Running unerringly along the Danube to the cities of Passau and Regensburg in Germany via Linz and Vienna in Austria to Budapest in Hungary, this route retraces the footsteps of both emperors and kings. Awe-inspiring natural sights and splendid abbeys, noble houses of worship, medieval castles, magnificent palaces and royal residences line the river Danube like a string of pearls.
In the Middle Ages almost every king and emperor was known as a “travelling king”. Rather than reign from their region’s capital, they travelled all over the kingdom accompanied by their court and a large entourage, making short stop-overs, or even staying for longer periods of time, at the imperial palaces and abbeys that lined the roads.
It could be claimed that Charlemagne was the forefather of all travellers taking this route. In 788 he made Regensburg the seat of the Carolingian dynasty, and as a free imperial city it benefited greatly from overseas trade. Between 1663 and 1806 the town also served as a meeting place for the Perpetual Imperial Diet.
Measuring 2857 km from source to mouth, the Danube is the European river “par excellence”. It has been both a travel and transport route since time immemorial, which explains the rich and vast history to be found along its shores. This history is still in evidence today at the spectacular monuments and memorials that follow the river’s course: ancient excavation sites, medieval cities, abbeys, castles, palaces, royal residences and modern museums displaying many different styles of art, all of which are to be found nestled in regions known for their beautiful natural landscape and exquisite culture.