Your cruise begins here, and you’ll get to toast the occasion at this evening’s welcome reception. Please book flights to arrive prior to 2pm in Munich and 3pm in Nuremberg.
Freechoice: Choose to visit moving WWII sites or take a guided walking tour of the city. Alternatively you may wish to try something a little lighter – a gingerbread baking class.
Freechoice: Experience the true wonder of Christmas at the romantic and picturesque markets of Thurn und Taxis Palace. This magical village will make you feel like you have entered a fairytale with the gently lit lanterns and candles providing a charming atmosphere. Alternatively, enjoy a walking tour of Regensburg.
Passau > Linz
Freechoice: Take an excursion to the medieval Czech city of Cesky Krumlov and discover its World Heritage-listed old town filled with magical Christmas cheer, or journey to Salzburg and explore the birthplace of Mozart and the city backdrop for the film ‘The Sound of Music’. You will also have time to visit Salzburg’s Christmas markets which dates back to the 15th century.
Melk > Dürnstein
Freechoice: Be guided through Melk’s magnificent 18th century Benedictine Abbey. Or, if you’re feeling more active, embark on a guided bike ride along the river from Melk to one of the most enchanting villages in the region, Dürnstein – at your own pace, of course. Or visit a local winery for a guided tour and tasting of its fine wines.
Later, spend the afternoon soaking up the wonderful Christmas atmosphere.
Freechoice: Take a guided tour of Schönbrunn Palace. Witness the sheer opulence of the Habsburg Empire and delight in the festive ambience at the market stalls that grace the palace courtyard. Alternatively, visit the Belvedere Museum, one of Europe’s most stunning Baroque landmarks. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, including the famous golden Art Nouveau icons ‘The Kiss’ and ‘Judith’, or discover the city on a guided bicycle tour.
Later, explore the magical Viennese Christmas markets at your leisure. An age-old tradition, the forerunners of the present-day events date back to the Middle Ages when in 1298 Albrecht I granted Vienna’s citizens the privilege of holding a December Market or ‘Krippenmarkt’. Nowadays, over 20 official advent markets sell a vast array of seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats.
Admire the opulence and luxury of Palais Liechtenstein while enjoying a glass of fine Austrian Sekt. Sit enthralled during an enchanting private Viennese evening concert featuring the timeless music of Strauss and Mozart. Even in elegant Vienna, Palais Liechtenstein is one of the grandest of all venues.
Arrive in Budapest, one of Europe’s oldest and prettiest cities.
Freechoice: Make the most of a guided tour including a piano concert, or discover the Jewish heritage on a guided tour with an expert local guide. Alternatively, if you are feeling more active, hike to Buda Hill or choose to travel to nearby Szentendre. Known for its museums, galleries and artists, you’ll have the opportunity to discover this charming town on a guided city tour.
Depart after breakfast. Budapest is the end of your cruise, but it will be the start of a lifetime of wonderful memories.