Soak in the healing qualities of Budapest's thermal baths. Make dumplings with Wachau Valley apricots, then explore Gottweig Abbey, one of Austria's most revered monastic centers. See how Germany works at a local Passau business. Celebrate Vienna's musical heritage at a concert featuring works by Mozart and Strauss. With medieval towns, grand cities and stunning scenery, this 8-day journey on the "Blue Danube" is one you're sure to love.Airport transfers on date of embarkation/disembarkation with Viking Air program
Day 1 - Budapest, Hungary
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; if your arrival schedule permits, join an organized walk to Budapest's famous covered market in the three-story Great Market Hall established in 1897. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (D)
Day 2 - Budapest, Hungary
Your morning begins with a panoramic tour of the Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrassy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes' Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda's Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views. Rejoin your ship in Visegrad for lunch as we cruise along the scenic Danube River. Enjoy a midafternoon Viennese coffee workshop, complete with apple strudel. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Vienna, Austria
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 Schonbrunn Palace, the "Versailles of Vienna," erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world's oldest zoo and Roman ruins. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)
Day 4 - Krems, Austria
After breakfast, explore the time-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate. Visit Gottweig, a working Benedictine abbey that owns many of the vineyards along the Danube. The splendid ceiling fresco in the imperial stairwell is one of the largest in the world. Visit the church, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship and cruise leisurely through the captivating Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste some local Austrian specialties as you spot attractive riverside towns and castle ruins along the way. (B, L, D)
Day 5 - Passau, Germany
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. 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)
Day 6 - Regensburg, Germany
After breakfast, meet your guide dockside 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 Wurstkuche. Lunch is served aboard your ship.
This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising along the Danube River, or take an optional Danube Narrows excursion. Travel by road to Kelheim and board a ferryboat to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. Visit Weltenburg Abbey*, renowned for the dark ale brewed here by monks since 1050, then rejoin your ship in Kelheim in time for dinner. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - Main-Danube Canal & Nuremberg, Germany
Very early this morning, we sail through the locks that comprise the Main-Danube Canal, an engineering marvel that stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube. It began as Charlemagne's dream in 793 and was completed in 1992 with 16 locks that raise the water level 1,332 feet. Today, it enables river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Arrive in Nuremberg, Bavaria's second largest city, around lunchtime. Afterward, your city tour features Zeppelin Field, the former Nazi parade grounds, and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials; or, you can join an optional World War II tour of the illuminating Documentation Center Museum. You have a brief stop at the main courthouse before returning to Old Town, enclosed within ancient city walls.
Your tour comes to a close with a walk from the imperial palace grounds, past the Albrecht Durer House and on to the Main Market Square with its elaborate Gothic fountain. Afterward you have some time on your own to explore. (B, L, D)
Day 8 - Nuremberg, Germany
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 3 nights in Prague, Czech Republic, including a tour of Old Town and Prague Castle. (B)