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SALZBURG


Most cruise ships offer day trips from Linz to Salzburg, setting for The Sound of Music and city of Mozart’s birth


Linz is an industrial town on the river with an attractive renaissance and baroque centre where assorted street cafés sell the famous almond and redcurrant Linzer Torte. Most cruise lines offer day trips from here to Salzburg, setting of The Sound of Music, and the city of Mozart’s birth. Vienna, the Austrian capital, exudes romance, with its beautiful parks and palaces, elegant shops and the legendary coffee houses. Most cruises spend at least one night here, giving plenty of opportunity to see the sights, attend a performance at the opera (in June and September), listen to the Vienna Boys’ Choir, or admire the white Lipizzaner horses at the Spanish Riding School. Beyond Vienna, the river flows through vast meadows lined with birch and alder trees towards the Slovak capital of Bratislava, dominated by a reconstruction of a boxy 9th-century castle and usually a half-day stop, before continuing to Esztergom in Hungary, which has a castle of its own, the seat of government for Hungary’s kings and queens for more than 300 years. The surrounding hills, densely


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forested, once served as royal hunting grounds and affluent tourists still come to shoot deer, wild boar and mouflon. From here, the river kinks around the famous Danube Bend or Danube ‘Knee’, winding its way past small, wooded islands, where city-dwellers from Budapest come at weekends for the fishing and the sandy beaches. Budapest is another big highlight and all ships overnight here, providing a chance to see the city beautifully floodlit at night, when the eight bridges that link the once-separate cities of old Buda and more modern Pest are strung with twinkling fairy lights, while coloured lasers and dramatic floodlights play on the old castle walls. There is plenty to see in Budapest, including Heroes’


Square, with a distinct Communist-era feel; it’s easy to imagine huge military gatherings in this vast parade ground. Take a traditional spa bath, visit the museums in the old castle, admire the intricately coloured tiles of St Matthias Church and stroll around the narrow streets of the Fishermen’s Bastion, where restaurants serve the delicious


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FROM HERE THE RIVER KINKS AROUND THE FAMOUS DANUBE BEND


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