Danube River Cruise – Episode 664

categories: europe travel

Danube River Cruise (Podcast)

Hear about a cruise on the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam as the Amateur Traveler talks again to travel writer Mark Baker.

Mark says, “These cruises have become really really popular. The European river cruise industry has boomed in the past few years. There are several different rivers that you can try in Europe, including several rivers in France and other places,  but it seems like most people seem to opt for this through the heart of Europe introductory cruise.”

Mark has been working as a destination expert on cruises with National Geographic and Scenic cruises. 

A river cruise has some great advantages like not having to pack or unpack (except in the cases or unusually low or unusually high water) but one disadvantage is that you don’t stay in any one place for long. Mark recommends coming to Budapest a day or so early and maybe staying in Amsterdam a day or so after the cruise to see those cities. Check out our episodes on those cities for some recommendations on what to do and see. 

The first day on the river is a long sail to Vienna so this is a day that you can sleep in and try and recover from jet lag, except that one of the prettiest spots on the river, Mark says, is the ruins of the Devín Castle that you will pass by in the early morning. 

Before you come on the cruise study the included shore excursions and also see what they don’t cover in the city that you are visiting. So, for instance, while the Vienna stay may include a musical performance it might not include the opera or whatever activity you may want to schedule in your free time. 

The Nat Geo cruise gets off the boat and onto the Danube River Bike Trail for about 20 miles between Burgruine Dürnstein and Melk in Austria. 

If you love the Sound of Music or just great scenery then you will enjoy your stop in Salzburg which is not on the river, but a worthwhile detour.

The area of the river that is the least developed is between Passau and Regensburg. Mark says if you run into problems with low or high water it is most likely to happen here. You get on some canals and head to the Main River. 

While the Danube River is about the history of communism and the history of the Hapsburgs, when you get to the Main River in Germany it is more about the beers, the brats, and the good life as you come to the “Burgs”: Regensburg, Nuremberg and Wurzburg.

Mark schools Chris about the history of Nuremberg during the war years, but you may also want to come back to this city for one of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

When you get to Rüdesheim you turn right on the Rhine River just in time for the beautiful castles of the Rhine River gorge. 

In the Rhine River Gorge, Mark and his group head to Marksburg Castle for a taste of medieval life.

Cologne with its beautiful cathedral is one of the last stops before Amsterdam. Mark recommends getting off the boat and heading to the Neanderthal Museum near Düsseldorf for a fascinating look at early man.

Amsterdam is lovely but crowded so we recommend getting tickets to the Anne Frank House months before your trip and also suggest some quieter places to visit.

Before you book this bucket list river cruise, get some expert tips from Mark.


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Show Notes

Mark Baker
Lonely Planet Slovenia (Travel Guide)
Travel Along the Volga River in Russia – Episode 605
A Thinking Man’s Journey Down the Danube
Cruising the Rhine River – Episode 254
Main (river)
Travel to Budapest, Hungary – Episode 607
Danube River Cruises on Scenic
National Geographic Expeditions
Planning a Cruise for the First Time
Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)
Schönbrunn Palace
Belvedere Museum Vienna
Spanish Ride School tours
Vienna Opera tours
Travel to Vienna, Austria – Episode 384
Burgruine Dürnstein
The Danube Bike Trail
Travel to Salzburg, Austria – Episode 432
The Sound of Music (film)
Rüdesheim am Rhein
Rhine Gorge
Joachim Neander
Travel to Amsterdam in the Netherlands – Episode 375
Edam, Netherlands
Corrie ten Boom House
The Hiding Place (book)
Devín Castle


Mark sends a correction on Travel to Southwest Colorado – Episode 663

As a Colorado native, I just wanted to update the pronunciation of Ouray. It’s YIR-Ay, not oo-ray, and yes, it’s a bucket list mining town. Southwest Colorado has the most “dramatic” scenery of the state, in my opinion. It isn’t swamped with the tourists and money that central CO is (Vail, Aspen, etc., though Telluride obviously could be lumped with those).


Excellent feedback from Nathan


I truly enjoy your show here in inviting your guests here that provides fantastic content of the places to visit around the world. I enjoy listening to your podcast more than any other traveling podcast since you bring such a great personality with your voice. I am in the habit of saying “excellent” over a dozen times each day since you reply to your guests “excellent!” when they share their place to visit. When the appropriate time comes in a discussion with my peers about travel I recommend your show and have them listen to it that I got my wife to join in listening with me while driving in the car. I even enjoy listening to your show while getting a workout in. Keep up the great work you are doing!


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Danube River Cruise (Podcast) - Cruising the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers from Budapest to Amsterdam #europe #european #river #cruise #budapest #vienna #travel #trip #vacation #danube #rhine #river #main #voyage #germany #austria #hungary #slovakia #netherlands @castles

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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