German Jewels & Cities of the East

  • 25 nights
  • Sails from Hirsova to Düsseldorf
  • Brabant
Danube gorge, Danube in Djerdap National park, Serbia. Danube gorge "iron gate"

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Combining chances to explore absorbing European capitals, stops at charming destinations tucked away in glorious countryside and unforgettable daytime ventures through areas of breathtaking natural beauty, this is river cruising at its finest. The delights of Belgrade, Budapest and Bratislava; the wonders of the Middle Rhine Valley and the Iron Gates; and the fairytale-esque towns of the romantic Wachau Valley, these are just a few of the highlights awaiting your discovery.

This incredible 25-night cruise begins in Romania, where you’ll pass the point where the River Danube meets the Black Sea and have opportunities to take tours to the remote Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and beautiful Bucharest. Then it’s on to Bulgaria to visit Ruse – nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’ – and Vidin, before experiencing a momentous, simply unforgettable journey through the Iron Gates gorges. Look out for the Iron Gates’ famous Rock Sculpture of Decebalus as you sail onward to the Serbia. Here you’ll stop at Belgrade, where the Kalemegdan Fortress is not to be missed, and Novi Sad – a future European Capital of Culture. Cruising of the Tisa-Danube basin follows, presenting you with views of fertile plains and the impressive Petrovaradin Fortress en route to Hungary. From Kalocsa you can learn how paprika became the Hungarian ‘red gold’, while three days in Budapest allows for in-depth exploration. Buda Castle, the Millennium Underground Railway, Andrássy Avenue and the thermal baths are among the capital’s many attractions.

Brabant will then sail the picturesque Danube Bend before the capitals of Slovakia and Austria are yours to explore. Admire the diverse architectural treasures of Bratislava, such as the imposing castle; then in Vienna, be sure to tick Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace and Stadtpark off your ‘must-visit’ list. Elsewhere in Austria you’ll enjoy a taste of the Wachau Valley, stopping at Dürnstein, Emmersdorf and Melk and sailing through the gorgeous landscapes, and transit the winding Schlögener Schlinge. Finally it’s on to Germany, where after visiting Passau – gateway to Salzburg – and Regensburg, you’ll transit the historic Main-Danube Canal to Nuremberg. The next three days will be spent taking in treasure-laden towns and the magnificent Haßberge Mountains, before scenic cruising past the castles, spires and vineyards of the Middle Rhine Valley leads you to Koblenz. As your cruise comes to an end there are calls at Cochem and a relaxing sail through the Lower Moselle Valley to enjoy too. Ending your adventure perfectly is Cologne, where you can see the city’s spectacular twin-spired cathedral – considered one of Germany’s greatest sights – in all its glory.

Itinerary
Day Destination  
Day 1
  • Hirsova, Romania
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  • Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre. 

    Located on the River Danube at the western county line of Romania’s picturesque Constanta County, Hirsova is ideally situated for embarking and disembarking Danube River cruises to and from the Danube Delta, as well as the neighbouring countries of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and beyond. Spending time in here is worthwhile too though; charming Hirsova boasts plenty of interesting sights in and around the town centre.

    The main attractions in Hirsova are the Carsium Museum and the Carsium Fortress. Both feature an array of remarkable exhibits, which offer an insight into the town’s incredible, over 6500-year history and how the Neolithic, Byzantine, Roman and medieval Roman eras influenced Hirsova as it developed on the right bank of the Danube. Master Manole’s Church of St Constantine and Elena – which was completed in 1905 – is well worth a visit too.  

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Day 2
  • St Gheorghe, Romania
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  • Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Hidden away deep within the breathtaking Danube Delta, where the Danube River empties into the Black Sea on Romania’s east coast, the fishing village of St Gheorghe – not to be confused with the Transylvanian city of the same name – is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    Situated at the end of the winding Sfântu Gheorghe branch of the Danube, St Gheorghe is surrounded by simply spectacular wetland landscapes that must be seen to be believed, and for many visitors is the starting point for unforgettable tours taking in the many wonders of the Danube Delta. The chance to ride a small boat into the heart of the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve and explore the marshlands in search of gorgeous flora and wonderful wildlife – including pelicans and hundreds of other bird species – is an experience that’s not-to-be-missed. Alternatively, you could take a short, 30-minute walk to the coast to discover St Gheorghe’s beautifully unspoilt, eerily quiet golden sand beach. 

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Day 3
  • Cruising
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  • Cruising

    Cruising

Day 4
  • Ruse, Bulgaria
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  • Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture. 

    Ruse is one of Bulgaria’s biggest and most important port cities, serving as a vital link between several countries across Europe and Asia thanks to its strategic location on the Danube River. However, there’s much more to this city than its thriving port. Affectionately nicknamed ‘Little Vienna’, Ruse is among the most elegant and enchanting cities situated on the Danube, revered for its rich history, culture and magnificent architecture.

    There are over 300 incredible historical and architectural highlights to discover in Ruse, many of which feature on Bulgaria’s National Heritage List, and simply strolling around the city’s streets on foot will present you with an abundance of impressive Viennese-inspired Baroque, Renaissance, Gothic and Rococo style landmarks and monuments.

    Liberty Square is a great place to start your exploration. Perhaps marvel at striking sights such as the Statue of Liberty, the Opera House, the iconic Dohodno Zdanie theatre and St Trinity Church here, then venture down the surrounding streets in search of interesting attractions such as the Rousse Historical Museum, the Pantheon of National Revival Heroes national monument and the ruins of the Sexaginta Prista Roman Fortress. A wander along Aleksandrovska Street – Ruse’s main street – is highly recommended, to take in its melting pot of architectural styles.

    Away from Ruse’s many man-made marvels, there are natural delights to uncover close-by too. The Natural Park of Rusenski Lom – situated a short journey south from the city – is a sprawling 32 square kilometre wonderland of dramatic cliff faces and rock formations, beautiful riverside terraces and ancient caves such as the Orlova Chuka Cave – Bulgaria’s second-longest cave. Rusenski Lom is a haven for birdwatches too, home to around 172 diverse species including Egyptian vultures, lesser kestrels and eagle owls. 

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Day 5
  • Vidin, Bulgaria
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  • Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise. 

    Tucked away far in the northwest corner of Bulgaria on a bend of the Danube River, Vidin seems a long way from anywhere else. This ‘middle of nowhere’ feel only adds to this pretty port town’s charm though; the population is small and unlike many of the larger, better-known tourist hotspots in the surrounding region, Vidin – despite being a popular river cruise destination – isn’t flooded with visitors all year round. This ensures that, no matter when you visit, the town is always a rewarding and relaxing place to enjoy some time ashore during a Danube River cruise.

    Vidin is one of Bulgaria’s oldest towns. Founded in the 3rd century BC by a Thracian tribe, it later became part of the Roman Empire and a capital of the Bulgarian Kingdom until the 14th century, when the Ottoman Empire ruled the region. The influence of Vidin’s fascinating past can still be seen today, in the town’s mix of ancient Roman, medieval, Turkish and modern architecture, and collection of impressive historical landmarks.

    The Baba Vida Fortress – one of the best-preserved medieval fortresses in Bulgaria – is the finest exhibit of the town’s history and a must-visit site. Originally built between the 9th and 10th centuries on the ruins of a Roman fortress, Baba Vida has been rebuilt several times, and in several different styles, over the years. The town’s other notable highlights include the Kaleto Fortress; the beautiful orthodox churches of St Pantaleimon, St Petka and St Great Martyr Demetrius, built between the 17th and 19th centuries; the 19th century Jewish synagogue; the mosque; and an abundance of charming Renaissance-style buildings.  

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Day 6
  • Cruising the Iron Gates, Serbia
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  • Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    Marvel at simply breathtaking fjord-like landscapes and some of the most dramatic natural wonders seen anywhere in Europe on a momentous cruise through the incredible Iron Gates gorges.

    This remarkable section of the Danube River forms part of the border between Serbia and Romania and divides the magnificent Carpathian and Balkan Mountains. The awe-inspiring scenery here has to be seen to be believed and, as your smaller-sized river boat can navigate the locks and dams of this often narrow waterway with ease, you’ll experience the very best of the Iron Gates.

    As well as stunning natural landmarks you’ll also encounter a few man-made marvels as you glide along the Danube here, including the iconic Rock Sculpture of Decebalus at the Great Kazan gorge and a number of historic churches, castles and fortifications such as Severin Castle and Golubac Fortress.  

Day 7
  • Belgrade, Serbia
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  • Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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Day 8
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Novi Sad, Serbia
  • Cruising the Tisa Plain, Hungary
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  • Belgrade

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks. 

    Belgrade might not be as pretty as some of Europe’s other riverside capitals, however that’s all part of this gritty Serbian city’s charm. Shaped by its somewhat chaotic past – having been part of Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, Nazi Germany, Yugoslavia and much more over several centuries; and survived a number of punishing battles and wars – Belgrade is a jumble of historical, architectural and cultural monuments, buildings and landmarks.

    As Belgrade boasts such a unique and eclectic cityscape, there are new and interesting sights to uncover at almost every turn as you explore the relatively small city centre. Imposing socialist-era concrete tower blocks vie for your attention alongside magnificent art nouveau masterpieces, while various structures hark back to the Habsburg and Ottoman eras.

    Many of the city’s main sights are all within walking distance of each other. Perhaps start you exploration at the confluence of the beautiful Sava and Danube Rivers where the impressive Kalemegdan Fortress ‘guards’ the city; then head into the historic heart to discover a collection of highlights. The Old Royal Palace, built for the Serbian kings in 1881; the 20th century New Palace; the Serbian National Assembly; and a collection of centuries-old churches including St Sava Temple, the largest Orthodox Church in Serbia, all await. Nikolajevska Church, Belgrade’s oldest building, is worth stopping-by too. Republic Square and the vibrant boulevards of Knez Mihailova and Skadarlija, although lined with historic buildings, offer a taste of life in Belgrade today, with their crowded cosmopolitan cafes, high-end shops and trendy bars.  

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  • Novi Sad

    Although Novi Sad is arguably not as well-known as Belgrade, there is plenty to suggest that Serbia’s second city in fact has much more to offer than its capital. Energetic, creative and multi-cultural, Novi Sad is an expression of modern Serbia, with its bustling pedestrianised thoroughfares and squares, trendy bars and cafés, thriving music scene and interesting museums and galleries. Throw the city’s abundance of historic landmarks into the mix too and it’s easy to understand why Novi Sad is to become the first ever non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021. 

    Although Novi Sad is arguably not as well-known as Belgrade, there is plenty to suggest that Serbia’s second city in fact has much more to offer than its capital. Energetic, creative and multi-cultural, Novi Sad is an expression of modern Serbia, with its bustling pedestrianised thoroughfares and squares, trendy bars and cafés, thriving music scene and interesting museums and galleries. Throw the city’s abundance of historic landmarks into the mix too and it’s easy to understand why Novi Sad is to become the first ever non-EU European Capital of Culture in 2021.

    While Novi Sad really comes to life in July, when the annual EXIT Festival – one of the biggest and best music festivals in Europe – attracts thousands of revellers, this stunning city is a delight to explore at any time of the year. Visiting Novi Sad on a river cruise is a particularly rewarding experience, offering you the chance to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of the Danube River as you sail into the city; then take advantage of the chance to simply step ashore and discover the very best attractions.

    There are numerous cultural and historical highlights to uncover in Novi Sad, many of which are within walking distance of each other. The pedestrianised thoroughfare of Zmaj Jovina, which stretches from the town square to Dunavska Street, is the gateway to many of the city’s most popular sights. The architectural delights of Trg Slobode (the town square), including the neo-renaissance style Town Hall and the impressive neo-gothic Church of Mary’s Name; the magnificent façade of Hotel Vojvodina, situated in the charming Old Town district; the ornate Bauhaus-style Tanurdžić Palace; and the Bishop’s House are not to be missed.

    Petrovaradin Fortress is without doubt Novi Sad’s most iconic site. Situated on the right bank of the river, the Petrovaradin is famous for its ‘reversed’ clock tower that helps fishermen tell the time from afar. It’s also home to the Novi Sad City Museum and the venue for the aforementioned EXIT festival.    

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  • Cruising the Tisa Plain

    Capture the gorgeous scenery of the Tisa-Danube Basin’s fertile plains as you sail along the picturesque Danube River between the historic Serbian city of Novi Sad and Kalocsa, a charming town situated in the heart of beautiful Hungarian countryside. 

    Capture the gorgeous scenery of the Tisa-Danube Basin’s fertile plains as you sail along the picturesque Danube River between the historic Serbian city of Novi Sad and Kalocsa, a charming town situated in the heart of beautiful Hungarian countryside.

    This stunning section of the Danube passes through and by several lush-green national parks, nature reserves and picturesque riverside towns and cities, presenting you with breathtaking views to enjoy with every twist and turn of the river. 

Day 9
  • Kalocsa, Hungary
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  • Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains. 

    Although Kalocsa is the famed ‘paprika capital of the world’, there is much more to recommend this quaint, culture-rich town than the history of Hungary’s ‘red gold’. Founded by St Stephen – the First King of Hungary – over 1000 years ago, Kalocsa is one of Hungary’s oldest towns and among the country’s most important religious centres. The town is also renowned for producing vividly coloured folk embroideries and flowered porcelains.

    The compact centre of Kalocsa, with its jumble of boulevards, narrow alleyways and ornate squares, lends itself perfectly to a couple of hours of exploration, and there are plenty of architectural highlights and attractions to discover here. Many of the town’s most popular and impressive sights are in and around Holy Trinity Square and Szent István király út (St Stephen’s Road), which runs through the length of the town centre.

    Perhaps start at Holy Trinity Square to admire the Archbishop’s Palace, the 18th century Archbishop’s Cathedral, the statue of St Stephen and the Holy Trinity Column; then wander along St Stephen’s Road to admire fine examples of Baroque style architecture, visit the early 20th century town hall, and stop-by the interesting Paprika Museum. The House of Folk Art Museum and the Károly Visky Museum, which display various works of local folk art, are well worth visiting too, while the 85-foot-high Cybernetic Light Tower – created by Nicolas Schöffer, a pioneer of kinetic sculpture – is a remarkable sight.

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Day 10
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 11
  • Budapest, Hungary
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  • Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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Day 12
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Cruising the Danube Bend, Hungary
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  • Budapest

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it’s well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can. 

    Bustling and beautiful Budapest is an explorer’s dream destination. Straddling the magnificent Danube River, Hungary’s historic capital is split into two distinct districts: Buda, with its steep hills, streets and alleys; and low-lying Pest, where architectural and cultural treasures are in abundance. Exploring Budapest on either side of the water is an unforgettable experience, with unique and fascinating attractions to discover at every turn, but if you have time it is well worth hopping back and forth via the impressive bridges to take in as many of the city’s spectacular sights as you can.

    The highlights of the Buda side include the Ottoman-era thermal baths located at the foot of the majestic Gellért Hill; the ornate Royal Palace; Matthias Church, with its soaring rococo spire; Buda Castle, the crowning glory of Budapest’s cityscape; and much more.

    The awe-inspiring Parliament building – a neo-gothic, neo-Romanesque and neo-baroque architectural wonder perched on the Danube’s banks – beckons you to explore the Pest side of the river. Here you can also uncover the charms of the pretty Jewish Quarter – which is home to the incredible Great Synagogue – and the Palace District; stop-by the striking St Stephen’s Basillica; and visit a number of fantastic galleries and museums.

    As well as a plethora of historic attractions, Budapest also boasts plenty of trendy cafés, superb restaurants and bars, and a number of busy shopping streets where you can indulge in a little retail therapy – just as you would expect from a city that today is considered one of the world’s major metropolises.  

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  • Cruising the Danube Bend

    For simply spectacular scenic beauty, not many places in Europe can match the Danube Bend. This stunning region – situated just north of Budapest – is widely regarded as the most beautiful stretch of the River Danube, so it’s no wonder that its Hungary’s most visited tourist attraction. 

    For simply spectacular scenic beauty, not many places in Europe can match the Danube Bend. This stunning region – situated just north of Budapest – is widely regarded as the most beautiful stretch of the River Danube, so it’s no wonder that its Hungary’s most visited tourist attraction.

    As you sail the sharp twists and turns aboard your river boat – the best way to experience the bend in all its scenic splendour – you’ll take in gorgeous countryside scenery, see picturesque peaks and pass by several fascinating historic towns dotted along both banks of the river. Particular highlights to look out for are at the towns of Szentendre, Visegrád – Hungary’s 15th century ‘Camelot’, featuring an impressive hilltop fortress – and sleepy Esztergom, home to the largest cathedral in the country. 

Day 13
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
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  • Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River.  Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and – despite growth in recent years – retains an enchanting small town charm. 

    Beautiful Bratislava – Slovakia’s engrossing capital – is one of the most intriguing, immersive and diverse cities in Europe, combining contemporary delights and an abundance of historic highlights with the scenic beauty of the picturesque Danube River. Unlike many other European capitals, the city is laid-back rather than frenetic and, despite considerable growth in recent years, retains an enchanting small town charm.

    Walking through the uncrowded streets of Bratislava is like stepping back in time. Although the city only became a capital in 1993 – when Slovakia received its independence – its origins in fact date back to around 200BC. The locals here are rightly proud of their city’s over 2,000-year history and it shows. In the remarkably well-preserved heart of the city await several structures and monuments which hark back to times when Bratislava was a major trading hub and one of Europe’s great Renaissance-era cities.

    The most eye-catching of them all is the imposing white-walled castle, which has overlooked the city since the 9th century, while the collection of churches, palaces and ancient gates are well worth taking the time to uncover too. The gothic-style St Martin’s Cathedral, the former coronation-church of several Hungarian kings; the art-nouveau Church of St Elizabeth; Primate’s Palace; and the Grassalkovich Palace and gardens are among the many memorable sights. For museums and galleries you are spoilt for choice in Bratislava too. Take your pick of the Slovak National Museum, the Slovak National Gallery, the Bratislava City Gallery and much more. 

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Day 14
  • Nussdorf (Vienna) , Austria
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  • The largest and brightest shining of the many jewels in Austria’s crown, Vienna is without doubt among the most beautiful and captivating capitals in Europe. A leading artistic and cultural hub, the city was once home to many of the great composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, and is renowned for its contribution to theatre, the arts, opera and classical music over the years. It is also revered for boasting one of the most architecturally diverse historic centres found anywhere on the continent.

    The largest and brightest shining of the many jewels in Austria’s crown, Vienna is without doubt among the most beautiful and captivating capitals in Europe. A leading artistic and cultural hub, the city was once home to many of the great composers, such as Mozart, Beethoven, Haydn and Schubert, and is renowned for its contribution to theatre, the arts, opera and classical music over the years. It is also revered for boasting one of the most architecturally diverse historic centres found anywhere on the continent.

    Vienna is a vast city, spread out along both banks of the River Danube, and is perfect for a few hours of rewarding exploration. After your riverboat berths in the nearby suburb of Nussdorf, you can head into the city to take your pick of a wealth of attractions. The UNESCO-listed historic centre is awash with highlights; Baroque castles and imperial palaces, ancient buildings and impressive landmarks and monuments all await you here.

    The stunning Schönbrunn Palace, formerly the Imperial summer residence; the imposing Hofburg Palace, which was the base of the Habsburgs for over 600 years; and splendid Belvedere Palace are just a trio of Vienna’s most popular sights. Don’t miss the Stadtpark, striking gothic-style Stephansdom cathedral and the iconic structures of the Ringstrasse, including the Flemish-Gothic City Hall, the Parliament building and the New Baroque Burgtheater, too.

    As well as architectural marvels, Vienna is – as you might expect from such a culture-rich city – also home to an abundance of fantastic galleries and museums. Among the city’s best cultural venues are the Museum of Fine Arts, which exhibits the world’s largest collection of Bruegel paintings; the Rinsgstrasse’s Kunsthistorisches Museum; and the many institutions of the MuseumsQuartier, such as Leopold Museum, the Museum Moderner Kunst, Architekturzentrum and Kunsthalle. No time spent in Vienna is complete without visiting the neo-renaissance State Opera, Musikverein, the Staatsoper and the Haus der Musik museum to immerse yourself in the City of Music’s famous musical heritage.

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Day 15
  • Dürnstein, Austria
  • Cruising the Wachau Valley, Austria
  • Emmersdorf & Melk, Austria
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  • Dürnstein

    Austria’s romantic, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley is world-renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, historic sights and famous wines, and nowhere better epitomises the appeal of this stunning region than Dürnstein. Situated on a curve of the Danube River afront forested hills, and home to steep vineyards and a collection of beautifully well-preserved medieval buildings, this town is as picture-perfect as they come. 

    Austria’s romantic, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley is world-renowned for its spectacular natural scenery, historic sights and famous wines, and nowhere better epitomises the appeal of this stunning region than Dürnstein. Situated on a curve of the Danube River afront forested hills, and home to steep vineyards and a collection of beautifully well-preserved medieval buildings, this town is as picture-perfect as they come.

    Simply admiring Dürnstein from your riverboat on a Danube River cruise would be an experience to behold, so picturesque is the town, but stopping here to explore one of Austria’s most popular tourist spots is all the more rewarding. After all, there must be a reason why the town’s population of a few hundred swells to a few thousand in the summer months, when people from all corners of the globe visit.

    Although Dürnstein is a small town, there are plenty of highlights and attractions to discover as you wander the narrow streets and alleys. Pin Dürnstein, which features a magnificent blue tower; the Kunigunde church, built in the early 13th century; the striking City Hall; and impressive Fort Clarissinnenkirche all await your discovery just a short distance from your boat.

    The ruins of the city’s 12th century castle, Burgruine Dürnstein, are not to be missed. The castle towers over Dürnstein from atop a steep hill, and it’s well worth making the effort to climb to this historic fortification to learn of its links to Richard the Lionheart and enjoy unspoilt views of the Danube and the Wachau Valley’s astonishing scenic landscapes. If you’re tempted to try a glass or two of the region’s delicious tipples, be sure to visit one of the friendly taverns or wine cellars too. 

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  • Cruising the Wachau Valley

    The Wachau Valley is a spectacular 33 Kilometre-long section of the Danube River, stretched between the historic Austrian towns of Melk and Krems. UNESCO-listed in recognition of its diverse landscapes, the Wachau is a showcase of postcard-perfect scenery consisting of enchanting medieval towns, world-renowned vineyards and gently rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

    The Wachau Valley is a spectacular 33 Kilometre-long section of the Danube River, stretched between the historic Austrian towns of Melk and Krems. UNESCO-listed in recognition of its diverse landscapes, the Wachau is a showcase of postcard-perfect scenery consisting of enchanting medieval towns, world-renowned vineyards and gently rolling hills as far as the eye can see.

    Throw in the wonderfully mild climate and soothing sunshine the Wachau benefits from and you have one of the most unforgettable areas of scenic cruising to be discovered anywhere along the enchanting Danube River.

  • Emmersdorf & Melk

    At the south-western entrance of the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley lie the charming town of Emmersdorf and the historic city of Melk – two of Lower Austria’s prettiest and most popular holiday destinations. Whether you choose to explore one or both of these small, yet attraction-packed settlements situated on opposite sides of the River Danube, you’re in for an enjoyable and rewarding experience here during your Danube River cruise. 

    At the south-western entrance of the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Wachau Valley lie the charming town of Emmersdorf and the historic city of Melk – two of Lower Austria’s prettiest and most popular holiday destinations. Whether you choose to explore one or both of these small, yet attraction-packed settlements situated on opposite sides of the River Danube, you’re in for an enjoyable and rewarding experience here during your Danube River cruise.

    The centre of Emmersdorf is within walking distance of your riverboat’s berth and is the perfect place to start a couple of hours of relaxing exploration ashore. Head into the town beyond the colourful waterfront buildings and you’ll uncover a few interesting sites, including the late-gothic parish church of St Nikolaus, a collection of 16th century wine houses, the Town Hall and a couple of fine restaurants such as Schloss Rothenhof. Look over towards Melk and the sight of the magnificent Melk Abbey will hint at the historic highlights awaiting you across the river.

    Melk is a short journey across the Danube Bridge from Emmersdorf and no time here is complete without venturing over the river to visit the city’s iconic Benedictine abbey – considered one of the most famous, elaborate and important monasteries in Austria. While the abbey’s stunning architecture is a sight to behold, its hill-top position also provides spectacular views of Melk, the Danube and the surrounding countryside scenery which are not-to-be-missed. Elsewhere in the city – which is easily explored on foot – it’s worth taking in the 16th century Town Hall; Haus am Stein, Melk’s oldest building; and the striking towers and domes of the Stiftskirche. 

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Day 16
  • Cruising Schlögener Schlinge, Germany
  • Passau, Germany
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  • Cruising Schlögener Schlinge

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty, peace and tranquility of some of the most spectacular scenery seen anywhere along the Danube River, as your river boat negotiates the seemingly endless meanders of the Schlögener Schlinge. 

    Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty, peace and tranquility of some of the most spectacular scenery seen anywhere along the Danube River, as your river boat negotiates the seemingly endless meanders of the Schlögener Schlinge.

    Slicing through the beautiful Upper Danube Valley, the Schlögener Schlinge is often described as 'the natural wonder of Upper Austria' and you'll soon understand why as you sail slowly through the flora-rich forested hills and valleys.

  • Passau

    On the German-Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers sits the charming Bavarian city of Passau. Nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’, pretty Passau has made the most of its unique location throughout its fascinating history. For centuries its waterways were vital trading routes, bringing wealth which helped to shape and develop the beautiful old streets here; while today they serve as gateways for visitors stopping-by to take in the city’s historic highlights and cultural delights. 

    On the German-Austrian border at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers sits the charming Bavarian city of Passau. Nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’, pretty Passau has made the most of its unique location throughout its fascinating history. For centuries its waterways were vital trading routes, bringing wealth which helped to shape and develop the beautiful old streets here; while today they serve as gateways for visitors stopping-by to take in the city’s historic highlights and cultural delights.

    As well as its rivers, Passau is renowned for its colourful architecture and typically Bavarian charm. Wandering the delightful streets of this relatively small and easy to explore city is always a memorable spectacle, with an abundance of sights to uncover. The Altstadt old town district – largely untouched since prince bishops ordered its construction in the 17th century –  is home to a number of soaring towers, stunning palaces, pretty promenades and the gothic-style Town Hall; as well as the iconic St Stephen’s Cathedral. This wonderfully ornate, baroque-style monument is a must-visit to marvel at the huge organ and grand bells alone.

    The Vesta Oberhaus, which towers above the city on the northern bank of the Danube, is not to be missed too. Built in the 13th century to guard Passau, this impressive fortress is today a fascinating museum and gallery showcasing the city’s interesting history. Also well worth a visit is the Pilgrimage church ‘Mariahilf’; the glass museum, which exhibits one of the largest glassware collections in the world; and the Innpromenade, where you can take in the pretty parks and ancient tunnels, enjoy some retail therapy and grab a pint of the local brew, and see where the city’s three rivers meet. 

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Day 17
  • Regensburg, Germany
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  • Nicknamed ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, resplendent Regensburg is considered amongst the finest medieval cities in Europe. Originally settled by the Romans in 179AD under the control of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Regensburg was the first capital of Bavaria and a Free Imperial City for around 600 years. Today it is simply one of Germany’s oldest and finest cities.

    Nicknamed ‘Germany’s medieval miracle’, resplendent Regensburg is considered amongst the finest medieval cities in Europe. Originally settled by the Romans in 179AD under the control of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Regensburg was the first capital of Bavaria and a Free Imperial City for around 600 years. Today it is simply one of Germany’s oldest and finest cities.

    The locals here are rightly proud of their hometown’s remarkable 2000-year-old history and it shows. Incredibly well-preserved, this stunning city – situated in a scenic setting at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen – is an unmolested maze of historic streets, squares, landmarks and monuments, which are sure to delight and enchant from the moment you arrive here. Approximately 1500 listed buildings are packed into the historic heart of Regensburg, 984 of which are within the UNESCO-listed Stadtamhof Old Town. The 12th century Stone Bridge across the Danube; striking German-Gothic cathedral; Collegiate Church of St John; castle-like Patrician ‘Heuport’ house; and historic Adler pharmacy are among the most significant. You’ll even uncover the world’s oldest sausage house within Stadtamhof too.

    Otherwise it’s worth taking a walk along the bank of the Danube to enjoy the scenery and encounter the Roland Fountain at Fischmarkt Square; while elsewhere in the city you could choose to see St Ulrich’s Church and the Patrician Towers, or take your pick of over 20 fantastic museums.

    Don’t for a moment think that historic Regensburg is stuck asleep in a time warp though. Despite its medieval appearance, the city’s atmosphere is energetic and youthful with modern cultural delights such as theatre, dance and art on show; while many of the oldest buildings in the city centre are thriving once again as hosts to trendy restaurants and coffee shops. Lovers of locally-crafted beer and wine will delight in the knowledge that Regensburg boasts the largest number of pubs and bars than any other German city too.

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Day 18
  • Cruising Main Danube Canal, Germany
  • Nuremberg, Germany
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  • Cruising Main Danube Canal

    Germany's magnificent Main-Danube Canal is one of the most important and impressive European waterways, serving as a vital link between the Main and Danube rivers and connecting south-eastern Europe to northern Europe, the North Sea and beyond. 

    Germany's magnificent Main-Danube Canal is one of the most important and impressive European waterways, serving as a vital link between the Main and Danube rivers and connecting south-eastern Europe to northern Europe, the North Sea and beyond.

    A cruise along this incredible 106 mile-long canal is always a simply unforgettable experience. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ever-changing scenery as your river boat winds its way along the canal's kinks and corners, negotiates remarkable locks as the waterway rises and falls with the surrounding landscape, and passes by countless picturesque cities and towns. 

  • Nuremberg

    A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    There’s much more to Bavaria’s second largest city than contemporary delights though. While Nuremberg tries it’s best to shake off the shackles of its infamous past, there’s simply no ignoring the city’s diverse – and often damaging – history. With origins dating back to Roman times – the city was once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire – Nuremberg is a picture book of centuries-old structures, especially in the old town ‘Altstadt’ district. Historic highlights here include the collection of medieval half-timbered houses and gothic churches such as the mid-13th century St Lorenz Cathedral; the 13th century Nassauer Haus; and the city’s most impressive sight, the towering Kaiserberg Imperial Castle.

    No time spent in Nuremberg is complete without examining the city’s importance in World War Two. An icon of the Nazi regime, Nuremberg hosted several of Adolf Hitler’s fanatical propaganda rallies throughout the war before being largely destroyed by Allied bombing raids in 1945; and after the war was chosen as the site of the war crimes tribunal, now known as the Nuremberg Trials. Reichsparteitagsgelände – where the famous black and white images of Nazi supporters hailing Hitler were taken – and the Nuremberg Trials Memorial are both must-visit sites, offering an emotive and unforgettable insight into this remarkable period of the city’s history.

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Day 19
  • Nuremberg, Germany
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  • A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    A major commercial city with a distinctly cosmopolitan feel, Nuremberg is today one of Germany’s most vibrant, energetic and endlessly stimulating destinations. Home to an abundance of cultural highlights and exciting attractions, from stylish galleries and museums to trendy bars, cafés and lively markets, as well as a few exciting annual events, Nuremberg offers a taste of modern German life.

    There’s much more to Bavaria’s second largest city than contemporary delights though. While Nuremberg tries it’s best to shake off the shackles of its infamous past, there’s simply no ignoring the city’s diverse – and often damaging – history. With origins dating back to Roman times – the city was once the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire – Nuremberg is a picture book of centuries-old structures, especially in the old town ‘Altstadt’ district. Historic highlights here include the collection of medieval half-timbered houses and gothic churches such as the mid-13th century St Lorenz Cathedral; the 13th century Nassauer Haus; and the city’s most impressive sight, the towering Kaiserberg Imperial Castle.

    No time spent in Nuremberg is complete without examining the city’s importance in World War Two. An icon of the Nazi regime, Nuremberg hosted several of Adolf Hitler’s fanatical propaganda rallies throughout the war before being largely destroyed by Allied bombing raids in 1945; and after the war was chosen as the site of the war crimes tribunal, now known as the Nuremberg Trials. Reichsparteitagsgelände – where the famous black and white images of Nazi supporters hailing Hitler were taken – and the Nuremberg Trials Memorial are both must-visit sites, offering an emotive and unforgettable insight into this remarkable period of the city’s history.

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Day 20
  • Bamberg, Germany
  • Cruising by the Hassberge Mountains, Germany
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  • Bamberg

    Bamberg’s incredible history dates back to Roman times. Once the jewel in the Roman Empire’s crown, the town became its own diocese after the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II made it a family inheritance in 1007, and was a major influence on the introduction of Christianity to Bavaria. By the 13th century prince bishops ruled here, overseeing the town’s development and the construction of many magnificent monuments and buildings. 

    Bamberg’s incredible history dates back to Roman times. Once the jewel in the Roman Empire’s crown, the town became its own diocese after the Holy Roman Emperor Henry II made it a family inheritance in 1007, and was a major influence on the introduction of Christianity to Bavaria. By the 13th century Prince Bishops ruled here, overseeing the town’s development and the construction of many magnificent monuments and buildings.

    Fast forward several centuries and today the beautifully Bavarian town of Bamberg – spread across seven hills where the Main and Regnitz rivers meet – is one of Germany’s most picturesque and beguiling destinations. The town’s entire historic heart is UNESCO-listed in recognition of its fascinating heritage and wonderfully well-preserved medieval streets and structures. Exploring the town centre is like stepping back in time or into a fairytale, with stunning sights to discover with every turn.

    Among Bamburg’s many must-visit sites are the magnificent Romanesque cathedral and the centuries-old churches perched atop the town’s tall hills, including the spectacular Michaelsberg Abbey, the gothic-style Church of Our Lady and St Martin’s Church – Bamburg’s only baroque church. Also not-to-be-missed is the unique Altes Rathaus, perched on a bridge across the Regnitz River; and Neue Residenz, home of the town’s Prince Bishops from the mid-17th century to 1802. Be sure to stop by one of the friendly pubs to sample locally-brewed traditional smoked beer too.  

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  • Cruising by the Hassberge Mountains

    As you sail by Germany’s beautiful Haßberge Mountains you might be surprised to learn that their name roughly translates to ‘Hate Mountains’ in English, so peaceful and pretty are the region’s gently rolling hills and lush-green vineyards. 

    As you sail by Germany’s beautiful Haßberge Mountains you might be surprised to learn that their name roughly translates to ‘Hate Mountains’ in English, so peaceful and pretty are the region’s gently rolling hills and lush-green vineyards.

    Look out for a number of Haßberge’s historical delights as your river boat glides along the River Main, including charming medieval towns, noble palaces, the ruins of centuries-old formidable fortresses and magnificent rural castles.   

Day 21
  • Würzburg, Germany
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  • Although Würzburg’s extensive history, in fact, stretches back over several centuries, very little here pre-dates the Second World War. In 1945 Würzburg was almost completely decimated by an Allied bombing raid which destroyed approximately 90% of the city and razed a number of historic churches, cathedrals and medieval monuments to the ground. Plans were made to leave Würzburg in its battle-scarred state after the war to serve as a reminder of the destruction caused; though thankfully these plans were cancelled and the city was painstakingly rebuilt into the Bavarian gem it is today.

    Although Würzburg’s extensive history in fact stretches back over several centuries, very little here pre-dates the Second World War. In 1945 Würzburg was almost completely decimated by an Allied bombing raid which destroyed approximately 90% of the city and razed a number of historic churches, cathedrals and medieval monuments to the ground. Plans were made to leave Würzburg in its battle-scarred state after the war to serve as a reminder of the destruction caused, though thankfully these plans were cancelled and the city was painstakingly rebuilt into the Bavarian gem it is today.

    Now restored to its resplendent former glory, this scenic city situated on the River Main is one of Germany’s most rewarding and interesting destinations, world-renowned for its exceptional architecture, arts and culture. Wandering the city’s renovated and rejuvenated streets and alleys is always memorable, with impressive sights and attractions to encounter at almost every turn. Among the very best are the imposing Festung Marienberg fortress, which offers fantastic views of the city and the Main; St Kilian Cathedral, the fourth largest Romanesque church in Germany; the extravagant Neumünster church; and multiple museums such as Röntgen Gedächtnisstätte and Museum am Dom. There are plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants serving delicious traditional cuisine and local Franconian wines too.

    The most impressive of the city’s sights though is without doubt Balthasar Neumann’s architectural masterpiece, the Residenz Palace. Originally built in the 18th century, Würzburg’s crowning glory is UNESCO-listed and recognised as one of Germany’s finest and most important examples of Baroque architecture. As stunning internally as it is externally, the ‘castle above all castles’ boasts over 300 rooms spread across three wings, 40 of which are open to the public. Not to be missed is the palace’s spectacular Treppenhaus staircase, which is adorned by the world’s largest fresco.

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Day 22
  • Miltenberg, Germany
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  • Visit charming Miltenberg on a German river cruise and you’ll quickly understand why this quaint Bavarian town is affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the River Main’. Revered for retaining its scenic beauty and romantic historical charm, Miltenberg is one of only a few German towns not to have been extensively rebuilt after the Second World War, so many of the wonderfully well-preserved streets and structures here are as they were several centuries ago.

    Visit charming Miltenberg on a German river cruise and you will quickly understand why this quaint Bavarian town is affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the River Main’. Revered for retaining its scenic beauty and romantic historical charm, Miltenberg is one of only a few German towns not to have been extensively rebuilt after the Second World War, so many of the wonderfully well-preserved streets and structures here are as they were several centuries ago.

    Stretched along the banks of the Main and centred on the main street laid by the Romans during the town’s inception, Miltenberg is easy, relaxing and rewarding to explore. While away a couple of hours here and you can encounter a plethora of highlights and delights, from the Old Town district’s magnificent market square and medieval half-timbered houses to Gasthaus Zum Riesen – the oldest guesthouse in Germany – where Barbarossa, Emperor Frederick III, King Ludwig of Bavaria and even Elvis Presley have stayed over the years.

    Don’t miss Miltenberg Castle too. Originally built in the late 12th century and subsequently rebuilt after suffering extensive damage during the Margrave Wars and the Thirty Year War, the castle is now a museum exhibiting a collection of fantastic artwork. From the castle’s 27 metre-high keep you can also enjoy incredible views of the beautiful Main Valley. Also well worth a visit are the Old Town Hall, the old cathedral and the town museum, all of which offer an insight into Miltenberg’s interesting history and heritage.

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Day 23
  • Koblenz, Germany
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  • Situated at the famous ‘Deutsches Eck’ where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and the magnificent Hunsrück, Eifel and Westerwald mountain ranges converge, it’s no wonder Koblenz is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Germany. The appeal of Koblenz isn’t just skin-deep however; over 2,000 years of history and an abundance of cultural and historical monuments ensure this ancient city is always a memorable and rewarding stop on a German river cruise.

    Situated at the famous ‘Deutsches Eck’ where the Rhine and Moselle rivers meet and the magnificent Hunsrück, Eifel and Westerwald mountain ranges converge, it’s no wonder Koblenz is considered one of the most picturesque cities in Germany. The appeal of Koblenz isn’t just skin-deep however; over 2,000 years of history and an abundance of cultural and historical monuments ensure this ancient city is always a memorable and rewarding stop on a German river cruise.

    While Koblenz’s beginnings date back to Roman times, the Franks, the French, the Prussians and of course, the Germans have all controlled and heavily influenced the city over the years. Many centuries-old fortifications and castles, impressive palaces and sculpted parks, which offer an insight into Koblenz’s fascinating past, highlight this rich and diverse history. The magnificent 19th century Stolzenfels Castle, watching over the Rhine on the left bank of the river; Alte Berg, the former electoral castle built in the 13th century; the Prussian Electoral Palace, where the Prussian Crown Prince and Kaiser Wilhelm I once resided; and the neo-romantic Prussian Government building are all among the highlights. Also not to be missed is the ancient Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, which can be reached via the Koblenz cable car and offers stunning views of Koblenz and the surrounding river scenery from 118 metres above the city.

    It’s also well worth taking the time to venture into the charming Altstadt district, where pretty squares, ornate churches such as Liebfrauenkirche and St Castor Basilica, and the iconic Vier Türme towers await. In the old town you’ll also find a number of friendly bars and restaurants serving the finest local flavours.

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Day 24
  • Cochem, Germany
  • Cruising Lower Moselle Valley, Germany
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  • Cochem

    Although small, the fairytale-esque German town of Cochem is sure to make a big impression. Situated within the breathtaking Moselle Valley on one of the winding Moselle River’s seemingly endless hairpin bends, Cochem is one of Europe’s most charming and picturesque locations. Sailing here is always simply unforgettable, with views of unspoilt lush-green countryside to enjoy from your river boat; while in the town itself there are plenty of eye-catching sights to discover too. 

    Although small, the fairytale-esque German town of Cochem is sure to make a big impression. Situated within the breathtaking Moselle Valley on one of the winding Moselle River’s seemingly endless hairpin bends, Cochem is amongst Europe’s most charming and picturesque locations. Sailing here is always simply unforgettable, with views of unspoilt lush-green countryside to enjoy from your riverboat, while in the town itself there are plenty of eye-catching sights to discover too.

    Tucked away within the town’s narrow streets and twisting, maze-like alleys you can uncover a jumble of restored and remarkably well-preserved half-timbered houses; remains of the old town walls and fortifications such as the Endert Gate Tower and the Guard House, which date back to the 14th century; and the baroque-style, early-18th century Town Hall. A walk along the Moselle promenade is highly recommended too; while it is also well worth stopping by one of the friendly pubs or restaurants to try Riesling wines which are produced from grapes sourced at nearby vineyards.

    Literally unmissable is the magnificent Reichsburg Castle. Towering above the town atop a 330-foot-high hill, Reichsburg is one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable landmarks seen anywhere on the banks of the Moselle. The climb to this centuries-old structure is steep, but it’s well worth making the effort, if you have time, to admire the castle’s interesting mix of architectural styles, learn more about it’s fascinating history and capture a glimpse of the beautiful surrounding valleys, vineyards and towns.  

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  • Cruising Lower Moselle Valley

    With its beautiful, ever-changing landscape, which is marked by world-famous vineyards, imposing cliffs and steep hills, towering centuries-old castles and a string of postcard-perfect historic towns, the Lower Moselle Valley is widely considered the most picturesque section of the Moselle River. 

    With its beautiful, ever-changing landscape, which is marked by world-famous vineyards, imposing cliffs and steep hills, towering centuries-old castles and a string of postcard-perfect historic towns, the Lower Moselle Valley is widely considered the most picturesque section of the Moselle River.

    Here the river is the much narrower than it is in the Upper and Middle Moselle regions, so you’ll be closer to the spectacular landscapes as your riverboat negotiates the waterway’s many meanders. Have your camera to hand to capture the stunning scenery, or simply sit back and enjoy the view. 

Day 25
  • Cologne, Germany
  • Düsseldorf, Germany
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  • Cologne

    Situated on the Rhine River in the centre of the Rhine-Rhur region, charming Cologne is the beating heart of the beautiful Rhineland. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago by the Ubii tribe, Cologne was once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire and served as a major trade route throughout the Middle Ages. In recent years the city has been extensively rebuilt and restructured, and is now one of the most important historical and cultural centres in Europe.

    Situated on the Rhine River in the centre of the Rhine-Rhur region, charming Cologne is the beating heart of the beautiful Rhineland. Originally founded over 2,000 years ago by the Ubii tribe, Cologne was once the largest city in the Holy Roman Empire and served as a major trade route throughout the Middle Ages. In recent years the city has been extensively rebuilt and restructured, and is now one of the most important historical and cultural centres in Europe.

    With such a rich history and heritage, Cologne is a picture book of fascinating highlights and experiences. The city’s most iconic site is without doubt the magnificent UNESCO-listed Cathedral, which has long been considered Germany’s single most popular attraction. The soaring gothic spires of this incredible 13th century structure can be seen from all over the city, however visiting the cathedral is a must to marvel at its spectacular architecture up-close and uncover the treasures within.

    The city’s many other must-visit sights and attractions include the impressive Hohenzollern Bridge, which spans the Rhine near the cathedral; a collection of 12 glorious Romanesque churches including St Kunibert, St Severin and St Andreas; the beautiful Forstbotanischer botanical garden; and several galleries and museums such as the Fragrance Museum and Museum Ludwig, which boasts one of the Europe’s finest Picasso collections. For a taste of the local culture – and of the local brew – be sure to stop by Altstadt district, where bustling pubs and beer halls serve the city’s famous sweet pale ale, Kölsch.

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  • Düsseldorf

    Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    At first glimpse of the city you can’t help but be impressed by the sight of Düsseldorf’s landscape-dominating modern marvels. The soaring, 240 metre-high Rhine Tower and the distinctive structures of the MediaHarbor – which is home to the city’s trendiest bars, restaurants, cafés and hotels – are particularly impressive, showcasing the city’s wealth and recent development. Away from the banks of the Rhine there’s much more to discover within the ‘Stadtmitte’ district, such as the bustling, internationally-famous shopping street of Königsallee; the Japanese quarter; and the bustling banking quarter.

    Take time to dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover a plethora of historic highlights in Düsseldorf too. Within the charming Altstadt district – which was almost completely destroyed in World War Two and subsequently rebuilt – you can take in the monuments of Castle Square, including the remains of the baroque palace and the city monument; centuries-old churches such as St Lambertus Basilika and Neanderkirche; the 16th century Rathaus and much more. The Carlstadt district, with its many museums, galleries, markets and collection of pretty baroque-style architecture, is worth a visit too. 

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Day 26
  • Düsseldorf, Germany
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  • Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    Dazzling Düsseldorf – the capital of the North Rhine-Westphalia state – is a vibrant modern metropolis situated on the banks of the beautiful Rhine River. A thriving economic centre, this stylish city is one of Germany’s largest, wealthiest and most populated, and renowned for its international media, creative and financial industries, cosmopolitan culture, buzzing nightlife and striking architecture.

    At first glimpse of the city you can’t help but be impressed by the sight of Düsseldorf’s landscape-dominating modern marvels. The soaring, 240 metre-high Rhine Tower and the distinctive structures of the MediaHarbor – which is home to the city’s trendiest bars, restaurants, cafés and hotels – are particularly impressive, showcasing the city’s wealth and recent development. Away from the banks of the Rhine there’s much more to discover within the ‘Stadtmitte’ district, such as the bustling, internationally-famous shopping street of Königsallee; the Japanese quarter; and the bustling banking quarter.

    Take time to dig a little deeper and you’ll uncover a plethora of historic highlights in Düsseldorf too. Within the charming Altstadt district – which was almost completely destroyed in World War Two and subsequently rebuilt – you can take in the monuments of Castle Square, including the remains of the baroque palace and the city monument; centuries-old churches such as St Lambertus Basilika and Neanderkirche; the 16th century Rathaus and much more. The Carlstadt district, with its many museums, galleries, markets and collection of pretty baroque-style architecture, is worth a visit too. 

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Dates & Prices
13th May 2018 - R180709
What's Included

Rest assured, all of the following comes as standard on every Fred. Olsen river cruise:

  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with TV, hairdryer, safe and individually controlled air conditioning 
  • Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with ‘early riser’ breakfast, breakfast buffet, casual lunch, five-course à la carte dinner and late-night snacks
  • Complimentary tea & coffee station 24 hours a day 
  • Complimentary afternoon tea & coffee with sandwiches and cakes 
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner 
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi 
  • Use of leisure facilities including Fitness Room and Wellness Tub 
  • Lounge music by pianist, or duo every day 
  • All local taxes and port charges (where collectable in advance)
On Our Boat

Built in 2006, this elegant and comfortable vessel is in keeping with the fleet of our ocean-going cruise ships. Brabant’s bright and spacious public areas and 79 well-equipped rooms and suites, spread across four decks, provide the intimate, home-from-home feel which Fred. Olsen’s guests already know and love. Cruise ship staples such as swimming pools, a number of lounges and on-going activities are not in evidence on board, making way for a comfortable ambience and ample space in which to relax and enjoy the river cruise experience with around 150 fellow guests.

Find out more

Ocean Cruises