13 European Rivers And Waterways For Travel

By: LINDA GARRISON | Pulished on 2024-01-31

The Danube River: Central Europe

13 European Rivers And Waterways For Travel-Trip AdviseTripSavvy / Lauren Breedlove

The source of the Danube River (Donau in German) is in the Black Forest of Germany, and it flows almost 1,800 miles east through central Europe towards the Black Sea, passing through or touching the border of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. 


River cruises sail the length of the navigable Danube between Regensburg and the Black Sea, but most itineraries focus on one of the two most spectacular sections—either between Passau and Budapest or between Budapest and Bucharest. The navigable Danube has 19 locks, with 15 of them between Regensburg​ and Vienna. 

Passau to Budapest River Cruise

This Danube River cruise covers some of central Europe's most gorgeous river scenery in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Wachau Valley, plus it stops in three of the continent's most fascinating capital cities—Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest. Other ports of call include towns like Linz (for tours to Salzburg), Melk, Krems, or Durnstein.


Most ports are marvelous walking destinations, and river ships stop right in the heart of the town and include a walking tour and free time to explore. 


Budapest to Bucharest

Travelers love this river cruise itinerary because it gives them the opportunity to visit eastern European countries where travel for North Americans has just become very popular and accessible in this century.  The citizens of Hungary, Serbia, Romania, and Bulgaria welcome tourists and love to share their corner of the world with travelers.

As the Danube continues its way to the Black Sea, travelers first explore amazing Budapest, with most ships spending either one or two days at the dock to allow their guests adequate time to see the city. The ship next stops in Kalocsa, the "Paprika Capital of the World", before moving on to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It is one of Europe's oldest cities and still carries remnants of the destruction of its last war in the 1990's.  As the ship moves downriver, guests explore a Roman archaeological site, museums of ancient history, the Iron Gates of the Danube, and miles of lovely scenery. Most of the river ships do not sail all the way to the Black Sea, but end at a small town near the Romanian capital of Bucharest.  Passengers are bused between the river and Bucharest, and the cruise tour includes time to see the city.

More Article