Explore the cultural landscapes of five countries situated along three legendary rivers—the Rhine, Maine, and the Danube—on this special cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest which features a choice of excursions and many World Heritage sites. 

Starting at: $5,990 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Budapest, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, situated along the Danube River  Fisherman's Bastion, found on the Buda side of Budapest  View of the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna Austria  The beautiful Strauss memorial in Vienna  The village of Durnstein, along the Wachau Valley, Austria  Interior of Melk Abbey, the renowned Benedictine monastery overlooking the Danube  The beautiful rococo design of St. Stephan's Cathedral in Passau  Hilltop medieval castle overlooking the Rhine River near Oberwesel  The idyllic Rhine River, near Kaub  City of Cologne, showcasing the High Gothic cathedral   The picturesque town of Bamberg  Bikes along the canal, Amsterdam  Traditional Dutch landscape of countryside, windmills, and bicycles  Vermeer's <i>The Milkmaid</i> in Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. Credit: Frans Lemmens/Alamy

Voyage Through Europe

From Amsterdam to Budapest Featuring the Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers

16 days from $5,990

Explore the cultural landscapes of five countries situated along three legendary rivers—the Rhine, Maine, and the Danube—on this special cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest which features a choice of excursions and many World Heritage sites. 

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

*Save $250 per person on 2020 departures when you book by December 2, 2019!

No single supplement for solo travelers! (Limited availability. Book early to ensure your place.)

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. Visit the Tour Details tab and click on "Special Air Rates/Services" drop down. 

Overview

Explore the cultural landscapes of five countries situated along three legendary rivers—the Rhine, Maine, and Danube—on this special cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam, which features a choice of excursions and many World Heritage sites. 

Highlights Include

  • Holland: Enjoy time in canal-laced Amsterdam, where you can take a tour of the Rijksmuseum, a walking tour of the Herengracht canal district, or a picturesque bicycle ride north of the city. 
  • Germany: Gaze upon hilltop castles as you sail through the breathtaking Rhine Gorge and enjoy walking tours in Cologne and Koblenz. Then continue on the Main River and stop in the medieval towns of Miltenberg and Würzburg and Bavarian Blumberg. Cruise along the Danube to Nuremberg, known for its associations with World War II, as well as Regensberg and lovely Passau.
  • Austria: Cruise along the beautiful Wachau Valley and stop at the Benedictine abbey at Melk. In Dürnstein, enjoy a walking tour, a bicycle ride along the river, or a tour and tasting at a local winery. Arriving in elegant Vienna, tour Hofburg Palace, Schönbrunn Palace, or Klosterneuburg Monastery.
  • Slovakia: Choose a tour featuring Bratislava’s musical heritage, medieval architecture, or Castle Hill.
  • Hungary: Conclude your cruise in Budapest and explore the city's highlights, Jewish heritage, or cuisine. 
  • Small Ship Experience: Enjoy cruising aboard an upscale small ship that features sophisticated staterooms and public spaces, superb amenities, excellent cuisine, and an informal ambiance. This river cruise features the Amadeus Silver II (2019) and Amadeus Queen (2020). Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience. See more information on the individual ships on the Tour Details page. 

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 — Depart the U.S. / Arrive in Amsterdam, Holland

Depart the U.S. for Amsterdam, the Netherlands on your transatlantic flight. After an early morning arrival at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport transfer to the Amadeus Queen. Luggage will be expedited to traveler’s cabins. Early arrivals will have a short orientation tour of Amsterdam. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available to assist with information and planning independent activities.

In the afternoon board a small canal cruiser for a unique tour of Amsterdam. Admire some of the city’s tree-lined canals, 1,500 bridges, and quaint Dutch homes on this narrated excursion. (R,D)

Day 3 — Amsterdam

Begin the day with a talk by a local expert on Contemporary Holland and its place in Europe. This morning there’s a choice of fascinating included shore excursions:

Choice #1 –The Rijksmuseum: Take an audio guided tour the magnificent Rijksmuseum, showcasing a world-class collection of Dutch Masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals.

Choice #2 – Waterland Bicycle Hike: Travel to “Waterland” for a guided bike ride in a rural setting. Waterland is located north of the city and nearly half its acreage is fen, a marshy wetland important to local bird and wildlife. Additionally, there are small villages and many officially registered historic sites. After the ride, there’s time for refreshments in the village of Broek.

Choice #3 – Canal District Walking Tour: Join a walking tour of one of the most beautiful and canals in Amsterdam; the Herengracht. Explore the history of the district at Herengracht Museum with fantastic 3D animation, models, projection and an interactive multimedia exhibition. The museum was opened in 2011 after the Amsterdam canal district was listed as a World Heritage site.

This evening join fellow travelers for a festive welcome reception in the lounge followed by dinner in the dining room as the ship departs for Cologne(B,L,R,D)

Day 4 – Cologne

While cruising gather on the top deck to enjoy Frühschoppen, a mid-morning German tradition of beer with pretzels, sausage, and mustard. This afternoon the ship arrives in Cologne. Enjoy a walking tour of this medieval city showcasing lovely Patrician Houses and quaint cobblestone streets and alleyways. Discover the World Heritage site of Kölner Dom, the world-famous cathedral that survived the ravages of WWII. It is one of the largest Gothic structures in the world. (B,L,D)

Day 5 – Koblenz

Today enjoy a fascinating walking tour of Koblenz. The city was once a Roman outpost located at the strategic confluence of the Mosel and Rhine Rivers. You’ll stroll through the town’s narrow streets and see the Town Hall; the famous Schängel Fountain; the Church of Our Lady, and the Old Castle of the Electors of Trier, that today houses the Municipal Archives and Library. Continue to the Old Merchant’s Hall, home to the Middle Rhineland Museum. See the German Corner with its monument to Emperor Wilhelm II.

This afternoon cruise the picturesque Rhine Gorge. Gather on deck to marvel at the ancient hilltop castles, riverside towns, and villages and view the Lorelei Rock made famous in a German fable. Later in the day gather with fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal conversation about your adventure so far. This evening enjoy dinner on board. (B,L,D)

Day 6 – Miltenberg

Spend the morning cruising toward Miltenberg and enjoy lunch on board. The ship will dock this afternoon for a walking tour of this charming river town. Pass the Market Square and a 16th-century fountain and half-timbered houses that make this one of the most photographed places in Germany. See the Old Town Hall and the oldest inn in Germany, built in 1590. Visit St. Kilian’s winery and sample the local liqueur in the 15th-century vaulted cellar. Later in the day the ship departs Miltenberg cruising along the Main River. (B,L,D)

Day 7 – Würzburg

Tour the Würzburg Residence, one of Europe’s finest Baroque palaces. Later there is a walking tour of the historic city center where you’ll see St. Kilian’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, the University, and the bustling Marketplace. After lunch, enjoy free time in town. Late in the day join fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an exchange of ideas and experiences. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Bamberg

Enjoy a morning of cruising. This afternoon the ship will arrive in Bamberg, a World Heritage site where there will be a choice of included shore excursions:

Choice #1-Bamburg Panoramic Tour: See the highlights of this picturesque city by motorcoach. View the famous Neptune fountain, the grand rocco archway of the Obere Brükek and more.

Choice #2 – Bamberg Walking Tour: A walking tour showcases up-close the remarkable Gothic and Baroque architectural masterpieces. Explore the Rococo arch of the Obere Brücke and admire the red-roofed fishermen’s houses and the Baroque mansions of this town that is evocative of a German fairytale.

Choice #3 – Culinary Delights: For those interested in local food specialties, join this special culinary tour to visit the town’s bakery, butcher, deli, and candy store to learn about and sample local Franconian specialties such as the famous Bamberger Hörnle, a variation of the croissant; the Bamberger Weck, a type of roll with sausage; the famous local licorice and the unique smoked beer!

This evening the ship departs for Nuremberg cruising the Rhine/Maine/Danube canal. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Nuremberg

Early this morning, the ship will arrive in the famous city of Nuremberg where there’s a choice of included excursions:

Choice #1 – The Sights of Nuremberg: In Nuremberg, see the courthouse where the Nazi War Trials were held between 1945 and 1949. Continue on a walking tour visiting Nuremberg’s renowned hilltop castle courtyard. Visit the center of town and the Hauptmarkt, dominated by the Schoener Brunnen, a beautiful 14th-century Gothic fountain, one of Nuremberg's most famous attractions. See Our Lady's Church, then St. Lorenz Church, built in the 15th century.

Choice #2 –Documentation Center Museum: Join a World War II historical tour of Nuremberg including a visit to Documentation Center that showcases the tragic ramifications of the National Socialist Party regime.

Choice #3 – Rural Life Excursion: Enjoy an exclusive visit to a Franconian farm to learn about rural life before continuing to see nearby countryside villages.

After lunch, a shuttle will provide service to and from Nuremberg city center. Gather before dinner in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. Dinner will be served aboard the ship. (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Regensburg

This morning enjoy cruising and lunch aboard the ship.

In the  afternoon there is a choice of included tours ashore:

Choice #1 – Historic Regensburg Walking Tour: The city is wonderfully preserved and designated as a World Heritage site. Join a walking tour that will showcase the old Roman Tower and Gate. The 12th-century Stone Bridge is a great example of medieval engineering. See the Gothic Old Town Hall and St. Peter’s Cathedral with its remarkable stained-glass windows. Next, visit the Thurn and Taxis Castle, a former monastery and royal residence.

Choice #2 – The Fast Lane: Travel to the Regensburg BMW Factory for a tour of the facility that employs 9,000 workers and produces 1,100 autos per day.

Late in the day, the ship will depart Regensburg. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Passau

This morning, depart the ship for a walking tour of Passau. See the Gothic Town Hall, the residences of the Prince-Bishops, the former Niedernburg Abbey, and the Holy Cross Church. The tour ends at the Residenzplatz with its elegant old patrician homes and St. Stephen’s Church where you’ll see the world’s largest church organ. In early afternoon, the ship sails from Passau for Melk, Austria, cruising the Danube River. Pass the Schlogene Schlinge, or Danube Loop, an extreme bend in the river between Passau and Melk. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Melk / Dürnstein

This morning explore Melk Abbey, a World Heritage site and Austria’s most beautiful and impressive Benedictine Abbey. From the abbey terrace, there are remarkable views of the Danube

The ship will then sail through the magnificent Wachau Valley, a 25-mile valley defined by the Danube River. It is thought the valley was home to prehistoric people and today, you’ll find remarkable vineyards, villages, churches and vintage castles.

This afternoon you’ll have a choice of included excursions ashore:

Choice #1 – Dürnstein Walking Tour: In the 12th- century, Richard the Lionheart was held prisoner here in Dürnstein on his return to England from the Crusades. Spend time in town and see the baroque Stiftskirche with its blue and white decoration. Dürnstein is often called the Pearl of the Wachau Valley.

Choice #2 – Bicycling the Danube: Join a two-hour bicycle tour along the Danube and enjoy a wine and refreshments break along the way in Weissenkirchen.

Choice #3 – Wachau Valley Wines: Take an excursion to visit a local winery. Sample some of the wines produced in the Wachau Valley.

Late in the day the ship departs for Vienna. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Vienna

Start the day with a talk by a local expert about the history of Vienna. Choose one of the included shore excursions being offered:

Choice #1 – Imperial Vienna: The historic city center of Vienna is designated a World Heritage Site. Visit the Imperial Apartments of the opulent Hofburg Palace. Drive along the Ringstrasse, one of the most famous avenues in Europe. See the University, one of the oldest in Europe; the City Hall; the Burgtheater; Houses of Parliament and the State Museums. Drive past monuments to Johann Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. See the Musikverein, home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Staatsoper, of the most revered opera houses in the world.

Choice #2 – Art and Wine Tour: Of all the Austrian monasteries, the Klosterneuburg Monastery showcases great medieval and baroque art treasures as well as fascinating artifacts in the monastery’s treasury. After the tour, enjoy a sampling of wine produced at the monastery. Afterward, there is a short walking tour in the center of Vienna.

Choice #3 – Schönbrunn Palace: Tour the Schönbrunn Palace, a World Heritage site, and the lavish summer residence of the Habsburgs. Visit its magnificent State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors and remarkable Formal Gardens.

Return to the ship for lunch and time at leisure this afternoon.

Shuttle buses will operate between the ship and the city center throughout the afternoon and evening. After dinner, attend a charming waltz performance and lesson accompanied by a classical trio. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Bratislava

Arrive in Bratislava in the early morning. After breakfast, gather with your Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for an informal discussion.  A local expert will then join the group for a talk about Slovakia’s Velvet Revolution. Later this morning, there is a choice of included excursions ashore:

Choice #1 – Bratislava Old Town & Cafe: Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, is a vibrant showcase of medieval architecture. See the National Theater; St. Martin's Cathedral; the Old Town Hall; 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. Stop at a famous café and see 17th-century frescoes depicting scenes from the city’s rich past. Learn how their pastry is made and sample one with coffee.

Choice #2 – Bratislava Old Town & Music: Bratislava is a city with a formidable musical heritage. It’s here that Hummel was born, Liszt began his career, Bartok attended school, Beethoven taught, and Haydn composed. This special tour of the quaint Old Town directs focus to the venues associated with these famous musicians. Next travelers will visit a Rococo Palace now the City Gallery. A local musical performance is planned, featuring young talent.

Choice #3 – Bratislava Castle and Beer Tasting: Explore former Pressburg, as Bratislava was once known, with a tour of the Castle, the former Royal Residence and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Visit the Old Town center with its charm and great architecture. At the end of the tour, experience the rich local brewing tradition and enjoy the best Slovak beers during a tasting at a typical pub in the Old Town.

This evening, gather with fellow travelers for a reception and a toast to your remarkable journey, followed by dinner aboard ship. (B,L,R, D)

Day 15 — Budapest

Early this morning, the ship will arrive in Budapest. You’ll enjoy your choice of included excursions of this fascinating and beautiful city:

Choice #1 –Highlights of Budapest: This panoramic tour includes both the Buda and Pest sections of the city. See Heroes Square, the Opera House, and the iconic Gothic Parliament Building. Continue to the old Castle District, with its Matthias Church and the turreted Fisherman's Bastion for exceptional views of the city.

Choice #2 – Living Local: Join a local guide for a visit to the Grand Market and then stop at a coffee house to watch and learn how strudel is made. Enjoy a piece of strudel with coffee or tea, and end the excursion with a taste of the local schnapps called Palinka.

Choice #3 – Budapest’s Jewish Quarter: Take an extraordinary walk through the old Jewish Quarter to visit the Great Synagogue and the "Tree of Life." Then visit the Holocaust Memorial Center, a renovated synagogue that dates back to the 1920s and serves as a memorial and museum for and about Hungarian Jews that were killed in The Holocaust. Finally, see the “Shoes Memorial” on the River Bank. This is the memorial place from where the Nazi Hungarians shot the Jews into the Danube River in winter of 1944-45. Special Note: If tour falls on a Saturday or Jewish holiday the Great Synagogue is closed for visits and the group will still see it from the outside, but also visit inside the Páva Street Synagogue. If the tour falls on a Monday the Holocaust Memorial is closed and the group will instead visit the Jewish Museum at the Great Synagogue during their visit there.

Enjoy your final dinner on board the Amadeus Queen this evening. The ship will then depart the dock for an evening cruise. Gather on deck to see the city sparkle as many of Budapest’s most prominent buildings and bridges are illuminated at night. Enjoy your final dinner on board the Amadeus Queen this evening. The ship will then depart the dock for an evening cruise. Gather on deck to see the city sparkle as many of Budapest’s most prominent buildings and bridges are illuminated at night. (B,L,D) 

Day 16 — Return to the U.S.

After an early breakfast, disembark the ship and transfer to Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your return flight to your U.S. gateway city. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)