The Danube is Europe’s second longest river and flows through 10 countries — the most in the world. It has long been celebrated for its breathtaking views, dotted with castles and villages that have stood for centuries. It’s also a source of electricity and drinking water. This amazing body of water has so much beauty and history surrounding it — so much folklore — that you’re going to want to see for yourself as soon as possible. Here are a collection of photos of the Danube that will make you want to book your river cruise pronto.

Bratislava Castle Over the Danube River — Bratislava, Slovakia

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Bratislava Castle is one of the most well-known landmarks in Slovakia. There have been 11 kings and 8 queens crowned there. Sitting high on a hill overlooking the Danube, Bratislava Castle is one of the highest points in the city and practically greets you as you arrive.

Parliament — Budapest, Hungary

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The Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest is a popular tourist destination and sits right on the bank of the Pest side of the Danube River. As the Hungarian Holy Crown is housed in Parliament, only guided tours are available and officials suggest that you book in advance — spots fill quickly.

Sunset Over the Liberty Bridge — Budapest, Hungary

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Liberty Bridge was built for the Hungarian Millennium World Exhibition in 1896, but it’s an active bridge today connecting the Buda and Pest sides of the city. The bridge was almost completely destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1946, but it still had minor structural damages until 2007. It’s decorated with mythical structures and Hungary’s coat of arms.

Fireworks Over Pest and the Danube River — Budapest, Hungary

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Budapest loves a good time. The city sets off fireworks at least twice a year — on New Year’s and on St. Stephen’s Day celebrating the founding of Hungary. Budapest river cruises are very popular for both tourists and locals, especially on New Year’s, as the Danube flows through the heart of the city and passengers can see everything. It’s a sight to behold.

The Statue of Decebalus on the Danube River — Orsova, Romania

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This statue is dedicated to King Decebalus, the last king of Dacia. He successfully fought the Romans in three wars before being captured during the fourth. It is the tallest rock relief in Europe and took 10 years to complete. It’s not as old as it looks, however. The statue was completed in 2004.

Durnstein on the Danube River — Wachau Valley, Austria

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Durnstein is one of the most-visited cities in the Wachau Valley and is home to Durnstein Castle, where Richard the Lionheart was once a prisoner. Durnstein is known for its wineries (specializing in Rieslings) and apricots.

Vienna at Night — Vienna, Austria

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The former seat of the Holy Roman Empire is now one of the world’s most livable cities. Vienna is a popular destination for its neoclassical architecture, palaces and fortresses and modern vibe. Visit the Opera House to see the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or ride the giant ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad.

Passau on the Danube — Passau, Germany

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Passau, a town in Lower Bavaria, is popular for its cycling, but the real attraction here is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. A Catholic church and one of the highest points in town, it has one of the world’s largest pipe organs that plays daily at noon between May and October.