Last updated on 12 February 2020
From rolling, hillside vineyards to wine-producing towns oozing with charm and sky-high fortresses to the Black Forest’s evergreen canopy, the Danube River shapes a picturesque passage across Europe.
The famed “Blue Danube” is also home to the stunning Wachau Valley (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), known for some of the best (and most photogenic) hiking and biking trails across the globe and cultural immersion and exploration galore. This is a river that provides a not-to-be-missed vacation.
The Danube is Europe’s second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe. The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world.
Sail & See:
On your journey along the Danube River, get ready to witness – and forever carve in your memory – some of the most incredible, awe-inspiring views in the world. In addition to Budapest’s dramatic architecture and Vienna’s grandeur, some of our favorite highlights – and surprises – include:
Just outside the cover of Germany’s Black Forest lies the perfectly preserved medieval town of Regensburg: A hidden destination that boasts ancient treasures and a historic market square that invites travelers into a Christmas dream during the holidays.
The Stunning Schlögener Schlinge
Cruisers needn’t worry about the pronunciation of this dramatic river point, considered a natural wonder of Austria. When laying eyes on this breathtaking loop, travelers are left speechless.
The Danube River winds and bends through 10 countries to carve a historic path that unites fairytale villages, capital cities, cliffside castles and forested slopes for picture-perfect landscapes as far as the eye can see. Along this legendary river, Avalon Waterways has created a boatful of extraordinary river cruise vacations: 60 percent more itineraries than other river cruise lines.
Don’t let the baroque palaces and Renaissance remembrances of this ancient city fool you. The capital of Slovakia’s pedestrian-only old town has one of Europe’s most youthful vibes.
Nicknamed “The Rome of Germany,” the historic, cobblestoned town of Bamberg built on seven scenic hills remains devoid of modern architecture – but full of its signature smoked beer.
Gorge-ous Iron Gates
A beautiful gorge that forms the boundary between Serbia and Romania, the Iron Gates present a photo-worthy landscape nestled between two national parks.
Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries.
Dock & Do.
There’s not just more in view on an Avalon river cruise down the Danube River, there’s more to do, too. With a daily selection of “Classic,” “Active,” and “Discovery” excursions, travelers can truly dive into each destination and customize their journey. Some of our favorite “must dos” on the Danube include:
Join a foodie walking tour or even a cooking class in Budapest and Vienna to taste (or make!) local specialties like Weiner schnitzel and Sachertorte.
Sink your teeth into history.
Drink in the scenery while hiking to the stunning Visegrád Castle where Count Dracula of Romania was imprisoned in the 15th century.
Paddle or pedal.
Grab an oar or a pair of handlebars and canoe or bike through the Wachau Valley, considered the most romantic stretch along the Danube.
Don’t clam up!
Put your best foot forward when meeting the current Count of Clam in his majestic and medieval home, Burg Clam, a castle inhabited by the Clam family for over 500 years.
Explore Budapest’s subterranean caves and lairs, including the “Underground Flower Garden” named for its unique cave corals and crystals.
“Along this legendary Danube River, Avalon Waterways has created a boatful of extraordinary, ‘no one does it like this’ river cruise vacations that take travelers beyond the river Danube’s beautiful views to delve into breathtaking stories, personalized experiences and untethered exploration,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “These are journeys that will forever shape the way travelers choose to see and experience the world.”