Flight Centre customers who book a 2014 Avalon Waterways Europe River cruise before June 30 2013 will receive a $500 discount on their adventure. Given that there are so many fantastic river systems in Europe, it can be tough selecting which beautiful waterway to explore with Avalon. But it's hard to ignore the Danube, the continent's second longest river; it begins in Germany's Black Forest and flows majestically for around 3,000 kilometres to the Black Sea. Along the way, the river passes through ten European countries and hundreds of quaint towns and several mesmerising capitals.
Here are our favourite destinations along the Danube.
Often called the Three River City because this is where the Inn, Ilz and the Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a popular stop on any Danube river cruise. The cobblestone streets are a pleasure to explore; as you admire the seventeenth century architecture. The must-see attractions include St Stephen's Cathedral, which dates to 1688 and was designed in a Baroque style, the Gothic Town Hall and the fortress Veste Oberhaus.
One of Europe's great romantic capitals, it's hard to resist waltzing along the historic Ringstrasse. Be sure to admire the Schonbrunn Palace and the Hofburg, and also attend an opera at the Staatsoper. The iconic gilded bronze statue of Johann Strauss II, who composed The Blue Danube can be admired in Stadtpark - it was unveiled in 1921. Also in Stadtpark are monuments to other famous Austrians including Franz Schubert, Franz Lehár and Robert Stolz.
While this delightful Germany town was originally founded by the Romans in 179CE, the town enjoyed a period of substantial wealth beginning in the 12th century when a Stone Bridge across the Danube opened up trade routes between Venice and northern Europe. Be sure to admire the Altes Rathaus, which dates to the 14th century, remains of a Roman fortress wall and the Cathedral, which was constructed in a Gothic style.
Standing on the Margaret Bridge over the Danube in Budapest and looking back to the country's neo-gothic Parliament is a mesmerising sight - if you have the chance definitely take a tour inside the Parliament to admire the interior of this incredible structure. The oldest bridge in the city is the Chain Bridge - it was completed in 1849 and is certainly very beautiful.
The first sight of the Benedictine Abbey perched high on the bluff is sure to take your breath away; this is one of the most impressive Baroque structures in Europe. It was originally built between 1702 and 1736 and miraculously survived the upheaval of both the Napoleonic Wars and World War 2. Melk itself is a picturesque town that offers the perfect place to bask along the banks of the Danube. Also be sure to check out the Town Hall that was constructed in the 16th century and Haus am Stein, the oldest building in Melk, which dates to the 15th century.
Book your 2014 Avalon Waterways Europe River cruise before 30 June 2013 to save $500 per person*. To book today or find out more, call one of our expert consultants on 133 133.
*Terms and conditions apply.