Begin your adventure in Budapest
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Kempinski Hotel Corvinus, Budapest. A transfer is included from Budapest Ferenc Liszt Airport or the Keleti train station to the Kempinksi Hotel Corvinus Budapest in the heart of the city along the Danube River. Join us for a cocktail reception and dinner tonight at the grand Akadémia Club in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences set right on the river - a special Tauck experience.
Discover the landmarks & stories of Pest
Once the independent cities of Buda and Pest on opposite sides of the Danube, Hungary's capital is blessed with architecture known for its grandeur and style. This morning, explore the Pest side of the city on a tour including City Park and Heroes' Square - bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary - and a special visit to the opulent State Opera House, opened in 1884, with its royal boxes, gilded vaulted ceiling, exquisite murals and three-ton chandelier. Later, you have a choice of a themed walking tour that focuses on the Hungarian Revolution and includes the Parliament building, the Embassy and St. Stephen's Basilica; a guided visit to Dohány Synagogue; or a guided bicycle tour in Budapest. The afternoon and evening are free for you to pursue what interests you most in Budapest, as you get set to cruise the Danube tomorrow.
Explore Buda and embark your riverboat
Head up to Castle Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking the Danube on the Buda side of the city, for sightseeing and lunch at a local café. See Fisherman's Bastion, with its Neo-Romanesque design, and admire the stained glass windows and centuries of history in the 14th-century, late-Gothic Matthias Church (may be closed on some days due to services). Board your riverboat this afternoon in Budapest, and meet your crew at the welcome reception followed by dinner this evening, as you begin to cruise the Danube River aboard ms Joy or ms Savor, bound for Bratislava, Slovakia.
Baroque in Bratislava
Our resident expert takes you inside contemporary Slovakia and Bratislava for a look at the region's politics, economy, religion, social order, preservation and emergence of the arts. After lunch aboard the riverboat, you'll have a choice of exploring Bratislava's cobblestoned, vehicle-free historic city center on a walking tour - seeing 17 centuries of history eloquently chronicled in its 13th-century Old Town Hall, Baroque Habsburg-era palaces, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and St. Martin's Cathedral - or setting off on a bicycling excursion through the city's "Iron Curtain Area." Back on board the riverboat, dinner tonight introduces you to a glimpse of daily life in Slovakia with a taste of regional cuisine and an a performance by a talented troupe of Slovak dancers.
Exploring Vienna & an Imperial Evening
Your riverboat arrives overnight in Vienna, Austria, where an introductory tour of this former capital of the old Habsburg Empire - and its grand boulelvard, the Ringstrasse - precedes a walking tour focusing on your choice of either medieval Vienna or the Jewish district of old Vienna, or on a bike ride in the city. The rest of the day is yours to explore this famous city as you please. Later, nothing compares to the royal treatment and pageantry you'll experience tonight at our private Imperial Evening in the opulent Palais Pallavicini, a private Baroque palace in Vienna that film buffs may have spotted in the 1940s film noir classic The Third Man. Welcome cocktails and dinner precede an unforgettable spectacle of beautiful ball gowns and a musical performance celebrating the legacy of Mozart.
A choice in Vienna and journey to Dürnstein
A choice of sightseeing this morning features a tour of the Habsburgs' Schönbrunn Palace, an architectural masterpiece and Austrian cultural treasure, or the amazing Imperial Apartments at the Hofburg, Austria's official presidential residence. Then, shuttles are at the ready to bring you back to the riverboat for a cruise through Austria's Wachau Valley; glide past castles and abbeys to medieval Dürnstein, where you'll arrive late this evening.
Picturesque Dürnstein and the Wachau Valley
Dock in Dürnstein for a closer look at its 16th-century Baroque houses and 13th-century Romanesque church on a walking tour along cobblestone streets; you may also choose to tour a local monastery, or take a bicycle ride. Enjoy some free time in this charming riverside town, perhaps taking an invigorating climb up the steps to the ruins of Kuenringerburg, a hilltop castle above the town where Richard the Lionhearted was held for ransom during the Crusades. Sample the fruits of the Wachau Valley vineyards during a wine tasting at an authentic Austrian tavern. Back aboard, you'll continue to cruise the Danube River through the Wachau Valley, Austria's lush wine-growing region that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved medieval landscapes, to Linz; after dinner onboard, enjoy a show put on by members of the riverboat crew.
Salzburg sights or Cesky Krumlov
Your boat stays docked in Linz today, with a choice of how you spend your day - full-day excursions to Salzburg (Austria), or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, or remaining in Linz. A setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg is enticing with Baroque architecture, painted wrought-iron signage, ornate church towers, and grand palaces. Our walking tour explores Old Town, Mirabell Gardens, and Mozart's birthplace. Enjoy time on your own to have lunch and experience the sights as you wish, perhaps taking the funicular to see the fortress overlooking the town; Salzburg holds an important place in the cultural fabric of Austria. Or travel with us through beautiful landscapes to Cesky Krumlov, which has been called a living gallery of elegant Renaissance-era buildings. Also graced with an incredibly well-preserved medieval heritage and charming ambiance, the town has earned its coveted designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its historic importance and physical beauty. A walking tour takes you to part of Krumlov Castle; it's worth climbing the many steps to see firsthand the medieval, Renaissance and Rococo design found inside, along with the stunning views of the town below. A third option today provides an opportunity to remain in Linz for time explore as you please on your own before returning to the riverboat for dinner.
Engelhartszell & cycling along the Danube
Wake up this morning in Engelhartszell, a pretty town on the Danube in Upper Austria. After a visit to a local private home (and a taste of local cake, sweets and coffee), you'll have a choice of a walking tour of town including 18th-century Engelhartszell Abbey and Danube World, or a guided tour of the Jochenstein Lock on the Danube, through which ships navigate through the Wachau Valley. Following lunch aboard the riverboat, you may, if you wish, join us for an optional bicycle excursion along the Danube (a fairly rigorous bike ride, for experienced cyclists only). Take in the views from the sun deck, lounge, or the windows of your outside cabin as your riverboat glides into Germany, bound overnight for your final destination, Vilshofen; enjoy a farewell reception followed by dinner onboard tonight.
Disembark Vilshofen for Regensburg & Prague
The cruise portion of your trip concludes when you disembark your riverboat in Vilshofen and have a choice of traveling overland to the well-preserved Bavarian town of Regensburg, which began its long life as a Roman encampment many centuries ago, or heading straight to Prague. If you choose to visit Regensburg, upon arrival embark on a walking tour led by a local guide; visit the Steinerne Brücke (a medieval stone bridge over the Danube), towering Dom St. Peter and the remains of the town's Roman wall. Then enjoy a light lunch and time to explore a bit on your own before driving to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and the "City of 100 Spires," arriving in late afternoon. If you choose to travel directly from Vilshofen to Prague this morning , explore the ancient Hradcany (Castle) district on a guided excursion that includes 1,000-year-old Prague Castle's complex of palaces, courtyards and gardens, and the grand Baroque libraries of Strahov Monastery - where a private tour is a Tauck Exclusive. This evening, sample the culinary pleasures of Prague for dinner as you please; the city's many fine restaurants and cafés feature a wide range of cuisines... and some of the best schnitzels, goulashes, strudels, dumplings and beer the region has to offer.
The legacy of many centuries in Prague
Start today's exploration of Prague this morning with a choice of walking tours through Prague's ethereal Old Town, choosing between a "walk through the centuries" including a visit to St. Agnes Convent, or the city's poignant Jewish sites in Josefov, the historic Jewish Quarter (ask at booking about dates that cannot visit inside the Jewish Heritage sites as they are closed Saturdays and on Jewish holidays; in those cases, alternate sightseeing will be offered). Tonight, cap a memorable trip with a truly royal evening that's another Tauck Exclusive; join us for a farewell reception, tour and dinner at 16th-century Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle. Immerse in an evening of classical cultural treasures - and see for yourself how music and art played an important role in the aristocratic world of the Lobkowicz family.
Tour ends in Prague, Czech Republic. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from InterContinental Prague to Praha Hlavni Nadrazi train station or Václav Havel Airport Prague. Please allow a minimum of 3 hours for check-in.