Tour Begins: 5:00 PM, Sheraton Grand Krakow. A transfer is included from the Sheraton Grand Krakow to Saint John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice or Kraków Main Train Station. Settle into your hotel, then join us for a memorable Tauck experience at nearby Wieliczka Salt Mine when you go underground for a welcome reception and dinner. If you wish, you can choose to take a robust walking tour prior to tonight's special evening - a fascinating descent down a shaft into the salt mine.
Auschwitz and Krakow
Drive into the countryside for a poignant visit to nearby Auschwitz with a local guide, then return to Krakow for a walking tour. Krakow reigned as the capital of Poland for nearly six centuries, its rulers residing at Wawel Castle until the court and parliament moved to Warsaw in 1609. Today it's renowned for preserving its country national identity with its prestigious university, royal castle, Gothic cathedral and still thriving Old Quarter. The remainder of the day is free to do as you wish.
Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains or Kazimierz
Nestled in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane was first established as a resort town at the end of the 18th century, known for helping heal tuberculosis patients. Not long after, skiers flocked to the town attracting by its alpine landscapes. Today it retains its role as a picturesque resort town that is enjoyed year-round. You will have an opportunity to sample its charms in person on an excursion that includes time to explore the area on your own. Or, you may wish to explore Krakow's Kazimierz District to learn more about its Jewish History with a visit to Schindler's Factory, now a museum. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Embark Your Riverboat in Vienna
Depart Krakow this morning for Vienna where your riverboat awaits your arrival. En route, drive through the ancient kingdom of Moravia in the easternmost part of the Czech Republic to Kromeriz for a walking tour and lunch; this town is best known for its castle and gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Embark ship this afternoon in Austria's imperial capital city. Enjoy a welcome reception and dinner onboard in your choice of dining venues, from the formal Compass Rose to Arthur's intimate bistro, followed by evening entertainment in the piano lounge.
Vienna, Past and Present
The Austrian capital of Vienna is a compact city with an abundance of important sights. Many are clustered around the Hofburg, the former Imperial Court. Farther afield you'll find palaces like Belvedere and Schönbrunn palaces, graced by gardens and gilded treasures. The city's Jewish Quarter, Judenplatz, is in the heart of the city, and the city's contemporary center, including the new Hauptbahnhof and the university campus, is also nearby. You will have a choice of exploring the city's Jewish heritage sites, contemporary sights or Schönbrunn on different excursions with our local guides. Spend the afternoon as you like, then dress for an exclusive royal dinner at the private Palais Pallavicini with sparkling entertainment, a highlight of your cruise!
Krems and Wachau Wines
Your riverboat arrives in the 1,000-year-old city of Krems this morning, located at the beginning of the Wachau Valley, celebrated for its exquisite Austrian wines. Spend the morning exploring as you wish, walking through town with a local guide or pedaling through the lush vineyard-lined landscapes of the Wachau Valley on a bicycle. This afternoon's wine tasting excursion offers an authentic taste of the grape and reveals time-honored secrets of the Austrian winemakers. After dinner onboard your riverboat tonight, your ship crew will entertain you with a fun-filled show!
Lovely Linz & the Lakes of Austria
Arrive in Linz this morning, inhabited since Roman times and one of Austria's leading cultural centers. Today you may choose to stay in town and join our local guides for a walking tour of Old Town with an opportunity to taste freshly baked Linzer Torte at a traditional coffee house. Then hop aboard the historic mountain tram to Pöstlingberg for panoramic views of the countryside and time at leisure to visit the beer gardens or the pilgrimage basilica. Alternatively, you may choose to spend a full day in the Lake District. Enjoy a boat ride and a visit to St. Wolfgang in Salzkammergut to see the famous Gothic winged altar in its 14th-century church.
Explore Straubing or Deggendorf
Spend the morning at leisure while your riverboat cruises to Deggendorf, Germany, for a choice of excursions in the nearby town of Straubing. An ancient settlement that dates back to 6,000 BC and is steeped with Roman roots, Straubing is the quintessential Bavarian city. Explore it as you wish, choosing from themed tours that offer a different perspective of the city. If you prefer, you may choose to explore Deggendorf on your own or take a bicycle ride to see the sights. Your riverboat departs for Kehlheim this evening.
An Abbey, BMWs and the Danube Gorge
Enjoy onboard commentary onboard your riverboat this morning. Disembark ship in Kelheim, located at the confluence of the Danube River and the Danube-Main Canal, for a choice of excursions. Take a walk through Kelheim followed by a visit to the Danube Gorge and Weltenburg Abbey or drive into the country for a tour of a working BMW factory, schedule permitting; or enjoy free time in Kelheim, perhaps riding along picturesque bike paths on one of your ship's complimentary bicycles.
Nürnberg or Bayreuth
Your riverboat docks in Roth this morning. Follow your passions today on a choice of morning sightseeing excursions. Music lovers will delight in a visit to nearby Bayreuth, once home to German composer Richard Wagner, and the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. Visit the lavish Baroque opera house and view its magnificent Baroque palaces. Or, join us for a locally guided tour of Nürnberg that focuses on its role in WWII. You will have the opportunity to view the Courthouse, Zeppelin Field rally grounds, and other sites associated with the war and its aftermath. Dinner tonight aboard the riverboat is preceded by farewell reception.
Disembark Ship and Train to Berlin
Disembark your riverboat after breakfast and board a fast train for Berlin. An introductory walking tour en route to your hotel gives you an overview of its many charms, from architecturally rich neighborhoods and manicured parks to historic monuments and memorials that line its famous avenues and riverfront promenades. Arrive at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Hotel this afternoon, ideally located near Brandenburg Gate, one of the city's most famous landmarks. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
A day in Berlin
In the years since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Berlin has emerged as one of the most exciting cities in the world. It's your choice of sightseeing excursions today - a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island for a guided museum tour or an in-depth tour of Berlin's Jewish Heritage sites. Everyone meets up for lunch and a boat ride, followed by time at leisure to explore Germany's vibrant capital as you wish. An optional bicycle ride this afternoon offers a new perspective on the city.
Berlin or historic Potsdam
Today you can choose to experience the city from one of three perspectives. Join us for a guided visit to the Baroque city of Potsdam, where the WWII-in-Europe-ending treaty was signed, attractively rebuilt after its wartime losses and a showcase of beautiful gardens and grand palaces. Your second sightseeing choice is an opportunity to explore World War II history in Berlin - and your third sightseeing choice is also in Berlin, an opportunity to learn more about the unification of the split city through a tour of contrasting sights and stories. Spend the remainder of the afternoon as you please; if you wish, take an optional bicycle ride to see Berlin from a different, modern-day perspective. Join us for a special farewell dinner tonight at the Parliament where a local resident shares a personal perspective of life behind the Iron Curtain.
Tour ends: Berlin. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Hotel Adlon Kempinski to Berlin Tegel Airport or Berlin Central Train Station. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.