Day 1 Budapest.
Fly to Budapest where you will be met and transferred to the InterContinental Hotel for two nights.
Day 2 Budapest.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion—for spectacular views of the city—and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B)
Day 3 Budapest ( Embarkation )
You have time this morning to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvellous views of the city from its viewing platform. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B, D)
Day 4 Budapest - Vienna.
Enjoy a day of relaxation on board and marvel at the beautiful scenery on both banks of the Danube. Hungary is on your left as you cruise upriver and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. This evening, arrive in Vienna, Austria’s capital. Known as the “City of Music,” it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available during your stay. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Vienna.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boy’s Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights your Local Guide will show you during an included CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! (B, L, D)
Day 6 Dürnstein - Melk.
Included today: Guided walk in Dürnstein; guided sightseeing in Melk; wine tasting.
This morning your first stop is Dürnstein, set right in the heart of the romantic Wachau Valley wine region and known for its pretty baroque blue Stiftskirche. Explore this picturesque town with a Local Guide and learn about the castle ruins overlooking the town, where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. Later, cruise to Melk for a guided tour of the magnificent Benedictine Abbey, which dominates the town from its commanding hilltop site and is one of Europe's largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. The splendour of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola is inspiring and the view from the abbey terrace across the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking. This evening, sample some of the Wachau Valley's famous wines. (B, L, D)
Day 7 Passau, Germany
Included today: Guided walk in Passau.
Today, you might wish to choose from a couple of full-day optional excursions: to Salzburg taking in some of the Sound of Music sights, or to medieval Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you may choose to stay on the ship and relax as you cruise to Passau, uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. . (B, L, D)
Day 8 Regensburg.
Included today: Guided sightseeing; beer tasting.
Regensburg dates back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC and is one of Germany's best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of 'historic interest'. Architectural highlights on your guided walk this afternoon include the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria - gates to the Roman fort built in 179AD. Enjoy an included snack at Germany's oldest restaurant, the 12th century Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen). After dinner, sample some of Germany's famous beers. (B, L, D)
Day 9 Roth -Nuremberg.
Included today:Join a Certified Local Guide for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of nearby Nuremberg.
Although 90% of Nuremberg's Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Marvel at this thousand-year-old city's medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle),. Alternatively, join a Local Expert for or a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Roth. This delightful Bavarian town, with its half-timbered houses and market square, is also an industrial centre for textile manufacturing. Visit the interesting INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM and then in contrast, take pictures of Schloss Ratibor, an ancient hunting lodge, built in 1535, with a most picturesque inner courtyard (B, L, D)
Day 10 Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich
Included today: Excursion to Munich, guided sightseeing.
After breakfast, drive to Munich, capital of Bavaria, where a Local Expert will show you the highlights of this fascinating city including the Nymphenburg Palace, the Old and New Town Halls of Marienplatz, and the striking gothic Frauenkirche a prominent landmark for Munich. Later, enjoy free time to explore. Perhaps watch the famous Glockenspiel, visit St Peter’s church, or maybe visit one of the many Biergartens or breweries to sample one of the Bavarian beer specialties. (B, L, D)
Day 11 Bamberg.
Included today: Guided walk, see the Old Town Hall.
In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALK takes in its historic centre, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This afternoon, enjoy some relaxing time on board as you cruise toward Würzburg on the Main River (B, L, D)
Day 12 Würzburg.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop's Residenz.
Surrounded by steep, verdant vineyards, Würzburg is known as the 'Pearl of the Romantic Road' and makes an immediate impression with views of its beautiful Marienberg Fortress and 15th century Old Main Bridge. Today's guided sightseeing tour visits the magnificent Bishop's Residenz, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. (B, L, D)
Day 13 Main River Village experience
Included today: Guided walk.
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. Half timbered houses, narrow streets and medieval town centres, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK (B, L, D)
Day 14 Rüdesheim - Rhine Gorge.
Included today: Visit Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum: cruise through the Rhine Gorge.
Pretty Rüdesheim is the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town, and SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to explore the Drosselgasse and pick up some souvenirs. Downstream, the dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river. Pass the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom. (B, L, D)
Day 15 Bernkastel
Included today: Guided walk, wine tasting, visit Reichsburg Castle.
Early this morning you arrive in the charming wine village of Bernkastel on the Moselle River. With its fascinating narrow streets and half-timbered houses that have stood since the Middle Ages, you’ll enjoy a GUIDED WALK that includes the beautiful marketplace with its renaissance-style Town Hall—built in 1608—and the “pointed house,” built in 1416. The Moselle is famous for its wines, and growers in this area look after Germany’s largest expanse of vineyards, the most celebrated of the vintages being the Bernkasteler Doktor. This evening enjoy a TASTING of some of these well-loved German wines (B, L, D)
Day 16 Trier.
Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing or Roman Trier tour.
After breakfast an excursion takes you to Trier, the oldest city in Germany and some claim, even older than Rome. The famous Porta Nigra is the only surviving fortified gate from the original Roman settlement and it still gives access to the town centre. Today, join an included guided city tour or the more history-focused 'Roman Trier' tour before free time to explore this magnificent town. Trier also offers pleasant market squares, Germany's oldest Christian church, a Roman amphitheatre and a whole host of picturesque architectural styles. This afternoon, cruise to Remich in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. (B, L, D)
Day 17 Remich, Luxembourg ( Disembarkation ) - Paris, France
Included today: High-speed TGV train journey.
Reach Remich in the early morning hours and say goodbye to your crew after breakfast. Travel to Luxembourg City or to Metz to board the HIGH-SPEED TRAIN to Paris, and enjoy GUIDED sightseeing upon arrival. Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your INCLUDED CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. (B)
Day 18 Paris.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Today in your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre museum, Palace of Versailles or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colourful night-life, and an optional excursion to one of the world’s most famous cabaret shows, is available. All of this awaits your discovery! (B)
Day 19 Paris.
Transfer to the airport or station for your journey to the UK. (B)