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Iconic Rivers of Europe – The Rhine, Main & Danube with Transylvania
(Amsterdam to Bucharest)

24 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

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River Cruise Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland (Embarkation)
Welcome to Amsterdam! Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich 700-year-old history and a distinct ambiance. Maybe stroll through the lively marketplace or see the works of famous Dutch masters at world-renowned museums. This afternoon, board your river cruise ship and meet your crew at an evening welcome reception. (Dinner)

NOTE: Guests must be on board ship by 5 pm.

Day 2 Amsterdam
Today, get a unique perspective of Amsterdam on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time in the city this afternoon—or you might like to join an optional excursion before bidding tot ziens (farewell) to Holland and setting sail for Germany. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 3 Cologne, Germany
Today, enjoy a peaceful morning of cruising before reaching Cologne after lunch. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between a GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, consider checking out the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 4 Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim
This morning, cruise through the dramatic RHINE GORGE—without a doubt, the most beautiful stretch of river and where ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the rock of the Lorelei, where legend tells of enchanted siren song that lured sailors to their doom. On your included shore excursion in pretty Rüdesheim, visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll be mesmerized by the self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT and free time to pick up some souvenirs on the narrow, cobblestoned Drosselgasse, where colorful flowers, open-air wine gardens, and live music add to the festive atmosphere. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 5 Main River Village
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 6 Würzburg
Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Marienberg Fortress perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrucke (Old Main Bridge). On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR this morning, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. Depart Würzburg at lunchtime and spend a leisurely afternoon cruising the Main River. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 7 Bamberg
Today, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! Wander the town’s serpentine streets with their charming houses and 18th-century mansions. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 8 Nuremberg
Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This morning, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized “NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS” tour. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 9 Regensburg
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Established during the Holy Roman Empire and the only German city not bombed during WWII, Regensburg has at least 1,300 listed buildings of “historic interest.” Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Wander through the city’s lanes and alleys to discover the many mansions with high towers. Wealthy families built these towers to emphasize their status and wealth during the Middle Ages, and many still remain today. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany, then grab a beer and enjoy a SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Here—where the locals congregate—feel the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEERS. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 10 Passau
Uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge, Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK through this charming town, and find out much more about the “City of Three Rivers.” Alternatively, you might like to join a full-day optional excursion to Salzburg to see some of The Sound of Music sights or to Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 11 Dürnstein, Austria. Excursion to Göttweig Abbey
A day of magical scenery awaits you today! As you cruise into the Wachau Valley, pass unmistakable Melk Abbey, high up and overlooking the river. Then, head into the heart of the Wachau wine region to Dürnstein, known for its baroque blue Stiftskirche. A Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. Later, an excursion takes you to the magnificent Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, also positioned high up overlooking the Danube. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 12 Vienna
Early this morning, arrive in Vienna, the “City of Music,” which inspired the creative genius of Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss. Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boys’ Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sites you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Stroll through the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses—historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! An optional concert is available tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 13 Bratislava, Slovakia
At the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains is Bratislava, the dynamic capital of Slovakia. After breakfast, join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestoned streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. This afternoon is free to explore on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 14 Budapest, Hungary
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On your GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to note the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. Alternatively, consider visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 15 Budapest
Enjoy a free day to explore on your own. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 16 Mohács. Excursion to Pécs
This morning, enjoy some leisurely cruising before arriving in Mohács, the last stop in Hungary. After lunch, an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBS—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. Pécs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 17 Belgrade, Serbia
One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A LOCAL GUIDE will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest orthodox church. Also visit the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 18 Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates
This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 19 Cetate, Romania–Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik
This morning stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port, now turned into a cultural center. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to TASTE some of the locally made products. Then on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, known as “Baba Vidin,” is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the course of the Middle Ages and is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. It is now a fortress museum and has been restored to its former appearance. In nearby Belogradchik, view the eclectic group of ROCK FORMATIONS on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes, the Belogradchik Rocks are spectacular! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 20 Rousse–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi
A comfortable ride from the river port of Rousse is the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), the oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS, and the Patriarch’s Church. With your LOCAL GUIDE, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the town’s oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you don’t wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 21 Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest
After breakfast say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. Its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, “Victory Avenue,” Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses. (Breakfast)

Day 22 Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov
Head out of the city to your first stop, a visit of BRAN CASTLE, of Dracula fame, built in 1377 and assumed to be the home of Romanian vampires. Then continue to Brasov for the night, with a free afternoon to explore on your own. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Day 23 Brasov–Bucharest
This morning join a Local Expert for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Brasov. In the afternoon drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit PELES CASTLE, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, before returning to Bucharest. (B, L)

Day 24 Bucharest
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)

Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 20-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Amsterdam: welcome reception
  • Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk
  • Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim: cruise through the Rhine Gorge; visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum in Rüdesheim; enjoy a special treat
  • Main River Village: guided sightseeing
  • Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz
  • Bamberg: guided sightseeing, see the Old Town Hall
  • Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; beer tasting
  • Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche
  • Passau: guided walk
  • Dürnstein. Excursion to Göttweig Abbey: guided walk in Dürnstein, see the Stiftskirche; guided visit of Göttweig Abbey
  • Vienna: guided sightseeing
  • Bratislava: guided sightseeing, visit St. Martin’s Cathedral
  • Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square; Day at leisure
  • Mohács. Excursion to Pécs: guided sightseeing in Pécs, visit the underground tombs; organ concert
  • Belgrade: guided sightseeing in Belgrade, visit Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Iron Gates: visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge
  • Cetate–Vidin–Belogradchik: visit the cultural port in Cetate; special tasting; guided sightseeing to Vidin’s fortress; excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations
  • Rousse. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi: guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevet’s Fortress in Veliko Târnovo and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse.
  • Oltenita–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Bucharest
  • Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov: guided visit of Dracula’s Bran Castle
  • Brasov–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Brasov and Peles Castle
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Enjoy a Tasting of Authentic German Beers, and attend a classical music presentation on board.
All This Included
A deluxe Danube River cruise from Holland to Romania is truly an adventure. Guided sightseeing in each city shows you the highlights, and is conducted by Certified Local Guides. Cruise through the scenic canals of Amsterdam and through the dramatic Rhine Gorge past the legendary Lorelei rock. Spend time in magnificent Cologne, the charming wine village of Rüdesheim, medieval Bamberg, historical Nuremberg, and magical Vienna. Attend a beer tasting in Bamberg and enjoy inside visits of Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz, and St. Martin’s Cathedral in Bratislava. Enjoy an organ concert in Pecs and marvel at the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik. Visit Belgrade and Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanassi, and Bucharest, and conclude your vacation with an excursion to Transylvania, visiting Bran Castle of Dracula fame, Peles Castle, and the city of Brasov, before returning to Bucharest for the final night of your vacation. While on board, be sure to have your camera ready to capture the scenic beauty, quaint towns, fascinating architecture, and historic buildings dotting the landscape as you sail along.
  • Buffet breakfast; superb dining with meals on board featuring full breakfast with complimentary sparkling wine, lunch with complimentary soft drinks, and dinner including complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks; a welcome reception, Captain’s reception, and farewell dinner; one sitting with open seating arrangements
  • Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
  • Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
  • Headsets for shore excursions
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Personalized room options & excursions
Accommodations on this Tour
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Passion or Avalon Illumination
Bucharest: To be determined
Notes
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • Port charges: $480.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • Prices and itineraries are subject to change. Final details will be available in April 2016.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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