Going Places Educational Travel Blog - Hidden Gems Along the Danube
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January 7, 2022

Hidden Gems Along the Danube

For most occasional travelers, when asked to name the most impressive European cities, sure to be on their list will be Paris, Rome, London and Madrid. But if the same question were to be posed to the more experienced “world travelers” among us, an altogether different tally of cities is likely to be presented. These cities, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Munich, and Salzburg (cited by many as their favorite city in the world) are all found along or in the basin of the Danube River.

If holders of relatively new passports are asked to name Europe’s most famous rivers, the Seine, Thames, Loire and Rhine rivers are likely to head the list. But again, ask the same question to the person with the somewhat frayed passport, often with extra pages added, and you will most often hear the name of only one river, and that’s the Danube. This imposing river flows through more countries (10) than any other river on earth, beginning its journey in the Black Forest before it empties nearly 2000 miles later into the Black Sea.

Berlin resident Matthias Kort and his wife Sarah have been leading groups of Passports students and teachers on educational tours of central and eastern Europe for over 20 years. While you are enjoying this video, which Matthias produced and narrates along with Dave Markle, Passports’ President, you will readily see why Matthias is one of the very most popular tour leaders our company has ever worked with.

In this video, Mathias takes us half-way on one of Passport’s most popular tours: Along the Danube. Our first stop after arriving in Munich is at Lake Chiemsee where on Herreninsel Island, Mad King Ludwig ll (remember Neuschwanstein?) started building yet another of his famous though unfinished castles. What was it with Ludwig and his castles?

Matthias next takes us on a sightseeing tour of Salzburg, Mozart's birthplace and which many seasoned travelers consider to be their favorite and the most beautiful city in the world. Among the many sites we will visit are The Old Town, The Fortress Hohensalzburg and the famous Salzburg Cathedral, capable of holding 6,000 people and which was rebuilt after being heavily damaged during World War 2. Salzburg was the filming location and the actual site for what transpired in the film, The Sound of Music, which was based on a true story.

Our next destination is Vienna but we first stop along the way to take a cruise down the most beautiful and scenically-stunning area along the entire Danube. Before boarding our ship in Melk, we visit its famous monastery and cathedral. Our cruise ends in Durnstein. Matthias takes us to Durnstein Castle, where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was once imprisoned on his way back from the crusades.

Vienna was the home at some point in their lives to some of the most famous composers in the world including Shubert, Strauss, Mozart and Beethoven, and is the city in which Sigmund Freud developed the art of psychoanalysis. It is often ranked as one of the most livable (and expensive) cities in the world. In addition to the touristic highlights Matthias shows us which include the Schonbrunn Palace, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and The Hofburg palace, he’s got one more surprise for us. Many folks insist that you have to visit Rome or Paris to enjoy the best coffee in the world. But Mathias and our proverbial veteran traveler with the well stamped passport will likely disagree. They would maintain that the very best coffee in the world along with the exquisite pastries with which it is often served can only be found in Vienna. With our recent introduction to the amazing yet comparatively unheralded places along the Danube, we shouldn’t be surprised by yet another revelation along these lines.

For more from Matthias, please visit his website here and his initiate, "On a mission for you", here.

Category: Travel Inspiration


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passports Educational Group Travel partners with teachers across the United States to provide high-quality educational travel experiences to their students. Educational tours visit destinations around the world - primarily France, Italy, England, Spain and Costa Rica - at low, guaranteed prices.

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