Day 1 - Budapest, Hungary
Arrive in Budapest in the early afternoon and embark on your Scenic Space-Ship. Enjoy a welcome dinner on board this evening. (Dinner)
Day 2 - Budapest
Discover two distinct sides of the Hungarian capital—the cobbled hills of Buda and the grand boulevards of Pest, linked by eight stately bridges that span the Danube. Take the historic funicular up Castle Hill to see the Royal Palace and visit Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty. Alternatively, explore Budapest on a city tour, and opt to delve into bustling Great Market Hall, Budapest’s largest indoor market. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 3 - Vienna, Austria
Enjoy views of rolling hills and quaint riverside towns as we cruise north along the Danube to Austria's enchanting capital, Vienna. This evening, take in the luxury of Palais Liechtenstein while enjoying a glass of fine Austrian Sekt, and enjoy an enchanting private evening concert in this sumptuous venue featuring the timeless music of Strauss and Mozart. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 4 - Vienna
This morning, visit Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace, host to an intimate, upscale Christmas market during the holiday season. You may instead opt to take a specially arranged tour of the Museum of Natural History for an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, co-curated by National Geographic grantee Ludovic Ferrière. Or peruse the galleries of the Belvedere Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings, and stroll the beautiful stalls of the Belvedere Christmas market.
Later, step into a magical winter wonderland at the city’s Christkindlmarkt, framed by twinkle-lit trees and the soaring neo-Gothic city hall, its lights all aglow. Wander past merchants selling roasted chestnuts and Weihnachtspunsch, a spicy spiked punch—the perfect accompaniments as you browse stalls brimming with beeswax candles and hand-blown glass ornaments. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 5 - Dürnstein/Melk
In Austria’s Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hike to the hilltop ruins of Dürnstein’s medieval castle or embark on an enjoyable bike ride along the river from Dürnstein to Melk. Alternatively, visit Artstetten Castle, the final resting place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet with direct descendants of the family who still live in the castle. You may also opt to enjoy a guided tour of Melk’s 18th-century Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. This evening, sip a cocktail as we cruise past churches and castles festooned with holiday décor. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 6 - Salzburg, Austria or Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
Today, choose between a visit to Salzburg or the Czech town of Ceský Krumlov—both designated World Heritage sites. Stroll the storybook streets of Salzburg's Old Town, host to one of the continent’s oldest Christmas markets, set in a picturesque square in front of the Salzburg Cathedral and beneath the city’s iconic medieval castle. Or tour Ceský Krumlov’s historic center, a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets lined with medieval, baroque, and Renaissance houses. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 7 - Regensburg, Germany
Situated at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Set out on a guided walk through Regensburg’s medieval center to see its splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the ancient Roman gateway to the city. Afterward, browse stalls aglow with candles and twinkling lights at a market in the courtyard of St. Emmeram Palace, or venture to one of the other themed markets sprinkled throughout town. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Day 8 - Nuremberg
After breakfast, disembark in Nuremberg and depart for the airport or your next destination. (Breakfast)
Experience the wonder of Christmas on an 8 day magical Danube cruise from Budapest to Nuremberg. Visit the picturesque markets of Thurn und Taxis Palace. The Christmas markets along the Danube are an incredible sight. Festive market stalls fully decorated with fairy lights, piled with gingerbread and delicate Christmas glass ornaments, are surrounded by medieval houses. In the heart of Europe’s grand waterway region, rug up and immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of the Christmas markets, which have brought magic to the banks of the Danube River for centuries. Spend seven nights cruising the majestic Danube as you sail from Nuremberg to Budapest.
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.
20 meals including 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches and 7 Dinners
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.