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 Mainz, 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. This evening, we'll enjoy a Welcome Reception and Dinner as well as some onboard entertainment.
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! Afterwards, you'll return to the ship for dinner, which will be followed by onboard entertainment.
Day-trip to romantic Heidelberg, a UNESCO site
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. Cultural Connection: Tonight, enjoy onboard entertainment from four musical virtuosos.
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.
Cultural Connection: Back on the ship, a glassblowing demonstration introduces us to the artistry of this age-old craft. Later tonight, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in a fun culinary demonstration and sample what is whipped up! Savor traditional spätzle, or another regional specialty that’s in season.
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.” This evening, you can try your hand at cooking German-braised beef roulade in the Captain’s Club during an intimate 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. 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.
Cultural Connection: Germany is renowned for its handmade goods, including wood carvings and toys. Learn about some during an afternoon presentation on what’s made in Nuremburg today.
Regensburg: Roman architecture and Bavarian charms
You’ll arrive at picturesque Regensburg today, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with history stretching back to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. 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.
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.
Cultural Connection: Join a local artist to learn how to capture the scenery with a brush during a painting lesson.
Culinary Feature: Take part in another cooking demonstration today, 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 Connection: 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. Later onboard, keep the party going with dancing onboard; local dancers will show you their fancy footwork and teach you a few steps. Wine Feature: Tonight’s dinner will be further enhanced by a pairing and tasting of local wines with commentary.
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 on board your ship, enjoy some exciting waltz-dancing lessons. This evening, treat yourself to a fun evening with an optional Viennese Heurigen Dinner, a cozy family-style affair with wine and music.
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 Hollókó, 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. Cultural Connection: Back on the ship this evening, a folk music and dance show rings in your eastern European journey in style.
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. Then, continue the afternoon with visits to the Citadel, Chain Bridge, Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, and more local landmarks; or, transfer to the Great Market Hall for a guided tour and an afternoon at leisure. We’ll cast off towards Kalocsa later this afternoon.
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: 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, as well as an organ concert. We’ll then transfer to charming Pécs in the foothills of the Mecsek Mountains. After lunch here, we’ll set off on a walking tour that includes a visit to the city’s UNESCO-listed Necropolis, which hearkens back to the 4th century, as well as the Pécs Cathedral. Alternatively, you might also embark on an hour-long city tour by train.
Explore Croatia, and savor a home-hosted lunch in Vukovar
What better way to learn about local life than with a visit to a local family? Unforgettable Moment: As we make landfall in Croatia today, we’ll join a local family in their home for a riveting lunch. Cultural Connection: Then, if school is in session, we’ll meet some local students, or otherwise attend a guitar concert in a local courtyard. After, we’ll make our way to Eltz Manor, a baroque castle housing the Vukovar City Museum. Cultural Connection: More music awaits us back on the ship when a local band comes on board to play some modern-day classics that have been rejiggered into new arrangements.
Discover Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress — then embark on a pub crawl
Cultural Connection: An illuminating lecture on modern Serbia sets the stage for our 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, we’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 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. Ready to raise your glass? Set off on a fun pub crawl later this afternoon. 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. We’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. For lunch, enjoy a festive Balkan-style BBQ on the sun deck, weather permitting. Cultural Connection: This afternoon, some local children come on board for a delightful dance performance, and later we’ll learn about the Bulgarian tradition of icon painting from a local artist, and then meet a local Orthodox priest. We’ll enjoy dinner on board before the Contemporary Bulgarian Trio puts a twist on traditional music for us.
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: 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 joys of your 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.
Traveling 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.