We are less than three weeks until the newly redesigned Crystal Mozart embarks on her maiden voyage along the Danube River, where Crystal guests will relish in some of the most beautiful locales in Europe, just steps away from the “Queen of Europe’s Rivers”. We wind our way through Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia, where time stands still and wealthy empires were born.
There has been much excitement surrounding the stunning itineraries and destinations our very first river ship will visit on her Danube journeys, and rightfully so. Fairytale landscapes dotted with castles, abbeys, forests and vineyards straight out of storybooks, coming alive as you meander through the storied streets and countryside. What should not be overlooked, though, as Crystal Mozart sets sail, are the views from this luxurious ship. In fact, before you even leave the posh surroundings of the 120.4 meter long (395 feet) vessel, you can take in many of the cities’ most famous sites, as they’re visible – in their architectural, monumental and historical splendor – from your favorite perch on board.
Here are some of the spots that you must see from Crystal Mozart:
(Take note. Your travel companions will be über impressed as you enlighten them while taking in the views together)
Dürnstein: Pearl of the Wachau Valley
This is one of Austria’s loveliest small towns. Dürnstein is perched on a ridge overlooking the Danube in Lower Austria’s Wachau Valley. In the heart of a popular wine-growing region, its Medieval stone castle (where King Richard I of England was imprisoned in 1192) stands in ruins.
Did you know? Grüner Veltliner vines grow on Danube slopes so steep that they can barely retain any soil. The result is a very pure, mineral wine that compares favorably with some of the great wines of the world.
Melk: A Baroque Showstopper
Cameras ready? Melk Abbey is a magnificent Benedictine abbey on yet another rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. Melk Abbey has housed monks for 900 years; this largest example of Baroque architecture is Austria’s very best example.
Linz: The Mozarthaus Marvel
It’s a question that experts marvel to this day. How did the 27-year-old Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart manage to compose his Symphony No. 36 (known as Linz Symphony) during a three-day stopover here? Austria’s third-largest city is sophisticated and modern with touches of Gothic influence.
Did you know? Christened as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, the legendary Salzburg-born musician composed from the age of 5 and held a royal court position by age 17. He died at 35.
Bratislava: Capital of Slovakia
You can’t miss it. Directly on the banks of the Danube, look up on a hill to see the imposing city landmark in the form of Bratislava Castle. Rarely has one structure – even if that structure is prehistoric era castle – housed such historical significance. Formerly the treasury for the Hungarian Crown Jewels, and currently housing the Slovak Parliament (the National Council of the Slovak Republic), the castle has seen Celts, Romans and Slavs occupy it, while weathering also the Renaissance and Baroque periods. When you look at this castle, you are literally seeing thousands of years of history in brick and mortar.
Visegrád: The Danube Bend
It’s a nature lover’s paradise. Catch panoramic views as the Danube meanders. A curve in the river near Visegrád is a popular scenic landmark on the approach to Budapest. Pass between the Transdanubian Mountains and the North Hungarian Mountains, a passage that is singled out as noteworthy by UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Budapest: Straddling the Danube
Superlatives abound. A dramatic arrival in Budapest, passing the splendid Hungarian Parliament and underneath the mid-19th century Chain Bridge, is yet another highlight of Danube River journeys. No fewer than 15 bridges cross the river in Hungary’s capital city, known as the Pearl of the Danube.
Did you know? Prior to 1873, Buda and Pest were two distinct cities sliced down the middle by the Danube. On the hilly west side, Buda is the traditional home of royalty, castles, and fortresses. Pest is the commercial hub on the east.
Don’t miss these views from Crystal Mozart, plus the chance to explore even further into the heart of Europe! Book now, and bring your camera.