Posts Tagged With: Danube River

 
 

Have a Vienna Experience

Vienna, the capital of Austria is one of the most captivating cities of Europe for its culture, architecture, music, art and dining.

The beautiful location of the city along the Danube river, with many Imperial palaces and buildings which invite you in to view the art and architecture of one of the greatest monarchy’s of European history. Plus perfectly manicured parks which are quietly waiting to be explored offer hidden treasures throughout every corner of the city. The most memorable experiences here, fully indulge the senses. Hearing the sounds of the city’s longtime connection to music, tasting the gastronomy at the historic cafes and seeing the beauty of the plentiful gardens together create a truly Vienna experience. 

Music

If you have researched Vienna you know the connection to music is just as long and important as the connection to art. The home of many famous composers like Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms also has a place in the world of orchestra, opera and theatre. One of the first buildings you pass as you set out along the famed Ringstrasse (circle road surrounding Vienna) is the State Opera House. The Wiener Staatsoper was built as the Royal Opera by former Austrian Emperor Joseph I and to this day, the opera house welcomes guests who still enjoy the Renaissance musical experience. 

Vienna’s connection to music expands on from the exquisite building of the opera house to the world celebrated Vienna Philharmonic which can be enjoyed at the Vienna Musikverein, where you can relish in the sounds of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. However, if a formal music experience is not available or untimely, historic Viennese music can also be enjoyed with performances at some of the smaller theatres and possibly some of the churches, cathedrals or palaces, throughout the city.

Cafes

Viennese cafes are a unique experience that should not be missed. Housed in Baroque buildings, cafes are what many locals consider their second home as they spend hours reading, socializing, working and sipping some of the best coffee in Europe at these popular local shops. Viennese cafes were established long before Starbucks ever brewed their first cup with some of the local cafe’s dating back to the 1700’s. It would have been common to spot Mozart or Beethoven entertaining relaxing guests at one of the many local cafes, sampling their newest compositions. 

Vienna’s love for coffee started even earlier than the cafe. In the late 1600’s, bags of coffee beans were abandoned by invading Turkish soldiers who left them in the hands of unfamiliar Austrians. The beans were roasted, and served with milk and sugar to sweeten the bitter turkish coffee which established what would soon become the Vienna coffee culture. 

Drinking coffee in Vienna is an artform that is specific to the Viennese lifestyle. Typically sitting at marble tables, your waiter delivers your coffee in a porcelain cup, served with a glass of water to cleanse the palate between sips. Usually as you also enjoy an order of one of the popular housemade pastries as you scroll the daily newspaper. Specialty cafes further enhance the enjoyment of the Kaffeehaus encounter. Cafe Sacher, a cafe in the 5 star Hotel Sacher is the home of the Sacre Torte, long considered the “World’s Most Famous Cake”. Tip: Due to the popularity of and long lines for cafes, share a table and amplify your experience with a memorable conversation. 

Gardens:

With over 50% of the city of Vienna featuring green space, it is not surprising that timeless manicured gardens are still enjoyed as an integral part of a Viennese experience. 

Stadtpark (Vienna City Park) – the oldest and largest of the parks in Vienna just outside the famed Ringstrasse features memorials to Vienna’s famous writers and composers and pays homage to them with regularly scheduled waltz concerts at the Kursalon building. 

Volksgarten – . Designed in an English garden style and as a French Baroque garden, the park houses a monument to past Empress Elizabeth (wife of Emperor Franz Joseph I) and features a rose garden and symbolic fountains. Once part of Hofburg castle (the former Imperial winter residence of the Hapsburg dynasty), this garden is today considered “the people’s garden”

Schönbrunn Palace Garden the summer residence for the Hapsburg rulers has one of the most popular parks with the locals as well as with tourists. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the once private area today offers recreation for the locals, jogging and sport, in addition to regularly scheduled events that occur throughout the year that also attracts visitors. Amenities within the park include an opulent private palace garden, the Orangery (exotic plant) garden, a maze garden, plus a zoo that was founded as the Imperial menagerie. Note: some require an admission fee. 

Vienna, a classic destination, appeals to the senses for immersion into the very Austrian culture. A must when wanting to experience the best of the European cities. Spending time in Vienna among other regions of Austria, Salzburg and the Wachau Valley, is included in a 7 night river cruise along the Danube River, but one of the highlights of a Danube travel experience. 

Find out more about the river cruise experience from our website. 

Categories: Eat like a local, Experience, River Cruise, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment
 
 

How to “actively” seek experience in Austria’s Wachau Valley?

The Danube river is one of the longest rivers in Europe, second longest to be exact after the Volta river. The traditional trade route on the Danube through Europe dates back thousands of years. The Danube starts in Central Europe and travels through Eastern Europe where it empties into the Black Sea. 

Durnstein in the Wachau Valley

As a UNESCO nature site, Wachau Valley offers active opportunities to explore the river, the castles, monasteries, ruins, small cafes, wine villages and exceptional scenery with active experiences;

Biking the Danube Cycle Path –

Possibly the most scenic biking trail in Europe, the Danube Cycle path begins in the Black Forest region of Donaueschingen, Germany and travels a total of 745 miles through Austria and Slovakia along the Danube all the way to Budapest in Hungary. It’s the 260 miles through the Austrian Lower Danube that offers the top scenery of the UNESCO landscape and world class wine region. 

From the path as you travel from start to finish, you pass mountains rising out of the river with historical monuments and ruins atop them, forested slopes with the rooftops of old villages peaking through and a patchwork of vineyards that wind through the landscape. Riding from Melk you travel through the towns of Aggsbach, Oberansdorf, before crossing the Danube to pass through Spitz, Weissenkirchen and Durnstein and then reaching your final destination of Krems. Each leg offers historical architecture dating back to the Middle Ages, unique geographical formations, medieval estates and churches that will entice you to visit and inspire you to pedal on.

Danube Cycle Path

Whether traveling along the manicured bike path, or on the cobblestone streets of the villages there are many spots to stop to rest, grab a bite to eat or just enjoy the scenic beauty that surrounds you. 

There are many options for bicycle tours; from fully guided cruisers to e-bikes or self guided with use of public bike rental systems that all allow you time to explore the regions as you reach them. Guided tours generally include visits to some of the local vineyards with cellar tours and wine tastings. 

Kayaking the Danube –

The Ruins of Durnstein Castle

A popular mode of transportation during the warmer summer months, kayakers set out to enjoy the scenic nature of the area while also cooling off with some time on the water, paddling for 25 miles between the cities of Melk and Krems through the postcard worthy Wachau Valley. 

Seeing the sites of the ancient relics, riverside villages and stopping at some of the river beaches for a quick swim are usually rewarded with a stop at one of the local vineyards for a tour and tasting of local Gruner Veltliner and/or Riesling wines. 

Offered in small group tours or as private excursions, an experienced guide will safely lead you along one of Europe’s busiest waterways on an intimate and yet rewarding river experience. With views of the river, from the river and the panoramic views above the river you will accomplish what most travelers do not get the opportunity to experience. 

Hike the Wachau World Heritage trail – 

Lastly, an active opportunity that the Lower Austria region offers is scenic trails through the Danube Valley. Connecting 15 separate municipalities of the Wachau Valley with historical paths that have been connected together to form 112 miles of opportunities to explore ruins, castles, fortresses, abbey’s, vineyards and apricot orchards that all make up this fantastic UNESCO World Heritage site. 

Hiking through the Vineyards

The trail is broken up into legs that can be hiked individually or in larger segments. With use of the river ferry, even the novice hiker can navigate their way throughout the region. 

Offering both remote trails and beautifully scenic views along the river, the landscape will both surprise and inspire you. Ranging from easy to medium in intensity, and from 4 ⅓ miles to 10 ½ mile segments. Some of the top hiking trails are the 6 ½ to 10 mile segments within the Wachau Valley. 

Trail 01, Krems to Durnstein: the easy rated 7 ½ mile trail starts at the Gozzoburg Castle in the medieval city of Krems and travels through the nearby vineyards of Krems and Stein into the nature preserves before reaching the rock and forested area below the ruins of Durnstein Castle. Then up the final 20 min leg of the trail, offering not just a unique experience to explore the almost 900 year old castle associated with the legend of Richard the Lionhearted, but offering some of the most amazing views of the Wachau Valley and surrounding vineyards.

View from Durnstein Castle

Trail 03, Weissenkirchen to Spitz: a medium rated 6 mile trail takes you through the largest area of vineyards in the Wachau Valley. These most notable terraced vineyards of the region lay high above the Danube river and provide beautiful views making this an exceptional experience. You will pass through woods and rocky landscapes before arriving into the wine village of Spitz where you can reap the rewards of your journey with a glass of local wine at one of the many village cafes, restaurants or taverns. 

Terraced Vineyards view

Not a very vast region but definitely one that is worth exploring. Did you know the best way to experience the Danube is by river cruise. Learn more about river cruising from our website and actively enjoy the Wachau Valley among central Europe’s best and most beautiful medieval cities. 

Categories: Active Travel, Eco-Friendly, River Cruise, Sustainable Travel, Travel Bucket List, Wellness, Wine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Top Golf Experiences can be found along the Danube River

Experiencing world class golf while on a vacation is usually a must do for the avid golf player and the travel itinerary is designed around the golf experience. But Imagine visiting Central Europe’s most glorious cities like Budapest in Hungary, Passau in Germany and Prague in the Czech Republic immersing in the cities whole also playing some of the world’s top courses. 

A Danube river cruise itinerary will lead you up the river from Budapest to Vilshofen, cruising through the unforgettable Danube Bend in Hungary and the Wachau Valley in Austria with stops in historical Vienna & Salzburg to explore the Austrian cities of music and palaces. 

Cruising at night allows for plenty of extra time during the day to enjoy the ports of visitation after a round of golf at one of the renowned local courses. 

No matter your level or experience with golf, even if just starting your time on the links, following are 5 courses that can be enjoyed while traveling on a 12 day cruise on and along the Danube river:

Budapest 

Pannonia Golf Course

Hungary’s capital city is actually two cities separated by the Danube river and accessed by the 19th Century Chain Bridge that connects the historic hilly Buda district to the modern flat Pest. You will spend 2 days immersing in Budapest’s many sites before boarding your floating hotel and enjoying your first morning of 18 holes. 

Located 45 minutes outside of the city of Budapest is the Pannonia Golf course. Designed for European and APGA Tour standards to offer a challenging and yet relaxing golfing opportunity. Sitting along a valley provides a hilled course featuring varied fairways, and eight water hazards to provide challenge to your game. Accommodating all levels of skill so players can enjoy the opportunity to experience the course at their own pace. 

Bratislava

Penati Golf Course

Leaving Budapest, you will head northwest along the Danube to your next stop Bratislava. The capital of Slovakia, at the border of Austria and Hungary, the 18th century pedestrian town is your next stop. From the port you catch views of the Bratislava Castle sitting on a hill  above watching over the historic town. 

Your private driver will take you on a scenic drive through the forested countryside of Slovakia to one of Europe’s top rated golf resorts, Penati, near the town of Sinica. A member of the World of Leading Golf organization, you will play 18 holes of the 36 hole course that sits on 536 acres of property. The Nicklaus designed courses are laid out among the pine forests to accommodate all levels of golfers and styles of play. 

After your morning round and drive back to Bratislava, enjoy a beer or glass of local wine in one of the cozy cafes or pubs within the historic district. 

Krems

Diamond Course

After a full day in Vienna, your next stop is to the lower Austria region and the riverside town of historic Krems in the Wachau Valley. 

A quick scenic drive along the Danube takes you to the Diamond Course. A European Tour destination, the 18 hole championship course is renowned as one of the world’s top public courses. Set around a 25 acre lake, also offering 12 and 9 hole courses provides the opportunity for a slower more relaxed golfing experience. Enjoy lunch before driving back to Krems to enjoy a glass of locally produced world class wine from the nearby sourced Wachau Valley region. 

Passau

Beckenbauer Golf Course

Having enjoyed a full day in Linz and a visit to the beautiful mountainous region of Salzburg, your next stop along the Danube is just past the Austrian border in Germany. Passau is known as the “Three Rivers City” for its location where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers meet. Arriving into the city you can’t miss the 13th century fortress sitting high above the Baroque historic city. 

The Beckenbauer Golfplatz offers a world rated championship course, and is the host of the annual Porsche European Open each fall. Designed by a Masters champion, the meadow and river surrounding the hand-mowed course offer lush greens and enjoyable fairways. 

Upon your arrival back into Passau, enjoy visiting the iconic St. Stephen’s Cathedral and her 17,974 pipe organ before the ship departs for your final port in Vilshofen.

Prague 

Albatross Golf Resort

Upon disembarking your ship, you will be transferred to Prague, stopping in the Rhine wine town of Rudesheim for an enjoyable visit and stop for lunch before continuing on to your Northern passage to glorious Prague. 

The capital of the Czech Republic is called “the golden city of a hundred spires” for the number of beautiful cathedrals each featuring pointed spires. You will have plenty of time during your 3 day post cruise visit, to explore the historic area, the town square, as many of the Gothic churches as you care to visit, baroque buildings and Prague’s most notable location, the Charles Bridge before your relaxing day of world class golf. 

Your final golf experience will be at the Albatross Golf Resort, a short 30 minute drive from your hotel in the historic old town to Prague’s European tournament golf destination for 18 holes. Considered one of the top 100 courses in Europe, Albatross has been named Golf Resort of the year in 2011 and 2012. Offering a full option of state of the art facilities, you will find this course the ultimate challenge for your final golf experience. 

AmaWaterways Golf Program

The AmaMagna

The custom designed concierge golf program was created specifically for AmaWaterways newest and most innovative ship, the AmaMagna. The 12 day program features 2 nights in Budapest, with 7 nights onboard and 3 nights in Prague included in a custom designed golfing travel experience. 

The program was designed to seamlessly provide a unique travel experience customized to the guest and a bucket list golfing experience. In addition to playing some of Europe’s most prestigious courses, inclusive in the experience is private transfer between your luxury accommodations and the courses by Mercedes, tee-time, practice balls, golf cart and lunch in the clubhouse once you complete your play time.

To learn more about the river cruise experience and how it can be a great fit for your next travel experience, visit our website

Categories: Active Travel, Bucket List, Experience, River Cruise, Travel Bucket List, Wellness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

3 “Must See” Breathtaking Cathedrals along the Danube River

Spanning central and eastern Europe, the Danube is Europe’s second-longest river at 1,770 miles flowing through or bordering the countries of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea.

The Danube flows along the heritage route of Emperors and Kings and some of Europe’s most magnificent cities like, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau in Germany, plus four capital cities; Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary and Belgrade in Serbia, making it a popular river for cruising itineraries.

Each country along the Danube has a different culture and different stories related to the river and yet something they all have in common are beautiful cathedrals dating back hundreds of years. 

While visiting Europe coincidentally 3 of the most amazing cathedrals are all named St. Stephen’s. But this is where the similarity ends because each offers a very different and unique experience that makes them all worth visiting. 

Dom St. Stephen, Passau – Germany

Located where the German border meets the Austrian border is the city of Passau in the lower Bavaria region of Germany. 

Within the larger city of Passau is the old town which is popular with visitors for its gothic and baroque architecture. 

In the old town is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, built in 1688, today a Catholic church (the diocese of Passau) was created in the baroque style. She is home to the largest cathedral organ in Europe boasting 5 separate organ sections that plays still today from one console. 

A gilded pulpit and ten side altars painted by important German artists of the 17th and 18th century.Not to be missed are the church bells of the north and south towers, the dome frescos that run the central nave and the choir and of course the daily organ concert at noon. Note: get there early as tickets tend to sell out during busy tourism periods. 

St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna – Austria

In eastern Austria along the Danube is Austria’s capital city Vienna. One of the most beautiful cities in Europe with many Imperial palaces from influences of a long history of royalty, and the music of  some of her famous local residents including Mozart and Beethoven. 

Also dedicated to the same bishop as in Passau, St. Stephen, within the central part of historic Vienna is the mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, commonly known as Stephansdom. Originally built in 1187, the Romanesque and Gothic cathedral that can be seen today from the square outside the front of the cathedral (Stephansplatz) is considered to be the most important religious building and most recognizable symbol in Vienna having stood through many historical events and survived World War II.

From the moment you enter the giant doors at the front of the cathedral, the 18 beautiful alters along the nave and high altar at the opposite end draws you in to view the artistry of the chapels within the north and south towers and to explore the crypt and catacombs on the basement level. 

Worth noting, this was the parish of Amadeus Mozart who was an adjunct music director for the church, he was married in the church, baptized his children here and his funeral was held here in the Chapel of the Cross. Mozart is buried at nearby St. Marx cemetery.  

St. Stephen Basilica, Budapest – Hungary

Budapest the capital of Hungary, is separated into the old and new by the Danube river and the modern Chain Bridge that connects the historic and hilly Buda with the flat Pest. In the Pest district is landmark cathedral Szent Istvan Bazilika (St. Stephen’s Basilica).

One of the most beautiful churches in the country is a Roman Catholic cathedral built in 1851. Designed in a Neoclassic style, she is most identified by her Neo-Renaissance dome and is also one of the most visited sites in Hungary for her beauty. 

Named after the first King of Hungary, St. Stephen I, whose right hand is kept in a reliquary of the church, you can best see the greek cross layout of the basilica from the large square outside of her main entrance. 

The beauty of her architecture and artistry within the building, you will want to explore the interior of the church, climb the 364 stairs to the top of the dome (an elevator is available) and stop at the top to overlook the views of the city.

Tip: St. Stephen’s is one of the most photographed buildings in the world, when we visited, we stopped by as the sun was setting, the reflections of the sun onto the buildings created a breathtaking vision.

Beyond the amazingly beautiful cathedrals, there are many reasons to visit each of these beautiful central European cities. To explore these and a few other towns and villages along the way, a river cruise is recommended for the most enjoyment with the least travel time. 

Categories: Experience, River Cruise, Travel, Travel Bucket List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: