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Europe’s best cruising destinations
By March 2, 2017 No Comments
Europe’s best cruising destinations

Is there a more quintessentially European scene than a slow-moving river flanked by aged buildings and church spires? It is a picture that conjures up a sense of history and continuum – of all the many generations who have witnessed the very same scene. There are few places in the world that offer such a tangible sense of ancestral presence and, ultimately, historical everydayness. It’s a scene that many survey from the tranquil perches of the numerous bridges that invariably cross such waterways, and there is no denying that appreciating these villages, towns and cities from such spots can offer stunning views. But what about viewing the river and its surroundings from the water itself? If you’ve never experienced such a view before, add it to the bucket list – it truly is one of life’s simplest and most warming pleasures.

Where to visit? That’s the big question. There’s no denying that Europe is awash with stunning waterways and breathtakingly beautiful towns and cities. So where on earth does one begin when contemplating a river cruise? Perhaps a town that’s at the confluence of three rivers and on the border of two countries? Sounds like a box-ticker, doesn’t it? Well, it’s much more than that…

The city of Passau flies under the radar of most holidaymakers visiting Europe, which is great news for those who do hear about it – it’s always nice visiting a place that not everyone’s been to. Known as the Three Rivers City, this remarkable place sits on the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, a feat afforded to few urban centres around the world.

Just as important as the waterways that converge is the city itself – it’s no use having beautiful rivers if there’s nothing to see alongside them! Luckily, Passau is a beautiful city filled with history and heritage. Overlooked by a 13th century castle (and boy does this part of the world do castles well) a view of the past is only ever a turn of the head away, and its streets and riverbanks are awash with museums and buildings of interest too. Be sure to head to the Old City and St Stephen’s Cathedral – two of the city’s premier sights. Enter the cathedral for one of the daily organ concerts, played on the world’s second largest organ, which has nearly 18,000 pipes!

East along the Danube lies the Austrian town of Melk, famous for its hilltop abbey. Built in the 11th century, Melk Abbey is an astonishing work of architecture. Whether history or architecture are your thing, there is no doubting that the sight of this remarkable building perched atop a hill overlooking the town will leave you speechless.

From Melk it’s not too much further to Vienna, one of Europe’s finest city and the Danube river’s shining light. After the smaller, lower-key Passau and Melk, floating into the glorious and mighty city of Vienna is an arresting moment. The buildings, the bridges… Could this be Europe’s ultimate river city? We think it might just be, especially when appreciated from the water…

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