof too.

    Otherwise it’s worth taking a walk along the bank of the Danube to enjoy the scenery and encounter the Roland Fountain at Fischmarkt Square; while elsewhere in the city you could choose to see St Ulrich’s Church and the Patrician Towers, or take your pick of over 20 fantastic museums.

    Don’t for a moment think that historic Regensburg is stuck asleep in a time warp though. Despite its medieval appearance, the city’s atmosphere is energetic and youthful with modern cultural delights such as theatre, dance and art on show; while many of the oldest buildings in the city centre are thriving once again as hosts to trendy restaurants and coffee shops. Lovers of locally-crafted beer and wine will delight in the knowledge that Regensburg boasts the largest number of pubs and bars than any other German city too.

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Day 10
  • Passau, Germany
  • Cruising Schlögener Schlinge, Germany
  • Linz, Austria
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  • Passau

    On the German-Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers sits the charming Bavarian city of Passau. Nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’, pretty Passau has made the most of its unique location throughout its fascinating history. For centuries its waterways were vital trading routes, bringing wealth which helped to shape and develop the beautiful old streets here; while today they serve as gateways for visitors stopping-by to take in the city’s historic highlights and cultural delights. 

    On the German-Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers sits the charming Bavarian city of Passau. Nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’, pretty Passau has made the most of its unique location throughout its fascinating history. For centuries its waterways were vital trading routes, bringing wealth which helped to shape and develop the beautiful old streets here; while today they serve as gateways for visitors stopping-by to take in the city’s historic highlights and cultural delights.

    As well as its rivers, Passau is renowned for its colourful architecture and typically Bavarian charm. Wandering the delightful streets of this relatively small and easy to explore city is always a memorable spectacle, with an abundance of sights to uncover. The Altstadt old town district – largely untouched since prince bishops ordered its construction in the 17th century –  is home to a number of soaring towers, stunning palaces, pretty promenades and the gothic-style Town Hall; as well as the iconic St Stephen’s Cathedral. This wonderfully ornate, baroque-style monument is a must-visit to marvel at the huge organ and grand bells alone.

    The Vesta Oberhaus, which towers above the city on the northern bank of the Danube, is not to be missed too. Built in the 13th century to guard Passau, this impressive fortress is today a fascinating museum and gallery showcasing the city’s interesting history. Also well worth a visit is the Pilgrimage church ‘Mariahilf’; the glass museum, which exhibits one of the largest glassware collections in the world; and the Innpromenade, where you can take in the pretty parks and ancient tunnels, enjoy some retail therapy and grab a pint of the local brew, and see where the city’s three rivers meet. 

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  • Cruising Schlögener Schlinge

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty, peace and tranquility of some of the most spectacular scenery seen anywhere along the Danube River, as your river boat negotiates the seemingly endless meanders of the Schlögener Schlinge. 

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty, peace and tranquility of some of the most spectacular scenery seen anywhere along the Danube River, as your river boat negotiates the seemingly endless meanders of the Schlögener Schlinge.

    Slicing through the beautiful Upper Danube Valley, the Schlögener Schlinge is often described as 'the natural wonder of Upper Austria' and you'll soon understand why as you sail slowly through the flora-rich forested hills and valleys.

  • Linz

    Often overlooked as visitors flock to the Baroque delights of Vienna and Salzburg, Linz feels like a hidden gem. This is despite the fact that this former European Capital of Culture and current UNESCO City of Media Arts is indeed Austria’s third largest city. Sitting astride the beautiful River Danube and boasting a collection of excellent galleries and museums, historic landmarks and much more, Linz perfectly combines a blend of scenic beauty, traditional treasures and contemporary attractions.

    Often overlooked as visitors flock to the Baroque delights of Vienna and Salzburg, Linz feels like a hidden gem. This is despite the fact that this former European Capital of Culture and current UNESCO City of Media Arts is indeed Austria’s third largest city. Sitting astride the beautiful River Danube and boasting a collection of excellent galleries and museums, historic landmarks and much more, Linz perfectly combines a blend of scenic beauty, traditional treasures and contemporary attractions.

    Visiting Linz via riverboat is the best way to experience the incredible diversity of the city. After admiring beautiful countryside scenery as you sail along the Danube into Linz, you’ll see magnificent modern structures such as the iconic Lentos Kuntsmuseum stood alongside centuries-old buildings on the riverbanks, tempting you to head ashore and explore.

    There is an abundance of highlights to tick off your ‘must-visit’ list here and, as the centre of Linz is easily explored on foot, it doesn’t take too long to discover the best of the city. For a taste of 21st century Linz be sure to stroll along the riverfront ‘Cultural Mile’, where cultural and artistic attractions such as the Brucknerhaus, Ars Electronica Centre, the Musiktheatre and the aforementioned Lentos Museum await; and don’t miss the historic sites such as the 19th century St Mary’s Cathedral, the 17th century Ignatiuskirche and the charming Old Town district.

    Within the Old Town you’ll find Hauptplatz Square, which is home to some of Linz’s finest Baroque architecture, a number of restaurants and cafés, and the impressive Holy Trinity column. Nearby is Landstraße, one of Austria’s busiest shopping streets, which is packed with an array of shops and boutiques – perfect for a little retail therapy.

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Day 11
  • Emmersdorf & Melk, Austria
  • Cruising the Wachau Valley, Austria
  • Dürnstein, Austria
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  • Emmersdorf & Melk

    At the south-western entrance of the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley lie the charming town of Emmersdorf and the historic city of Melk – two of Lower Austria’s prettiest and most popular holiday destinations. Whether you choose to explore one or both of these small, yet attraction-packed settlements situated on opposite sides of the River Danube, you’re in for an enjoyable and rewarding experience here during your Danube River cruise. 

    At the south-western entrance of the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley lie the charming town of Emmersdorf and the historic city of Melk – two of Lower Austria’s prettiest and most popular holiday destinations. Whether you choose to explore one or both of these small, yet attraction-packed settlements situated on opposite sides of the River Danube, you’re in for an enjoyable and rewarding experience here during your Danube River cruise.

    The centre of Emmersdorf is within walking distance of your riverboat’s berth and is the perfect place to start a couple of hours of relaxing exploration ashore. Head into the town beyond the colourful waterfront buildings and you’ll uncover a few interesting sites, including the late-gothic parish church of St Nikolaus, a collection of 16th century wine houses, the Town Hall and a couple of fine restaurants such as Schloss Rothenhof. Look over towards Melk and the sight of the magnificent Melk Abbey will hint at the historic highlights awaiting you across the river.

    Melk is a short journey across the Danube Bridge from Emmersdorf and no time here is complete without venturing over the river to visit the city’s iconic Benedictine abbey – considered one of the most famous, elaborate and important monasteries in Austria. While the abbey’s stunning architecture is a sight to behold, its hill-top position also provides spectacular views of Melk, the Danube and the surrounding countryside scenery which are not-to-be-missed. Elsewhere in the city – which is easily explored on foot – it’s worth taking in the 16th century Town Hall; Haus am Stein, Melk’s oldest building; and the striking towers and domes of the Stiftskirche. 

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  • Cruising the Wachau Valley

    The Wachau Valley is a spectacular 33 Kilometre-long section of the Danube River, stretched between the historic Austrian towns of Melk and Krems. UNESCO-listed in recognition of its diverse landscapes, the Wachau is a showcase of postcard-perfect scenery consisting of enchanting medieval towns, world-renowned vineyards and gently rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

    The Wachau Valley is a spectacular 33 Kilometre-long section of the Danube River, stretched between the historic Austrian towns of Melk and Krems. UNESCO-listed in recognition of its diverse landscapes, the Wachau is a showcase of postcard-perfect scenery consisting of enchanting medieval towns, world-renowned vineyards and gently rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

    Throw in the wonderfully mild climate and soothing sunshine the Wachau benefits from and you have one of the most unforgettable areas of scenic cruising to be discovered anywhere along the enchanting Danube River.

  • Dürnstein

    Austria’s romantic, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley is world-renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, historic sights and famous wines, and nowhere better epitomises the appeal of this stunning region than Dürnstein. Situated on a curve of the Danube River afront forested hills, and home to steep vineyards and a collection of beautifully well-preserved medieval buildings, this town is as picture-perfect as they come. 

    Austria’s romantic, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley is world-renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, historic sights and famous wines, and nowhere better epitomises the appeal of this stunning region than Dürnstein. Situated on a curve of the Danube River afront forested hills, and home to steep vineyards and a collection of beautifully well-preserved medieval buildings, this town is as picture-perfect as they come.

    Simply admiring Dürnstein from your riverboat on a Danube River cruise would be an experience to behold, so picturesque is the town, but stopping here to explore one of Austria’s most popular tourist spots is all the more rewarding. After all, there must be a reason why the town’s population of a few hundred swells to a few thousand in the summer months, when people from all corners of the globe visit.

    Although Dürnstein is a small town, there are plenty of highlights and attractions to discover as you wander the narrow streets and alleys. Pin Dürnstein, which features a magnificent blue tower; the Kunigunde church, built in the early 13th century; the striking City Hall; and impressive Fort Clarissinnenkirche all await your discovery just a short distance from your boat.

    The ruins of the city’s 12th century castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, are not to be missed. The castle towers over Dürnstein from atop a steep hill, and it’s well worth making the effort to climb to this historic fortification to learn of its links to Richard the Lionheart and enjoy unspoilt views of the Danube and the Wachau Valley’s astonishing scenic landscapes. If you’re tempted to try a glass or two of the region’s delicious tipples, be sure to visit one of the friendly taverns or wine cellars too. 

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Day 12
  • Nussdorf (Vienna) , Austria
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  • The largest and brightest shining of the many jewels in Austria’s crown, Vienna is without doubt among the most beautiful and captivating capitals in Europe. A leading artistic and cultural hub, the city was once home to many of the great composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, and is renowned for its contribution to theatre, the arts, opera and classical music over the years. It is also revered for boasting one of the most architecturally diverse historic centres found anywhere on the continent.

    The largest and brightest shining of the many jewels in Austria’s crown, Vienna is without doubt among the most beautiful and captivating capitals in Europe. A leading artistic and cultural hub, the city was once home to many of the great composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, and is renowned for its contribution to theatre, the arts, opera and classical music over the years. It is also revered for boasting one of the most architecturally diverse historic centres found anywhere on the continent.

    Vienna is a vast city, spread out along both banks of the River Danube, and is perfect for a few hours of rewarding exploration. After your riverboat berths in the nearby suburb of Nussdorf, you can head into the city to take your pick of a wealth of attractions. The UNESCO-listed historic centre is awash with highlights; Baroque castles and imperial palaces, ancient buildings and impressive landmarks and monuments all await you here.

    The stunning Schönbrunn Palace, formerly the Imperial summer residence; the imposing Hofburg Palace, which was the base of the Habsburgs for over 600 years; and splendid Belvedere Palace are just a trio of Vienna’s most popular sights. Don’t miss the Stadtpark, striking gothic-style Stephansdom cathedral and the iconic structures of the Ringstrasse, including the Flemish-Gothic City Hall, the Parliament building and the New Baroque Burgtheater, too.

    As well as architectural marvels, Vienna is – as you might expect from such a culture-rich city – also home to an abundance of fantastic galleries and museums. Among the city’s best cultural venues are the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings; the Rinsgstrasse’s Kunsthistorisches Museum; and the many institutions of the MuseumsQuartier, such as Leopold Museum, the Museum Moderner Kunst, Architekturzentrum and Kunsthalle. No time spent in Vienna is complete without visiting the neo-renaissance State Opera, Musikverein, the Staatsoper and the Haus der Musik museum to immerse yourself in the City of Music’s famous musical heritage.

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Day 13
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River.  Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and – despite growth in recent years – retains an enchanting small town charm. 

    Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River. Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and, despite considerable growth in recent years, retains an enchanting small town charm.

    Walking through the uncrowded streets of Bratislava is like stepping back in time. Although the city only became a capital in 1993 – when Slovakia received its independence – its origins in fact date back to around 200BC. The locals here are rightly proud of their city’s over 2,000-year history and it shows. In the remarkably well-preserved heart of the city await several structures and monuments which hark back to times when Bratislava was a major trading hub and one of Europe’s great Renaissance-era cities.

    The most eye-catching of them all is the imposing white-walled castle, which has overlooked the city since the 9th century, while the collection of churches, palaces and ancient gates are well worth taking the time to uncover too. The gothic-style St Martin’s Cathedral, the former coronation-church of several Hungarian kings; the art-nouveau Church of St Elizabeth; Primate’s Palace; and the Grassalkovich Palace and gardens are among the many memorable sights. For museums and galleries you are spoilt for choice in Bratislava too. Take your pick of the Slovak National Museum, the Slovak National Gallery, the Bratislava City Gallery and much more. 

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Day 14
  • Cruising into Budapest, Hungary
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Cruising into Budapest

    Visiting beautiful Budapest is made even more special by the unforgettable sail into Hungary’s spectacular capital. As your river boat glides right into the heart of the city via the picturesque Danube River you’ll pass under several stunning bridges and enjoy views of magnificent architecture lining the river banks on both the ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’ sides of the city. 

    Visiting beautiful Budapest is made even more special by the unforgettable sail into Hungary’s spectacular capital.

    As your river boat glides right into the heart of the city via the picturesque Danube River you’ll pass under several stunning bridges and enjoy views of magnificent architecture lining the river banks on both the ‘Buda’ and ‘Pest’ sides of the city.

    The Banks of the Danube in Budapest are UNESCO-listed in recognition of their beautifully well-preserved historical landmarks, and when you see wonders such as the awe-inspiring Parliament Building from the deck of your boat, you’ll soon understand why they’re so highly regarded. 

  • Budapest

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 15
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 16
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 17
  • Kalocsa, Hungary
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  • Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains. 

    Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains.

    The compact centre of Kalocsa, with its jumble of boulevards, narrow alleyways and ornate squares, lends itself perfectly to a couple of hours of exploration, and there are plenty of architectural highlights and attractions to discover here. Many of the town’s most popular and impressive sights are in and around Holy Trinity Square and Szent István király út (St Stephen’s Road), which runs through the length of the town centre.

    Perhaps start at Holy Trinity Square to admire the Archbishop’s Palace, the 18th century Archbishop’s Cathedral, the statue of St Stephen and the Holy Trinity Column; then wander along St Stephen’s Road to admire fine examples of Baroque style architecture, visit the early 20th century town hall, and stop-by the interesting Paprika Museum. The House of Folk Art Museum and the Károly Visky Museum, which display various works of local folk art, are well worth visiting too, while the 85-foot-high Cybernetic Light Tower – created by Nicolas Schöffer, a pioneer of kinetic sculpture – is a remarkable sight.

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Day 18
  • Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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Day 19
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Cruising the Iron Gates, Serbia
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  • Belgrade

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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  • Cruising the Iron Gates

    Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    This remarkable section of the Danube River forms part of the border between Serbia and Romania and divides the magnificent Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. The awe-inspiring scenery here has to be seen to be believed and, as your smaller-sized river boat can navigate the locks and dams of this often narrow waterway with ease, you’ll experience the very best of the Iron Gates.

    As well as stunning natural landmarks you’ll also encounter a few man-made marvels as you glide along the Danube here, including the iconic Rock Sculpture of Decebalus at the Great Kazan gorge and a number of historic churches, castles and fortifications such as Severin Castle and Golubac Fortress.  

Day 20
  • Vidin, Bulgaria
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  • Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise. 

    Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise.

    Vidin is one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns. Founded in the 3rd century BC by a Thracian tribe, it later became part of the Roman Empire and a capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom until the 14th century, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the region. The influence of Vidin’s fascinating past can still be seen today, in the town’s mix of ancient Roman, medieval, Turkish and modern architecture, and collection of impressive historical landmarks.

    The Baba Vida Fortress – one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Bulgaria – is the finest exhibit of the town’s history and a must-visit site. Originally built between the 9th and 10th centuries on the ruins of a Roman fortress, Baba Vida has been rebuilt several times, and in several different styles, over the years. The town’s other notable highlights include the Kaleto Fortress; the beautiful orthodox churches of St Pantaleimon, St Petka and St Great Martyr Demetrius, built between the 17th and 19th centuries; the 19th century Jewish synagogue; the mosque; and an abundance of charming Renaissance-style buildings.  

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Day 21
  • Ruse, Bulgaria
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  • Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture. 

    Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture.

    There are over 300 incredible historical and architectural highlights to discover in Ruse, many of which feature on Bulgaria’s National Heritage List, and simply strolling around the city’s streets on foot will present you with an abundance of impressive Viennese-inspired Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo style landmarks and monuments.

    Liberty Square is a great place to start your exploration. Perhaps marvel at striking sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Opera House, the iconic Dohodno Zdanie theatre and St Trinity Church here, then venture down the surrounding streets in search of interesting attractions such as the Rousse Historical Museum, the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes national monument and the ruins of the Sexaginta Prista Roman Fortress. A wander along Aleksandrovska Street – Ruse’s main street – is highly recommended, to take in its melting pot of architectural styles.

    Away from Ruse’s many man-made marvels, there are natural delights to uncover close-by too. The Natural Park of Rusenski Lom – situated a short journey south from the city – is a sprawling 32 square kilometre wonderland of dramatic cliff faces and rock formations, beautiful riverside terraces and ancient caves such as the Orlova Chuka Cave – Bulgaria’s second-longest cave. Rusenski Lom is a haven for birdwatches too, home to around 172 diverse species including Egyptian vultures, lesser kestrels and eagle owls. 

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Day 22
  • Ruse, Bulgaria
  • Cruising Lower Danube, Romania
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  • Ruse

    Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture. 

    Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture.

    There are over 300 incredible historical and architectural highlights to discover in Ruse, many of which feature on Bulgaria’s National Heritage List, and simply strolling around the city’s streets on foot will present you with an abundance of impressive Viennese-inspired Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo style landmarks and monuments.

    Liberty Square is a great place to start your exploration. Perhaps marvel at striking sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Opera House, the iconic Dohodno Zdanie theatre and St Trinity Church here, then venture down the surrounding streets in search of interesting attractions such as the Rousse Historical Museum, the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes national monument and the ruins of the Sexaginta Prista Roman Fortress. A wander along Aleksandrovska Street – Ruse’s main street – is highly recommended, to take in its melting pot of architectural styles.

    Away from Ruse’s many man-made marvels, there are natural delights to uncover close-by too. The Natural Park of Rusenski Lom – situated a short journey south from the city – is a sprawling 32 square kilometre wonderland of dramatic cliff faces and rock formations, beautiful riverside terraces and ancient caves such as the Orlova Chuka Cave – Bulgaria’s second-longest cave. Rusenski Lom is a haven for birdwatches too, home to around 172 diverse species including Egyptian vultures, lesser kestrels and eagle owls. 

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  • Cruising Lower Danube

    This section of the stunning Lower Danube presents mile-upon-mile of breathtaking scenery. Here the Danube slices through the picturesque landscapes of Eastern Europe, forming part of the border Romania and Bulgaria before flowing into the Danube Delta and the Black Sea. 

    This section of the stunning Lower Danube presents mile-upon-mile of breathtaking scenery. Here the Danube slices through the picturesque landscapes of Eastern Europe, forming part of the border Romania and Bulgaria before flowing into the Danube Delta and the Black Sea.

    With views of flora-rich floodplains, dense forests, pretty islands and an array of charming towns and cities to enjoy from aboard your river boat, sailing along the Lower Danube is always an absorbing river cruise experience. 

Day 23
  • St Gheorghe, Romania
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  • Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Situated at the end of the winding Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the Danube, St Gheorghe is surrounded by simply spectacular wetland landscapes that must be seen to be believed, and for many visitors is the starting point for unforgettable tours taking in the many wonders of the Danube Delta. The chance to ride a small boat into the heart of the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and explore the marshlands in search of gorgeous flora and wonderful wildlife – including pelicans and hundreds of other bird species – is an experience that’s not-to-be-missed. Alternatively, you could take a short, 30-minute walk to the coast to discover St Gheorghe’s beautifully unspoilt, eerily quiet golden sand beach. 

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Day 24
  • Hirsova, Romania
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  • Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre. 

    Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre.

    The main attractions in Hirsova are the Carsium Museum and the Carsium Fortress. Both feature an array of remarkable exhibits, which offer an insight into the town’s incredible, over 6500-year history and how the Neolithic, Byzantine, Roman and medieval Roman eras influenced Hirsova as it developed on the right bank of the Danube. Master Manole’s Church of St Constantine and Elena – which was completed in 1905 – is well worth a visit too.  

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Dates & Prices
20th April 2018 - R180406
What's Included

Rest assured, all of the following comes as standard on every Fred. Olsen river cruise:

  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with TV, hairdryer, safe and individually controlled air conditioning 
  • Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with ‘early riser’ breakfast, breakfast buffet, casual lunch, five-course à la carte dinner and late-night snacks
  • Complimentary tea & coffee station 24 hours a day 
  • Complimentary afternoon tea & coffee with sandwiches and cakes 
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi 
  • Use of leisure facilities including Fitness Room and Wellness Tub 
  • Lounge music by pianist, or duo every day 
  • All local taxes and port charges (where collectable in advance)
On Our Boat

Built in 2006, this elegant and comfortable vessel is in keeping with the fleet of our ocean-going cruise ships. Brabant’s bright and spacious public areas and 79 well-equipped rooms and suites, spread across four decks, provide the intimate, home-from-home feel which Fred. Olsen’s guests already know and love. Cruise ship staples such as swimming pools, a number of lounges and on-going activities are not in evidence on board, making way for a comfortable ambience and ample space in which to relax and enjoy the river cruise experience with around 150 fellow guests.

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