Uncover the jewels of Central Europe and the wonders that lie along the banks of the Danube on this 14-day rail and cruise vacation.
About the Tour
A voyage to remember, this rail and cruise adventure takes you along the blue waters of the Danube to destinations where history and modern life mingle in an intricate dance. The journey begins on land in Munich and continues to Passau by train. It is in Passau that you board your five-star cruise ship, either the Amadeus Queen or the Amadeus Silver II, for a 7-night cruise along the Danube River. The voyage begins with an evening cruise around Passau before heading to Regensburg, the Wachau Valley, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest. Each port of call along the way brings its own surprises, from guided tours to optional excursions. As the ship docks for the final time in Budapest, enjoy time to sightsee on your own before traveling by train to Prague and later to Berlin. Whether you crave history or spectacular scenery, this journey offers it all.
- Rail travel on local rail networks
- Hotel accommodations for 6 nights
- 7-night cruise aboard the Amadeus Queen or the Amadeus Silver II
- 26 meals, including all meals on the ship
- Munich Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour
- Regensburg city tour
- Salzburg or Austrian Lake District excursion
- Melk Abbey tour
- Vienna guided city tour
- Bratislava sightseeing tour
- Cruise the Danube Bend
- Budapest tour
- Prague city tour
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
Day 1 – Arrive Munich
Arrive at Munich International Airport and transfer independently to your centrally located hotel. The remainder of the day is yours to begin your explorations of this cultural epicenter. Admire the traditional architecture that surrounds Marienplatz or walk through the colorful blooms of the English Garden in the center of Munich. Of course, there are also numerous beer gardens throughout the city where you can get your first taste of Germany. Overnight Munich.
Day 2 – Munich Sightseeing
Munich’s most glorious sights lie ahead today as you embark on a Hop-on Hop-off tour of the city. The double-decker bus weaves through the city and invites you to “hop off” at points of interest, such as the Pinakothek Art Museum, the National Theater with the Royal Palace, the world-renowned Hofbrauhaus, Marienplatz and the exquisite Palace of Nymphenburg. The Olympic grounds are highlighted and include attractions, such as the Olympic Tower, the BMW Museum and Sea Life. The bus also stops in the Schwabing artist district and in numerous areas where you may get out and explore Munich’s various shopping regions. As the tour concludes, take the rest of the day to continue sightseeing. Munich is rife with amazing cuisine and is the heart of culture in Bavaria; take in all the city has to offer through its restaurants, art galleries and markets. Overnight Munich. (B)
Day 3 – Munich to Passau/Embarkation
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the train station and board your train to Passau. The 2 1/2-hour journey takes you from central Bavaria to the German/Austrian border. Passau is known as the City of Three Rivers thanks to its proximity to the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers, and, in fact, the Danube is your destination. On arrival in Passau, take some time to meander through the city before transferring to the harbor, where your river cruiser awaits. Board the Amadeus Queen or the Amadeus Silver II between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. and enjoy a welcome cocktail in the lounge before dinner. As the sun sets, the ship begins its journey along the Danube and the twinkling lights of the passing riverside cities create a wonderful backdrop for your first night. Overnight ship. (B, D)
Day 4 – Regensburg
Today’s port of call is the medieval town of Regensburg. During a guided tour, learn about the city’s history as a trading center and epicenter of regional influence, apparent today through its many historic buildings, which range from religious structures to palaces. You also have time to explore the city on your own. Marvel at what remains of the ancient Roman walls and cross the beautiful 12th-century Old Stone Bridge. Other points of interest throughout the city include Walhalla Memorial, which is modeled after the Greek Parthenon; the triangular Haidplatz square, where jousting matches were once held; and the sunny yellow Altes Rathaus, Regenburg’s 13th-century town hall. Enjoy dinner back on board this evening. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 5 – Salzburg or the Austrian Lake District
Arriving back in Passau this morning, you have the choice between two excursions, each of which highlights the beauty of Austria in its own way. The first takes you deep into the countryside for a day spent amidst the amazing scenes of Austria’s Lake District. Begin in Hallstatt, a UNESCO-listed village that is renowned for its 16th-century pastel-hued homes that sit perched on a tiny plain between the rugged mountains and the blue waters of Hallstättersee Lake. This village is known to be one of the most photographed in all of Austria, thanks to its pristine beauty, and was the inspiration behind the village in the Disney movie “Frozen.” Continue to Mondsee, a pretty village situated on a crescent-shaped lake by the same name. Here, you see the 15th-century chapel that was featured in the wedding scenes of “The Sound of Music.”
Alternatively, you can travel by coach to Salzburg, stopping along the way in Mondsee to see the village’s beloved attractions, including the famous chapel. In Salzburg, a guided sightseeing tour presents the city’s most renowned sights, including Mozart’s Birthplace and Salzburg Cathedral, amongst others. Fine examples of baroque architecture are seen as you travel between points of interest, as can the dramatic mountains and foothills that surround the city. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Wachau Valley/Melk Abbey
The ship continues its serpentine route through the night and arrives in Austria's Wachau Valley this morning. Enjoy views of lush vineyards and dramatic hillsides as the cruise ship approaches the idyllic village of Dürnstein. Upon docking, spend the morning at leisure exploring this destination, where colorful homes sit aside ancient buildings and cozy wine taverns. Popular attractions here include Dürnstein Castle and Stift Dürnstein, which is renowned for its tall blue tower. Ancient ruins lie in the hills around the village, and there are plenty of cozy shops to peruse. As lunch nears, reboard the ship for a delicious meal that is complemented by the amazing scenery of the Wachau Valley, one of the most beloved wine regions in this part of the world. Marvel at the ancient vineyards that roll down to the river’s edge and enjoy sights of verdant valleys. Riverside villages dot the landscape, as do impressive fortresses.
The ship moors once again, this time allowing you to join a deluxe motorcoach bound for Melk Abbey. Perched above the Danube on a rocky cliff, this 11th-century monastery is UNESCO World Heritage listed and often noted as one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps. Admission to the Abbey allows you to experience all the best offerings of the compound, including Prelate’s Courtyard, with its sweeping views; the ornately clad pink staircase within the monastery; and all of the fantastic frescos. You may also wish to wander down into the charming village of Melk during your time here. Return to the ship following the tour for an evening at leisure, enjoying the amenities onboard. Overnight ship (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Vienna Sightseeing
After a calm night of cruising, we arrive in beautiful Vienna and step off the ship for a comprehensive guided tour. A destination brimming with tradition and rich in history, Vienna is an amazing place to experience the artistic and musical heritage of Austria. The tour includes points of interest that highlight both, as well as ornate buildings, such as the grand Opera House and the opulent Parliament Building. Hofburg Palace is a true highlight of the tour, with its vast complex of buildings and intricate designs. Following the tour, enjoy some time to continue your explorations independently. Perhaps visit Belvedere Palace to take a ride aboard the iconic Ferris Wheel in Prater Park. MuseumsQuartier is a wonderful place to experience the museums of Vienna.
An experience to remember awaits back on board this evening. Have a wonderful dinner in the restaurant and after, enjoy a private recital by musicians from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This orchestra is known to be one of the most skilled and popular orchestras in the world and puts on a performance to remember. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Bratislava
Marvel at the passing vistas on the River Terrace or simply lounge in the sun on the Sun Deck during your morning at leisure on the ship. Bound for Bratislava, the ship sails along a calm section of the river that features a protected nature preserve and quaint riverside villages. The ship moors at Bratislava’s harbor early this afternoon, and after lunch, you set out on a guided tour of this capital city. The Carpathian Mountains loom in the background of Bratislava, and the city itself is neatly divided into the Baroque Old Town and the new city by the Danube. During your tour, enjoy highlights on both sides of the river, including its universities, museums, Gothic buildings and traditional architecture. There are myriad art galleries throughout Bratislava, as well as plenty of modern touches that lend a cosmopolitan atmosphere to this historic city. In the center of Old Town, cobblestone streets pave the way between the pastel-hued Rococo buildings and the pedestrian plazas. This evening, return to the ship for a delicious 5-course dinner. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Danube Bend/Budapest
When you wake this morning, one of the most scenic highlights of your cruise lies on the horizon: the Danube Bend. This unique section of the river makes a dramatic bend as the Danube moves toward Budapest. Tree-covered hills surround the banks, and as the ship passes through the bend, enjoy sights of colorful houses poking out between the dense trees, ancient churches and ruins of castles. Enjoy it all from the panoramic bar or from the loungers on the Sun Deck. Lunch is served onboard as you approach Budapest, and after the ship docks, enjoy a guided coach tour of the city. Many of Budapest’s major sights are highlighted as you tour both sides of the Danube, including the neo-Gothic Parliament building, the magnificent State Opera House and St. Stephen's Basilica. Additionally, the tour stops at the Buda Castle complex, where you have the opportunity to see the castle, Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion. The day concludes with a twilight cruise around the city during which you can see the varied buildings of the city illuminated under the stars. We are also treated to traditional Hungarian folk music in the lounge this evening. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Disembarkation
Disembark the ship after breakfast this morning, and transfer to your centrally located hotel on your own. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the history and culture of Budapest independently. You may wish to walk along the Danube Promenade, which stretches between the Elizabeth and Chain Bridges. The views from here are amazing. Alternatively, you could ride the Buda Castle Hill Funicular railway or ride aboard the world-renowned Children’s Railway, which travels through the hills of Budapest. Overnight Budapest. (B)
Day 11 – Budapest to Prague
Make your way to the train station this morning and enjoy a full-day rail journey between two capital cities. Beginning in Budapest, travel through northern Hungary and Slovakia en route to Prague. The train makes stops in both small villages and big cities along its route, offering an insider’s glimpse at Central Europe. As the train arrives in Prague late this afternoon, transfer to your hotel independently and begin your explorations after check-in. There are fantastic historic monuments to explore, including a castle dating back to the 9th century, and a wonderfully diverse culinary scene. Overnight Prague. (B)
Day 12 – Prague Sightseeing
Get acquainted with the “Heart of Europe” today as you embark on a grand city tour featuring some of the most interesting sights throughout Prague: the Municipal House, Wenceslas Square, the National Museum and Charles Square. The tour also includes a ride along and across the River Vltava to Prague Castle. Take a short walk around the castle before returning to the city center. Next, it is on to Old Town Square, where sights such as Tyn Church, St. Nicholas Church and Old Town Hall with its the Astronomical clock are highlighted.
Continue your day’s explorations independently. Feel free to revisit favorite destinations from the tour or explore sites yet to be uncovered. One of the most unique is the Lennon Wall, a graffiti-covered wall that is inspired by the words of John Lennon. Overnight Prague. (B)
Day 13 – Prague to Berlin
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel this morning ahead of a free morning in Prague. Take some time to meander through the narrow streets of Old Town or to grab a leisurely cup of coffee in one of the city’s cafés. Later, transfer to the rail station to board your train to Berlin. The journey takes just under 5 hours to complete and follows a northerly route through the Czech Republic and into Eastern Germany. Upon arrival in Berlin, make your way to your hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure in this cosmopolitan city, where art, gastronomy and culture collide. There are fantastic galleries and restaurants to explore, and many historical sights to uncover. Overnight Berlin. (B)
Day 14 – Berlin
Your journey through Central Europe concludes this morning as you transfer to Berlin’s airport for your return flight home. (B)
Hotel accommodations are centrally-located 4-star properties such as Eurostars Grand Central, Munich; Hotel Royal, Prague; K+K Hotel Opera, Budapest; and Mercure Moa Berlin, Berlin. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities. Rail tickets are in first class.
Tour Dates & Prices
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