During this 8-day journey, encounter the grand cities and quaint villages along the celebrated Danube River. Explore both sides of Hungary’s capital, traditional, hilly Buda and cosmopolitan Pest. Witness Vienna’s imperial architecture and tour medieval towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley. Savor the tastes of authentic dishes, learn about local legends and understand why Strauss immortalized the “Blue Danube” in his waltz.
Day 1 - Budapest
Welcome to Budapest, capital of Hungary. Transfer to your ship from the airport.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or do a bit of exploring. Tonight, return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (Dinner)
* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.
Day 2 - Budapest
Your morning begins with a panoramic tour of the Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Drive through Heroes’ Square and learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Visit Matthias Church and enjoy brilliant views of the Danube and the beautiful Hungarian Parliament building from Fishermen’s Bastion. Rejoin your ship in Visegrád for lunch as we cruise along the scenic Danube River. Enjoy a midafternoon Viennese coffee workshop, complete with apple strudel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Vienna
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or, you may choose to join us for an optional excursion to visit Schönbrunn Palace, erected in 1778 and admired as the “Versailles of Vienna.” This evening, you might celebrate the bottling of this year’s wine vintage among the locals at a high-spirited optional Heurigen dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Vienna
Today, spend time exploring Vienna. You many choose to join one of our many optional excursions, including a panoramic tour of Vienna by bike or an all-day optional excursion to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, filled with lovingly restored baroque city palaces and leafy squares. Perhaps venture to the local Farmers’ Market with a local chef. This evening, enjoy dinner on your own or on board, after which you may choose to join us for a Mozart & Strauss concert. We are docked here overnight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - Krems
After breakfast, disembark in Krems and set off for Göttweig, a working Benedictine abbey that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. See the splendid ceiling fresco in its imperial stairwell, one of the largest in the world. Visit the abbey church, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Alternately, you may instead choose to explore your environs by bicycle, enjoying a ride along a riverside bike path considered one of Europe’s most scenic. Afterward, rejoin your ship and cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste some local Austrian specialties during lunch on board, taking in views of attractive towns and castle ruins along the way. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Passau
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. See the New Bishop’s Residence and view the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Enjoy lunch on board your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. Alternately, you may instead journey into the countryside on an optional excursion to a local farm where you will have the opportunity to join a festive Bavarian party, experiencing traditional German music and food and tasting locally brewed beer. Or, you may choose a full-day optional excursion to explore glorious Salzburg; visit the Italianate Old Town, see settings from the film The Sound of Music and enjoy lunch at Austria’s oldest restaurant. We cruise through the night. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Regensburg
After breakfast, meet your local guide for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets, shop or visit Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Würstküche. Lunch is served on board your ship.
This afternoon, take an optional excursion to visit Weltenburg Abbey* and experience a short cruise through a stunning mountain pass, one of the most breathtakingly scenic bends in the Danube Narrows. Alternately, you may choose a full-day optional excursion to see the highlights of the grand city of Munich or a full-day optional excursion to Nuremberg, one of Germany’s most renowned and intriguing cities. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
* Weltenburg Abbey tour is available from May–October only.
Day 8 - Regensburg
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with our extension to Nuremberg or Prague, Czech Republic, including a tour of Old Town and Prague Castle. Alternatively, you can join or fully guided four-night extension to Prague and Nuremberg to experience the best of both towns. (Breakfast)
* Ground transfers are included with Viking Air purchase.