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Setting sail from Giurgiu
The Bulgarian city of Ruse (also written ‘Rousse’) sits on the right bank of the Danube just opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, and is one of the country’s most attractive cities. Sometimes known as ‘Little Vienna’, thanks to the plethora of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, it’s a highlight of any cruise along this stretch of the Danube.
The riverside town of Vidin is situated in the north west corner of Bulgaria, close to the border with Romania and Serbia. The architectural highlight is the magnificently well preserved Baba Vida fortress, and the town is also home to a mosque, a synagogue and several churches.
Romania: Iron Gates
As the Danube wends its way east, along the border between Serbia and Romania, the river narrows to a dramatic gorge known as the Iron Gates. The river here is flanked by a huge stone carving of Decebalus, the last king of the Dacians and a Romanian national hero.
Belgrade has been invaded and occupied dozens of times over the centuries, a fact that's reflected in the mish-mash of architectural styles, from Ottoman and Art Nouveau to grim relics of the communist era. But Belgrade is also a city with real soul, emerging from a difficult recent history as one of Europe’s most exciting capitals.
Vukovar is one of the great tragedies of the Balkan wars, a once prosperous and elegant city reduced to rubble by fierce fighting between Croats and Serbs. There are green shoots of optimism as the city rebuilds, but the battle-scarred streets are a powerful reminder of the devastating conflicts of the 1990s.
Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s most appealing cities, a vibrant and welcoming capital that straddles the Danube. The history of Budapest has been somewhat turbulent, but plenty of beautiful buildings survive, including the imposing Parliament and iconic St Stephen’s Basilica.
Formerly the centre of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is as grand a European capital as you can imagine, jam packed full of thrusting, bombastic buildings that stand as a reminder of Austria’s glorious imperial heyday.
The riverside village of Melk is best known for its spectacular abbey, a Baroque masterpiece that dominates the landscape. A Benedictine abbey was first established here in 1089, and the 18th century reconstruction that you can see today is still a working monastery.
Scenic river cruising
The pretty Bavarian town of Passau, situated close to Germany’s border with Austria, enjoys a unique setting at the confluence of three rivers: the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. The narrow cobbled streets of the handsome old town, the Altstadt, are quite delightful.
Arriving in Nuremberg
Nuremberg, Bavaria's second city, first pops up in the history books in 1050 as a stronghold of the Franks, and later became the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Nuremberg was also the centre of the German Renaissance, although in the 20th century it became associated with the Nazis; huge rallies were held here, and Nazi officials were later tried and convicted at the Nuremberg Trials. Happily Nuremberg has bounced back from these dark days, and nowadays the city is a tourist magnet thanks to the beautifully restored old town, Christmas markets and excellent beer.
Schwurgerichtssaal 600 (Court Room 600) of the still-working courthouse is where the Nuremberg Trials took place. It forms part of an extraordinary exhibit detailing the history of the trials.
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Uniworld's ships really do stand out from the crowd, unmatched in their opulent style and individual features. Every detail of the ship has been carefully considered to create an environment which enhances your itinerary by providing supreme levels of comfort and reflecting the region in which you travel.
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Where to stay in Nuremberg
We like the Drei Raben (Three Ravens) in the rebuilt old town.
Explore Nuremberg's rich history
Nuremberg's medieval might and significance as part of the Holy Roman Empire becomes clear in a visit to the Kaiserburg.