Day 1 Vienna.
Fly to Vienna where you will be met and transferred to your cruise ship for five nights. Meet your crew at a welcome reception. (D)
Day 2 Vienna.
Included today: Guided sightseeing.
Also known as the ‘City of Music’, Vienna inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss and was once the centre of the mighty Habsburg Empire. A showcase of gilded architecture, see the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and Lipizzaner stallions, the impressive neo-Renaissance Vienna Opera House, and awe-inspiring St Stephen’s Cathedral on your included city sightseeing tour with a local guide. Later, perhaps stroll on the Krntnerstrasse and enjoy Sachertorte or Apfelstrdel in a classic Viennese coffee house. An optional concert is available during your stay. (B, L, D)
Day 3 Drnstein – Melk.
Included today: Guided walk in Drnstein; visit to Melk’s Benedictine Abbey; wine tasting.
Drnstein, known for the magnificent baroque Stiftskirche with its blue faade, lies right in the heart of the Wachau wine region. Above town are the ruins of the castle where England’s King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned in 1192. A Local Guide will tell you the tale during your GUIDED WALK. Those seeking some sporting activity might like to climb up the steep hill to the castle ruins for spectacular views of the town and river. Alternatively, you may just want to stroll through the narrow streets on your own. Then, cruise through the beautiful Wachau Valley to reach Melk after lunch and the magnificent 11th-century BENEDICTINE ABBEY. Melk’s abbey towers over the town and is one of Europe’s largest. It houses an ornate library with over 80,000 printed books and 2,000 manuscripts. Words cannot describe the splendour of its church with its frescoed ceilings, stunning high altar, marble statues, and 210-foot-high cupola. This evening you’ll be able to sample some of the region’s FAMOUS WINES. (B, L, D)
Day 4 Grein – Linz.
Included today: Guided walk in Grein.
This morning, arrive in the attractive country resort of Grein, nestled at the foot of a bluff and overlooked by its castle. Take a guided walk through the town and visit the unique historical theatre, the oldest in Austria. A behind-the-scenes look to learn about the curiosities of this Rococo-style theatre will tell you much about life as it was, and is now, in this small town. Alternatively, a choice of optional excursions is on offer. This afternoon, cruise to Linz, Austria’s third-largest city and an important river port. Culture is an important part of life in Linz; the composer Anton Bruckner lived here and Mozart’s Linzer Symphony was composed in the city. Enjoy free time to explore independently. (B, L, D)
Day 5 Passau, Germany
Included today: Guided walk in Passau.
Today, enjoy a relaxing morning of sailing. This afternoon, arrive in Passau, located at the confluence of the Rivers Inn, Ilz, and Danube. This is a city of graceful arcades and cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephens Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the worlds largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Join a Local Guide for a GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the City of Three Rivers. (B, L, D)
Day 6 Passau – Munich.
Disembark this morning and drive to Munich, capital of Bavaria, where you will be transferred to the Sofitel Munich Bayerpost for three nights. The afternoon is free to explore at leisure or perhaps join the optional excursion to Salzburg. (B)
Day 7 Munich.
Included today: Guided sightseeing, see the Marienplatz.
This morning, a Local Guide will show you the highlights including Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz, the Old and New Town Halls, and the striking Gothic Frauenkirche. Later, enjoy free time to explore. Watch the famous Glockenspiel, visit St Peter’s church or explore the Viktualienmarkt, a large and popular fresh produce market with a traditional maypole. Or, why not visit one of the many Biergartens or breweries to sample one of the Bavarian beer specialties? (B)
Day 8 Munich.
Included today: Excursion to Neuschwanstein and Oberammergau.
This morning, drive into the garden-like landscapes of the Bavarian Alps and visit King Ludwig’s fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle, perched high above the village of Hohenschwangau. Continue to the town of Oberammergau, famous for its once-a-decade production of the Passion Play. After free time to admire the traditional Bavarian houses, many beautifully painted with trompe l’oeil. (B)
Day 9 Munich.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK. (B)