TAUCK RIVER CRUISES
12 Days | The Blue Danube
BUDAPEST TO PRAGUE
Day 1 | Budapest, Hungary. The Blue Danube, one of Tauck's most popular Danube river cruises, starts at 6:00 PM at the Budapest Marriott Hotel. A transfer is included from Budapest's Ferihegy Airport to Budapest Marriott Hotel. Budapest has acquired quite an excellent reputation for cuisine; tonight’s special welcome cocktail reception and dinner is at the grand Akademia Club in the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Meet your fellow travelers and Tauck Directors and learn about the upcoming days ahead. (D)
Day 2 | Budapest. Budapest is split into the sections of Buda and Pest by the Danube River. Explore the Pest side of the city, including Heroes’ Square, bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary. Enjoy a special visit to the opulent State Opera House, opened in 1884, with its royal boxes, gilded vaulted ceiling, exquisite murals and three-ton chandelier. View the Parliament building, a Neo-Gothic masterpiece, and stroll the city's most fashionable promenade, Váci Utca; the rest of the afternoon is spent pursuing what interests you most. (B)
Day 3 | Budapest. Embark. You have some additional time this morning to explore on your own, then head up to Castle Hill, a UNESCO World Heritage Site overlooking the Danube on the Buda side of the city, for lunch at a café followed by a walking tour. See Fishermen’s Bastion, with its Neo-Romanesque design, and admire the stained glass windows and centuries of history in the 14th-century, late-Gothic Matthias Church (may be closed on some days due to services). Board your riverboat this afternoon, and meet the Captain and crew at the Captain's welcome reception and dinner this evening. Your riverboat on the Danube River cruises to Bratislava, Slovakia. (B,L,D)
Day 4 | Bratislava, Slovakia. Martin Sloboda, our resident expert, takes you inside contemporary Slovakia and Bratislava for a look at politics, the economy, religion, the social order, preservation and emergence of the arts, and much more prior to a walking tour of this cobblestoned, vehicle-free city. See 17 centuries of history eloquently chronicled in its 13th-century Old Town Hall, Baroque Habsburg-era palaces, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and St. Martin’s Cathedral, site of the coronation of many Hungarian kings and queens, and sample some of Slovakia’s delectable almond pastry at a local café. Back on board the riverboat, dinner tonight introduces you to a glimpse of daily life in Slovakia with a taste of regional cuisine and an a performance by a talented troupe of Slovakian dancers. (B,L,D)
Day 5 | Vienna, Austria. Your riverboat arrives early morning in Vienna, Austria, where you'll get an overview of this former capital of the old Habsburg Empire – an iconic "Old World Europe" city – on a brief morning sightseeing tour where you'll see the Ringstrasse, the Opera House, City Hall and Parliament. A choice of sightseeing today features a tour of the Habsburgs’ Schönbrunn Palace, an architectural masterpiece and Austrian cultural treasure, or the amazing Imperial Apartments at the Hofburg, Austria’s official presidential residence. Nothing quite compares to the royal treatment – and pageantry – you will experience tonight at our private Imperial Evening in a historic Viennese palace. Welcome cocktails and dinner precede a spectacle of beautiful ball gowns, and a musical performance that celebrates the rich legacy of Mozart... an unforgettable highlight of The Blue Danube river cruises! (B,L,D)
Day 6 | Vienna. Dürnstein. Pursue your own interests this morning in glorious Vienna – which boasts over a hundred museums of all kinds, magnificent boulevards, the intriguing Prater – and then return to the riverboat. Tauck's riverboat on the Danube River cruises past castles and abbeys to medieval Dürnstein, where you'll arrive late this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 7 | Dürnstein. Cruise the Wachau Valley. Dock in Dürnstein for a closer look at its 16th-century Baroque houses and 13th-century Romanesque church on a walking tour along cobblestone streets. If you wish, take an invigorating climb up the steps to the ruins of Kuenringerburg, a hilltop castle above the town where Richard the Lionhearted was held for ransom during the Crusades. Enjoy some free time in this charming riverside town, and sample the fruits of the Wachau Valley vineyards during a wine tasting at an authentic Austrian tavern. Back aboard, your riverboat on the Danube River cruises through the Wachau Valley, Austria's lush wine-growing region that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its well-preserved medieval landscapes. Local Austrian musicians entertain you aboard ship tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 8 | Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov. Your boat stays docked in Linz today, with a choice of how you spend your day – full-day excursions to Salzburg (Austria) or Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. Salzburg is the hometown of Austria’s beloved composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The setting for The Sound of Music, Salzburg is a parade of beautiful Baroque architecture, painted wrought-iron signage, ornate church towers and grand palaces. You’ll visit Mozart’s birthplace and the very cleverly designed Mirabell Gardens, with some free time in Salzburg before rejoining the riverboat for dinner. Alternatively, travel through beautiful wine-producing country to Cesky Krumlov. This town has earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site roster – and that’s the entire town – due to its incredibly well-preserved medieval heritage. A walking tour includes Krumlov Castle; the many steps are worth it to get a look at the mix of medieval, Renaissance and Rococo designs. Free time precedes your return to the riverboat for dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 9 | Passau, Germany. Cruise the Danube. Dock in the German town of Passau; accompanied by a local guide, take a walking tour through the cobblestone streets of this picturesque riverside town renowned for its four-story Baroque houses, exquisite stained glass and scores of churches. See the Altes Rathaus, the old town hall with 15th-century origins, murals on the façade and a glockenspiel in the tower, and see St. Stephan's Cathedral, home to a magnificent pipe organ that is one of the world's largest. Return to the riverboat for lunch as you cruise past idyllic German landscapes to Regensburg. Tonight, celebrate this most enjoyable of Danube River cruises with a final dinner aboard the riverboat. (B,L,D)
Day 10 | Regensburg. Disembark. Prague, Czech Republic. The cruise portion of this "king" of Danube river cruises concludes when you disembark your riverboat in the well-preserved Bavarian town of Regensburg, which began its long life as a Roman encampment many centuries ago. Take a walking tour led by a local guide; visit the Steinerne Brücke (a medieval stone bridge over the Danube), towering Dom St. Peter, and the remains of the town’s Roman wall. Have lunch on your own – perhaps a taste of Regensburg's celebrated Bavarian sausage – and explore a bit before driving to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and the "City of 100 Spires" – your hotel has been named one of the "Top 100 Best Luxury Hotels of the World." Sample the culinary pleasures of Prague at dinner on your own tonight; the city's many fine restaurants and cafés feature a wide range of cuisines... and some of the best schnitzels, goulashes, strudels, dumplings and beer the region has to offer. (B)
Day 11 | Prague. Start today's exploration of Prague in the ancient Hradcany (Castle) district, where you'll see 1,000-year-old Prague Castle's complex of palaces, courtyards and gardens. Exquisite European architecture awaits on a guided excursion that takes you to the Hradcany (Castle) district and the magnificent Gothic Cathedral of St. Vitus – an exclusive private tour of the grand libraries of Strahov Monastery is a highlight. Spend time at leisure exploring the courtyards and squares of Prague’s winding cobblestone streets, or join us on a walking tour through ethereal Old Town; see the famous Astronomical Clock, Tyn Church, iconic Charles Bridge and Wenceslas Square. Our popular westbound Danube river cruises end with a truly royal evening that's a Tauck Exclusive. Join us for a farewell reception, tour and dinner at 16th-century Lobkowicz Palace at Prague Castle. Immerse in an evening of classical cultural treasures – music and art played an important role in the aristocratic world of the Lobkowicz family. (B,D)
Day 12 | Prague. Tour ends in Prague, Czech Republic. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from the Prague Marriott Hotel to Prague's Ruzyne International Airport. Please allow a minimum of 3 hours for check-in. (B)
NOTE: Itinerary is subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the itinerary schedule you receive with your final documents.
12 DAYS | BUDAPEST TO PRAGUE
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