Imagine 15 magical days along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. From Holland’s windmill-studded tulip fields to Germany’s fairytale castles, from the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal to the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, this epic voyage presents the highlights of Holland, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Savor a decadent Sachertorte in a Viennese café with panoramic views of imperial Budapest. Along the way discover the legend of the Lorelei, the ancient art of glassblowing, the music of Mozart and more. Guests who choose this voyage soon see why it is our most popular itinerary.
Celebrate the Season with Thanksgiving Cruises: With a nod to a home-cooked meal, a traditional Thanksgiving feast of roasted turkey and all the trimmings will be served on each November departure in Europe.View Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise dates and prices.
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Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship.* After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House. (D)
This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)
You have a morning tour of Cologne, including a visit to the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After your tour, spend the rest of the day and evening exploring Cologne on your own: There are Roman ruins, interesting neighborhoods and wonderful museums like the Fragrance Museum and the Chocolate Museum. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Lunch and dinner are served aboard; we depart at midnight. (B, L, D)
Cruise past hilltop castles along the Rhine, stopping in Koblenz to visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed. After your tour, continue cruising this stunning stretch of the Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass the Lorelei Rock, which marks the river’s narrowest point and is named after the legendary Rhine maiden who lured sailors to their demise. Lunch and dinner are served aboard your ship. (B, L, D)
The morning is spent sailing along the beautiful Main River as it winds its way through the Spessart region. After lunch, we stop in Miltenberg, known for its half-timbered houses and Germany's oldest inn. Join our walking tour that concludes with free time for you to explore. Back on your ship, learn about the region’s glassblowing traditions during a live demonstration. We sail through the night to Würzburg. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then enjoy scenic afternoon cruising. Or, instead of touring Würzburg, join an optional full-day journey along Germany’s “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, which features a turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship for dinner. (B, L, D)
Sail through the morning; after lunch we visit Bamberg, with its medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour includes a visit to the magnificent 11th-century cathedral, reworked in late Romanesque style in the 13th century, and the picturesque city hall built on a tiny island in the middle of a river. Take some free time to enjoy Bamberg and perhaps try some of the town’s distinctive smoke-flavored beer before returning aboard. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark in Nuremberg and visit the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s; then see the Palace of Justice, site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials. Spend free time exploring Nuremberg’s Old Town, or join an optional World War II tour that includes the illuminating Documentation Center. We depart just before dinner. (B, L, D)
Arrive in Regensburg midday. After lunch, tour this wonderfully preserved medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including structures dating back to Roman times. Discover many 13th- and 14th-century patrician houses and see the splendid St. Peter’s Cathedral. During free time, visit the Alte Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), Germany’s oldest restaurant. Dinner is served aboard before our evening departure. (B, L, D)
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 the Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You'll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)†Passau organ concert is only available May 1-October 31 and is closed on Sunday.
After breakfast, visit the abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship; cruise through the spectacular Wachau Valley this afternoon. Before dinner, you have time to explore the time-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate, or sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region. (B, L, D)
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. Stephan’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 take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the Versailles of Vienna, graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and the “Roman ruin” erected in 1778. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)
Arrive early and embark on a walking tour of Slovakia’s charming capital to see attractions like the medieval fortifications at Michael’s Tower, baroque Jesuit Church and Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. You also pass by several baroque palaces from the Hapsburg Dynasty before you return to your ship for an afternoon of scenic cruising. Late tonight, arrive in Budapest. (B, L, D)
The Danube River divides Hungary's capital city into the once separate towns of Buda and Pest. Explore both sides, starting with Pest’s National Opera House and historic Heroes’ Square. In Buda, walk along Castle Hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 3 nights in Prague, Czech Republic, where you tour Old Town landmarks and Prague Castle. (B)
The following meals are included: B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner
* Airport meet & greet transfers included when air is purchased from Viking River Cruises