We begin this delightful holiday with a 7-night cruise to some of the most interesting cities and sites along the storied Danube River. Our riverboat, the Deluxe amaSonata is an intimate ship specially built for cruising European rivers. Aboard you may relax in the lounge or on the sun deck. There is a fitness
centre, pool, walking track and massage room. You will enjoy superb dining with special theme dinners. Quality wines from Europe’s most famous wine regions are included with all lunches and dinners. The nightly entertainment features folkloric and musical performances and informative lectures. There is a choice of cabins and all have either a window, a French Balcony or Twin Balconies.
After the cruise, we proceed to Oberammergau (Germany) to attend a performance of the Passion Play. The residents of this Bavarian town have been performing this emotional re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ every ten years since 1647 to thank God for sparing them the brunt of the Black Plague. There is a cast of hundreds, and the beautiful open stage is framed by magnificent alpine scenery. The play is in German but there are ongoing translations. We have the best available seating.
We finish with 2 nights in the “Golden City” of Prague.
*** Those joining any of our tours to Europe must be able to walk fairly long distances and climb stairs easily.
Day 1: Departure
We depart for Budapest, via Frankfurt.
Day 2: Budapest
We arrive in Budapest and transfer to our luxurious river cruise ship. This evening is our Welcome Dinner. Tonight the ship will do an Illuminations Cruise past the capital’s glittering river front.
Day 3: Budapest
Our city tour includes sightseeing on both banks of the river, including famous Heroes’ Square, Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and spectacular views of the Danube.
Day 4: Bratislava / Vienna
We arrive in Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital, and enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town, including the Old Town Hall, Mirbach Palace and St. Martin’s Cathedral. We will have some free time here before our ship cruises to Vienna. After dinner we enjoy a traditional “Viennese Wine and Music” evening in a rustic wine tavern outside the city, where you can enjoy a glass of newly pressed, locally grown wine and Austrian music.
Day 5: Vienna
Savour the Baroque elegance of Vienna with a choice of two excursions. The first option is a tour of Vienna that takes us past the majestic Opera House, the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburg Emperors, Town Hall and Vienna University. Then visit Vienna’s historic city center - a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Graben and the famous Spanish Riding School. The other option is a guided bike tour along the Danube and through the Donaupark.
Day 6: Weissenkirchen / Grein
Today we have several choices. You may take a walking tour in Weissenkirchen, along with a visit to the spectacular Benedictine Abbey in Melk. Or go to Durnstein, known for its Baroque Stiftskirche and its famed blue church tower, and then go to the Melk Abbey. Or visit a local vineyard in Durnstein followed by a tasting of the region’s finest apricot products. Later we’ll sail through the Strudengau Valley to Grein, which will enchant us with its nostalgic charm. This evening there will be an excursion to Castle Greinburg - Austria’s oldest castle which overlooks the Danube River. We will tour the castle followed by a sparkling wine reception and folklore performance.
Day 7: Linz
Enjoy a walking tour of the second largest city in Austria, or choose a guided bike tour around the Old City Center, along the Danube River, and past the ultra-modern Ars Electronica Center. Later we will have a choice of 3 different excursions. The first option is an excursion to Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace, for a walking tour of the historic center made famous by "The Sound of Music”. The second option is an excursion to the Czech town of Cesky Krumlov - a wonderfully preserved medieval town nestled in the hills. The last option is a visit to the Austrian Lake District - the scenic Salzkammergut region.
Day 8: Passau / Vilshofen
Today we enjoy a walking tour of 2,000-year-old Passau, noted for its Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture, cobblestone streets and squares, as well as St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Also offered will be a guided bike tour along the Danube from Passau to Erlau, or a guided hike up to the Veste Oberhaus fortress overlooking Passau. Later the ship sails to medieval Vilshofen, where we will enjoy an Oktoberfest celebration with local beer and Bavarian folk music and dancing.
Day 9: Disembarkation / Rosenheim
We disembark the ship and transfer to Rosenheim where we will enjoy a city tour and an afternoon at leisure.
Day 10: Oberammergau
We attend the Oberammergau Passion Play, performed every ten years and involving hundreds of performers and musicians from the local village. The play lasts through the afternoon and evening. Dinner is served during the intermission of the play.
Day 11: Pilzen / Prague
We drive through the pastoral countryside to Pilzen, a city perhaps best known for producing Pilsner beer - a pale gold-hued Bavarian style lager. There will be free time to explore this lovely town before we continue to Prague.
Day 12: Prague
Our city tour reveals why Prague is considered one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, with a historic city center that’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit 1,000 year-old Prague Castle and St. Vitus before walking over the Charles Bridge to the Old Market Square. There will be time at leisure in the afternoon. This evening we enjoy a Folklore Dinner Show with Czech food, music, dance and traditions.
Day 13: Home
We transfer to the airport for our flight home via Frankfurt.
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