Journey along paths forged by conquerors, crusaders and kings through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Step back in time to explore the history and mystery living in the hillsides while cruising the Danube and through the Iron Gates. Legends of all kinds are waiting to be uncovered from the Great Hungarian Plain to Bulgaria’s Belogradchik and Romania’s Bran Castle on an extraordinary voyage through the ages.
EMBARKATION – NUREMBERG, GERMANY. Board the ship in Nuremberg for your Grand Danube Cruise.
NUREMBERG. Enjoy a guided tour through Nuremberg’s beautiful medieval city, showcasing the Imperial Castle, famous town wall and the legendary fountain of the Market Square. Or turn the pages of a darker history with a guided tour of the city’s most significant WWII sites, including the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Visit the Nuremberg Trials Memoriam and Courtroom 600, if the courtroom is not in session. Alternatively, savor traditional Franconian specialties including Nuremburger bratwurst, rotbier (red beer) and lebkuchen (gingerbread). En route to Regensburg, cruise through the man-made Main-Danube Canal.
REGENSBURG. Explore one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities, Regensburg, on a guided walking tour showcasing the city’s architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall and the Porta Praetoria. Alternatively, sample Bavarian specialties—beer, sausage and pretzels, or join a bike tour to Walhalla where you will see the neoclassical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens.
PASSAU – LINZ, AUSTRIA. Enjoy a walking tour along Passau’s cobblestone streets admiring the Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. If you’re looking for a more active morning, choose between a guided bike tour along the Danube, or a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus Fortress. Later in the day, set sail for Linz.
MELK – VIENNA. Cruise to Melk, known for its magnificent Benedictine Abbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, join a guided bike tour that takes you through the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley; or go on a walking tour along Dürnstein’s cobblestone streets to the famed Baroque church tower, Stiftskirche. Later in the day, set sail through the vineyard-rich Wachau Valley.
VIENNA. The “City of Waltzes” is a treasure trove and your city tour showcases its regal splendors, including the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs. Conclude your tour in the UNESCO-designated historic city center and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For a more active exploration, take a guided bike ride to Klosterneuburg Monastery. During the afternoon, enjoy leisure time exploring this iconic city even more.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. You cannot help but fall in love with Budapest, known as the “Queen of the Danube.” Your city tour begins with a visit to the Great Market Hall. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. Alternatively, hike up to Castle Hill for breathtaking views of the city.
BUDAPEST. Tradition will be on full display in Puszta, the Great Hungarian Plain. Tour a genuine Hungarian csárda (farm) run by world-champion carriage-drivers. Afterwards, be treated to an unforgettable performance of horsemanship and then experience the Hungarians’ warm hospitality, along with a traditional lunch complete with authentic goulash.
MOHÁCS – PÉCS. Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Mohács and then visit Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. Visit the UNESCOdesignated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. For wine connoisseurs, you’ll want to go instead to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago.
VUKOVAR, CROATIA – NOVI SAD, SERBIA. Vukovar is a Croatian symbol of resistance, which you’ll better understand on your city tour showcasing the Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Castle. Alternatively, choose a wine tasting in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times, where you’ll sample its famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. Back on board, cruise to Novi Sad, sometimes called the “Serbian Athens.” Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad, the Old Town center. If you prefer a more active exploration, join a guided biking or hiking tour. During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress.
BELGRADE. Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour that includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Later, choose from three intriguing excursions. Visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Serbian Royal Family; and then tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of Marshal Tito, who became the first President of Yugoslavia. Or enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour.
SCENIC CRUISING THROUGH THE IRON GATES. The Iron Gates is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains.
VIDIN, BULGARIA. Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Continue on to Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle.
ROUSSE – GIURGIU, ROMANIA. Visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings.
GIURGIU – DISEMBARKATION. Disembark the ship and bid farewell to Giurgiu as you prepare for your flight home.