The Route of Emperors and Kings was the favoured thoroughfare of European royalty as they made their way along the majestic Danube River — the second longest river in all of Europe. Today, this historic route takes travellers through two countries, three UNESCO World Heritage destinations, and countless towns, churches and monasteries for 248 miles/400 km to Regensburg in Bavaria.
This east-west route can be taken in either direction but we suggest you start in Vienna, the city of art, architecture and music. Home to countless museums and priceless collections of European art, Vienna has been a cultural centre since the 15th century. It is a city that has worn many identities and this is reflected in its grand buildings and Baroque palaces from the time of the Holy Roman Empire to the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. The renowned composers Schubert, Strauss and Schoenberg were born here and Brahms, Beethoven and Mozart all called Vienna home.
From Vienna, follow the Danube north and west, and when you reach the S5 toll road proceed south to Tulln. Located on the southern bank of the Danube, Tulln is one of the oldest cities in Austria. In the Middle Ages Tulln was an important crossing point and it retains its convivial charm by welcoming visitors with an abundance of parks, gardens and green spaces. For this reason it is often referred to as the City of Flowers.
For the next stop, return to the toll road and continue west along S5 until you reach Krems, the eastern gateway to the Wachau Valley. Krems is a remarkably well-preserved village with architecture that dates back more than a thousand years. Visitors come year-round for a variety of festivals and cultural activities. Don’t miss the Wine Museum, which is housed in a monastery of exceptional beauty.
The north-south stretch of the 33 motorway runsfrom Krems to Melk and takes you through the Wachau river valley. Regarded as the heart of the Danube, you’ll find a wealth of churches, castles and monasteries that add to the breathtaking scenery. Wachau is also one of Austria’s most well regarded wine regions, which means there are plenty of opportunities for vineyard tours and wine tastings.
From Melk, follow E60 west until you reach 139. This will lead you directly to Linz, which takes its name from the Roman and Celtic words for “bend in the river”. Here, where the Danube changes direction, the contemporary sits alongside the classical. Austria’s third largest city is known for the way it has integrated technology into urban life. Visitors with a sweet tooth can indulge in the local specialty: Linzer torte, which is said to be the oldest cake in the world.
Prepare to say farewell to Upper Austria as you enter Passau in Eastern Bavaria. Situated at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers on the Austrian border, Passau is often referred to as the City of Three Rivers. Passau is a lively university town and home to the Glass Museum, which showcases the art and history of glassblowing. The Crystal Road makes for a fascinating side trip.
For the last stop, continue northwest to Regensburg, a town that has maintained its medieval charm yet has a history that can be traced back over 2,000 years. What began as a Roman river camp blossomed into a metropolis of the Middle Ages when it was an important trading centre with routes to cities all over Europe and beyond. Regensburg’s architecture is a testament to its rich history with a mix of stone bridges, Baroque buildings and a Gothic cathedral. It is a place where visitors are always welcome and kings and emperors feel right at home.
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The competition start on the 20th of May until the 10th of June 2015, and will be announced on social media. Full terms and conditions can be found below.
Terms and conditions
- The competition is available in the following markets: UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain and Italy and there will be one winner of a free voucher for a rental day in eachmarket
- Free voucher includes the Rental Rate, CDW, TP and Unlimited Mileage for a day’s rental. Your rental charges will be adjusted at the rental station on presentation of this voucher
- Prize draw takes place on the 10th June 2015 and Hertz will make all reasonable attempts to contact the winner. If the winner does not confirm prize acceptance after three (3) days, or if there is insufficient information supplied to contact the winner, the prize will be forfeited
- The promoter's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into
- Voucher applies to Compact car groups and above on Hertz’ Daily and Weekly Inclusive’ non prepaid retail rates for rentals of 2 days or more. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance
- Voucher can be used at participating locations in Europe, the USA and Canada and may not apply to domestic rentals in certain countries
- Voucher may not be combined with a CDP number and the relevant PC number must be quoted at booking ( EU rentals: 129710, US rentals: 130572)
- Voucher must be surrendered prior to or at end of rental, Hertz will adjust charges and apply the Free Day if this voucher is redeemed as required
- All rentals are subject to Hertz’ standard terms and conditions
- The promotion runs from the 20th of May until the 10th of June
- The prize draw is open to persons over the age of 21
- No cash alternative is offered and the prize cannot be sold
- To be eligible for the draw, online customers must enter using the #HertzDrives
- By entering the competition, permission is granted for Hertz Europe to use images uploaded on social media platforms for promotional purposes only
- The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and Twitter.
- Hertz reserves the right to suspend, cancel or amend the promotion and/or revise these terms and conditions at any time without giving prior notice and by continuing to take part in this promotion subsequent to any such revision of these terms and conditions entrants shall be deemed to have been agreed to any such new or amended terms
-PC code can not be used on one way rentals
- Promoter: Hertz Europe Limited, based at Hertz House, 11 Vine Street, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1QE, United Kingdom. This promotion is subject to English Law and is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts