4 must-see cities along the Danube
Showcasing some of Europe's most impressive riverside cities, a holiday along the Danube assures exposure to a melange of different sites and cultures in the one trip. Here, the four cities you can't afford to miss:
Separated by the Danube river, cities Buda and Pest merged in 1873. Combining their distinct identities - Buda full of extravagant palaces and Ottomon-era spas, Pest brimming with museums and Art Nouveau architecture - Budapest boasts a myriad of cultural wonders. Soak in the beauty of the city from the heights of the panoramic Castle District and enjoy District VII's buzzing nightlife.
No trip to Budapest is complete without a dip in one of the city's historic thermal baths. Make your way to Gellért Baths for an authentic experience (Roman columns and all) or head to the outdoor Széchenyi Baths and watch locals partake in a game of in-water chess.
Put a visit to the 1897-built Great Market Hall (Nagycsarnok) on your to-do list and sample some of the local delicacies - the doughy lángos flatbread is a must-try. Grab a drink at one of the city's graffiti-adorned ruin bars, or sip cocktails at Aria Hotel's rooftop bar and enjoy a backdrop of St. Stephen's Basilica. Coffee artisans rejoice; new-breed espresso bars are all the rage thanks to Budapest's booming café culture.
Bar hop through Budapest's Jewish quarters and savour the unique Hungarian wines. Be sure to select a bottle of tokaji aszú dessert wine to take home with you - Hungarian wines rarely make it to export. Our pick for best bar? Doblo.
Sprawling with impressive Baroque buildings, opulent museums and picturesque gardens, a trip to Vienna will have you feeling as though you've travelled back in time. However, spend a little time in the Austrian capital and the city will surprise and delight with its revitalised café and underground music scene, making it a must-stop destination along the Danube river.
Take in a concert in the Schonbrunn Palace - where Mozart himself performed in 1786 - or visit the prestigious Spanish Riding School.
Pull up a seat in one of the city's famed coffeehouses; Café Landtmann. The charmingly cosy joint takes its pastry-making seriously, with an elaborate spread of exquisite treats to choose from. You can't leave without trying a slice of real Viennese Sachertorte.
Although it might not seem like an original souvenir idea, a snow globe is the perfect way to remember Vienna. Accidently invented in 1900 by local Erwin Perzy, the keepsake began to be mass produced in 1905.
While it features on less travel lists than Vienna and Budapest, Linz's cultural offerings make it one of the Danube's most underrated city stops. The third largest city in Austria, Linz was named the 2009 European Capital Of Culture alongside Lithuania and Vilnius. With a vibrant festival scene and breathtaking botanic gardens, Linz has become increasingly popular amongst travellers.
Catch an Austrian musical at Landestheater's Music Theatre, and take in the building's striking exteriors - the modern design by Londoner Terry Pawson was a highly debated contribution to the cityscape when it was constructed in 2013. Linger over the Lentos Art Museum's collection of contemporary art, and enjoy classical renditions at Brucknerhaus. For those with more time up their sleeves, a day trip to Salzburg is highly recommended.
Try the local craft beer at Josef's brewery and snack on a medley of national favourites. The Austrian tapas-style bar is the perfect afternoon pit stop for travellers wanting to sample some of the local cuisine.
As you depart the city, be sure to grab a Linzer Torte. One of the city's proudest exports, the almond-topped pastry was first made in 1653 and is designed to last, making it the ultimate souvenir.
UNESCO World Heritage listed since 2006, Regensburg is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe. A collection of meandering laneways and enchanting structures with rich historical significance, Regensburg is Bavaria's fourth-largest city.
A tour of the town's incredible architectural highlights is a must. The city's signature landmark, the Dom St. Peter Cathedral, was completed in 1520 and remains a prime example of Gothic architecture. Other must-see landmarks include The Stone Bridge, Regensburg Theatre and Old Town Hall.
Try a Dampfnudel (steamed doughnut) with custard at the Dampfnudel Uli café. The Bavarian café is located at the base of the Baumburger Tower and is a favourite of locals and visitors alike.
With a history spanning more than 2000 years, Regensburg's physicality is a culmination of its varied historical eras and rulers. Head into the Old Town and purchase an assortment of illustrated postcards, and take home a picture of the city's evolving histories.
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