Sail to charming cities & villages
Discover grand cities, medieval towns and quaint villages along the “Blue Danube,” highlighting three countries: Hungary, Austria and Germany. Stroll among the stalls at Budapest’s Christmas market and immerse yourself in the cheerful atmosphere of Vienna as you shop for handmade decorations. Visit the fairy-tale village of Regensburg, one of Europe’s best-preserved cities, and delight in the city’s joyful festivities.
Budapest, Hungary / Regensburg, Germany
2024 Sailings from November to December
2025 Sailings from November to December
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Cruise fare from $3,399.0 per person
* Please check with us for dates & pricing
Embark your ship and settle into your stateroom. Riverside beauty and a vibrant cultural scene blend together in Budapest to form one of Europe’s most rewarding cities. Hungary’s enchanting capital straddles the banks of the Danube, with traditional hillside Buda on one side and modern Pest on the other. By day, astounding art nouveau buildings, stalwart castles and glittering palaces set the stage for awe-inspiring strolls and long soaks in thermal spas. By night, a nostalgic glow settles in as the city’s lights dance on Danube waters, the Chain Bridge uniting it all as a dramatic centerpiece.
The Christmas season adds another layer of beauty to the already romantic charms of Budapest. Nestled in the heart of Pest lies Vörösmarty Square, home to the city’s largest yuletide market. The enticing aroma of national specialties permeates the air as vendors display traditional and contemporary handicrafts. At the cozy St. Stephen’s Basilica market, mulled wine keeps revelers warm as nightly light shows illuminate the church’s facade. Across the Danube in Buda, Old-World allure mingles with festivities in Fő Square, where seasonal events and an outdoor ice rink entertain.
Take in the natural beauty of the fabled “Blue Danube” as you pass through the Danube Bend, considered one of the most beautiful sections of the river. Cruising this 40-mile stretch through northern Hungary, you will see peaceful farmland and an ancient castle that once served as hunting grounds for royals and visiting dignitaries. As you sail the passage between the Börzsöny and Pilis Ranges, you will marvel at the steep hills draped with bucolic forests. And delight in the majestic church domes peering at the waterway from inviting villages and historic cities.
The yuletide season transforms Vienna’s beautiful squares into delightful Christmas markets. Festive lights illuminate the Old Town. The Schönbrunn market, set in front of the baroque Hapsburg summer palace, and Freyung market, nestled in the city center, are the perfect destinations for unique handmade decorations. Seasonal music and choral singing provide a merry ambience to holiday festivities in Am Hof Square, while the market at Belvedere Square mixes excellent shopping opportunities with views of the stately palace and adjacent lake to create a fairytale atmosphere.
Renowned as the “City of Waltzes,” Austria’s capital city of Vienna is Europe’s center of classical music. Strauss and Mozart composed many of their finest pieces here. Vienna’s musical history is matched by the elegant, graceful architecture that lines the Ringstrasse. Baroque, neo-Renaissance, Gothic-Romanesque and other splendidly styled structures take the breath away with their grand facades. Vienna has a more intimate side too: inviting footpaths lead through green parks and its famed Viennese cafés sweeten any stay with coffee and the city’s delectable Sachertorte.
A small university town at the eastern end of the Danube’s Wachau Valley, Krems is surrounded by terraced vineyards. In its heyday, during the 12th century, Krems held even more importance than Vienna for its iron, grain, salt and wine trade. As to the latter, the city has played a long and celebrated part in the popularity of the Wachau’s wine culture; the valley’s south slopes in Krems are bathed in sunlight all day and create some of the best Riesling and Veltliner wines in the world. The city’s cobblestone streets, taverns, wine bars and cafés have a timeless appeal.
Sail through a serene tapestry of terraced vineyards, forested slopes, charming towns and castle ruins in Austria’s Wachau Valley, celebrated as perhaps the most scenic stretch of the Danube. Journey 18 miles through this vast UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the river courses through picturesque hillsides. Gaze upon the prolific grapevines and quaint wine-producing villages hugging the shores—the legacy of vintners that stretch as far back as Celtic and Roman times and an echo of the more than 30 monasteries that served as vineyards in Renaissance days.
Centered around the beautiful St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home to Europe’s largest pipe organ, the romantic market stalls of the Christkindlmarkt are a delight to explore. An array of handmade goods, from tasty treats to ornaments, offer a wealth of opportunity to take home a unique artisan gifts created by local craftsmen. Periodically throughout the festive season, the cathedral hosts yuletide concerts; the sound of choirs singing can be heard as their voices echo through the courtyard and the town’s narrow streets.
The UNESCO World Heritage city of Regensburg is transformed during the holiday season as its medieval streets are donned with festive cheer. Narrow passageways open to hidden courtyards with stalls laden with handcrafted wares, including dolls, pottery and silk paintings. The scent of home-baked spiced gingerbread, cinnamon and glühwein fills the air. The world-famous boys’ choir, the Regensburger Domspatzen, was formed at the city’s cathedral in 975 and travels the globe, performing to admiring audiences internationally.
Having escaped major damage during World War II, the picturesque town of Regensburg is one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities, the oldest city along the Danube and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Old Stone Bridge, constructed in the 12th century, is a masterpiece of medieval engineering with its 16 arches. St. Peter’s Cathedral is widely considered Bavaria’s best Gothic architectural work. The Old Town’s Neupfarrplatz square is a cross section of history—it was once a thriving Jewish quarter, a bustling marketplace and the site of Nazi book burnings. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.
* One shore excursion included per port; all others available at an extra charge.