We liked the Christmas Markets of Europe so much last year, we’re going back this year. Sailing with Viking River Cruises on an 8-day journey, going a different route this time, from Nuremberg to Budapest. We will be stopping by grand cities and quaint villages along the Danube River on Viking’s Romantic Danube itinerary with a focus on Christmas markets. Look for even deeper exploration of Nuremberg as we fly over early, in advance of sailing. Learning we just can’t prepare enough in advance on our Portraits of Southern France itinerary, we will experience Vienna’s imperial architecture and gracious culture with new eyes, armed with a bit more background and better photo gear. Come along as we begin in Nuremberg, stop by Regensburg and Passau then tour riverside towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley, visit Vienna and more; sending back a hefty dose of holiday cheer as we go.
New Christmas Markets Features To Look Forward To:
- A Sausage For Every Stop Along The Way And A Regional Beer To Go With Them
- Pretzels, Pretzels and More Pretzels
- The World As Lisa Sees It– On The River Again
- Inquiry and Investigation: Which Christmas Market Has The Best Ghluwein?
We’ll be back with more details closer to the event but here is a quick look at the itinerary and Viking’s description of it:
Day 1 | Nuremberg, Germany
Welcome to Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second largest city. Transfer from the airport to your ship. After boarding, you have free time to stretch your legs and explore the city a bit on your own.
Day 2 | Main-Danube Canal & Nuremberg, Germany
Your morning tour of Nuremberg includes the ruins of Zeppelin Fields, the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930s, and the Palace of Justice, the venerable vestige of the Nuremberg Trials. You have a brief stop at the courthouse before walking from the imperial castle grounds, past the Albrecht Dürer House and on to the Main Market Square of Old Town, enclosed within ancient city walls.
After lunch aboard your ship, join a lively and entertaining discussion of the European Union as you sail through the locks that comprise the Main-Danube Canal. An engineering marvel, the canal stretches 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube, enabling river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea. Dinner is served aboard while we cruise through the night.
Day 3 | Regensburg, Germany
This morning, meet your guide dockside for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th- and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets or shop. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time.
This afternoon, spend more time in Regensburg, perhaps visiting Germany’s oldest restaurant, the Alte Wurstküche.Or, choose an optional excursion to Kelheim at the southernmost point of the Main-Danube Canal. Travel by road to Kelheim, then cast off on a ferryboat ride to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. You also visit the renowned Weltenburg Abbey, famous for its dark ale, brewed here by monks since 1050. Rejoin your ship for dinner and cruise through the night.
Day 4 | Passau, Germany
Arrive this morning in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town’s narrow streets takes you through the Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You’ll see the New Bishop’s Residence and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe’s largest church organ.† Enjoy lunch aboard your ship, and return to the city for further exploration on your own before departing. We cruise through the night.
Day 5 | Melk & Vienna, Austria
Join a guided tour of the ornate interior of this baroque jewel of architecture, the Benedictine abbey at Melk. See its elaborate frescoes and admire the library’s comprehensive collection of medieval manuscripts; then enjoy the garden courtyard and the terrace’s Wachau Valley views. Rejoin your ship for lunch and an afternoon cruise through the captivating Wachau Valley. Later, join a workshop about Viennese coffee as you nibble apple strudel. Arrive in Vienna after dinner and enjoy a leisurely evening, or you may choose to attend an optional evening concert in this “City of Waltzes.”
Day 6 | Vienna, Austria
Today we tour the Austrian capital of Vienna. Ride along the Ringstrasse, which replaced the city walls in the mid-19th century. See some of the city’s baroque architecture, including the world-famous Opera House, St. Stephan’s Cathedral and Hofburg Palace. Return to your ship for lunch. The rest of the day is yours to further explore. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Or you may take an optional tour to Schönbrunn Palace, the Versailles of Vienna, graced by a number of formal gardens, classical statuary, the world’s oldest zoo and the “Roman ruin” erected in 1778. Dinner is served aboard
Day 7 | Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital divided by the Danube River. Take a panoramic city tour through the more modern Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views of the city below. Return to your ship for lunch and the rest of the day is yours to explore both sides of the city. (B, L, D)
Day 8 | Budapest, Hungary
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 additional nights in Budapest, giving yourself more time to explore the bustling Hungary.
Speaking of Hungary….are you hungry for more about Christmas Markets right now? This video might help with that appetite: