BUDAPEST, Hungary, October 7, 2017—One of the undiscovered pleasures of European river travel is a cruise along the lower Danube between Bucharest, Romania and Budapest, Hungary. The journey includes magnificent castles and bucolic countrysides, historic buildings and modern vistas, remnants of the Communist era and signs of emerging economies.
The journey includes magnificent castles and bucolic countrysides, historic buildings and modern vistas, remnants of the Communist era and signs of emerging economies.
Twenty-eight years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eastern Europe is now open to tourism. But it is still a growing industry. The famed Danube of Johann Strauss, Jr. fame is not as crowded here. The monthly traffic from Bucharest to Budapest is 2,000 ships; from Budapest to Amsterdam, 200,000. Thus, much of the time you are on the only ship visible on the river. The river banks still offer unbroken forest scenes and must look a great deal like they did when the Romans first reached the Danube in the first century A.D.
Thus, much of the time you are on the only ship visible on the river. The river banks still offer unbroken forest scenes and must look a great deal like they did when the Romans first reached the Danube in the first century A.D.
The trip from Bucharest to Budapest will take the traveler through five countries: Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, and Hungary. Each has its own peculiar history to offer, and each has charted its own unique path in the post-Communist era. All except Serbia are now members of the European Union, although none at present use the euro as their currency.
For this sojourn, holders of American (or EU) passports will not need separate visas. For the most part, the cruise line will manage your passports and entry/exit formalities during the journey.
The forced industrialization and collectivized economies of the Communist era collapsed in these countries long ago. Today, you will find infrastructures being entirely rebuilt with the help of the European Union or with an assist from private investment.
All these the countries on this cruise, for example, have had their own unique wine-making traditions dating back to the time of the Romans, although the quality of the product faltered during the Cold War years. But now, the region’s once-thriving wine industry of the pre-World War period is being rebuilt along traditional lines, and the quality of these wines has steadily improved – dramatically in many cases.
While visiting these countries today, you can have an opportunity to taste excellent local wines that are as yet not available for export to the U.S.
Ready to explore the lower Danube region? Several cruise lines run ships along this stretch of the river. If you have the time and the inclination, you can book trips from Bucharest all the way to Amsterdam. Even taking a cruise on the relatively short stretch from Bucharest to Budapest offers you the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Danube in a calm and relaxing atmosphere.