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Home » Destinations » Europe » Hungary » Riviera Travel Art and History on the Danube
Embark on a captivating journey through time as you traverse the Danube from Budapest to Vienna and beyond. Explore grand palaces that once housed influential dynasties and immerse yourself in the artistic treasures of Hungary, Slovakia, and Austria.
This dynamic cruise promises an exploration of Europe’s rich history, guided by experts who will transport you to bygone eras, unveiling the profound impact of the Danube on art and architecture. Discover hidden gems within imposing basilicas showcasing the region’s most spectacular art, and witness the splendour of Schönbrunn Palace, the opulent royal residence of the Habsburg rulers. Delve into the Danube’s role in shaping European history while enjoying breathtaking views along the way.
Day 1 – Arrival in Budapest
Upon arrival in Budapest, you’ll transfer to the luxury cruise ship, your home for the next 7 nights
Day 2 – Esztergom
Journey upstream to Esztergom and explore its rich history, especially the basilica, overlooking the Danube. The basilica, home to the world’s largest altarpiece, features a breathtaking painting by Girolamo Michelangelo Grigoletti. Join a guided tour to witness this spectacular artwork and other priceless religious artifacts in the treasury. Marvel at the craftsmanship of Gothic chalices from the 15th century.
Day 3 – Bratislava
This morning, embark on a guided tour of Bratislava, Slovakia’s emerging capital, delving into its rich history. Highlights include the 17th-century castle with expansive Danube views and the iconic St. Martin’s Cathedral, a symbol of the Habsburg dynasty’s legacy. Explore the cathedral’s courtyard and ascend its staircase for panoramic views.
In the afternoon, cruise into the tranquil Lower Austria, renowned for its picturesque landscapes and exceptional wines. Witness the captain’s navigational prowess as we sail serenely through locks towards Dürnstein during dinner.
Day 4 – Dürnstein & Melk
Dürnstein is famed for its ice-blue abbey tower and the castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. Explore the town on a guided walking tour, envisioning the frustrated monarch awaiting ransom funds at the now-ruined castle.
After lunch, visit the impressive Melk Abbey, a honey-coloured Baroque structure gifted to the Benedictine Order in the 11th century. Explore the Emperor’s Gallery, ornate library, and fine rooms. Dinner will be served as you cruise through the scenic Nibelungengau, immortalized in Wagner’s music.
Day 5 – Salzburg & Mauthausen
Upon reaching Linz, drive to Salzburg with an expert guide, exploring key sites like the Collegiate Church, a significant Baroque landmark. The church’s austere interior, devoid of paintings, serves as an ideal venue for various cultural events. Enjoy leisure time in Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart, with its charming Old Town blending medieval and baroque architecture. Explore landmarks like the iconic Salzburg Cathedral.
Optionally, visit the Mauthausen Concentration Camp Memorial after the guided Salzburg tour, delving into a somber aspect of history. The memorial, established in 1949, features nations’ memorials replacing original camp remnants. The guided tour includes the cemetery, memorials, and exhibitions. Alternatively, you can spend the full day in Salzburg.
Afterwards, return to the ship for a delightful dinner as you sail overnight to Vienna.
Day 6 – Vienna
Vienna, synonymous with elegance and cultural richness, was Europe’s cultural hub for two centuries. Explore iconic landmarks like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Hofburg, once the royal court. In the morning, a local guide provides insights into Vienna’s imperial history and musical legacy.
After lunch, visit the renowned Schönbrunn Palace to delve into the opulence of the Habsburg dynasty. The imperial tour unveils grand rooms, exquisite furniture, and historical insights. Conclude the day with a Captains dinner and a classical recital, a fitting finale to the Vienna experience. Later in the evening, start your final journey to Budapest.
Day 7 – Budapest
After cruising through Hungary’s pastoral landscapes and having lunch on board, embark on a sightseeing tour of Budapest, known as the ‘Pearl of the Danube.’ Explore the twin cities of Buda and Pest, shaped by centuries of history, including Ottoman rule and Habsburg imperial influence.
Choose between a historical or art-focused city tour adventure. Conclude the day with dinner and a lively folklore show, providing a final taste of Hungarian art and culture. Reflect on the inspiring places and experiences from this ‘imperial’ cruise during the last evening with fellow travellers.
Day 8 – Return home
Transfer to the airport for your return flight home
MS William Wordsworth
MS Oscar Wilde
*All transfer times listed here are approximate and dependent on traffic.
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