The Danube (or Donau, in German), Austria's most famous river, offers travelers a glimpse of a peaceful idyll, complete with rolling hills, castles and vineyards. It meanders across the regions of Upper and Lower Austria, through Vienna and then on to Slovakia and Hungary.
Though cruise ships ply the entire length, the short stretch between Melk and Krems is the prettiest and best served by boats in the summer. The longer Linz-Vienna section (through the scenic Wachau wine-growing region) is highly recommended.
Not all visitors see the Danube by boat: A cycling tour of the region is another popular option. The bike route follows former bridle paths that run along the river from Passau to Vienna. The trail, away from the sights and smells of automobiles, winds along the flat river valley across small bridges and crossings formerly reserved for saddle and packhorses.
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