Experience the Enchanting Danube River on an 8-Day Luxurious Cruise

Overview

Become inspired by the history, grand architecture, graceful music, and exquisite food and wine of Eastern and Western Europe on this river cruise.

On this vacation you'll:

  • Enjoy a panoramic coach tour of Budapest, Hungary, that reveals the city's highlights
  • Explore the architectural treasure trove of Vienna, Austria
  • Cruise the picturesque landscapes of Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Salzburg's famous garden where the Do-Re-Me scene in The Sound of Music was filmed
  • Discover the quintessentially medieval charms of Passau, Germany


We're sorry, the entry period for this year's Dream Vacation Sweepstakes has ended.


The winner will receive an all-expenses paid "Enchanting Danube" river cruise for two, including airfare, compliments of AAA Travel.

AAA Travel is the largest leisure travel agency in the U.S. When you use us to plan your vacation, you receive exclusive benefits and extras not available to everyone. With cruise and tour vacations, plus ladies-only and specialty vacations, online booking options, and maps and destinations guides, AAA Travel offers you the most comprehensive vacation planning services available.

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Vacation Details

Overview
Pay tribute to the “queen” of Europe’s great rivers, the enchanting Danube. For centuries, this exquisite waterway has cast its spell on poets, musicians, and artists of all kinds. Now it’s your turn to be inspired. Waltz your way along the Danube, sailing from one captivating city to the next while you delve into the flavors of the region with exclusive events ranging from an organic wine tasting of the Wachau Valley’s world-famous Rieslings to a saffron workshop. Let the “Enchanting Danube” carry you away on this regal journey, as centuries of intriguing history and culture unfold before your eyes.

Day 1: Budapest, Hungary
Arrive at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport, where you will be transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Budapest, Hungary
Savor the beauty of Buda and Pest, which lie on opposite sides of the Danube, with a panoramic coach tour that reveals all the highlights of this handsome city. Marvel at St. Stephen’s Basilica, the Dohány Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum, the Opera House, and the Parliament Building. In the UNESCO-designated Castle Hill district, you’ll find magnificent St. Matthias Church. Or, “Do as the Locals Do” by hopping on the metro to Lehel Market Hall, an enormous indoor food and fruit market. After enjoying a coffee break at a local coffee house and sweet shop, you’ll head to the oldest garden in Budapest, the beautiful Károlyi Garden, before ending at the National Museum. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Welcome Reception and Gala Dinner.

Day 3: Cruising the Danube River and Bratislava, Slovakia
Enjoy a day of leisure onboard your floating hotel as the ship winds its way up the river and through a series of locks. Then explore Slovakia’s capital city—a thriving commercial center with a village-like atmosphere, Bratislava presents a melting pot of cultural styles, including Gothic, baroque, and art deco—before docking in the imperial city of Vienna.

Day 4: Vienna, Austria
Vienna is an architectural treasure trove. See it all on a panoramic drive through the city before embarking on a walking tour of the magnificent Winter Palace, the winter home of Prince Eugene (who spent his summers at the Belvedere). Then, enjoy a lovely stroll back to the stunning St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Or choose to “Do as the Locals Do” on an intimate walking tour of the city’s historic center. Travel by foot and subway with the locals. Sip a coffee in a traditional café and then explore Vienna’s oldest square, Hoher Markt, with its Ankeruhr, an art nouveau clock that features a parade of 12 historical figures.

Day 5: Dürnstein, Austria, Cruising the Wachau Valley, and Melk, Austria
A host of exclusive excursions await as you dock in the tiny baroque village of Dürnstein. Take a guided tour of the village, then partake in an organic wine tasting or learn about the history of saffron in Austrian cuisine. Sail the stunning UNESCO World Heritage-designated Wachau Valley to Melk—or make the journey via bicycle on a special guided ride. Arrive in Melk and explore the town and its nine-hundred-year-old Benedictine abbey. Your guided visit to this architectural gem includes the famous library that inspired Umberto Eco’s acclaimed novel The Name of the Rose.

Day 6: Salzburg or Linz, Austria
Today’s adventure may take you to Salzburg, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its well- preserved medieval town core and musical heritage. During your guided walking tour, stroll the city’s famous shopping street, Getreidegasse (where you’ll find Mozart’s childhood home), and admire enchanting Mirabellgarten, with its neoclassical palace and large figural sculptures. You’ll likely recognize the garden from the famous “Do-Re-Mi” scene in The Sound of Music, which was filmed here in 1964. If you’ve explored Salzburg in the past, you might opt to visit nearby Linz instead. Originally a Roman settlement, Linz is now the center of a vibrant art scene—you’ll see both sides of the city today on your walking tour. Visit Linz’s extensive Old Town, with its Renaissance Laundhaus and impressive Main Square, before admiring the thoroughly modern Musiktheater, the city’s remarkable, state-of-the-art Opera house. Then, enjoy a relaxing break at a local café, pairing their wonderful Austrian coffee with the famous Linzer torte. Later, you’ll travel into the countryside to visit a local farm, where you’ll be greeted by the owners and offered a sample of the region’s specialty, a delicious hard cider called Most. The entire area is known as the Mostviertel (cider region)—pear and apple orchards fill the landscape and, naturally, these fruits feature prominently in local culinary traditions.

Day 7: Passau, Germany
Located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—Passau was a key center of European trade for centuries. The city’s baroque buildings, erected after the fire of 1662, add Italian flair to the quintessentially medieval German town center, with its little winding streets and narrow alleyways. These streets will lead you to St. Stephan’s Cathedral for an organ concert on the Continent’s largest pipe organ. Or, if you’re craving a more active adventure, join us on an exclusive bicycling tour along the banks of the Inn. The river originates in the Swiss Alps and its glacial waters are green, making it a particularly pretty tributary of the Danube. Ride through wooded hillsides and farmland to Wernstein Castle, where you’ll stop for refreshments, before crossing a bridge to the Austrian side of the river for a different view of the landscape. As you cycle back into Passau, you’ll be rewarded with the beautiful reflection of the city’s Old Town on the river’s glassy surface. In the evening, enjoy a Captain’s Farewell Reception and Gala Dinner.

Day 8: Depart Passau, Germany
Disembark the ship in Passau and transfer to Munich Airport for your flight home.