19 days from Budapest to ParisOverview
Sail along the Danube, Main, Rhine, and Moselle Rivers, and through the Main Danube Canal and dramatic Rhine Gorge on this remarkable river cruise vacation. Begin your trip with two nights in the vibrant Hungarian capital of Budapest, with guided sightseeing and time to explore the city on your own. Then, set sail and enjoy guided sightseeing that shows off the highlights in each city, including inside visits of Melk’s awe-inspiring Benedictine Abbey, the Bishop’s Residenz in Würzburg, Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in charming Rüdesheim, and Reichsburg Castle in Cochem. In Regensburg we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers. Travel by high-speed train to Paris, where your vacation concludes with two overnights, guided sightseeing, and plenty of free time to explore the “City of Light” at your own pace!Duration:
Ships Serving this Tour: Visionary
Day 1 Arrive in Budapest, Hungary.
|29 September, 2015
||17 October, 2015
|27 October, 2015
||14 November, 2015
Welcome to Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital spanning the banks of the Danube. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan metropolis.Day 2 Budapest.
Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion—for spectacular views of the city—and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B)Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation).
You have time this morning to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)Day 4 Budapest–Vienna, Austria.
Enjoy a day of relaxation on board and marvel at the beautiful scenery on both banks of the Danube. Hungary is on your left as you cruise upriver and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. This evening, arrive in Vienna, Austria’s capital. Known as the “City of Music,” it inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. An optional concert is available during your stay. (B,L,D)Day 5 Vienna.
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boy’s Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights your Local Guide will show you during an included CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! (B,L,D)Day 6 Dürnstein–Melk.
Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche built in the 1700s, is situated right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. The main street of this small town—with a population of less than 1,000 people—is lined with 16th-century residences and charming cobblestone streets. This morning your Local Guide will take you on an included WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. During lunchtime, sail the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk in the early afternoon. Here, enjoy a GUIDED VISIT of the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The abbey houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. You’ll be captivated by the splendor of the church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. The view from the terrace of the abbey over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! This evening you’ll be able to sample some of the Wachau Valley’s FAMOUS WINES. (B,L,D)Day 7 Passau, Germany.
Today you can choose from several full-day optional excursions: to Salzburg, taking in some of the Sound of Music sights; the popular “Romantic Austria” tour; or to ?eský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Alternatively, you may choose to stay on the ship and relax as you cruise to Passau, uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (B,L,D)Day 8 Regensburg.
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the 17th-century Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. After dinner, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS. (B,L,D)Day 9 Nuremberg.
Today, spend a relaxing morning of cruising, and before lunch, attend a fascinating ONBOARD LECTURE about the engineering marvel that is the Main Danube Canal. The afternoon is dedicated to Nuremberg. Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Today, choose either a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour. During free time, be sure to make a wish at the beautiful fountain in the Hauptmarkt (main square). Legend says your wish will come true if you turn its gold ring three times. (B,L,D)Day 10 Nuremberg. Excursion to Munich.
After breakfast, drive to Munich, capital of Bavaria. With its historical museums, splendid English Garden, traditional cafés, and delightful shops, Munich has plenty to see and do. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you the highlights of this fascinating city, including Nymphenburg Palace, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs; MARIENPLATZ with its Old and New Town Halls; and the gothic Frauenkirche, a prominent landmark for Munich. Then, enjoy time on your own in this vibrant city. Watch the famous Glockenspiel, which recreates a royal wedding from the 16th century; linger at an outdoor café; visit St. Peter’s, the oldest church in town; or maybe relax alongside the locals at one of the many Biergarten or breweries to sample one of the Bavarian beer specialties. Return to your ship in the afternoon. (B,D)Day 11 Bamberg.
In the early morning hours, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALK takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This afternoon, enjoy some relaxing time on board as you cruise toward Würzburg on the Main River and attend an interesting ONBOARD LECTURE about the European Union. (B,L,D)Day 12 Würzburg.
Arrive in Würzburg during breakfast. Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, also known as the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you might like to join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (B,L,D)Day 13 Miltenberg.
Tucked away behind medieval defensive walls and towered gates, picturesque Bavarian Miltenberg is a cultural gem on the banks of the Main River. The town’s delightful Marktplatz (market square) centers around a Renaissance-era fountain, and features striking half-timbered buildings, cobblestone lanes, and one of the oldest inns in Germany, Haus zum Riesen (the giant’s house). See all this and marvel at the gothic splendor of the Merchant Hall on your GUIDED WALK. (B,L,D)Day 14 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge–Boppard
. Pretty Rüdesheim is the perfect example of a Rhine Valley wine town, and SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM is a real surprise. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then there’s free time to explore the Drosselgasse and pick up some souvenirs. Downstream, the dramatic RHINE GORGE is the most beautiful stretch of river. Pass the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom.Continue to Boppard, a spa town and popular tourist destination, where there is time to explore on your own before dinner. (B,L,D)Day 15 Cochem.
This morning, arrive in Cochem on the river Moselle, a charming, picturesque town with half-timbered houses and winding streets full of history and legends that will be brought to life during your included GUIDED WALK. Visit REICHSBURG CASTLE, built in 1000 AD and furnished with renaissance and baroque furniture. Sitting dramatically atop a conical hill covered in vines, this castle offers splendid views of the little town nestled down below and of the river valley. Cochem is at the heart of the Moselle wine trade and, most notably, the Riesling grape is cultivated, producing a dry to sweet, floral white wine. Enjoy free time here to discover this delightful town at your own pace. As you sail away, attend an ONBOARD LECTURE to learn more about the Moselle region. (B,L,D)Day 16 Trier.
After breakfast, an excursion takes you to Trier, Germany’s oldest city. Some say Trier is even older than Rome and that it was populated over a thousand years before the Romans arrived. Many Roman remains have survived, including a 20,000-seat amphitheater; the Porta Nigra, a fortified gate from the original Roman settlement, which still gives access to the town’s center; imperial baths; and the Roman bridge, Germany’s oldest bridge, with stone pilings dating from 144 AD—all evidence of this once-grand Roman city. Trier also offers pleasant market squares, Germany’s oldest Christian church, and a cornucopia of architectural styles—Roman, baroque, neo-classicism, renaissance, and gothic. Choose from the included CITY SIGHTSEEING or the more history-focused “ROMAN TRIER” guided tour, followed by some free time, gives you the opportunity to discover this magnificent town. Rejoin your vessel and head for Remich in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. (B,L,D)Day 17 Remich, Luxembourg (Disembarkation)–Paris, France.
Reach Remich in the early morning hours and say goodbye to your crew after breakfast. Travel to Luxembourg or to Metz to board the HIGH-SPEED TRAIN to Paris, where you arrive later in the day. (B)Day 18 Paris.
Known as one of the world’s most romantic and lively cities, Paris is a delight for all your senses. Your INCLUDED CITY SIGHTSEEING shows you magnificent must-see sights, such as Notre Dame Cathedral, the unique Louvre Museum with its glass pyramid as a contrast to its ancient architecture, the commemorative Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. In your free time, stroll down the Champs-Elysées with its lavish cafés, or perhaps visit the world-famous Louvre museum or Montmartre with its gleaming white Sacré Coeur Basilica and bevy of artists on Place du Tertre. Paris is also well known for its colorful nightlife, and an optional excursion to one of the world’s most famous cabaret shows, the Moulin Rouge, is available. All of this awaits your discovery! (B)Day 19 Paris.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
- Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
- Welcome dinner
- Daily Afternoon Tea
- Daily Night Fare
- Farewell dinner
- Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel