Contrary to impressions gleaned from the familiar title of Strauss’ beloved waltz, the Danube is not blue. Like most rivers, it has a grayish hue, and in some parts a muddy murki-ness. However, catch the Danube in the right light, perhaps as you picnic on its banks after a bike ride, and an ultramarine glimmer might catch your eye. Despite misleading references regarding its color, the marvelous Danube surely conjures more storybook visions than any other river on Earth. The second-longest river in Europe, a serpentine enormity, it flows through 10 countries for more than 1,770 miles, from Bavaria to the Black Sea. A fount of legends and history, it has harbored ancient cultures, served as a key trade route for centuries, and today provides its best-known cities — Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade — with drinking water.
To cruise the Danube from either direction is to immerse in a sensory overload of visceral joy. Castles and fortified abbeys crown hills, terraced vineyards unfurl alongside the water, apricot orchards emit intoxicating scents, charming villages seem frozen in time, and grand cities beg to be explored along its course. Fringing its shores, bygone towpaths transformed to bike trails that bustle with cyclists — especially in warmer months. In winter, the Danube leads to festive holiday celebrations, with most towns hosting Christmas markets.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Chills and Thrills
Warm-up to winter on a snowy break in Banff.
Central California’s oceanside cities inspire a luscious sense of peace.
Castles, Waltzing and Wine
Cruise to enchanting destinations along the beautiful Danube.
Combine high-level medical care with spa visits in Lithuania.
Warsaw – Green and Growing
Warsaw energizes with a vibrant startup economy.
Outer Banks Outing
Get to The Pointe Golf Club for an entertaining and challenging round.
Indulge in Hawai’ian healing arts to truly relax at Spa Without Walls.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Travel
Global Traveler introduces Outstanding Diversity & Inclusion in Travel awards for 2021.
Manchester International Airport revamps with a new terminal and sustainable fuel.
Chef Aaron Foster brings a world of culinary experience to W Nashville.