On this marvelous cruise vacation, visit Austria’s capital, Vienna, and be delighted by its charming small towns—like Melk, Dürnstein, and Grein—before heading into Germany’s Bavaria. First, enjoy Vienna, with its spectacular museums, awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and delightful music. In Dürnstein, explore the small town above which stand the ruins of the castle where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. Visit magnificent Melk Abbey, and Grein’s quaint historical theater. End your cruise in Germany’s Passau, a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets. All of this and much more awaits you on this wonderful cruise on the Danube River.
Day #1 Arrive in Vienna, Austria (Embarkation). Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s capital, known as the “City of Music” and which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day #2 Vienna, Austria. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s capital has much to offer: lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, the majestic Ringstrasse, and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to name just a few of the sights on your included tour. Shop in the Kärntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood café. An optional concert is available tonight. (B,L,D)
Day #3 Dürnstein–Melk. Dürnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade, lies right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. Above the town are the ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. A Local Guide will tell you the tale during your guided walk. Those seeking some sporting activity might like to join an optional bicycle excursion here (weather permitting), or you may just want to take a stroll through the narrow streets on your own. Then, cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley to reach Melk after lunch. The magnificent BENEDICTINE ABBEY dominates the town from its commanding hill site and is one of Europe’s largest monasteries. This evening you’ll be able to sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of this region. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Grein–Linz. This morning, arrive in the attractive country resort of Grein, which is nestled at the foot of a bluff in the shadow of its castle. Take a guided walk through the town and visit its unique historical THEATER, the oldest in Austria still holding regular performances. A behind-the-scenes peek to learn of some of the curiosities of this rococo-style, 167-seat theater will certainly tell you much about life as it was, and as it now is, in this small town. Or you may prefer to join one of a variety of optional excursions on offer today. This afternoon, arrive in Linz, Austria’s third-largest city. Linz is an important river port where culture plays a significant role in every day life. Composer Anton Bruckner lived here and Mozart’s Linzer Symphony was composed in the city. There is free time to explore on your own. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Linz–Passau, Germany. Today, enjoy a relaxing morning of sailing along this most attractive stretch of the river from Linz. This afternoon, arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets. St. Stephen’s Cathedral houses one of the world’s largest church organs with more than 17,000 pipes. Join a Local Guide for a walking tour through this charming town, and find out much more about this “City of Three Rivers.” (B,L,D)
Day #6 Passau (Disembarkation). Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)