I’ve been known to say”I’m not a cruiser,” but that was before I had an extraordinary experience sailing the Danube River with en Cruises. You’d believe that growing up in Miami — all the world’s largest cruise terminal — could somehow have inspired me to go on many sea cruises.
But the truth is that the whole mass-tourism thing, especially once you don’t get sufficient time to explore each destination, hasn’t appealed to me personally.
There’s river. You could say that it is the cruise of the anti-cruiser. The intimate setting of the boat, the guided tours, and add-on shore excursions were just what made my European river cruise to Budapest one I won’t soon forget.
My trip was called Bavaria. The stops were:
We sailed on the Egil, a Viking Longship using a streamline design and breathtaking views from all three decks. The boat has just 95 guestrooms having a total of 180 passengers, which makes things a lot less hectic and provides guests the chance. In addition to the team — passenger ratio is higher than on an ocean cruise liner, making the focus on detail that much better.
Below I’ll share some of the best parts of the trip.
I came on a Saturday day in Nuremburg and dropped off my luggage in the boat and proceeded to explore the town. My first opinion of Nuremburg was how idyllic the Medieval Town looked, especially against the backdrop of the river.
Cobblestone streets and the timbered structure were a pleasure to picture — it was impossible not to get a wonderful image of the Old Town. You would overlook its dark past as a Nazi rally site.
Check out our article about Things to See and Do in Nuremberg, Germany
One thing I suggest that you try in Nuremburg is the famed bratwurst sausage. I had the enjoyment of some filling plate of bratwurst with sauerkraut accompanied with a darkish Tucher beer in Bratwurst Roeslein.
The next morning we came in Regensburg and chose a bus ride to the town of Kelheim. From that point, we chose a ferry ride to get to Weltenburg Abbey. Our tour in the Abbey led us through the chapel and then to the biergarten. There I had a beer from the Weltenburg Abbey brewery, that has been brewing beer because 1050!
When we return to Regensburg I was very hungry so I decided to grab lunch in Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen), known as one of the oldest restaurants in the world. I determined the house specialty — the charcoal-grilled sausages, although wurstkuche works up traditional fare.
Check out our article about the 5 Must Not in Regensburg, Germany
Why is Regensburg astonishing is the fact that it is like stepping back in time. Since the city has been spared substantial damage during WWII, there are several centuries of history to visit here — in the Roman walls, to the 12th century Bridge, along with the vibrant Patrician houses.
This is hands-down among the most beautiful places I’ve visited in Europe. I started my day off with an organ concert St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home of the planet’s third-largest manhood (17,774 plumbing in complete ). I then stuck around to explore the Alstadt (Old Town).
I Climbed up to the Veste Oberhaus fortress to get the views of Passau.
From the top of those 13th century walls I managed to capture amazing pictures. Happily I had my Ugg boots that are waterproof on, that kept me dry and comfortable whilst climbing all these steps.
Check out our article about the Very Best Things to Perform in Passau, Germany
I was told that Simon Café was a must-visit for gingerbread and to purchase chocolate, so I made sure to stop by before heading to take a look at some of the aged Roman-era temples and walls uncovered in excavations.
Where people are seen praying to the very best in every one of the 321 staircase, last but not least I went to the Pilgrimage Church. On the road back to the boat I made a fast stop in Wirthaus Bayerischen Löwen for (you guessed it) a few more Bavarian sausage along with the regional Innstadt beer. Following the afternoon spent in Passau, it was time to say goodbye to Germany and hello to Austria…
We sailed through the Wachau Valley, before arriving in Krems.
It is famous for its scenic landscapes, exquisite castles, and local wineries. The weather was not great but we managed to avoid a downpour and revel in the views.
I Researched Krems Prior to my tour of Gottweig Abbey for about an hour.
It is a city that you could find in less than a day. Highlights were the Steiner Tor gate along with Obere Landstrasse pedestrian street. Make sure you’ve got a Topfenkolatsche (cheese Danish) in a neighborhood bakery.
Have a Look at our article the 5 Best Things to Do in Krems, Austria
Gottweig Abbey was a highlight for me because of how impressive the ceiling frescos are in the Imperial wing of the abbey. You can view depictions of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and the god Apollo.
This Benedictine abbey is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is currently home to around 50 Mothers at any time. They’re famous for their own”Göttweiger” wines –a tradition since 1083!
The next two days were dedicated to Vienna, the capital of Austria and the”town of waltzes.” Our first day was spent enjoying a Mozart and Strauss concert that we were treated to Austrian waltz performances and classical masterpieces.
The next day I went off to explore the town centre. I walked across Kärntner Strasse, the key shopping street in central Vienna, then stopped with a cup of coffee into Café Sacher for a slice of the famous chocolate cake.
Check out my guide on the best five festivals you ought to see in Vienna!
Lunch that day was a delicious plate of weiner schnitzel in Figlmuller. Highlights of my first day in Vienna were of the views from the top of St. Stephan’s Cathedral, seeing what is left of the Roman wall in Michaelerplatz Square, along with the Heurigen dinner in Winery Wolff courtesy of Viking Cruises.
My next day in Vienna was just as amazing. We started my accepting a tour of the Gardens of Schönbrunn, the former summer home of the Habsburgs. When we return to the city centre I went to try out tafelspitz a beef dish, in Restaurant Plachuttas made famous I.
The Naschmarkt strolled. Lucky for me, the sellers allow me to sample even their own wines, cured meats, and their cheese. Now off to Hungary!
After drifting we came in Dunaalmás. Our shore trip was all about learning how to prepare sweet and savory local specialties like Hungarian poppy seed strudel. We were also greeted with Pálinka (fruit brandy) before diving to the culinary protest.
The passengers took a bus ride while the boat drifted to meet with us there. We toured the largest building in Hungary, the Esztergom Basilica. We saw the Bakocz Chapel, which was created by German entrepreneurs in 1506. From the palace we have epic views of the Danube River and Esztergom.
We then sailed via the scenic Danube Bend on.
This distinct stretch of the Danube is very beautiful. We passed lush forests, several sockets, and villages.
We shortly arrived in Budapest, our final stop. Budapest spans both sides of the Danube River, on Pest and the shore on the west with Buda . I’d visited back but did not have sufficient time to find everything, so I was very pleased to be back.
Have a Look at our 15 Things You Have to Do in Budapest
The Afternoon after docking in Budapest, I Chose the bus tour to see Heroe’s Square, the National Opera House, and Watch some highlights from the Castle District.
This night, even the Egil took us to observe the Budapest skyline . The Parliament Building was really striking and lit up. My morning with Viking was bittersweet. The cruise had come to an end, but I decided to extend my trip a extra two nights in Budapest to correctly find the town this time around. After checking into my hotel in the Castle District, I went to Gellert Baths and Spa and faked langos (roasted cheese bread) in the Central Market Hall.
My experience with Viking Cruises has been exceptional. I believed that they made great efforts to keep guest off shore experiences as accurate as possible — from the knowledgeable local guides, to the wines we sampled, along with the food we attempted. I especially loved all of the free time we had been given to explore on our own — a lavish you do not get on an ocean cruise.
Special thanks to Viking Cruises for inviting me, and Ugg for Men for keeping my feet dry and warm.
Have you been looking for a European river cruise or one of these towns before? Tell us about it! Leave us a query or comment below!