Danube Cruise and Austrian Spa

Tour Highlights

 Included Excursions to • Vienna • Budapest • Bratislava • Linz • Salzburg • Alpine Tour • Melk  

From the gentle rolling hill, to the snowy mountain peaks, to the picture-book villages, Austria is one of Europe’s most scenic countries.  On this delightful two-week holiday we combine a week on a Danube River cruise visiting Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia, and a week at a typical, charming Austrian spa hotel in Bad Hofgastein.

To begin, we fly to Budapest and transfer to our river boat.  The cruise will take us through such varied and scenic areas as the picturesque Danube Loop and the Wachau Valley.  We will cruise aboard the MS Amadeus Brilliant - a Deluxe, yet informal floating hotel. The ship has a lounge, comfortable lounge chairs on deck and a beauty salon. All meals are included while on the cruise (free flowing wine is included with each dinner), and there are musical performances by on-board musicians. The cabins are large, with twin beds, private bathroom (shower only), telephone and climate control.  All cabins have a panoramic window or French Balcony.  We have included the shore excursions to Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava, Melk and Linz.

Bad Hofgastein, Austria has had mineral baths since the 17th century when it was fashionable to take the waters.  Today it is a thriving, pleasant resort town with many mineral and hot springs.  We will stay at the First Class Johannesbad Hotel St. George. This hotel has a thermal pool, hot tub and steam bath. Spa treatments can be arranged for a nominal charge. Our hotel rooms are large and airy, with private bathroom, TV and telephone. From here we will enjoy an excursion to Salzburg (Mozart’s birthplace) and an Alpine scenic tour which will surely take your breath away.  

*** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.

Tentative Itinerary

We depart for Munich with Air Canada.
We arrive and transfer to the MS Amadeus Brilliant. Tonight enjoy a Welcome Cocktail Party before the head chef treats you to a Welcome Dinner.
Our ship docks in Emmersdorf and we’ll visit Melk Abbey. This Austrian Benedictine Abbey is one of the world’s most famous monastic sites, and is the biggest monastery complex of the Austrian baroque period. A guided tour takes us through the abbot’s chambers, along the imperator’s walk, through the marble hall, the balconies and the library. After our tour we visit a Wachau winegrower, to sample a selection of the outstanding regional wines.
Our tour of Vienna begins with a drive along the famous Ringstrasse, passing many magnificent buildings like the stunning opera house, the parliament and Vienna’s imposing city hall. Then we’ll have a guided walk through the city center, from the Hofburg Imperial Palace, along the Kohl Market, finishing at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. There will be free time to stroll in the pedestrian area. Later we visit Schönbrunn Palace, one of the most important cultural heritage sites in Austria and a UNESCO World Heritage site. We’ll see many of the ceremonial rooms and stroll in the beautifully designed palace gardens.
Our ship arrives in Budapest, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. On our tour we’ll see splendid Baroque buildings such as the Neo-Renaissance style Hungarian State Opera, and the incomparable Parliament Building. After a photo stop at Heroes’ Square we continue across one of the seven bridges and go up to Castle Hill for a visit of St. Matthew’s Church.
Today we experience the Hungarian countryside, beginning at Puszta, where we can admire the skills of the Hungarian cowboys during a horse show. There will also be a tasting of Hungarian salami, paprika and wine in the Csárda restaurant of the farm. Then we travel to the artists’ village of Szentendre where we’ll see the imposing ruined fortress of Visegrad which offers a glorious view of the “knee” of the Danube. We follow along the Danube to Esztergom - former residence of the Hungarian kings and seat of the Archbishop, where we’ll visit the vast domed basilica - the largest cathedral in Hungary.
Our ship arrives in Bratislava - capital of Slovakia. The gorgeous old town has maintained its Gothic-Baroque style. Our tour passes the Grassalkovich Palace, then continues up the hill for a stunning, panoramic view of the city and surroundings. We will have a walking tour through the restored old town, from Michael’s Gate through the historic city center where we’ll see the Primatial Palace and St. Martin’s Cathedral - a former coronation cathedral for Hungarian kings. At the main square we’ll see the the Opera House and Maximilian Fountain.
We arrive in Linz, Austria’s 3rd largest city, and take a stroll down the main street to the medieval main square. En route we’ll see the Renaissance villas and the old cathedral with the Bruckner organ. The landmark of the town is the pilgrimage basilica on Poestling Mountain. You may want to taste a piece of the famous Linzer Torte (Linzer Cake) in one of the local bakeries.
We disembark in Passau and enjoy the scenic drive (via lunch in Salzburg) to our spa hotel in Bad Hofgastein for a 7-night stay.
Enjoy some time at leisure at our delightful mountain resort. You may want to take advantage of the spa treatment facilities here.
A full-day tour to Salzburg - the delightful birthplace of Mozart. Our walking tour will take in many points of interest, after which there will be free time to enjoy the picturesque streets with wrought iron signs, spacious squares and sculptured fountains.
In addition to the spa facilities here, the town itself is great for exploring. There are many well-marked walking routes away from the road traffic. Enjoy the meadows full of flowers and the clear mountain air.
On this full-day tour of the countryside around Salzburg we will enjoy the views of the breathtaking azure glacier lakes, stunning chateaux and of course, the Alps. We will also visit the area made famous by the Von Trapp family from The Sound of Music.
We visit the 900-year-old Hohenwerfen Fortress - a former defensive bastion sitting high above the Salzach Valley. Then we enjoy an impressive show at the regional falconry center. Falcons, vultures and eagles show their flying skills, and we’ll learn about the centuries old art of falconry.
We travel by coach to the Munich Airport and fly home with Air Canada.

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