Sail through Central Europe’s splendid capitals and charming towns in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, and Germany on your Danube River cruise. You’ll also be our guest in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau for the once-a-decade performance season of the world-renowned Passion Play.
Your European river cruise begins in Budapest, Hungary to enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of Heroes’ Square and the iconic sites of the “Pearl of the Danube.” Next, set sail for the Slovakian capital of Bratislava to see the Old Town and the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral.
You’ll cruise to Vienna, Austria to see the Habsburg Imperial Palace and Vienna Opera House. Later savor the spectacular views of the Wachau Valley through Austria’s picturesque wine country. Enjoy a local wine tasting, join a hike to Dürnstein’s castle ruins, and visit Melk’s stunning Benedictine Abbey.
Your Danube River cruise continues to Linz, where you will see Austria’s largest medieval square—the Hauptplatz, and the 1723 Trinity Column. Enjoy a guided city walk through the cobblestone streets of Passau, Germany and the magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
As the cruise portion of your Central European vacation concludes, you’ll begin an exciting guided tour of Austria and Germany, including Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein Castle, and Innsbruck’s St. James and Hofkirche Cathedrals.
This guided vacation through Germany is highlighted by your visit to the idyllic Bavarian village of Oberammergau for the Passion Play. Performed only once a decade, the Passion Play is a stunning theatrical event with a history dating back to 1634. Enjoy preferred seating and accommodations in the heart of Oberammergau for the Passion Play.
Enjoy guided sightseeing in Munich, including Nymphenburg Palace, the Marienplatz, and gothic Frauenkirche. Sample Munich’s Biergärtens and cafés, and see the famous Glockenspiel.
The perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and inspiration—your Avalon Danube River cruise with the once-a decade performance of Oberammergau’s Passion Play—is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
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 Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (D) NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm
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. Heroes’ Square is one of the many sights you will see on your GUIDED TOUR of the city. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges – many 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. During your free time this afternoon, perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica, with marvellous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Vaci utca, the main shopping street. (B,L,D)
This morning, enjoy the beautiful scenery on both banks of the Danube. As you cruise upriver, Hungary is on your left and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 93-kilometre (58-mile) stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia, which you reach in mid-morning. Join a LOCAL GUIDE to explore its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city; and gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. (B,L,D)
Known as the “City of Music”, Vienna inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. Join us for a Guided Sightseeing Tour of Vienna, including the Kuntskammer’s remarkable collection of more than 2,100 valuable objects, which were collected through the centuries by the emperors and archdukes of Habsburg. The afternoon is at leisure. Stroll through the pedestrian Karntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighbourhood cafe. An optional concert is available tonight. (B,L,D)
Durnstein, known for the magnificent baroque, Stiftskirche built in the 1700s, is right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. The main street of this small town – with a population of less than 1,000 people – is lined with 16th-century homes and charming cobblestone streets. This morning your Local Guide will take you on an included WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Alternatively, you may choose to join a guided hike up to the castle ruins to take in the spectacular view of the village, Danube, and the Wachau Valley below. During lunchtime, sail the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk in the early afternoon. Here, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of the 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! This evening, sample some of the Wachau Valley’s FAMOUS WINES. (B,L,D)
This morning, arrive in Linz, Austria’s third-largest city and enjoy a guided walk which shows you the highlights, Linz is an important river port where culture plays a significant role in everyday life. Composer Anton Bruckner lived here, and Mozart’s Linzer Symphony was composed in the city. See the 13th-century Hauptplatz, Austria’s largest medieval square, and the Trinity Column, built in 1723 as thanks for the city escaping the ravages of the plague, war, and fire. This afternoon there is free time to explore on your own. Perhaps wander around the old castle grounds and take in the beautiful views of the river, or visit the neo-gothic New Cathedral, Austria’s largest church, with capacity for 20,000 visitors. Alternatively, you might choose to join a full-day optional excursion to medieval Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; or to Salzburg with its Sound of Music sites. (B,L,D)
This morning, arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets dominated by St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Join a Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers”. (B,L,D)
This morning bid farewell to your crew after breakfast and take a scenic drive through the Bavarian Alps to King Ludwig’s fairy-tale NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, high above the village of Hohenschwangau. Continue to Innsbruck, capital of the Austrian region of Tyrol, for a 2-night stay. (B)
Join your local guide for a morning GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Innsbruck, visit St. James Cathedral and the Hofkirche. The afternoon is at your leisure to explore Innsbruck on your own, or take an optional excursion to the Swarovski Crystal World in the nearby Wattens. This evening a Tyrolean optional dinner will be on offer. (B)
This morning a motorcoach transfer will take you to Oberammergau for the highlight of the holiday: the original PASSION PLAY, which is performed only once a decade by the residents of the village since 1634. Dinner will be served during intermission. (B,D)
This morning, depart for Germany’s lively city – Munich. Although a large city, Munich oﬀers a small-town feel with its pedestrian- and bike-friendly atmosphere. With its historical museums, splendid English Garden, traditional cafes, and delightful shops, Munich oﬀers plenty to see and do. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you the highlights of this fascinating city, including Nymphenburg Palace, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs; MARIENPLATZ with its Old and New Town Halls; and the gothic Frauenkirche, a prominent landmark for Munich. Then, enjoy time on your own in this vibrant city. Watch the famous Glockenspiel, which recreates a royal wedding from the 16th century; enjoy the pedestrian zone; linger at an outdoor cafe; or relax alongside the locals at one of the many Biergarten or breweries to sample one of the Bavarian beer specialties. An evening optional dinner is on offer. (B)
Your holiday ends with breakfast this morning. (B)