Experience timeless holiday traditions and elegant pageantry in four countries—Hungary, Austria and Germany. Let iconic capital cities — Budapest and Vienna — decked in holiday finery with glittering Christmas trees illuminated by thousands of lights, bells pealing from cathedral towers and children dressed as angels singing Christmas carols, dazzle you. Wander the stalls of Europe’s most traditional and enchanting Christmas Markets, including Nuremberg, Regensburg and Salzburg, shopping for handcrafted toys and gifts, sipping hot mulled wine and inhaling the fragrance of gingerbread and roasted chestnuts. Cherish all the glory and magic of the season in grand European style as you cruise along the Danube during this festive time of the year.
EMBARKATION – VILSHOFEN, GERMANY. Board the AmaMagna in Vilshofen for your Christmas Markets on the Danube cruise. Then, join Vilshofen locals and fellow guests for a glass of beer and a traditional German pretzel ashore at a festive Oktoberfest celebration.
PASSAU, GERMANY. During the season of Advent, beautiful Passau dresses in her Bavarian holiday splendor, which you will discover on your walking tour through the city and at its Christmas Market at St. Stephen’s Square—also home to its magnificent cathedral. Go in search of unique crafts, including Bavarian-style houses and glass ornaments. Or, climb to the Mariahilf prigrimage church and monastery, enthroned high above Innstadt, a suburb of Passau that offers magnificent views across the old town and surrounding countryside. You may also choose to bike along the scenic Inn River from Passau to Wernstein and back. Later in the day, enjoy daytime scenic cruising around the Horseshoe Bend.
LINZ, AUSTRIA. Linz is known for being the city of Christmas crèches and its ever-popular Linzer torte. While here, you have a choice of excursions. The first is a morning walking tour through Linz’s old city center and by the Mozart House, where the famous musician composed the Linz Symphony in only three days, as well as visit Linz’s Christmas Markets. For the more active explorers, try a guided bike tour around Linz. Or take a full-day trip to Salzburg, known as the setting of The Sound of Music, where the distinctive city’s Christmas Markets also beckon. During the afternoon, you can visit the charming mountain town, Česky Krumlov, located just over the Czech-Austrian border.
MELK, AUSTRIA – SPITZ, AUSTRIA. In the morning, you can visit the 900-year-old Melk Abbey situated high atop the granite cliffs of the Danube, or get active with a bike ride to Spitz before returning to Melk and the ship for lunch. During the afternoon, journey to Spitz and then take a guided excursion to Dürnstein, where you’ll stroll along the cobblestone streets to the Baroque Stiftskirche, with its famed church tower, on a walking tour. Those who wish a more active adventure of the area can hike to Dürnstein Fortress, cycle through Spitz or hike in the town. In the evening, be treated to an exclusive wine festival where you’ll enjoy some of the region’s famous wines.
VIENNA, AUSTRIA. The “City of Waltzes” offers a treasure trove of gems just waiting to be discovered. Join a tour showcasing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs, before concluding in Vienna’s historic city center. If you prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride through Vienna. Later in the day, enjoy the festivities of Vienna’s Christmas Markets, indulge in free time to explore Vienna on your own or cap the day off with “Vienna by Night” Christmas Markets at the beautifully decorated Schönbrunn Palace.
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. Host to the crowning ceremonies of 11 Hungarian kings and queens between 1536 and 1830, Bratislava certainly has earned the title “Coronation City of Kings,” as you’ll discover during your walking tour. You’ll also have an opportunity to visit Bratislava’s charming Christmas Market. Or join a special “Slovakian Specialties” tour. For a more active adventure, hike up to Bratislava Castle, offering magnificent views of the city, before discovering the city’s distinctive Christmas Market.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. This morning, sit back and watch the beautiful scenery of the Danube Bend go by before arriving in Budapest. Home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Buda Castle quarter in Castle Hill and Heroes’ Square, Budapest offers an unmatched combination of culture and tradition. Your city tour begins with a visit to the vibrant Great Market Hall. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. Afterwards, you’ll visit Vörösmarty Square, the oldest, richest and the most spectacular of all the Christmas Markets in Budapest. As an alternative, you can hike to Castle Hill, walking along Fishermen’s Bastion and take in all the iconic sites of Budapest with an active exploration.
DISEMBARKATION - BUDAPEST. Disembark the ship as you prepare for your flight home.