Cruising the Danube
This past summer (2022) I visited 5 countries in Europe in 5 weeks. I had the pleasure of sailing with Viking River Cruises on the Danube River. This river cruise checked off 3 out of the 5 countries! This was only a week long and I felt like I was able to see so much in each destination.
We started in Budapest, Hungary. We arrived in Budapest the night before and the next morning we boarded the ship and unloaded our luggage. We spent the rest of that morning meeting up with an old friend in town, exploring, and walking down the river taking in the sights. We got back to the ship to settle in and went off to explore the ship. That evening from the front of the ship on the sundeck we got the best view of the city of Pest lights, it was breathtaking!
The entire cruise, we took advantage of the included excursions. We headed out on our tour of Budapest with our local guide. It was so cool to see these destinations through the eyes of the locals and get handy tips from our guides too! In Budapest we toured the cities a bit and ended with free time in the Central Market where we all stocked up on Hungarian Paprika!
Next Destination: Vienna, Austria. We had sailed through the evening to wake up in Vienna the next morning. The scenic sailing during the evening was a perfect way to finish off our first day. We snapped pics on the sun deck with the sunset and admired the hills and valleys we passed. In Vienna, we took off on another local guided tour of the city. Each guide was from the country we were visiting, and it made it that much better to hear how they speak of their country and tell the stories of their cities. We finished off our tour with free time in the city center. We decided to walk around a bit, buy some gifts and MozartKugel, and try ice cream from a very popular cafe they have in Vienna. That evening we took a walk along the river, our walks beside the river were always very scenic.
On our second day in Vienna, we spent our morning wandering the island in the river, Donauinsel. This little island seemed to be occupied mainly by locals. There were paddleboats, restaurants, beaches, and even beach supplies that were free for the public to use! We found a lovely little hidden spot along the river that was secluded from the rest of the area. After our time on this little island, we made our way into the city again. We visited a cute market that had almost anything you could ever need for any recipe! We wandered around for a bit more before ending up in the city center again.
We sailed through the night and ended in our next stop, Krems, Austria! Krems was quite possibly my favorite stop of the cruise. It was the cutest European small town I have ever visited. I don’t think my travels would have brought me here, so I was very thankful for this stop on our river cruise itinerary. The town had no tourists, except for our cruise group. We spent the day roaming the small streets of Krems and stopping into almost every shop we saw was open. It’s an understatement to say I loved this town.
That afternoon we set sail for Passau, Germany. Another few hours of scenic cruising, one thing I learned this cruise is to definitely spend as much time as you can out on the sun deck taking in the unique sights from the ship. We arrived in Passau the next morning and took our walking tour of Passau with our local guide who was actually dressed up in the cultural dress, Dirndl. We walked through the town learning the history of many of Passau’s buildings and getting to admire the art inside of St. Stephen’s Cathedral where the world’s largest organ was housed. We ended the day with free time to explore this lovely little town. We walked all the way to the tip of the peninsula to see the three rivers, Danube, Ilz, and Inn, meet and see how their waters never mix.
Our last port call, Regensburg, Germany, had to be canceled as the water was too low and the cruise ship would not be able to make it through. The cruise line handled this very well and still offered to take everyone on their scheduled excursions by coach bus and stay on the ship until the original end date. A few of us had decided we wanted to take a coach bus into Munich, the cruise line had no problem arranging this for us and ordered another coach bus for those who wished to disembark the ship early and spend their last night in Munich.
We spent our last day in Munich. We visited Marienplatz and walked throughout the city center. We stayed by the rail station and found this amazing German restaurant that was beautifully decorated and the staff in their cultural dress as well. It seemed to be a very popular place as it filled up fast after we arrived!
I loved every part of this cruise experience and I cannot wait to get back out on the Danube!