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Castles & Legends Munich to Budapest

Expand your Danube Waltz river cruise with two nights each in Bavaria and Austria, and watch history and legend unfold on one enriching cruisetour. Explore Munich, with exciting side trips to the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Palace. Stroll in the footsteps of Mozart and the von Trapps in Salzburg. And during a 7-night cruise along the fabled Danube, discover glittering Vienna and cosmopolitan Budapest, sampling cherished vintages as you sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley past vineyards and villages. Two riverside jewels – the baroque Melk Abbey and Slovakia’s fascinating capital of Bratislava – round out this legendary experience.

  • Price starts at: $3899
  • Tour length: 12 Days
  • Trip Type: River Cruise

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Itinerary & Activities

Itinerary Map
(click for larger version)
Itinerary

Munich

Arrive in Munich, the historic capital of German Bavaria. Transfer from the airport to your hotel, then take some free time to get acquainted with the city on your own. Perhaps you’ll browse the main square, Marienplatz.

Munich

Today’s full-day tour takes you to two of the region’s most spectacular palatial treasures built by one of Bavaria’s most celebrated monarchs, King Ludwig II. Begin with a drive into the countryside, where you will visit the famed castle of Neuschwanstein. This fairy-tale fortress was built by Ludwig as homage to composer Richard Wagner. Then, continue to Linderhof Palace, said to have been inspired by the Palace of Versailles despite its relatively small size. (B)

Munich

Explore Munich this morning on a guided city tour. See Nymphenburg Palace, former summer residence of Bavarian rulers, the broad Maximilianstrasse, lined with impressive neo-Gothic buildings, monuments, high-end shops and the Bavarian State Opera. Observe the famous Glockenspiel at Marienplatz, and experience the gastronomic joy of the Viktualienmarkt, these days a gourmet market renowned for its diversity and size. After lunch, you will continue to Salzburg, the revered birthplace of Mozart and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B)

Salzburg

During a morning walking tour of Salzburg, you will see the place of Mozart’s birth. Then, continue to the Alter Markt, Salzburg’s oldest marketplace, dating from the 13th century. On Cathedral Square, see the impressive Salzburg Cathedral and the statue of the Virgin Mary, surrounded by allegoric figures on four sides, as well as St. Peter’s Abbey and Salzburg’s famous Festival Halls, where international stars of opera, concert and theater have performed during the Salzburg Festival for nearly a century. The afternoon is free to continue exploring on your own. (B)

Passau

This morning, see the most renowned sites where The Sound of Music was filmed, including the gardens at Mirabell Palace, where the Pegasus Fountain and a now-famous stairway played a role in the song “Do-Re-Mi.” You will also see Nonnberg Abbey, Leopoldskron Palace, Hellbrunn Palace, and Mondsee Cathedral, where Maria and Baron von Trapp’s wedding was filmed. Continue to Passau, where the Inn and Ilz Rivers meet the Danube, to embark your ship.

Passau

Today you will take a walking tour of this elegant town, called the Dreiflüssestadt (“City on Three Rivers”), which is situated at the confluence of the Danube, Ilz and Inn Rivers. 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.† This afternoon, you are free to explore Passau. See the sights and experience the local culture, or simply relax aboard your ship before departure. (B, L, D)

†Passau organ concert is only available May 1-October 31 and is closed on Sunday.

Linz

Arrive in Linz this morning and set off on an all-day excursion to the beautiful Bohemian town of Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ride through the scenic Czech countryside and take a walking tour featuring the lovely historic center of the city with many baroque and Renaissance buildings, dating back hundreds of years. You have some free time to enjoy Krumlov’s charming streets, filled with cafés, shops, galleries and pubs. Maybe stop for lunch in one of the many local restaurants. Return aboard for dinner and a late-evening departure. (B, D)

Melk

This morning, visit the 900-year-old abbey at Melk, a Benedictine monastery that began life as a castle of Leopold II. See its spectacular wall and ceiling frescoes; take note of the library’s comprehensive medieval manuscript collection; and admire the graceful spiral staircase. After lunch aboard your ship, we stop at the picturesque Wachau Valley town of Dürnstein, where you can explore on your own, or join an optional excursion to sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region. (B, L, D)

Vienna

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. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and Roman ruins. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)

Bratislava

After an afternoon arrival, you embark on a walking tour of Slovakia’s charming capital to see attractions like the medieval fortifications at Michael’s Tower, baroque Jesuit Church and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. You also pass by several baroque palaces from the Hapsburg Dynasty before you return to your ship and depart late tonight. (B, L, D)

Budapest

Today we visit highlights of the once separate towns of Buda and Pest, starting with Pest’s National Opera House and historic Heroes’ Square. In Buda, walk along Castle Hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. You may wish to visit the Art Nouveau Gellért Spa, or one of the many other lavish facilities in this “City of Healing Waters.” Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian farewell dinner. (B, L, D)

Budapest

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 additional nights in Budapest, giving yourself more time to explore the bustling Hungarian capital. (B)


Things to Know

Preparing For Your Trip
  • Make Sure to Bring All of Your Important Documents: Passport, Foreign visa (if applicable), Itinerary, Trip confirmation, Airline ticket, Drivers license, Credit cards, Travel documents.

  • Vaccinations Are Required for Entry to Some Countries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) can provide you their recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad.

  • Are You Taking Any Prescriptions or Other Medications? Pack enough to last your entire trip, including some extra in case you are unexpectedly delayed.

  • Insurance: Purchase travel insurance to cover yourself against unexpected situations. You never know when something might happen, so always be prepared.
While Traveling
  • Keep an eye on your belongings. Do not leave your belongings unattended in public spaces

  • Always have local cash. Not every place takes credit cards.
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