The Danube River: 5 Stunning Highlights

The Danube River: 5 Stunning Highlights


Stretching through 10 countries and across 2857km from western Germany to Romania's Black Sea Coast, the Danube River is one of the longest in the world.

It's little wonder that many travellers can't figure out where to start. So here are 5 of our favourite ways to enjoy Europe's most majestic river at its best.

Take a Cruise

Ferries and small cruisers travel almost the whole length of the Danube on a regular basis, though most cut the journey down into manageable chunks. One of the most popular sections passes through Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

 

See the Cities

The Danube dissects some of Europe's most majestic cities, creating iconic images and breathtaking urban landscapes as it goes.

Vienna's Donaustadt (Danube City) district is the largest in the city. Austria's capital is well known for its coffeehouse culture that started in the late 19th century, as well as its rich heritage in the sphere of classical music. Vienna was home to Johann Strauss, composer of the elegant An Der Schönen Blauen Donau (On The Beautiful Blue Danube).

Meanwhile, in Budapest the river divides the historic old town of Buda – with its dominating castle – and the newer environs of Pest, spanned by the famous chain bridge.

 

Relax on the Beach

Believe it or not, the banks of the Danube can boast of some pretty amazing beaches, not least the City Beach of the small Serbian city of Novi Sad. It can get quite full in the summer months, but the sand is great and it's awash with very reasonably-priced bars and restaurants.

 

Go to a Music Festival

Two of the continent's most popular and best-established music festivals take place against the backdrop of the Danube. It's Novi Sad, in fact, that is home to EXIT Festival, 15 years old this summer and orchestrating a brilliantly diverse lineup. This year EDM superstar Hardwell will be joined by the British pop of Clean Bandit and the old-school hard rock of Motörhead.

Back up in Budapest, Sziget Festival puts on a week-long musical feast, this year featuring the likes of Florence + The Machine, Alt-J, Martin Garrix and – we're not joking – Robbie Williams.

Near Vienna, we also have Rock In Vienna which features a rich lineup of riffs from the likes of Muse, Metallica, KISS, Incubus, Faith No More, Limp Bizkit, The Hives and Airbourne.

And if neither of those two float your boat, then the very first edition of Rock In Vienna could be for you. It'll be on the Danauinsel Wien (Danube Island), which is a narrow island separating the Danube itself from the New Danube, a man-made channel of clearer water.
As for the festival, its inaugural headliners will be Muse, Metallica and KISS. What a way to start.

 

See the tallest rock sculpture in Europe

At the border between Serbia and Romania, the river narrows dramatically into a natural gorge. This section is nicknamed the Iron Gates, and is spectacular enough on its own. But just for good measure, the tallest rock sculpture in Europe was added to landscape between 1994 and 2004.

 

If you want to find out more about EXIT or Sziget Festivals, take a look at our festival guides:

EXIT Festival 2015

Sziget Festival 2015

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