Let the sights of Europe come to you on a River Cruise

Each year millions of visitors flock to Europe to experience its beauty and culture. Planes, trains and automobiles may be the traditional methods of reaching famous locations but can be stressful and tiring. River cruise tours in Europe offer an opportunity to relax in comfort and luxury, while the continent’s greatest sights and experiences are brought to you. From Amsterdam, cruises set sail for Germany – treating passengers to luxury cabins, stylish restaurants and spacious sun decks.

Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night Photo: in_focus on Flickr

Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night

The Rhine, Main and Danube river cruise stops first in Cologne, where the twin spires of the city’s Gothic cathedral dominate a scenic skyline. In the afternoon, guided walking tours take passengers out into the city and around its most interesting and historic locations. The city is host to a wealth of eye-catching architecture, including medieval churches and the Colonius tower – the tallest structure in the city.

The leisurely trip through Germany includes stops at the historic Koblenz and the sleepy, idyllic town of Miltenberg. Passing onto the Danube, the towers of Nuremburg’s 11th century castle rise into view and the cruise stops for guided tours of the city’s old town and popular market districts. Once regarded as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire, there’s a lot to see and do in Nuremburg, including cultural attractions like Museum of Modern Art and the Justice Palace. Don’t forget to find time to sample some of the city’s famous Nurnberger Bratwurst!

A view of Miltenberg from your river cruise Photo: Steve Masiello on Flickr

A view of Miltenberg from your river cruise

Passing into Austria, the next stop is Passau from where you might like to take a coach trip to Salzburg, birthplace of Mozart and home to spectacular Alpine views and cosy mountain settlements. Further into Austria, stops include a Benedictine abbey and Durnstein, one of Austria’s finest wine producing villages. After a stay in the stylish Vienna, it’s on to Slovakia and the capital, Bratislava, in the Carpathian mountains.

A view of Salzburg, Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

A view of Salzburg, Austria

Bratislava is a melting pot of central European culture – dating back 2000 years to early Celtic civilisation. Rich royal heritage is all over the city – in elaborate baroque palaces and the imposing Bratislava Castle. There’s a modern side to Bratislava and you’ll see striking, innovative buildings, like the diamond-shaped Kamzik Tower and the inverted-pyramid of the Slovak radio headquarters, scattered across the skyline.

View of the Chain bridge in Budapest Photo:Heatheronhertravels.com

View of the Chain bridge in Budapest

Ending in Budapest, the river cruise chance to experience some of Europe’s most famous destinations at a pace which lets you savour their beauty free from the stress and complications of the airport and the motorway!

This article was brought to you by Titan Travel,  where you can book your River Cruise holiday and discover the sights of Europe in luxury and comfort.

More good things to explore in Europe

Lost in the Hohensalzburg Fortress in Salzburg
Passion, Music and drama in Oberammergau
The latest dirndl fashions from Bavaria in Munich

Photo credits: Cologne Cathedral and the river Rhine at night by in__focus , Miltenberg by Steve Masiello

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

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A Culinary Journey through Styria, Austria

Whenever you visit a country for the first time, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of new food options on offer. It was apparent to me that I had to get over my English distaste for meats that are not processed to the nth degree (a process which began on my trips to Germany in the previous year). Every country has its own food traditions, and Austria is no different. An Austrian diet is very typical of the national diets of continental Europeans.  Meat is a prominent feature, but with a few subtle nuances to give it an identity all of its own.

Steirersee in Austria Photo: *MarS

Steirersee in Austria

The Cuisine of Syria in Austria

Styrian cuisine takes its influence from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, which adds to the dishes an essence of Italy, Germany, Hungary and The Balkans. The Austrians cook primarily with pork, beef and chicken, while bacon – known as ‘Speck’ – is seen more as a salty spice. A traditional meal in this region is rich, homely and full of flavour.

Murau in Austria

Murau in Austria

Styria, which covers the central and south-east regions of Austria, has a palette all of its own. Visitors who get to know the food culture of the area will likely experience the chopped bacon spread Verhackertes. This is delicious spread on Emperor Rolls (or Kaisersemmel in the local parlance) or on freshly –baked rye bread. Heidensterz is a sort of mash – very similar to grits but slightly drier, made from buckwheat. The locals often serve this with meat, such as Klachelfleisch (pork knuckle) as part of a Styrian meal along with the very dry rosé wine Schilcher.

Traditional Austrian food in Graz

Perhaps the biggest city in Styria is Graz, and it has plenty of great restaurants the specialise in traditional Austrian food. Among them is Der Steirer, an Austrian tapas restaurant. The tapas style of eating makes it a great way of trying out small portions of unknown dishes to find out what you can and can’t stomach!

For those who are not so keen on the Österreichische Küche – there are a huge range of international eateries across the city of Graz. In addition to specialised food, you’ll find more straightforward American-style diners and the supermarket is always an option if anyone in your party is particularly hard to please when it comes to food.

Franz Josef Markets in Graz Photo by Garton

Franz Josef Markets in Graz

Foraging in food stores in Styria

Family camping holidays lend themselves to self-catering and foraging of the native food stores and markets. This is a great option for families with young children, as kids tend to be a little fussier when it comes to meal time. I found that discovery of the local cuisine was enabled to a greater extent by catering for yourself. Discovery of strange little delicacies and imagination in preparing them for mealtimes is part of the fun for me. I would recommend the region of Styria to anyone with a love for the language, of meat based delights and gorgeous cakes. If you can, check out some of the region’s superb traditional dishes.

Photo credits: Franz Josef Markets by Garton, Steirersee II by *MarS.

More things to enjoy in Austria

Bratwurst and Sacher Torte – or what we ate in Salzburg
Cars, Planes and Smart Food at Hangar 7 in Salzburg
May Day at The White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang, Austria – video

My thanks for this article to Thomson AlFresco

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

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May Day at The White Horse Inn on Lake Wolfgang, Austria – video

“You know the water in the lake is drinking quality?” I was told by my new friend Wolfgang, as he pressed me to drink another glass of sparkling Sekt, the Austrian version of Champagne. By this time I was starting to feel a bit tiddly, but it certainly tasted better than a glass of lake water, however pure that might be.

Meeting Wolfgang and Carolin in St Wolfgang Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Weeting Wolfgang and Carolin in St Wolfgang, Austria

We’d arrived at the pretty lakeside town of St Wolfgang, an hour from Salzburg in the heart of the Salzkammergut region, to find the May Day festival in full swing.The cobbled streets with pretty painted houses were filled with wooden kiosks, where the locals were gathering to while away the afternoon awash with beer, wine and the odd Weiner Schnitzel. By the time we’d settled into our lakeside hotel, the White Horse Inn it was well into the afternoon and the crowds were starting to thin. We got chatting to local hotelier Wolfgang and his dirndl clad wife, Carolin who were running a beer stand to promote their hotel just around the lake shore. Before we knew it, we too were awash with the May Day spirit and swaying along to the yodelling trio playing nearby.

I hope you enjoy the video below about our stay at the White Horse Inn and Lake Wolfgang

If you can’t see the video above, view it on my blog here

If you thought that Wolfgang (as in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) was an unusual name, you’d be wrong hereabouts. As my new friend told me, he’d been named for St Wolfgang who founded a church here in the 1st century that became the hot destination for pilgrims from all over Europe in the Middle Ages – he was, as Wolfgang joked, the Patron Saint of Tourism in this part of Austria.The story goes that St Wolfgang threw an axe from where he stood and where it landed he built the church, even tricking the Devil himself to help with the building work.

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Our bedroom at Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

Fuelled with May Day spirit, we returned to our room at Hotel Weisses Rössl or The White Horse Inn, a family run Austrian Inn that has over the years swallowed up the neighbouring buildings and transformed itself into a luxury spa hotel. We threw open the doors onto the balcony overlooking the lake, where I could have sat all day and watched the ferries criss-crossing the sparkling water.

Lake Wolfgang is ringed by mountains with a number of pretty lakeside towns such as St Wolfgang, Strobl and St Gilgen on the shore – and there’s plenty to do at all times of year from swimming and hiking in the summer to ski-ing and Christmas markets in the winter. From the lake shore you can take one of those ferries across the lake or chug up to the top of the mountain on the Schafburgbahn, a miniature steam train that was built in 1893 to take those early tourists up to the top for some breathtaking views and clear Alpine air.

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

View of the lake from Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

The White Horse Inn is also well known as the setting for a famous comic opera of the same name that was first performed in Berlin the 1930s and later made into several film versions – think Gilbert and Sullivan but in German. It’s a charming comedy of errors in which the Head Waiter of the White Horse Inn is in love with the owner, but her heart is set on one of her regular guests. When the object of her attention arrives, he promptly falls in love with someone else, but it all ends happily with everyone marrying the right person.

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

Hotel Weisse Rössl at St Wolfgang in Austria

The setting of The White Horse Inn right beside the lake is just perfect and there’s a spa with saunas, treatments and indoor pool as well as a wooden sun deck with an outdoor pool set in the lake. In May the sun was warm but the water a little cool for me, so I watched my husband and son playing a lovely game in which they swam a few lengths in the outdoor pool (pleasantly fresh) then jumped into the lake itself (freeeezing) to swim a few strokes before hopping out and into the outdoor jacuzzi (blissfully warm).

St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

St Wolfgang in Austria

St Wolfgang in Austria Photo: Heatheronhertravels.com

St Wolfgang in Austria

We also had fun borrowing the hotel’s pedalos to explore the lake shore near the hotel, peering up from the lake at St Wolfgang’s church tower and dodging the ducks. On our final morning we took the Shafburgbahn train up the mountain for a coffee with a stunning view – if we’d had more time, I’d have loved to do some hiking in the mountains around the lake. I’m normally happy to enjoy a place and move on but if you asked me to go back to Wolfgangsee and the White Horse Inn, I’d be there like a shot!

More stories from Salzburg and Wolfgangsee

Riding the steam train – on the Schafburgbahn at St Wolfgang – video
Podcast – Salzburg and Lake Wolfgang in Austria
Bratwurst and Sacher Torte – or what we ate in Salzburg, Austria

 If you’re thinking of visiting (trust me, it’s wonderful at any time of year)

Website for Wolfgangsee or Lake Wolfgang
Hotel Weisses Rössl or The White Horse Inn – Website - find them on Facebook
My new friend Wolfgang Linsmayer’s hotel at Gasthof Bürglstein
For more information about Holidays in Austria visit the Austrian Tourism Website and follow them on Twitter @Austria_UK
Check out this great video about Salzburg, Innsbruck and Graz as well as the other videos about Holidays in Austria

My thanks to the Austria National Tourism Office UK for hosting our trip to Salzburg and Wolfgangsee

www.flickr.com

heatheronhertravels' Austria - St Wolfgang and Wolfgangsee photoset heatheronhertravels’ Austria – St Wolfgang and Wolfgangsee photoset


This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Subscribe to Heatheronhertravels Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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