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23 Day Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Amsterdam 2022
River Cruise DescriptionCelebrate folk traditions in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Hungary. Behold the grandeur of Vienna. See castles on the Rhine. Cruise Amsterdam’s canals. These travel icons—and more—await you on a 23-day journey combining our Passage to Eastern Europe and Grand European Tour cruises. Discover eight countries in Eastern, Central and Western Europe while cruising the Danube, Main and Rhine. Enjoy a lifetime’s worth of experiences on a single voyage.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Bucharest, RomaniaArrive in Bucharest and transfer to your hotel in the heart of the city for a 1-night stay. Spend the rest of the day relaxing, or do some exploring on your own.
Day 2 Bucharest, RomaniaAfter breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a tour of the city. See the city’s wide boulevards, the Romanian Athenaeum, the Arch of Triumph and the Palace of Parliament. Visit the outdoor Muzeul Satului, otherwise known as the Village Museum, where authentic dwellings from all regions of the country have been relocated and reassembled, including rural cottages, farmhouses and water mills. During lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a lively folkloric performance that recalls the simple pleasures of rural life. You then proceed to Giurgiu to board your ship and enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 3 Veliko Tarnovo, BulgariaAfter breakfast, disembark at Russe for a full-day excursion to Bulgaria’s former capital, Veliko Tarnovo. See Tsaravets Hill and the ruins of the royal castle. During free time, shop for local crafts along Samovodska Charshia. Continue your venture to Arbanasi for lunch in a local restaurant and a guided tour of the Nativity Church, with its intricate floor-to-ceiling murals and icons. Return to your ship for dinner.
Day 4 Vidin, BulgariaArrive in the picturesque Bulgarian port of Vidin, and take an excursion to see Belogradchik Fortress, built right into the striking Belogradchik Rocks. See the fortress’s amazing construction, begun in Roman times and greatly extended by Bulgarian tsars and the Ottomans, and enjoy breathtaking views. Enjoy lunch on board your ship; then you have free time to explore Vidin’s city center, Orthodox churches and the ruins of the city’s once-grand synagogue. We depart during dinner.
Day 5 Golubac, SerbiaThis morning, enjoy scenic cruising as you travel through one of the most picturesque areas of the Lower Danube. The Iron Gate is one of Europe’s most dramatic natural wonders—a spectacular narrow gorge with enormous white limestone cliffs. Arrive in Donji Milanovac where you can choose to disembark and join an optional tour, or continue to enjoy scenic sailing. Arrive in Golubac and join an included tour of the Golubac Fortress where you will admire sweeping views over the Danube. Enjoy dinner on board before departing to Belgrade.
Day 6 Belgrade, SerbiaWake up in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. Take a guided walk through the grounds of Kalemegdan Fortress, now a stately park; also see the Orthodox cathedral and stop at the Square of the Republic. Enjoy lunch on board your ship before you have free time to explore Belgrade’s gracious architecture or visit one of its many museums. Dine on board your ship or experience some of Belgrade’s nightlife. We depart very late this evening.
Day 7 Osijek, CroatiaCruise along the Danube, arriving at Vukovar around noon. Disembark for an afternoon excursion to the charming Croatian city of Osijek. Inhabited since Neolithic times, this area has had several heydays under the Romans, the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs; now, Vukovar is revered for its baroque buildings, parks and monuments. Return on board for dinner.
Day 8 Kalocsa, HungarySail into Hungary this morning, arriving in Kalocsa after lunch. Take a guided city tour followed by a short organ concert at St. Joseph Church. Then, you are treated to a performance of traditional Puszta horsemanship. Return to the ship and enjoy a festive dinner on board as we depart for Budapest.
Day 9 Budapest, HungaryArrive in Budapest, capital of Hungary. Situated along the Danube, it combines the once separate towns of hilly Buda and cosmopolitan Pest into a city rich with history. Your guided tour shows you 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. Take some free time to explore before returning on board for a traditional Hungarian dinner.
Day 10 Budapest, HungaryExplore Budapest on your own today. Perhaps explore the Old Town, stopping in a spice shop for piquant paprika or a boutique for folk embroidery. Visit the neoclassical Hungarian National Museum. The city’s efficient metro helps you on your way. Join us on an optional excursion to the Grand Market Hall, an emporium of Hungary’s rich culture. Or tour the city’s Iron Curtain landmarks via Trabant, the Eastern Bloc’s “cardboard” car. Each optional excursion is designed to bring you to the heart of this historic and cosmopolitan city. Return to your ship for dinner and evening sail away.
Day 11 Vienna, AustriaEnjoy a day of scenic cruising along the beautiful Danube toward Vienna. As we sail, perhaps join this morning’s German language lesson to learn a few key words and phrases. You may also choose to attend an afternoon presentation on Viennese coffee houses. We arrive early this evening. After dinner, relax or enjoy an optional classical concert.
Day 12 Vienna, AustriaToday 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.
Day 13 Melk, AustriaToday, visit the abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery featuring Austria’s finest Italian baroque architecture. See its wonderful frescoes and admire the comprehensive collection of medieval manuscripts in its library. Rejoin your ship and cruise through dinner.
Day 14 Passau, GermanyArrive 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 see the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral; its ornate interior is home to the Europe’s largest church organ. Enjoy lunch on board your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own. 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 depart just before dinner and cruise through the night.
Day 15 Regensburg, GermanyArrive in Regensburg after breakfast and 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 before our evening departure. Cruise through dinner.
Day 16 Nuremberg, GermanyCruise the Main–Danube Canal this morning. Or, instead, disembark for a short drive to the center of Nuremberg and use your free time to explore until lunchtime. After lunch, venture out on a tour of the city. Visit the ruins of Zeppelin Field, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s, and see the Palace of Justice, site of the infamous Nuremberg Trials. See the Old Town area as you walk past the Albrecht Dürer House and Main Market Square. Alternately, you may choose to join an optional afternoon World War II tour including the illuminating Documentation Center. Dinner is served on board your ship before we depart late this evening.
Day 17 Bamberg, GermanySail 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 on board.
Day 18 Wurzburg, GermanyToday, tour Würzburg’s Bishops’ Residenz, one of Germany’s largest and most ornate baroque palaces and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Or, you may choose to disembark this morning to experience an optional full-day journey along Germany’s picturesque “Romantic Road” to Rothenburg, with its turreted city wall and impressive Gothic and baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship for dinner and an evening glassblowing demonstration.
Day 19 Wertheim, GermanyWertheim is located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers. During your morning walking tour, experience life in a typical small German town. Stop in a bakery and a butcher shop, and learn about Wertheim’s glassblowing tradition. Enjoy free time to explore before returning to your ship for lunch. Alternately, depart this morning on an all-day optional excursion that offers a rare glimpse into noble life, enjoying Privileged Access visits to two very different castles: Schloss Mespelbrunn and Schloss Löwenstein.
Day 20 Koblenz, GermanyToday, we cruise past hilltop castles along the Rhine; this stunning stretch of the river is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Lorelei Rock, which marks the river’s narrowest point; the rock is named after a legendary Rhine Maiden who lured sailors to their demise. This afternoon, we’ll stop to visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed. Rejoin your ship in Koblenz and dine on board.
Day 21 Cologne, GermanyArrive in Cologne during breakfast, then disembark for a tour of Germany’s fourth largest city. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church and see 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.
Day 22 Kinderdijk, The NetherlandsWe sail along the Rhine during the morning hours. Admire scenic views and enjoy a morning of enjoyable Dutch diversions: sample Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and take in a culturally enriching presentation on the Dutch Golden Age. This afternoon, your ship arrives in Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Disembark for an afternoon 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. Board your ship for departure and dinner. Arrive in Amsterdam around midnight.
Day 23 Amsterdam, The NetherlandsAfter breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 additional nights in Amsterdam; take time to explore the city’s neighborhoods, museums and exciting nightlife.
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