Budapest to Strasbourg
13 Days from £2,349
May 2019 - May 2019 Departures
History, tradition and culture come together on this cruise, where calls at iconic cities including Budapest, Vienna and Strasbourg, introduce you to ancient abbeys, fascinating museums and elaborate palaces.
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Your holiday at a glance
- Return flights from Stansted with Ryanair
- 12 nights all inclusive on board 4-star ship MS Victor Hugo
- 35 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches, 12 dinners featuring local specialities & all drinks (excluding Champagne and selected wines)
- Just You Tour Manager & Local Guide
- Overseas transfers & other transportation
- Captain's welcome cocktail reception
- Onboard evening entertainment
- Farewell gala dinner
- Traditional Hungarian folklore evening
- Guided tour of Budapest
- Vienna by night
- Vienna & the spectacular Schonbrunn Palace
- Guided tour of Melk Abbey
- Visit Dürnstein, with its famous castle
- Visit Passau, with its Baroque-style buildings
- Medieval Regensburg
- See the medieval heart of Nürnberg
- Explore the charming town of Rothenberg
- Wurzburg, including the Residence Palace
- Guided tour of Miltenburg with visit to the Weinhause
- Panoramic tour of bustling Frankfurt
- Explore Mainz, the birthplace of Johann Gutenberg
Today you will fly to Budapest, where you will embark your river cruiser. Once you've settled into your cabin, you are invited to a welcome drink with your travelling companions and a presentation by the ship's crew.
After dinner tonight, you have the chance to attend an optional folklore show in the city.
After breakfast on board, why not step ashore and explore Budapest, Hungary’s capital, which straddles the River Danube. Our optional tour will introduce you to both Buda and Pest, two separate cities that were physically joined when the Chain Bridge was built across the Danube in 1849. In Buda, we'll make our way to the Castle quarter to enjoy wonderful panoramic views of the city. You’ll also see the Matthias Church, the oldest in the city, which was founded in 1015 by Saint Stephen. Next, we'll head to Pest, dominated by its fine parliament building and Heroes Square.
We’ll rejoin the ship in Esztergom, where you can enjoy lunch on board before heading into the city to explore at your own pace. This evening we set sail for Vienna.
Today we arrive in Austria's elegant capital, Vienna. Why not join our optional excursion to the Hofburg Palace, the winter residency of the Hapsburgs and for many centuries the centre of the Hapsburg empire. We'll also visit the Sissi Museum in the Imperial Apartments.
Head back to the ship for dinner, after which you can choose to discover Vienna's beauty by night. This panoramic coach tour will take in highlights such as the famous Ringstrasse and the Schwarzenbergplatz, where there is a monument to Johann Strauss. We'll also take a walk around the Albertina quarter to see the Hofburg Palace, which will be beautifully illuminated.
On our optional tour of Vienna today, you have the chance to step inside the Schönbrunn Palace, an architectural masterpiece which was built in the late 17th century to rival Versailles. After returning to the ship for lunch, there's time to head back into Vienna to make your own discoveries.
Enjoy lovely views of the vine-clad slopes, churches and castles of the Wachau Valley, as we set sail for Melk. En route we'll stop at picturesque Dürnstein, where highlights include the ruins of a fortified castle said to have once been the prison of King Richard the Lionheart. This charming little town also boasts a host of well-preserved medieval and Baroque buildings.
On arrival in Melk this afternoon, you can join an optional tour of its famous abbey. The town has been a spiritual centre for more than 1,000 years since Margrave Leopold I made Melk castle his residence in the 10th century. In the 11th century, the castle was given to Benedictine monks who transformed it into the abbey you can see today.
This morning we find ourselves in the Eastern Bavarian city of Passau, where three rivers - the Danube, Inn and Ilz - meet. An optional tour takes in the Old Town, home to St Stephen's Cathedral, which houses the world's largest church organ. We'll be back on board the ship to enjoy lunch as we cruise on to Regensburg.
Regensburg is a wonderfully preserved medieval city, and we arrive here this morning. Discover its highlights, including a 12th century bridge spanning the River Danube and an historical centre boasting nearly 1,000 listed buildings, on an optional guided tour.
You'll re-join the ship in Kelheim, then sail on the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal to Hilpostein.
Today you can step ashore in Nürnberg for an optional guided tour. The city's medieval heart is located within ramparts dating from the 15th century, and it is renowned as the site of the famous war trials. Back on board, take in splendid views as you enjoy lunch and cruise to Bamberg.
Rothenburg, located on the German Romantic Road, is today's port of call. This well-preserved walled town perched high on a hill is a delight to explore, from its 15th century ramparts to its market square and Town Hall. It is also home to traditional half-timbered houses, craft stores and many museums with themes ranging from torture, in the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum, to dolls and toys, which you will visit on todays optional excursion.
Enjoy an optional tour of Wurzburg today. Situated on the right bank of the Main, the town boasts some of the grandest architecture in Germany and is surrounded by the acclaimed vineyards of the Franconia region. It's also home to the breathtaking Wurzburg Residence – perhaps Europe's finest Baroque palace. Spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the ship's facilities as we cruise to Miltenburg.
Miltenberg is an ancient walled town nestled on a slope beneath a fine castle. Step ashore to enjoy a optional guided tour to see delightful half-timbered houses. Other highlights include the Old Market Place, home to an ornate Renaissance fountain, and the twin towers of St Jakobus Church. Afterwards, why not step inside the Weinhause, a 500-year-old inn, to sample a local beer or glass of wine.
Today we'll arrive in Frankfurt, where an optional tour will reveal a dynamic city boasting Germany's most imposing skyline. As well as modern skyscrapers, in the heart of the city you'll find cosy pubs and many museums featuring works which span nine centuries of European art. As you stroll, you'll see the cathedral and the Römerberg, the seat of the city's government since the 15th century.
This afternoon we'll cruise to the historic university town of Mainz, the birthplace of Johann Gutenberg, who invented the printing press. You can choose to explore with an expert Local Guide before returning to the ship. If you want to get dressed up, tonight's farewell gala dinner gives you the perfect opportunity.
Spend a relaxing morning on board the ship as we sail to Strasbourg, passing through two of the Rhine's biggest locks, the Iffezheim and Gambsheim, en route. We'll disembark after lunch, when we'll transfer to Basel airport for our flight back to the UK.
Experience even more of your destination by adding one or more optional excursions to your holiday before you set off. Right now is the perfect opportunity to do that – with everything booked and paid for you’ll have even more to get excited about and all you’ll need to think about while you’re away is having a great time.
By the way - look out for ‘Optional Excursion Packages’. For some holidays we’ve grouped a selection of excursions into a package which means you can make a saving when you book in advance.
Prices shown may vary according to departure date and are subject to change. The full range of excursions will be detailed in your holiday information pack, sent approximately 15 weeks prior to departure.
Explorer Package – Budapest to Strasbourg
Budapest (Traditional Evening)
We’ll set out by coach with our guides to a downtown theatre for a traditional Hungarian show. For an hour and a half, we’ll travel the length and breadth of Hungary through its folklore and Gypsy music, an unforgettable experience! We’ll return on board after the show.
We’ll leave for a guided panoramic tour of Budapest, known as the Pearl of the Danube. First, we’ll cross the famous Chain Bridge heading for the Buda Hills. We’ll go up to the Castle quarter followed by the Fisherman’s Bastion, built in neo-Roman style in 1902, from where we’ll enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the city and the Danube. Behind the Bastion, we’ll find Matthias Church, the oldest church in the city, founded in 1015 by Saint Stephen, King of Hungary. The church was the scene of several coronations, including the one of Emperor Franz Joseph and his wife “Sisi”. We’ll then cross the plains of Pest and drive past Heroes’ Square whose central monument, depicting Prince Arpad and the chieftains of seven Magyar tribes, was built for the millennium of Hungary. We’ll continue past the famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths, the Zoo and Botanical Garden - a true wonder of architecture - Vajdahunyad Castle and more. We’ll then drive up the renowned Andrassy Avenue and past St. Stephen’s Basilica whose construction began in 1851 and was only completed in 1905. We’ll follow the river all the way to the famous Hungarian Parliament Building overlooking the Danube with its white silhouette in Byzantine and Neo-Gothic styles.
Half day – Moderate walking with panoramic coach tour with stops to take pictures.
Departure by coach with your local guide. You will discover the Hofburg, which is also known for having been during 600 years the "Winter Residence" of the Habsburgs. Over the course of their reign, they turned this small 13th century fortress into a colossal and beautiful palace. The different buildings today mostly house museums and the gardens, dotted with monuments, have become the Volksgarten and the Burggarten.
We will climb up the Emperor’s Staircase to reach the Sisi Museum which extends over six rooms that have been equipped to solely center on Elisabeth’s private life. Here numerous personal items that once belonged to Elisabeth are used to help illustrate the true personality of the frequently misunderstood Empress. The sensitively designed exhibits are inspired by the monarch's poetry and illustrate how the once light-hearted young girl, Sisi, became a restless, unapproachable and melancholic woman. The more than 300 items on display in the museum include parasols, boxes and gloves which once belonged to Elisabeth, along with a reconstruction of the evening dress worn by 16 year old Sisi in 1854 before she left her home in Munich, and a replica of a section of her imperial railway carriage.
We’ll then move on to Imperial Apartments and access the 19 official and private rooms that once belonged to Franz Joseph and Elisabeth. The Imperial Apartments are a reflection of the monarchic splendor. You will get to see the Emperor’s Audience Chamber, his Conference Room, and his bedroom before peering through Elizabeth’s apartments with her salons, lavatory and bathroom and her dressing and exercise room where Elizabeth spent most of her time.
Half day – Moderate walking (comfortable walking shoes are recommended)
Vienna by night
Discover Vienna by night with a panoramic coach tour. This two-thousand-year-old city is a true open-air museum. Vienna embodies Romanticism through its powerful architecture and numerous monuments. We’ll take the famous Ring Road which encircles historic Vienna, on the right bank of the Danube. Our coach will go past a multitude of buildings that were erected under the old Austro-Hungarian monarchy: the Opera, the City Hall, the Hofburg and many official buildings. We will stop off at Schwarzenbergplatz where you’ll see a monument in honor of Johann Strauss. Then, a walk around Albertina quarter will allow us to admire the Hofburg Palace, the winter residence of the Habsburgs which today houses the Sisi Museum, as well as the Augustinian Church where Franz Joseph and Sisi’s wedding was conducted. Return to the boat by coach.
2 hours – Moderate walking (comfortable walking shoes are recommended)
Vienna & Schönbrunn Palace
You will begin the tour by taking the famous Ring Road to reach Schönbrunn Palace. The "Ring" was one of the personal projects of Emperor Franz Joseph. In 1857, he decided to take down the ramparts that enclosed the city center and had this boulevard lined with fine buildings. Along the Ring you will admire an architectural showcase of the old Austro-Hungarian monarchy, including the State Opera, the Hofburg Palace, the Natural History Museum, the City Hall, the Burgtheater and more.
When you arrive at Schoenbrunn Palace, you will be guided through the numerous rooms of the Habsburgs' summer residence which bear witness to the splendor of the Court at the time of Maria Theresa. You will also have some time to wander through the Palace gardens.
You will then return to the coach which will take you downtown for some free time in the surroundings of St Stephen's Cathedral. You will then return to the coach which will take you back to the boat via the Ring.
Half day - Moderate walking (comfortable walking shoes are recommended)
Departure by coach in the company of your hostess for the village of Dürnstein. You will drive through the Austrian Wachau dotted with charming villages and ruins of medieval castles all the way to Dürnstein. This town is well-known for its castle where legend has it that Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner by Duke Leopold IV after their falling out during the third crusade and later rescued by his faithful confident, Blondel de Nesle.
You will have some free time in the village to taste the Austrian wine or the local specialty, apricot liqueur. You will be able to stroll through the streets of this medieval town and visit the Baroque abbey.
Half day - Good walking shoes are recommended (streets are cobbled and steep)
Departure by coach in company of your host/hostess towards Melk Abbey. We will meet up with our guides in the inner courtyard to start our visit. The Abbey overlooking the Danube was first built as the Babenberg’s fortified castle. It was founded in the 11th century and the current buildings of the Benedictine abbey date from the Baroque era and were designed by architect Jakob Prandtauer.
Melk Abbey now houses a museum in which you’ll discover several rooms that have been enhanced thanks to architecture, sound and light as well as the use of various types of media. Computer animations will tell you a story about the construction of the edifices. You will also visit the marble hall, the world famous library and the bedchambers where a number of illustrious visitors have slept. We’ll have the opportunity to see the gold and jewel encrusted cross, donated by Rudolph IV. Return on board by coach.
1 ¾ hours - Good walking shoes are recommended: (from the coach parking to the entrance of the Abbey there are stairs and cobblestone paths)
Regensburg saw its political and economic heyday in the 12th and 13th centuries when it was located at a crossroads between major trade routes and became a Free Imperial City in 1245 until other great Bavarian cities were preferred. This poorly industrialized city wasn’t heavily targeted by allied bombings and has thus kept an almost intact medieval center.
Before our visit to Regensburg, our coach will take us to Walhalla, a huge Greek style marble temple overhanging the Danube. Ludwig I of Bavaria mandated the construction of this temple between 1830 and 1842 as a memorial dedicated to Germany’s most influential worthies. Inside, we’ll take a look at some 129 busts depicting German characters such as artists, military leaders and more.
In the company of our guide, we’ll set off on a visit of Regensburg on foot. We’ll discover the imposing stone-built "Porta Praetoria" - the northern gate to the Roman fortress - the Old Town Hall containing the rooms occupied by the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg from 1663 to 1806, the Gothic Cathedral and the Italian influenced homes of wealthy merchants from the Middle-Ages. Return on board.
Half day – Moderate walking (Good walking shoes are recommended as the streets in the old town are cobbled and it is necessary to walk on a mountain track to go to the Walhalla temple)
We’ll set out by coach to Nuremberg where we’ll enjoy a panoramic visit of the monuments found outside of the city’s medieval walls, including the Nuremberg Palace of Justice, the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds, the castle area and more. We’ll discover the charming side streets and beautiful half-timbered houses before arriving at Nuremberg’s main market. On foot, we’ll see the gorgeous Schöner Brunnen (beautiful fountain) and the Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady). During our tour, we’ll make a stop and taste one of the local specialities, Lebkuchen, the city’s famous gingerbread
Half day – Moderate walking (Good walking shoes are recommended)
Departure by coach in the company of your hostess for the charming town of Rothenburg. Located on the "Romantic Road", this town has kept its Renaissance layout virtually intact as it has not undergone any changes since the Thirty Years' War, making it one of the most authentic towns in Germany. A local guide will lead you to the 15th-century town wall, the Spital Bastion, the Market Square and Town Hall as well as the renowned St James's church (exteriors only) which contains three altars sculpted by the famous Tilman Riemenschneider. After your guided walking tour, you will have some free time to stroll through the romantic streets, visit some of the museums such as the Criminal Museum exhibiting instruments of torture, the German Christmas Museum or the Doll and Toy Museum – entrance fees to be paid on location – or have a taste of some of the local specialties. Return on board by coach.
Half day – Moderate walking (Good walking shoes are recommended: the streets are cobbled)
Departure by coach in the company of your hostess to the centre of Würzburg.
Our tour will start with a visit to the Würzburg Residence (or Residenz), former palace of the Prince-Bishops of Würzburg. Construction was commissioned by Prince-Bishop Friedrich Carl von Schönborn as a replacement for the old Marienberg Fortress and lasted between 1720 and 1780. You’ll discover 40 rooms richly decorated with furniture, paintings and tapestries by 18th century master artists and climb up the monumental Main Staircase designed by Balthasar Neumann. Among others, you will visit the Baroque Imperial Hall whose frescoes were the works of Italian painter Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, and the Imperial Apartments richly decorated in Rococo style.
Our tour will continue downtown where you will have some free time before returning on board by coach.
Half day – Moderate walking (Good walking shoes are recommended: the streets are cobbled)
Frankfurt is the largest financial centre in continental Europe, earning it the nickname "Mainhattan." During a panoramic tour of the city, you’ll be able to admire the huge skyscrapers housing the headquarters of many international banks which create the city's famous skyline. We’ll ascend the Main Tower, the most well-known skyscraper in the city, built entirely with a blue glass exterior. From over 656 feet up, you’ll be able to take in the glorious views of the city spread out below.
3 hours – Moderate walking (wear comfortable, sturdy walking shoes)
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