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Picture yourself in the sunshine on the sundeck of a ship, sailing gently along a river, sipping a local wine as you take in the views of pretty towns, villages and countryside. The ship docks in the beautiful city of Budapest, and you step off ready for a day of exploring. If this sounds like your perfect trip, you should consider a river cruise. Its popularity has soared in the last few years, with cruises to the Danube being particularly popular. So what attracts people to river cruising and this destination? We reveal all...

Benefits of a river cruise

For many, it’s the attraction of a smaller ship, with fewer staff and passengers. This means more of a personal touch from staff who can get to know you, and a more intimate, relaxed atmosphere on board allowing you to get to know your fellow passengers well. Titan’s MS Serenade has just 68 cabins, and the MS River Discovery II has just 88. Then there’s the food and drink. Delightful dining, always with a view, and the food on Titan's river cruises is freshly prepared using local seasonal produce with wine menus based on the region you’re sailing. 

Meanwhile, a river cruise is also the perfect way to visit multiple cities and countries in a short period of time, with at least one port stop per day. River cruise boats can fit down narrow inland waterways, allowing you to explore places that traditional large cruise liners would never reach. Think delightful medieval towns and picture perfect villages. Being dropped off in the heart of a town or village also means more time to explore rather than having to face onward travel by coach, car or bus to reach your destination. And if the one thing that’s put you off an ocean cruise has been sea sickness, this is something you won’t have to worry about on the calming waters of a river.

Highlights of the Danube

The delightful Danube has some of our most popular river cruises, and Titan’s very own Rob Stapley, is a real advocate of our Danube tours. He shares some of the reasons why he thinks everyone will love a Danube river cruise just as much as him. The second longest river in Europe, flowing through 10 countries, the Danube is famous for its stunning scenery, and passes through a number of beautiful cities including Budapest, Vienna, Belgrade and Bucharest. 

Majestic Budapest

Hungarian parliament Budapest at night

One particular jewel on a Danube cruise for many travellers, is majestic Budapest. Hungary’s capital is split by the Danube- with hilly Buda to the West and the flatter Pest to the East.The iconic parliament building- neo gothic in style and inspired by the British Houses of Parliament- opened in 1902 and is a trip highlight for many. Then there’s St Stephen’s Basilica, a Roman Catholic church with a stunning dome offering amazing views of the city below. 
The Palace District, full of stunning  19th century aristocratic palaces, is also worth a visit and is surrounded by leafy squares bursting with restaurants and cafés. The perfect place to stop for lunch or a coffee and watch the city go by.Rob recalls his time there. “One thing I love about Budapest is the way the entire river glows at night, when the buildings, including the famous Parliament building, are lit up and the lights reflect on the water.”

Learn to waltz in Vienna

Waltz

All of Titan’s cruises that stop in Vienna include the opportunity to spend an afternoon learning how to waltz with a local teacher who boards the ship. Something to impress your friends and family with when you’re home! If that’s not enough culture, Rob admits that many Titan guests choose to go to a concert at one of the city’s impressive palaces.“This is a really popular excursion. You can relax in opulent surroundings and enjoy the uplifting music of Strauss or Mozart at the same time,” he says.

Wachau Valley

Wachau valley

Known for its rolling hills, vineyards and fortresses, the Wachau Valley is a UNESCO world heritage site. The scenery is simply beautiful with the lush green hillsides against the beautiful water of the Danube. “It’s wonderful to sit up on the sundeck with a glass of your favourite tipple and soak up the tranquillity of this part of the river,” suggests Rob.

Sail through the iron gates

Iron gates gorge

Make the most of the ship’s panoramic restaurant and sundeck as it sails through the iron gates- a spectacular passage of narrow gorges and wide basins, forming part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. See the famous rock sculpture of Decebalus, a huge 43 metres in height and 32 metres in width, which took 10 years and 12 sculptors to carve!

Wine tasting in Durnstein, Austria

Vineyards Durnstein

Take the opportunity to visit one of delightful Durnstein’s famous wineries. Set in stunning surroundings and steeped in history, this is a great place to sample some delicious local wines.  “Definitely an opportunity to treat yourself to a bottle of your favourite!” says Rob. The region is famous for Grüner Veltliner - a crisp dry white wine with a hint of pepper, perfect for sipping on a warm summer day.

If you’re inspired to see more of Budapest and beyond on our Danube river cruises, we have several to choose from.

Article published on: 17th June, 2020

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Heather

Heather loves exploring European islands, her favourites being the Greek islands, particularly Kefalonia.  When she's finished exploring for the day, she enjoys nothing more than taking in the sea views in a Greek taverna.

Heather is also a great fan of a UK staycation, whether that's a snowy getaway in the Scottish Highlands, exploring the rolling Welsh countryside, or camping in the Lake District.