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The Classic Blue Danube

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20252026
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Unwind and explore on a Danube river cruise, taking a scenic rail route to reach our cruise ship, and flying back for a quicker return home after our relaxing cruise through historic cities and culture-rich towns

2025 Tour code: DDF25

About the tour

Experience an eclectic cruise along the blue Danube, with landscapes brimming with ancient cities, architectural marvels, and cultural significance. Enjoy a scenic rail journey to our cruise ship, soaking up the picturesque landscapes along the way. Once onboard the luxurious Amadeus Imperial, explore the rich legacies of this iconic river. From the idyllic town of Linz to magnificent Vienna, discover the captivating mix of Danubian cultures.

As we sail through the scenic Wachau Valley, stop by the traditional town of Dürnstein and witness the beauty of Melk Abbey. Reaching Bratislava, uncover its hidden gems before continuing our cruise to majestic Budapest where our holiday ends with a magical evening cruise by the illuminated landmarks of Budapest. For a quick and convenient return journey, we fly home after our excellent cruise through the enchanting cities and landscapes of the Danube.

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Unforgettable experiences

Budapest
Budapest
Immerse yourself in the sensational ‘Pearl of the Danube’ - Budapest - with a guided tour of its striking castle, stunning buildings, and impressive monuments.
Vienna
Vienna
Discover Vienna’s imperial grandeur as we wander the city’s Baroque streets and magnificent palaces on a sightseeing tour.
Wachau Valley & Melk Abbey
Wachau Valley & Melk Abbey
Sail through the verdant valleys and vineyards of the beautiful Wachau Valley before visiting the 11th-century Melk Abbey with beautiful views across the Danube.
Salzburg
Salzburg
Explore the spectacular Austrian lakes or the creative culture of Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart.
Bratislava
Bratislava
Admire ornate buildings, fascinating museums, and interesting galleries on a guided tour of Bratislava, the Slovakian capital.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - To cultural Cologne

Our holiday begins as we meet at London St Pancras to begin our journey. We board the Eurostar to Brussels, then continue by rail to Cologne, known for its impressive Gothic cathedral, the largest in Northern Europe. After settling into our hotel we enjoy dinner in this striking city.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Discovering Cologne and to Passau where we board our luxurious ship

We enjoy a walking tour of Cologne this morning, exploring its bustling streets and lively squares. As well as visiting the cathedral, we admire the Romanesque townhouses dotting the city's streets. This afternoon, we journey by rail to Passau where our luxurious ship awaits us and we're welcomed on board with a refreshing cocktail in the lounge. After settling into your wonderful cabin and familiarising yourself with our magnificent ship, we indulge in our first delicious five-course dinner on board.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Sailing through enchanting landscapes to Linz

After breakfast, we begin our relaxing cruise downstream. Drifting through beautiful scenery into Austria, we get our first sight of amazing river landscapes. Rising hills covered with vineyards and orchards create a picturesque backdrop, occasionally revealing charming villages, medieval castles and centuries-old monasteries that cling to the hilltops. We arrive in Linz later this afternoon. The town is known for its gorgeous old town as well as its mix of baroque and modern architecture. We spend the night here amongst the vibrant atmosphere with picturesque views.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - The beautiful Austrian Lake District or stunning Salzburg

This morning we wake up in beautiful Linz where you can choose between a day in the Austrian Lake District, the Salzkammergut, or a visit to Salzburg.

The first option sees us heading into the country for a day in the lakes where we stop at UNESCO-listed Hallstatt, one of Austria's most photographed villages thanks to its pastel-coloured houses. We also visit Hallstätter See Lake and Mondsee, a pretty town set on the lake of the same name and famous for its 15th-century parish church which featured in 'The Sound of Music'.

Alternatively, travel via Mondsee to Salzburg, a beautiful Baroque city on the banks of the Salzach river. During a guided sightseeing tour, we explore Getreidegasse street, famed for its traditional shops with metal signboards and the place where Mozart was born. The Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is filled with stunning Baroque architecture, beautiful churches, quaint squares, and charming alleyways that we admire as we meander through. We return to our ship for dinner on board and set sail for a pleasant overnight cruise.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Picturesque Melk Abbey, beautiful Wachau Valley and charming Dürnstein

This morning we visit Melk Abbey, an 11th-century Benedictine Abbey that stands atop a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. It's here we see the abbey's church, one of the most beautiful Baroque churches north of the Alps.

After lunch, we cruise through the scenery of the Wachau Valley, truly a highlight of the river. This scenic area of green valleys and vineyards is dotted with picturesque riverside towns and commanding fortresses. Austria's Wachau Valley is a famous wine-making region, which makes it the perfect stop on our cruise to sample the renowned local wine. There's free time in the quaint village of Dürnstein to do just that, or simply wander the charming streets, soaking up the fairytale landscapes. This village is also home to the renowned castle where Richard I of England was imprisoned for a time and we get a great view of it from the riverside.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Discovering the magic of Vienna

After a peaceful overnight cruise, Vienna beckons with its grandeur and elegance and we arrive in the magnificent city for a guided tour. This is a chance to relish in Austria's Imperial culture, one full of tradition and rich in architectural, artistic and musical heritage.

With our expert guide, we wander the winding streets and make our way to the illustrious Ringstrasse boulevard. Here, we see many of Vienna's most ornate buildings including the world-renowned Opera House, where the greatest singers of our time have graced the stage, and the imposing Parliament Building.

After our inspiring tour, there's time to explore the city at leisure. The city's energy is infectious, and it's easy to lose yourself in the magnificent atmosphere. You may choose to visit Schonbrunn Palace, once the summer residence of the ruling Habsburg family, or alternatively indulge in the famous Sacher Torte, a Viennese delight, at one of the cosy coffee shops. Alternatively, you could explore the city centre and marvel at the striking St. Stephen's Cathedral, or delve into one of the countless museums that bring the city's history to life.

Tonight, a real treat awaits us in the lounge as we're joined by four past members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra who whisk us away with their performances of well-known classical pieces.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Glorious Bratislava

After a morning of relaxing sailing, we arrive in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, welcomed by its castle overlooking the river. We set out on a fascinating guided tour after lunch getting to know the Baroque Old Town and the castle district.

As we explore the enchanting streets, we're immersed in the vibrancy of the city, which has dramatic historic buildings, Baroque palaces and a wealth of fantastic museums and galleries. Later this afternoon we continue downstream to Hungary and to Esztergom, the former capital where we berth for the night.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Striking Budapest

As we sail toward Budapest this morning, we navigate the scenic Danube bend, passing the village of Visegrad, famous for its lovely hilltop castle. Arriving in Budapest, we're introduced to the beauty and history on a sightseeing tour of this captivating city. Known as the 'Pearl of the Danube', Budapest has plenty of impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the river. From the State Opera House and St Stephen's Basilica to Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion, each sight is more remarkable than the last.

After dinner back on board this evening, we enjoy the enchanting ambience of a traditional Hungarian Folklore troupe. This is followed by a magical night-time cruise along the Danube River, taking in the illuminated sights of Budapest.

From the Gothic-style Parliament building to Buda castle, the state buildings that line the banks on both sides are all sensationally lit up, as well as the stunning Chain Bridge. Whether you choose to relax in the cosy lounge or take in the panoramic views from the sun deck, Budapest's elegant scenery is the perfect ending to our Danube cruise.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 - Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning, it's time to disembark and say goodbye to our wonderful crew, new friends, and fellow travellers. From Budapest airport, you board your plane back to London where your holiday comes to an end. As you fly home, think back over all the memories from our cruise. We journeyed through scenic Austrian landscapes to Linz, Melk Abbey and the Wachau Valley enchanted with their beauty, while Vienna impressed us with its imperial grandeur. Finally, Bratislava's Baroque charm was followed by Budapest's breathtaking sights, crowned by a magical evening cruise by the city.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Train

Eurostar

Ship

MS Amadeus Imperial

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