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Discover the Danube with AmaWaterways

clock 23rd August 2018 | comment0 Comments

When Kate from our marketing team got the opportunity to experience an AmaWaterways river cruise on the Danube, she was keen to jump at the chance. The trip was a 7-night adventure onboard AmaSerena, from Vilshofen to Budapest. Countries en route included Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. Having never been to these places before, Kate was excited to see the culture and spirit of each destination. Thankfully, with AmaWaterways excursions are included, so she had plenty of opportunities to get to know every town and village on the way. Here’s what she made of her experience of AmaWaterways’ excursions.

 

 

I found there is plenty of choice when it comes to opportunities and experiences with AmaWaterways. Included tours and excursions were available in each port, or you could also explore at your own leisure, either on foot or with one of the ship’s bikes. The options ranged in fitness level, start time, and activity, from castle hikes and cycle trips to walking tours, and tastings. We opted for the slightly more active excursions including hikes, which also included brief city tours too. The hikes were amazing taking you high above each town for absolutely astounding views, and the local guides were excellent.

 

Germany

Passau

Here we opted for the castle hike, and I’m so glad we did. It was stunning. From the heights of Passau’s castle, you could see out across the Bavarian and Bohemian forests, and you also had an excellent vantage point for seeing where the three rivers – Danube, Ilz, and Inn – converge.

 

Austria

Durnstein

After enjoying the hike in Passau, we decided to go for another one in Durnstein. This hike was just as impressive, though a bit of a higher fitness level is definitely required, on this hike you could actually climb to the castle where Richard the Lionheart was held captive and stand upon the ruins.

Linz

In Linz, we opted for a morning bike ride along the ‘Culture Mile’, which was an informative and fun way of getting to all the hotspots and sights of the city including the Ars Electronica Center, Lentos Kunstmuseum, the mighty cathedral, and both the new and old town squares.

 

 

Lake District

This was by far one of the best excursions! The guide on the coach getting there was great, giving lots of information about the area, and when we finally arrived at the first lake I was truly in awe. After a brief tour we were let loose to wander at leisure, and of course, we had to dip our toes in the beautiful Moon Lake. A few scenic drives and lakes later it was safe to say we were exhausted from such a long and brilliant day. It really is impossible to describe the magnitude of the beauty here.

Vienna

In Vienna, we opted for the ‘active walkers’ city tour, which takes in a few more sights than the gentle group. We had a guided drive on the Ringtrasse where our guide brought history to life with each building! After the tour, we opted to stay in the city and explore for ourselves, from the Cathedral to the Strauss Statue, and plenty of gardens in-between. After some much-deserved strudel, we headed back to the pickup point, where shuttle buses arrived every half an hour to go back to the ship.

The pièce de résistance in Vienna had to be the optional Mozart & Strauss Concert in the evening. This was at an additional cost but was worth every penny. Everyone dressed for the affair and the music was sublime, but it’s not all serious - there were a few comedic moments in the performance too.

 

Slovakia

Bratislava

We enjoyed panoramic views of the Wachau Valley as we sailed to Bratislava, whilst listening to incredible commentary from our brilliant Cruise Manager. Arriving in Bratislava, we opted for the tasting and brewery tour where we got to sample three local beers and delicious, traditional Slovakian snacks.

 

Hungary

Budapest

 

 

When we reached Budapest, we chose to take part in the city tour, to try to cover as much as possible in this beautiful city. In total, we were out for around 4 hours and still didn’t see everything! The Pest side is like a classic cosmopolitan city reminding me of London with a lot of history and character, but a walk over the bridge to Buda is a must as well. This side of the bridge is another world entirely, especially if you head up to the castle. Here you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy-tale, with spires and towers and incredible views.

With at least three excursion options every day, it’s clear that the crew at AmaWaterways think of everything. If you’re feeling inspired to get out and see Europe on a river cruise, why not browse through our range of AmaWaterways Danube cruises and see this gorgeous region for yourself.



24 hours in Krems, Austria

clock 27th October 2015 | comment0 Comments

Krems an der Donau is a key feature of many Iglu river cruises along the mighty Danube, with a number of trips stopping there for a day of sightseeing.

The town is the fifth-largest in Lower Austria, around 40 miles away from the capital Vienna. Officially given its title in 995 AD by Otto III, it has grown substantially and almost superseded the capital during the 11th and 12th century. It is made up of ten smaller divisions and is a great stop-off point as part of your river cruise.

So what is there to do with 24 hours in this riverside town?

Krems, Austria

What to see

Take a stroll from the port into the old town where you will be able to get a real sense of the history of Krems. The town is influenced by the Baroque era of the 16th century and many of the buildings pay homage to this. One in particular is the Steiner Tor which acts as an entrance to Krems and was erected in 1480.

The gate is considered to be the symbol of Krems and took the place of a wall which surrounded the town until the 19th century. It features a mounted memorial on the side of the stone door which commemorates a flooding disaster in 1573. It has appeared on a definitive stamp, similar to a postage stamp, and in 2005 the Steiner Tor underwent restoration work to celebrate the 700-year anniversary of Krems.
Staying in the old town and the Kunst Halle Krems is an absolute must for the culture vultures among you. The art gallery is home to a swathe of contemporary works and in the past has showcased the work of artists such as Pipilotti Rist, Dominik Steiger, William Kentridge, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono.

Another place to tick off should be the Weinstadmuseum which highlights both the history of Krems but also its proud winemaking traditions. The museum is housed in a beautiful monastery providing a calm and tranquil vibe when you walk through the front door.

Krems Town Hall, Austria

Krems Town Hall

Eat and drink

Situated in the Wachau Valley region of Austria, Krems is famed for its Marillenschnaps. Like many other towns in the area, Krems is a producer of this apricot brandy. While there are similar liquors elsewhere in the world, if you want an authentic taste of the Wachau Valley then you cannot go far wrong with Marillenschnaps.

Krems is surrounded by an abundance of small orchards that are dedicated to producing the apricots designed for this drink. Bars in the town will always have a good bottle, so it would be rude not to try a little following a hearty meal. When it comes to food, Krems is home to some authentic Austrian cuisine. If you are looking for somewhere with real local flavour then head to any one of the Heurigers that are dotted around the town.

Translated as wine taverns you will be able to enjoy some great local fayre washed down with some Austrian wine, but don't forget the Marillenschnaps before you set sail for your next destination.

duernstein wachau, austria


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9 Historical attractions you must visit on the Danube

clock 20th October 2015 | comment0 Comments

The Danube is the heartline of eastern Europe, starting from the Black Sea cutting through many major countries before ending in Germany.

Such is the diversity of the cities along the Danube, it makes the river ideal for a cruising holiday. There is so much history attached to the waterway that is best experienced on a river cruise. There are a wide variety of Danube river cruises available such as starting in the Hungarian capital of Budapest, passing through the likes of Austria and Germany and ending in Amsterdam.

Along the way there is an abundance of historical sights which help to build the history of the Danube. Let's take a look at nine must-see attractions en route.

danube river

Shoes on the Danube Bank

Starting in Budapest, the Shoes on the Danube Bank is a highly poignant memorial. A collection of shoes on the banks of the river on the Pest side of the Danube Promenade honour the Jews who were killed by fascist Arrow Cross militiamen in the capital during World War II.

Created by film director Can Togay and sculptor Gyula Pauer, the memorial is a reminder of the tragedies which Budapest suffered during the war, while also commemorating the victims.

shoes on the Danube river

Schonbrunn Palace

This magnificent Baroque palace sits in the heart of Vienna, the next stop along the Danube. The 1,441-room palace is a former imperial summer residence originally purchased by Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian II in 1569.

It remains a focal point of Vienna's, and by a larger extent Austria's, style of architecture reflecting the changing taste of the Habsburg monarchs. Since the 1950s both the palace and the gardens have become major tourist attractions and were recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Schonbrunn Palace, Austria

 

Kunsthistorisches Museum

Staying in Vienna and another attraction to tick off is the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Translated as the Museum of Art History, this magnificent building has stood in the Austrian capital since opening in 1891. Commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary it houses some of the nation's finest art.

Notable works currently installed at the picture gallery include Jan van Eyck: Portrait of Cardinal Niccolo Albergati (c. 1431), The Fight Between Carnival and Lent (1559) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and Rembrandt: Self Portrait (1652). It is an absolute must for all art lovers.

Mauthausen Memorial

Not far from the Austrian city of Linz is the Mauthausen memorial. Mauthausen-Gusen was a concentration camp used by the Nazis during World War II. Between 122,766 and 320,000 people are estimated to have been killed here during Germany's occupation of Austria.

Liberated by the US Army in May 1945, Mauthausen is now a national memorial site. It remains largely intact covering almost 3,000 sq ft. There are a number of guided tours going on throughout the day.

Regensburg Dom

Moving into Germany and the Regensburg Dom should be high up on the itinerary for anyone cruising the Danube. This huge cathedral is a brilliant example of pure German Gothic architecture and forms the focal point of the city.

Founded in 1275 and completed in 1634, the Dom is home to some magnificent monuments including one by renowned German sculptor Peter Vischer the Elder. It is a sight to behold and a must-see when in Regensburg.

Regensburg, Germany

Nuremberg Palace of Justice

Nuremberg is a city of huge prominence in Germany. The second largest in Bavaria, behind Munich, it is a place of so much history none more so than the Palace of Justice. Justizpalast was built in 1916 and was the scene of the infamous Nuremberg Trials between 1945 and 1949 after World War II.

Courtroom 600 saw the trial of the main Nazi Germany personalities such as Hermann Göering, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Arthur Seyss-Inquart. The courts are still used today and are open to the public.

Rhine Gorge

A magnificent natural sight in the heart of Germany, the Rhine Gorge is where the Rhine takes over from the Danube. The 65-kilometre section of river between Koblenz and Bingen was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002.

The area is unusual as it produces its own microclimate and has become the home to a number of species not generally native to this part of the world. Aside from this the gorge provides some splendid views.

German National Museum of Contemporary History

Moving on to Bonn in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany and a must in this city is the German National Museum of Contemporary History. Charting the nation's past after 1945, the museum ranges from artefacts from over the previous decades to the changing face of politics in the country.

Admission is free and guide booklets can be obtained in English, as the exhibitions and tours are presented in German.

Koblenz Germany

Koblenz, Germany

Anne Frank Huis

Ending the trip in Amsterdam, a visit to the home of Anne Frank is an absolute must. Situated at the Prinsengracht in central Amsterdam, this unassuming house was where Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution.

The 17th-century canal house became a museum in May 1960, following the publication of Anne's diaries in 1957, she did not survive the war. Behind the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Huis is well worth a visit.

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5 Reasons to river cruise with Emerald

clock 7th September 2015 | comment0 Comments

Launching in 2014, Emerald Waterways are a brand new UK based river cruise line with a fleet of five stunning state of the art ‘Star-Ships’. Cruising some of the best rivers in the world, Emerald Waterways have a fantastic selection of destination rich itineraries and provide guests with a deluxe and comfortable home away from home.

Designed with space and comfort in mind, Emerald’s Star-Ships provide a relaxing atmosphere for up to 182 guests. Every cabin comes fitted with a window so you never have to miss the idyllic river views, and with five types of contemporary cabins to choose from there is something to suit all tastes.

We were lucky enough to step onboard and experience the amazing quality of Emerald Waterways first hand and have compiled our top 5 favourite features for you below.

The Destinations

Danube River Germany

Emerald’s European cruises can take you along some of the continent’s most beautiful waterways including the Rhine, Danube and Saone. With ample opportunities to step ashore, join excursions and port talks, you’ll get a fantastic introduction to each new destination along the way. From historical landmarks to pretty villages and towns, the selection of ports are magnificent.

“I loved how in each of the destinations, not only would there be expert guides to help bring it all alive, but the personal radio headsets mean you can benefit from all their knowledge at your own pace” – Margaret McCorriston, Iglu River Cruise Product Manager.

Keep Active

Emerald Waterways Star-Ship pool

Keeping active is a breeze both on and off the ship during an Emerald River cruise. There are plenty of opportunities for walking as you explore each new destination along the way, with bikes available for those hoping to cover more ground. Onboard you’ll find a small gym, river view walking track and even a heated swimming pool.

Unwind

For quiet times you can enjoy the privacy of your comfortable cabin or suite. Check out the onboard book selection or catch a movie in the impressive onboard cinema.

“I was absolutely blown away by Emerald, I thought having seen many of the latest Ocean ships like Anthem of the seas, I’d seen it all – but the attention to detail, service, and innovations like the alfresco swimming pool by day that transforms into an intimate cinema by night were really impressive” – Dave Mills, Iglu Cruise Commercial Director

Keep Connected

Emerald Waterways

We are always on the move so staying connected is important to us. Free Wi-Fi onboard meant we could keep connected at all times and share our journey photos and updates straight away.

Eat Well

The Reflections restaurant kept us smiling throughout with delicious cuisine echoing the tastes of the rivers regions. Breakfast was either enjoyed at the daily self-service buffet or top deck in the sunshine. A resident Egg-Chef is also on hand providing speciality breakfast choices. Complimentary coffee and tea kept us fuelled for our excursions and we also enjoyed eating ashore to experience a taste of local life.



Have you been on an Emerald River cruise? Let us know your highlights in the comments below

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Vienna's Finest Coffee Houses

clock 13th July 2015 | comment0 Comments
Take a trip along the Danube river and taste your way through Austria's fascinating and wonderful capital city with our favourite coffee houses of Vienna. Visit a Viennese Kaffehaus for an authentic coffee experience and chat amongst the locals for an idyllic afternoon. [More]


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