“I’m going to travel along the Danube River,” I respond but before I can even get the rest of the information out I’m interrupted.
“Are you going on a cruise?” she said with excitement in her voice not even waiting for my answer but starting to launch into describing a river cruise she took on the Danube.
I interrupt, “No no. I’m going to do everything but cruise,” I reply smugly feeling a little pride when I hear the words come out of my mouth.
I can’t help it, I’ve been traveling for a long time to many places, and I take a ridiculous amount of pride in not doing what everyone else is doing. I love finding new lands, cities, and ways to explore things, it’s the one thing that keeps me going on this crazy adventure.
When the opportunity to travel the Danube River differently than everyone else was presented to me, I jumped at it. I have nothing against river cruising; it’s just not for me. I like to have more freedom in my travel and I want to really dig into a location and be as active as I can. And most importantly, I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing.
When I arrived in Germany, my goal was to explore the Danube river where cruise ships couldn’t go – to the beginning of the Young Danube where it bubbles up out of a spring. I wanted to watch it grow and explore the culture around the Young Danube and then stop right before the river got large enough for cruise ships to travel on it.
But my first piece of business was to understand the Danube’s origin and why it was so important. The Danube is the second longest river in Europe after the Volga River in Russia with an overall length of 1,780 miles. It travels through 10 countries: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Servia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. More than 80 million people live along the Danube making it the world’s most international river basin.
It all originates in the German town of Donaueshingen in the Black Forest region of Germany. This section of the Danube flowing from it’s original spring in Donaueshingen to Bavaria’s Regensburg is all considered the Young Danube (Dir Junge Donau in German). This is the section that is too small for riverboats to cruise through. This is where it’s still rather untouched and unknown to the rest of the world. And this is where I spent my week, exploring the adventures, food, beer, culture, and cities of the Young Danube.
I made this into a road trip so that I could experience the areas around the Young Danube as well as experience being on and in the river too. I flew into Frankfurt and out of Munich, driving solo through the areas of Baden Wurttemberg and Bavaria. You can see my route here as well as where I stopped and stayed overnight.
Danube River Road Trip Route
When I travel, I find the cheapest rental car rates at RentalCars.com. Check out their prices for a Germany road trip!
See all of my Young Danube Photography Here
The Young Danube had many surprises in store for me as I drove along it for a week. Blaze a new trail and follow this Young Danube Road Trip Series to learn all about what you can do on and around the Danube besides cruise!