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Highlights of the Danube

Overview

Travel by Rail
2 Included Excursions
  • Explore elegant Vienna
  • Take a stroll around Esztergom
  • Discover imperial Budapest
  • Admire the Slovakian capital, Bratislava
  • Enjoy time in picturesque Melk

There is plenty of justification as to the reason Europe's second-longest river is known as ‘The Beautiful Blue Danube’ – a combination of outstanding natural beauty and wonderful history. Some of Europe's most majestic cities are to be found along the Danube including the capital cities of Vienna, Budapest and Bratislava.

The beautiful blue Danube has so many fascinating ports of call dotted along it, and this superb river cruise takes you right into some of the best. During your river cruise, you’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the Austrian capital city of Vienna, which has produced some of the all-time giants of classical music, plus a visit to Hungary’s beautiful capital city of Budapest, which is bisected by the Danube, and where you’ll find stunning architecture and fascinating history to explore.

So, with visits to two capital cities included and the chance to savour stunning scenery, plus an array of exciting optional excursions on offer, this river cruise really does show you the Highlights of the Danube!

Your river cruise takes place on the well-appointed A-ROSA Donna. While on board you can enjoy stunning ever-changing views along the Danube from the inviting panorama lounge, and don’t miss the chance to relax and unwind in the on-board spa, or to enjoy a workout in the gym. With all this and more to enjoy on board, the A-ROSA Donna truly is the ideal vessel from which to experience the Highlights of the Danube...

This Holiday is Great For

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Itinerary

Day One: UK to Frankfurt
We meet and board our Eurostar service at London St Pancras, travelling to Brussels where we transfer to a local service to Frankfurt. From here, we are transferred to our hotel in Frankfurt for dinner and overnight stay. (D)

Day Two:  Embark in Engelhartszell, cruise to Vienna
Transfer to Frankfurt station for local train journey to Passau. We are then transferred to Engelhartszell, where we embark the MS A-ROSA DONNA. Our cruise commences with an overnight sailing to Vienna.  (B,D)

Day Three: Vienna
Arrival in Vienna at midday. Enjoy an included guided tour as we see the State Opera House, Johann Strauss House, Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum, Parliament, City Hall, Votiv Church, University, the Imperial Palace (Hofburg), the Volksgarten and the Court Theatre. We moor overnight in Vienna. (B,L,D)

Day Four: Vienna to Esztergom 
A day at leisure in Vienna to explore further. While in Vienna it is a must to sample the renowned pastries at a traditional coffee house. Why not join our optional excursion to Schonbrunn Palace? We depart Vienna early evening for an overnight sailing to Esztergom. (B,L,D)

Day Five: Esztergom to Budapest 
A brief morning stop at Esztergom. Our cruise then continues to Budapest. Enjoy an included guided city tour this afternoon. On the Pest side, we see St Stephen’s Basilica, Vajdahunyad Castle and Heroes’ Square. We then cross to Buda and the Castle District, where we find the Matthias Church and the famous Fisherman’s Bastion. (B,L,D)

Day Six: Budapest
A day at leisure in Budapest, a city full of surprises with a lively centre. We depart Budapest for an overnight cruise to Bratislava. (B,L,D)

Day Seven: Budapest – Bratislava - Melk
We arrive at Bratislava which boasts a unique history. Bratislava Castle is perched at the top of a hill and overlooks the historic buildings of the old town. Cruise overnight to Melk.   (B,L,D)

Day Eight: Melk to Engelhartszell 
A midday arrival at the picturesque town of Melk. Explore at leisure or join our optional excursion to Melk Abbey, perched on a hilltop overlooking the town and the river. Our cruise departs Melk late afternoon to commence overnight cruise to Engelhartszell. (B,L,D)

Day Nine: Disembark in Engelhartszell to Frankfurt
Time to disembark the MS A-ROSA DONNA in Engelhasrtszell. We are then transferred to Passau station for local train journey to Frankfurt and transferred to a hotel in Frankfurt for dinner and an overnight stay.  (B,D)

Day Ten: Frankfurt to UK
This morning we transfer to Frankfurt Station, where we board our service to Brussels, then change to our Eurostar service to London St Pancras.  (B)

Extras included on this holiday

FREE drinks on board

FREE drinks on board including beer, fine wine, spirits, mineral bottled water, fruit juice, soft drinks, speciality coffee and teas.

MS A-ROSA DONNA

The A-ROSA DONNA first set sail in 2002. She is one of the impressive A-ROSA fleet of river cruise vessels, designed with relaxation in mind; the ship boasts a spacious sun deck, complete with plenty of shaded areas and recliners.

While on board, why not treat yourself to a dip in the outdoor heated pool? And challenge your fellow cruisers to a friendly game of shuffleboard, giant chess or a round on the putting green. Or enjoy an indulgent speciality coffee at the cafe bar (or maybe a glass of vino or two!) Then, why not admire the ever-changing views from the impressive panorama lounge? Or how about an indulgent treatment in the spa, or a workout in the gym?

With all this to enjoy on board, plus a casual dress code, you’ll have no problem relaxing and unwinding on board the A-ROSA DONNA!


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Cabins


Ship Gallery

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The Local Area

Included Excursions

Discover Vienna

Join us for an amazing tour of Vienna, allowing us to discover this splendid city for ourselves. Our coach tour will begin as we travel past Vienna’s large park, the Prater, admiring views of the famous Ferris wheel and then on to the State Opera House, also seeing the Fine Arts and History Museum.

We will also see the stunning Hofburg Palace during our city tour, along with the Parliament building, the Town Hall and the Burg Theatre. Making our way to St. Stephen's Cathedral in the city centre, we will disembark our coach and enjoy a walking tour of Vienna. We will stroll along the Graben, one of Vienna’s most famous streets.

After our walking tour, we return to our coach and begin our return journey, taking in the famous buildings by painter and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, stopping to admire the unique Hundertwasserhaus.

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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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Optional Excursions

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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Vienna by night

Join us as we get to know Vienna by night with our short city tour taking in the Ringstrasse where you will be dazzled by the majestic buildings and bright lights. We see the giant Ferris Wheel, House of Johann Strauss where he composed the Blue Danube Waltz. We then cross the Danube to the city centre seeing the Ringstrasse with monuments of Radetzky, Maria Theresia and Mozart. We also see the State Opera, Parliament, Karlsplatz and the Imperial Palace before passing by the birthplace of the composer Franz Schubert and on to our wine tavern in a nearby village.

Here we sample the wonderful atmosphere of this busting city as a local Schrammel musician plays the accordion or violin whilst we enjoy a glass of wine and sparkling water, a truly Viennese experience to remember.

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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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Schonbrunn Palace

We visit the summer palace of the Habsburg Dysnasty in the centre of Austria’s capital, Vienna. Schonbrunn Palace contains over 300 years of history as well as beautiful Baroque architecture and vast, lavish gardens. We’ll take the Imperial tour, which gives us a picture of the different stylish eras that have shaped the palace and the lives and history of the people who lived here. Our tour includes a visit to the State Rooms at the palace, designed to the tastes of Franz Josef I and his wife Elisabeth, who ruled Austria-Hungary during the latter 19th century and the early 20th century. At the time the couple was one of the most powerful and important in Europe.

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Puszta Horse Farm

Join us for this unique experience as we head to the Puszta (Great Hungarian Plain) which is covered with large ranches and Magyar cowboys waiting to demonstrate their equestrian skills. On arrival at our ranch we are given a traditional Magyar welcome as we sample some of the local delicacies including homemade breads served with red and white wine. We then enjoy a horse parade which is followed by many impressive exercises and tricks that were once practiced during the war. We see how the riders taught their horses to sit and lie down. This was to provide cover and become a smaller target during battle to protect the horse and rider. Nowadays this is purely for show! We then enjoy a short carriage ride in a traditional gypsy wagon into the Puszta to admire the spectacular countryside, grey cattle and special flora and fauna of the region, known as Sarkoz. We conclude our visit with a tasting of locally produced brandy served with savory scones.

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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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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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