Abstract: The economy and urban development of the riparian regions have been partly determined by the Danube as an inland navigation line (e.g. Dunaújváros, Smederovo, Lom, Calaraşi etc.), or the economy of these towns has been based on the other features of the river (e.g. Komárom/Komarno, Nyergesújfalu, Paks, Orsova, Vidin, Kozloduy etc.). In the aftermaths of the collapse of the communist regimes and the Soviet Union and the blockade of the traffic due to the crisis of ex-Yugoslavia, the role of the Danubian transport line was changed radically (Hardi 2012). Due to these changes and the emergence of the new economy, the function and situation of these towns transformed in the last two decades. Some of them could use the new possibilities, but many of them lost their economic basis and population, becoming a peripheral region or town. Our paper gives a comparative study about the features of the Danube towns, and characterizes the typical development ways of the riparian towns. The present study summarizes the experiences of an academic exchange programme among Romanian, Bulgarian and Hungarian institutions.