Iconic rivers of Europe – The Rhine, Main and Danube

Resort:Iconic rivers of Europe - The Rhine, Main and Danube
Operator: Avalon Waterways
Destination: Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Europe, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia
Price From: £6516.00

Itinerary Details

Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)

Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. Maybe stroll through the lively marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception.

Day 2 Amsterdam.

Included today: Canal cruise
Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s ‘Golden Age’. There’s free time in the city this afternoonor you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Cologne.

Included today: Choice of Guided city walk or Jewish Cologne tour.
Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germanys largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, consider checking out the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artefacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is builta must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafs, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Klsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (B, L, D)

Day 4 Rhine Gorge – Rdesheim.

Included today: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum.
This morning, cruise through the dramatic RHINE GORGEwithout a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in pretty Rdesheim, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll be mesmerized by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. There is free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colourful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Main River Village Experience

Included today: Guided walk.
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centres, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographers delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Wrzburg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Wrzburg, the ‘Pearl of the Romantic Road’, makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Wrzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the Main River. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Bamberg.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Today, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germanys most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic centre, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the towns serpentine streets with their charming houses and 18th-century mansions. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Nuremberg.

Included today: Choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; on board beer Tasting
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialised NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. (B, L, D)

Day 9 Regensburg.

Included today: Guided walk.
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of historic interest. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brcke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstkche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Herewhere the locals congregatefeel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers. (B, L, D)

Day 10 Passau

Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the ‘City of Three Rivers’. Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or to Cesk Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B, L, D)

Day 11 Drnstein, Austria. Excursion to Gttweig Abbey

Included today: Guided walk, see the Stiftskirche.
A day of magical scenery awaits you today! As you cruise into the Wachau Valley, pass unmistakable Melk Abbey, high up and overlooking the river. Then, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Drnstein, known for its baroque blue Stiftskirche. A Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of Englands King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Later, an excursion takes you to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Gttweig, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also positioned high up overlooking the Danube. (B, L, D)

Day 12 Vienna.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the ‘City of Music’, which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedralplus, countless other sites you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Krntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houseshistoric institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight. (B, L, D)

Day 13 Bratislava, Slovakia

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. After breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTINS CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. This afternoon is free to explore on your own. (B, L, D)

Day 14 Budapest.

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europes liveliest cities. Whether youre seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Caf, Budapests unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermens Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note the citys eight bridgesmany famous sights in and of themselveswhich connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Alternatively, consider visiting St. Stephens Basilica with marvellous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Vci utca, the main shopping street. (B, L, D)

Day 15 Budapest

Enjoy a free day today to explore on your own. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (B, L, D)

Day 16 Mohcs. Excursion to Pcs

Included today: Guided sightseeing.
This morning, enjoy some leisurely cruising before arriving in Mohcs, the last stop in Hungary. After lunch, an included excursion takes you to Pcs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBSnow part of a UNESCO World Heritage Sitemany of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. Pcs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafs. (B, L, D)

Day 17 Belgrade, Serbia

Included today: Guided sightseeing, visit Kalemegdan Fortress.
One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the worlds largest orthodox church. Also visit the citys principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the citys lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafs. (B, L, D)

Day 18 Excursion to Lepenski VirIron Gates

This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTRE, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europes Alps in the Northwest from the Carpathians in the south-east and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. (B, L, D)

Day 19 Cetate, Romania – Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik

This morning, stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port that is now a cultural centre. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to taste some of the locally made products. Then, on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval fortress, Baba Vidin, is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the course of the Middle Ages and is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. It is now a fortress museum and has been restored to its former appearance. In nearby Belogradchik, view the eclectic group of rock formations on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes. (B, L, D)

Day 20 RousseExcursion to Veliko Trnovo & Arbanassi

A comfortable ride from the river port of Rousse is the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Trnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS, and the Patriarchs Church. With your LOCAL GUIDE, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgarias history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the towns oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgarias largest inland port. If you dont wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse. (B, L, D)

Day 21 Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)-Bucharest

After breakfast, say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphebuilt in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWIhave gained it the name ‘Paris of the East’. Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, ‘Victory Avenue’ Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafs, and fine houses. (B)

Day 22 Bucharest

Return travel to the UK. (B)