Authentic Danube & Prague

NEW FOR 2019! Go off the beaten path from Prague to Nuremberg to Vienna and uncover the scenic wonders that rest along the Danube.

Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Prague (Arrive)

Arrive at Václav Havel Airport Prague. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the hotel.

Day 2: Prague

Prague has been a magnet for artists, writers, scientists and composers for centuries. It also boasts great beer, a lively art scene, stunning castles and up-and-coming fashion designers, making it a fun as well as a beautiful place to visit.

Prague Old Town and Charles Bridge walking tour

Get an overview of the city with a panoramic tour that carries you past such sights as the State Opera House, the National Museum and Wenceslas Square on your way to massive Prague Castle. Step inside the castle's protective walls and enter a self-contained city, with courtyards, palaces, towers, churches and gardens designed for kings and emperors, along with housing and workplaces for all those who tended the rulers. Among the highlights are the lofty St. Vitus Cathedral, which took 600 years to finish, and Vladislav Hall, whose complex stone-vaulting system was one of the most advanced engineering feats of the late Middle Ages. After strolling through Golden Lane, a street of quaint cottages where Prague's 17th-century goldsmiths lived (alas, there's no truth to the legend that it was named for the royal alchemists), you may reboard the motorcoach for a ride back to the hotel or continue our guided walk through the picturesque Lesser Quarter, the district around the castle, to Charles Bridge. Cross the landmark bridge named for Charles IV, who ordered its construction in 1357; it's strictly for pedestrians now, so you can pause and look down at the Vltava below you and examine some of the statues that line the bridge, before you head to Old Town Square. This was the original market square; the buildings that surround it form a case study in Prague's architectural history. You'll find Prague's most famous Gothic church, Our Lady Before Týn, there, along with the 14th-century Old Town Hall (which boasts a famous medieval astronomical clock), the beautiful baroque St. Nicholas, the rococo Kinsky Palace and a group of Renaissance houses. 

Hradčany Castle visit

Prague’s Old Jewish Quarter

The heart of Old Town Prague boasts the city’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov), which reflects centuries of Jewish influence in Prague. Explore Prague through the eyes of Jewish author, Franz Kafka, and visit places that bear his footprint. You’ll get to see his favorite café, the house where he was born, his final resting place and other significant landmarks —all while getting into the mindset of one of the 20th-century’s most fascinating and enigmatic writers. 

Day 3: Prague to Nuremberg (Embark)

Transfer from your hotel in Prague to your ship in Nuremberg.

Day 4: Nuremberg

Upon your arrival in Nuremberg, you’ll delve straight into the city’s highlights with a visit to Nuremberg Castle, an impressive medieval complex in the heart of the historical center. After, you’ll venture to the Documentation Center and Nazi Party Rally Grounds. This museum provides travelers the unique opportunity to explore exhibits dedicated to unraveling and understanding Nazi Germany. You’ll also be able to learn the intriguing history of the Jewish people in Nuremberg during World War II.

Nuremberg panoramic city tour with WWII Rally Grounds

Hitler considered Nuremberg the perfect expression of German culture (partly because of its significance in the Holy Roman Empire, which he called the First Reich), and so beginning in 1927, he chose to hold his massive rallies in the city. By 1933, his favorite architect, Albert Speer, had designed the vast Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where thousands upon thousands of Nazi troops saluted Hitler. (Leni Riefenstahl captured these events in her famous propaganda film Triumph of the Will.) Not all of Speer’s plans were executed, and some of his grandiose structures were bombed out of existence, but the remainder stand as vivid testimony to Hitler’s megalomania. A four-square-mile (10-square-kilometer) complex known as Zeppelin Fields contains parade grounds and a huge grandstand, the excavation site where a stadium for 400,000 people was begun—the hole is now filled with water—and the half-finished Congress Hall.

"Do as the Locals Do" Nuremberg walking tour

It was never officially the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, but German rulers made Nuremberg their base for 500 years. They surrounded the medieval city with stout walls and built a great castle on a hilltop, which they expanded again and again over the centuries. Prosperous, secure and vibrant, Nuremberg lured artists and thinkers, merchants and scientists, for centuries. This is the archetypal medieval German city that you’ll discover today as you trace the great ramparts and gate towers around the Old Town. Stroll through the castle gardens and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, then walk through a maze of cobblestone lanes down to the central Market Square, gathering around the well-named Beautiful Fountain, first erected in 1396. The red sandstone Church of Our Lady stands on the east side of the square—the 14th-century façade survived WWII bombing and, like much of Old Town, was meticulously reconstructed after the war, with the original stones plucked from the rubble.

Browse on your own following your tour; there is much to see and enjoy. The National Germanic Museum is one of the largest museums in the world; in it you’ll find the first pocket watch ever made (by a local craftsman), the first globe produced in Europe, a thousand period musical instruments, and innumerable paintings and drawings by German artists. The half-timbered shops in Crafts Court, next to the King’s Gate in the old wall, give you a sense of what it was like to buy goods in Renaissance Nuremberg— wooden toys, pewter cups and leather goods are for sale here, and so are commemorative coins hand-stamped on a 15th-century press. Visit Dürer House, where Nuremberg’s most famous native son, Albrecht Dürer, lived, or simply relax in a beer garden and enjoy the city’s specialty sausages and dark beer.

Jewish Nuremberg and WWII

Dive into the history and significance of Nuremberg’s role in Jewish culture and World War II on this captivating excursion. To this day, in Nuremberg’s southern district sit the remains of the buildings on the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where the party hosted their exorbitant rallies to demonstrate their power. Embark on a panoramic drive to these very spots followed by a guided tour through the permanent exhibition, “Fascination and Terror,” inside the Documentation Center. Visit Courtroom 600, the location of the Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Trials, where judges from Allied powers presided over the hearings of prominent Nazi criminals, greatly impacted international law as a whole. After your visit here, you’ll take a quick drive to Nuremberg’s market square and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the historic central square, past the ornate Beautiful Fountain and the impressive Church of Our Lady. 

Note: Courtroom 600 is an active court. Visitors will only be permitted to see the courtroom during trial breaks.

Day 5: Regensburg

Spend the morning discovering Regensburg’s long line of dukes, kings and bishops that called the former Bavarian capital and Free Imperial City home. Regensburg boasts the largest medieval old town north of the Alps (over 1,500 listed buildings), a prominent skyline, and a large collection of museums, exhibits and theaters. Find your need for speed with a tour of the state-of-the-art BMW factory. Tour the carmaker’s futuristic plant and learn how it’s cranked out millions of automobiles. Futuristic and antiquated, it’s the best of both worlds in Regensburg.

"2,000 Years in One Hour" Regensburg walking tour

People have been describing Regensburg as “old and new” for a thousand years. A single structure perfectly illustrates this: Porta Praetoria, the gate built by the Romans during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. The gate and adjacent watchtower have been incorporated into a much newer building, but the plaster has been removed to reveal the ancient stones laid so long ago. As you walk through the cobbled lanes of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, the city’s 2,000-year history is similarly revealed: the Stone Bridge that made Regensburg a 12th-century trading powerhouse, the Gothic town hall where the Imperial Diet met for three centuries, the 13th-century fortified patrician houses, and the spectacular Cathedral of St. Peter, whose magnificent 14th-century stained-glass windows alone are worth your walk. You’ll have free time to explore on your own; it’s very hard to get lost in Regensburg because the spires of the cathedral are visible all over town, so don’t hesitate to roam. The historic quarter not only boasts almost a thousand beautiful old buildings but also many cozy pubs and some great shopping—and the ship is docked conveniently close, so it’s easy to drop your treasures off and go back for more. 

BMW factory visit

Here is your opportunity to see German engineering, famous the world over, in operation as you tour the state-of-the-art BMW factory on the outskirts of Regensburg. About a thousand cars a day roll off the assembly line here, many of them in the BMW 3 series. You’ll see the fascinating production process from beginning to end, starting with rolls of sheet metal that are stamped out into body parts and continuing as the body is built and the various other elements are robotically assembled. You’ll follow a car into the finishing department to see it painted, polished and have the final touch applied—the BMW roundel.

NOTE: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead.

Jewish Regensburg

Join your local guide for a walking tour through the delightfully medieval town of Regensburg. Pass by the magnificent stone bridge, the UNESCO-designated Wurstküche sausage kitchen and the architectural Gothic masterpiece of St. Peter’s Cathedral. Regensburg is the oldest documented settlement of Jewish people in Germany and your walk through the former Jewish Quarter (Neupfarrplatz) will introduce you to their enduring legacy here. See the Dani Karavan Monument and visit the Document Neupfarrplatz. In 1995, the city dug up portions of the Neupfarrplatz to install electrical outlets and discovered the well-preserved ruins of Castra Regina, a Roman military camp, and Regensburg’s medieval Jewish Quarter.

Bavarian sausage-making workshop

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Intermediate:
  • Transportation:
  • Price: $72

Germany’s oldest restaurant, Alte Wurstkuche, has been serving sausages to Regensburg’s residents for almost 900 years—which tells you just how much Regensburg loves sausages. Delve into the craft and art of this delicious regional specialty after a tour of the town’s medieval core (presided over by the splendid cathedral) that ends at the Regensburg Ratskeller. It’s housed in part of the Old Town Hall, so it’s a historic site in its own right, but it’s also home to a family-owned shop where Bavaria’s beloved Weisswürste are made—weiss, meaning white (for veal), and würst, meaning sausage. Roll up your sleeves and help create some white sausage under the supervision of the shop’s master butcher, who shares the traditional recipe with you. Once you’ve weighed and mixed the ingredients and stuffed the casings, you’ll watch them cook to delicious perfection. Then comes the best part: eating your own hand-made sausages with local Händlmaier mustard and a fresh pretzel—and, if you want a truly traditional Regensburg experience in the heart of Old Town, you’ll sip a local beer with it.

Day 6: Straubing, Deggendorf, Vilshofen

Nestled between Regensburg and Passau sits a town surrounded by the foothills of the Bavarian Forest, Deggendorf. Journey deep into the alluring Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany’s first national park, and discover outdoor leisure at its best. When you’re not gaping at its remarkable rolling hills, low-lying mountains and towering trees, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a Theresienthal crystal glass factory, complete with a horse-drawn carriage ride, fresh-baked bread and schnapps. In Straubing, uncover the Bavarian town’s deep-rooted love for all things food and drink. Amidst its bustling town center lined with shops, offices, pedestrian areas and restaurants serving up traditional German food and beer, Straubing is a city with a fascinating story and its fair share of Gothic-style buildings and cathedrals.

Bavarian forest village and Theresienthal glass factory visit

Straubing village stroll

“Let’s Go” bike the Danube trail

Day 7: Vilshofen, Passau, Engelhartszell

A new day brings new experiences in the “City of Three Rivers,” Passau, where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers join together. Take to the city by foot and explore its splendid mix of old and new. Medieval lanes, tunnels, cathedrals and archways fuse with modern shopping malls and buildings. Marvel at the Italian Baroque-style St. Stephen’s Church, which holds the second largest church pipe organ in the world.

Passau walking tour

The skyline of Passau is dominated by two buildings that owe their existence to the prince-bishops who ruled the city until 1803: the great fortress looming on a hill above the three rivers, home to the bishops until the 17th century, and the green onion domes of St. Stephan’s Cathedral. As you walk through the cobblestone streets toward those green onion domes, you’ll realize that Passau retains the layout of the medieval town. However, many of the wooden medieval buildings burned to the ground in the 17th century, and the prince-bishops imported Italian artists to build a new cathedral and a grand new residence for the bishops themselves. As a result, these splendid structures aunt Italian baroque and rococo style and ornamentation, complete with opulent gilding and wonderful frescoes. Your guide will introduce you to some of the architectural highlights—the rococo stairways of the New Residence; the cathedral; and the Town Hall, which boasts a magnificent atrium adorned by large paintings by Ferdinand Wagner—and make sure you get a close-up view of the point where the three rivers meet: The waters of each one are a different color. Because it’s built on a peninsula between the Danube and the Inn, the city has flooded often over the centuries; you can see high-water marks on many buildings (2013 saw the worst flooding in 500 years). 

Passau geocaching scavenger hunt

Discover Passau in the most unique of ways, with a geocaching tour, enabling you to discover hidden gems and notable spots on your own and in a particularly exciting way. Your geocaching guide will be with you along the way, offering only little hints to help you find your way from one station to the next. Uncover lesser-known facts about Passau, and delight in special activities at each station.

“Let’s Go” scenic Bavarian river biking

Bavarian Country Cooking Class

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Intermediate:
  • Transportation:
  • Price: $235

Discover the true meaning of farm-to-table! Roll through the lush hills of lower Bavaria--with a stop to at a farm store to pick up cooking supplies--to serene and bountiful Hofgut Hafnerleiten. This rural haven, a compound of guest houses, gardens, orchards and a state-of-the-art kitchen, is a dream come true for your hosts today, Erwin and Anja Rückerl. “Hofgut” means big farm, and this big farm began as a rural cooking school 15 years ago. Erwin Rückerl is an award-winning chef who abandoned a successful restaurant career in Munich to live in harmony with nature, growing the food he cooks. Don an apron and help him prepare a delectable three-course meal of Bavarian specialties; naturally, the menu varies with the season and the fruits of the farm--you might make dumplings or schnitzel or apple strudel--and then dine on the patio with a glorious view of the countryside or inside in the cozy dining room. One thing is always true though: good food, good wine and beer (or a yummy farm-made non-alcoholic beverage), and good company make for the most memorable meals.

Day 8: Weissenkirchen

Start your day in the heart of the Danube Valley, strolling through Weissenkirchen’s idyllic wine village while sampling mouthwatering Austrian pastries. If you’ve had one too many pastries, you’ll enjoy a hike through one of the area’s most picturesque vineyards. Named for its white church that dominates the landscape, the city is flanked by vineyard-lined hills, historic houses and beautiful courtyards. Melk Abbey is a Baroque monastery and sits atop a rocky formation overlooking the Danube. Aside from its stunning architecture and panoramic views of Wachau Valley below, its interior boasts pure opulence in every room. There’s nothing like it.

“Let’s Go” vineyard hike

Weissenkirchen “Village Day” with wine tasting

You’ve seen the apricot orchards along the river banks; now taste the fruit. Begin with an easy walk to Weissenkirchen, which may be the prettiest village in the Wachau—and that’s saying quite a bit. Named for its famous white church, Weissenkirchen is simply picture perfect. Its centuries-old wine estates, houses with colorful flower boxes, lovely gardens and apricot orchards make for a wonderfully idyllic setting between the river and the mountains. Stroll through the town with your guide, stopping at a farm store where local growers display their products, such as wild boar salami, cheeses, jams and traditional poppy-seed sweets. Apricots contribute their essence to many products: jams and brandy, of course, but also chocolates, honey, mustard and chutney, so your stop should be full of fun flavors. Stay in the village and explore a bit on your own or, if you’re up for a hike, join a group on a hike up through the vineyards. A stairway at the church will take you past the ancient cemetery and up to the hiking trail that leads through vineyards planted with Riesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes. You’ll enjoy expansive views over the river valley as you approach your resting point, where you can sample some Wachau wines as your guide explains the qualities that make these vintages unique. Your next treat is an easy walk back to the ship; instead of a reverse hike, you can comfortably stroll back into the village via a different route, passing many small vintners along the way.

Melk Abbey with library visit

The Babenbergs, a great medieval ducal family that controlled a wide swath of Austria before yielding to the Habsburgs, were the first to erect a castle on the hill above Melk, which they subsequently gave to Benedictine monks. These monks, some 900 years ago, turned it into a fortified abbey—and the greatest center of learning in Central Europe. Their library was celebrated far and wide (and still is; Umberto Eco paid tribute to it in his best-selling novel The Name of the Rose). Medieval monks there created more than 1,200 manuscripts, sometimes spending an entire lifetime hand-lettering a single volume. Today the library contains some 100,000 volumes, among them more than 80,000 works printed before 1800. This beautiful complex, completely redone in the early 18th century, is a wonderful example of baroque art and architecture, and the views from its terrace are spectacular. As you walk through the abbey’s Marble Hall with your guide, look up at the ceiling fresco painted by Paul Troger: Those classical gods and goddesses represent Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, allegorically bringing his people from dark to light and demonstrating the link he claimed to the original Roman Empire.

After your tour of the abbey, you’ll have time to explore Melk on your own, or you can take the motorcoach back to the ship.

Day 9: Vienna

On this day, explore the “City of Waltzes” and dive into its vast artistic and musical legacy with your choice of tours. The city is known for its Imperial palaces, famous residents and expansive art collections. See the highlights as you take in Old Town’s art and food, including scrumptious pastries, or discover Viennese history at the World Museum Vienna, renowned for its collection of Habsburg family treasures.

Vienna panoramic highlights and World Museum Vienna

Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions, stunning modern architecture and a treasure trove of historic artifacts housed in one of Europe’s most famous museums. See these sights, like the historic Giant Ferris Wheel, on a gorgeous panoramic drive through the city, before stopping in at the world-renowned Weltmuseum Wien, which hosts Austria’s largest collection of anthropological and archeological objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Tour the ancient relics and other items such as the feathered headdress of Aztec emperor Moctezuma. If time allows, take a stroll through the nearby park to take in the local color.

Vienna Mystery Tour

See Vienna’s spooky side on a particularly mysterious tour of the city. Stroll to Heroes’ Square and solve the riddle of equestrian statues, but not before stopping in at a local café to indulge in a Bellini cocktail. Head to the Imperial Palace to learn about the straying ghosts and hauntings of this famous landmark. See the Roman excavations and structural remains of a former red-light district. Then, make your way to Graben Square and marvel at its Trinity Column, the most symbolic monument in Vienna. Head to St. Stephen’s Cathedral to decipher an encoded inscription and hear about its “magical musical structure.” Pass by the Griechenbeisl, one of the oldest Viennese inns, famous for Augustin–a regular guest and medical miracle during the black plague.

Jewish Vienna

Explore the “City of Waltzes” from a Jewish heritage perspective on today’s outing. Vienna’s Jewish community was one of the largest and most important ones in Europe, and its influence is reflected in much of Vienna’s culture today. Marvel at the Stadttempel, Vienna’s main temple and the only synagogue to have survived the “Night of Broken Glass”—a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany, Austria and other areas in the region. Originally constructed in 1826, it’s the only temple in Vienna to have been built in the unique “Biedermeier Style.” After, make your way to the Judenplatz, a former Jewish settlement dating back to the Middle Ages. Next, you'll visit the Shoah Monument, a Holocaust memorial designed by Rachel Whiteread. Adjacent to the memorial is the Jewish Museum Vienna, built over the walls of the Old Synagogue. Here, your guide will provide you with some insight into life from the 12th century to 1421 in this once-thriving Jewish community.

Schönbrunn Palace after-hours tour

  • Duration: 3.75 hours
  • Intermediate:
  • Transportation:
  • Price: $99

Imagine strolling through the royal chambers and gardens of Schönbrunn Palace without the crowds. That’s the agenda this evening, as you visit this baroque masterwork after the doors close to the public. Schönbrunn was Empress Maria Theresa’s favorite palace, so the state rooms reflect the luxury and splendor of the baroque and Rococo eras, but you’ll also see the suites occupied by the last significant Habsburg emperor, Franz Joseph, and his empress, Elisabeth (known as Sissi, she was enormously popular in her day). Franz Joseph’s private rooms reflect his rather severe nature, making for an illuminating contrast with the opulent public rooms. Follow your tour of the palace with a tranquil stroll through the famous baroque gardens, with their parterres, gloriettes and fountains, before driving past the beautifully illuminated monuments of Vienna on your way to the ship.

Day 10: Vienna (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Vienna International Airport for your flight home.
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Vienna (Embark)

Transfer from Vienna International Airport to your ship. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Vienna

On this day, explore the “City of Waltzes” and dive into its vast artistic and musical legacy with your choice of tours. The city is known for its Imperial palaces, famous residents and expansive art collections. See the highlights as you take in Old Town’s art and food, including scrumptious pastries, or discover Viennese history at the World Museum Vienna, renowned for its collection of Habsburg family treasures.

Vienna panoramic highlights and World Museum Vienna

Austria’s capital offers a unique blend of imperial traditions, stunning modern architecture and a treasure trove of historic artifacts housed in one of Europe’s most famous museums. See these sights, like the historic Giant Ferris Wheel, on a gorgeous panoramic drive through the city, before stopping in at the world-renowned Weltmuseum Wien, which hosts Austria’s largest collection of anthropological and archeological objects from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Tour the ancient relics and other items such as the feathered headdress of Aztec emperor Moctezuma. If time allows, take a stroll through the nearby park to take in the local color.

Vienna Mystery Tour

See Vienna’s spooky side on a particularly mysterious tour of the city. Stroll to Heroes’ Square and solve the riddle of equestrian statues, but not before stopping in at a local café to indulge in a Bellini cocktail. Head to the Imperial Palace to learn about the straying ghosts and hauntings of this famous landmark. See the Roman excavations and structural remains of a former red-light district. Then, make your way to Graben Square and marvel at its Trinity Column, the most symbolic monument in Vienna. Head to St. Stephen’s Cathedral to decipher an encoded inscription and hear about its “magical musical structure.” Pass by the Griechenbeisl, one of the oldest Viennese inns, famous for Augustin–a regular guest and medical miracle during the black plague.

Jewish Vienna

Explore the “City of Waltzes” from a Jewish heritage perspective on today’s outing. Vienna’s Jewish community was one of the largest and most important ones in Europe, and its influence is reflected in much of Vienna’s culture today. Marvel at the Stadttempel, Vienna’s main temple and the only synagogue to have survived the “Night of Broken Glass”—a pogrom against Jews throughout Nazi Germany, Austria and other areas in the region. Originally constructed in 1826, it’s the only temple in Vienna to have been built in the unique “Biedermeier Style.” After, make your way to the Judenplatz, a former Jewish settlement dating back to the Middle Ages. Next, you'll visit the Shoah Monument, a Holocaust memorial designed by Rachel Whiteread. Adjacent to the memorial is the Jewish Museum Vienna, built over the walls of the Old Synagogue. Here, your guide will provide you with some insight into life from the 12th century to 1421 in this once-thriving Jewish community.

Day 3: Weissenkirchen

Start your day in the heart of the Danube Valley, strolling through Weissenkirchen’s idyllic wine village while sampling mouthwatering Austrian pastries. If you’ve had one too many pastries, you’ll enjoy a hike through one of the area’s most picturesque vineyards. Named for its white church that dominates the landscape, the city is flanked by vineyard-lined hills, historic houses and beautiful courtyards. Melk Abbey is a Baroque monastery and sits atop a rocky formation overlooking the Danube. Aside from its stunning architecture and panoramic views of Wachau Valley below, its interior boasts pure opulence in every room. There’s nothing like it.

“Let’s Go” vineyard hike

Weissenkirchen “Village Day” with wine tasting

You’ve seen the apricot orchards along the river banks; now taste the fruit. Begin with an easy walk to Weissenkirchen, which may be the prettiest village in the Wachau—and that’s saying quite a bit. Named for its famous white church, Weissenkirchen is simply picture perfect. Its centuries-old wine estates, houses with colorful flower boxes, lovely gardens and apricot orchards make for a wonderfully idyllic setting between the river and the mountains. Stroll through the town with your guide, stopping at a farm store where local growers display their products, such as wild boar salami, cheeses, jams and traditional poppy-seed sweets. Apricots contribute their essence to many products: jams and brandy, of course, but also chocolates, honey, mustard and chutney, so your stop should be full of fun flavors. Stay in the village and explore a bit on your own or, if you’re up for a hike, join a group on a hike up through the vineyards. A stairway at the church will take you past the ancient cemetery and up to the hiking trail that leads through vineyards planted with Riesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes. You’ll enjoy expansive views over the river valley as you approach your resting point, where you can sample some Wachau wines as your guide explains the qualities that make these vintages unique. Your next treat is an easy walk back to the ship; instead of a reverse hike, you can comfortably stroll back into the village via a different route, passing many small vintners along the way.

Melk Abbey with library visit

The Babenbergs, a great medieval ducal family that controlled a wide swath of Austria before yielding to the Habsburgs, were the first to erect a castle on the hill above Melk, which they subsequently gave to Benedictine monks. These monks, some 900 years ago, turned it into a fortified abbey—and the greatest center of learning in Central Europe. Their library was celebrated far and wide (and still is; Umberto Eco paid tribute to it in his best-selling novel The Name of the Rose). Medieval monks there created more than 1,200 manuscripts, sometimes spending an entire lifetime hand-lettering a single volume. Today the library contains some 100,000 volumes, among them more than 80,000 works printed before 1800. This beautiful complex, completely redone in the early 18th century, is a wonderful example of baroque art and architecture, and the views from its terrace are spectacular. As you walk through the abbey’s Marble Hall with your guide, look up at the ceiling fresco painted by Paul Troger: Those classical gods and goddesses represent Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, allegorically bringing his people from dark to light and demonstrating the link he claimed to the original Roman Empire.

After your tour of the abbey, you’ll have time to explore Melk on your own, or you can take the motorcoach back to the ship.

Day 4: Engelhartszell, Passau, Vilshofen

A new day brings new experiences in the forest-lined district of Engelhartszell. Arrive in the afternoon at the “City of Three Rivers,” Passau, where the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers join together, at one time bringing an influx of wealth and culture into the region. Take to the city by foot and explore its splendid mix of old and new. Medieval lanes, tunnels, cathedrals and archways fuse with modern shopping malls and buildings. Marvel at the Italian Baroque-style St. Stephen’s Church, which holds the second largest church pipe organ in the world.

“Let’s Go” scenic Bavarian river biking

Passau walking tour

The skyline of Passau is dominated by two buildings that owe their existence to the prince-bishops who ruled the city until 1803: the great fortress looming on a hill above the three rivers, home to the bishops until the 17th century, and the green onion domes of St. Stephan’s Cathedral. As you walk through the cobblestone streets toward those green onion domes, you’ll realize that Passau retains the layout of the medieval town. However, many of the wooden medieval buildings burned to the ground in the 17th century, and the prince-bishops imported Italian artists to build a new cathedral and a grand new residence for the bishops themselves. As a result, these splendid structures aunt Italian baroque and rococo style and ornamentation, complete with opulent gilding and wonderful frescoes. Your guide will introduce you to some of the architectural highlights—the rococo stairways of the New Residence; the cathedral; and the Town Hall, which boasts a magnificent atrium adorned by large paintings by Ferdinand Wagner—and make sure you get a close-up view of the point where the three rivers meet: The waters of each one are a different color. Because it’s built on a peninsula between the Danube and the Inn, the city has flooded often over the centuries; you can see high-water marks on many buildings (2013 saw the worst flooding in 500 years). 

Passau geocaching scavenger hunt

Discover Passau in the most unique of ways, with a geocaching tour, enabling you to discover hidden gems and notable spots on your own and in a particularly exciting way. Your geocaching guide will be with you along the way, offering only little hints to help you find your way from one station to the next. Uncover lesser-known facts about Passau, and delight in special activities at each station.

Bavarian Country Cooking Class

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Intermediate:
  • Transportation:
  • Price: $235

Discover the true meaning of farm-to-table! Roll through the lush hills of lower Bavaria--with a stop to at a farm store to pick up cooking supplies--to serene and bountiful Hofgut Hafnerleiten. This rural haven, a compound of guest houses, gardens, orchards and a state-of-the-art kitchen, is a dream come true for your hosts today, Erwin and Anja Rückerl. “Hofgut” means big farm, and this big farm began as a rural cooking school 15 years ago. Erwin Rückerl is an award-winning chef who abandoned a successful restaurant career in Munich to live in harmony with nature, growing the food he cooks. Don an apron and help him prepare a delectable three-course meal of Bavarian specialties; naturally, the menu varies with the season and the fruits of the farm--you might make dumplings or schnitzel or apple strudel--and then dine on the patio with a glorious view of the countryside or inside in the cozy dining room. One thing is always true though: good food, good wine and beer (or a yummy farm-made non-alcoholic beverage), and good company make for the most memorable meals.

Day 5: Deggendorf, Straubing

Nestled between Regensburg and Passau sits a town surrounded by the foothills of the Bavarian Forest, Deggendorf. Journey deep into the alluring Bavarian Forest National Park, Germany’s first national park, and discover outdoor leisure at its best. When you’re not gaping at its remarkable rolling hills, low-lying mountains and towering trees, you’ll have the opportunity to visit a Theresienthal crystal glass factory, complete with a horse-drawn carriage ride, fresh-baked bread and schnapps. In Straubing, uncover the Bavarian town’s deep-rooted love for all things food and drink. Amidst its bustling town center lined with shops, offices, pedestrian areas and restaurants serving up traditional German food and beer, Straubing is a city with a fascinating story and its fair share of Gothic-style buildings and cathedrals.

Bavarian forest village and Theresienthal glass factory visit

“Let’s Go” bike the Danube trail

Straubing village stroll

Day 6: Regensburg

Spend the morning discovering Regensburg’s long line of dukes, kings and bishops that called the former Bavarian capital and Free Imperial City home. Regensburg boasts the largest medieval old town north of the Alps (over 1,500 listed buildings), a prominent skyline, and a large collection of museums, exhibits and theaters. Find your need for speed with a tour of the state-of-the-art BMW factory. Tour the carmaker’s futuristic plant and learn how it’s cranked out millions of automobiles. Futuristic and antiquated, it’s the best of both worlds in Regensburg.

"2,000 Years in One Hour" Regensburg walking tour

People have been describing Regensburg as “old and new” for a thousand years. A single structure perfectly illustrates this: Porta Praetoria, the gate built by the Romans during Marcus Aurelius’s reign. The gate and adjacent watchtower have been incorporated into a much newer building, but the plaster has been removed to reveal the ancient stones laid so long ago. As you walk through the cobbled lanes of the UNESCO-designated Old Town, the city’s 2,000-year history is similarly revealed: the Stone Bridge that made Regensburg a 12th-century trading powerhouse, the Gothic town hall where the Imperial Diet met for three centuries, the 13th-century fortified patrician houses, and the spectacular Cathedral of St. Peter, whose magnificent 14th-century stained-glass windows alone are worth your walk. You’ll have free time to explore on your own; it’s very hard to get lost in Regensburg because the spires of the cathedral are visible all over town, so don’t hesitate to roam. The historic quarter not only boasts almost a thousand beautiful old buildings but also many cozy pubs and some great shopping—and the ship is docked conveniently close, so it’s easy to drop your treasures off and go back for more. 

BMW factory visit

Here is your opportunity to see German engineering, famous the world over, in operation as you tour the state-of-the-art BMW factory on the outskirts of Regensburg. About a thousand cars a day roll off the assembly line here, many of them in the BMW 3 series. You’ll see the fascinating production process from beginning to end, starting with rolls of sheet metal that are stamped out into body parts and continuing as the body is built and the various other elements are robotically assembled. You’ll follow a car into the finishing department to see it painted, polished and have the final touch applied—the BMW roundel.

NOTE: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead.

Jewish Regensburg

Join your local guide for a walking tour through the delightfully medieval town of Regensburg. Pass by the magnificent stone bridge, the UNESCO-designated Wurstküche sausage kitchen and the architectural Gothic masterpiece of St. Peter’s Cathedral. Regensburg is the oldest documented settlement of Jewish people in Germany and your walk through the former Jewish Quarter (Neupfarrplatz) will introduce you to their enduring legacy here. See the Dani Karavan Monument and visit the Document Neupfarrplatz. In 1995, the city dug up portions of the Neupfarrplatz to install electrical outlets and discovered the well-preserved ruins of Castra Regina, a Roman military camp, and Regensburg’s medieval Jewish Quarter.

Bavarian sausage-making workshop

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Intermediate:
  • Transportation:
  • Price: $72

Germany’s oldest restaurant, Alte Wurstkuche, has been serving sausages to Regensburg’s residents for almost 900 years—which tells you just how much Regensburg loves sausages. Delve into the craft and art of this delicious regional specialty after a tour of the town’s medieval core (presided over by the splendid cathedral) that ends at the Regensburg Ratskeller. It’s housed in part of the Old Town Hall, so it’s a historic site in its own right, but it’s also home to a family-owned shop where Bavaria’s beloved Weisswürste are made—weiss, meaning white (for veal), and würst, meaning sausage. Roll up your sleeves and help create some white sausage under the supervision of the shop’s master butcher, who shares the traditional recipe with you. Once you’ve weighed and mixed the ingredients and stuffed the casings, you’ll watch them cook to delicious perfection. Then comes the best part: eating your own hand-made sausages with local Händlmaier mustard and a fresh pretzel—and, if you want a truly traditional Regensburg experience in the heart of Old Town, you’ll sip a local beer with it.

Day 7: Roth, Nuremberg

Upon your arrival in Nuremberg, you’ll delve straight into the city’s highlights with a visit to Nuremberg Castle, an impressive medieval complex in the heart of the historical center. After, you’ll venture to the Documentation Center and Nazi Party Rally Grounds. This museum provides travelers the unique opportunity to explore exhibits dedicated to unraveling and understanding Nazi Germany. You’ll also be able to learn the intriguing history of the Jewish people in Nuremberg during World War II.

Nuremberg panoramic city tour with WWII Rally Grounds

Hitler considered Nuremberg the perfect expression of German culture (partly because of its significance in the Holy Roman Empire, which he called the First Reich), and so beginning in 1927, he chose to hold his massive rallies in the city. By 1933, his favorite architect, Albert Speer, had designed the vast Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where thousands upon thousands of Nazi troops saluted Hitler. (Leni Riefenstahl captured these events in her famous propaganda film Triumph of the Will.) Not all of Speer’s plans were executed, and some of his grandiose structures were bombed out of existence, but the remainder stand as vivid testimony to Hitler’s megalomania. A four-square-mile (10-square-kilometer) complex known as Zeppelin Fields contains parade grounds and a huge grandstand, the excavation site where a stadium for 400,000 people was begun—the hole is now filled with water—and the half-finished Congress Hall.

"Do as the Locals Do" Nuremberg walking tour

It was never officially the capital of the Holy Roman Empire, but German rulers made Nuremberg their base for 500 years. They surrounded the medieval city with stout walls and built a great castle on a hilltop, which they expanded again and again over the centuries. Prosperous, secure and vibrant, Nuremberg lured artists and thinkers, merchants and scientists, for centuries. This is the archetypal medieval German city that you’ll discover today as you trace the great ramparts and gate towers around the Old Town. Stroll through the castle gardens and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, then walk through a maze of cobblestone lanes down to the central Market Square, gathering around the well-named Beautiful Fountain, first erected in 1396. The red sandstone Church of Our Lady stands on the east side of the square—the 14th-century façade survived WWII bombing and, like much of Old Town, was meticulously reconstructed after the war, with the original stones plucked from the rubble.

Browse on your own following your tour; there is much to see and enjoy. The National Germanic Museum is one of the largest museums in the world; in it you’ll find the first pocket watch ever made (by a local craftsman), the first globe produced in Europe, a thousand period musical instruments, and innumerable paintings and drawings by German artists. The half-timbered shops in Crafts Court, next to the King’s Gate in the old wall, give you a sense of what it was like to buy goods in Renaissance Nuremberg— wooden toys, pewter cups and leather goods are for sale here, and so are commemorative coins hand-stamped on a 15th-century press. Visit Dürer House, where Nuremberg’s most famous native son, Albrecht Dürer, lived, or simply relax in a beer garden and enjoy the city’s specialty sausages and dark beer.

Jewish Nuremberg and WWII

Dive into the history and significance of Nuremberg’s role in Jewish culture and World War II on this captivating excursion. To this day, in Nuremberg’s southern district sit the remains of the buildings on the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where the party hosted their exorbitant rallies to demonstrate their power. Embark on a panoramic drive to these very spots followed by a guided tour through the permanent exhibition, “Fascination and Terror,” inside the Documentation Center. Visit Courtroom 600, the location of the Nuremberg Trials. The Nuremberg Trials, where judges from Allied powers presided over the hearings of prominent Nazi criminals, greatly impacted international law as a whole. After your visit here, you’ll take a quick drive to Nuremberg’s market square and enjoy a leisurely stroll through the historic central square, past the ornate Beautiful Fountain and the impressive Church of Our Lady. 

Note: Courtroom 600 is an active court. Visitors will only be permitted to see the courtroom during trial breaks.

Day 8: Nuremberg to Prague (Disembark)

Disembark your ship and transfer from Nuremberg to Prague.

Day 9: Prague

Prague has been a magnet for artists, writers, scientists and composers for centuries. It also boasts great beer, a lively art scene, stunning castles and up-and-coming fashion designers, making it a fun as well as a beautiful place to visit.

Prague Old Town and Charles Bridge walking tour

Get an overview of the city with a panoramic tour that carries you past such sights as the State Opera House, the National Museum and Wenceslas Square on your way to massive Prague Castle. Step inside the castle's protective walls and enter a self-contained city, with courtyards, palaces, towers, churches and gardens designed for kings and emperors, along with housing and workplaces for all those who tended the rulers. Among the highlights are the lofty St. Vitus Cathedral, which took 600 years to finish, and Vladislav Hall, whose complex stone-vaulting system was one of the most advanced engineering feats of the late Middle Ages. After strolling through Golden Lane, a street of quaint cottages where Prague's 17th-century goldsmiths lived (alas, there's no truth to the legend that it was named for the royal alchemists), you may reboard the motorcoach for a ride back to the hotel or continue our guided walk through the picturesque Lesser Quarter, the district around the castle, to Charles Bridge. Cross the landmark bridge named for Charles IV, who ordered its construction in 1357; it's strictly for pedestrians now, so you can pause and look down at the Vltava below you and examine some of the statues that line the bridge, before you head to Old Town Square. This was the original market square; the buildings that surround it form a case study in Prague's architectural history. You'll find Prague's most famous Gothic church, Our Lady Before Týn, there, along with the 14th-century Old Town Hall (which boasts a famous medieval astronomical clock), the beautiful baroque St. Nicholas, the rococo Kinsky Palace and a group of Renaissance houses. 

Hradčany Castle visit

Prague’s Old Jewish Quarter

The heart of Old Town Prague boasts the city’s Jewish Quarter (Josefov), which reflects centuries of Jewish influence in Prague. Explore Prague through the eyes of Jewish author, Franz Kafka, and visit places that bear his footprint. You’ll get to see his favorite café, the house where he was born, his final resting place and other significant landmarks —all while getting into the mindset of one of the 20th-century’s most fascinating and enigmatic writers. 

Day 10: Prague (Depart)

Depart from Prague’s Václav Havel Airport to North America for your journey home.

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