DAY 1: Sunday, March 28
Embark in Vilshofen, Germany | Depart at 11:00 pm
A skyline graced by the spire of a historic church and the arch of a more modern bridge reveals the essence of Vilshofen's appeal. Here where three rivers meet – the Vils, Wolfach, and Danube – you'll enjoy cycling expedtions on pretty paths and hikes in the neighbouring Bavarian forest.
DAY 2: Monday, March 29
Arrive in Linz, Austria at 9:00 am | Depart at 8:00 pm
Named the European Capital of Culture in 2009 and added to the roster of UNESCO Creative Cities as a City of Media Arts in 2014, Linz embraces the present and future, with reverence to its past. The city's layout reflects its history, with an ancient medieval centre encircled by neoclassical, neo-baroque, and neo-Renaissance neighbourhoods.
DAY 3: Tuesday, March 30
Arrive in Passau, Germany at 9:00 am | Depart at 5:00 pm
At the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz rivers, Passau is also situated at a meeting of cultures. The town began as a Roman settlement, enjoying the rising tide of influence as the largest bishopric in the Holy Roman Empire and enduringly vibrant as a hub for various trade pursuits, including salt, swords and ideas. Wander the cobbled streets of Old Town, gaze upon arched bridges and Italianate manses and visit magnificent St. Stephen’s Cathedral and New Bishop’s Residence.
DAY 4: Wednesday, March 31
Arrive in Melk, Austria at 9:00 am | Depart at 1:00 pm then Cruise the Scenic Danube Wachau Valley | Arrive in Durnstein, Austria at 3:00 pm | Depart at 11:59 pm
Best known for its fortified baroque Benedictine monastery, Melk Abbey, the town of Melk boasts an assortment of smaller gems. Among them, the city’s riverside location, serene and regal with a ribbon of wooded groves giving way to the lovely village. Cobbled lanes and a petite size make for a pleasant stroll with a chance to discover its 16th-century Town Hall, or Rathaus, in the center of town, and Haus am Stein, or House at the Rock. Built in the 15th century, the vine-covered abode is Melk’s oldest building.
Considered one of the most visited tourist spots in the Wachau Valley, Durnstein is in a robust wine-growing region sitting alongside the Danube river. Durnstein Castle, the region's famous architectural highlight, sits atop a rocky mountain, high above the Danube, at its base. Durnstein's beauty is enhanced by verdant forests, rolling hills, and thriving vineyards that surround the town. Sip some of the region's local wines and enjoy a leisurely day in this postcard-worthy European town.
DAY 5: Thursday, April 1
Arrive in Vienna Austria at 7:00 am
Once the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and forever known for its manicured gardens, ornate architecture – especially that of the famed Ringstrasse – and distinguished roster of composers who either were born or lived here, Vienna finds itself at the very center of European culture, even as it sits near the border of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary.
DAY 6: Friday, April 2
Depart Vienna, Austria at 4:00 pm
DAY 7: Saturday, April 3
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary at 9:00 am
Commanding both sides of the Danube – with the Chain Bridge connecting hilly Buda with flat Pest – Hungary’s capital enchants with its magnificent architecture of domes and spires, 18th-century homes, bridges and lampposts. The UNESCO-listed Castle Hill welcomes all to explore Buda Castle, Trinity Square, Matthias Church and Fisherman's Bastion.
DAY 8: Sunday, April 4
Disembark in Budapest in the morning