The Danube River surges through most of Central Europe and is the only major European river to flow from west to east. The river originates in Germany's Black Forest region and flows through eight countries; Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, before finally reaching the Black Sea. The best way to experience the storied landscapes, cultural heritage and centuries-old architecture found along the magnificent Danube is by river cruise.
On a river cruise, you'll discover Europe's vineyard-lined valleys and beautifully preserved medieval towns in countries such as Germany and Austria. Many Danube River cruises visit the German city of Nuremberg where you can see the Imperial Castle and the Justice Palace, the meeting place for the War Crimes Tribunal after the Second World War, before transiting the Main-Danube Canal. From here, the river passes the medieval city of Regensburg in Germany whose bridge was the first built over the Danube, and then continues to Passau. One of Germany's oldest cities, it lies at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube rivers. From Passau, the Danube flows into Austria's capital, Vienna, where you can enjoy visits to the Vienna Opera house and the architectural treasures of the 900 year-old Benedictine Abbey of Melk.
Cruise to Bratislava, the Slovakian capital, with its historical town and castle. Then cruise the Danube Bend, where the river reverses direction as it flows on to Budapest, one of Europe's most beautiful cities. Seven bridges link the ancient hilltop city of Buda and its folk-filled taverns with the monuments and museums of more modern Pest. Many Danube River cruises also sail the Iron Gates, a spectacular gorge that runs between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains, forming the boundary between Serbia and Romania.