Discover eight countries and many World Heritage sites as you cruise the fabled Danube River through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe.

Starting at: $4,695 Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Budapest and the Danube  The Wachau Valley of the Danube, a World Heritage site, Austria  Fishermen's Bastion, Budapest  The Matthias Church, located on the Buda side of Budapest  The Strauss Memorial in Vienna, a city renowned for music  St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna  The gardens at Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace, a World Heritage site and the Habsburgs' summer residence  The village of Durnstein, along the Wachau Valley, Austria  Historic Melk Abbey, overlooking the Danube River, Austria  Interior of Melk Abbey, the renowned Benedictine monastery overlooking the Danube  The beautiful rococo design of St. Stephan's Cathedral in Passau  Prague and the Vltava River and historic Charles Bridge   Prague's Old Town Square  The legendary Charles Bridge, Prague  Hradcany Hill with St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague  The 13th-century Old New Synagogue, Prague  The medieval astronomical clock, Old Town Square, Prague  The village of Durnstein, along the Wacahu Valley, Austria

A Danube River Cruise

From Sofia to Prague Aboard the 160-guest Amadeus Silver and Amadeus Silver III

15-16 days from $4,695

Discover eight countries and many World Heritage sites as you cruise the fabled Danube River through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe.

or Call 855-330-1542

SOLO TRAVELERS

No single supplement for solo travelers! 

Overview

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

The fabled Danube River flows through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe— an evocative landscape of ancient capitals, lovely villages, and magnificent churches, palaces, and castles. Join us for this unique itinerary that showcases eight countries and many World Heritage sites. 

Highlights Include:

  • Germany: Cruise to Passau, located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and other sites.
  • Czech Republic: Journey to Prague and enjoy three days in the capital of Old World Europe, featuring in-depth tours of Prague Castle and other highlights.
  • Bulgaria: Explore Sofia’s and learn about its history and culture, and listen to the rhythms of traditional folk music at a special performance. In Vidin, visit a 17th-century church and a 19th-century synagogue.
  • Romania: Tour the Museum of the Iron Gate Region in Drobeta-Turnu Severin.
  • Serbia: Follow the Danube along the Serbian-Romanian border. Sail through the Iron Gate Gorge, a remarkable passage just 530 feet wide. In Belgrade, take a walking tour of this restored Serbian capital.
  • Hungary: Cruise into the heart of Budapest*, one of Europe’s most striking capitals, nestled along the banks of the Danube. Explore both the Buda and Pest sides of the city, visiting Heroes’ Square, the Opera House, the Gothic-style Parliament, and Fisherman’s Bastion.
  • Slovakia: Discover Bratislava*, Slovakia’s capital and largest city, during a walking tour that showcases its medieval architecture and focuses on the Velvet Revolution.
  • Austria and the Wachau Valley: In Vienna*, tour the Imperial Apartments of the lavish Hofburg Palace and drive along the Ringstrasse, one of Europe’s most magnificent boulevards. Then sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley, stopping to visit lovely Dürnstein* and the Benedictine Abbey at Melk, a masterpiece of Austrian baroque architecture. 

Please Note: *A choice of specialty tours is offered in these cities. Guests will visit all sites listed below. However, the May 16-31, 2017 departure will run in the reverse direction. The September 6-21, 2016 and September 1-16, 2017 departure will continue on the Amadeus Silver. The May 16-30, 2017 and May 25-June 9, 2017 departures will accommodate guests on the Amadeus Silver III.

Always the best with Smithsonian Journeys!

- Joe U.

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.

2016 & 2017 Itinerary

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

The fabled Danube River flows through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe—an evocative landscape of ancient capitals, lovely villages, and magnificent churches, palaces, and castles. Join us for this unique itinerary that showcases eight countries and many World Heritage sites. 

Highlights Include:

  • Bulgaria: Explore Sofia and learn about its history and culture, and listen to the rhythms of traditional folk music at a special performance. In Vidin, visit a 17th-century church and a 19th-century synagogue.
  • Romania: Tour the Museum of the Iron Gate Region in Drobeta-Turnu Severin.
  • Serbia: Follow the Danube along the Serbian-Romanian border. Sail through the Iron Gate Gorge, a remarkable passage just 530 feet wide. In Belgrade, take a walking tour of this restored Serbian capital.
  • Hungary: Cruise into the heart of Budapest*, one of Europe’s most striking capitals, nestled along the banks of the Danube. Explore both the Buda and Pest sides of the city, visiting Heroes’ Square, the Opera House, the Gothic-style Parliament, and Fisherman’s Bastion.
  • Slovakia: Discover Bratislava*, Slovakia’s capital and largest city, during a walking tour that showcases its medieval architecture and focuses on the Velvet Revolution.
  • Austria and the Wachau Valley: In Vienna*, tour the Imperial Apartments of the lavish Hofburg Palace and drive along the Ringstrasse, one of Europe’s most magnificent boulevards. Then sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley, stopping to visit lovely Dürnstein* and the Benedictine Abbey at Melk, a masterpiece of Austrian baroque architecture. 
  • Germany: Cruise to Passau, located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and other sites.
  • Czech Republic: Journey to Prague and enjoy three days in the capital of Old World Europe, featuring in-depth tours of Prague Castle and other highlights.

Please Note: *A choice of specialty tours is offered in these cities. Guests will visit all sites listed below. However, the May 16-31, 2017 departure will run in the reverse direction. The July 1-16, 2016 departure will accommodate guests on the Amadeus Silver II while the September 6-21, 2016 departure will continue on the Amadeus Silver.

Day 1 – Depart the U.S. for Sofia, Bulgaria

Day 2 – Sofia

After an early morning flight arrival, depart Sofia International Airport by motor coach for the drive to the centrally located Sofia Hotel Balkan. After settling into your accommodations, the afternoon is free of planned activities. If you are ready to start exploring, take a walk to the Town Square which is just a few blocks away.

Day 3 – Sofia

The middle ages were ending when Ottoman invaders claimed Bulgaria for their own in the 14th-century. Attend a presentation and learn about the conditions and events that led to the Bulgarian Revival of the 19th-century, when Ottoman forces were defeated and expelled. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. The tour will include the ancient ruins of Serdica, the St. George Rotunda, Alexander Batenberg Square with its former Royal Palace, the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva and Vitosha Boulevard, Sofia’s most fashionable pedestrian avenue. The afternoon is at leisure to explore Sofia on your own. This evening depart the hotel to attend a welcome dinner, featuring a live folk show performance. (B,D)

Day 4 – Vidin, Bulgaria and Embark Ship

Drive to Vidin after breakfast to board the first-class river ship. En route, stop in Belogradchik for lunch. The town of Vidin, on the Romanian-Bulgarian border, is one of the Danube’s oldest towns. Founded as a Celtic settlement 2,000 years ago, fortified by Romans, and ruled in succession by Byzantines and Ottoman Turks, it echoes the storied history of the region. During a motor coach tour, view the Mosque, Library of Osman Pazvantouglu, Crucifrom Barracks, and the Konak. Stop and enjoy a visit of the 17th-century St. Panthaleimon Church and the 9th-century Baba Vida fortress. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a festive welcome aboard reception, followed by dinner. Afterwards, the ship departs for Drobeta-Turnu Severin, Romania. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Dobreta–Turnu Severin and Orsova, Romania and the Iron Gate Gorge

Colonized by the Romans in the 2nd century B.C., the city that is now Drobeta-Turnu Severin was completely renovated after an 1829 treaty between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. One of its most important historic sites is the remains of a bridgehead that was once part of the largest bridge in the Roman Empire built across the Danube during the reign of Emperor Trajan. After visiting the WWI Memorial dedicated to the memory of Romanian soldiers, take a scenic drive to Orsova City for a live organ concert in the Catholic Cathedral, considered an architectural masterpiece of the 20th-century. The ship will follow the Danube across the southern end of the Carpathian Mountains and along the Serbian-Romanian border where you’ll see awe-inspiring landscapes of dramatic cliffs. Sail through the amazing Iron Gate Gorge, a formidable geologic wonder where the swift waters of the Danube are forced through its narrowing gap. Once a treacherous two-mile nightmare for sailors, the gorge has since been cleared of rocky obstructions and tamed by dams. The beauty of this geologic marvel makes it one of the most dramatic natural wonders of Europe. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Belgrade, Serbia

Begin the day with a discussion of present-day life in the former Yugoslavian state of Serbia. Nicknamed the "White City," magnificently restored Belgrade is one of the oldest Eastern European capitals. Rich in history, the city’s signature monument is the well-preserved hillside Kalemegdan Citadel. Towering over the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, it represents years of Serbian history, from Celtic times to present day. Enjoy a walking tour of the park and fortress and drive through the main streets of Belgrade. Within the Old Town, view the breathtaking Orthodox Cathedral, adorned with gold work and religious icons, then visit St. Sava Cathedral. Started in 1894, it is located on the spot where it is believed the Turks burned the relics of St. Sava. The afternoon will be free of planned activities. A shuttle into town from the docking site will be provided. Before dinner this evening, enjoy a local folk show on board the ship. In early evening, the ship departs Belgrade for Kalocsa, Hungary. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Pecs, Hungary

After lunch, join a walking tour of Pecs, a lovely Hungarian city known for its Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques that have now been turned into Christian churches. Stop to enjoy a sampling of local varietal wines. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Budapest

Begin the day with a choice of one of three excursions.

Choice #1 – Highlights of Budapest: Travel through both the Buda and Pest sections of the city. Visit Heroes' Square, the Opera House, and the Gothic-style Parliament Building. Continue to the old Castle District, with its 700-year-old Matthias Church and the turreted Fisherman's Bastion.

Choice #2 – Living Local: Join a tour that highlights “living like a local.” Join your guide for a tour of the 19th-century Great Market Hall and then stop at a coffee house to watch and learn how strudel is made. Enjoy a piece of delicious strudel, coffee or tea, and end your excursion with a taste of the local schnapps called palinka.

Choice #3 – Jewish Interest Tour: Explore Budapest's Jewish Quarter, including a visit to the 19th-century Great Synagogue, the largest in Europe. Then continue to the Glass House. This is a remarkable place that once served as a shelter and hiding place for about 3,000 Jews who were saved by Carl Lutz. See the Shoes on the Danube memorial, a moving tribute to the Jews who fell into the Danube after being shot by Nazis in the 1940s. End your tour with a visit to the Páva Street Synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial Center.

The afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. Late this evening, the ship departs Budapest for Bratislava, Slovakia. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Bratislava, Slovakia

Begin the day with a talk and discussion about the Velvet Revolution. Then select a shore excursion that is of greatest interest to you.

Choice #1 – Bratislava City Walking Tour: Slovakia's capital is the center of the political, social, and cultural life of the Slovak Republic as well as a showcase of medieval architecture. You’ll see the National Theater, St. Martin's Cathedral, and the Old Town Hall. Enjoy a view of St. Michael's Gate, the only remaining portion of Bratislava's medieval fortifications and the 16th-century Primate’s Palace, former winter residence of the Bishops of Esztergom. End the tour in a famous café completely painted in frescoes depicting scenes from the city’s rich past. See how typical pastries are made and enjoy a sampling with a coffee.

Choice #2 – Bratislava, where the composer Hummel was born, Liszt started his career, Bartok went to school, Beethoven taught, and Haydn worked. On a special tour of the quaint Old Town center there’s emphasis on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit an historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There you’ll have a wonderful musical experience offered by a young, local talent.

Choice #3 – The Old Capital: Explore Pressburg, as Bratislava was once called, with its Castle and former Royal Residence. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the city from high above. Visit the Old Town center with its old world charm and great architecture. At the end of the tour, experience the rich local brewing tradition and sample some of the best Slovak beers at a typical pub in the Old Town. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Vienna, Austria

Start the day with a lecture on how Vienna has kept itself relevant over the centuries. Begin exploring the city with a choice of one of two shore excursions. 

Choice #1 – Imperial Vienna: Visit the Imperial Apartments of the lavish Hofburg Palace. Drive the Ringstrasse, one of the most magnificent boulevards in the world. View the University, the oldest in the German-speaking countries, the City Hall, the Burgtheater, the Houses of Parliament, the two State Museums, and the Opera House. Travel past monuments to Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. See the Musikverein, the “Golden” Concert Hall, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Stadtsoper one of the premier opera houses in the world.

Choice #2 – Art and Wine: The Klosterneuburg Monastery provides remarkable examples of the Medieval and Baroque periods. Highlights include the Medieval Cloister, the Seven-Armed Candelabra, the Verdun Altar, the Austrian Archducal Coronet, Leopoldian Vestments and end with a wine tasting of the Klosterneuburg’s splendid wine.

Choice #3Schönbrunn Palace –Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace, the remarkable summer palace and residence of the Habsburgs and a World Heritage Site. Visit its opulent State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and stunning gardens.

After dinner on board the ship, an exclusive waltz performance and lesson will be offered accompanied by a classical trio. A highlight of the cruise! (B,L,D)

The waltz is intrinsically connected with Vienna and the Blue Danube. After dinner, costumed dancers will board the ship and offer a dance performance and will ask you to join them. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Durnstein and Melk

Durnstein is one of the most beautiful towns on the Danube, with its medieval charm and baroque character. Start your day of discovery with a choice of excursions.

Choice #1 – Durnstein Walking Tour: It was in Durnstein that Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner in the 12th-century on his way back to England from the Crusades. Step inside the blue-and-white baroque Stiftskirche in this charming town known as the Pearl of the Wachau Valley.

Choice #2 – Wachau Cycling: During this two-hour adventure, explore parts of the 745-mile (1,200-kilometer) Danube Bicycle Trail, which runs from Germany to Hungary, with an expert guide.

Choice #3 – Wachau Winery: Venture outside of Durnstein, passing stunning vineyards and lush scenery as you make your way to a local winery to enjoy a tour and sample some of the wines from the cellar.

After sailing from Durnstein, the ship winds through Austria’s spectacular Wachau Valley, considered one of the finest landscapes in all of Europe and a World Heritage Site. Admire lovely small villages clustered around charming churches and medieval castles. After an afternoon arrival in Melk, visit the Benedictine abbey, an architectural jewel with impressive interiors. The baroque building dates from 1736, and an amazing view of the mighty Danube can be seen on the abbey's terrace.  (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Passau, Germany

Nestled at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—Passau has been called “one of the seven most beautifully situated towns in the world.” See St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, Niedernburg Abbey, and the regal residence of the Prince-Bishops. This evening, join new friends and fellow travelers for a festive farewell reception, followed by dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Passau, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic

This morning leave the ship and transfer via coach to Prague. Check into your luxurious hotel only steps away from the fantastic sights and renowned landmarks in Prague’s Old Town (Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel will accommodate guests on our July 1-16 departure). The afternoon is free of planned activities. Join fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 14 – Prague

Today, set out to explore Prague, where the historic center is a World Heritage site. Pass the Archbishop’s Palace, which has been the seat of Prague’s archdiocese since 1562, as you make your way to Prague Castle. Built in the late 9th-century, the castle has been the seat of power for centuries. Even today, it is the official residence of the Czech President. Fortifications guard a plethora of architectural, religious, and national treasures. Walking through the enclave, you will see architecture styles that span the centuries. St. Vitus Cathedral, for example, has Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque architectural elements, but it also is a showcase for 20th-century art nouveau stained-glass windows. Continue to the Royal Palace, dating from the early 12th-century. As the name implies, this was a royal residence, the home of Bohemian royalty until the 16th-century. Visit the 10th-century St. George’s Basilica and Convent, the oldest part of the castle. Today, the church is a part of the Czech Republic’s National Gallery and exhibits an impressive collection of Renaissance and baroque art. As you make your way to the Old Town Square, where the tour concludes, see Charles Bridge, Prague’s landmark site. (B)

Day 15 – Prague

Begin a fascinating day of discovery as you enter Josefov, the Jewish Quarter, on Parizska Street. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum. Founded in 1906, it has weathered turbulent times under both Nazi and Communist rule. Today, it is a showcase of Jewish history and religious treasures. The collections are housed in the quarter’s six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a comprehensive look at Jewish history in Eastern Europe. Discover how traditions play a part in the different stages of one’s life at Klaus Synagogue. Maisel Synagogue traces the history of Bohemian and Moravian Jews between the 10th- and 18th-centuries. Pinkas Synagogue has one of the most heartrending exhibits featuring the names of thousands of Bohemian and Moravian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Let your interests be your guide this afternoon and explore on your own. Tonight enjoy a farewell reception at the hotel. (B)

Day 16 – Depart Prague for the U.S.

Depart the hotel for Prague International Airport and your return flight home. (B)

May 16-31, 2017 Itinerary

Special Air Rates & Services: As part of our special air program, FlexAir, available with this tour, you can choose from a wide variety of flight options. View Special Air Rates/Services to learn more.

The fabled Danube River flows through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe—an evocative landscape of ancient capitals, lovely villages, and magnificent churches, palaces, and castles. Join us for this unique itinerary that showcases eight countries and many World Heritage sites. 

Highlights Include:

  • Bulgaria: Explore Sofia and learn about its history and culture, and listen to the rhythms of traditional folk music at a special performance. In Vidin, visit a 17th-century church and a 19th-century synagogue.
  • Romania: Tour the Museum of the Iron Gate Region in Drobeta-Turnu Severin.
  • Serbia: Follow the Danube along the Serbian-Romanian border. Sail through the Iron Gate Gorge, a remarkable passage just 530 feet wide. In Belgrade, take a walking tour of this restored Serbian capital.
  • Hungary: Cruise into the heart of Budapest*, one of Europe’s most striking capitals, nestled along the banks of the Danube. Explore both the Buda and Pest sides of the city, visiting Heroes’ Square, the Opera House, the Gothic-style Parliament, and Fisherman’s Bastion.
  • Slovakia: Discover Bratislava*, Slovakia’s capital and largest city, during a walking tour that showcases its medieval architecture and focuses on the Velvet Revolution.
  • Austria and the Wachau Valley: In Vienna*, tour the Imperial Apartments of the lavish Hofburg Palace and drive along the Ringstrasse, one of Europe’s most magnificent boulevards. Then sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley, stopping to visit lovely Dürnstein* and the Benedictine Abbey at Melk, a masterpiece of Austrian baroque architecture. 
  • Germany: Cruise to Passau, located at the confluence of three rivers—the Danube, Inn, and Ilz—and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and other sites.
  • Czech Republic: Journey to Prague and enjoy three days in the capital of Old World Europe, featuring in-depth tours of Prague Castle and other highlights.

Please Note: *A choice of specialty tours is offered in these cities. Guests will visit all sites listed below. However, the May 16-31, 2017 departure will run in the reverse direction. The July 1-16, 2016 departure will accommodate guests on the Amadeus Silver II while the September 6-21, 2016 departure will continue on the Amadeus Silver.

Day 1 – Depart the U.S.

Smithsonian Travelers depart the U.S. on evening trans-Atlantic flights to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Day 2 – Prague

After an early morning flight arrival at Prague International Airport, transfer to the luxurious and centrally located Imperial Hotel. After settling-in, the balance of the day is free of planned activities. If you are ready to start exploring the city, take a stroll to the Town Square just a couple of blocks away. This evening meet new friends at a Smithsonian Journeys Welcome Reception.

Day 3 – Prague

Explore the lovely Old World city of Prague, where the historic center is a World Heritage Site. See the Archbishop’s Palace the seat of Prague’s archdiocese since 1562, as you make your way to Prague Castle. Prague Castle is the official residence of the Czech President. Walking through the enclave, you will see architecture styles that span the centuries. St. Vitus Cathedral has Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architectural elements, but it also is a showcase for art nouveau stained-glass windows. The Royal Palace, dating from the early 12th century was a royal residence and home of Bohemian royalty until the 16th century. Visit the 10th-century St. George’s Basilica and Convent, the oldest part of the complex. Today, it’s part of the Czech Republic’s National Gallery and showcases Renaissance and Baroque art. As you make your way to the Old Town Square, see Charles Bridge, Prague’s historic landmark. Get together with the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an introductory presentation. Join fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 – Prague

Begin exploring as you enter Josefov, the Jewish Quarter. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum. Founded in 1906, it has survived under both Nazi and Communist rule. It is a showcase of Jewish history and religious artifacts. The collections are located in six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a look back into Eastern Europe’s Jewish history. Visit the poignant Klaus Synagogue. Maisel Synagogue traces the history of Bohemian and Moravian Jews between the 10th and 18th centuries. Pinkas Synagogue has one of the most heartrending exhibits with the names of thousands of Bohemian and Moravian Jews who perished in the Holocaust written on its walls. Let your interests be your guide this afternoon and explore on your own. (B)

Day 5 – Prague and Passau

Depart Prague for a drive through the countryside to Passau, Germany. Rising at the confluence of three rivers; the Danube, Inn and Ilz, Passau has been called “one of the seven most beautifully situated towns in the world.” See St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, Niedernburg Abbey and the residence of the Prince-Bishops. After the tour, board the Amadeus Silver III for your eight-night cruise. This evening, join fellow travelers for a Welcome Reception followed by Dinner aboard ship. (B,D)

Day 6 – Melk and Durnstein

Upon arrival, visit Melk Abbey, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture with its remarkable views overlooking the Danube. It is considered today one of the most beautiful Baroque masterpieces in the world. The ship will depart Melk and sail through the spectacular Wachau Valley, considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe and a World Heritage Site. Admire beautiful villages clustered around charming churches and town squares.

Arrive in Durnstein where there’s a choice of afternoon shore tours.

Choice #1 - Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner in Durnstein in the 12th century on his way back to England from the Crusades. Visit the blue-and-white baroque Stiftskirche in this charming town known as the Pearl of the Wachau Valley.

Choice #2 - Join a two-hour bicycle ride along the Danube, past local vineyards and enjoy wine and a snack-break along the way.

Choice #3 – On this excursion, visit a local winery and sample some of the wines of the renowned Wachau Valley.

In late afternoon, the Smithsonian Journeys Expert will give an engaging presentation. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Vienna

This morning, attend a talk about Vienna and its place in history. Select one of the following shore excursions.

Choice #1 – Visit the Imperial Apartments of the ornate Hofburg Palace. Drive the Ringstrasse, and see the University, the City Hall, the Burgtheater, the Houses of Parliament, the two State Museums and the Opera House. Travel past monuments to Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. See the Musikverein, the “Golden” Concert Hall, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Stadtsoper one of the most renowned opera houses in the world.

Choice #2 – The Klosterneuburg Monastery provides remarkable examples of the Medieval and Baroque periods. Highlights include the Medieval Cloister, the Seven-Armed Candelabra, the Verdun Altar, the Austrian Archducal Coronet, Leopoldian Vestments and end with a wine tasting of the Klosterneuburg’s splendid wine.

Choice #3Schönbrunn Palace –Marvel at Schönbrunn Palace, the remarkable summer palace and residence of the Habsburgs and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit its opulent State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and stunning gardens.

After dinner on board the ship, an exclusive waltz performance and lesson will be offered accompanied by a classical trio. A highlight of the cruise! (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Bratislava

There is a choice of tours ashore today.

Choice #1 – Bratislava is the center and capital of the political, social and cultural life of the Slovak Republic and a showcase of fine medieval architecture. See the National Theater, St. Martin's Cathedral and the Old Town Hall. View St. Michael's Gate, the only remaining part of Bratislava's medieval fortifications and the 16th-century Primate’s Palace, former winter residence of the Bishops of Esztergom. Stop at a famous café completely painted in frescoes depicting scenes from the city’s rich past. See how local pastry favorites are made and sample one with coffee.

Choice #2Bratislava is the place the composer Hummel was born, Liszt started his career, Bartok went to school, Beethoven taught, and Haydn worked. On a special tour of the quaint Old Town center there’s emphasis on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit an historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There you’ll have a wonderful musical experience offered by a young, local talent.

Choice #3 – Explore Pressburg, as Bratislava was once called, with its Castle and former Royal Residence. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and visit the Old Town with its old world charm and remarkable architecture. At the end of the tour, sample the best Slovak beers at a typical pub in the Old Town. (B,L,D) 

Gather in the Smithsonian Journeys traveler’s corner for lively discussion. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Budapest

After arrival this morning, there’s a choice of shore excursions.

Choice #1 Budapest is one of the world's most beautiful cities in the heart of Europe and is a World Heritage Site. Travel through both the Buda and Pest sections of the city. On the excursion see Heroes Square, the Opera House and the famous Parliament Building. Continue to the old Castle District, with its old Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion.

Choice #2 – Join a guide for a visit to the Grand Market and stop at a coffee house to see how the famous strudel is made. Enjoy a piece of delicious strudel, coffee or tea, and end your excursion with a sampling of Palinka, a local schnapps.

Choice #3 – This tour includes a walk through the Old Jewish Quarter. See the great Synagogue and the Tree of Life. Then continue to the Glass House a place that was once a shelter and hiding place for about 3,000 Jews saved in late 1944 and also the center of the underground Zionist organization in Hungary. See the Shoes Memorial that remembers a place and time when Hungarian Nazis shot Jews who fell into the Danube River in the winter of 1944-45. The tour includes a visit to the Páva Street Synagogue and the Holocaust Memorial Center. The afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration. (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Kalocsa and Pecs

This morning, begin exploring on an excursion to Pecs. On a walking tour, see a city known for its Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques that have now been turned into Christian churches. Stop to enjoy a sampling of local wines. Join the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an engaging presentation. (B,L,D)

Day 11 – Belgrade

Begin the day with a discussion on present day life in the former Yugoslavian state of Serbia. Belgrade known as the White City is one of the oldest Eastern European capitals. The city’s signature monument is the well-preserved hillside Kalemegdan Citadel that dominates the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. It is evocative of centuries of Serbian history, from Celtic times to the present day. Enjoy a walking tour of the park and fortress and drive through the main streets of Belgrade. In the Old Town, see the remarkable Orthodox Cathedral, adorned with gold and religious icons, then visit St. Sava Cathedral. The afternoon will be free of planned activities. A shuttle into town from the dock will be provided. After dinner, enjoy a local Folkloric Show on board. (B,L,D)

Day 12 – Iron Gate Gorge and Dobreta Turnu Severin

Start the day with a presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. The ship will follow the Danube along the Serbian-Romanian border where you’ll see dramatic landscapes and cliffs. Sail through the remarkable Iron Gate Gorge, a geological marvel where the Danube is forced through a narrowing gap and creates one of the most dramatic natural wonders in Europe. After docking at Dobreta Turnu Severin, explore The Museum of the Iron Gate Region that showcases a variety of exhibits featuring archeology, folk art, Roman culture, Romanian culture, and fine art. See the remains of the Emperor Trajan's bridge built by Apollodorus of Damascus two millennia ago. Continue on a walking tour from the museum to Roses Park to see the statues of King Decebal, Emperor Traian, and the WW I Memorial. This evening, join fellow travelers for a Farewell Reception followed by dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 13 – Vidin and Sofia

Arrive at Vidin located on the Romanian-Bulgarian border and one of the Danube’s oldest riverside towns. Disembark and depart on a shore tour, to see the Mosque, Library of Osman Pazvantouglu, Crucifrom Barracks and the Konak. Stop and enjoy a visit of the 17th-century St. Panthaleimon Church and the 9th century Baba Vida fortress. After lunch drive to Sofia where the balance of the day is at leisure. (B,L)

Day 14 – Sofia

At an engaging lecture, learn about the conditions and events that led to the Bulgarian Revival of the 19th. century when the Ottomans were defeated and expelled. Enjoy an excursion of Sofia showcasing the ancient ruins of Serdica, the St. George Rotunda, Alexander Batenberg Square with its former Royal Palace, the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva and Vitosha Boulevard, Sofia’s upscale pedestrian avenue. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a Farewell Reception and Dinner at the hotel. (B,D)

Day 15 – Depart for U.S. Gateway Cities

Depart the hotel for Sofia International Airport and return trans-Atlantic flights to the U.S. (B)