4 DAYS FROM $1,099
4 DAYS FROM $799
Your adventure begins with an overnight flight to Germany, arriving in Frankfurt on Day 2. Upon arrival, you’ll have the rest of the day to rest up and relax after your journey.
Willkommen! Embark ship and begin your river cruise
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you at the Frankfurt airport and assist with your transfer to the pier in Bonn, where you’ll board your deluxe river ship and officially begin your European cruise. You can also begin your journey earlier with an optional pre-trip extension.
Sip Kölsch while exploring the historic cultural center of Cologne
Today, take a walking tour of the historic German cultural center of Cologne, where you’ll see the iconic Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Solo-Friendly Features: This evening, we'll enjoy a jovial Welcome Reception and Dinner as well as some onboard entertainment. You’ll also interact with fellow solo travelers and learn about sharing your cruise photos and selfies during a fun social media night.
Culinary Feature: Enjoy a tasting of Kölsch beer at a traditional German brewhouse, a signature flavor 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.
Rhine Valley views; Rüdesheim 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 three 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. You can also embark on a mini-train ride to Siegfried's Musikkabinett, an amusing museum dedicated to self-playing music and its instruments. Wine Feature: Your third choice of tours is a newly added wine tasting walking tour, where you’ll sample three different regional vintages — and have a nifty souvenir glass to take home! Solo-Friendly Feature: Tonight, your fun evening entertainment is preceded by a get-together of fellow independent travelers. Swap stories of your journeys and make a new friend!
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. Solo-Friendly Feature: Tonight, interact with other travelers and tap your toes as you enjoy onboard entertainment from four musical virtuosos.
Exploring village life in Marktheidenfeld, with a BBQ lunch and traditional live music
Wine Feature: This morning, immerse yourself in the culture of two fascinating villages. You’ll have your choice of tours after breakfast when you dock in Wertheim, all of which feature local manufacturing traditions, ranging from an ironmill to a winery, where you’ll get to sample the wares, of course! (Signups will be onboard.)
Unforgettable Moment and Solo-Friendly Feature: The highlight of our day today will be a delightful half-day tour of Marktheidenfeld, during which 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.
Culinary and Solo-Friendly Feature: This evening, your interactive cooking lesson option includes Käsespätzle or another regional specialty.
Tour and wine tasting inside the Würzburg Residenz
Wine Feature: Arriving in Würzburg, set out on a half-day tour of the Würzburg Residenz, a baroque European castle that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your tour includes a visit to the wine cellar for a tasting and lecture from an experienced sommelier. The Residenz are ideal for strolling, and you’ll have time to do so before transferring back to the ship for lunch. More active travelers will have the option to walk back to the ship and take a bike excursion in Wurzburg with your Concierge after lunch onboard.
Alternatively, you may join an optional tour of medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, whose timbered homes and cobbled streets are like stepping back in time. Those who’ve been on the optional tour will have their wine tasting at the Residenz Cellar this afternoon, should you use.
Cultural Connection: Late this afternoon, attend a lecture on “Germany in the 21st Century: Changes & Challenges.” Solo-Friendly Feature: Tie up your apron strings and get ready to stir the pot with fellow solo travelers during an interactive cooking lesson.
Biking Opportunity: Explore the scenic banks of the Main River during this moderate 17-mile route. Click here for details.
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.
Altmühl Valley sailing, walking tour of Bamberg, wine tasting dinner
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 and Solo-Friendly Feature: Learn how to make Swabian meat pockets during an onboard demonstration this evening, a regional treat customary in southwestern Germany.
Wine Feature: Tonight’s delicious dinner onboard includes a pairing of four wines with insights on their local production.
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 on board. Solo-Friendly Feature: Savor traditional kasspatzle during a cooking demonstration, or another regional specialty that’s in season.
Cultural Connection: Germany is renowned for its handmade goods, including woodcarvings and toys. Learn about some during an afternoon presentation on what’s made in Nuremburg today.
Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms
Explore UNESCO-listed 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 and Solo-Friendly Feature: Later, back on the ship, enjoy some local entertainment by a Bavarian brass band.
Biking Opportunity: Explore Regensburg’s monuments and history, including the Walhalla memorial hall, during a moderate 14-mile route. Click here for details.
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.
Solo-Friendly Features: Join a local artist to learn how to capture the beautiful local scenery you’ve been enjoying so far. Later, take part in another cooking demonstration, during which you'll learn about Tiroler Grostl.
Music and dancing in Vienna
Relax as your ship cruises the Danube River through the scenic Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Landscape. This afternoon, an apple strudel making demonstration awaits in your Captains Club. Cultural Connections and Unforgettable Moment: Be prepared for what awaits you later this evening with an insightful onboard lecture about Musical Vienna. Once in Austria’s capital, you’ll be treated to a delightful evening filled with tunes and revelry at an exclusive Kursalon music hall concert. Solo-Friendly Feature: Later onboard, keep the party going with dancing onboard; local dancers will show you their fancy footwork and teach you a few steps.
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.
Vienna and Liechtenstein Palace
This morning you’ll be treated to a city tour of Vienna, whose historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Among the many highlights are Liechtenstein Palace, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. After lunch onboard your ship, you’ll be transported back to city center for exciting waltz-dancing lessons. Wine Feature: Wine enthusiasts should treat themselves to a fun evening with a Viennese Heurigen Dinner, cozy family-style affairs with wine and music.
Culinary and Solo-Friendly Feature: Tonight’s culinary demonstration features mouthwatering Styrian pot roast.
Water Sport Opportunity: Alternatively, ask your Concierge about renting a boat or kayak during your free time.
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 décor, open courtyards with outdoor seating, and an accordion player playing traditional Viennese songs. You’ll visit an authentic heurigen for dinner, music, and wine! You can look forward to a fun and festive evening!
Vienna as you like it, then Budapest-bound
You'll have your choice of two tours this morning: either the city's excellent Museum of Art History or the grand Schönbrunn Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This afternoon, sail leisurely towards another great European capital: Budapest.
Going for baroque on a city tour of Budapest
Begin the day with a panoramic city tour of regal Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll take in the spectacular panoramic views of the city from Fisherman’s Bastion, a magnificent terrace overlooking the Danube. The rest of the day you’re free to explore Budapest at your own pace, or you can 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.
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 driving. 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.
Head to Hollókő, or spend a day at leisure in Budapest
Join our delightful full-day optional tour to the Hungarian village of Hollókő, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a “living village” of early rural life before the agricultural revolution of the 20th century. Alternatively, enjoy a day at leisure in Budapest, perhaps taking advantage of our onboard bicycles to cruise along the Danube pathways, or to do some shopping on the Váci Utca, Budapest’s most famous shopping street.
A scenic journey back in time, into the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, takes you to the medieval UNESCO World Heritage village of Hollókő. Here life follows the same patterns it did centuries ago — the houses are built in a medieval style with whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs, and the locals still honor age-old customs and dress in traditional embroidered clothing on special occasions — such as your arrival! You'll be greeted with singing, dancing, and a snack of Hungarian cheesecake. Then, in small groups, we'll be invited into a home for lunch — a truly wonderful way to meet people of Hungary. Afterwards, you'll take a walking tour through the village's cobbled streets.
Exploring the Pest side of Budapest, and a Jewish Heritage optional tour
Divided by the Danube, Budapest is actually two cities — Buda and Pest. Today we’ll explore Pest, beginning with an inside visit to St. Stephen’s Basilica, as well as a tour of City Park, Heroes’ Square, and neighboring Andrássy Avenue — a UNESCO World heritage Site lined with neo-Renaissance palaces and homes — and a glimpse of the Parliament building, which you’ll explore in-depth tomorrow. This afternoon, take an optional Jewish Heritage tour that reveals the historic Jewish Quarter and local landmarks, or simply enjoy some leisure time to explore Budapest on your own. Solo-Friendly Features: Back on the ship this evening, join your Cruise Director for a fun Solo Connections get-together, then ring in your eastern European journey in style with a folk music and dance show.
Discover the largest Jewish community in eastern Europe during your stay in Budapest. This tour offers an illuminating look into the rich cultural, historical, and religious heritage of Hungary, with visits to Budapest’s Jewish Quarter, Dohány Synagogue — Europe’s largest — and more.
Please note: This tour is not available on Saturdays.
Take a walk on the Buda side and go inside Parliament
Arguably Budapest’s most historic building, the Parliament towers over the Danube with its intriguing blend of architectural styles and 365 spires — one for every day of the year. Unforgettable Moment: Tour the inside of the Parliament building in this Vantage-exclusive experience that allows us fast-track entrance. We’ll also explore Castle Hill, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Citadel before we cast off towards Kalocsa this afternoon.
Solo-Friendly Features: Enjoy a hands-on cooking demonstration this afternoon and, later, join a social media presentation that gives you some best practice tips on sharing your travel memories and making new ones.
Please note: The Parliament can cancel any confirmed visit at any time. In the event of a cancellation, travelers will instead visit the Opera House.
Get folksy with craft and cooking lessons in Kalocsa
Cultural Connection and Solo-Friendly Feature: Visit the town of Kalocsa today and embark on a city tour that includes workshops on folk painting, folk embroidery, and the making of traditional Hungarian paprika bread, followed by an organ concert in the local cathedral.
You’ll then transfer by coach to charming Pécs in the foothills of the Mecsek Mountains. After lunch here, set off on a walking tour that includes a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed Necropolis, which hearkens back to the 4th century. Alternatively, you might also embark on a hour-long city tour by mini-train. Afterwards, you’ll transfer by coach to Mohacs, board your river ship once more, and set sail for the next destination: Croatia.
Explore Croatia, and savor a home-hosted lunch in Vukovar
Cultural Connection: Learn about Croatia today during a morning lecture that prepares you for what's next: A visit with a local family to learn more about local life! Unforgettable Moment and Solo-Friendly Feature: As you make landfall in Croatia today, join a local family in their home for a riveting lunch. Learn about day-to-day life, regional food, and more while you break bread with welcoming hosts. Cultural Connection: Then, if school is in session, you’ll meet some local students, or otherwise attend a guitar concert in a local courtyard. After, make your way to Eltz Manor, a baroque castle housing the Vukovar City Museum. Cultural Connection and Solo-Friendly Feature: More music awaits you back on the ship when a local band comes on board to play some modern-day classics that have been rejiggered into new arrangements. Gather with the other solo travelers you’ve met so far and maybe you’ll work up a dance party!
Discover Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress — then embark on a pub crawl
Cultural Connection: An illuminating lecture on modern Serbia sets the stage for your discovery of the country’s 2,500-year-old capital, Belgrade, on a half-day tour. Belgrade’s recent history can be felt in the city’s grittiness, but bold redevelopment and the positive outlook of residents will undoubtedly impress you. As a counterpoint to Belgrade’s comeback, you’ll visit the Kalemegdan Fortress. Dating back to a staggering 279 BC, the fortress was since destroyed more than 40 times in approximately 115 battles.
This afternoon, take advantage of an optional tour to Tito’s Memorial and Royal Palace. Or, if you're up for something a bit more adventurous, speak to your Concierge about where you can rent a canoe or kayak. Solo-Friendly Features: Alternately, learn how to make another regional specialty with an onboard cooking class. Ready to raise your glass? Set off on a fun pub crawl later this afternoon alongside other solo travelers. Cultural Connection: Tonight’s sure to be festive, too, as we’re initiated into the Captain’s Gala Dinner with a traditional salt and bread welcome performed by two local women in traditional garb. Solo-Friendly Feature: You’ll enjoy another folk music and dance troupe as the evening’s entertainment.
Uncover the charms of a Serbian village
Begin your day with a walking tour of charming Donji Milanovac, where you’ll visit the Church of St. Nikolas and an elementary school. Cultural Connection: Here, you’ll enjoy a fascinating introduction to the Cyrillic alphabet, the script invented by a Byzantine monk in the 9th century but now widely used throughout the Slavic world.
Relax on deck this afternoon and enjoy the views as your river cruise passes through one of the most dramatic and beautiful stretches of the Danube river, the series of gorges known as the Iron Gates of the Danube. As your ship passes through two sets of locks, you’ll hear commentary from the bridge describing the process.
Cruise into Ruse with a dance performance, icon painting, a Balkan BBQ, and more
Today promises to be an eye-opening day of rich cultural heritage — and fun, too. Cultural Connection: As you cruise this morning, a lecture on “Bulgaria, Romania, and the Expansion of the European Union” offers some contemporary context to our journey as we sail toward the Bulgarian port town, Ruse. Solo-Friendly Feature: Just before lunch, the BBQ on the sun deck will fire up for a festive Balkan-style cooking demo, weather permitting. Your dish? Cevapcici, or traditional Balkan sausages. Cultural Connection: This afternoon, some local children come on board for a delightful dance performance and, later, you’ll learn about the Bulgarian tradition of icon painting from a local artist, and then meet a local Orthodox priest. Solo-Friendly Feature: Enjoy dinner on board before retiring to the lounge to catch the Contemporary Bulgarian Trio put a twist on traditional music.
Spend a day in captivating Veliko Tarnovo, including lunch with students and a choir performance
Today offers another high point of your journey when you spend a full day in Veliko Tarnovo, a 12th-century Bulgarian capital where colorful houses perch above the winding Yantra River. Cultural Connection and Solo-Friendly Feature: Have lunch with local university students in Veliko Tarnovo before heading to the 16th-century village of Arbanassi for a lovely Eastern Orthodox choir performance at the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. This evening, celebrate the connections you’ve made on your solo-friendly river cruise at the Captain’s Farewell Dinner & Cocktail Reception.
Panoramic Bucharest tour, then explore its historic sites
This morning we’ll disembark ship and transfer to Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, where we’ll embark on a panoramic tour and have lunch. Afterwards, explore Bucharest’s grand monuments and leafy, old-world boulevards on a city tour that includes a choice of entrances. Unforgettable Moment: You can visit the infamous People’s Palace, the grandiose, sprawling, and never-completed administrative building initiated by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Alternatively, take a fascinating walking tour of Manuc’s Inn, Bucharest’s oldest hotel building, which was built as a way station for caravans and surrounds a large open courtyard. Tonight, we’ll savor a delicious dinner at a Bucharest institution.
* Please note: For the best airport pacing, passengers on the post-trip extension will enjoy all of the same features from the base tour in a different order. Extension travelers will complete the final Bucharest portion of the base itinerary on their last day.
Travel through Transylvanian history
Venture into Transylvania, the mountainous, legend-haunted region in central Romania. On the way, stop for lunch in Sinaia, a former royal summer retreat, and visit fairytale-worthy Peles Castle. As you enter Transylvania proper, you’ll see why it’s known as the last medieval landscape in Europe. You’ll return to Bucharest in the afternoon. Dinner is included at your hotel.
Transfer to the airport today for your return flight home.
Vantage invites you to Transylvania, where the lure of vampire legends awaits in Romania’s fabled central region, home to mountainous scenery, medieval villages, and Bran Castle — Dracula’s legendary manse. You’ll visit Prejmer Fortified Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and check off another UNESCO Site off your list when joining our optional tour to enchanting Sighișoara. Step inside elegant Bucharest, bohemian Brasov, and a forested region of fairytales — now with an extra day added for better pacing in 2020!
*Please note that for pre- and post-trip extension passengers to enjoy the best pacing and airline routing, two days of base tour features will be listed in the itinerary below as noted (Days 25 and 29 for the post-trip extension). For post-trip extension passengers, your price includes:
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.