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April 13-27, 2017 | A VALON P ASSION
See the highlights of Central Europe on this enchanting river cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest.
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. 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.
If you have any questions please call Danny Genung at (909) 266-0117 or email him at [email protected]
Itinerary Overview
Apr 13
Apr 14
Apr 15
Apr 16
Apr 17
Apr 18
Apr 19
Apr 20
Apr 21
Apr 22
Apr 23
Apr 24
Apr 25
Apr 26
Apr 27
Arrive In Amsterdam, Holland
Amsterdam, Holland
Cologne, Germany
Rhine Gorge–Rüdesheim
Main Village River
Dürnstein, Austria
Bratislava, Slovakia
Budapest, Hungary
Budapest (Disembarkation)
Day 1 – April 13
Arrival in Amsterdam
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)
Day 2 – April 14
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)
Optional Premium Excursions:
ANNE FRANK HOUSE Visit the hiding place where Anne Frank wrote her
diary during the Second World War. For more than two years, Anne Frank,
her family, and four others lived secretively in the back part of her father's
office building at #263 Prinsengracht, before being betrayed and turned in
to the Nazis. If you have read the famous diary much of this will be
familiar to you, but even if you haven't this can be a thought provoking
place to see. The Anne Frank House/Museum, open since 1960, is
probably the most famous attraction in town for new visitors. Take
advantage of our tailor made tour, with an introduction by our local
escort, hassle free transport and priority entrance.
Historical Keukenhof with over 7 million tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and all
the other spring bulbs, is a must. The floral displays in the park and the
flower shows in the various pavilions are a glorious visual feast. And in the
midst of this magnificent spectacle of color there are also exquisite works
of art. Keukenhof is an unforgettable experience for people of all ages. It
has been one of the most popular destinations in the Netherlands for
almost 60 years and is famous worldwide. Here you can gain inspiration
while you relax in the magnificent surroundings of the park. It is unique
and guarantees the most fabulous photos.
Day 3 – April 15
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 – April 16
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
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,
Day 5 – April 17
Main Village River
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 – April 18
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,
Day 7 – April 19
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 – April 20
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 – April 21
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)
Optional Premium Excursion
Danube Gorge has both a gentle and a strange beauty. In a magnificent
show of force, the Danube has carved its way through the Swabian Alb to
create a stunning landscape - a wild, romantic stretch of river with sheer
cliffs rising over 300 feet out of the water. At its upper end Weltenburg
Abbey is located on a peninsula directly below the cliffs of the gorge. It
was founded by Irish or Scottish monks in 620 and is one of the oldest
abbeys in Bavaria. The present Benedictine abbey dates back to the 18th
century when it was extensively rebuilt in baroque style. Their ceiling
frescoes of the Heavenly Jerusalem blend seamlessly with the abbey
interior and are particularly noteworthy. Important is also that
Weltenburg Abbey houses the oldest abbey brewery in the world, as the
monks have been brewing beer since 1050. A beer and a "pretzel" are a
welcome refreshment.
Day 10 – April 22
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 Český Krumlov in
the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Breakfast, Lunch,
Optional Premium Excursions:
SALZBURG - SOUND OF MUSIC Picturesquely located at the foothills of
the Alps the city is known as the birth-place of Mozart. Salzburg is also the
setting for the Sound of Music movie, which has shaped the city's
perception in the minds of generations. But Salzburg is much more. It is a
wealthy city with history based on the salt trade from the nearby Alpine
Mountains-a city full of beautiful baroque buildings, nestled between the
mountains and green waters of the Salzach River. In your free time
strolling through the small but busy lanes with their wrought iron signs,
using a cable car to ride up to the castle on the hill for views, or just
passing time by relaxing on one of the many terraces makes you feel part
of the scenery. On our scenic ride by coach you will admire the beauty of
the region. Our dedicated local experts will talk about and show you the
city, and relive scenes from the Sound of Music. After free time we shall
also visit the church at Mondsee where the "von Trapps" were married.
SALZKAMMERGUT LAKE DISTRICT The picturesque mountain lakes, the
luscious green of the hills and fields, striking mountain cliffs and romantic
villages - these are just a few reasons that for centuries attracted
countless writers, composers and creative artists to find inspiration in the
magnificent landscape of the Salzkammergut region, shared between the
provinces of Salzburg, Upper Austria and Styria - the famous Austrian Lake
District. The literal translation of the Salzkammergut is "salt chamber
estate" and refers to an area where salt was mined and which was
formerly under the control of the Imperial Chamber in Vienna. Today, the
term has developed into a brand name for one of the loveliest holiday
regions of Central Europe with over 70 lakes, which are of drinking water
quality and range in color from turquoise to emerald green. Let us reveal
to you the unspoiled beauty of Gmunden and St. Wolgang region and
some of the most panoramic routes in Austria.
Day 11 – April 23
Dürnstein, Austria
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)
Optional Premium Excursions
WACHAU DINNER WITH WINE TASTING End your day dining in one of
Austria's iconic wine institutions: the "Heurigen", where vintners serve
their own wines from the current harvest year. The "Heuriger" combines
the conviviality of the city with the rural ambience of the vineyards. The
wine is traditionally accompanied by cold dishes, assorted cheese, cold
cuts, and sometimes warm dishes from the buffet, typical Austrian
desserts, apricot dumplings, poppy seed noodles to name a few.
Unlimited wine and soft drinks are included. During dinner you will be
entertained by an accordion player, with typical Viennese
"Schrammelmusik", which is the most popular form of modern Austrian
folk music.
BIKING IN THE WACHAU VALLEY Biking along the Danube is becoming a
popular pastime. So if you are fit and ready for some exercise grab a bike,
a helmet and cycle along the waters of the mighty river, passing the lovely
vineyards and romantic villages of the Wachau Valley. (Minimum physical
condition necessary - not allowed for hearing impaired - weather
Day 12 – April 24
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 aweinspiring 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!
Optional Premium Excursions
ROYAL WALTZ CONCERT Don't miss a truly magical evening in Vienna,
featuring the most famous opera Arias by Mozart, Strauss Waltzes, polkas
and operetta excerpts from "Die Fledermaus" by Johann Strauss, "The
Merry Widow" by Franz Lehar, the Blue Danube waltz, the Radetzky
March and many others, performed by a brilliant cast of top European
singers, beautifully costumed dancers and the Original Wiener Salon
Orchestra. A true celebration of joy and optimism featuring familiar
music, combined with dance and storytelling that recalls happy memories
of a time when music helped to shape the city of Vienna: a city of worldclass artistry and a true flair for celebration.
summer residence of the Imperial family, is considered one of the most
beautiful baroque palaces in Europe. The Habsburgs resided here for the
better part of the year in numerous rooms to house the large Imperial
family. Emperor Franz Joseph, who later married the enchanting Sissi and
reigned from 1848 to 1916, was born here in 1830. The monarch spent his
last years entirely in the palace, which became the property of the new
Republic of Austria only two years after his death. Today, the palace is
part of UNESCO's cultural heritage due to its historic importance, unique
grounds and splendid furnishings. Follow our local expert and visit
Empress Sissi's former summer residence, afterwards take your time to
stroll through the park and enjoy the impressive gardens.
Day 13 – April 25
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)
Optional Premium Excursion
SCHLOSS HOF - A CASTLE AND ITS PEOPLE Just another castle? No!
Schloss Hof is more than just a castle. Like other palaces Schloss Hof
shows you the splendor of representation, this one also offers beautiful
gardens and the empress' farm & animals. After the guided visit of the
palace you can explore the animal zoo-garden; maybe pet the white
donkeys, and take your time to explore the palace grounds in order to get
a picture of the aristocracy centuries ago.
Day 14 – April 26
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)
Optional Premium Excursions
genuine countryside experience only 30 minutes away from the capital.
Stroll through the stunning vineyards of Etyek, enjoy the fascinating
landscape of the youngest and the fastest developing wine region of
Hungary. Visit two small, family-run wineries; learn the secrets of
winemaking from the local winemakers. Sample three top quality wines in
each cellar along with tasty Hungarian snacks. You will leave with a really
intimate understanding of the traditions and people that make the wines
here so special.
time with your guide; join a short coach trip along the Danube
embankment with a short walk to one of the hidden treasures of
Budapest, the House of Hungarian Art Nouveau. It houses a unique
exhibition representing the refined world of Art Nouveau, including
paintings, furniture, decorative objects and interiors, to give an insight
into the atmosphere of middle-class life in Budapest in the "happy prewar times". The second stop of your tour is the "musical jewelry box" of
Pest, the Hungarian State Opera House. The building enchants not only
lovers of opera and ballet, but everyone who is amazed by the fine neoRenaissance architecture. Following the visit you will be treated to coffee
and cake in the Book Café, in the glamorous main hall of the Paris
Department Store, one of the hidden secrets of the city. Sip your coffee
and taste a fine delicacy of Hungarian confectioners in this glossy literary
cafe with glittering chandeliers and flamboyant ceiling frescoes, painted
by the same artist whose masterpieces raise the splendor of the State
Opera House, Parliament and several other public buildings. This tour is a
must for any passionate photographer as there are plenty of fantastic
photo opportunities.’
Day 15 – April 27
Budapest (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
To reserve your spot, please co ntact Danny Genung at
[email protected] m or call (909) 266 -0117

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