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RIVER CRUISES ALONG THE DANUBE
Rising deep in Germany’s Black Forest, the winding Danube plots an easterly course, cutting across no fewer than 10 countries on its path towards its eventual destination in Eastern Europe’s Black Sea. As it meanders, the life-bringing Danube takes those who journey on it through some of this part of the world’s most historically significant settlements.
Leaving Germany the river flows through the Austro-German border city of Passau, famous for its Italianate feel and crowned by ornate St Stephan’s Cathedral. Here the Danube is joined by tributaries the Inn and the Ilz, before flowing onwards through mountainous Austria.
Continuing east, the river weaves its way through cosmopolitan Linz, towards picture-book Melk, with its UNESCO World Heritage abbey, a vast Benedictine monastery complete with stunning Baroque interior - one of the Danube’s most vaunted and most visited sites.
Wending a path through Austria’s verdant Wachau Valley, the river reaches Imperial Vienna, the glorious Austrian capital city. The historical seat of some of Europe’s greatest thinkers and musicians, with ornate palaces, elegant arcades and vast open squares, as well as some of the world’s finest coffee houses, Vienna begs to be explored and enjoyed.
Paying a brief visit to Slovakia, the Danube passes through its delightfully compact and walkable capital city – Bratislava. This medieval gem, centred on St Martin’s Cathedral, boasts splendid Baroque palaces, an ancient suspension bridge and a lively café culture.
From Slovakia, the Danube flows into Hungary, towards the country’s enthralling capital city, Budapest. Split by the mighty river, Buda, on the west bank, boasts colourful Castle Hill, while Pest, to its east, is dominated by the gothic parliament building and an elegant maze of designer stores, coffee houses and patisseries.