Start your vacation in Bavaria’s capital, Munich, and visit the charming town of Oberammergau and the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein. Board your river cruise vessel in Passau and sail down the Danube, stopping to visit magnificent Melk Abbey, and the small town of Dürnstein in the Wachau Valley. End your cruise in Austria’s capital Vienna, with guided sightseeing and plenty of time to explore this “City of Music” on your own.
Welcome to Munich! The rest of the day is free to start exploring.
Munich, capital of Bavaria, offers a small-town feel with its pedestrian- and bike-friendly atmosphere. With its historical museums, splendid English Garden, traditional cafés, and delightful shops, Munich has plenty to see and do. A LOCAL GUIDE will show you the highlights of this fascinating city, including Nymphenburg Palace, summer residence of the Bavarian monarchs; MARIENPLATZ with its Old and New Town Halls; and the gothic Frauenkirche, a prominent landmark for Munich. Then, enjoy time on your own in this vibrant city. Watch the famous Glockenspiel, recreating a royal wedding from the 16th century; enjoy the pedestrian zone; linger at an outdoor café; or visit St. Peter’s, the oldest church in town. Why not visit the Viktualienmarkt with its Maypole that carries figurines featuring the arts and crafts of this region? This large market is popular for fresh produce, meats, cheeses, spices, baked goods, flowers, and more. Or, maybe relax alongside the locals at one of the Biergarten or breweries to sample Bavarian beer specialties. (Breakfast)
This morning, a full-day outing takes you into the garden-like landscapes of the Bavarian Alps and for a visit to King Ludwig’s fairytale NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE, situated high above the village of Hohenschwangau. Continue to Oberammergau, famous for its once-a-decade production of the Passion Play. Enjoy free time in this small town to stroll along the streets and admire the typical Bavarian houses, many beautifully painted with scenes from fairytales. (Breakfast)
Enjoy a free morning in Munich, then, in the afternoon, drive to Passau, ideally located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg, which will end in Passau with embarkation on your ship. Meet your crew at a welcome reception this evening. (Breakfast, Dinner)
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. Join your Local Guide for a WALKING TOUR through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.” (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Linz is Austria’s third-largest city and an important river port where culture plays a significant role in everyday life. A guided tour of the city shows you the 13th-century Hauptplatz, Austria’s largest medieval square, and the Trinity Column, built in 1723 as thanks for the city escaping the ravages of the plague, war, and fire. Perhaps wander around the old castle grounds and take in the beautiful views of the river, or visit the neo-gothic New Cathedral, Austria’s largest church, with capacity for 20,000 visitors. This afternoon relax on board enjoying the views of the peaceful riverscapes from the comfort of the Sky Deck or join an optional excursion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
A day of charming towns and magical scenery awaits you today! Join a GUIDED VISIT of the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY of Melk, one of Europe’s largest monasteries. Melk’s abbey towers over the town and its church houses stunning frescoed ceilings and an ornate library with a large collection of medieval manuscripts. Next, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Dürnstein known for its magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue façade, - and join a Certified Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Wake up this morning in Vienna, known as the “City of Music” and the place that inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the center 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 Boy’s Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through the pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in a neighborhood café. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)