Our Danube river cruises can take you right through the heart of Europe. Travelling within countries such as Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and Germany; you are sure to visit some magnificent destinations, the names of which you will be very familiar with. However, these river cruises also give you the chance to explore some lesser known ports that you may not have heard so much about. Here are some great examples so that you can look forward to arriving in these hidden gems too.
The Austrian city of Melk features on many of our Danube itineraries and is most famous for its stunning Benedictine abbey. This is something that you will definitely get to see during your river cruise, both up close and as you sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and arrive in Melk. Melk Abbey was founded 1089 when Leopold II gave one of his castles to the Benedictine monks. Its current Baroque form was established in the early 18th century and the building has survived many threats to its existence (war and dissolution) over the years.
There are also many other examples of excellent architecture littered throughout the town, which demonstrate a range of different styles throughout the century. These include castles, the town hall, the old post office, and the ‘House on the Rock’.
The Bavarian city of Regensburg was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO in 2006 due to the fact that its old town is the only authentically preserved example of a large medieval city in Germany. Settlements here go all the way back to the Stone Age, but the oldest structure you will see is the Porta Praetoria. This stone gate, built in 179 A.D, served as the entrance to a Roman Fort.
As well as the breath-taking examples of architecture from many different eras, Regensburg has a modern side too. The university’s botanical garden is a very pleasant place to take a stroll, and you can learn all about the art of making stained glass at the institute dedicated to this craft.
On our extended Danube river cruises, you will visit the port of Mohács in Hungary. Whilst some of the day will involve a coach excursion to the nearby city of Pécs, there will also be a chance to explore Mohács itself. The town was the scene of two battles, in 1526 and 1687, which mark the beginning and the end of the Ottoman rule within Hungary.
During February the town comes alive as the people celebrate the vibrant Busójárás Carnival. This is said to signal the end of winter and beckon the first signs of spring, but legend dictates that it also marks the fleeing of the Ottoman people from the town. The carnival involves the residents donning masks and sheepskin clothing, making lots of noise, and engaging in ritualistic dance. As the story goes, this is what the people of Mohács did on a stormy night all those years ago to rid themselves of the Ottoman rulers. The festival has featured on UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage since 2009.
Itineraries such as the ‘Grand Danube Cruise’ and ‘Black Sea Voyage’ will take you as far as Vukovar in Croatia. The name means ‘Fortress on the Vuka River’, which refers to the fact that it lies at the confluences of the Vuka and the Danube and played a key role during the Croatian war of independence. The Ovcara Memorial, a hanger where 194 people were beaten and tortured during the conflict, remembers those who lost their lives and will be a poignant stop during your tour of the city.
On this day of your river cruise, you will also get the chance to taste some Croatian wine in the nearby town of Ilok and cross the border into Serbia. Here you will visit the impending Petrovaradin Fortress, which, due to its strategic position, was never breached by any enemy.
If you would like to embark on any of the itineraries we have along the Danube, please call us today. Alternatively, you can complete an online enquiry form and we will get back to you.