Danube Christmas Delights
November 29 - December 20, 2022 Departures
Budapest to Passau OR reverse
From $2,499* | 8 Days | 4 Countries | State-of-the-Art Viking Longships
Pass through Europe’s most enchanting countries, stopping to explore cultural capitals and fairy-tale villages. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine, admire the Wachau Valley’s beauty and explore Central European cities. Take part in European holiday traditions and experience the region’s renowned Christmas markets. Breathe in the scents of traditional fare and admire the handiwork of local artisans—perfect for bringing home to your family and friends.
Day 1: Budapest, Hungary
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.
Day 2: Budapest, Hungary
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.
Day 3: Bratislava, Slovakia
The aroma of mulled wine and Slovakian delicacies mixes with the sound of Christmas carols to turn Bratislava’s historic Old Town into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. The medieval Bratislava Castle overlooks light-festooned streets that give the city a fairytale glow. Vendors in Hlavné Námestíe Square display authentic artisanal handicrafts, and a specially decorated Christmas tram adds to the holiday atmosphere as it transports visitors to the different fairs spread out around the city.
Day 4: Vienna, Austria
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.
Day 5: Krems, Austria & Scenic Sailing: Wachau Valley
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.
Day 6: Linz, Austria
Linz is today’s provincial capital of Upper Austria. The city’s famous Linzer Torte, the jam-filled cake topped with almonds, hails from here and can be found in any number of cafés and the stalls of the city’s Christmas markets. In the Old Town, the baroque architecture of the main square provides a stunning backdrop for its Christmas market as the scent of gingerbread fills the air. At the Volksgarten, a nativity scene provides an atmospheric feature with the sounds of classical music and moving figurines that tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Day 7: Passau, Germany
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.
Day 8: Passau, Germany
Founded by the Celts, Passau is one of Bavaria’s oldest cities. Known as the “City of Three Rivers,” it rests at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. The city has long enjoyed its strategic position and grew to great economic and political power because of it. The legacy of its past prosperity lives on in graceful arcades, colorful houses with rococo facades and the glorious baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home to one of Europe’s largest pipe organs. Passau is also where two nations meet; it is here that the German-Austrian border begins. After breakfast, disembark your ship and journey home.