Moments of history shape the sights you’ll see in the cities featured on the Danube River, Berlin and Kraków included.
Three nights in Berlin chronicle past political divides with a look back at Iron Curtain curfews, Jewish hardships and wartime woes while cultural narratives in the museums on Museum Island showcase an evolution of art through the ages. Onboard your Tauck riverboat for a 7-night cruise, you’ll visit picturesque Bavarian towns like Bayreuth, where composer Richard Wagner lived in 1872; Nuremberg, acclaimed as a leading arts and cultural center in the 15th and 16th centuries, Kehlheim, where the Danube meets the Main-Danube Canal and BMWs race into view; and cobblestoned Straubing, dating back to 6,000 BC. Crossing into Austria, stop at Linz for a walking tour or boat ride in the nearby Lake District, explore Krems and the Wachau Valley by bicycle and attend an evening in Vienna at a private palace. During a three-night stay at the Sheraton Grand Krakow, overlooking beautiful Wawel Castle, poignant pauses in Kraków, Auschwitz and Kazimierz pay homage to lives lost in tragic times.
Tour Begins: 5:00 PM, Sheraton Grand Krakow. A transfer is included to the Sheraton Grand Krakow from Saint John Paul II International Airport Kraków-Balice or Kraków Main Train Station. Settle into your hotel, then join us for a memorable Tauck experience – a fascinating descent down a shaft into the nearby historic Wieliczka Salt Mine for an underground welcome reception and dinner. If you wish, you can choose to take a robust walking tour of the mine prior to tonight's special reception and dinner.
Auschwitz and Krakow
The city of Kraków reigned as the capital of Poland for nearly six centuries, its rulers residing at Wawel Castle until the court and parliament moved to Warsaw in 1609. Today it’s renowned for preserving its country national identity with its prestigious university, royal castle, Gothic cathedral and still thriving Old Quarter. Enjoy a walking tour of the city with a local guide, and choose to join us on a drive into the countryside for a poignant visit to the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum, site of the infamous Nazi concentration camp, or remain in Kraków to spend some time on your own. Please note: the Kraków walking tour and the Auschwitz visit could be either in the morning or afternoon, depending on ticket availability at the Auschwitz site. Your evening is free to spend as you wish; you can enjoy an included dinner at your hotel either tonight or tomorrow, your choice.
Zakopane in the Tatra Mountains or Kazimierz
Nestled in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains, Zakopane was first established as a resort town at the end of the 18th century, known for helping heal tuberculosis patients. Not long after, skiers flocked to the town attracted by its alpine landscapes. Today it retains its role as a picturesque resort town that is enjoyed year-round. You will have an opportunity to sample its charms in person on an excursion that includes time to explore the area on your own. Or, you may choose to explore Kraków’s Kazimierz District – the city's former Jewish Quarter – on a coach and walking tour to learn more about its poignant Jewish heritage, including a visit to Oskar Schindler’s Factory, now a museum. Following your tour, you'll have an opportunity to visit the Galicia Museum on your own, or enjoy some free time in the area. Spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Embark Your Riverboat in Vienna
Depart Kraków this morning for Vienna where your riverboat awaits your arrival. Pass through the ancient kingdom of Moravia in the easternmost part of the Czech Republic en route to Kromeriz; this town is best known for its Archbishop Castle and gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Embark ship this afternoon in Austria’s imperial capital city. Enjoy a welcome reception followed by dinner onboard in your choice of dining venues, from the formal Compass Rose to Arthur’s intimate bistro, followed by evening entertainment in the piano lounge.
Vienna, Past and Present
The Austrian capital of Vienna is a compact city with an abundance of important sights. Many are clustered around the Hofburg, the former Imperial Court. Farther afield you’ll find palaces like Belvedere and Schönbrunn palaces, graced by gardens and gilded treasures. The city’s Jewish Quarter, Judenplatz, is in the heart of the city, and the city’s contemporary center, including the new Hauptbahnhof and the university campus, is also nearby. Today you'll have a choice of exploring Vienna on one of three different tours; each begins with an introductory tour of the city and its Ringstrasse with our local guides, then focuses on either classic, Imperial Vienna (including the Habsburgs' Schönbrunn Palace); the city's Jewish Heritage sites; or highlights of modern, contemporary Vienna. After lunch, spend the afternoon as you like, then dress for an exclusive royal dinner at the private Palais Pallavicini with sparkling entertainment... a highlight of your cruise!
Krems and Wachau Wines
Your riverboat arrives in the 1,000-year-old city of Krems this morning, located at the start of the Wachau Valley, celebrated for its exquisite Austrian wines. Spend the morning exploring Krems on one of two guided tours – one that begins with a drive followed by a moderate walking tour of town, or another featuring a challenging walking tour designed for robust walkers. Following lunch onboard the riverboat, the afternoon presents a choice of staying aboard the ship for a leisurely cruise past the lush vineyard-lined landscapes of the Wachau Valley, with insights from your local guide; or a guided bicycle excursion through those wine country landscapes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon’s wine tasting excursion offers an authentic taste of the grape and reveals time-honored secrets of the Austrian winemakers. Have dinner onboard your riverboat tonight as your ship cruises overnight to Linz.
Lovely Linz & the Lakes of Austria
Arrive in Linz this morning, inhabited since Roman times and one of Austria’s leading cultural centers. Today you may choose to stay in town and join our local guides for a walking tour of Old Town Linz, then hop aboard the historic mountain tram to Pöstlingberg for panoramic views of the countryside and time at leisure to visit the beer gardens or the pilgrimage basilica. Alternatively, you may choose to spend a full day in the Salzkammergut Lake District – enjoying a boat ride across a lake, a scenic journey by coach to Lake Wolfgangsee, and a visit to St. Wolfgang in Salzkammergut to see the famous Gothic winged altar in its 14th-century church.
Explore Straubing or Deggendorf
Spend the morning at leisure while your riverboat cruises to Deggendorf, Germany, for a choice of excursions in the nearby town of Straubing. An ancient settlement that dates back to 6,000 BC and is steeped with Roman roots, Straubing is the quintessential Bavarian city. Explore it as you wish, choosing from two themed afternoon tours offering a different perspective of the city – one featuring the unique St. Peter's Church and its historic graveyard, and another touring Straubing's main square and its late-Baroque Ursuline Convent Church. Your riverboat departs for Kehlheim this evening.
An Abbey, BMWs and the Danube Gorge
Enjoy onboard commentary as you cruise aboard your riverboat this morning. Disembark ship in Kelheim, located at the confluence of the Danube River and the Danube-Main Canal, for a choice of excursions. On one, take a walk through Kelheim, followed by visits to the Danube Gorge – a scenic stretch of the Danube lined by limestone cliffs, also known as the Weltenburg Narrows – and nearby Weltenburg Abbey, Bavaria's oldest monastery and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On another, drive into the country for a tour of a working BMW factory, schedule permitting. Or enjoy free time in Kelheim, perhaps riding along picturesque bike paths on one of your ship’s complimentary bicycles.
Nürnberg or Bayreuth
Your riverboat docks in Roth this morning, then continues on to Nürnberg, arriving this afternoon. Follow your passions today on a choice of morning sightseeing excursions... three of which will delight music lovers with a visit to nearby Bayreuth – once home to German composer Richard Wagner and the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt – and begin with a walking tour that visits the city's Baroque opera house and views its magnificent Baroque palaces. Your Bayreuth choices then focus on either the life of Wagner at the Richard Wagner Museum; a brewery experience at Maisel Beer Adventure World; or a tour of Bayreuth's Steingraeben Piano Factory. A fourth choice offers a locally guided tour of the Bavarian city of Nürnberg that focuses on its role in World War II, with opportunities to visit the Courthouse, the Zeppelin Field rally grounds, and other sites associated with the war and its aftermath. Join us tonight aboard the riverboat in Nürnberg for a farewell reception, followed by dinner at your leisure and entertainment in the lounge.
Disembark Ship and Train to Berlin
Disembark your riverboat in Nürnberg after breakfast and board a new special fast train for Berlin. An introductory walking tour en route to your hotel gives you an overview of the German capital's many charms, from architecturally rich neighborhoods and manicured parks to historic monuments and memorials that line its famous avenues and riverfront promenades. Arrive at the Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin this afternoon, ideally located near Brandenburg Gate, one of the city’s most famous landmarks. Enjoy the evening at leisure.
A day in Berlin
In the years since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Berlin has emerged as one of the most exciting cities in the world. It’s your choice of sightseeing excursions this morning – a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Museum Island for guided museum tours of either the Pergamon Museum or the Neues Museum, or an in-depth tour of Berlin’s Jewish Heritage sites. Everyone meets up for lunch and a boat ride, followed by your choice of time at leisure to explore Germany’s vibrant capital as you wish, or a bicycle excursion offering a new perspective on the city.
Berlin or historic Potsdam
Today you can choose to experience the city from one of three perspectives. You can join us for a guided visit to the Baroque city of Potsdam, where the WWII-in-Europe-ending treaty was signed, attractively rebuilt after its wartime losses and a showcase of beautiful gardens and grand palaces. Your second sightseeing choice is an opportunity to explore World War II history in Berlin – and your third sightseeing choice is also in Berlin, an opportunity to learn more about the unification of the split city through a tour of contrasting sights and stories. Spend the remainder of the afternoon as you please; if you wish, take an optional bicycle ride to see Berlin from a different, modern-day perspective. Join us for a special farewell dinner tonight at the Parliament where a local resident shares a personal perspective of life behind the Iron Curtain.
Tour ends: Berlin. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Hotel Adlon Kempinski to Berlin Tegel Airport or Berlin Central Train Station. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in at the airport.