During our trip to Europe in May of 2018, we were able to visit Austria and check out their city building, the Rathaus. However, one of the things I was looking forward to while visiting Austria was seeing the Danube River. I don’t know if it intrigued me because it was in Europe, or if it was because it flows through more countries than any other river in the world. All I know it that is was unique and I couldn’t wait to see it.
Danube River Information
I found out that the Danube River actually passes or touches the border of 10 different countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine. I thought that was so cool. Granted we only saw it while in Vienna, but what we did see was amazing.
I also learned that it is home to many different types of fish species. These include pike, zander, huchen, Wels catfish, burbot, tench, carp, sturgeon, salmon, trout, European seabass, mullet, and eel.
Apparently, the Danube River originates in the town of Donaueschingen, Germany, at the confluence of the rivers Brigach and Breg. It then flows southeast for about 2,730 km (1,700 mi). It eventually passes through four capital cities (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade) before emptying into the Black Sea via the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine.
Besides the 10 bordering countries listed above, its drainage basin also includes parts of nine more countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina (4.6%), the Czech Republic (2.9%), Slovenia (2.0%), Montenegro (0.9%), Switzerland (0.2%), Italy (<0.1%), Poland (<0.1%), North Macedonia (<0.1%) and Albania (<0.1%).
One thing we could miss seeing near the Danube was the St. Francis of Assisi Church. It looked so interesting, but sadly we never did make it over to there to check it out. I guess it’s a good reason to go back to Vienna one day 🙂 Even though we didn’t go see it, I did take a lot of pictures of it. It looks phenomenal.
We had a pleasant time walking around and checking out some of the sights along the Danube River as well as people watching. I think that was the best part. I was a little surprised that there weren’t more people out on the water. There were a few boats, but most people were biking or walking along the paths and picnicking. A while later a storm rolled through, which answered that question, lol
One thing I really enjoyed seeing was all the beautiful white swans. There were so many and we enjoyed watching them swim around and dive for food every so often. I wish we had brought some food, but we probably weren’t supposed to feed them anyway. Nevertheless, they were entertaining and we did see a few people feeding them.
Today there are many tourists and natural spots along the Danube River that many people enjoy every year. Here are just a few: Wachau Valley, the Nationalpark Donau-Auen in Austria, Gemenc in Hungary, the Naturpark Obere Donau in Germany, Kopački rit in Croatia, Iron Gate in Serbia and Romania, the Danube Delta in Romania, and the Srebarna Nature Reserve in Bulgaria.
Of course, I would be short-sighted not to mention all the cruises that happen on the Danube River yearly. Besides the often frequented route between Vienna and Budapest, some ships even go from Passau in Germany to the Danube Delta and back. During the peak season, more than 70 cruise liners are in use on the river, while the traffic-free upper parts can only be discovered with canoes or boats. The Danube Banks in Budapest are a part of Unesco World Heritage sites, which can be viewed from a number of sightseeing cruises offered in the city.
National Parks Along the Danube River
There are also many National Parks along the Danube River which visitors may check out while in the area:
- Naturpark Obere Donau (Germany)
- Donauauen zwischen Neuburg und Ingolstadt (Germany)
- Nature protection area Donauleiten (Germany)
- Nationalpark Donau Auen (Austria)
- Chránená krajinná oblasť Dunajské luhy (Slovakia)
- Danube-Ipoly National Park (Hungary)
- Danube-Drava National Park (Hungary)
- Natural park Kopački Rit (Croatia)
- Gornje Podunavlje Nature Reserve (Serbia)
- Fruška Gora National Park (Serbia)
- Koviljsko-petrovaradinski rit Nature Reserve (Serbia)
- Great War Island Nature Reserve (Serbia)
- Đerdap National park (Serbia)
- Iron Gates Natural Park (Romania)
- Persina Nature Park (Bulgaria)
- Kalimok-Brushlen Protected Site (Bulgaria)
- Srebarna Nature Reserve (Bulgaria)
- Măcin Mountains Natural Park (Romania)
- Small Island of Brăila Natural Park (Romania)
- Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve (Romania)
- Danube Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine
Danube River Bike Trails
Earlier I had stated that we saw a few people biking along the Danube River. Apparently, there are many different biking trails in several countries. Here are a few:
Danube Bike Trail
The Danube Bike Trail starts at the origin of the Danube and ends where the river flows into the Black Sea. It is divided into four sections:
- Donaueschingen–Passau (559 km)
- Passau–Vienna (340 km)
- Vienna–Budapest (306 km)
- Budapest–Black Sea (1670 km)
The Sultans Trail is a hiking trail that runs along the river between Vienna and Smederevo in Serbia. From there the Sultans Trail leaves the Danube, terminating in Istanbul. Sections along the river are as follows.
- Vienna–Budapest (323 km)
- Budapest–Smederevo (595 km)
In 2010 the Donausteig, a hiking trail from Passau to Grein, was opened. It is 450 kilometres (280 mi) long and it is divided into 23 stages. The route passes five Bavarian and 40 Austrian communities. An impressive landscape and beautiful viewpoints, which are along the river, are the highlights of the Donausteig.
While we weren’t biking, I am so glad that we were able to finally see the Danube River. We got a little wet at the end, but I think that was part of the fun. It was a blast and I hope to get back one day. Hopefully next time we will be able to sit and enjoy a picnic while watching the boats go by. Sounds like a rather enjoyable afternoon. Hope you can make it someday to experience the beauty that is the Danube River. If you have, please share your visit and pictures! Here is a link to a website with more information and history if you are planning your own visit. Happy travels.
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