Day 1 Nuremberg
Today, you will be met by an Emerald Waterways representative and transferred to your contemporary Emerald Waterways Star-Ship in Nuremberg, where your friendly captain and crew will be waiting for you. (Dinner)
Day 2 Regensburg
This morning, relax as you cruise down the Main-Danube Canal.
Welcome to Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. Enjoy a guided tour of the city, visiting the Old Town Hall complex and Porta Praetoria, an ancient stone building that can be dated back to 179 AD. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A traditional Bavarian band on board
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Regensburg
Day 3 Passau – Linz
Today’s cruising will take you to the heart of Passau, where three of Europe’s main rivers converge in the shadows of the castle. Your guided tour of this illustrious city will unveil how it was rebuilt following fires in the 17th century. Italian architects left their mark with a scattering of Baroque architecture, including St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Enjoy exploring the city before returning to your Star-Ship for lunch and an afternoon of sailing along the Danube River. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Passau
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Salzburg (extra expense)
Day 4 Melk – Dürnstein
Your included tour will take you to Melk Abbey, famous for its invaluable library. This afternoon, enjoy a guided bike tour from Melk to Dürnstein. Alternatively, cruise through the wine region and on to Dürnstein, embarking on a guided hike to Dürnstein Castle when you arrive. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour along the Danube River from Melk to Dürnstein
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Dürnstein Castle
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Melk Abbey
Day 5 Vienna
Welcome to Vienna. The “City of Dreams” was home to the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. Today, you can explore the capital with a drive along the magnificent Ringstrasse and a walking tour of the city. Soak in the opulent façades of the Vienna State Opera and City Hall before admiring the multi-coloured tiled roof of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
Alternatively, embark on a guided cycling tour from where your Star-Ship is docked to the idyllic Danube Island, before finishing in Prater, underneath the giant Ferris wheel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of the Ringstrasse and Vienna
DiscoverMORE: An exclusive Viennese concert (extra expense)
DiscoverMORE: Tastes of Vienna tour (extra expense)
Day 6 Bratislava
Enjoy a guided walking tour of the beautifully restored historic quarter, venturing down winding cobbled streets and passing a number of architectural highlights, including the neo-Renaissance Slovak National Theatre and the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. Alternatively, hike to Bratislava Castle and discover how it was destroyed by Napoleon’s troops during the 19th century.
Gain a thorough understanding of Slovakian culture this afternoon as you meet a local family for coffee and cake. This evening, we welcome you to the Gala Dinner. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: Home-hosted coffee and cake with a Slovakian family
EmeraldACTIVE: A hike to Bratislava Castle
EmeraldEXCURSION: A walking tour of Bratislava
Day 7 Budapest
Offering an abundance of European history, Budapest is known for its charming neo-Gothic architecture, cultural whimsy and historic monuments around every corner. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed city offers many links to the past, including the remains of the Roman city of Aquincum.
Enjoy a guided coach tour, starting at the Citadella that sits on top of Gellért Hill, overlooking the Danube. Relax as a drive down Andrássy Avenue showcases the decorative façades of neo-Renaissance townhouses and journey to Heroes’ Square to see the seven chieftains of the Magyars.
Alternatively, hike to Buda Hill, gazing up at the Buda Castle complex and admiring the Habsburg monuments that adorn the streets. This evening, a traditional Hungarian folklore show is sure to delight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A traditional Hungarian folklore show
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided hike to Buda Hill
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided bus tour of Budapest
DiscoverMORE: Tour to Szentendre (extra expense)
Day 8 Budapest
Today you will have the day at leisure to explorer Budapest. This afternoon, relax on board of your ship, while sailing to Kalocsa. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Day 9 Kalocsa
In the morning, we’ll sail out of Budapest towards Kalocsa, best known for its vibrant paprika festivals. Traditional folk art and culture are yours to discover here, as you sail through one of the oldest towns in Hungary.
This afternoon, you’ll venture to the Puszta, or Great Hungarian Plain, for a traditional performance showcasing the exceptional equestrian skills of the Magyar cowboys. Relax as you watch their spectacular horse parade and witness their exercise drills, most of which were readily practiced for wartime.
Today, enjoy a gala dinner on board. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A traditional Hungarian horse show
Day 10 Osijek
Cruise into the border region of Croatia and into Osijek, a historic university town full of leafy boulevards and promenades. Damage from the Homeland War is still visible across the city, but it is easily forgotten when you immerse yourself in the peaceful surrounds that can be found here.
Today, you will be able to meet students from a local village who will be delighted to perform for you during your EmeraldPLUS excursion, before embarking on a walk around Osijek Fortress, nestled in the centre of the romantic old town. This ensemble of well-preserved Baroque buildings is laid out like a traditional star fort, with bastions, armouries, a guardhouse and a military hospital all protected within its walls.
Later, sail further down the Danube and into Serbia, where remnants of recent conflicts can be seen on the riverbanks. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: Visit the home of a local Croatian family
EmeraldPLUS: Meet the local village students
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Osijek Fortress
Day 11 Belgrade
The capital of Serbia awaits you today, as a city tour introduces you to the highlights of one of Europe’s oldest cities, including Belgrade Fortress. Relax as your coach takes you through the centre of the city, where remnants of a chaotic past look out of place among peaceful surrounds.
Witness the symmetrical façade of the Church of Saint Sava, one of the world’s largest church buildings, and stop for a tour of the Museum of Yugoslavia. Enjoy learning about the life of the leader of the Partisans, Josip Broz Tito, and the way that they became one of the most effective resistance movements in occupied Europe. Alternatively, learn about the history of Belgrade during a guided bike tour of the city.
This evening, relax in the Horizon Lounge and watch a traditional Serbian folklore show. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A Serbian folklore evening show
EmeraldACTIVE: A guided bike tour
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided tour of Belgrade
DiscoverMORE: A tour of the National Opera Theatre (extra expense)
Day 12 Golubac – Donji Milanovac
In eastern Serbia, within the Majdanpek municipality, the town of Donji Milanovac sits on the right bank of the Danube. Today, you will have the opportunity to visit the Palaeolithic site of Lepenski Vir on an included excursion. Enjoy learning about the importance of this archaeological site and its illustrious history, spanning more than 8 millennia. Archaeologists have used this site to track the development of prehistoric culture in Europe, and numerous Stone Age settlements have been found in the area.
The day ends as we sail through the Iron Gates, a scenic narrow gorge that meanders between the Carpathian Mountains and the European Alps. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A visit to Lepenski Vir archaeological site and museum
Day 13 Vidin
This morning, we’ll arrive in Vidin, a beautiful town in north-west Bulgaria. Situated on the right bank of the Danube, it is one of the oldest along the Bulgarian Danube bank, prospering from the surrounding countryside, renowned for producing wines. Your included tour will introduce you to the best of Vidin’s viticulture, as you stroll through a local vineyard and enjoy a tasting of their produce.
Later, venture to Baba Vida, a medieval fortress whose name can be translated to mean “Granny Vida”. Construction began on the fortress in the 10th century, and it has been steeped in legend ever since. Alternatively, hike to Belogradchik Fortress, a well-preserved stronghold that sits against a series of impressive rock formations. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldACTIVE: A hike to Belogradchik Fortress
EmeraldEXCURSION: Visit a local vineyard for a tasting
Day 14 Rousse – Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanasi
Today, your Star-Ship will cruise into Rousse. You will have the opportunity to visit Veliko Tarnovo, stopping to learn about its rich history as the former capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire. This medieval city was built atop three hills, and its fortifications and cobbled streets are certain to delight history lovers.
Nearby, Arbanasi sits on a high plateau overlooking the Yantra. Each street in the area is lined with traditional houses, and old churches offer centuries of exploration during your guided tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi.
Alternatively, embark on a guided hike to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, a complex of churches, chapels and monasteries. Witness the incredible nature of the 14th-century painted frescoes and learn about their composition and the emotional atmosphere that they convey, something that was far ahead of its time.
Tonight, we welcome you to the farewell reception. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
EmeraldPLUS: A choir concert in Arbanasi
EmeraldACTIVE: Hike to the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
EmeraldEXCURSION: A tour of Veliko Tarnovo and Arbanasi
Day 15 Giurgiu – Bucharest
This morning, relax and enjoy the passing scenery as we drive towards Bucharest, including the Romanian city of Giurgiu, set amongst the mud flats and marshes of the Danube.
Visit the Spring Palace to see the elegant exterior of a well-kept secret and the plush interior of the private residence of Nicolae Ceausescu, before enjoying free time to explore the city at leisure. Learn about Bucharest’s vibrant history on a guided coach tour, including the Palace of Parliament.
This evening, settle into the comfortable surrounds of your hotel, perhaps going for a stroll down one of the wide avenues or leafy boulevards that give Bucharest a distinctly French feel. (Breakfast, Dinner)
EmeraldEXCURSION: A guided drive through Bucharest
Day 16 Bucharest
After breakfast, it is time to say farewell to your fellow guests and transfer to the airport, taking memories of the Great Hungarian Plain and medieval fortresses with you. (Breakfast)