Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales - 2020

Austria • Germany • Hungary
  • $299
  • 15
  • 13
Single Supplement: Call
Base prices are factored using double-occupancy rooms; supplemental fees may apply for those traveling independently.
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Oberammergau Passion Play on select optional extensions
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Marvel at storybook castles and cruise past vineyard-covered hillsides. Raise a stein at a historic brewery. Savor the flavors of the Rhine Valley at a barbecue with live music in a German village. Hear waltz music in Vienna (we are the only river cruise company that takes you there for two full days!), and take in the view across the Danube from Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest. Visit pretty half-timbered river villages and stroll in the medieval jewels of Regensburg and Würzburg. You’re invited to come aboard for our all-time, top-rated river voyage, as we follow history down the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers. Thirteen guided tours, including nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as well as entertaining and informative shipboard lectures and Cultural Connections, transform a river cruise into a delightful immersion in the sights, sounds, flavors, and most of all, the beauty, along Europe’s great rivers. Plus, on select summer and autumn departures, enjoy our exclusive extensions to Oberammergau and Munich. You’ll spend time in Bavaria’s charming capital and have deluxe access to a once-every-10-years exclusive opportunity: the Passion Play re-enacted by the villagers of this delightful village nestled in the Alps.

Traveling solo? Vantage is the only company in the travel industry whose river ships include cabins built specifically for solo travelers, with free Single Supplements. We’ve also designed this itinerary to give you more opportunities for independent exploring and for staying active. Take one of the ship’s bikes for a spin along the shore, join a longer walk or hike, and sign up for onboard cooking classes.

Mainz to Budapest

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DAY 1:

Fly overnight to Frankfurt, Germany

Today, fly overnight to Frankfurt, Germany.

DAY 2:

Enjoy the Mainz attraction

Today, you’ll land in Frankfurt. If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to the pier in Mainz, where you will board your Deluxe river ship and officially begin your European river cruise.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Sip Kölsch while exploring the historic cultural center of Cologne

This morning, take a walking tour of this historic German cultural center. Cultural Connection: During the afternoon’s cruising, join your Cruise Director in the lounge for a lively German lesson — pick up a few key words and phrases to use when interacting with locals. This evening, we'll enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner as well as some onboard entertainment.

Culinary Feature: Enjoy a tasting of Kölsch beer, a signature brew that is only made here in Cologne.

Biking Opportunity: Enjoy a scenic path along the iconic Rhine River, with terrific views of the Cologne Cathedral and Hohenzollern Bridge, during this easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 4:

Rhine Valley views; Rudesheim personalized for you

After some scenic sailing in the morning — during which we'll marvel at the scenery and hear about local lore — you'll arrive in Rudesheim, where you'll have your choice of two tours. The first is a cable car ride to the historic Niederwald Monument, which overlooks the Rhine Valley and commemorates the unification of Germany in the late 19th century. Or, embark on a mini-train ride to Siegfried's Musikkabinett, an amusing museum dedicated to self-playing music and its instruments. Afterwards, you'll return to the ship for dinner, which will be followed by onboard entertainment.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 5:

Day-tripping through romantic Heidelberg

Today, set off from Frankfurt for a full-day excursion to Heidelberg, a UNESCO site that is home to Germany’s oldest college, Heidelberg University. Unforgettable Moment: In Heidelberg, you’ll tour 15th-century Heidelberg Castle, one of the most famous of European castles, an imposing Gothic-Renaissance ruin of red stone that illustrates the history of Germany. Ride the funicular from the castle to the town center, where you’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then have free time to explore.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 6:

Exploring village life in Marktheidenfeld, with a BBQ lunch and traditional live music

We'll arrive in Wertheim this morning and will set out to explore the town after breakfast. Unforgettable Moment: The highlight of our day will be a delightful half-day tour during which learn about local industry. Later, we’ll savor a BBQ lunch and take in some traditional live music.

Back on the ship, a glassblowing demonstration introduces us to the artistry of this age-old craft.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 7:

Tour and wine tasting inside the Würzburg Residenz

Arriving in Würzburg, set out on a half-day tour of the Würzburg Residenz, a baroque European castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour includes a visit to the wine cellar for a tasting and lecture. Alternatively, you may join an optional tour of medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Cultural Connection: Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.”

Biking Opportunity: Explore the scenic banks of the Main River during this moderate 17-mile route. Click here for details.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Full-day Rothenburg Tour with Christmas Museum

Full-day Rothenburg Tour with Christmas Museum

  • Approximate Cost: $69 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 6 hours
  • Location: Würzburg, Germany
  • When: Full-Day tour

Picturesque Rothenburg ob der Tauber features winding cobbled lanes lined with half-timbered houses, as well as massive towers and intact city walls around the Old Town where one can take in views over both the city and the Tauber valley. Known for its “eternal Christmas” atmosphere, the town’s various shops sell beautiful, handcrafted Christmas gifts and souvenirs all year round. Come December, the area comes to life with the famous Christmas Market, one of the most romantic markets in Germany. You’ll take a walking tour and pay a visit to the Christmas Museum; plus, you’ll enjoy some free time to explore the shops and take in the stunning views.

DAY 8:

Altmühl Valley sailing and walking tour of Bamberg

Cultural Connection: While we cruise this morning, attend a lecture on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, one of Europe’s greatest engineering feats. Later, we’ll pass through the locks of the canal and enjoy a day sailing through the lovely Altmühl valley. Arriving in Bamberg, we'll embark on a fascinating walking tour of the historic center of town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is also an opportunity to partake in a cooking demonstration today, one of several available on your journey.

Culinary Feature: Learn how to make Swabian meat pockets, a regional treat customary in southwestern Germany, during an onboard demonstration this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Nuremberg, customized for you — tour the town’s highlights or explore its WWII history

This morning you'll have your choice of two city tours of Nuremberg. Choose “Nuremberg and World War II” to explore the city’s World War II history and visit the Documentation Center, or take the “Highlights of Nuremberg” tour that includes a visit to the delightful Toy Museum. This evening, chat with your fellow travelers during cocktail hour in the lounge and enjoy a delectable dinner onboard.

Culinary Feature: Watch a cooking demonstration on kasspatzle (the German version of macaroni and cheese).

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms

Explore Regensburg today. This city has a history stretching back to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and you’ll get to know its heritage during a walking tour. Admire the impressive cathedral, as well as the famous stone bridge which was built in the 12th century. Cultural Connection: Later, back on the ship, enjoy some local entertainment.

Biking Opportunity: Explore Regensburg’s monuments and history, including The Walhalla memorial hall, during a moderate 14-mile route. Click here for details.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 11:

Music and pub crawls in picturesque Passau

Today, join a walking tour of baroque Passau, known as the "town of three rivers" because it's located where two tributaries join the Danube river. On your tour, enjoy an organ concert inside St. Stephan’s Cathedral.

Biking Opportunity: Follow the beautiful Ilz River along a scenic 10-mile route (moderate level). Click here for details.

Painting Lesson: Join a local artist to learn how to capture the scenery with a brush.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 12:

Waltzing into Vienna and Liechtenstein Palace

Relax as your ship cruises the Danube River through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape, on your way to Vienna. After arriving in Vienna, you'll enjoy a half-day tour that includes a visit to Liechtenstein Palace. Later, take some time on your own, or join us on an optional Heurigen Dinner. 

Culinary Feature: Take part in another cooking demonstration today, during which you'll learn about Tiroler Grostl.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Wine & Music

Viennese Heurigen Dinner, Wine & Music

  • Approximate Cost: $89 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3.5 hours
  • Location: Vienna, Austria
  • When: Evening tour, including dinner
The congenial atmosphere of cozy, family-style wine taverns, known as heurigens, is perfectly complemented by hearty food, lively music — and locally produced vintages, of course. Heurigens traditionally have rustic decor, open courtyards with outdoor seating, and an accordion player playing traditional Viennese songs. You’ll visit an authentic heurigen for dinner and music, plus a wine tasting of three varietals beforehand. You can look forward to a fun and festive evening!

DAY 13:

Vienna as you like it, and a private Kursalon concert

You'll have your choice of two tours today: either the city's excellent Museum of Art History or the grand Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During free time this afternoon, take a bike for a spin, stop into the lounge for onboard dancing demos, or speak to the concierge about arranging a kayak or boat rental.

Unforgettable Moment: Later, listen to a lecture on Musical Vienna before enjoying today's highlight: a private classical music concert at the Kursalon.

Biking Opportunity: Enjoy the architecture of Vienna, including panoramic sights of the city’s skyscrapers, during a moderate 8-mile route. Click here for details.

Watersport Opportunity: Alternatively, ask your concierge about renting a boat or kayak during your free time.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 14:

Bustling Budapest and the Captain’s Farewell Party

Enjoy a morning at leisure with shuttle service available. This afternoon, sail leisurely towards another great European capital: Budapest. You’ll gather with your fellow travelers tonight for the Captain’s Farewell Party.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 15:

Going for baroque on a city tour of Budapest

Your European river cruise comes to a conclusion in grand style, as you arrive in Budapest. During your tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, enjoy the stunning panoramic views across the Danube River from the hilltop terraces of Fisherman’s Bastion. You can also opt to enjoy an optional Hungarian Horse Show today.

Biking Opportunity : Enjoy the most magnificent sites of Budapest, including Freedom Bridge, Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament Building during an easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Hungarian Horse Show

Hungarian Horse Show

  • Approximate Cost: $65 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Budapest, Hungary
  • When: Half-Day Tour
Enjoy the romantic scenery of the countryside as you visit the Equestrian Park of the Lázár brothers, who have won several world championships in carriage riding. Hungarian horsemen will welcome and accompany you to the inn’s yard where you will enjoy the famous Hungarian “pálinka” (brandy) before going to the show. The horse show features varied styles of dressage and fun competition with guests. After the show, a carriage awaits you for a scenic ride through the surrounding area.

DAY 16:

Disembark ship and return home (or begin your extension to Bratislava and Prague!)

Transfer to the airport for your return flight home, or begin your optional post-trip extension to Prague.

Included Meals:


Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.

Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.

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Majestic Rivers of Europe: Castles, Cathedrals & Fairytales - 2020

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