The Danube River may not be the longest river in Europe—that distinction goes to the Volga River, which flows through central Russia—but it is without question, one of the continent’s most popular.
The 1,785-mile-long waterway begins at the convergence of two streams in the Black Forest region of southwest Germany, and it flows east through 10 countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and the Ukraine) before emptying into the Black Sea. The river also flows through a handful of Central and Eastern Europe’s most influential cities, including Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, and Bratislava, providing Scenic river cruise guests with endless opportunities for exploration and immersion.
While it is clear to see the significance of the Danube in modern Europe, the river has played a major role in the advancement of civilization for more than 2,000 years. The ancient Greeks sailed up the Danube River from the Black Sea, getting as far north as a large gorge known today as the Iron Gate and serves as a natural border between Romania and Serbia. Under the rule of Julius Caesar, the Roman Empire strengthened and expanded its empire by establishing military settlements and strongholds up the Danube. Over time, those ancient Roman outposts grew into vibrant cities — Aquincum became Budapest, Singidunum became Belgrade, and Vindobona is the cultural center that Danube river cruise guests now know as Vienna.