Celebrate the beauty and history of the Danube, Europe's second largest river. Journey from Nuremberg across the Continental Divide, and along the way visit charming towns and marvel at beautiful vistas. Enter Austria and cruise along the Wachau wine region. Visit three grand old capitals, magnificent Vienna, charming Bratislava and vibrant Budapest. Continue to Croatia and Serbia and cruise through the Iron Gates, a very narrow passage dividing the Balkan mountains from the Carpathian mountains. End your grand European journey by sailing along the Romanian/Bulgarian border.
Visit the Austrian Lake District, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Savor the Baroque elegance of romantic Vienna during a guided tour
Discover Mirbach Palace and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral at Bratislava
Early this morning, cruise to Passau in Germany, where the rivers Inn and Ilz join the Danube. Your city tour takes you on an exploration of this fairy-tale city founded more than 2,000 years ago. Highlights include St. Stephan’s Cathedral, home to the largest cathedral organ in the world. As an alternative, explore the city on a guided bike tour (capacity controlled).
This morning the ship arrives in Linz, the second largest city in Austria. Your walking tour will take you along the Landstrasse to the city’s main square. You will see St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Marian Column, Landestheatre and St. Martin’s, the oldest church in Austria. Return to the ship for brunch. This afternoon you have the choice of three different excursions. The first option is a visit to the scenic “Salzkammergut” region, the Austrian Lake District, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore the historic town of Gmunden, on the shore of Lake Traunsee. The second option is to join an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov. This is a wonderfully preserved medieval town, nestled in the hills just over the Austrian-Czech border. The third choice this afternoon is an excursion to Salzburg, where you will take a walking tour of the historic center, famous as the setting for the “Sound of Music” and as the birthplace of Mozart. Enjoy free time on your own, before returning to the ship.
Head up to the Sun Deck for panoramic views as you unwind with a scenic cruise through the Strudengau and UNESCO-designated Wachau valleys. After reaching Weissenkirchen, you’ll be treated to several choices of excursions. Take a walking tour of Dürnstein before visiting the UNESCO-designated Melk Abbey. Or hike the trail up to the ruins of Durnstein Fortress, where Richard the Lionheart was once held captive, and where you’ll find spectacular views of the valley, river and village below. For a more culinary-focused experience, sample special apricot treats from a local boutique. In the evening, enjoy a wine tasting hosted by a local vintner.
Savor the Baroque elegance of romantic Vienna during your guided sightseeing tour, which will include the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ringstrasse and the historic St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. After dinner, enjoy an optional Mozart and Strauss concert in one of the great formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna, such as the Hofburg Palace or Palais Auersperg.
Wake up this morning in Bratislava, capital of Slovakia. You have your choice of two tours today. The first option is a walking tour of the city’s major sights, including the Old Town Hall, the stunning Mirbach Palace and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. In the alternative, choose a “Communist Tour” that includes architectural landmarks such as the Radio Building, Liberty Square and the Soviet War Memorial.
This morning, your sightseeing tour takes you to historic Buda Castle from where you can enjoy a splendid view of the twin cities of Buda and Pest spread over both banks of the River. Your tour also features the distinctive Fisherman’s Bastion, the Royal Palace, St. Stephen’s Basilica, the famous Heroes’ Square and more. Your afternoon is free to explore on your own.
Today you will visit the famous Puszta region, the vast flat plain where Hungarian cowboys still wear traditional garb and practice the skills of their Magyar ancestors. Upon arrival, you will be met by horse-herds and greeted with warm hospitality, brandy and scones. Try a lunch of Goulash, the national dish, before returning to the ship in Budapest.
Arrive in Mohács during breakfast and then depart for your excursion to Pecs, EU Cultural Capital 2010. Founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans, Pecs became an important early Christian bishopric and Turkish cultural base during the many centuries of Ottoman rule. Upon arrival, visit the Mosque Church, the largest structure surviving from the Ottoman period as well as the underground burial chambers dating back to the 4th century. You will also see St. Peter’s Basilica, the main Catholic Cathedral in the city, as well as the restored Synagogue, before returning to the ship in Mohács.
Arrive in Vukovar, Croatia in the morning and choose between a tour of Vukovar or wine tasting in the town of Ilok. Your city tour of Vukovar includes the Ovcara Memorial, the monumental cross that is a memorial to those who lost their lives during Croatia’s struggle for independence. As an alternative, travel to the town of Ilok, which is famous for its wines. Here, you will visit a local winery and sample their vintages before your walking tour of the town. After your tour, continue to Novi Sad and enjoy a walking tour beginning at Danube Park and then stroll through the old town center. You will also tour the 18th-century Austrian-Hungarian Petrovaradin Fortress.
Wake up in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia and explore its myriad of streets, plazas and squares. Belgrade has over 5,500 streets, 16 plazas and 32 squares. On your panoramic tour, you will see the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. As an alternative, choose to take the Tito’s Memorial tour which includes a visit to the House of Flowers, where the tomb of Josip Tito is located. You will also see some of the many gifts Tito received during his presidency. You will have free time in the city center after your tour to stroll along Prince Michael Street, the main pedestrian and shopping center of the city. A guided bicycle tour is available in the afternoon (capacity controlled).
Today, enjoy a full day of cruising through one of Europe's most awe-inspiring natural wonders, the Iron Gates. Here the Danube narrows, as it winds through a range of magnificent gorges between the southern Carpathian Mountains and the northwestern foothills of the Balkan Mountains. Forming the natural border between Serbia and Romania, today’s passage will be an unforgettable highlight of your Black Sea adventure.
Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria. Continue on toBelogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle.
Visit Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-HewnChurches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings.
Day 15: Giurgiu | Disembarkation
Disembark the ship and bid farewell to Giurgiu as you prepare for your flight home.
Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.