Grand European Tour 2021 Viking River Cruise
Admire Rhine Valley vistas from a 900-year-old castle. Sample the food and wine of Austria’s Wachau Valley. Learn the Viennese waltz and linger in Budapest’s Café Gerbeaud. Indulge all your senses on this 15-day journey spanning the best of Europe. Our most iconic itinerary traces the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers between the windmill-dotted waterways of Holland and the stunning landscapes of Hungary, with engaging encounters at every bend.
Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit the Rijksmuseum, or the Van Gogh Museum next door.
This morning we sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. Learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, and enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return on board for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and take in a culturally enriching presentation on the Dutch Golden Age. We cruise through the night.
Begin your day with a morning tour of Cologne, Germany’s fourth-largest city. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church and visit the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spend your free time enjoying Cologne’s atmospheric waterfront, or perhaps join an optional excursion on which you ascend to the Dom’s roof for up-close views of the cathedral’s architecture and bird’s-eye vistas of Cologne. Afterward, return on board for dinner. Alternately, you may set off on an optional excursion to explore Cologne’s spirited beer culture, sampling Kölsch, a light, crisp beer brewed only in Cologne, and enjoying a brauhaus dinner. After, return to your ship for a late-evening departure.
Cruise past hilltop castles along the Rhine, stopping in Koblenz to visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed. After your tour, continue cruising this stunning stretch of the Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Lorelei Rock, which marks the river’s narrowest point and is named after the legendary Rhine maiden who lured sailors to their demise. Lunch and dinner are served on board your ship.
The morning is spent sailing along the beautiful Main River as it winds its way through the Spessart region, home of the actual Snow White. During our sail, be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the region’s glassblowing traditions during a live demonstration. After lunch, we stop in Miltenberg, known for its half-timbered houses and Germany’s oldest inn. Join our walking tour that concludes with free time for you to explore. We sail through the night.
After breakfast, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or, instead, join an optional full-day journey along Germany’s picturesque “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, with its turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Upon returning to Würzburg, enjoy a tour of the Bishops’ Residenz before rejoining your ship for dinner.
Continue along the Main–Danube Canal this morning, arriving in Bamberg in early afternoon. Enjoy a tour of Bamberg, with its medieval city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your walking tour includes a visit to the magnificent 11th-century cathedral, reworked in late Romanesque style in the 13th century, and the picturesque city hall built on a tiny island in the middle of a river. Take some free time to enjoy Bamberg and sample some of the town’s distinctive smoke-flavoured beer before returning on board.
After breakfast, disembark in Nuremberg and visit the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s; then see the Palace of Justice, site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials. Alternately, you may take an optional World War II tour that includes the illuminating Documentation Centre Museum. After lunch, spend free time exploring Nuremberg’s Old Town. Or, join an optional tour to discover the secret network of underground bunkers where priceless art was hidden in wartime. We depart just before dinner.
Arrive in Regensburg midday. After lunch, tour this wonderfully preserved medieval city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, including structures dating back to Roman times. Discover many 13th- and 14th-century patrician houses and see the splendid St. Peter’s Cathedral. During free time, visit the Alte Würstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), Germany’s oldest restaurant. Alternately, you may choose to disembark this morning and drive with your guide to Munich for an optional full-day tour of this cultural and historic city, rejoining your ship in time to enjoy dinner on board before our evening departure.
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. Admire the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch on board your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. Alternately, set out this morning with your guide to enjoy a full-day optional tour of picturesque Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart and setting of The Sound of Music. We cruise through the night.
†Passau organ concert is available May 1–October 31 only and is closed on Sundays.
After breakfast, visit the abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship; cruise through the spectacular Wachau Valley this afternoon. Before dinner, you have time to explore the time-honoured town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate, or take an optional excursion to a local winery to sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region.
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Alternately, you may choose to join an optional excursion to see the famed Lipizzaner Stallions; or, express your creativity and create a lasting keepsake at an optional art workshop inspired by the work of Gustav Klimt. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert.
Enjoy a day at leisure in Vienna. Perhaps see an unrivaled collection of Old Masters at the Museum of Fine Arts, or visit the Albertina. Maybe ride the Riesenrad, the world’s oldest Ferris wheel. Alternately, you may join an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” or enjoy a Viennese waltz lesson as well as visiting the palace during a full-day optional excursion. A cup of coffee or tea and a slice of exquisite Sachertorte are a must for any afternoon in Vienna. Later, rejoin your ship and sail for Budapest.
The Danube River divides Hungary’s capital city into the once separate towns of Buda and Pest. Explore both sides, starting with Pest’s National Opera House and historic Heroes’ Square. In Buda, walk along Castle Hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church. Enjoy lunch on board your ship, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. Alternately, choose one of our optional excursions designed to allow you to delve deeper into the history, culture and cuisine of this fascinating city. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner.
After breakfast, we take you to Budapest airport for your return flight to the UK.
Please note all departure dates are listed in the enquiry form.
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Extend Your Cruise
Extend your stay, pre or post cruise, with these great value cruise extensions! Simply give our award winning team a call for full details on 0800 810 8220
- 2 Nights pre cruise stay in Amsterdam from only £449pp
- 2 Nights post cruise stay in Budapest from only £299pp
- 3 Nights post cruise stay in Prague from only £549pp
- Onboard gratuities
- Return scheduled flights from the UK from a choice of up to 14 regional airports at no extra cost. Please call for details
- 15-day cruise with river-view stateroom
- 12 guided tours with audio headset
- All meals: 14 breakfasts, 13 lunches & 14 dinners, featuring regional specialties and including Welcome Cocktail Reception & Dinner
- Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with on board dinner and lunch service
- Visit 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Culture Curriculum: Enjoy concerts aboard and ashore, ranging from Austrian classics to baroque organ music; attend lectures on current affairs in Germany, Holland & the European Union; learn how to make your own Rüdesheimer coffee; experience the wonderful scents of a Viennese market
- All port charges
- Free Wi-Fi, connection speed may vary
- PRICE GUARANTEE: Once you have paid in full for your trip, you are safe from any additional charges. Airfare increases, currency fluctuations, increased fuel surcharges, new government taxes—none of these will apply to you.