Enjoy the festive atmosphere from Vienna to Nuremberg and all along the legendary Danube on this enchanting river cruise vacation. Enjoy guided sightseeing in each city and delight in the sights, smells, and tastes of centuries-old Christmas markets in Vienna, Regensburg, and Nuremberg. Be sure to sample the Glühwein, Lebkuchen, and other traditional holiday specialties! Other highlights include a guided visit of the amazing Benedictine Abbey in Melk and a fun beer tasting. What a fantastic way to start your holiday season!
Day #1 Arrive in Vienna, Austria (Embarkation). Welcome to Vienna, Austria’s romantic capital! This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception at 6 pm. (D)
Day #2 Vienna. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s capital has much to offer: lavish Hofburg Palace, the impressive Vienna Opera House, majestic Ringstrasse, and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral, to name just a few of the sights you will enjoy on your city tour. You do not rush through Vienna—you waltz, taking your time to savor each classic sight and sound. Shop in the Karntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood cafe. Soak up the atmosphere of the Adventszeit (Advent season) and spend some time in the beautiful Christmas markets located throughout the city. (B,L,D)
Day #3 Dürnstein–Melk. This morning, enjoy a guided walk around Durnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue facade. After lunch, visit the glorious BENEDICTINE ABBEY, which dominates the town of Melk from its commanding hill site and is one of Europe’s largest monasteries. The view from the terrace over the Danube and surrounding countryside is breathtaking! This evening you’ll sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of the region. (B,L,D)
Day #4 Linz–Passau, Germany. Linz, Austria’s third-largest town, lies on both banks of the Danube and is an important industrial town and busy river port. An optional full-day excursion to Salzburg takes in the popular Sound of Music sights as well as more Christmas cheer—the traditional carols, the sparkling lights, and the smell of candles and gingerbread. Passau, ideally located at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers, 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. (B,L,D)
Day #5 Regensburg. Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights on your guided tour include the Old Town Hall and the Porta Pretoria–gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. The city is the capital of Upper Palatinate, a bustling university town, and one of Bavaria’s cultural centers. The Christmas market is located on the historic market square. Germany is famous for its sausages, and Regensburg is home to the country’s oldest restaurant—Historische Wurstküche (the Old Sausage Kitchen), dating back to the 12th century. (B,L,D)
Day #6 Nuremberg. Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it was restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches and elegant patrician houses, all explained by a local expert. Nuremberg hosts Germany’s most famous Christmas market, which dates back to 1628; the Old Town is illuminated with festive lights and decorations. The city’s traditions include famous Lebkuchen, toy making, and metal working. This evening, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers. (B,L,D)
Day #7 Nuremberg (Disembarkation). Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)