What entices you most about a river cruise through Central Europe? Does visiting historical sites pique your interest? How about architecture preserved from the 14thcentury or cities virtually untouched since Roman times? Maybe it’s walking down narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful Patrician houses or enjoying Germany’s famous beers? From Prague to vibrant Budapest, this Danube river cruise vacation takes you to four countries. And the scenic beauty along the way as you cruise past quaint towns can be experienced right from your stateroom or while sipping wine atop the Sky Deck of your ship.
Enjoy three nights in Prague, one of Europe’s most beautiful cities. Stand in front of Old Town’s medieval Astronomical Clock, which amazes as an intricate art piece and visualization of time unlike anything else in the world. Travel to Nuremberg, Germany, to board your river cruise vessel docked on the Main Danube Canal and visit this thousand-year-old city with a Local Guide. Next, reach Regensburg, the only German city not bombed during WWII. Lovers of architecture will enjoy the many listed buildings of historic interest, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Passau, known for its narrow, winding streets, offers the magnificent Italian baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral. In Melk, you will visit Austria’s majestic Benedictine Abbey, one of Europe’s largest monasteries, which sits high on a bluff. Take in the breathtaking views before continuing through the picturesque Wachau Valley to the romantic sounds of Vienna, the “City of Music.”
Your European river cruise holiday ends in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, with guided sightseeing and free time to explore this vibrant city on your own.
Your day-by-day itinerary indicates in UPPERCASE all inside visits, special features, and guided sightseeing. All included guided sightseeing is conducted by a Certified Local Guide. Choose the sightseeing pace that suits you
Leisurely, Traditional, or Independent (where available).
Welcome to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic. This fascinating city straddles the Vltava River with domes, cupolas, spires, and pinnacles highlighting its skyline. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring.
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time, and, unlike other Central European capitals, it was not bombed during the 20th-century wars. A LOCAL GUIDE shows you its best-known treasures, such as the Old Town’s Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADCANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the shops for hand-cut crystal or art books. Mix with the locals in Wenceslas Square, an important meeting point and where people demonstrated against the communist regime; or watch performers on Charles Bridge. (B)
Enjoy a free day to explore at your own pace. Perhaps visit the Communist Museum, sample local plum dumplings and Pilsner, or stroll along the Vltava River. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (B)
After lunch, drive to Nuremberg, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew for a welcome reception. (B,D)
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. (B,L,D)
Arrive in Regensburg today. Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brucke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstkuche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Bask in the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS! (B,L,D)
This morning, dock in Passau. Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses and dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. Alternatively, choose from several full-day optional excursions while your ship continues to sail into Austria. Rejoin your vessel in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)
This morning, enjoy an included GUIDED VISIT of Melk’s magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You’ll be captivated by the splendour of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 60 metre (210-foot) high cupola. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! Then, cruise through the picturesque Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue facade, the landmark of Durnstein, before arriving in Vienna this evening. Known as the “City of Music,” it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available tonight. (B,L,D)
Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral-plus, countless other sights shown to you by your LOCAL GUIDE during your included CITY TOUR. Shop in the delightful pedestrian Karntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! In the late afternoon, leave Vienna for Budapest. (B,L,D)
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Cafe, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges-famous sights in and of themselves-which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica; shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika at one of its 180 vendor stalls; wander around the Royal Palace grounds; or stroll along Vaci utca, the main shopping street. (B,L,D)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)