A Taste of the Danube - Westbound River Cruise (WBV)
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River Cruise Description
If you love great music and amazing picturesque riverscapes, you’ll love the Gypsy violins of bustling Budapest and the passionate sounds of Vienna, known as the “City of Music.” The 2019 8 day Avalon river cruise from Budapest to Vienna vacation is one for you. This fabulous Europe river cruise features the amazing natural beauty of Austria’s charming Wachau Valley, and the fascinating capital cities of Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria. You’ll enjoy two exciting nights in bustling Budapest, where expertly guided sightseeing shares all the amazing features of this dynamic capital city with you. And don’t worry, you’ll have more than enough time to seek out the must see highlights on your own. Make sure you take a lot of photographs from fabulous Fishermen’s Bastion, walk across the iconic Chain Bridge, or enjoy a popular cream cake in the world-famous Gerbeaud Café. You’ll embark on your breathtaking Avalon river cruise ship and head upriver to beautiful Bratislava. Enjoy a tranquil 58-mile stretch of the Danube. You’ll learn that he middle of the Danube actually forms the official border between Hungary and Slovakia, and some world-class guided sightseeing awaits you in Slovakia’s stunning capital city. Continue your European river cruise adventure to arrive in Melk. In this quaint city, you’ll marvel at the sensational visit to Austria’s stunningly elegant Benedictine Abbey, considered one of Europe’s largest and most popular monasteries, situated high on a cliff so you can enjoy the astonishing views of the iconic Danube River and magnificent countryside. As the Avalon river cruise ship sails through the breathtaking Wachau Valley and you’ll have plenty of time to explore the fascinating city of Dürnstein. One of the most popular sites is the ancient ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner in the year 1192, and best known for its magnificent ornate Stiftskirche with its colorful blue façade. At the end of your exciting river cruise, is expertly guided sightseeing in Austria’s stunning capital city of Vienna, with plenty of time to be on your own and just relax, or perhaps visit the world-renowned Sacher Hotel for a taste of Sachertorte (a popular chocolate cake), and wander along the world-famous pedestrian street of Kärntnerstrasse. There will be sweet surprises and new adventures to captivate you as your luxurious river cruise ship is sure to provide you with more than a mere taste of the many breathtaking discoveries to be found along this legendary river. Explore some amazing parts of the Danube during this 2019 8 day Avalon river cruise from Budapest to Vienna.
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River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Arrive in Budapest, Hungary
What a way to begin your Danube River Cruise, spending two awe-inspiring days in Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital. Eight ornate bridges – some even famous sights in and of themselves – span the banks of the Danube, which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may want to start exploring with a walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849, which is considered a symbol of Budapest, one of Eastern Europe’s most bustling cities.
Day 2 Budapest
Whether you’re sightseeing, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffeehouse culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively an allure to visitors. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of the city, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its exceptional Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church, a coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. This afternoon, explore this vibrant city at your own pace, but one recommended stop is at St. Stephen’s Basilica, which offers astonishing views of Budapest from its viewing platform, or stroll along the main shopping avenue, Váci utca. (Breakfast)
Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation)
This morning, explore at your own pace. Shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika or embroidery at one of its 180 vendor stalls, or wander around the Royal Palace grounds. In the afternoon, transfer to your ship and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 4 Bratislava, Slovakia
Relax on board this morning and marvel at the scenery on both banks of the Danube. As you cruise upriver, Hungary is on your left and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. As you arrive in Bratislava, the progressive capital of Slovakia nestled in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, join your LOCAL GUIDE for a tour of the city, including a “Guided Walk” of its captivating Old Town. Winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in Bratislava. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, which was the coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Explore freely on your own this afternoon. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 Dürnstein, Austria–Melk
This morning our first stop is Dürnstein, situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region. This village – with a population of less than 1,000 inhabitants – is best recognized by its baroque blue and white Stiftskirche standing right on the river bank. The main street of Dürnstein is lined with 16th-century homes along attractive cobblestone streets. You’re invited to explore on your own or choose one of the popular excursions. If you crave exercise, biking might be your ticket (weather permitting). The ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart or “Coeur de Lion” was imprisoned in 1192, stands above the small town. If you’re wanting some adventure, hike up to the ruins for spectacular views. (B,L,D) After Dürnstein, grab a glass of white wine while reclined on the Sky Deck taking in the amazing scenery as you sail to Melk. Enjoy the exquisite beauty of the romantic Wachau Valley, where dedicated viticulturists grow excellent wine grape varieties and produce superb wines fit for a king. In Melk, visit the awe-inspiring 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY, which houses an elegant library with more than 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. The abbey, with its frescoed ceilings, amazing high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola, towers over the town. It’s difficult to find words to describe the absolute splendor of the church. The breathtaking terrace view from the abbey over the Danube to the countryside is heart-stirring magnificent! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 Vienna (Disembarkation)
What a way to end your Danube River Cruise, spending two awe-inspiring days in the “City of Music,” Vienna, Austria’s capital. Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss made Vienna even more famous than it already was. It was the birthplace of their creative genius. Enjoy yourselves, as you explore this elegant capital city – a showcase of ornate architecture – was once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire. Vienna is home to the plush Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, the world famous Vienna Boy’s Choir, sensational Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and the inspirational St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Your Certified Local Guide will show you countless other amazing sites during your included CITY SIGHTSEEING TOUR. In your free time, you might visit Naschmarkt, Vienna’s well-known outdoor produce marketplace for more than 80 years. And of course there are many magnificent museums to browse through. It wouldn’t be Vienna if you were not offered the opportunity to attend a fabulous concert during your stay. (Breakfast)
Day 7 Vienna
This is a day to explore on your own. Don’t leave without enjoying a piece of delicious Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses. These historic businesses have helped shape Viennese culture! If you’d prefer something more adventuresome, you might take an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace or to the Vienna Woods. (Breakfast)
Day 8 Vienna
Although your vacation ends this morning, we hope it leaves you with a wealth of memories and some amazing photos of your Danube River Cruise journey to share with loved ones back home. (Breakfast)