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Great Cities of the Danube

Overview

Travel by Coach
2 Included Excursions
  • Admire Vienna’s elegance and culture
  • Marvel at Budapest’s Gothic architecture
  • Explore Bratislava’s charming Old Town
  • Discover Salzburg’s splendid sights

A majestic cruise through the Danube’s spectacular valleys, scenery and cities, from the elegance of Vienna and Bratislava’s ancient splendour to stunning Budapest and beautiful Salzburg. Join us to explore Europe’s most magical capitals

This Holiday is Great For

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Itinerary

Day One - UK to Rotterdam
We travel to Hull, where we board our overnight ferry crossing to Rotterdam, enjoying an evening meal on-board.

Day Two - Rotterdam to Frankfurt Area
We continue on to the Frankfurt Area for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day Three - Frankfurt Area to Passau, cruise to Vienna
Board the MV Esmeralda in Passau and meet fellow travellers over our evening meal. We cruise to Vienna overnight.

Day Four - Vienna
Enjoy a day of sailing, waking to beautiful changing scenery. We arrive in Vienna early evening. Join one of our optional excursions - a Vienna by night tour or a Mozart and Strauss concert.

Day Five - Vienna to Budapest
The morning and afternoon is devoted to magnificent Vienna. Why not join our optional tour of the Vienna Spanish Riding School? Enjoy dinner on board this evening as we sail overnight to Budapest.

Day Six - Budapest to Bratislava
A morning arrival in beautiful Budapest. We moor for the day, ready to discover one of Europe’s most interesting capitals with an included city tour. This evening we sail to Bratislava.

Day Seven - Bratislava to Melk
We spend the morning cruising to Bratislava. Discover the Old Town dominated by the impressive castle, or join our optional panoramic Bratislava tour to the top of the UFO Tower. We then set sail and cruise through the night to Melk.

Day Eight - Melk to Linz
Melk is famous for its magnificent Benedictine Abbey and
Renaissance castle. We spend the afternoon exploring at leisure or why not join our optional excursion to visit Melk Abbey? This evening, we sail overnight to Linz.

Day Nine - Linz
Today we enjoy an included transfer to the classical city of Salzburg. Explore at leisure or join our optional guided walking tour.

Day Ten - Linz to the Rhineland Area
Time to leave the ship in Linz. We then travel to the Rhineland Area for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day Eleven - Rhineland Area to Rotterdam
We travel to Rotterdam to embark our overnight ferry back to the UK with dinner included.

Day Twelve - Hull to Home
After breakfast, we disembark the ferry in Hull and continue home.

MV Esmeralda

The hugely popular MV Esmeralda is our largest River Cruise ship, and this exclusively-chartered vessel is perfect for Europe River Cruises exploring some of the most beautiful scenery. Discover wonderful landscapes during our relaxing Danube River Cruises, and relax on-board, making the most of the Esmeralda’s excellent facilities. 

With her comfortable lounge areas and attractive decor, the MV Esmeralda is sure to be the perfect home from home just our scenic River Cruises. You’ll be able to travel in style and comfort as we make our way along one of the world’s most enchanting rivers, discovering mesmerising attractions, towns and cities. And, this year, we have even more departures to choose from! 

Enjoy delicious meals on-board the MV Esmeralda, including buffet breakfasts, three-course lunches and four-course evening meals, as well as exciting gala dinners! When the weather’s nice, you should absolutely spend some time on the sun deck, where you’ll find sun loungers and a shaded area from which you can admire the ever-changing scenery. You can also make your way to the lounge, with its comfortable leather couches and plush chairs. 

You’re sure to make lots of new friends during our relaxing River Cruises on-board the MV Esmeralda, and in the evening you’ll be able to chat with your new companions over a drink or two at the bar. Or, for those feeling more energetic, you could always dance the night away along to our talented on-board keyboardist! 

We promise to take good care of you during our MV Esmeralda River Cruises - we can’t wait to welcome you on board!

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Cabins


Ship Gallery

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The Local Area

Included Excursions

Imperial Budapest

Join us on our guided tour of this historical city, which is actually two cities astride the Danube. Our excursion takes us by coach on a visit to both.

On the Pest side, we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square, which is dominated by the impressive Millenary Monument, home to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the seven-hundred year-old Matthias Church, one of the jewels of Budapest. We also see the famous Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers great views over the city.

The city is home to the largest medicinal bath in Europe (Szechenyi Medicinal Bath) and the third-largest Parliament building in the world, once the largest in the world. The city also contains the third-largest church in Europe (Esztergom Basilica) and the second largest Baroque castle in the world (Godollo).

 

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Transfer to Salzburg

The city of Salzburg makes for an excellent excursion, the city famous for being home to the Sound of Music. Enjoy the old town with its impressive fortress and cathedral, take time out to visit the house where Mozart was born or relax in the Mirabell Gardens. 

There are numerous architectural styles to be found in Salzburg, including Romanesque, gothic, renaissance, baroque and many more modern styles. We’ll be able to admire this architecture throughout our visit, as well as exploring the city itself to see its many attractions.

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Optional Excursions

Classical Salzburg

Join us on our excursion to explore the elegant city of music and the birthplace of Mozart. On our guided walking tour we see the Cathedral, St Peter’s Abbey, Mozart Square, the glorious Mirabell Gardens and the imposing Hohensalzburg Fortress.

Admire Nonnberg Convent and the famous Getreidegasse - a busy shopping street in the Old Town section of Salzburg. The house at no. 9 Getreidegasse is the place where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born and where he lived until the age of 17. Following our guided tour, we enjoy some free time to explore this wonderful city before heading back to the ship in time for dinner.

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Durnstein Transfer

This charming town on the Danube River in Austria is a wonderful example of the traditional Austrian way of life. With its beautiful surrounding scenery and slow pace, we’ll enjoy excellent time at leisure to discover the sights here. The major attraction is the castle, perched high above the town it was the place in 1192 that Richard the Lionheart was captured by the Duke of Austria during the Third Crusade.

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Evening Mozart and Strauss Concert

Vienna is undoubtedly Europe’s musical capital, and this excursion will give us the opportunity to enjoy the music of two of Austria’s favourite sons. Sit back and relax as we listen to the music of Johann Strauss, the Waltz King, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the infant prodigy. 

We make the short journey by coach to the concert hall for an evening full of Viennese charm, with the lilting sound of waltzes, polkas, arias and duets, as well as operetta and piano concerto melodies. Accompanied by excellent opera vocalists and our enchanting ballet soloists, Vienna's classical music reveals itself as a living firework display for all the senses taking us back to the days of old Vienna for a truly unforgettable evening.

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Majestic Melk Abbey

Stift Melk (Melk Abbey) is a Baroque-era masterpiece, located above the town of Melk on a rocky outcrop overlooking the river Danube. Part palace, part monastery and part opera set, Melk is a magnificent vision thanks greatly to its upward-reaching twin towers. Capped with baroque helmets and cradling a 208-foot-high dome, this abbey is a true Baroque masterpiece.

Our tour of the abbey includes the Imperial rooms, Marble Hall, and the balcony, which offers fine views of the river. It’s likely that Napoleon probably used this room as a lookout when his headquarters were based in Melk for his campaign against Austria.

We also see the magnificent library, with more than 100,000 books, nearly 2,000 manuscripts, and a superb ceiling fresco by the master Paul Troger; the Marmorsaal, whose windows on both sides enhance the ceiling frescoes; and the glorious Stiftskirche (abbey church) of Saints Peter and Paul, an exquisite example of the Baroque style.

Following the tour you can enjoy some free time to wander around the abbey’s park with its impressive Baroque garden, the recently restored northern bastion. Or you may just wish to sit and relax in the abbey’s restaurant with a coffee and admire the beautiful views.

 

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Panoramic Bratislava

Bratislava is a beautiful city, with a number of fantastic views to be seen across the city. On this tour we will visit some of these and see great sights while learning something of the history of this great Danube city. We’ll travel to the Slavin war memorial, at the top of a hill, from where you can see much of the city and beyond as well as seeing this solemn and impressive memorial to the Slovakian and Russian war dead. We’ll also head closer to the centre of the city for close up views of the old town, castle, pretty St Martins Church and the iconic UFO Bridge, the symbol of the city.

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Vienna Spanish Riding School

We visit the famous Spanish Riding School in the centre of Vienna. The school has been training horses for performance for more than 450 years and in that time has performed for some of the most famous and important leaders in Europe’s history. We will take a guided tour of the school and stables, learning about the workings of the institution as well as a bit about its history. Training schedules permitting we may even be able to see horses and riders practicing their performances in the winter riding hall.

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