The Danube is one of the world's longest rivers, and Europe's second longest one, 2,860 kilometers in length. It emanates in the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany, criss-crosses 10 different countries on it path, and ends in the Black Sea in Romania.
The extensive Danube, long and winding, is one of the most impressive rivers in Europe and serves as a fascinating route for many cruise trips. Here are some of the cities one can enjoy on one’s cruise vacation on the Danube.
The river divides Hungary’s capital into two parts: Buda and Pest. Buda is an ancient city with a majestic palace and much medieval architecture, while Pest is the new part of the city, with wide boulevards and modern construction.
A Budapest deal will provide you with a wealth of history, beginning in the Roman era, along with spectacular architecture, royal bridges, gardens and thermal water baths that emerge from the depths of the earth.
A must-see is Gellert Hill, which rises 140 meters above the city, and stands out for the Liberation Monument at its head - a beautiful observation point of the city. It’s also worth visiting the Hungarian Parliament, known as the "Budapest Foam Cake", which was inspired by the British Parliament Building.
It is recommended to take a guided tour of three of the hundreds of rooms in the building, and to see the crown of King Stefan, the spiritual authority of the rulers of Hungary throughout history.
Around Budapest there are several small picturesque towns worth visiting. St. Andre, a small artist town with a historic atmosphere, provides a glimpse of beautiful local construction and art galleries. In Wiesgrad you can visit the fortress that was used by the kings of Hungary in previous centuries, and in Esztergom, which is an important Christian center in Hungary, you can visit the largest cathedral in the country and the Christian museum.
Another magical city crossed by the Danube is Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. A city of universities, theaters, museums, medieval turrets and also modern construction, parks, shopping centers, popular festivals and exciting nightlife.
Bratislava is located close to the Austrian and Hungarian borders and the Carpathian mountain range, where the Bratislava Forest Park is located.
The oldest buildings in the city are concentrated in the old quarter of the city center, and feature an 18th-century baroque architecture. Don’t miss Bratislava's old national theater, beautiful architecture and important cultural centers in the city, and the Gothic cathedral of St. Matthews. This is where the kings of Hungary and the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire were crowned. The old town hall, which now houses the Bratislava Museum, is also worth a short visit.
Other interesting sites at the city are the Bratislava castle, which has undergone various incarnations, became the royal residence, was burned and restored in the 1950s, as well as the Jewish Quarter and the Museum of Jewish Culture. At the Aupark and Eurovea shopping malls and in the central market of Mileticova you can indulge in quality shopping.
Another European jem on the Danube route is Vienna, the city of waltzes, schnitzel, and the cafes that serve the perfect dessert: apple strudel and whipped cream. The city, one of the most classic in Europe, is dotted with charming parks, museums, palaces and historical buildings.
The historic city center - once surrounded by a wall - is now surrounded by the Ring Street. In the center of the quarter is the St. Stephen's Church - an impressive Gothic cathedral, one of the tallest in the world, where in the past weddings and burial of kings were held. Today you can admire its magnificent architecture and many styles, and climb to the bell tower, for a beautiful view of the city.
The Hofburg royal palace, which served as the palace of the Habsburg emperors, is also worth a visit, with one of the largest weapons displays in the world. The building of the Austrian parliament, built in a classic Greek style, is also a well known tourist attraction, with the fountain in the form of the goddess of Greek wisdom at the front.
The impressive neo-renaissance opera building, destroyed in World War II and rebuilt, is also in the neighborhood. It is possible to conduct a backstage tour and learn about the production process of an opera show. The tour of the Old Quarter is recommended for a stroll through the Cartenstraße shopping street.
The Schönbrunn Palace, which was a royal summer house, is built in the Rococo style. The palace is surrounded by a magnificent park, which has the oldest zoo in the world. Of course, it is also worth visiting the homes of some of the city's greatest artists - Mozart, Beethoven and Freud.
Also in Austria, Passau is called "The City of Three Rivers" and is located in the Danube encounter with two other rivers. It also combines old and new, with an ancient quarter including a colorful artists' street, a market, and restaurants serving Bavarian and Austrian food.
Among the most beautiful sights of the city are the Bishop's Palace, Stephen's Cathedral and the Town Hall, which is situated on the river bank and features impressive frescoes. In between, you can visit one of the traditional pubs for a refreshing drink.
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