Arrive in Budapest and embark on your Scenic Space-Ship. After settling into your spacious suite, enjoy a welcome dinner on board, complete with views of the city glittering under the night sky.
Discover two distinct sides of the Hungarian capital—the cobbled hills of Buda and the grand boulevards of Pest, linked by eight stately bridges that span the Danube. Climb historic Castle Hill to see the Royal Palace and Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty. Alternatively, explore Budapest on a city tour, and opt to delve into bustling Great Market Hall, Budapest’s largest indoor market or explore Budapest through the lens of its Jewish history.
Cruise the Danube toward Vienna, tracing the border of Hungary and Slovakia before crossing into Austria. Relax in the lounge, taking in views of colorful waterfront towns and hilltop fortifications; or join our National Geographic photographer on deck to learn techniques for capturing the splendid scenery on camera. This evening, gather for a private concert in the gilded halls of the Palais Liechtenstein, featuring the music of Strauss and Mozart.
Vienna or Bratislava, Slovakia
Choose from among several available excursions today. Take a special behind-the-scenes tour of Vienna’s Museum of Natural History led by Ludovic Ferrière, a National Geographic Grantee and co-curator of the museum’s meteorite exhibit. For a glimpse at the city’s more opulent side, visit Schönbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the imperial family; or peruse the ornate galleries of the Belvedere Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including “The Kiss.” Or cross the Slovakian border and take a guided tour through Bratislava’s old town.
Glide into Austria’s lush Wachau Valley and enjoy an early morning hike through the vineyards of Dürnstein before sailing to Melk; or take a more active excursion, cycling along the Danube from Dürnstein to Melk. Pay a visit to Artstetten Castle, the final resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet with direct descendants of the family who still live in the castle. Alternatively, tour of Melk’s Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. This evening, sip cocktails on deck as we wind our way beneath the valley’s vineyard-draped hillsides and iconic onion-domed churches.
Salzburg, Austria; Bavarian Alps, Germany; or Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
Today, choose between three unique excursions. Explore Salzburg, strolling the storybook streets of the World Heritage-listed old town and visiting the Schloss Mirabell and its stunning manicured gardens. Alternatively, venture into the Bavarian Alps, learning about the region’s tradition of salt mining; and visit the scenic town of Berchtesgaden. Weather permitting, enjoy spectacular alpine views from the Eagle’s Nest—a lavish mountaintop lodge that was gifted to Adolph Hitler on his 50th birthday. Or, head to the Czech town of Ceský Krumlov—a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets with medieval, baroque, and Renaissance houses; lively cafés; and hidden squares.
Set at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen Rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. On a guided visit, see the town’s splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the Porta Praetoria—the ancient Roman city gate. Or explore Bavaria’s long tradition of brewing beer on a visit to Weltenburg Abbey, home to the world’s oldest monastic brewery.
Nuremberg > Prague
Journey by coach to Prague, one of the truly magical cities of Europe. Complete your journey with a three night stay at one of our luxurious city central hotels.
Join your local guide on a fascinating city walk and view the famous Astronomical Clock. Later, venture across the world-famous Charles Bridge, commissioned in 1357 by Charles IV.
Stroll this magnificent city at your leisure. Prague is home to some of the world’s most striking architectural wonders. There’s no need to plan ahead – your Tour Director is on hand to take care of everything.
Depart after breakfast, taking many wonderful memories with you.