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VIKING RIVER CRUISES
19 Days | Grand European Tour and Belgium
Eastbound


GHENT TO BUDAPEST

Day 1 | Ghent, Belgium. Arrive in Brussels airport, then transfer to your hotel in Ghent. After check-in, the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits, you may wish to visit one of the city’s art museums.

Day 2 | Bruges. Ghent. During a guided walking tour, take in the historic atmosphere of Bruges. Your city walk leads you past the town’s scenic network of canals and proud guild houses torn from a mercantile past. You will stop to visit the Church of Our Lady, with Michelangelo’s famous Madonna and Child. Also see the Béguinage, a modest complex that housed a semi-monastic community of lay sisters – Beguines – dedicated to a life of piety. This afternoon, visit a local brewery to see how a Belgian ale is made and enjoy a tasting. Afterward, you will have free time to stroll more of Bruges’s charming cobbled lanes, stop by an artisan’s shop to see how intricate lacework is created or sample sweet Belgian chocolates at any of the superb chocolatiers. Return to Ghent using our coach shuttle. (B)

Day 3 | Ghent. Amsterdam, Holland. After breakfast, check out of your hotel and join a guided walking tour of Ghent. This city on the Scheldt River has a long and colorful history, which can be appreciated in the town’s beautiful old buildings and its impressive cathedral with Jan and Hubert van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, one of the greatest early Flemish paintings. After lunch on your own, head north to the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. Check in to your hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 4 | Amsterdam. After breakfast, embark on a canal tour by glass-topped boat to see architecture from the city’s Golden Age. In the afternoon, take free time to visit the Anne Frank House, see the Van Gogh Museum, the renovated Rijksmuseum with its marvelous collection of Dutch Masterpieces, or to just explore the city’s charming neighborhoods. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your afternoon. (B)

Day 5 | Amsterdam. Embark. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Amsterdam. Explore the many charming side streets in the city’s canal belt, visit the Royal Palace on Dam Square or enjoy contemporary art at the Stedelijk Museum. Take time to relax in a café and try some of the local fare. In the afternoon, we will bring you to your ship for embarkation. Welcome aboard! (B, D)

Day 6 | Kinderdijk. 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. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter a working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

Day 7 | Cologne, Germany. You have a morning tour of Cologne, including a visit to the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After your tour, spend the rest of the day and evening exploring Cologne on your own: There are Roman ruins, interesting neighborhoods and wonderful museums like the Fragrance Museum and the Chocolate Museum. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Lunch and dinner are served aboard; we depart at midnight. (B, L, D)

Day 8 | Koblenz. Middle Rhine. 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. Pass 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 aboard your ship. (B, L, D)

Day 9 | Miltenberg. 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. 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. Back on your ship, learn about the region’s glassblowing traditions during a live demonstration. We sail through the night to Würzburg. (B, L, D)

Day 10 | Wurzburg. After breakfast, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then enjoy scenic afternoon cruising. Or, instead of touring Würzburg, join an optional full-day journey along Germany’s “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, which features a turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship for dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 11 | Bamberg. Sail through the morning; after lunch we visit Bamberg, with its medieval city center, 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 perhaps try some of the town’s distinctive smoke-flavored beer before returning aboard. (B, L, D)

Day 12 | Nuremberg. 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. Spend free time exploring Nuremberg’s Old Town, or join an optional World War II tour that includes the illuminating Documentation Center Museum. We depart just before dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 13 | Regensburg. 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. Dinner is served aboard before our evening departure. (B, L, D)

Day 14 | Passau. 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. You’ll see 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 aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night. (B, L, D) †Passau organ concert is only available May 1-October 31 and is closed on Sunday.

Day 15 | Melk, Austria. Krems. 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-honored town of Krems and see the Steiner Tor, the last remaining city gate, or sample some local vintages from this famous wine-producing region. (B, L, D)

Day 16 | Vienna. 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. Stephan’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. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the “Versailles of Vienna,” erected in 1778 and graced by a number of formal gardens, Grecian statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and Roman ruins. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert. (B, L, D)

Day 17 | Vienna. Enjoy a day at leisure in Vienna. Perhaps see an unrivaled collection of Old Masters and other spectacular art treasures at the Museum of Fine Arts, or visit the Albertina, with the most valuable graphic arts collection in the world. Maybe ride the Riesenrad, the world’s oldest Ferris wheel, or go shopping for high-quality gifts inspired by the turn-of-the-century arts movement. A cup of coffee or tea and a slice of exquisite fächertorte are a must for any afternoon in Vienna. Later, rejoin your ship and sail for Budapest. (B, L, D)

Day 18 | Budapest, Hungary. 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 aboard your ship, with the rest of the day to explore on your own. Return to your ship for a traditional Hungarian dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 19 | Budapest. Disembark. After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, extend your journey with 3 nights in Prague, Czech Republic, where you tour Old Town landmarks and Prague Castle. (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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EASTBOUND
15 DAYS | AMSTERDAM TO BUDAPEST
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