Cities on the Danube

Old May 6th, 2016, 02:46 PM
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Cities on the Danube

We are taking a Viking cruise down the Danube in late May. The stops are Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Krems, Vienna and Budapest. Here's the question.

We have at best a day in each of these locations. What are the 1-2 sites you would visit at each stop?

What is the local, home-cooking, traditional restaurant you would recommend?

And is there a shop or market that you think is worth the time?

The cruise booklet makes recommendations, but we are pretty sure that the restaurants are fairly standard tourism places. We believe our companions on the boat will be pleasant folk, but we don't necessarily want to run into them in town. We are used to setting our own agendas and rarely follow the group tours.

We've never done a cruise like this before. We aren't "tour group" types and are quite happy mapping out our own explorations.

Thanks so much for all your suggestions!
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Old May 6th, 2016, 05:19 PM
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Have you checked out how many hours you will have in each port. Will the ships not leave until 10 pm or after so you have time to have dinner in the town?
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Old May 7th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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here is an itinerary doable in two hours (without visits), leading to the main points of interest along the main south nord axis:

1. Start at the main entrance to the medieval city, Frauentor (»Mary's Gate«) / Königstraße, just opposite the main station. It is discernible easily by its mighty round tower. Pick up a map at »Nürnberg Info«, Königsstrasse 93, opposite the tower.

2. Follow Königssstrasse northwards to St. Lawrence church (continental gothic, hosting the famous »angelic salutation« by Veit Stoss:,_Nuremberg)

3. Follow Königsstraße down to River Pegnitz (right, build into the river, the medieval hospital, »Heilg Geist«, a possible place for lunch or dinner). When the road splits follow the left branch, leading to the main market (»Hauptmarkt«). Right: Frauenkirche (Our Lady), once the host of the Imperial Regalia (now in Vienna). In the Tympanum a mechanical clockwork dating from the early 16th century (playing every noon):,_Nuremberg. North west corner: market fountain in the form of a gothic spire.

4. From the fountain proceeding north, after a few steps you arrive at (right) the renaissance city hall and (left) St. Sebald (continental gothic), hosting the sepulchre of Sebald by Peter Vischer (entrance is at west side under the north tower:,_Nuremberg).

5. From the place adjacent north to St. Sebald (»Sebalder Platz«) take the Bergstrasse (not: Burgstrasse!) uphill in NW direction (at no. 1 is the small shop of the Frauenholz bakery, one of the best ginger bread bakers in the city). You will end up at Tiergärtnertorplatz (»Gate to ...«: help for translation needed) with Albrecht Duerer's house to your left. Nothing of the original furnishings is preserved (it was sold after Duerer's death), but it has an interesting exhibition putting Duerer in the horizont of the european history of art (

Time for a beer? Right to the Tiergärtner gate leaning against the city wall there is a funny combination of a coffe shop (Cafe Wanderer, left) and the »Bieramt« (»beer office«, right), the latter offering a selection of beers from small rural breweries throughout Franconia. Just grab an abandoned seat and join the people sitting at the place.

6. From the north east corner of the Tiergärtnertorplatz a small corridor will lead you up to the castle via »Am Ölberg« and a final U-turn left. The western part is the romanesque imperial palace, the eastern one the Burgrave's castle. If you are interested in romanesque architecture you can find a fine example of a romanesque double chapel in the imperial palace (; the exhibition is, hmm, unexciting. Otherwise you can proceed to the belvedere (U-turn right) which gives you an overwiev of the city.

7. At this point, if you are fed up, you can go straight down the Burgstrasse and return after 10 minutes to the main market. Else, you go back to Tiergärtnertorplatz and follow the city wall (»Neutormauer«) in SW direction. After 10 min. or so, you will arrive at the river Pegnitz with its small wooden roofed bridge. Crossing that (or the nearby modern bridge) and going uphill through a couple of small alleys you will arrive at Weissser Turm (»white tower«), a relic of the first walling preceeding the present one. From here turnig east (»karonlinenstrasse«) you can go back to St. Lawcrence. But wait:

>What is the local, home-cooking, traditional restaurant you would recommend?

A fews steps from the Weisser Turm there is my favorite restaurant in the city: Weinhaus Steichele, Knorrstrasse 2, offering traditional franconian cooking in unbeatable quality. Moreover, they have vineyards of their own and offer an excellent selection of franconian and Baden wines. Book your table in advance (closed sundays): Alternatives: (1) »Heilig Geist Spital« (see above, large restaurant, non pre-booking necessary), (2) »Zur Baumwolle«, Adlerstrasse 18, (3) »Posthorn«, Sebalder Platz (see above). What I not would recommend are some of the restaurants suggested by travel guides, i.e. the beer halls at Königsstrasse and the »Bratwurst-somethings« around the city hall, which in my view all give poor value for your money.

BTW: as you will know, Nuremberg is not at the Danube but at the Main-Donau canal. So, the port is far from the city in an uninspiring industrial aerea with poor public transport oportunities. If transport is not provided by your carrier you will need a taxi.

Enjoy your visit!
sla019 is offline  
Old May 12th, 2016, 07:41 AM
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nytraveler, we have checked times more or less. I actually called re: Austria because I wanted to figure out if we could get off the boat and to the Spanish Riding School in time for morning exercise. In general, we would prefer to have a big lunch and be more snacky at dinner time--this is partly because we are pooped and low on appetite at the end of the day.
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Old May 12th, 2016, 07:46 AM
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sla019: Well that is spectacular! I have printed the whole post off. The carrier--Viking Cruises--does provide transportation in many cases, but I appreciate the head's up that taxis at that particular docking are in short supply. Nuremberg for me is all about Durer and Martin Luther. Can't wait!
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Old May 13th, 2016, 03:52 AM
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> Nuremberg for me is all about Durer and Martin Luther.<

At the Duerer house, there is currently an exhibition showing the well known Diel collection of Duerers graphic work (till Jul, 7; closed Monday).

As for Luther, he never has visited Nuremberg. Still, the city was the capital of the reformation in southern Germany from 1525. The main churches St. Lawrence and St. Sebald are lutheran to this day, while the Frauenkirche was handed over to the catholics by Bavaria when it annexed the imperial city in 1806.

Now, Regensburg:

1. The cathedral (french gothic) with it's spectacular organ (made by the famous Austrian Rieger company):

2. The medieval bridge (»Steinerne Brücke«, which, however, is still under repair, so I don't know how much of it you will be able to see):

3. Walking across the medieval city to castle and church St. Emmeran, still owned by the Turn and Taxis family (

Lunch / dinner: Restaurant Bischofshof, a few steps from the cathedral towards the Danube (beer garden; try the dark beer of the Weltenburg abbey: Alternatively, if you can afford an extra half hour for walking: Gasthof Auerbräu, Schwandorfer Str. 41 (beer garden): typical Oberpfalz inn, offering good plain domestic cooking. In all likelyhood, the waitress will speak not a word of English (let alone of standard German), but the place is frequented by students and university staff, so certainly somebody will be of assistance to you. Access from the center northward crossing the three Danube branches (Steinerne Brücke > Protzenweiherbrücke) and the B8 highway, ca. 20 min; back to the dock ca. 10 min.
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Old May 13th, 2016, 06:29 AM
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In Vienna, if you can skip the bus tour around the Ringstrasse you can actually have a lovely day. Most cruise ships dock at Reichsbrücke, which gives you easy access to the U-Bahn (U1 line).

If palaces are your thing, head to Schloss Schönbrunn. (Purchase your ticket online to avoid the queues). The palace tour takes about an hour, and the gardens make for a lovely walk. If you're into art, the Albertina and KHM can fill your day; for contemporary art, the Leopold. Running now at the Albertina is an exhibit on Russian avant-garde art, with 130 pieces from St. Petersburg; it's incredible.

If you are more into outdoor activities, head into the vineyards for a nice walk, followed by lunch at a local heuriger (wine tavern). On good weather weekends and holidays, that is what we "locals" (we're expats) like to do.

As for the dining suggestions I saw on the website, Cafe Landtmann, Cafe Central, and Cafe Sacher play to the tourists. Zum Schwarzen Kameel and Steierreck are high-end; make reservations and bring a large pocketbook. In Vienna, of course, Schnitzel reigns. If you want oversized, plate-filling Schnitzel, head to Figlmuellers. At Plachutta you will find a more refined portion size in a pleasant setting. Gmoakeller (on the opposite side of the Stadtpark) is another good option; so, too, is Beim Hofmeister, a small place that sits in the former cow stables of Empress Maria Theresa in the Inner Stadt. Family owned and operated for a long time, the Schnitzel (and Backhendl) is very good and in an unfussy setting. Esterhazykeller is a good choice if the weather is inclement; adjacent to the Keller is another equally pleasant restaurant for Austrian fare, Bierhof. Skip the Albertinakeller; it's uninteresting Schnitzel that appeals to tourists.

The day in Krems will be enjoyable, especially Stift Gottweig. There is a terrace restaurant at the Stift, with views over the Wachau Valley that are, understandably, better than the fare, although the food is not touristy, just a little boring. If you're tired of Austrian fare, Ristorante Firenze in Krems offers seasonal pastas (and pizza) in a very pretty setting on the square.

Hope this helps.
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Old May 14th, 2016, 05:00 AM
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1. The cathedral, one of the finest examples of Italian baroque north of the alps. On weekdays virtually all cruise tour parties meet at noon for the organ concert (the organ is one of the biggest in the world). I would not leave out that, even if it will be pretty full and even the organ is famous among organists more for its size than for its quality (the organist, however, is superb). After the concert most tour parties leave quickly, so you can take your time to study the church.

2. Step down southeast to the river Inn and follow it in eastward direction to the point of confluence of the three rivers Danube, Ilz and Inn (ca. 10 min). You can see the Inn forcing its greenish waters into the blue, well, greyish Danube (in fact, the Inn carries much more water than the Danube). You have a fine view of the old city, which is wedged between the Danube and the Inn, and on the Oberhaus castle.

3. Niedernburg abbey (back into the city, ca. 10 min. west), an austere romanesque basilica, mentioned in the Nibelungenlied and grave church of Gisela of Bavaria (d. 1060), wife of King Stephen I of Hungary, therefore popular among Hungarians. Back to the Danube walking west you reach

4. The town hall (on the wall left to the entrance marks of all the floods Passau has survived; the last one in Juny 2013, reaching 13 m).

Lunch: Löwen Brauhaus Passau, near the town hall (traditional Bavarian).

After Passau you leave Bavaria and go into upper Austria, so: have a good journey!
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Old Jun 19th, 2016, 03:28 AM
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Hope it was not yours ...

"The Viking River Cruises excursion boat 'Viking Tor' is stuck along a bridge crossing the Danube river in Poikam, near Bad Abbach, Bavaria state, Germany, 19 June 2016. The ship turned sideways on the river and got stuck at the pilars of the bridge. Rescue teams were called to the scene to evacuate the passengers of whom noone was injured."
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Old Jun 19th, 2016, 12:48 PM
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We were on a sightseeing cruise from Regensburg last week that could not allow people on top of the ship because of the high water. I think the level was close to require cancelation.
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