TUI Diamonds on the Danube 2021 River Cruise
This itinerary takes you through Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany stopping off at several wonderful cities over 8 incredible days.
Your journey starts in Budapest. Sliced in half by the Danube, Budapest is like two cities in one. Hilly Buda sits to the west of the river, crowned by a vast 18th-century castle and the turreted Fisherman’s Bastion. To the east, you’ve got Pest, which is home to one of the grandest parliament buildings in the world.
The whole city’s a treasure chest for architecture – even its famous thermal baths are style icons, from Ottoman-era Rudas to canary-yellow Szechenyi and its open-air number. And its quirky ruin bars – housed in derelict, open-air buildings – are anything but ordinary. Go for a drink at Szimpla Kert and you can take a seat in a cut-open car or admire the graffiti-covered walls.
Esztergom’s got a bit of a surprise up its sleeve, considering its small-town status. It’s in a rural spot north-west of better-known Budapest, but boasts a huge basilica that’s worthy of city-centre status. It’s both the biggest church and the tallest building in Hungary, to give you an idea of its size. The rest of the town’s got a more low-key appeal, with intricate streets that are peppered with traditional eateries and tucked-away churches. Baroque architecture and pretty fountains are on show in Szechenyi Square – the town’s other focal point, which was totally rebuilt in 2006.
The Slovakian capital spans the centuries with its old-and-new appeal. Bratislava Castle’s the standout site – you can see it from practically anywhere in the city, thanks to its hilltop spot beside the Danube River. The pumpkin-coloured rooftops of the old town are slotted together like Tetris blocks, and you’ll see gold crowns studded into the pavement that mark the city’s church-filled Coronation Route. Ornate opera houses and a turquoise-tinted Art Nouveau church are among the signature sights, and beer and dumplings is the go-to combo in most restaurants. At the modern end of the scale, the UFO Bridge – which resembles a flying saucer – has a viewing deck above the city skyline.
Classical music, palatial architecture and priceless works of art are just a flavour of Vienna’s social standing. It’s Austria’s capital, and sits on the west bank of the Danube River. U-Bahn trains take five or 10 minutes to get from the waterfront to the city centre, where pretty parks fill in the gaps between the libraries, churches and opera houses. Crispy portions of Wiener schnitzel are on every restaurant menu, and on-the-go explorers opt for kasekrainer – a frankfurter filled with melted cheese. Shoppers make a beeline for Karnter Strasse, where big-name brands stand shoulder-to-shoulder. And if you take a stroll to the southern reaches, you’ll find Baroque palaces and grand concert halls.
The little Austrian town of Weissenkirchen snoozes on a hammock-shaped curve of the Danube. A five-minute walk from the port lands you at winemakers’ and shipmasters’ houses that date back hundreds of years. Topped with terracotta roofs, the buildings here roll their way up the salad-green hills of the UNESCO-protected Wachau region. It’s perfect vineyard territory, and there are plenty of cosy pubs where you can try a local wine. While you’re here, make sure you visit the Teisenhoferhof – a manor house dating back to the 1300s. It flaunts ever-changing art exhibitions, plus it’s used for cultural events, like wine festivals. Bring the camera to snap pictures of its silver-coloured roofs, ancient wooden beams and ivy-clad courtyard walls.
Melk’s like a pocket-sized version of Vienna, with grand architecture and an easy-on-the-eye old quarter. When you step off at the port, the town’s showpiece immediately comes into view. Peaches-and-cream-coloured Melk Abbey is perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube River, with sweeping views of the Wachau Valley. The centre of this quaint Austrian town’s a real looker, as well. Cobbled lanes are lined by Crayola-hued buildings, with flower-draped balconies strapped to the front. The butter-coloured Vienna Gate’s flanked by pale statues, and there’s a famous vine-entangled house that looks like it’s being reclaimed by nature.
Much like Budapest, Linz is sliced in half by the Danube River. And Austria’s third-biggest city is a perfect example of half old, half new. It’s got quite the history – composers Mozart and Beethoven both wrote symphonies in the grand city. And it’s easy to see why they stopped by. There’s a stellar collection of extravagant churches, abbeys and Baroque buildings – most of which are handily placed on the fringes of the main square, Hauptplatz. These are matched by ultra-modern museums and art galleries on the riverfront, like the Ars Electronica Center. This place calls itself the Museum of the Future, and lives up to its name with everything from robots to an interactive deep space experience.
The German town of Passau’s snuggled up against the Austrian border, at the point where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers meet. The peach and pistachio-coloured rooftops of the Altstadt stretch out on a skinny peninsula where the waterways come together. Its winding lanes are drizzled with churches, cafés and an Italian-inspired cathedral. Check out the huge church organ inside – it’s one of the biggest in the world. The squares in the town centre feel more like Mediterranean piazzas, thanks to ornate fountains and pastel-coloured houses. Across on the steep northern riverbank, the tree-glazed hills are home to Fortress Veste Oberhaus, which has watched over the town since Napoleonic times.
|18 June 2021||£1,359|
|25 June 2021^||£1,379|
|3 October 2021||£1,129|
|10 October 2021^||£1,099|
|17 October 2021||£1,069|
- Upgrade to All Inclusive from £210pp
- Direct flights from a range of UK airports with 20kg luggage allowance
- 7 nights on board TUI Maya
- Airport transfers - to and from your ship
- Full board plus - breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Tea, coffee and juices with breakfast
- Wine, beer and soft drinks at lunch and dinner
- Barbecues on deck (weather permitting)
- 1GB of Wi-Fi per cabin, per week
- £120 excursion credit, per person, per 7 days
- All tips and port charges