Feel the old-world charm and unique traditions in each town along the way as you stroll the expansive markets for souvenirs, lifted along by the sweet and savory smells of the fresh food and local flavors. Enjoy a holiday like no other! Board the MS Amabella in Budapest and cruise eight days through the charming region where so many of today’s most beloved Christmas traditions originated. Experience several enchanting Christmas markets in places like Bratislava and Vienna, each with its local flavor and traditions. Celebrating the magic of the holiday season and concluding your holiday cruise in Vilshofen.
Explore historic Melk and its famous Benedictine Abbey
Sightsee in picturesque Passau, home to Europe's largest pipe organ
Visit Vienna's landmarks and tour the Schonbrunn Palace
Arrive in Budapest and board your luxurious river cruise ship. This evening, meet your fellow travelers at the Welcome Dinner. Tonight, the ship will sail a special Illuminations Cruise past the capital’s glittering river front.
Home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Buda Castle quarter in Castle Hill and Heroes’ Square, Budapest offers an unmatched combination of culture and tradition. Your city tour begins with a visit to the vibrant Great Market Hall. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. Afterward, you’ll visit Vorosmarty Square, the oldest, richest, and the most spectacular of all the Christmas markets in Budapest. As an alternative, you can hike to Castle Hill, walk along Fishermen’s Bastion, and take in all of Budapest's iconic sites with an active exploration.
Host to the crowning ceremonies of 11 Hungarian kings and queens between 1536 and 1830, Bratislava certainly has earned the title “Coronation City of Kings,” as you'll discover during your walking tour. You also have an opportunity to visit Bratislava’s charming Christmas Market. Or join a unique “Tastes of Slovakia” time. For a more active adventure, hike up to Bratislava Castle, offering magnificent views of the city. Tonight, explore Vienna’ssplendid Rathaus (Town Hall) Christmas Market.
The “City of Waltzes” offers a treasure trove of gems just waiting to be discovered. Join a tour showcasing its regal splendors, such as the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs, before concluding in Vienna’s historic city center. If you prefer a more active adventure, then join a guided bike ride along the Danube. During the afternoon, visit the market at Schönbrunn Palace with a giant sparkling Christmas tree. Cap the day off with “Vienna by Night” Christmas Markets at the beautifully decorated MariaTheresaplatz Christmas Market, set amongst the world-renowned sights of Vienna’s majestic Ringstrasse, and at the illuminated Rathaus, Vienna’s largest Christmas Market.
After reaching Weissenkirchen, you have a choice of excursions. Join a walking tour in Dürnstein and then visit a local boutique where you’ll enjoy a tasting of special apricot treats. Prefer more active adventures? Join a guided bike tour from Weissenkirchen to Melk. For those not biking to Melk, sail through the UNESCO-designated Wachau Valley to Melk. Once in Melk, visit its magnificent Benedictine Abbey.
Linz is known for being the city of Christmascrèches and its ever-popular Linzer torte. While here, you have a choice of three excursions. The first is a full-day visit to Salzburg to enjoy a walking tour of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, its magnificent cathedral, and its Christmas Markets, including the Hellbrunn Palace, where its inner courtyard is turned into a romantic backdrop for one of the most beautiful Christmas Markets in Austria. Alternatively, you can choose a morning walking tour through Linz’s old city center and by the Mozart House, where he composed the Linz Symphony in only three days, as well as visit Linz’s Christmas Markets. Or you can go on a guided bike tour through Linz and along the city’s famed“Culture Mile” and the Danube. During the afternoon, you can join a half-day excursion to Salzburg.
During the Advent season, beautiful Passau dresses in her Bavarian holiday splendor for you to discover on your walking tour through the city and its Christmas Market at St. Stephen’s Square—also home to its magnificent cathedral. Go in search of unique crafts, including Bavarian-style houses and glass ornaments. If you prefer a more active adventure, join a guided bike ride along the Danube. Later, sail for Vilshofen, where you’ll be treated to an exclusive Oktoberfest celebration.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!