Vienna, Bohemia & Treasures of the Danube Riviera River Cruise
Take a stroll along Vienna’s grand boulevards, admiring its magnificent Baroque architecture and dazzling palaces, before soaking up the historic atmosphere in one of the city’s legendary cafés over coffee and cake as the Viennese have for centuries – here in one of the most elegant capitals in the world. Immerse yourself in its remarkable cultural heritage: with priceless art collections, superb museums, world-famous orchestras and the opera, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
Then there’s chance to truly unwind as an exquisite ship takes you on a journey of discovery along one of the most famous waterways in the world, the mighty Danube, which snakes its way between the vine-clad slopes of the picturesque Wachau. Wander the ancient twisting streets of some of the most quintessentially charming towns in the region: breathtakingly medieval Regensburg with its soaring Gothic cathedral and picture-perfect Český Krumlov, set amidst a fairy-tale Bohemian landscape of rolling hills, glittering mountain streams and shimmering lakes. Discover the famous abbeys at Göttweig and Aldersbach, one of the most important Baroque churches in southern Germany, and lose yourself amongst the quaint jumble of houses in delightful Passau and bustling Linz with its fascinating Roman past before we return to glorious Vienna – a spectacular finale to a truly exceptional cruise.
You fly to Vienna, where a coach takes you to your river cruise ship, moored in this spectacular city. On arrival the professional friendly crew welcome you on board as you familiarise yourself with the ship and settle in to your cabin. Reconvene with your fellow travelling companions in the bar before tonight’s excellent dinner in the elegant restaurant.
On this guided tour of Vienna, you will see some of the many sights and enjoy an insight into Viennese life with a local guide. There’s some free time to explore under your own steam before returning to the ship for lunch.
This afternoon the cruising commences, so head up on to the sun deck to take in the glorious views from the comfort of a sun lounger as you get your first tantalising glimpses of the lush green slopes of the Danube Valley, sprinkled with sleepy little towns - clusters of red roofs swarming around a pretty baroque church spire. Wooded hills give way to wide fields of maize and sunflowers, and the carefully tended terraces of the region’s vineyards, famed for their wine. During tonight’s dinner you arrive in the medieval town of Krems, after which retire to the lounge to enjoy a live classical recital.
You take the short drive to visit the hilltop monastery, Göttweig Abbey – its brick-red onion-shaped domes and vast white walls a striking sight amidst the thickly forested verdant slopes. Majestically sited with far-reaching views down into the valley below, the original building was destroyed by fire in the eighteenth century and rebuilt in baroque style; this guided tour we will see the impressively decorative staircase – up which Napoleon is said to have ridden his horse, exquisite frescoes, impressive state rooms plus other precious artworks and treasures from the Abbey’s private collection.
As lunch is served in the ship’s restaurant, just sit back and enjoy the exceptional views from the panoramic windows. You are cruising through the Wachau, one of the most stunning stretches of the Danube as it snakes its way between the vine-clad hills, passing the tiny walled town of Dürnstein with its beautiful blue and white baroque church and the spectacular mustard-yellow monastery at Melk, teetering on a granite slab high above the mighty river; so spend a lazy afternoon enjoying the ship’s facilities – perhaps book an appointment with the on-board hairdressers or just find a shady spot on deck and watch the riverbanks, laced with swathes of apricot trees, slipping by. Evening falls on this wonderful landscape and thoughts turn to what might be on the menu this evening; there’s time to chat with your travelling companions over an aperitif before the chef serves tonight’s excellent dinner.
Overnight you have made steady progress upstream and on rising this morning, draw back the curtains to another captivating view – a scenic landscape peppered with idyllic little towns and ancient riverside castles against a hilly backdrop. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before heading up on deck to witness your arrival in Passau, ‘Town of the Three Rivers’. There will be time to wander the old town, exploring its network of winding streets, and picturesque squares, quaint shops and cafés, swarming around the impressive cathedral with its magnificent ornate frescoes and the gothic-style town hall with its lovely decorative clock tower.
This afternoon you visit the attractive town of Aldersbach, principally famed as the site of a former Cistercian abbey. You will enjoy a guided tour seeing the breathtaking interior of one of the most important baroque churches in southern Germany, with its flamboyant stuccowork, intricate gold-leaf and elaborate ceiling frescoes and learning more about the monks who made their life here. You’ll also visit the abbey’s historic brewery and museum.
Your ship reaches the northernmost point of the Danube and the delightful city of Regensburg, a former Roman garrison town and Germany’s ‘medieval miracle’. After a leisurely breakfast you will enjoy a guided tour through the twisting streets of the old town, admiring the warmly painted facades of the picturesque houses, the wondrous gothic cathedral and old town hall with its lofty eight storey tower, and the hefty stone remains of a Roman gateway that once marked the city’s northern entrance. Afterwards enjoy some free time exploring under your own steam; take a stroll over the iconic thirteenth century bridge and take in the view, much as it has been for centuries, before retiring to a cosy, tucked away café to enjoy the enchanting ambience of this historic place.
You’ll have worked up an appetite so return to the ship for lunch as your elegant ship smoothly commences your return cruise into Austria. Spend the afternoon at leisure on board; perhaps in the lounge with newly-made friends or up on deck enjoying the views as fortified castles and ancient churches idly drift by. There will be ample photo opportunities as you cruise through the iconic natural wonder of the Danube Loop, where the water spectacularly carves its path in an almost 360-degree bend, flanked on all sides by steep lushly forested slopes. Evening falls and your chef serves up tonight’s excellent dinner in the relaxed ambience of the ship’s restaurant, after which retire to the bar to enjoy the relaxed tones of the on-board pianist whilst sipping your favourite digestif.
Dawn breaks and you reach vibrant Linz, the capital of Upper Austria. You may wish to remain in the city and join a guided tour as you wander through the old town, stopping to admire the elegant merchants’ houses encircling one of the finest squares in Austria. Alternatively, you may choose to join an excursion to the beautiful medieval town of Cesky Krumlov, in the heart of scenic Bohemia, amidst a fairytale landscape of rolling hills, tumbling mountain streams and glassy lakes, with a wonderful mountain backdrop. On arrival you enjoy a guided tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, nestling on the banks of the Vltava River: the magnificent castle, set in extensive gardens, dating back to medieval times with one of the best preserved baroque theatres in the world, perches high above a jumble of terracotta roofs below. There will be time to wander the shady tangle of alleyways, discovering tiny shops tucked away, soaking up the atmosphere of this truly magical place before you return to the ship in time for dinner. Please note lunch is not included on this full day excursion to Cesky Krumlov, however the ship will offer a packed lunch.
The end of your journey may be in sight but there’s still plenty more to enjoy during the final stretch of cruising, so head up on deck to enjoy the invigorating air and soak in the last spectacular river views once more. During another superb lunch, you can tweak those final plans as to how you intend to spend the rest of the day. For art lovers, the renowned Kunsthistorisches Museum is a must; containing the fourth largest collection of paintings in the world. You might choose to return to one of the Hofburg’s museums, perhaps the Imperial Treasury, containing the Habsburgs’ crown jewels or take a stroll in the Prater with its huge famous Ferris wheel. There’s a spot of window-shopping to enjoy along the chic boulevards of Graben and Kohlmarkt and don’t forget to leave time to indulge in the Viennese institution of a coffee in one of the beautiful atmospheric cafés where you can sit and watch the world go by over a slice of Sachertorte.
Alternatively, you might choose to join a visit to Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ splendid summer palace. Your included entrance allows you into the dazzling state rooms, with their wealth of priceless artworks, furnishings, stunning parquet floors, exquisite china and tapestries plus the family’s impressive royal carriages and an audio guide helps to give you a fascinating insight into the lives of this powerful dynasty. Take a stroll through the charming formal gardens, admiring the beautifully tended flowerbeds and neatly clipped hedges. Tonight, as a fitting finale, the magnificent Captain’s Dinner is served, after which retire to the lounge one last time, to share memories of this magical cruise with newly-made friends.
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
|5 September 2020||£1,949|
|12 September 2020||£1,949|
|19 September 2020||£1,949|
|26 September 2020||£1,699|
- €200 per cabin on board credit on select departures
- Deposit of only £250pp
- Return flights from the UK - regional airports/Eurostar are available but may carry a supplement
- 7 nights on board MS Thomas Hardy
- All meals on board from dinner on your day of arrival until breakfast on your day of departure
- All visits and excursions as mentioned in the itinerary above
- Complimentary on-board tea & coffee
- Five-star service from an English-speaking crew and knowledgeable local guides
- Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi
- Services of a Riviera Travel cruise director and tour manager
- All port charges, airport taxes and overseas transfers
- No surcharges guaranteed
Dining Drinks Package
- For all departures you can now purchase a 7-night dining drinks package, at a cost of £109 per person.
- Draught beer; non-alcoholic beer; soft drinks; juices; red, white and rose house wines; and wine recommendations from the menu are included with lunch & dinner.
- The drinks package must be purchased prior to departure. Ask the team for more information