Phillip Cullinan Photography | Vienna | Photo 13

The Danube is one of Europe's most celebrated rivers. It's much loved by the Viennese, including composers who have honored their favorite Fluss with everything from waltzes to sentimental songs. For a river that plays such a key role in Viennese tradition, the Danube (Donau in German) is a disappointment to many tourists. That's because the most visible part to inner-city visitors is the Donaukanal, an artificial channel or bypass that borders the old quarter of central Vienna. The river itself is farther away, beyond the 2nd District, where it's divided into two sections by the manmade Donauinsel or "Danube Island," which offers cycling, picknicking, and water recreation of every type. Just a little farther on is the nicely preserved Alte Donau, or "Old Danube," where you'll find old-fashioned swimming beaches and café-restaurants that offer boat rentals and (in winter) ice skating.