Hiking around the beautiful backdrops of Europe is one of the most popular activities among guests looking to make the most of our eclectic selection of port visits. Transported to the heart of some of Europe’s most wonderful towns, cities and regions, guests can take advantage by strapping on the walking boots and picking up the trekking poles.
Here we look at just two of our favourite hiking spots, Dürnstein Castle and the Black Forest.
Located in the beautiful Lower Austrian town of Dürnstein, the eponymous castle overlooks the charismatic wine-producing Wachau region and one of the most stunning stretches of the Danube. Although currently in a ruinous state, the medieval castle is a site of historical significance and ancient beauty.
With a recorded history dating back to the 12th century, Dürnstein Castle was irreversibly sewn into history textbooks when it was the site of King Richard I’s capture by Leopold V, Duke of Austria. Leopold the Virtuous was suspicious of Richard the Lionheart, believing him the man who gave the order for his cousin’s murder.
Although Leopold was eventually implored to hand over Richard, Dürnstein Castle stood strong for several centuries, until it was eventually destroyed by the troops of the Swedish Empire.
The guided tour around Dürnstein Castle provided by Emerald Waterways takes in the grand ruins of the castle as well as a tour of the surrounding Wachau region – offering some of the most jaw-dropping views across the Danube.
The guided hike to Dürnstein Castle is offered as part of the Danube Delights river cruise.
The Black Forest
The incredible fairy tale land of the Black Forest is said to have provided the inspiration to so many of the stories produced by the Grimm Brothers. Rich with a series of rivers, lakes and streams, and bestowed with an incredible range of mountains and hills; the landscape of this wonderful part of Germany is as dramatic as it is captivating.
A mixture of deciduous trees and firs complete the incredible spectacle; as they reach far into the sky, and into the distance. The small, traditional villages dotted throughout the Black Forest provide an insight into ancient German life, with the dwellings seemingly untouched by the modern world. Here you can explore the traditional arts of Black Forest cookery (including the amazing gateau) and cuckoo clock carpentry.
Hiking trails wind their way through the Black Forest, helping you navigate the myriad of routes through the extensive woodlands. But fear not, the experienced Emerald Waterways guide will help ensure your safe passage through the forest – introducing you to some of the most amazing views and experiences in the Black Forest.
The guided hike around the Black Forest is offered as part of the Jewels of the Rhine river cruise.
What to Pack
Whilst we provide many of the essential pieces of kit, as well as local experts on our guided tours, there are still a few bits of equipment we’d recommend you pack yourself.
Walking Boots - A pair of comfortable, well-fitting walking boots are essential for a comfortable hike. The last thing you want is to come back with blisters and sore soles thanks to a pair of unfamiliar boots, or shoes built for style rather than comfort.
- Thick Socks – Going hand-in-hand with the walking boots, thick socks are essential if you’re going the extra mile.
- Sun Protection – With the main river cruise calendar operating through the warmer months of the year, there’s a decent chance that glorious sun will be shining, so make sure you’re well protected with sunscreen, sunglasses, a suitable hat and lip balm.
- Water and Snacks – Keeping you refreshed, hydrated and energised throughout a hike, help yourself to the complimentary bottles of water and snacks provided aboard your Emerald Waterways ship.
- Binoculars – The Emerald Waterways guided hikes pass some of the most stunning landscapes in the world, so make sure you miss nothing with the help of a trusty pair of binoculars.
- Camera – Likewise, the stunning views afforded when touring these beautiful parts of the world on foot deserved to be captured and cherished for a lifetime.
- Trekking Poles – Taking a little burden off the legs, trekking poles can make some of the harder hikes a breeze. Even those difficult inclines soon become easily surmountable.
For more information and help choosing the perfect Emerald Waterways river cruise, call our friendly team on 0808 301 4705. Alternatively, visit our homepage for the full range of river cruises.