Take a panoramic city tour through the more modern Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views of the city below. Return to your ship for lunch and the rest of the day is yours to explore both sides of the city. (B, L, D)
Your morning begins with a panoramic tour of the Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views. Rejoin your ship in Visegrád for lunch as we cruise along the scenic Danube River. Enjoy a midafternoon Viennese coffee workshop, complete with apple strudel. (B, L, D)
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Alternately, you may choose to join an optional excursion to see the famed Lipizzaner Stallions; or, express your creativity and create a lasting keepsake at an optional art workshop inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, explore the time-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate. Visit Göttweig, a working Benedictine abbey that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. The splendid ceiling fresco in the imperial stairwell is one of the largest in the world. Visit the church, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship and cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste some local Austrian specialties as you spot attractive riverside towns and castle ruins along the way. (B, L, D)
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You’ll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. Alternately, set out this morning with your guide to enjoy a full-day optional tour of picturesque Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and setting of The Sound of Music. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)†Passau organ concert is only available May 1-October 31 and is closed on Sunday.
After breakfast, meet your guide dockside for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets, shop or visit Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Würstküche. Lunch is served aboard your ship.
This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising along the Danube River, or take an optional Danube Narrows excursion. Travel by road to Kelheim and board a ferryboat to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. Visit Weltenburg Abbey*, renowned for the dark ale brewed here by monks since 1050, then rejoin your ship in Kelheim in time for dinner. (B, L, D)
*Weltenburg Abbey tour is available from May-October only
Very early this morning, we sail through the locks that comprise the Main–Danube Canal, an engineering marvel that stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube. It began as Charlemagne’s dream in 793 and was completed in 1992 with 16 locks that raise the water level 1,332 feet. Today, it enables river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Arrive in Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city, around lunchtime. Afterward, your city tour features Zeppelin Field, the former Nazi parade grounds, and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials; or, you can join an optional World War II tour of the illuminating Documentation Center Museum. You have a brief stop at the main courthouse before returning to Old Town, enclosed within ancient city walls.
Your tour comes to a close with a walk from the imperial palace grounds, past the Albrecht Dürer House and on to the Main Market Square with its elaborate Gothic fountain. Afterward you have some time on your own to explore. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 3 nights in Prague, Czech Republic, including a tour of Old Town and Prague Castle. (B)