Cruise along banks of the River Danube as the river's breeze pushes you on an amazing journey past grand cathedrals, medieval monasteries, castles and vineyards.
Pass through five countries including the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary, and explore legendary cities such as Amsterdam, Vienna, Köln, Nürnberg, Bratislava and Budapest. Tauck's all-included private shore excursions take you to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the historic districts of Budapest, Vienna, and Bamberg, and the Wachau and Rhine valleys. In Vienna, take your choice of visits to Schönbrunn Palace or the Sisi Museum at the Hofburg, and attend a grand Imperial Evening in a traditional palace. In Amsterdam, tour the famed Rijksmuseum. Visit Köln Cathedral, Melk Abbey, medieval towns like Regensburg, Budapest's Heroes' Square and much more!
Tour begins: 5:30 PM, Budapest. A transfer is included from Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport or Budapest Keleti Railway Station directly to your riverboat, docked right in the heart of Budapest. Tauck's two-week Danube, Main, and Rhine River cruise begins with dinner aboard ship tonight.
Both sides of Budapest on the Danube
Standing on opposite banks of the Danube, Budapest’s two distinct sections – Buda and Pest – were once independent cities that were linked together in the mid-19th century by the construction of the Chain Bridge to become a single city, today Hungary’s capital. Explore both sides of the city on a guided tour featuring a mix of architectural masterpieces and monuments including Heroes’ Square, dominated by statues of leaders from Hungarian history and surrounded by museums and stately embassy buildings; the Gothic-Revival home of the Hungarian Parliament, an iconic feature of the Budapest skyline along the Danube; Fishermen’s Bastion, standing watch over the river; and the bustling Covered Market, a showcase of Hungarian specialties, from food to crafts. Spend the afternoon cruising past picturesque landscapes along the Danube en route to Slovakia and join us tonight for a welcome reception followed by dinner.
Bratislava & an Grand Evening in Vienna
An ancient city with a modern pulse, Slovakia’s dynamic capital is home to an Old Town brimming with life – and devoid of cars – along with one of the youngest populations of any city in Europe today. Our local expert shares insider anecdotes about Bratislava before you join a walking tour of the cobblestoned city center, the perfect place for ambling. Seventeen centuries of Slovak history are eloquently chronicled in its 13th-century Old Town Hall, Baroque Habsburg-era palaces, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and St. Martin’s Cathedral, site of the coronation of many Hungarian royals. Cruise this afternoon to Vienna, enjoying the passing scenery and shipboard activities. Tonight, nothing quite compares to the royal treatment you’ll experience at a Tauck Exclusive – our private evening in the Palais Ferstel, a 19th-century palace in the heart of the city. Welcome champagne precedes dinner and a live musical performance.
A visit to Schönbrunn Palace or the Hofburg
Wake up in Vienna, evoking quintessential images of Old World Europe. Sightseeing today includes your choice of guided visits to the Habsburgs’ illustrious Schönbrunn Palace, an architectural masterpiece and Austrian cultural treasure, or a tour of the Hofburg – another former Habsburg royal palace that today is Austria’s official presidential residence – including the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments. Spend the remainder of the day as you please in Vienna.
Discover the Wachau Valley & Melk Abbey
Go ashore in Dürnstein this morning for a choice of activities. You can either go for a walk through the village with your Tauck Director followed, if you like, by a hike to the hilltop ruins of Kuenringerburg – the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionhearted was held for ransom during the Crusades – or take a bicycle ride* in the vineyard-covered Wachau Valley. Later, cruise to Melk for a guided visit to its 900-year-old Benedictine abbey; both its Baroque architecture and river views impress. Return to your riverboat late afternoon; onboard ship tonight, you’ll be entertained by a talented musical group.
A choice of Passau or Salzburg
After crossing the border from Austria to Germany, dock in the Bavarian town of Passau on the Danube and Inn rivers, whose history dates back to the days of the Roman empire. Today, you have the choice of a walking tour revealing the Baroque treasures of this lovely riverside town, known for its stained glass and its many churches – including St. Stephan's Cathedral, home to the largest pipe organ outside of the U.S., and the biggest cathedral organ in the world (inside cathedral visit may not be available on all departures); a cycling excursion around Passau, suitable for more experienced riders; or a full-day excursion to the lovely Austrian city of Salzburg, birthplace of W.A. Mozart (and setting of The Sound of Music). This evening, your riverboat departs Passau and continues on to Regensburg.
A visit to Regensburg mixes ancient times and today
its roots as a Roman encampment on the Danube, the quintessential
Bavarian town of Regensburg is home to more than 1,400 original historic
buildings. Walking here is a delight and is the only way to view the
sights up-close. A local guide will lead the way as you see the town’s
12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Germany’s oldest surviving stone bridge),
the 15th-century Altes Rathaus (Town Hall, once the seat of the Imperial Diet), towering Dom St. Peter,
and the remains of the Roman wall; visit St. Emmeram Palace. This afternoon, choose among free time in Regensburg, a leisurely afternoon aboard ship, or a bicycle ride along the river to Kelheim.
The Main-Danube Canal to Nürnberg
Today, your Budapest to Amsterdam river cruise negotiates the Main-Danube Canal, which ultimately links the North Sea with the Black Sea; learn about the canal's history from a local expert during your transit. The idea goes back as far as Charlemagne, but wasn't realized until the canal's completion in the 1990s; pass through 16 locks as the waterway traverses the mountains. After lunch on the riverboat, arrive in historic Nürnberg; take a walking tour through Nürnberg’s medieval ramparts to the Imperial Castle and the old city (including the house of 16th-century painter Albrecht Dürer, and St. Sebaldus Church), or visit sites associated with World War II and its aftermath – including the Courthouse (which is still active, so your visit is subject to availability), the Zeppelinfeld rally grounds and the Documentation Center. You'll have some free time in the city before the riverboat charts its course once again.
An Old Town walking tour or bicycling in Bamberg
Perched atop seven hills, Bamberg is home to a magnificent, four-towered Romanesque
cathedral from the 13th century; see it, along with more of this charming medieval city’s unique architecture and colorful gardens, when you choose between a walking tour of Old Town with your Tauck Director or a bicycle ride through town.
Würzburg or Rothenburg & a wine tasting
Dock late morning in charming Würzburg. Upon arrival, visit the town's 18th-century Residenz – a lavish Baroque palace where the town's prince bishops once lived, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and sample some excellent Franconian wines in the wine cellar (Hoffskeller). Then you'll have two choices of sightseeing. On one, explore Würzburg's Old Town with a local guide; tour more of the Residenz, see the ornate Alte Mainbrücke (a bridge over the River Main), and spend some time on your own. Alternatively, depart on an excursion to the nearby town of Rothenburg; nestled on Germany's "Romantic Road," it lives up to its reputation as Europe's "most perfect fairy-tale town." View its Gothic cathedral, towered walls and gabled houses on a walking tour, followed by time at leisure. Spend the evening aboard the riverboat following an early evening departure.
Pleasures of a day cruising the Main...
It is no wonder that river cruising was the favored pastime of royalty throughout the centuries... and you'll revel in the experience on a full day cruise along the picturesque Main. Fortified towns with towering cathedrals dot the lush landscapes along the riverbank... and you'll take pleasure in all that you'll see, learn and savor today. Perhaps you'll visit the spa... or the fitness center... practice your putting on the putting green... or savor a little quiet time in the plunge pool...
Cruise to Rüdesheim for a little musical magic
Relax and enjoy your riverboat’s amenities as you cruise along the Main River, as it transforms into the Rhine River, to the wine-making town of Rüdesheim, part of the Rhine Gorge UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ride a mini train or walk to lunch in town, followed by either a visit to Siegfried’s Mechanisches Musikkabinett – an eclectic museum displaying one of the world’s largest collections of mechanical musical instruments in a centuries-old castle – or a bicycle excursion along the river. This afternoon, your Budapest to Amsterdam river cruise meanders through the scenic Lorelei Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, en route to Köln (Cologne).
Köln, a.k.a. Cologne
First up today – a morning visit to Köln (Cologne). Originally founded by the Romans, it is one of the oldest settlements in Germany. Your choices today include a leisurely guided tour of the city or an active walking tour, followed by free time; a visit inside the city's great twin-spired Gothic cathedral, Kölner Dom, is included (subject to availability). Return to the riverboat to sail to Amsterdam; your day concludes with the Chef's signature dinner onboard in the Compass Rose.
Great art, a canal cruise and more in Amsterdam
Amsterdam... the name
itself conjures up images of the Dutch capital’s myriad cultural
treasures, from gabled houses, markets and cafés to awe-inspiring
museums housing a treasure trove of world-famous art – and it’s all
yours to enjoy today. Your guided tour of the famed Rijksmuseum is
really inspiring – a firsthand look at Rembrandt’s masterpiece The Night
Watch is like meeting the artist himself, and you’ll love seeing
acclaimed works by other well-known “Old Dutch Masters” including Vermeer and Hals. See
the city’s network of concentric, tree-lined 17th-century canals and view of Amsterdam’s blend of architectural styles, dating back to medieval times, on a private sightseeing cruise by canal boat. A farewell dinner makes your last night on the riverboat memorable.
Tour ends: Amsterdam. Disembark in Amsterdam; a transfer is included from the riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport or Central Station. Allow 3 hours for departure flight check-in. A transfer will also be provided to the airport for guests enjoying a stay at Tauck's selected Amsterdam hotel following their cruise.