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24 Days | Grand European Cruise


Day 1 | Bucharest, Romania. Tour starts at 6:00 PM at the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel. A transfer is included from Bucharest Henri Coanda International Airport to the JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel in the heart of the city. Meet your fellow travelers and Tauck Directors at tonight's welcome reception and dinner at your elegant city-center hotel near Bucharest's stunning People's Palace. (D)

Day 2 | Bucharest. On a choice of sightseeing in Romania featuring the legacy of Vlad Tepes (a.k.a. "Vlad the Impaler") - the historical model for the character of Dracula - you may opt for a full day's excursion to tour Bran Castle in Transylvania, which the 15th-century prince once used as a fortress during his military campaigns. Or take off on a morning visit by boat to isolated Snagov Monastery, set on a tiny island in the middle of a lake, said to be the infamous Tepes' final resting place; also stop at Caldarusani Monastery, home to centuries-old art, before returning to Bucharest for an afternoon spent as you please. Enjoy dinner on your own tonight during a free evening. (B,L)

Day 3 | Bucharest. Black Sea Coast. More choices in sightseeing - and the start of your lower Danube cruise - await you today. Before embarking your riverboat, you can choose to explore Bucharest and tour the massive People's Palace, home to the Romanian Parliament and the world's second-largest building after the Pentagon. Or drive to a popular resort town on Romania's Black Sea coast for lunch featuring local specialties, then head to the port city of Constanta for a guided tour of its Greek and Roman antiquities and other sites. Continue on to Cernavoda and board your riverboat to launch the cruise portion of your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour. (B,L,D)

Day 4 | Ruse, Bulgaria. Arbanassi. Veliko Turnovo. Arrive in Ruse, for excursions to nearby towns. In Arbanassi, known for its richly ornamented architecture, you'll have an opportunity to visit the Archangels Michael & Gabriel Church and the historic Konstant-Salieva House. Continue on to Bulgaria's capital during medieval times, Veliko Turnovo, whose ancient walled fortress and castle are set atop three hills overlooking the Yantra River. Rejoin the riverboat in Svishtov; enjoy traditional cuisine for dinner and a Bulgarian cultural performance aboard ship this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 5 | Vidin. Kick back and enjoy the views of fields and vineyards studded with medieval towns as the riverboat cruises the Danube through the scenic heartland of Eastern Europe today. Learn all about Iconography during an on-board lecture and demonstration in Vidin, where you can join us for a walking tour through its cobblestone streets and a visit to the imposing Baba Vida fortress. Bulgaria's best-preserved medieval castle, it dates back a thousand years and is named for the legendary Danubian princess said to have built it - its name means "Granny Vida." (B,L,D)

Day 6 | The Iron Gate. On another relaxing day on your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour, sail along the Bulgarian / Romanian border, enjoying great views of the Transylvanian Alps. As you glide along, keep an eye out for a kingly face carved into the Danube's rocky bank on the Romanian side; it's a monument to the 2nd-century Dacian King Decebalus, who defended his kingdom from the invading Romans – and it's the tallest rock sculpture in Europe. Glide through Romania’s Kazan Narrows and the Iron Gate of the Danube, a spectacular two-mile-long series of gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan Mountains, en route to Serbia. (B,L,D)

Day 7 | Belgrade, Serbia. Dock in Belgrade, Serbia's modern capital at the juncture of the Danube and Sava rivers. Sightseeing includes visits to Tito's Memorial, St. Sava Church, and the formidable Kalemegdan Fortress. Also view busy Slavija Square (now one of the city's major squares, but once a large pool where residents hunted wild ducks!), Parliament, Republic Square and City Hall. After a lunch of Serbian specialties at a former prince's palace, enjoy a true highlight – Tauck's very special private visit to the Royal Palace of Dedinje, currently home to HRH Crown Prince Alexander II of Serbia and his family. Return to the riverboat, where a Serbian folkloric group entertains you this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 8 | Vukovar, Croatia. Your lower Danube cruise crosses the border from Serbia to Croatia and arrives in historic Vukovar. Preceded by an onboard lecture by a local expert on Croatia's turbulent history, your tour of this venerable 10th-century city – once showcasing opulent 18th-century Baroque mansions, but now a mix of old and new – poignantly symbolizes the effects of the 1990s war. Visit with a Vukovar family who have recently returned to resume their lives in the city after the conflict, enjoying some refreshments with them in their private home, and spend some time exploring on your own. Continue this extraordinary Danube, Main and Rhine river tour to Hungary tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 9 | Kalosca, Hungary. Sail along the Danube to Kalocsa, Hungary – known for its folk art and its paprika – where you'll learn about paprika's production and history in Hungary at the Paprika Museum, and visit the beautiful Baroque Bishop's Palace Library, housing one of the finest early book collections in Europe. Attend the Captain's cocktail reception and dinner aboard ship tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 10 | Budapest. Cruise to Budapest, Hungary’s capital city divided into two sections by the Danube; join us for some guided sightseeing among the landmark sites of this fascinating city – including a special visit to the Hungarian State Opera House – as your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour sails on. (B,L,D)

Day 11 | Budapest. Explore both sections of Budapest – Buda and Pest – on a sightseeing tour today. Sites include Heroes’ Square, bounded by some of the finest architectural works in Hungary; the Parliament building, a neo-Gothic masterpiece; Fishermen’s Bastion; and 700-year-old Matthias Church, with its famous stained-glass windows. (Note: Matthias Church may be closed on some departures due to services.) (B,L,D)

Day 12 | Bratislava, Slovakia. Today's port of call is Bratislava, capital of Slovakia, where 17 centuries of history are chronicled on a walking tour. Highlights are Baroque palaces from the Habsburg era, St. Martin's Cathedral, the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall, and a visit to the Old Town Hall. Back on board the riverboat, Slovakian performers entertain you after dinner; continue your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour to Vienna this evening. (B,L,D)

Day 13 | Vienna, Austria. Get an overview of grand old Vienna, Austria, with a morning sightseeing tour of this historic city, once the center of Europe's Habsburg empire. Then take your choice of a tour of grandiose Schönbrunn Palace, the Habsburgs' summer palace built to rival Versailles, or a visit to the Imperial Apartments inside the Hofburg – the former Imperial Palace and today the residence of Austria's president. Tonight, you'll receive the royal treatment with a private Imperial Evening at a traditional palace in Vienna featuring a sumptuous dinner and live Viennese music in a spectacle of elegant finery that celebrates the legacy of Mozart. (B,L,D)

Day 14 | Durnstein. Melk. Your riverboat continues along the Danube to Dürnstein, whose twisting medieval lanes you'll explore on a walking tour. High above the town lie the ruins of Kuenringerburg, the castle where English King Richard the Lionhearted was held prisoner during the Crusades; an invigorating walk up the hill to the ruins leads to beautiful vistas of the river, town and surrounding countryside. Enjoy more great views of castles and lush vineyards from the top deck or through the panoramic windows of your riverboat while cruising through the wine-growing Wachau Valley. Stop in Melk for a guided tour of its 900-year-old Benedictine Abbey, perched on a rocky outcrop above the river. Inside this Baroque masterpiece are fine frescoes, early manuscripts, and a high altar. Your evening aboard the riverboat includes a wine tasting and a performance by local entertainers. (B,L,D)

Day 15 | Passau, Germany. Cruise the Danube. After crossing the border from Austria to Germany, dock in the Bavarian town of Passau, set on the Danube and Inn rivers, whose history dates back to the days of the Roman empire. A walking tour reveals the Baroque treasures of this lovely riverside town, known for its stained glass, its many churches and its unique architecture. Inside St. Stephan’s Cathedral, you’ll see (and perhaps even hear) the world’s biggest cathedral organ (with over 17,000 pipes!) Your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour continues as the riverboat sails to Regensburg. (B,L,D)

Day 16 | Regensburg. It's on to the well-preserved medieval town of Regensburg, once a campsite for the Roman legions, and now home to more than 1,400 historic buildings. Our local guide leads you on a delightful walking tour of Old Town including the Steinerne Brücke over the Danube, the oldest stone bridge in Germany; massive Dom St. Peter, the town's 14th-century Gothic cathedral; and Altes Rathaus, the 15th-century town hall that was once the seat of the Imperial Diet.(B,L,D)

Day 17 | Cruise the Main-Danube Canal. Nürnberg (Nuremberg). Today your riverboat negotiates the Main-Danube Canal, which makes your Danube, Main and Rhine river tour possible, ultimately linking the North Sea with the Black Sea; learn about the canal's history from a local expert during your transit. The idea goes back as far as Charlemagne, but wasn't realized until the canal's completion in the 1990s; pass through 16 locks as the waterway traverses the mountains. After lunch on the riverboat, arrive in historic Nürnberg; take a walking tour of the walled medieval Old Town, or see the city's sites associated with World War II and its aftermath, including the the Courthouse, the Zeppelinfeld rally grounds and the Documentation Center. Sample Nürnberg's traditional sausage at dinner aboard the riverboat tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 18 | Bamberg. Awaken in Bavaria's charming town of Bamberg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site situated atop seven hills. See the town’s magnificent 13th-century cathedral with four imposing towers, its lovely gardens, and its unique medieval architecture during a walking tour and time to explore as you please. (B,L,D)

Day 19 | Rothenburg. Würzburg. Today's travels take you to medieval Rothenburg, on Germany's "Romantic Road," to see its Gothic cathedrals and gabled houses. In charming Würzburg, discover the town's ornate Alte Mainbrücke, a historic bridge over the River Main, and the 18th-century Residenz, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; enjoy a wine tasting in the wine cellar of this Baroque masterpiece. And you'll know you're cruising through Bavaria when an oompa band plays for you aboard the riverboat this evening! (B,L,D)

Day 20 | Cruise the Main. Lohr. Meander along the River Main, through through scenic valleys studded with castles, cathedrals, and fortified towns, to the historic town of Lohr, where you’ll see the Bayersturm (the town’s 14th-century watchtower), half-timbered houses and other notable sites on a walking tour. En route, enjoy an on-board glassblowing demonstration by practitioners of this time-honored craft, and take advantage of your riverboat's amenities. (B,L,D)

Day 21 | Cruise the Main to the Rhine. Rüdesheim. Leave the Main River behind you today as your riverboat – and your Rhine River tour – continues on to Rüdesheim. A visit to Siegfrieds Mechanisches Musikkabinett – an eclectic collection of mechanical musical instruments housed in a 15th-century castle in Rüdesheim – precedes tonight's entertaining dinner in a local German restaurant with an old-world ambiance. (B,L,D)

Day 22 | Koblenz or Castles. Köln (Cologne). Arrive in Koblenz, where you can choose a walking tour of its Old Town or a visit to Marksburg Castle; set high above the Rhine, it dates back to the 13th century and offers a taste of medieval life. Your Rhine River tour continues through the scenic Lorelei Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to Köln (Cologne). A guided walking tour includes the lofty Kölner Dom, elaborately decorated with pinnacles and buttresses; the tallest Gothic structure in the world, it took over 600 years to complete. Have a great time celebrating a remarkable three-week cruise at the Captain's farewell dinner aboard the riverboat tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 23 | Amsterdam, Holland. Dock in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, where you'll take a close-up look at acclaimed works by the Dutch Masters – including Rembrandt's The Night Watch and many others – at the world-renowned Rijksmuseum. Enjoy views of medieval and Renaissance architecture on a sightseeing cruise along Amsterdam's 17th-century canals, and check out other treasures along the Museumplein before returning to the riverboat for dinner and a special musical performance tonight. (B,L,D)

Day 24 | Amsterdam. Disembark. Your Danube, Main, and Rhine river tour ends in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Disembark in Amsterdam; a transfer is included from the riverboat to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Allow 3 hours for departure flight check-in. A transfer will also be provided to the airport for guests enjoying a stay at Tauck's selected Amsterdam hotel following their cruise. (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.

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