Discover nine countries and many World Heritage sites as you cruise the fabled Danube River through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe between Germany and Bulgaria, with stays in Prague and Sofia.

Starting at: $5,240 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Wachau Valley of the Danube, a World Heritage site, Austria  Budapest, one of Europe's most beautiful cities, situated along the Danube River  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  Interior of Melk Abbey, the renowned Benedictine monastery overlooking the Danube  The beautiful rococo design of St. Stephan's Cathedral in Passau  Historic Melk Abbey, overlooking the Danube River, Austria  Prague's Old Town Square  Prague and the Vltava River and historic Charles Bridge   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

A Danube River Cruise

From the Czech Republic and Germany to Bulgaria Aboard the 160-guest Amadeus Star or Amadeus Queen

15-16 days from $5,240

Discover nine countries and many World Heritage sites as you cruise the fabled Danube River through the heartland of Central and Eastern Europe between Germany and Bulgaria, with stays in Prague and Sofia.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person on our September 2019 dates and all our 2020 departures when you book by July 19, 2019!

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

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

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 nine countries and many World Heritage sites, plus features a choice of specialty excursions in many cities.

Highlights Include

  • Czech Republic: Begin your journey in Prague, the capital of Old World Europe. Your three-night hotel stay features tours of Charles Bridge and the historic district; a choice of excursions, including Lobkowicz Palace, the Jewish Quarter, or Prague's architectural treasures; and some time at leisure.
  • Germany: Travel to Passau, located at the confluence of three rivers - the Danube Inn, and Ilz - and board your ship. Here, you'll visit the magnificent St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and other sites.
  • Austria and the Wachau Valley:  Sail through the beautiful Wachau Valley, a World Heritage site, stopping at the Benedictine Abbey at Melk and lovely Dürnstein. In Vienna, tour the lavish Imperial Apartments of the Hofburg Palace, the incredible Schönbrunn Palace, or Klosterneuburg Monastery, plus enjoy an evening focused on the Viennese waltz. 
  • Slovakia: Discover Bratislava, Slovakia’s capital and largest city. View St. Michael’s Gate and the Primate's Palace during a walking tour, bike along the storied Slovak-Austrian border, or explore venues associated with renowned composers.
  • Hungary: Cruise into the heart of Budapest, one of Europe’s most striking capitals, nestled along the banks of the Danube. Visit the Grand Market, join a tour through the old Jewish Quarter, or explore both the Buda and the Pest sections of the city. In Pecs, you'll see Ottoman mosques and enjoy a wine tasting.
  • Croatia: Visit the small village of Kopacevo and the culturally significant towns of Osijek and Vukovar. 
  • Serbia: In Belgrade, a choice of excursions featuring the Nikola Tesla Museum, a culinary tour, or a city highlights tour with a stop at Kalemegdan Park.
  • Romania: Follow the Danube along the Serbian-Romanian border and sail through the Iron Gate Gorge, a remarkable passage just 530 feet wide. 
  • Bulgaria: A stop in Vidin showcases a 17-th century church and a 19th-century synagogue. Conclude with a two-night hotel stay in Sofia, where you'll learn about its history and culture during a panoramic tour featuring the Royal Palace and Battenberg Square.
  • Your Elegant Small-Ship Experience: Enjoy cruising aboard an upscale small river ship that features sophisticated staterooms and public spaces, superb amenities, excellent cuisine, and an informal ambiance. Our 2019 departures will be all be aboard the Amadeus Star. For 2020 our cruise features the sister ships of Amadeus Queen (both July 2020 departures) and Amadeus Star (both the August and September 2020 departures). See more information about these ships on the Tour Details page. Please note that the direction of the cruise varies depending on departure date and is outlined under the Itinerary section below. Each voyage will also host other leading cultural and educational institutions, which will add to the excitement and energy of the experience. 

Organization and execution of our trip with Smithsonian Journeys was excellent from first contact to farewell.

- Eleanor C.

2019 Itinerary - Prague to Sofia - June 17-July 1 & September 3-17

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on an evening trans-Atlantic flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Day 2 — Prague

After an early morning flight arrival at Prague International Airport, clear brief arrival formalities and transfer to the luxurious and centrally located Imperial Hotel, or the InterContinental Prague (June departure). Each traveler will receive a Welcome Kit with city information and a map of Prague. After settling in, the balance of the day is free of planned activities.

The Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon, and throughout the program, for suggestions regarding tours, restaurants and independent activities. This evening get-together with new friends at a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Day 3 — Prague

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each day in the hotel. Start exploring at the Old Town Square where you’ll see buildings in many architectural styles. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses, palaces and churches blend to create one of the most unique city squares in Europe. See the animated Astronomical Clock that offers a performance each hour with a procession of Apostles.

Continue with a walk across the iconic Charles Bridge, built in 1357 and lined with 30 statues, it’s one of Prague’s most splendid landmarks. The balance of the day is free of planned activities. This evening, get together with the Smithsonian Journeys Expert for a presentation followed by a beer tasting. “Na zdravi!” or “Cheers!” Join fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Prague

Personalize your Prague experience today with a choice of one of the following excursions.

Choice #1 Lobkowicz Palace and Museum

Spend time exploring this fascinating museum, originally a 16th-century palace located within Prague Castle. The Lobkowicz Palace and Museum offers both remarkable panoramic views of the city and a vibrant cultural experience. For 700 years, the Lobkowicz family amassed one of the most extensive collections of Czech art and cultural artifacts in Central Europe. See collection highlights with a local expert guide.

Choice #2 Budapest’s Jewish Quarter ​

This powerful experience begins as you enter the Jewish Quarter. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum, founded in 1906. The museum endured turbulent times under both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Today, it is a remarkable showcase of Jewish history and religious treasures. The collections are housed in six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a comprehensive look at Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe.

Choice #3 Art Nouveau and Cubist Walking Tour

Discover the highlights of Prague’s remarkable 20th-century architecture on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Take a route through the city that focuses on Art Nouveau jewels and Cubist landmarks. There’s time to follow your own path this afternoon and explore on your own.

Later, join new friends in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. (B)

Day 5 — Passau

Depart Prague for a drive through the southern Czech countryside to Passau, Germany. Approximate driving time is four hours with a rest stop en route.

Situated 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.” On a tour, see the Veste Oberhaus, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and the Niedernburg Abbey.

After the tour, board the Amadeus Star for an eight-night Danube cruise. A light lunch will be served on board. This evening, join fellow travelers for a welcome aboard reception followed by dinner aboard ship. (B,L,R,D)

Day 6 — Melk, the Wachau Valley / Durnstein

Start the day with a visit to Melk Abbey, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture, and a World Heritage Site with remarkable views overlooking the Danube. The ship will depart Melk and sail through the spectacular Wachau Valley, considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe. 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 “bike hike” along the Danube, past local vineyards and enjoy a break for refreshments along the way.

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

In the late afternoon, join fellow travelers for an engaging discussion. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Vienna

This morning, select from a menu 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.

Choice #2 - The Klosterneuburg Monastery and Wine Cellar provide remarkable examples of the Medieval and Baroque periods. After exploring the cellars, enjoy 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 and stunning gardens.

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

Day 8 — Bratislava

Begin the day with a talk by a local speaker focusing on The Velvet Revolution and the Making of SlovakiaAfterward, there is a choice of tours ashore.

Choice #1 Bratislava Old Town and Cafe – The city is the center and capital of the political, social and cultural life of the Slovak Republic and a showcase of fine medieval architecture. See St. Martin’s Cathedral, the National Theater, and 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 to sample local pastry favorites with coffee or tea.

Choice #2Bratislava Old Town and Music - Bratislava 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 focus on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit a historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There, you’ll enjoy a special concert performance.

Choice #3Iron Curtain Bike Tour – The charming city of Bratislava straddles the Danube River. It’s the only city of the former Eastern Bloc that sat directly on the Iron Curtain. On this two-hour tour, you’ll ride along the Right Bank of the river where you’ll see historic and cultural highlights. Ride across to the Left Bank and through a venerable forest area to see a preserved World War II Bunker built for protection against the Nazis.

Tonight, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Traveler’s Corner for a lively discussion. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Budapest

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

Choice #1The Best of Budapest - 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 Living Local - 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 #3Jewish Interest Tour- This tour includes a walk through the Old Jewish Quarter. See the Great Synagogue and the Emanuel Tree. 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 on the Danube 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. As a special treat, see the lights of Budapest on an evening cruise on the Danube. See the dramatically illuminated Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and sail under Chain Bridge. An unforgettable experience! (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Mohacs / Pecs / Osijek / Vukovar

This morning, travel from Mohacs to 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.

After lunch in a local restaurant, continue to the village of Kopacevo, established in the 13th century. There, visit the Rural House that includes a presentation and short film about the area, its traditions and culture, as well as a tasting of local food specialties including Sljivovica the local fruit brandy. Travel on to Osijek, situated on the Drava River and the fourth largest town in Croatia and the region’s cultural and administrative center. During a walking tour, learn about the town’s historic past and visit the beautiful Tvrda Fortress.

On returning to Vukovar, you’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the town and see its cultural and historic highlights. Vukovar is one of the most beautiful Baroque towns of the former Yugoslavia. See the stunning town center, lovely churches, palaces, and the courthouse. The town was heavily damaged during the collapse of Yugoslavia and is nearly fully restored to its original appearance. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Belgrade

Begin the day with a local speaker who will offer a talk about the state of modern Serbia. Later, personalize your day with a choice of shore excursions:

Choice #1 - Belgrade City Highlights - known as the White City it’s 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 panoramic drive through the main streets of Belgrade. In the Old Town, see the remarkable Church of St. Paraskeva, one of the country’s most exquisite Orthodox churches, then visit St. Sava Cathedral.

Choice #2 - Belgrade: Eating Like a Local – Explore the Serbian culinary scene during a tour that showcases local culture through the “food experience.” Start with morning coffee and watch the city wake up and start moving. Try Rakija, the local brandy and along the way, learn about the customs and traditions that have influenced today’s food culture in Serbia. End the tour with a kabab of minced meat and sweet treats.

Choice #3Science and Scientist Tour – Discover the Nikola Tesla Museum conceived as a cultural institution, to protect and honor Tesla’s life and work. The Museum also holds his remains, which makes it one of the few museums in the world which is a memorial as well as a technical institution.

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

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.

You’ll be invited to the Sun Deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels, sausage with mustard. This evening, join fellow travelers for a farewell reception followed by dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 13 — Vindin / 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 and other historic attractions. Stop and enjoy a visit to the 17th-century St. Panteleimon 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 talk by a local expert, 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.

The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,R,D)

Day 15 — Depart for U.S.

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

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

2019 Itinerary - Sofia to Prague - June 26-July 11 & September 12-27

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on evening trans-Atlantic flights to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Day 2 — Sofia

After an early morning arrival at Sofia International Airport, clear brief Immigration and Customs formalities and transfer to the luxurious and centrally located Sofia Hotel Balkan. At the hotel, each traveler will receive a Welcome Kit containing information on Sofia and a map of the city. After settling in, the balance of the day is free of planned activities. This evening, join fellow travelers at a welcome reception at the hotel. The Smithsonian Journeys Expert will offer a short welcome and presentation. (R)

Day 3 — Sofia

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning in the hotel. An engaging local speaker will give a talk 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.

The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. This evening, meet fellow travelers during a welcome reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 4 —Sofia / Vindin

Drive to the historic town of Vidin. A stop will be made en route for lunch. Vidin is located on the Romanian-Bulgarian border and is one of the Danube’s oldest riverside towns.

On a tour, see the Mosque, Library of Osman Pazvantouglu, and other historic attractions. Enjoy a visit to the 17th-century St. Panteleimon Church and the 9th century Baba Vida.

Embark the Amadeus Star for the cruise from Vidin to Passau. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a festive welcome aboard reception and dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 — Iron Gate Gorge

This morning, the ship will continue to 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. You’ll be invited to the Sun Deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels, sausage with mustard. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Belgrade

Begin the day with a discussion on present-day life in the former Yugoslavian state of Serbia. Today, you’ll have a choice of shore excursions:

Choice #1 - Belgrade City Highlights - known as the “White City” it’s 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 drive through the main streets of Belgrade. In the Old Town, see the remarkable Church of St. Paraskeva, one of the country’s most exquisite Orthodox churches, then visit St. Sava Cathedral.

Choice #2 - Belgrade: Eating Like a Local – Explore the Serbian culinary scene during a tour that showcases local culture through the “food experience.” Start with morning coffee and watch the city wake up and start moving. Try Rakija, the local brandy and along the way, learn about the customs and traditions that have influenced today’s food culture in Serbia. End the tour with a kabab of minced meat and sweet treats.

Choice #3Science and Scientist Tour – Discover the Nikola Tesla Museum conceived as a cultural institution, to protect and honor Tesla’s life and work. The Museum also holds his remains, which makes it one of the few museums in the world which is a memorial as well as a technical institution.

The afternoon will be free of planned activities. A shuttle into town from the dock will be provided. Get together in the traveler’s corner for lively conversation. After dinner, enjoy a local Folkloric Show on board. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Vukovar / Osijek / Pecs

During a panoramic tour of Vukovar, Croatia and see why it was known as one of the most beautiful baroque towns of the former Yugoslavia. See the historic baroque Town Center, Churches, Palaces, and Courthouse. Continue to the town of Osijek, Croatia, a noted cultural center and unique military complex at the confluence of two major rivers.

On a walking tour of Pecs, see a city known for its Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques that have now been turned into Christian churches. Stop to taste the wines of the region. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Mohacs and Pecs

Being your day on an excursion from the town of Mohacs to the lovely Hungarian city of Pecs renowned for its fascinating Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques now converted to Christian churches. Stop for a visit at a local winery and sample the various varieties of wine. After returning to the ship, the day is spent cruising to Budapest. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Budapest

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

Choice #1The Best of Budapest - 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 #2Living Local - 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 #3Budapest’s Jewish Quarter - This tour includes a walk through the Old Jewish Quarter. See the Great Synagogue and the Emanuel Tree. 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 on the Danube 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. As a special treat, see the lights of Budapest on an evening cruise on the Danube. See the dramatically illuminated Parliament Building, Buda Castle, and sail under Chain Bridge. An unforgettable experience! (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Bratislava

Join fellow travelers and the Smithsonian Journeys Expert in the Travelers Corner for an informal presentation. Attend a talk by a local speaker focusing on The Velvet Revolution and the Making of Slovakia.

Afterward, there is a choice of tours ashore:

Choice #1 Bratislava Old Town and Cafe – The city is the center and capital of the political, social and cultural life of the Slovak Republic and a showcase of fine medieval architecture. See St. Martin’s Cathedral, the National Theater and 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 to sample local pastry favorites with coffee or tea.

Choice #2Bratislava Old Town and Music - Bratislava 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 focus on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit a historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There you’ll enjoy a special concert performance.

Choice #3Iron Curtain Bike Tour – The charming city of Bratislava straddles the Danube River. It’s the only city of the former Eastern Bloc that sat directly on the Iron Curtain. On this two-hour tour, you’ll ride along the Right Bank of the river where you’ll see historic and cultural highlights. Ride across to the Left Bank and through a venerable forest area to see a preserved WWII Bunker built for protection against the Nazis.

The balance of the afternoon will be at leisure. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Vienna

Start the day with a presentation, by a local speaker, on the relevance of Vienna over the centuries. Begin exploring with a choice of one of three tours ashore. The historic center of Vienna has been designated a World Heritage Site.

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.

Choice #2 - The Klosterneuburg Monastery and Wine Cellar provides remarkable examples of the Medieval and Baroque periods. After exploring the cellars, enjoy 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 and stunning gardens.

A late lunch is served aboard ship this afternoon. After dinner on board the ship, an exclusive waltz performance and lesson will be offered accompanied by classical musicians. A highlight of the cruise! (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Durnstein / the Wachau Valley / Melk

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

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 “bike hike” along the Danube, past local vineyards and enjoy a break for refreshments along the way.

Choice #3 – On this excursion, visit a local winery and sample some of the wines of the renowned Wachau Valley. After sailing from Durnstein, the ship sails through the spectacular Wachau Valley, considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe and a World Heritage Site.

You’ll be invited to the Sun Deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels, sausage with mustard. Admire beautiful villages clustered around charming churches and town squares. Visit Melk Abbey, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture with its remarkable views overlooking the Danube. Get together for a presentation by the Smithsonian Journeys Expert. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Passau and Prague

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 the Old Town Hall, Niedernburg Abbey, the Veste Oberhaus, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

A lunch featuring local German specialties will be served. Afterward, board a waiting motor coach for the drive to Prague in the Czech Republic. Upon arrival, check in at the deluxe and centrally located Art Deco Imperial Hotel. The balance of the afternoon and evening will be at leisure. (B,L)

Day 14 — Prague

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each day in the hotel. Start exploring at the Old Town Square where you’ll see buildings in many architectural styles. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses, palaces and churches blend to create one of the most unique city squares in Europe.

See the animated Astronomical Clock that offers a performance each hour with a procession of Apostles. Continue with a walk across the iconic Charles Bridge, built in 1357 and lined with 30 statues, it’s one of Prague’s most splendid landmarks. Following an exclusive lecture, there will be a beer tasting then dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15 — Prague

Personalize your Prague Experience today with a choice of excursions.

Choice #1 Lobkowicz Palace and Museum

Spend time exploring this fascinating museum, originally a 16th-century palace located within Prague Castle. The Lobkowicz Palace and Museum offers both remarkable panoramic views of the city and a vibrant cultural experience. For 700 years, the Lobkowicz family amassed one of the most extensive collections of Czech art and cultural artifacts in Central Europe. See collection highlights with a local expert guide.

Choice #2Prague’s Jewish Quarter

This powerful experience begins as you enter the Jewish Quarter. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum, founded in 1906. The museum endured turbulent times under both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Today, it is a remarkable showcase of Jewish history and religious treasures. The collections are housed in six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a comprehensive look at Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe.

Choice #3Art Nouveau and Cubist Walking Tour

Discover the highlights of Prague’s remarkable 20th-century architecture on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Take a route through the city that focuses on Art Nouveau jewels and Cubist landmarks.

There’s time to follow your own path this afternoon and explore on your own. Later, join new friends in the Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception at the hotel. (B,R)

Day 16 — Depart for U.S. Gateway Cities

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

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

2020 Itinerary - Prague to Sofia- July 7-21 & August 29-September 12

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on a transatlantic flight to Prague, Czech Republic.

Day 2 — Prague

After a morning arrival at Prague International Airport, transfer to the luxurious and centrally located Art Deco Imperial Hotel. Each traveler will receive a welcome package with city information and a map of Prague. After settling in, the balance of the day is free of planned activities.

Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available throughout the program for suggestions regarding tours, restaurants and independent activities. This evening gather for a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Day 3 — Prague

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each day in the hotel. Start exploring at the Old Town Square where you’ll see buildings in many architectural styles. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses, palaces and churches blend to create one of the most unique city squares in Europe. See the animated Astronomical Clock that offers a performance each hour with a procession of Apostles.

Continue with a walk across the iconic Charles Bridge, built in 1357 and lined with 30 statues, it’s one of Prague’s most splendid landmarks. The balance of the day is free of planned activities and your lunch is independent. This evening, get together for a beer tasting. “Na zdravi!” or “Cheers!” Then join fellow Smithsonian Journeys travelers for an exclusive dinner at a popular local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 4 — Prague

Today will be your choice of one of the following included excursions:

Choice #1 – Lobkowicz Palace and Museum: Spend time exploring this fascinating museum, originally a 16th-century palace located within Prague Castle. The Palace and Museum offer both remarkable panoramic views of the city and vibrant cultural experience. For 700 years, the Lobkowicz family amassed one of the most extensive collections of Czech art and cultural artifacts in Central Europe. See collection highlights with a local expert guide.

Choice #2 – Budapest’s Jewish Quarter: This powerful experience begins as you enter the Jewish Quarter. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum, founded in 1906. The museum endured turbulent times under both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Today, it is a remarkable showcase of Jewish history and religious treasures. The collections are housed in six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a comprehensive look at Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe.

Choice #3 – Art Nouveau and Cubist Walking Tour: Discover the highlights of Prague’s remarkable 20th-century architecture on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Take a route through the city that focuses on Art Nouveau jewels and Cubist landmarks. There’s time this afternoon to continue exploring on your own.

In the early evening join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. A list of restaurant suggestions will be provided or you may choose to dine independently in the hotel. (B)

Day 5 — Passau

Depart Prague for a drive through the southern Czech countryside to Passau, Germany. Approximate driving time is four hours with a rest stop en route.

Situated at the confluence of three rivers; the DanubeInn and IlzPassau has been called “one of the seven most beautifully situated towns in the world.” Board the Amadeus Queen –July 7 departure or the Amadeus Star-August 29 departure. Have a chance to settle into your stateroom. A light lunch will be served on board. This afternoon gather for a walking tour of Passau, see the Veste Oberhaus, St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Old Town Hall, and the Niedernburg Abbey.

This evening, join fellow travelers for a welcome reception to toast your eight night Danube River adventure.  Dinner will immediately follow aboard ship. (B,L,R,D)

Day 6 — Melk / Wachau Valley / Durnstein

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

Arrive in Durnstein where there’s a choice of included afternoon excursions:

Choice #1 – Richard the Lionheart: Richard 1 of England 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 – Bicycle Tour: Join a two-hour “bike hike” along the Danube, past local vineyards and enjoy a break for refreshments along the way.

Choice #3 – Wine Tour: On this excursion, visit a local winery and sample some of the wines of the renowned Wachau Valley(B,L,D)

Day 7 — Vienna

This morning, a local expert joins the group for a presentation on Timeless Vienna. You’ll then have your choice of the following included shore excursions:

Choice #1 – Imperial Apartments: Visit 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.

Choice #2 – Klosterneuburg Monastery and Wine Cellar:  Tour these fascinating wine cellars from the Medieval and Baroque periods. After exploring, enjoy a wine tasting of the Klosterneuburg’s splendid wine.

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

After dinner on board the ship, an exclusive waltz performance and lesson accompanied by classical musicians. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Bratislava

Begin the day with a talk by a local expert on The Velvet Revolution and the Making of Slovakia

Later this morning enjoy your choice of included excursions

Choice #1 – Bratislava Old Town and Cafe: The city is the center and capital of the political, social and cultural life of the Slovak Republic and a showcase of fine medieval architecture. See St. Martin’s Cathedral, the National Theater, and 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 to sample local pastry favorites with coffee or tea.

Choice #2 – Bratislava Old Town and Music: Bratislava 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 focus on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit a historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There, you’ll enjoy a special concert performance.

Choice #3 – Iron Curtain Bike Tour: The charming city of Bratislava straddles the Danube River. It’s the only city of the former Eastern Bloc that sat directly on the Iron Curtain. On this two-hour tour, you’ll ride along the Right Bank of the river where you’ll see historic and cultural highlights. Ride across to the Left Bank and through a venerable forest area to see a preserved World War II Bunker built for protection against the Nazis.

Tonight, gather in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for a lively discussion. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Budapest

Today, arrive in the stunning city of Budapest where you’ll have your choice among excursions.

Choice #1 – The Best of Budapest: Budapest is one of the world's most beautiful cities 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 – Living Local: 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 – Jewish Interest Tour: This tour includes a walk through the Old Jewish Quarter. See the Great Synagogue and the Emanuel Tree. 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 on the Danube 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. As a special treat, see the lights of Budapest on an evening cruise on the Danube including the dramatically illuminated Parliament BuildingBuda Castle, and sail under Chain Bridge an unforgettable experience! (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Mohacs / Pecs / Osijek / Vukovar

This morning, disembark the ship for a full day excursion where you first travel from Mohacs on an excursion to Pecs. During your walking tour, see a city known for its Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques that have now been turned into Christian churches.

After lunch in a local restaurant, continue on to the village of Kopacevo, established in the 13th century. There, visit the Rural House that includes a presentation and short film about the area, its traditions, and culture, as well as a tasting of local food specialties including Sljivovica the local fruit brandy. Travel on to Osijek, situated on the Drava River and the fourth largest town in Croatia and the region’s cultural and administrative center. During a walking tour, learn about the town’s historic past and visit the beautiful Tvrda Fortress.

Return to Vukovar where you’ll enjoy a panoramic tour of the town and see its cultural and historic highlights. Vukovar is one of the most beautiful Baroque towns of the former Yugoslavia. Marvel at the stunning town center, lovely churchespalaces, and the courthouse. The town was heavily damaged during the collapse of Yugoslavia and is nearly fully restored to its original appearance. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Belgrade

Begin the day with a presentation by a local expert who will discuss the state of modern Serbia. Later, you’ll have a choice of included shore excursions.

Choice #1 - Belgrade City Highlights: Known as the White City it’s 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 panoramic drive through the main streets of Belgrade. In the Old Town, see the remarkable Church of St. Paraskeva, one of the country’s most exquisite Orthodox churches, then visit St. Sava Cathedral.

Choice #2 - Eating Like a Local: Explore the Serbian culinary scene during a tour that showcases local culture through the “food experience.” Start with morning coffee and watch the city wake up and start moving. Try Rakija, the local brandy and along the way, learn about the customs and traditions that have influenced today’s food culture in Serbia. End the tour with a kabab of minced meat and sweet treats.

Choice #3 – Science and Scientist Tour: Discover the Nikola Tesla Museum conceived as a cultural institution, to protect and honor Tesla’s life and work. The Museum also holds his remains, which makes it one of the few museums in the world which is a memorial as well as a technical institution.

The afternoon will be free of planned activities. A shuttle into town from the dock will be provided. After dinner, enjoy a show of traditional Serbian folk dancing. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Iron Gate Gorge

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.

You’ll be invited to the sun deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels, sausage with mustard. This evening, join fellow travelers for a farewell reception followed by dinner. (B,L,R,D)

Day 13 — Vindin / Sofia

Arrive at Vidin located on the Romanian-Bulgarian border and one of the Danube’s oldest riverside towns.

Say farewell to your ship’s crew and depart by motor coach to see the Mosque, Library of Osman Pazvantouglu and other historic attractions. Stop and enjoy a visit to the 17th-century St. Panteleimon Church and the 9th century Baba Vida Fortress. After lunch, drive to Sofia where the balance of the day is at leisure with dinner independently. (B,L)

Day 14 — Sofia

At an engaging talk by a local expert, 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 to explore Sofia, see the ancient ruins of Serdica, the St. George RotundaAlexander Batenberg Square with its former Royal Palace, the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva.

The afternoon is at leisure to continue your exploration of the city on your own. This evening, meet fellow travelers at your Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception and dinner at the hotel. (B,R,D)

Day 15 — Depart for U.S.

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

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

2020 Itinerary - Sofia to Prague - July 16-31 & September 7-22

Day 1 — Depart the U.S.

Depart the U.S. on a transatlantic flights to Sofia, Bulgaria.

Day 2 — Sofia

Arrive at Sofia International Airport, and transfer to the luxurious and centrally located Sofia Hotel Balkan. Each traveler will receive a welcome package containing information on Sofia and a map of the city. After settling in, the balance of the day is free of planned activities. Your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director will be available this afternoon, and throughout the program, for suggestions regarding tours, restaurants and independent activities. This evening, join fellow travelers at a welcome reception at the hotel. (R)

Day 3 — Sofia

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each morning in the hotel. A local expert will give a talk about the conditions and events that led to the Bulgarian Revival of the 19th. century when the Ottomans were defeated and expelled. Enjoy exploring  Sofia’s ancient ruins of Serdica, the St. George RotundaAlexander Batenberg Square with its former Royal Palace, the Patriarchal Cathedral of St. Alexander of Neva.

The afternoon is at leisure to explore the city on your own. This evening, gather for a reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 4 —Sofia / Vindin

Depart Sofia by motor coach for the historic town of Vidin. A stop will be made en route for lunch. Vidin is located on the Romanian-Bulgarian border and is one of the Danube’s oldest riverside towns.

See the MosqueLibrary of Osman Pazvantouglu, and other historic attractions. Enjoy a visit to the 17th-century St. Panteleimon Church and the 9th century Baba Vida.

Late in the day embark the Amadeus Queen (July 16 departure) or the Amadeus Star (September 7 departure) where you can unpack and relax. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a festive welcome aboard reception to toast your 8-night adventure on the Danube. A festive dinner will immediately follow onboard. (B,L,R,D)

Day 5 — Iron Gate Gorge

This morning, the ship plies 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. You’ll be invited to the sun deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels and sausage with mustard. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Belgrade

Begin the day with a presentation on present-day life in the former Yugoslavian state of Serbia. You’ll then have your choice of included excursions.

Choice #1 Belgrade City Highlights: Known as the “White City” Belgrade 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 drive through the main streets of Belgrade. In the Old Town, see the remarkable Church of St. Paraskeva, one of the country’s most exquisite Orthodox churches, then visit St. Sava Cathedral.

Choice #2 - Eating Like a Local: Explore the Serbian culinary scene during a tour that showcases local culture through the “food experience.” Start with morning coffee and watch the city wake up and start moving. Try Rakija, the local brandy and along the way, learn about the customs and traditions that have influenced today’s food culture in Serbia. End the tour with a kabab of minced meat and sweet treats.

Choice #3 – Science and Scientist Tour: Discover the Nikola Tesla Museum conceived as a cultural institution, to protect and honor Tesla’s life and work. The Museum also holds his remains, which makes it one of the few museums in the world which is a memorial as well as a technical institution.

The afternoon will be free of planned activities. A shuttle into town from the dock will be provided. Get together in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner for lively conversation. After dinner, enjoy a show of traditional Serbian folk dancing. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Vukovar / Osijek / Pecs

Disembark the ship and depart by motor coach on a panoramic tour of Vukovar, Croatia and see why it was known as one of the most beautiful baroque towns of the former Yugoslavia. See the historic baroque Town Center, Churches, Palaces, and Courthouse. Continue to the town of OsijekCroatia, a noted cultural center and unique military complex at the confluence of two major rivers. (B,L,D)

Day 8 – Mohacs / Pecs

Disembark the ship in Mohacs and depart by motor coach for the lovely Hungarian city of Pecs, renowned for its fascinating Roman ruins and Ottoman mosques now converted to Christian churches. Stop for a visit at a local winery and sample the various varieties of wine. Return to the ship late in the day and begin cruising to Budapest. (B,L,D)

Day 9 — Budapest

Today arrive in the stunning city of Budapest. You’ll enjoy your choice of one of the following included excursions.

Choice #1 – The Best of Budapest: Budapest is one of the world's most beautiful cities 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 – Living Local: 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 – Budapest’s Jewish Quarter: This tour includes a walk through the Old Jewish Quarter. See the Great Synagogue and the Emanuel Tree. 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 on the Danube 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. See the lights of Budapest on an evening cruise on the Danube including the dramatically illuminated Parliament BuildingBuda Castle, and sail under Chain Bridge, an unforgettable experience! (B,L,D)

Day 10 — Bratislava

Join fellow travelers in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers’ Corner for an informal presentation. Then gather for a presentation by a local speaker on The Velvet Revolution and the Making of Slovakia. Later this morning enjoy your choice of included excursions.

Choice #1 – Bratislava Old Town and Cafe: The city is the center and capital of the political, social and cultural life of the Slovak Republic and a showcase of fine medieval architecture. See St. Martin’s Cathedral, the National Theater and 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 to sample local pastry favorites with coffee or tea.

Choice #2 – Bratislava Old Town and Music: Bratislava 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 focus on the rich local musical traditions including the venues associated with these famous composers. At the end of the tour, travelers will visit a historic Rococo palace in the Old Town; now the City Gallery. There you’ll enjoy a special concert performance.

Choice #3 – Bike Tour: The charming city of Bratislava straddles the Danube River. It’s the only city of the former Eastern Bloc that sat directly on the Iron Curtain. On this two-hour tour, you’ll ride along the Right Bank of the river where you’ll see historic and cultural highlights. Ride across to the Left Bank and through a venerable forest area to see a preserved WWII Bunker built for protection against the Nazis.

The balance of the afternoon will be at leisure. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Vienna

This morning a local expert joins the group for a presentation on Timeless Vienna. You’ll then have a choice of one of the included excursions.

Choice #1 Imperial Apartments: Visit 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.

Choice #2 - Klosterneuburg Monastery and Wine Cellar: Tour these fascinating wine cellars from the Medieval and Baroque periods. After exploring, enjoy a wine tasting of the Klosterneuburg’s splendid wine.

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

A late lunch is served aboard ship this afternoon. After dinner enjoy a waltz performance and lesson accompanied by classical musicians. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Durnstein / Wachau Valley / Melk

Durnstein is one of the most beautiful towns on the Austrian Danube, with its medieval charm and Baroque character. This morning you’ll have a choice of included excursions.

Choice #1 - Richard the Lionheart: Richard 1 of England 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 “bike hike” along the Danube, past local vineyards and enjoy a break for refreshments along the way.

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

From Durnstein, the ship sails through the spectacular Wachau Valley considered one of the most beautiful landscapes in Europe and a World Heritage Site.

You’ll be invited to the Sun Deck for Früschoppen, an old German tradition of drinking beer along with pretzels and sausage with mustard. Admire beautiful villages clustered around charming churches and town squares. This afternoon visit Melk Abbey, a masterpiece of Baroque architecture with its remarkable views overlooking the Danube. (B,L,D)

Day 13 — Passau / Prague

Rising at the confluence of three rivers; the DanubeInn and Ilz, Passau has been called “one of the seven most beautifully situated towns in the world.” Depart the ship on a walking tour of Old Town HallNiedernburg Abbey, the Veste Oberhaus, and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

This afternoon disembark the ship and board your motor coach for the drive to Prague, Czech Republic. Upon arrival, check in to the deluxe and centrally located Art Deco Imperial Hotel. The evening will be at leisure, you will be provided a list of restaurants in the area of the hotel for dinner independently. (B,L)

Day 14 — Prague

A full American-style buffet breakfast will be served each day in the hotel. Start exploring at the Old Town Square where you’ll see buildings in many architectural styles. Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque houses, palaces and churches blend to create one of the most unique city squares in Europe.

See the animated Astronomical Clock that offers a performance each hour with a procession of Apostles. Continue with a walk across the iconic Charles Bridge, built in 1357 and lined with 30 statues, it’s one of Prague’s most splendid landmarks. Lunch will be independently in the city or at the hotel. This evening gather for a beer tasting then enjoy an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)

Day 15 — Prague

Experience the city with your choice of one of the included excursions.

Choice #1 – Lobkowicz Palace and Museum: Spend time exploring this fascinating museum, originally a 16th-century palace located within Prague Castle. The Lobkowicz palace and museum offer both remarkable panoramic views of the city and vibrant cultural experience. For 700 years, the Lobkowicz family amassed one of the most extensive collections of Czech art and cultural artifacts in Central Europe. See collection highlights with a local expert guide.

Choice #2 – Prague’s Jewish Quarter: This powerful experience begins as you enter the Jewish Quarter. Visit the Prague National Jewish Museum, founded in 1906. The museum endured turbulent times under both the Nazi and Communist regimes. Today, it is a remarkable showcase of Jewish history and religious treasures. The collections are housed in six synagogues, and the exhibits provide a comprehensive look at Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe.

Choice #3 – Art Nouveau and Cubist Walking Tour: Discover the highlights of Prague’s remarkable 20th-century architecture on a walking tour with an expert local guide. Take a route through the city that focuses on Art Nouveau jewels and Cubist landmarks.

Later, gather for an exclusive Smithsonian Journeys farewell reception at the hotel. (B,R)

Day 16 — Depart for U.S. Gateway Cities

Depart the hotel for Prague International Airport and return flights to the U.S. (B)

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