Regions & Maps
The Route of Emperors and Kings extends along the Danube from mediaeval Regensburg, through Passau, Linz, Vienna and Bratislava, to the metropolis of Budapest, linking urban cultural centres, historic treasures and world-class landscapes. This is where the history of Central Europe was written, and this history remains very much a part of life today. From Roman times onwards, kings and queens travelled on and along the Danube with their royal entourages. Over the centuries, this age-old route therefore came to be known as the ‘Route of Emperors and Kings’ – and it has lost none of its appeal to this day.
Highlights of the region
On July 30, 2021 the time had come: The Roman Limes along the Danube in Bavaria, Austria and Slovakia received the long-awaited and longed-for seal of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At UNESCO this is officially called: “Transnational site Danube Limes inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List”. The Limes as a former border of the Roman Empire stretched from northern England across Europe and the Middle East to North Africa.
In spring 500 years ago – in 1521 – the Imperial Diet of Worms took place: Emperor Charles V had convened it, a gigantic “event” one would say today, during which the city was actually in high spirits. Both the approximately 10,000 guests and the locals partied day and night during the event, ignoring the fasting period and most of the otherwise well-liked “good customs”.
The so-called “Pasetti Map” as a reproduction is enthroned among books, stucco and marble, thus emphasising in picturesque surroundings its importance of once: on a length of 44 metres, the reproduction of the navigation map from the Danube monarchy shows us what the Danube once was – when it was not yet regulated.
Staying at the vintner’s, sitting in the guest garden near the Danube, taking a tour with the winegrower through his vineyards or simply stopping at the Heuriger, drinking a glass of Wachau DAC and eting a few sandwiches with spreads: The Wachau is simply a picturesque and enjoyable feel-good region – especially in the warm months.
When the Bavarian princess Elisabeth from the Wittelsbach family boarded the Danube ship “Stadt Regensburg” in Straubing on 21 August 1854, it was not to start a pleasure cruise. No, the 16-year-old was on a bridal trip, or rather, she was on her way to the “wedding of the century” in Vienna.
The “Passauer Tölpel”, a landmark that can also be enjoyed as a delicious gingerbread cake, tells his story: “I fell from Passau Cathedral and broke my beautiful body. I’m still alive and kicking, just a little weak in the head.” The stone head from Passau must have once fallen from a cathedral, so it’s no wonder he’s still a bit confused and considered a dolt.
On June 1st, the new exhibition at Schallaburg Castle in Lower Austria opened its doors: “DANUBE – People, Treasures & Cultures” is its theme and its itinerary is a little unusual for us visitors.
2850 kilometres of pure natural landscape along the Danube, 2850 times to breathe deeply and experience vastness: That is the Danube Cycle Path, an active nature and cultural experience. The Danube Cycle Path is also called the “mother of river cycle paths” and is one of the most popular cycle paths in Europe.
‘The Danube – Route of Emperors and Kings’ is an international working group which includes ten tourism organisations and river cruise lines. These members work to promote their common European heritage and let visitors today travel in the footsteps of Marcus Aurelius, Frederick I, the Habsburgs and many others.