Experience timeless holiday traditions and elegant pageantry in four countries—Hungary, Slovakia, 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 – BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. Arrive in Budapest and board the luxurious AmaMagna. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at the Welcome Dinner.
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY. 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. During the afternoon, sail out of Budapest, passing through the scenic Danube Bend where you’ll see some of Hungary’s oldest settlements, including Esztergom, Visegrád and Szentendre.
BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA - VIENNA, AUSTRIA. 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 “Tastes of Slovakia” tour. For a more active adventure, hike up to Bratislava Castle, offering magnificent views of the city. Tonight, explore Vienna’s splendid Rathaus (Town Hall) Christmas Market.
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, where you can visit the Christmas Markets. If you prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride through Vienna. Cap the day off with “Vienna by Night” Christmas Markets at Schönbrunn Palace with a giant sparkling Christmas tree or enjoy free time to experience the city in all its splendor.
KREMS, AUSTRIA – SPITZ, AUSTRIA. Krems, gateway to the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley, is your starting point for a visit to the lovely Baroque village of Dürnstein. Stroll along Dürnstein’s cobblestone streets to the Baroque Stiftskirche, with its famed church tower on a walking tour. For a more culinary-focused experience in Dürnstein, enjoy a wine tasting and special apricot treats from a local boutique. Those who wish a more active adventure of the area can hike to historic Dürnstein Fotress, or cycle from Krems to Spitz and back for lunch. During the afternoon, cruise through the vineyard-rich Wachau Valley—one of the most beautiful river valleys in Europe, where some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced—to Spitz. Once in Spitz, you can visit the 900-year-old Melk Abbey situated high atop the granite cliffs of the Danube; or get active with either a Spitz-Melk-Spitz bike tour or hiking adventure. During the evening, be treated to an exclusive wine festival where you’ll enjoy some of the region’s famous wines.
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 full-day visit to Salzburg where you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, its magnificent cathedral and its Christmas Markets, including the Hellbrunn Palace, where its inner courtyard is turned into a romantic backdrop for one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Austria. Alternatively, you can choose a morning walking tour through Linz’s old city center and by the Mozart House, where he composed the Linz Symphony in only three days, as well as visit Linz’s Christmas Markets. Or you can go on a guided bike tour through Linz and along the city’s famed “Culture Mile” and the Danube. Or, visit the charming Czech mountain town of Cesky Krumlov.
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. If you prefer a more active adventure, join a guided bike ride along the Danube to Wernstein or hike to the Mariahilf pilgrimage church and monastery, enthroned high above Inntstadt, a suburb that offers magnificent views across the old town and surrounding countryside. Later, sail to Vilshofen, where you’ll be treated to an exclusive Oktoberfest celebration.
VILSHOFEN – DISEMBARKATION. Bid farewell to the ship and prepare for your flight home.