9 DAY RIVER CRUISE FROM VIENNA TO PRAGUE
This Christmastime river cruise begins in Austria’s magical capital of Vienna, home to the sounds of Mozart and Strauss, the Vienna Boys’ Choir, and the Spanish Riding School. See the famous sights with a Local Guide, or opt to go on a culinary tour through the Christmas markets to get a taste of all the best flavors Austria offers during this time of year. Cruise through the wintery landscape of the picturesque Wachau Valley to Melk. Here, you’ll tour the magnificent 11th century Benedictine Abbey—one of Europe’s largest monasteries—where monks still stroll amidst the sacred walls.
Arrive in Passau, Germany, and visit the city’s charming Christmas market set against the breathtaking backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of baroque architecture. In Regensburg, after a guided tour of the city, savor traditional sausages at Historiche Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants and enjoy a tasting of German beers. Learn about Christmas traditions as you cruise to Nuremberg, the thousand-year-old city with its medieval fortifications and gothic churches. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations, and the Christmas market has dozens of stalls offering traditional wares, such as Lebkuchen (spicy gingerbread) and unique decorations and ornaments. Then, make your way to Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic—one of Europe’s most beautiful cities.
In Prague’s Old Town, see the magical Astronomical Clock, built in 1410, and once the envy of all Europe. The Christmas markets offer an array of Christmas tree ornaments, wooden toys, and Czech handicrafts. Explore to your heart’s content with a warm cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) among the rows of brightly decorated wooden huts, and be sure to see the beautifully decorated tree in Old Town to end this perfect, seasonal river cruise.
DAY 1 ARRIVE IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA (EMBARKATION)
Vienna, Austria’s capital, is known as the “City of Music” and inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. This afternoon, board your cruise vessel and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. NOTE:Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.
DAY 2 VIENNA
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, this is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Alternatively, we offer you a special CULINARY TOUR at the Viennese Christmas markets where you can taste all the best flavors that Austria has to offer during Christmastime. Be sure to enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight.
DAY 3 MELK–GREIN
This morning sail through the picturesque Wachau Valley and arrive in Melk, where the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, one of Europe’s largest monasteries, dominates the town and hosts 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. Relax and enjoy onboard of your ship while sailing into Grein, a quaint little village, and after a WALKING TOUR, visit the oldest THEATER of Austria.
DAY 4 PASSAU, GERMANY
This morning, you may wish to join an optional full-day excursion to Salzburg to see some of the popular Sound of Music sites, find out how mice caused the composition of the famous Silent Night carol, and learn how Austrians celebrate Christmas. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening or stay on board and relax as you cruise to Passau, located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of cobblestone streets, lined with beautiful patrician houses, and at this time of year, the Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) is set up against the magnificent backdrop of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK.
DAY 5 REGENSBURG
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. The only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights included on your GUIDED WALK are the 13th-century Old Town Hall and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. 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 Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. During free time explore on your own or visit the Regensburg Christmas market, including the ones hosted by Thurn and Taxis Palace. The tempting aromas of mulled wine, sausage, roasted almonds, and gingerbread create a memorable atmosphere. Enjoy an ONBOARD LECTURE about Christmas traditions and, before dinner tonight we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS!
DAY 6 NUREMBERG
Although 90% of its 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. Choose from an included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at the city’s medieval fortifications, gothic churches, and Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. The Old Town is illuminated with festive lights, and the Christmas market is one of the biggest in Germany, featuring 200 stalls selling traditional wares and foods. After your free time at the Christmas market, a shuttle bus service will be at your disposal to take you back to the ship.
DAY 7 NUREMBERG (DISEMBARKATION)–PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC
After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew and travel by motorcoach to Prague, the “Golden City.”
DAY 8 PRAGUE
Prague is a 1,200-year-old city preserved in time. See its Astronomical Clock, built in 1410 and once the envy of all of Europe; HRADČANY CASTLE GROUNDS; St. Vitus Cathedral; and the Charles Bridge, the oldest bridge in Prague. Browse the Christmas market’s brightly decorated wooden huts, which sell Christmas ornaments and decorations, handcrafted wooden toys, and other Czech crafts. Get a little inner warmth with a cup of svarene vino (hot mulled wine) and a traditional hot sausage. The beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the Old Town is an impressive sight.
DAY 9 PRAGUE
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning.