Day 1 - Welcome to Budapest
Arrive in Budapest and embark the Scenic Amber. Enjoy a welcome dinner on board, complete with views of the city glittering under the night sky. (Dinner)
Day 2 - Budapest or Szentendre
Discover the two distinct sides of this Hungarian capital—the cobbled hills of Buda and the grand boulevards of Pest, linked by eight stately bridges that span the Danube. Climb historic Castle Hill to see the Royal Palace and see Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty. Alternatively, explore Budapest through the lens of its Jewish history; hike the Buda Hills that rise beyond the city center; or venture to the charming riverfront town of Szentendre, home to a thriving artist colony. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Vienna, Austria
Cruise the Danube toward Vienna, tracing the border of Hungary and Slovakia before crossing into Austria. Relax in the lounge in views of colorful waterfront towns and hilltop fortifications.
This evening arrive in Vienna for a private concert in the gilded halls of the Palais Liechtenstein, featuring the music of celebrated Austrian composers Strauss and Mozart. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Vienna or Bratislava, Slovakia
Choose from among several excursions today. Stay in Vienna to visit Schönbrunn Palace, the baroque summer residence of the imperial family. You may also choose to take a guided tour of the Museum of Natural History for an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, co-curated by National Geographic grantee Ludovic Ferrière. Or opt to peruse the galleries of the Belvedere Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, including “The Kiss.” Alternatively, visit Bratislava for a guided tour through the cobbled streets of the old town. Venture into St. Martin’s Cathedral, a massive Gothic structure built in the 13th century on the site of a Romanesque church, and see the simple Church of the Poor Clares. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - Melk, Austria
Glide into Austria’s lush Wachau Valley and dock at Melk for a tour of its Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. Or take a more active excursion, cycling along the Danube from Dürnstein to Melk or hiking to the hilltop ruins of a medieval castle. Or visit a local winery for a guided tour of the cellars and vines, followed by a tasting of the region’s celebrated Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings.
This evening, sip sundowners in a beautiful location in the Wachau Valley. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Salzburg or Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
Today, choose between excursions to two World Heritage sites. Explore Salzburg, strolling the storybook streets of the Old Town and visiting the Schloss Mirabell and its stunning manicured gardens. Or head to the Czech town of Ceský Krumlov— a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets with medieval, baroque, and Renaissance houses; lively cafés; and hidden squares. Alternatively, venture to the historic salt mines outside of Salzburg and learn about the life and work of the miners. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Regensburg, Germany
Set at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen Rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. On a guided visit, see the town’s splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the Porta Praetoria—the ancient Roman city gate. Or take a local ferry across the Danube Gorge to Weltenburg Abbey, home to the world’s oldest monastic brewery. Explore the abbey, then head to the courtyard and sip on a pint of their popular Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Nuremberg
Arrive in Nuremberg and transfer to the airport to catch your flight home. Please book flights to depart after 12pm from Nuremberg and after 2pm from Munich. (Breakfast)
From Gothic Hungarian spires to imperial Viennese treasures, discover the fairytale scenery and legendary landmarks of Central Europe. Aboard the Scenic Amber, cruise the fabled Danube River from Budapest through Austria's stunning Wachau Valley to Nuremburg. Explore gilded palaces and meticulously manicured gardens in Vienna and Salzburg; bike past charming red-roofed villages laced with lush vineyards; and witness the tapestry of medieval, Renaissance, and Roman architecture woven through old-world Europe.
These departures will be accompanied by a National Geographic expert who will give talks throughout the week and join guests on off-ship excursions. Additionally, a National Geographic photographer will be on board to share techniques and help guests hone their photography skills. We’ve added extra choice excursions as well, from hikes and bike rides to in-depth learning experiences that focus on the natural world, culture, and history.
National Geographic Expert, Mark Baker
Mark Baker is a freelance journalist and travel writer based in Prague. He has written articles on the Czech Republic and Austria for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Mark has also authored more than a dozen guidebooks on Eastern and Central Europe for publishers such as Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, and Fodor’s, and has written for BBC World News, the Wall Street Journal, and Wanderlust. Before embarking on a freelance career, Mark worked as a correspondent for The Economist Group, Bloomberg News, and Radio Free Europe. When he’s not traveling, Mark teaches courses in journalism and Central European history at Anglo-American University in Prague.
National Geographic Photographer, Jay Dickman
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jay Dickman's career has spanned a multitude of experiences. As a photojournalist for more than 40 years, Jay has covered topics as diverse as the Salvadoran civil war, Olympics and Super Bowls, national political conventions, and the 40th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Among his more than 25 assignments for National Geographic, he lived in a Stone Age village in Papua New Guinea and spent a week under the Arctic ice in a nuclear attack submarine. Jay has been joining National Geographic Expeditions for over a decade and has traveled to all seven continents. A popular photography instructor, he has also published a best-selling guide called Perfect Digital Photography, as well as numerous articles for National Geographic, LIFE, Sports Illustrated, Time, and Forbes.
Join a National Geographic expert to explore five UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Austria’s Wachau Valley, the Bavarian town of Regensburg, and the medieval Czech gem of Ceský Krumlov.
Take a specially arranged tour of Vienna’s renowned Museum of Natural History and get an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, co-curated by a National Geographic grantee.
Get hands-on instruction from a National Geographic photographer, and capture a unique angle on iconic cityscapes from Budapest to Salzburg.
Enjoy a private classical concert in the gilded halls of Vienna’s Palais Liechtenstein.
The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.