Embrace the Danube’s lilting rhythm as you waltz upriver, discovering four countries’ wonders on foot.

Outside your stateroom, a new day breaks. Green slopes lead up to a hilltop castle, and Dürnstein’s blue bell tower comes into view round a sweeping bend in the Danube. Fresh sights unfold daily, from Budapest’s markets and museums to Vienna’s parks and palaces. Today’s agenda on this Danube river cruise walking tour? A morning stroll through cobbled streets to the local Kaffee Konditorei for coffee and cream-laden pastries. Later, a panoramic walk with your guide through the Wachau Valley, lunch amidst terraced vineyards and apricot orchards, and an afternoon visit to Melk’s Baroque monastery. Come sunset, you’ll be back on board, sipping glasses of Grüner Veltliner and cruising towards Bavaria. But first, Austria calls. Slip into your walking shoes and step outside.

Highlights

  • Unpack once, then relax as your river ship delivers you to breathtaking footpaths and walking routes from the hills of Budapest to the forests of Bavaria.
  • Set out on scenic walks overlooking the beautiful Danube, exploring regional parks, medieval cities, and lush vineyards, often followed by lunch at local restaurants.
  • Indulge in the comforts of your deluxe floating accommodation for seven nights, savoring fine cuisine, a dip in the pool, and panoramic views from the deck.
  • Follow footpaths and explore the cityscapes of three iconic European capitals and four fascinating countries.
  • Savor the flavors of Central Europe during regionally influenced meals on board complemented by delicious Wachau Valley wines and beers brewed at local abbeys.
On all Guided Adventures you can count on...
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Expert local guides to introduce you to the best of your destination
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Off-the-beaten-path places you’d never find on your own
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Delicious multi-course meals—a majority are included
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A maximum of 18 fun-loving fellow travelers to share the journey
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Gracious accommodations that are a clean, comfortable home away from home
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Experts to handle all the details
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Flight + Tour Combos include plane tickets, airport shuttles, and pre- and post-tour accommodations

Itinerary

Fri, May 13 to Mon, May 23 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Budapest right by having a Country Walkers representative greet you at the airport. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Mamaison Hotel Chain Bridge Budapest

Guided walking tour of Budapest; 4-5 miles, easy. Traditional Hungarian Folk Show

After an included breakfast at your hotel meet your guides at 9:00 a.m. in the lobby. They’ll be wearing Country Walkers shirts. Please be dressed for a full day of walking.

Should you arrive late, please plan to go directly to the ship, which is in port overnight and until mid-day on the following day. Please note that you cannot board before 12:30 p.m., as the ship is being prepared for you.

The ship will be docked at Batthyany Pier, on the Buda side of the river, directly across from the Parliament building. As the exact location of the ship may change, please call the ship upon arrival in Budapest for directions.

Often compared to Paris for its refinement and sophistication, Budapest is a walker’s delight. Art Nouveau architectural treasures, an atmospheric Old Town, an array of markets brimming with fresh produce, and the towering splendor of Buda Hill converge into a rich and rewarding canvas. This delightful city is centered around the lilting flow of the Danube and the graceful span of the famed Chain Bridge. It is impossible to avoid falling under its spell, which you will do this morning when you join Andrea, our local guide, for a full day of exploration. Andrea shares stories of growing up in this vibrant city as you amble through tree-lined parks and stately squares ringed by stunning villas and embassies. You will also learn about the city’s famed Széchenyi Baths, one of several in Budapest fed by underground thermal springs. The lesser-known back streets of Liberty Square and the capital’s famed Opera House, where Gustave Mahler once conducted beckon. Walk along the grandly elegant Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admire the Parliament Building, a masterwork of Gothic Revival overlooking the river.

You pause for lunch at a local restaurant to enjoy hearty Hungarian dishes—perhaps a traditional Hungarian paprika-spiced goulash or chicken paprikash. A glass of Hungarian wine, a popular drink here since Roman times, or a tipple of locally produced pálinka fruit brandy might round out your culinary experience. By walk’s end, your guide delivers you to your river ship, moored on the Danube. You settle in and gather for a festive Hungarian folklore show on board before dinner.

Settle into your stateroom, unpack your gear, and relax as your deluxe river vessel delivers you to your next thrilling destination. Designed for efficiency and comfort, the “Star Ships” of Emerald Waterways elevate your active exploration of Europe to new heights. Easy access to enchanting riverside locations, relaxed cruising along scenic shores, fine cuisine, evening activities, and an onboard pool and wellness center converge to complement your active vacation. The ship features 72 suites and 20 staterooms, each equipped with a private bath including a shower, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, safe, complimentary WiFi, bottle of water, flat-screen TV and infotainment system, and a mini-bar (restocked daily).

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

3 miles, moderate or Budapest City Tour, easy (by coach). Cruise Budapest to Bratislava

Ascend to the summit of Buda Hill this morning, taking in views of the sprawling castle, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion. Then, make your way up Gellert Hill, blanketed by woodland and crowned by a historical citadel. Return to the ship via a walk along the Castle Garden Bazaar. Or, you may choose to join a panoramic city tour by coach.

Early risers may take an energizing yoga class on deck, a great way to liven up your limbs for the day’s activities. After breakfast, head out for an invigorating walk up Castle Hill (also fondly known as Buda Hill), crowned by the sprawling Buda Castle, the spires of Matthias Church, and the grand terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion, named for the guild of fishermen who guarded the city during the Middle Ages. Descend Buda Hill on the south side, then make the climb part-way up Gellert Hill. This partly wooded hill held a strategic role in the city’s past, as its citadel will attest. Today, much of it is protected parkland. Walk up to the Gellert statue, perched above a scenic waterfall. Then loop back to the ship along the Danube, passing the Varkert Bazar, or the “Castle Garden Bazaar”, constructed to provide an elegant visual framework for the castle complex on the hill above. Take in sweeping views of the Pest side of the city and the tranquil Danube throughout your enriching morning walk.

Alternately, join a morning coach tour with other river ship travelers. This overview of the city features Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge, the Parliament Building, and much more. After lunch on board, set sail up the Danube. Grab a spot on the deck to relax as the scenic shores of the river unfold. Later, gather around the pool with your fellow Country Walkers travelers for a private reception. A Captain’s Cocktail and welcome dinner follow. Enjoy live music this evening as you cruise to Bratislava.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Walking tour of Bratislava; 1-2 miles, easy. Devinska Nova Ves to Devin Castle; 4 miles, easy to moderate

A walking tour of Bratislava, Slovakia’s historic capital, reveals architecture spanning the ages. Then, shuttle to the nature reserve of Devinska Kobyla to follow hiking trails through a bucolic setting to the ancient fortification of Devin Castle.

Arrive in Bratislava around breakfast-time. A small jewel along the Danube’s silvery thread, it is the only capital to border two other nations. The result is a fascinating convergence of Slovakian, Hungarian, and Austrian sensibilities. Bratislava’s large pedestrian center boasts numerous inviting sidewalk cafes and rich period architecture spanning medieval, Baroque, and Communist eras. The gleaming white Bratislava Castle watches over the city from its hillside perch. Shuttle into town, to get acquainted with its charms during a walking tour. There’ll be time afterward to follow your own interests before returning to the ship by foot.

After lunch, head out of the city to Devinska Nova Ves, home to a large Croatian community. Here, you set out on a hike through the nature reserve of Devinska Kobyla. Follow a well-maintained trail through wide meadows, sylvan forests, and lovely countryside, marveling at magnificent views of the Danube and Morava rivers. On a clear day, you may even see the distant Alps. Along the way, you walk through a protected prehistoric seabed and abandoned sandpit. Sandberg, as this collection of marine and terrestrial fossils is known, serves as proof to scientists that this entire area was a seabed 14-16 million years ago. You pause at the cozy Cafe Eden, where you may enjoy a refreshing glass of local currant wine or beer and a slice of traditional cake. Continue to Devin Castle, once a border fortress, military station, and trade center. Today, this clifftop wonder hosts a museum whose artifacts date back to the 5th century BC.

Back on board, enjoy dinner and relax with a movie night under the stars.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lainzer Tiergarten and Hermesvilla Villa; 4-5 miles, easy to moderate

From your pier in Vienna, shuttle to Lainzer Tiergarten, 6,000 acres of protected woodlands, gardens, and wildlife. This park was established by Ferdinand I in 1561. Follow its pastoral pathways to the stately palace of Hermesvilla. After touring this palace, the former royal retreat of Empress Elizabeth, return to Vienna to explore on your own.

This morning you moor in Vienna, the City of Strauss and world-class capital of classical music. You will have time later today to explore its elegant architecture and cultural treasures. But first, there’s a lesser-known corner of the city worth discovering on foot. After a leisurely breakfast, you shuttle about 45 minutes out of Vienna for today’s rewarding walk.

Your destination is the massive Lainzer Tiergarten, more than 6,000 acres of woodland, gardens, and wildlife preserve dating to the time of Ferdinand I, who cordoned it off as a hunting ground for his family in 1561. Today, the Austrian government looks after this nature park, which is still home to wild boar and deer. You begin your walk at the Nikolaitor gate and make your way through an enormous garden into the shade of forests and the lush green of meadows to Wiener Blick, an observation point looking down upon Vienna from 1,424 feet. Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Michiko visited this scenic spot in 2002. Tranquil pathways lead to the Rohrhaus restaurant, a charming eatery serving Viennese dishes. After lunch here, continue to the magnificent Hermesvilla, a palace gifted to Empress Elizabeth (affectionately called “Sisi”) by Emperor Franz Joseph I in an attempt to persuade her to cease her traveling ways. Surrounded by dense woodland and swooping meadows, this stately palace was the castle of Sisi’s dreams. During your visit, you learn how the Austrian royals lived.

You may also choose to embark on a full day of independent self-exploration of Vienna on your own, or maybe join the ships’ guests for a morning walking tour of Vienna or a relaxing two-and-a-half-hour biking tour to Danube Island (both included in the tour price).

We leave Vienna very late tonight, which means you have ample time to explore the glorious city on your own after your walk. Your explorations may lead you along the city’s famed Ringstrasse, a showcase of the city’s magnificent architecture, including the Vienna State Opera House, City Hall, and staggeringly beautiful museums. These museums once served as official buildings and cultural repositories of the monarchy. To finish you day in Viennese style, you are invited to join an excursion to a special Viennese Evening Concert, featuring music of Strauss and Mozart. This private event is available only to those on our ship, with transportation included.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Wachau Wine Valley; 4-6 miles, easy to moderate. Optional hike to the ruins of the Dürnstein Castle; moderate to challenging or free time. Melk Abbey

Arrive in the storybook village of Dürnstein, then walk among the lush terraced vineyards, meadows, and forests of the Wachau Valley, Austria’s renowned wine-growing region. After lunch along the trail, admire the spectacular Baroque Melk Abbey, perched on a hill overlooking the Danube.

The first thing you notice as you approach Dürnstein is the powder-blue bell tower rising above red roofs, set against the green hills behind. Dürnstein is one of the most enchanting villages on the Danube. Even the cliffside castle that watches over the town, which once held Richard the Lionheart captive, seems torn from a storybook. After your morning arrival, choose between free time to stroll through town, or join your guides on a 30-minute moderate to challenging ascent to the ruins of the Dürnstein Castle. Afterward, set out for one of the most scenic walks of the journey, starting with a short ferry ride across the river.

You are in the heart of Austria’s Wachau Valley, the celebrated wine-growing region considered by many to be the most beautiful stretch on the Danube. Set among the region’s castle ruins, churches, and abbeys are lush vineyards and hillside orchards. Few places measure up to the valley’s beauty and thriving viniculture. Your walk today follows the Rossatz Panoramic Trail. Stunning views greet you as you ascend high above the Danube and step into the most dynamic wine-growing area of the region. You’ll delight in a long stroll through hillside vineyards as you amble among stone terraces, orchards, and through meadows where shepherds once roamed with their flocks. Dreamy dry grasslands, shady oak and hornbeam woodlands, and stunning rock formations alternate with views of the free-flowing Danube and city of Dürnstein below. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a charming restaurant, sitting under the shade of an apricot tree surrounded by the vineyards or, on a cooler day, by the crackling log fire. Sample traditional delicacies from regional farmers including locally aged cheese, farmer’s bread, smoked meats, and dips accompanied by a tasting of the region’s full-bodied wines.

Private transportation delivers you to your ship in Melk, home to a stunning Baroque abbey overlooking the Danube. Here, you board the ship for some relaxation time or join a walk to the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, where you can admire one of Austria’s finest works of architecture. This spectacular monastery perched on a hill overlooking the Danube is a vision in Italian Baroque finery, from lush frescoed ceilings to the gilded library, with thousands of preserved medieval manuscripts.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bavarian Forest Museum; 4-5 miles, easy to moderate

Dock in Engelhartszell today. Following a morning shuttle, your scenic walk along the sylvan, low-mountain trails of the Bavarian Forest concludes at the Bavarian Forest Museum Village, an astonishing collection of farmhouses, chapels, and mills spanning Germany’s history. Alternately, sail towards Passau to explore on your own.

After a hearty breakfast, you arrive in Engelhartszell where you drive, approximately one hour, to the starting point of your walk in the Bavarian Forest. This low-mountain region of Germany sits near the borders of Austria and the Czech Republic. The day’s walk follows pleasant trails shaded by the canopy overhead and leads into open clearings past pristine lakes. You conclude your walk at the Bavarian Forest Museum Village, huddled on Dreiburgensee Lake. The open-air museum has more than 100 reconstructed buildings from the period between 1580 and 1850. There’ll be time to stroll among the farmhouses, chapels, mills, and the oldest schoolhouse in Germany (from 1666) and to watch artisans as they practice their crafts. This fascinating repository, including an extensive collection of folkloric items, provides an intriguing glimpse of Bavaria’s past.

During your visit, relax at a traditional Bavarian restaurant over lunch where the farmer’s aromatic bread and fried pastries are sure to tempt you! After your museum visit, shuttle to Passau, the scenic “City of Three Rivers” at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz for a guided walk among its splendid Gothic and Baroque buildings. Along the way, admire the Baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where Europe’s largest church organ bellows tunes out through its 17,000 pipes. You’ll have time to explore the cobbled streets and graceful arcades of Passau on your own. Perhaps you’ll hike to the hilltop pilgrimage church of Pauliner Kloster Mariahilf via the “heavenly ladder” of 321 canopied steps. From the monastery grounds, take in sweeping views of Passau. After your tour, your group will rejoin the ship and set sail for Regensburg. Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail followed by the Captain’s Gala Dinner later this evening.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Walking tour of Regensburg; 1-2 miles, easy. Hike to Weltenburg Abbey; 3 miles, easy to moderate.

A walking tour leads you into Regensburg, home of the largest medieval Old Town north of the Alps. Almost 1,500 buildings are registered as historic sites, including the 12th-century stone bridge that spans the Danube, and the imposing St. Peter’s Church.

Begin your final day of your Danube River tour in Regensburg, home to the largest medieval Old Town north of the Alps. Almost 1,500 buildings are registered as historic sites, and it boasts one of the prettiest cityscapes in Germany. Regensburg is best explored on foot, and its narrow alleys are a treat to discover. A morning walking tour introduces you to its treasures, including the 12th-century stone bridge whose 16 arches span the Danube, and the imposing St. Peter’s Church, a Gothic masterwork. As you wander, your guide fills you in on the city’s rich past.

There’ll be time in the afternoon to browse the town’s lovely squares and inviting shops on your own, but there is still an exciting hike in the store. A quick shuttle takes you to Kelheim, where you continue your day on the panoramic trail along the Danube towards the world famous Weltenburg Abbey. Following a lunch en route, you will have a private visit in the abbey, followed by a beer-tasting in one of the oldest breweries in the world. Afterwards a smaller ship will sail you along the scenic bends of the Danube Gorge to Kelheim. Your private shuttle already waits here to whisk you back to Regensburg.

This afternoon is yours to further explore Regensburg, or just relax on deck, participate in an optional activity such as a cooking demonstration, or join your fellow travelers for afternoon tea.

Later, at a private Cocktail reception with your guides, you’ll celebrate your final evening on board with live Bavarian music. Gather for a festive farewell dinner in the ship’s dining room.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, transportation of approximately 3.5 hours brings you to your centrally located hotel in Prague for your post-tour night. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Your hotel room may not be available until the designated check-in time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin your exploration of the city with your included one-day Prague Transportation Pass.

Country Walkers provides you with city information including recommendations on what to see and do in Prague during your stay.

Accommodation: Hotel K+K Central, Prague
Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning after an included breakfast, complimentary transportation is provided to Prague’s Airport based on your departure time.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Sun, May 15 to Sun, May 22 - 2022

Show Itinerary:

Guided walking tour of Budapest; 4-5 miles, easy. Traditional Hungarian Folk Show

Meet your group at 9:00 a.m. at Mamaison Hotel Chain Bridge for a full-day walk. Please be dressed for walking. Your luggage will be transported to the ship.

Should you arrive late, please plan to go directly to the ship, which is in port overnight and until mid-day on the following day. Please note that you cannot board before 12:30 p.m., as the ship is being prepared for you.

The ship will be docked at Batthyany Pier, on the Buda side of the river, directly across from the Parliament building. As the exact location of the ship may change, please call the ship upon arrival in Budapest for directions.

Often compared to Paris for its refinement and sophistication, Budapest is a walker’s delight. Art Nouveau architectural treasures, an atmospheric Old Town, an array of markets brimming with fresh produce, and the towering splendor of Buda Hill converge into a rich and rewarding canvas. This delightful city is centered around the lilting flow of the Danube and the graceful span of the famed Chain Bridge. It is impossible to avoid falling under its spell, which you will do this morning when you join Andrea, our local guide, for a full day of exploration. Andrea shares stories of growing up in this vibrant city as you amble through tree-lined parks and stately squares ringed by stunning villas and embassies. You will also learn about the city’s famed Szechenyi Baths, one of several in Budapest fed by underground thermal springs. The lesser-known back streets of Liberty Square and the capital’s famed Opera House, where Gustave Mahler once conducted beckon. Walk along the grandly elegant Andrassy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and admire the Parliament Building, a masterwork of Gothic Revival overlooking the river.

You pause for lunch at a local restaurant to enjoy hearty Hungarian dishes—perhaps a traditional Hungarian paprika-spiced goulash or chicken paprikash. A glass of Hungarian wine, a popular drink here since Roman times, or a tipple of locally produced palinka fruit brandy might round out your culinary experience. By walk’s end, your guide delivers you to your river ship, moored on the Danube. You settle in and gather for a festive Hungarian folklore show on board before dinner.

Settle into your stateroom, unpack your gear, and relax as your deluxe river vessel delivers you to your next thrilling destination. Designed for efficiency and comfort, the “Star Ships” of Emerald Waterways elevate your active exploration of Europe to new heights. Easy access to enchanting riverside locations, relaxed cruising along scenic shores, fine cuisine, evening activities, and an onboard pool and wellness center converge to complement your active vacation. The ship features 72 suites and 20 staterooms, each equipped with a private bath including a shower, hairdryer, bathrobes, slippers, safe, complimentary WiFi, bottle of water, flat-screen TV and infotainment system, and a mini-bar (restocked daily).

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner

3 miles, moderate or Budapest City Tour, easy (by coach). Cruise Budapest to Bratislava

Ascend to the summit of Buda Hill this morning, taking in views of the sprawling castle, Matthias Church, and Fisherman’s Bastion. Then, make your way up Gellert Hill, blanketed by woodland and crowned by a historical citadel. Return to the ship via a walk along the Castle Garden Bazaar. Or, you may choose to join a panoramic city tour by coach.

Early risers may take an energizing yoga class on deck, a great way to liven up your limbs for the day’s activities. After breakfast, head out for an invigorating walk up Castle Hill (also fondly known as Buda Hill), crowned by the sprawling Buda Castle, the spires of Matthias Church, and the grand terrace of Fisherman’s Bastion, named for the guild of fishermen who guarded the city during the Middle Ages. Descend Buda Hill on the south side, then make the climb part-way up Gellert Hill. This partly wooded hill held a strategic role in the city’s past, as its citadel will attest. Today, much of it is protected parkland. Walk up to the Gellert statue, perched above a scenic waterfall. Then loop back to the ship along the Danube, passing the Varkert Bazar, or the “Castle Garden Bazaar”, constructed to provide an elegant visual framework for the castle complex on the hill above. Take in sweeping views of the Pest side of the city and the tranquil Danube throughout your enriching morning walk.

Alternately, join a morning coach tour with other river ship travelers. This overview of the city features Buda Castle, the Chain Bridge, the Parliament Building, and much more. After lunch on board, set sail up the Danube. Grab a spot on the deck to relax as the scenic shores of the river unfold. Later, gather around the pool with your fellow Country Walkers travelers for a private reception. A Captain’s Cocktail and welcome dinner follow. Enjoy live music this evening as you cruise to Bratislava.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Walking tour of Bratislava; 1-2 miles, easy. Devinska Nova Ves to Devin Castle; 4 miles, easy to moderate

A walking tour of Bratislava, Slovakia’s historic capital, reveals architecture spanning the ages. Then, shuttle to the nature reserve of Devinska Kobyla to follow hiking trails through a bucolic setting to the ancient fortification of Devin Castle.

Arrive in Bratislava around breakfast-time. A small jewel along the Danube’s silvery thread, it is the only capital to border two other nations. The result is a fascinating convergence of Slovakian, Hungarian, and Austrian sensibilities. Bratislava’s large pedestrian center boasts numerous inviting sidewalk cafes and rich period architecture spanning medieval, Baroque, and Communist eras. The gleaming white Bratislava Castle watches over the city from its hillside perch. Shuttle into town, to get acquainted with its charms during a walking tour. There’ll be time afterward to follow your own interests before returning to the ship by foot.

After lunch, head out of the city to Devinska Nova Ves, home to a large Croatian community. Here, you set out on a hike through the nature reserve of Devinska Kobyla. Follow a well-maintained trail through wide meadows, sylvan forests, and lovely countryside, marveling at magnificent views of the Danube and Morava rivers. On a clear day, you may even see the distant Alps. Along the way, you walk through a protected prehistoric seabed and abandoned sandpit. Sandberg, as this collection of marine and terrestrial fossils is known, serves as proof to scientists that this entire area was a seabed 14-16 million years ago. You pause at the cozy Cafe Eden, where you may enjoy a refreshing glass of local currant wine or beer and a slice of traditional cake. Continue to Devin Castle, once a border fortress, military station, and trade center. Today, this clifftop wonder hosts a museum whose artifacts date back to the 5th century BC.

Back on board, enjoy dinner and relax with a movie night under the stars.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Lainzer Tiergarten and Hermesvilla Villa; 4-5 miles, easy to moderate

From your pier in Vienna, shuttle to Lainzer Tiergarten, 6,000 acres of protected woodlands, gardens, and wildlife. This park was established by Ferdinand I in 1561. Follow its pastoral pathways to the stately palace of Hermesvilla. After touring this palace, the former royal retreat of Empress Elizabeth, return to Vienna to explore on your own.

This morning you moor in Vienna, the City of Strauss and world-class capital of classical music. You will have time later today to explore its elegant architecture and cultural treasures. But first, there’s a lesser-known corner of the city worth discovering on foot. After a leisurely breakfast, you shuttle about 45 minutes out of Vienna for today’s rewarding walk.

Your destination is the massive Lainzer Tiergarten, more than 6,000 acres of woodland, gardens, and wildlife preserve dating to the time of Ferdinand I, who cordoned it off as a hunting ground for his family in 1561. Today, the Austrian government looks after this nature park, which is still home to wild boar and deer. You begin your walk at the Nikolaitor gate and make your way through an enormous garden into the shade of forests and the lush green of meadows to Wiener Blick, an observation point looking down upon Vienna from 1,424 feet. Japanese Emperor Akihito and his wife Michiko visited this scenic spot in 2002. Tranquil pathways lead to the Rohrhaus restaurant, a charming eatery serving Viennese dishes. After lunch here, continue to the magnificent Hermesvilla, a palace gifted to Empress Elizabeth (affectionately called “Sisi”) by Emperor Franz Joseph I in an attempt to persuade her to cease her traveling ways. Surrounded by dense woodland and swooping meadows, this stately palace was the castle of Sisi’s dreams. During your visit, you learn how the Austrian royals lived.

You may also choose to embark on a full day of independent self-exploration of Vienna on your own, or maybe join the ships’ guests for a morning walking tour of Vienna or a relaxing two-and-a-half-hour biking tour to Danube Island (both included in the tour price).

We leave Vienna very late tonight, which means you have ample time to explore the glorious city on your own after your walk. Your explorations may lead you along the city’s famed Ringstrasse, a showcase of the city’s magnificent architecture, including the Vienna State Opera House, City Hall, and staggeringly beautiful museums. These museums once served as official buildings and cultural repositories of the monarchy. To finish you day in Viennese style, you are invited to join an excursion to a special Viennese Evening Concert, featuring music of Strauss and Mozart. This private event is available only to those on our ship, with transportation included.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Wachau Wine Valley; 4-6 miles, easy to moderate. Optional hike to the ruins of the Dürnstein Castle; moderate to challenging or free time. Melk Abbey

Arrive in the storybook village of Dürnstein, then walk among the lush terraced vineyards, meadows, and forests of the Wachau Valley, Austria’s renowned wine-growing region. After lunch along the trail, admire the spectacular Baroque Melk Abbey, perched on a hill overlooking the Danube.

The first thing you notice as you approach Dürnstein is the powder-blue bell tower rising above red roofs, set against the green hills behind. Dürnstein is one of the most enchanting villages on the Danube. Even the cliffside castle that watches over the town, which once held Richard the Lionheart captive, seems torn from a storybook. After your morning arrival, choose between free time to stroll through town, or join your guides on a 30-minute moderate to challenging ascent to the ruins of the Dürnstein Castle. Afterward, set out for one of the most scenic walks of the journey, starting with a short ferry ride across the river.

You are in the heart of Austria’s Wachau Valley, the celebrated wine-growing region considered by many to be the most beautiful stretch on the Danube. Set among the region’s castle ruins, churches, and abbeys are lush vineyards and hillside orchards. Few places measure up to the valley’s beauty and thriving viniculture. Your walk today follows the Rossatz Panoramic Trail. Stunning views greet you as you ascend high above the Danube and step into the most dynamic wine-growing area of the region. You’ll delight in a long stroll through hillside vineyards as you amble among stone terraces, orchards, and through meadows where shepherds once roamed with their flocks. Dreamy dry grasslands, shady oak and hornbeam woodlands, and stunning rock formations alternate with views of the free-flowing Danube and city of Dürnstein below. Along the way, enjoy lunch at a charming restaurant, sitting under the shade of an apricot tree surrounded by the vineyards or, on a cooler day, by the crackling log fire. Sample traditional delicacies from regional farmers including locally aged cheese, farmer’s bread, smoked meats, and dips accompanied by a tasting of the region’s full-bodied wines.

Private transportation delivers you to your ship in Melk, home to a stunning Baroque abbey overlooking the Danube. Here, you board the ship for some relaxation time or join a walk to the Benedictine Abbey of Melk, where you can admire one of Austria’s finest works of architecture. This spectacular monastery perched on a hill overlooking the Danube is a vision in Italian Baroque finery, from lush frescoed ceilings to the gilded library, with thousands of preserved medieval manuscripts.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Bavarian Forest Museum; 4-5 miles, easy to moderate

Dock in Engelhartszell today. Following a morning shuttle, your scenic walk along the sylvan, low-mountain trails of the Bavarian Forest concludes at the Bavarian Forest Museum Village, an astonishing collection of farmhouses, chapels, and mills spanning Germany’s history. Alternately, sail towards Passau to explore on your own.

After a hearty breakfast, you arrive in Engelhartszell where you drive, approximately one hour, to the starting point of your walk in the Bavarian Forest. This low-mountain region of Germany sits near the borders of Austria and the Czech Republic. The day’s walk follows pleasant trails shaded by the canopy overhead and leads into open clearings past pristine lakes. You conclude your walk at the Bavarian Forest Museum Village, huddled on Dreiburgensee Lake. The open-air museum has more than 100 reconstructed buildings from the period between 1580 and 1850. There’ll be time to stroll among the farmhouses, chapels, mills, and the oldest schoolhouse in Germany (from 1666) and to watch artisans as they practice their crafts. This fascinating repository, including an extensive collection of folkloric items, provides an intriguing glimpse of Bavaria’s past.

During your visit, relax at a traditional Bavarian restaurant over lunch where the farmer’s aromatic bread and fried pastries are sure to tempt you! After your museum visit, shuttle to Passau, the scenic “City of Three Rivers” at the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz for a guided walk among its splendid Gothic and Baroque buildings. Along the way, admire the Baroque St. Stephen’s Cathedral, where Europe’s largest church organ bellows tunes out through its 17,000 pipes. You’ll have time to explore the cobbled streets and graceful arcades of Passau on your own. Perhaps you’ll hike to the hilltop pilgrimage church of Pauliner Kloster Mariahilf via the “heavenly ladder” of 321 canopied steps. From the monastery grounds, take in sweeping views of Passau. After your tour, your group will rejoin the ship and set sail for Regensburg. Enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail followed by the Captain’s Gala Dinner later this evening.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Walking tour of Regensburg; 1-2 miles, easy. Hike to Weltenburg Abbey; 3 miles, easy to moderate.

A walking tour leads you into Regensburg, home of the largest medieval Old Town north of the Alps. Almost 1,500 buildings are registered as historic sites, including the 12th-century stone bridge that spans the Danube, and the imposing St. Peter’s Church.

Begin your final day of your Danube River tour in Regensburg, home to the largest medieval Old Town north of the Alps. Almost 1,500 buildings are registered as historic sites, and it boasts one of the prettiest cityscapes in Germany. Regensburg is best explored on foot, and its narrow alleys are a treat to discover. A morning walking tour introduces you to its treasures, including the 12th-century stone bridge whose 16 arches span the Danube, and the imposing St. Peter’s Church, a Gothic masterwork. As you wander, your guide fills you in on the city’s rich past.

There’ll be time in the afternoon to browse the town’s lovely squares and inviting shops on your own, but there is still an exciting hike in the store. A quick shuttle takes you to Kelheim, where you continue your day on the panoramic trail along the Danube towards the world famous Weltenburg Abbey. Following a lunch en route, you will have a private visit in the abbey, followed by a beer-tasting in one of the oldest breweries in the world. Afterwards a smaller ship will sail you along the scenic bends of the Danube Gorge to Kelheim. Your private shuttle already waits here to whisk you back to Regensburg.

This afternoon is yours to further explore Regensburg, or just relax on deck, participate in an optional activity such as a cooking demonstration, or join your fellow travelers for afternoon tea.

Later, at a private Cocktail reception with your guides, you’ll celebrate your final evening on board with live Bavarian music. Gather for a festive farewell dinner in the ship’s dining room.

Accommodation: MS Emerald Destiny/Emerald Sun/Emerald Sky
Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Your tour concludes after an included breakfast aboard the Emerald Ship. Your guides or the ship’s crew can assist with booking a taxi at your own expense to the train station, where you can board a direct train to the Munich Airport. The ship is scheduled to arrive in port the day before.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Accommodations

Linger Longer with a Tour Extension

Budapest riverfront
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021 2022

2021 Pre-Tour Extension - Budapest

  • 1 night at the Mamaison Hotel Andrássy, Budapest
  • Breakfast
  • 3-day Budapest Transportation Pass
  • Airport and ship transfers
  • City Information

1 Night From $148
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $98

Begin your adventure by departing from a convenient gateway city in the United States or Canada. Spend your first night aloft.

Upon arrival at Budapest’s airport, a representative holding a Country Walkers sign meets you as you exit the baggage claim area. A complimentary small-group transfer will be provided to your Budapest hotel, approximately 30 minutes away. The remainder of the day is at your leisure (no meals included).

If you are going to be delayed meeting our transfer representative for more than 15 minutes due to delayed or lost luggage, please contact our emergency assistance provider, Allianz Global Assistance, by calling the numbers listed in the front of this packet. This service is available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week to assist you with any type of travel delay.

Our drivers are generally able to wait for up to 45 minutes from the time your flight lands, after which you would be responsible for your own transfer.

Your hotel room may not be available until the designated check-in time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk. The rest of the day is free to relax or begin your exploration of the city with your included three-day Budapest Transportation Pass.

Country Walkers provides you with City Information including recommendations on what to see and do in Budapest during your stay.

Accommodation: Mamaison Hotel Andrássy

Today, explore Budapest on your own. This cosmopolitan city offers different experiences on each bank of the Danube, and a wealth of historical and cultural treasures. Upon arrival at your hotel, you will have received a complimentary Public Transportation Pass, sure to make exploring easy.

Discover Heroes’ Square or browse the many stalls and food offerings of Market Hall, the city’s largest indoor market and a marvelous emporium of Hungarian delights. Indulge in the many pleasures of Andrássy Avenue, Budapest’s sophisticated answer to the Parisian Champs-Élysées, all within walking distance of your hotel. Across the river, on the Buda side, you might explore the vibrant Castle District, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched some 550 feet above the Danube. In the Old Town, view the Gothic Buda Castle and explore narrow medieval streets and squares, browsing shops and sampling Hungarian specialties at cafés. Head over to Fisherman’s Bastion for panoramic views of the ornate Parliament Building, and the rest of the city, and then duck into the nearby Gothic Matthias Church.

With thermal springs running under its streets, Budapest is a city of spas—about a dozen—where locals gather to “take the waters” and catch up on family gossip. Your hotel can help you find one that suits you.

Please note that a full-day guided city walk with a local expert, which includes a walk up Castle and Gellért hills, is offered during the main trip, so you may want to plan your time accordingly; please refer to the daily itinerary for included visits.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Mamaison Hotel Andrássy

Budapest riverfront
Pre-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021 2022

2022 Pre-Tour Extension - Budapest

  • One night at the Mamaison Hotel Chain Bridge, Budapest
  • 3-day Budapest Transportation Pass
  • Airport car service for arrival
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

1 Night From $148
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $98

All you have to do is get to the airport. On our Flight + Tour Combos, we’ll take care of the rest, handling all the logistics, so you can travel with peace of mind. Spend your first night aloft and arrive refreshed for an unforgettable trip.

Start off your first day in Budapest right by having a Country Walkers representative greet you at the airport. A complimentary car service will whisk you to your centrally located hotel. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore this charming city at your leisure.

Accommodation: Mamaison Hotel Chain Bridge

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Please note that a full-day guided city walk with a local expert, which includes a walk up Castle and Gellért hills, is offered during the main trip, so you may want to plan your time accordingly; please refer to the daily itinerary for included visits.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Mamaison Hotel Chain Bridge

Czech Republic: Vienna to Prague 2
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021 2022

2021 Post-Tour Extension - Prague Post-Trip

  • 2 nights at the Hotel K+K Central, Prague
  • Daily breakfast
  • 3-day Prague Transportation Pass
  • Airport and ship transfers
  • City Information

2 Nights From $248
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $198

Stay on in Prague to uncover its many medieval treasures. Your included three-day Prague Transportation Pass (that you received upon your arrival yesterday) makes getting around a breeze.

Country Walkers provides you with City Information including recommendations on what to see and do in Prague during your stay

Your hotel is located in the heart of the Old Town, making it the perfect place to begin your discoveries. Dating back to 1091, this historical district is the oldest of Prague’s quarters. Its center, the Old Town Square, is dominated by the Gothic-style Church of Our Lady Before Tyn, with distinctive twin gables. Nearby is the Town Hall, where you may choose to linger a while, or at least until the top of the hour. That’s when the Prague Orloj, or Astronomical Clock, comes alive with figures of the Apostles and other sculptures marking time with a magical blend of wonder and precision. You might also wish to explore the Jewish Quarter, or Josefov, named after the Emperor Josef II. Located in the Old Town, or Staré Mesto, the Jewish Quarter includes the remains of Prague’s former Jewish ghetto. Since many Jewish people died during World War II or were forced by the Communist regime to leave the country, the current Jewish community in Prague numbers only 5,000 to 6,000 people.

Prague’s “New Town,” founded in the 14th century, contains Wenceslas Square, once an ancient horse-trading site, now a modern shopping center. Nearby is the grand National Museum, the largest museum in the Czech Republic, where you can peruse exhibits of the natural and social sciences. New Town is also home to many splendid churches and Charles Square, one of the largest square in medieval Europe.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel K+K Central, Prague

Today, you maybe wish to gain a full view of Prague by walking across the famous Charles Bridge, which has spanned the Vltava River since the early 1400s. Upon crossing, you arrive in Hradcany, the impressive castle district. Explore this vast complex, the seat of Bohemian kings, Holy Roman emperors, and, today, the President of the Czech Republic. The Castle District remains an opulent display of Prague’s history, with towering St. Vitus Cathedral, old royal palaces, resplendent gardens, and grand halls. It is easy to spend the day within the castle walls—the largest ancient castle complex in the world—without retracing your steps. You’ll find many opportunities to pause at charming cafés to refuel with strudel, pork & dumplings, and perhaps a glass of pale lager or pilsner.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel K+K Central, Prague

This morning, a complimentary small-group transfer is provided to Prague’s Airport. Your Country Walkers guides will let you know your departure time from the hotel during your tour.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the front desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

County Walkers transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Czech Republic: Vienna to Prague 2
Post-Tour
Flight + Tour Combo Only
2021 2022

2022 Post-Tour Extension - Prague Post-Trip

  • Two nights at the Hotel K+K Central, Prague
  • 3-day Prague Transportation Pass
  • Airport car service for departure
  • Daily breakfast
  • City information

2 Nights From $248
per person, double occupancy

Single Supplement: From $198

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel K+K Central, Prague

After a delicious included breakfast at your hotel, you are free to explore on your own, using our included city information packet to guide your discoveries.

Included Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel K+K Central, Prague

This morning after an included breakfast, complimentary transportation is provided to Prague’s Airport based on your departure time.

Included Meals: Breakfast

What's Included

Flight + Tour Combo
Tour Only
Exceptional boutique accommodations (F+T) or deluxe river cruise ship (7 nights) Check Check
21 on-tour meals: 7 breakfasts, 7 lunches,7 dinners Check Check
Local guides with you throughout tour Check Check
Local wine and/or beer with dinner Check Check
Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary Check Check
Travel assistance available 24/7 provided by Allianz Global Assistance Check Check
Telescopic walking sticks provided on tour Check Check
Roundtrip airfare Check
One extra night in Budapest and one extra night in Prague Check
Airport car service for arrival & departure Check
Pre- and post-tour breakfasts Check
Business-class upgrades available Check
Morocco: Marrakesh, Foothills of the High Atlas & Essaouira

Dates & Prices

Flight + Tour Combo

11 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $2,198

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

8 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $2,048

Limited Spaces Left

Sat, Oct 16 - Tue, Oct 26, 2021

$5,298

Reserve Online
Limited Spaces Left

Mon, Oct 18 - Mon, Oct 25, 2021

$4,298

Reserve Online

Flight + Tour Combo

11 days. Includes round-trip international airfare, airport car service, additional hotel nights with included breakfast, and your tour.

Single Supplement: From $2,198

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Tour Only

8 days. Includes your tour only.

Single Supplement: From $1,998

Limited Spaces Left

Fri, May 13 - Mon, May 23, 2022

$5,798

Reserve Online
Limited Spaces Left

Sun, May 15 - Sun, May 22, 2022

$4,798

Reserve Online

Thu, Jun 16 - Sun, Jun 26, 2022

$5,798

Reserve Online

Sat, Jun 18 - Sat, Jun 25, 2022

$4,798

Reserve Online

Thu, Sep 15 - Sun, Sep 25, 2022

$5,998

Reserve Online

Sat, Sep 17 - Sat, Sep 24, 2022

$4,998

Reserve Online

Thu, Oct 13 - Sun, Oct 23, 2022

$5,298

Reserve Online

Sat, Oct 15 - Sat, Oct 22, 2022

$4,298

Reserve Online
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