Dunav. Donau. Duna. Dunarea. Dunaj. Dunai. Danube.
Ah the Danube. From its beginning deep in the Black Forest of Germany to its outlet at the Black Sea, the Danube has inspired people without end. Along with the other great rivers of the world, the Danube links together many countries and, in fact, ties together the European continent.
Traversing through 10 countries, the Danube provides millions of people with food, drinking water, power, and fun.
Traveling the Danube will take you through hills, wild canyons, forests, National parks, farmland, historic cities and more.
There are many ways to enjoy the Danube. One of which is viewing it from a great vantage point with a glass of wine but other options include:
- Take a scenic cruise on the Danube from Melk to Krems or vice-versa. During your cruise you will float by beautiful Baroque abbeys, medieval castles, the Wachau Valley a UNESCO World Heritage Site, vineyards climbing the hills along the river, and 1,000 year old villages. I will be enjoying this cruise this summer during my visit to Austria.
- The National park, Derdap, is located in eastern Serbia on the border of Romania. In this park you will find natural beauty and archeological sites dating back 8,000 years. In the park is the Djerdap Gorge or better known as the Iron Gate. A narrowing river and rising cliffs make for impressive views.
- Visit Great War Island in Belgrade. Belgrade is home to the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers and this is where you will find Great War Island. Of strategic importance to Belgrade, at least since 1521 when the Turks attacked, today you will find over 196 species of birds along with local flora and fauna. Great War Island is a great place to find a piece of nature that has awesome views of the city too!
- A wildlife lover’s paradise can be found in the Danube Delta. Another UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, the delta is 2,200 square miles of rivers, canals, marshes, islands and lakes. Days can be spent just bird watching. Cormorants and white tailed eagles are included in the over 300 bird species inhabiting this area. Other animals can be found too including fox, wolves, deer and fish.
- There are 250 miles of bike paths from Passau (Germany) to Vienna (Austria). The Danube Bike Way runs parallel to the river on both sides. There are many bridges or ferries along the way so you can cross from side to side. In medieval times this trail was used by horses that would pull barges or ships traveling on the river. You can stop along the way for a night or two enjoying some of the many small villages.
Although the Danube is no longer blue, it was forever immortalized in Johann Strauss’ waltz “An der Schonen, blauen Donau” (On the Beautiful Danube). If you listen carefully, I bet you can hear it now!