A few weeks after we got back from Croatia, my boyfriend and I left for a new adventure with my parents - a cruise on the Danube through Europe from Vienna to Belgrade. We stayed on a small-ish cruise boat, River Navigator, with about 140 guests + the crew. Here is a few thoughts about the different cities we passed through..
Vienna was a really nice city. As we only spent one day in most of the cities, we really only got to scratch the surface, but the surface was definitely nice. We did a bus tour with a guide, visiting all the famous places like the Hundertwasser house and St. Stephen's Cathedral. We had lunch at a place called Tel Aviv Beach, right on the river side, which was absolutely delicious, and I would highly recommend it. We also went to the top in St. Stephen's Cathedral and had some amazing vegan ice cream at Veganista! In the evening we went to a classical concert with music from Mozart ant Strauss. The music was beautiful, and it was a great experience.
I honestly don't feel like I spent enough time here to really get a good impression of the city. We had a walking tour, went up to the castle, and then had some free time to explore. It seemed like a quite calm and quiet place which I liked, but I think I would have to pay it another visit to give you a full opinion. Our tour guide was really funny though, and we had a great time!
My favorite city from the trip! I really really loved Budapest, and I would love to go back! We were also lucky enough to spent two full days here, which was great as it allowed us to explore a bit more of the city. We went to the main tourist attractions like the citadella and liberty statue, the fisherman's bastion and the heroes' square. We also went to the Széchenyi Thermal Bath which was huge with both indoor and outdoor baths with every temperature and size. I definitely recommend going if you're in Budapest.
Two of my favorite things from Budapest were the market hall and the synagoge. The market hall was a huge indoor market with a ton of different stalls with everything from fresh fruit and veg to clothes, bags, little nicknacks, tons of dried chilli and so much more. I love markets, and just walking through all the stalls looking at so many new and interesting things is just amazing! And the synagoge was just beautiful! I have only ever been to one before, the Portuguese synagoge in Amsterdam which was also beautiful, but this one was just gorgeous! The decorations and embellishments were just breathtaking, the ceilings were unbelievable and it was just overall such a unique and amazing experience. There was also a museum and an outdoor area with some history and information there as well.
Our next stop was Pécs. The ship stopped in Mohács and we took a bus in to Pécs. The town was so quiet when we were there, with hardly any people around. I think it is usually quite busy though, as it is a big university city. We walked around the old part of the city for a bit, saw an old monastery and church and just relaxed with some fresh juice..
Vukovar was such an interesting town with so much history. It is very close to the Serbian border and was the first place that was attacked during the Balkan war. It is a town that I don't think many people visit, but I am so happy that I got to experience it, with such a mix of war-weathered and new buildings, and a really special atmosphere.
Novi Sad (Serbia)
This was our first Serbian city, and it was such a cool one. I really liked Novi Sad with the big main street just for pedestrians with a ton of restaurants and shops and just so much life. There was a huge festival going on when we were there, so the whole place just seemed so happy. We mostly spent the day just walking around the city, sitting down for something to drink. We also had some ice cream, of course :) After dinner on the ship, we went back into the city for a couple of drinks and to just experience the evening life.
Belgrade is another place that I really don't feel like I have a good enough impression of. We had a bus tour around to see the main attractions and we also went for a walk in the Kalmegdan park with the fortress and inside the huge orthodox cathedral that is still being built. Our tour guide for the day was actually moving to Norway to study at the university where both my boyfriend and I are, which was a fun coincidence. After the tour we had a little bit of free time to walk around before we had lunch at a really cool place right outside the city centre. It had a kind of farm like feel to it, and we were served traditional Serbian food and there was also a live band. Then we headed off to the airport..
Spending a week on a guided tour like this was a little bit intense and I feel like sometimes you don't really get to know the place before you are on to the next. It is a really good way to experience a lot and especially the highlights of a lot of different places in a really short period of time though, so overall I really enjoyed it. The crew on the ship were also really friendly and the food was overall really nice! If I had to pick my top three destinations that we visited I would choose Budapest, Novi Sad and Vukovar. I definitely want to go back to Budapest again, and I would love to visit some of these other places sometime in the future too!