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Viking Grand European Tour 15-Day River Cruise Review

I was more than ready for this Viking Grand European Tour 15-day river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Lee Oliver, our Viking Lif river ship Program Director, greeted us at the gangway with a warm “Welcome Aboard!” 

Those two words were like music to my ears. Maybe not Bartok or Liszt but music nonetheless.

Budapest , Hungary, on the beautiful and sometimes-blue Danube , has so much to experience.

A mid-afternoon boarding gave guests plenty of time before dinner to explore this spirited yet somewhat austere city, either on their own or with a Viking tour excursion.

Viking Grand European Tour river cruise on the Danube in Budapest

Viking River Grand European River Cruise Review

In This Post...

In the course of two-weeks, we would cruise on three rivers; the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. Along the way, Viking Lif  had 12 scheduled cruise ports to visit before docking in Amsterdam. A couple of port tour excursions offered day trips to other nearby ancient towns, and I highly recommend those options. Here’s our itinerary.

Grand European Tour Itinerary

  • Day 1:    Budapest, Hungary
  • Day 2:    Budapest and Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Day 3:    Vienna, Austria
  • Day 4:    Melk, Austria
  • Day 5:    Linz, Austria and Passau, Germany
  • Day 6:    Regensburg, Germany
  • Day 7:    Nuremberg, Germany
  • Day 8:    Bamberg, Germany
  • Day 9:    Wurzburg, Germany and Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany
  • Day 10:  Wertheim, Germany
  • Day 11:  Koblenz, Germany
  • Day 12:  Cologne, Germany
  • Day 13:  Kinderdijk, The Netherlands
  • Day 14:  Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Getting to Budapest by Train

As a solo traveler and someone who doesn’t fly, it was a challenge to figure out how to get to Budapest. After one night in Munich, Germany, it was an eight hour train ride to Budapest.

In First Class on trains in Europe, you’ll find many English-speaking passengers from North America. It was easy to strike up conversations with fellow travelers and the eight hours quickly passed.

Arriving into Budapest Keleti station for my Viking Grand European Tour.

With the help of Viking reservations, I pre-reserved a driver to meet me at Budapest’s historic Keleti station.

Within 30 minutes of pulling into the station and getting into the taxi, I was on board Viking Lif , met our program director and settled into my cozy cabin. Our Viking Grand European Tour was about to begin.

RELATED:   How to Take the Train to Budapest for a River Cruise

Day 1:  Viking Lif Embarkation

By the time I arrived at the ship in the late afternoon, other passengers had already unpacked and were mingling about the vessel. They had enough time for a short city tour and were enjoying cocktails in the lounge. 

I had about an hour to get acquainted with my cabin and Viking Lif river ship before the first pre-dinner meeting.

Our Danube cruise began in Budapest aboard Viking Skadi. This is my cabin.

At 6:30pm, it was time to head to the lounge, meet the other guests and attend the informative yet brief review of our river cruise itinerary. Though the meeting was necessary and very informative, I really looked forward to tonight’s dinner. 

All I ate on the eight-hour train ride from Munich to Budapest was a bowl of Hungarian Goulash. No complaints…the goulash was very good and of course, very appropriate!

Viking Lif Atrium

READ NEXT:  Getting to Budapest for Viking Grand European Tour Embarkation

It was a balmy autumn night that beckoned tourists and locals alike to stroll along the banks of the Danube late into the evening. I was tired but excited to finally have a chance to walk across Budapest’s historic Chain Bridge. 

Camera in hand, I must have crossed the Danube four or six times, snapping photos of the warm yellow bridge lights, couples strolling arm in arm, and the magnificently illuminated state buildings that line the riverfront.

Finally, it was time to call it a night. Tomorrow, our Grand European Tour river cruise would begin with a full day of sightseeing before we even got underway.

READ MORE:  In-Depth Review of Embarkation Day in Budapest

Danube river cruise and Budapest at night at the Chain Bridge

Day 2:  Touring and Tasting Budapest

If being chatty at breakfast isn’t your thing, there’s the option for a very relaxing breakfast buffet at Aquavit Terrace every morning. It’s also a good way to plan your morning time if you have a 9:00am or even earlier tour departure. This was usually how my day started; quiet, comfortable, and a cappuccino in hand.

budapest river cruise viking

By 8:15am on our second day in Budapest, passengers heard the first warning announcement for our city tour departure.

Know Your Tour Departure Time

Here’s how it’s done on river cruises. You know your tour departure time, say 9 A.M. At 8:45 A.M. over the PA system, you’re given a 15-minute heads-up for the tour to leave. 

Then you hear a 5-minute warning for your motor coach departure. The tour departure time that’s posted is not when you should walk out of your stateroom. It’s actually when the bus departs. I’ve had to run to catch the bus on more than one occasion.

Today’s complimentary morning tour was your basic European city overview; historic places, medieval churches, political hotspots of yore. In the scope of four hours, we would either drive by, stop to view or exit the motor coach to stretch and take photos. 

Highlights of Our Budapest Tours

Morning tour of budapest.

Our motor coach drove across the Chain Bridge to Buda side of the Danube. This is the hilly side of the city where many of the most beautiful building are located.

Buda Castle across the Danube River

Views from the Buda side of the river…

Walk along Fishermen's Bastion in Budapest

Fishermen’s Bastion, built between 1895 and 1902, the beautiful towers and covered terrace weren’t built to defend the territory but to provide unparalleled views of the city. We had ample time to wander along the terrace and up to the Neo-Romanesque designed towers. This is the prime photo op location for sweeping vistas of Budapest.

Back aboard Viking Lif in time for lunch. As there would be on every day of the cruise, you can choose from two lunch venues; The Restaurant with table service and a buffet or in Aquavit for a café lunch, buffet-style. Most days, I chose Aquavit Lounge.

Afternoon Tour on the Pest Side

Budapest jewish and hungarian history.

I signed up for the optional 2:00PM Dohány Street Synagogue and Hungarian Jewish Museum tour. The motor coach let us off just a short walk to the synagogue. Part of the intrigue was seeing the small shops, bars and cafés in what was once the Jewish Quarter, or Ghetto.

Dohány Street Synagogue

Built in the Moorish Revival style between 1854-1859, it is the largest synagogue in Europe. In addition to the main synagogue (Great Synagogue), inside you’ll find the Hungarian Jewish Museum, the Graveyard and the Memorial.

Budapest Dohany Street Synagogue

The Weeping Willow memorial is in the courtyard behind the synagogue. On its leaves are inscribed the names of 30,000 Holocaust victims. The father of actor Tony Curtis, Emanuel Schwartz, funded the weeping willow memorial. 

The courtyard was named Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who managed to save thousands of Jews from going to concentration camps.

Stopping for a Slice of Budapest’s Finest

After a stop at a small shop for a Hungarian pastry called, “Flódni”, we boarded the bus to head back to the ship. We returned just in time for Cocktail Hour.

Flodni Hungarian Jewish Cake

Tonight was the official “Welcome Aboard” toast by Captain Marcin and Hotel Manager Eve. One sparkling wine down and just before dinner, we had our next day’s briefing. Next port going north on the Danube would be Bratislava, Slovakia.

READ MORE:  Top 10 Things to See in Budapest

Day 3:  Bratislava, Slovakia and Funny Little Men

I woke up to see that we were underway, gently cruising along the Danube towards our next port, Bratislava , Slovakia.

Following breakfast and before we’d arrive, a mandatory safety drill was held. Warm autumn weather quickly drew everyone to the top deck and the drill took all of 15-20 minutes.

Afterwards, many of us stayed and either walked laps or settled into a lounge chair. With a mid-afternoon arrival into Bratislava, the day would be relaxing and informative. 

Program Director Lee led an enrichment talk about Vienna coffeehouses (where to go and what to eat) and a background about Austrian-born composer Wolfgang Mozart.

budapest river cruise viking

Locals have a great sense of humor as can be sensed when you try to find all the bronze statues. When I was in Bratislava, I counted eight almost human-size funny little men bronze statues. How many will you find?

Day 4:  Vienna, Austria

This wasn’t my first visit to this medieval city. From the beautifully baroque Schönbrunn Palace to a peek at the Spanish Lipizzaner Horses, Vienna has something surprising or magnificent around every corner.

I decided to pass on the complimentary morning motor coach tour of the city and get some writing done. One thing to note about Vienna, river cruise ship dockage is usually too far to walk to the city center. It is walkable but most people opt for a bus into the city and some will then walk back to the river ship.

Too good to pass up, I signed up for the Chef’s Tour to the Farmer’s Market (Naschtmarkt). A bit of walking, two subway trains and we were smack in the middle of a working-class neighborhood and a several-blocks-long farmer’s Market.

At the NaschtMarkt open-air market in Vienna, Austria

After a couple of hours, we were back on the subway, walked two blocks through Mexikoplatz and past St. Francis of Assisi Church and we were back on Viking Lif …in time for cocktails, of course. But not much time to spare. 

Not-to-Miss Evening in Vienna

I had signed up for the optional ($) Viking excursion tour to a concert hall for a Mozart and Strauss concert. Every river cruise line offers this but I had never done it. There would be an early dinner on board and then leave on the motor coaches before 7pm for the concert hall.

At the opera hall in Vienna, Austria.

The concert hall was beautifully Baroque. We were all packed in on folding chairs like sardines in a tin though not as smelly. The performances were excellent with most of the music and singing were familiar classical pieces. 

If you have a chance to book a shore excursion that includes a concert in Vienna, I highly recommend it.

Afterwards, everyone was really quiet on the motor coach back to the ship. It had been a busy, long day from one end of the city to another.

When we arrived back to the ship, we were greeted with a special Viking Grand European bedtime treat: goulash soup in Aquavit Restaurant. The gorgeous bowl of soup and a fresh-baked crunchy roll accompanied me back to my cabin. Within an hour, I was asleep. One more port in Austria tomorrow.

Day 5:  Melk, Austria

All that glitters is mostly gold.

Melk is a curiously monastic community with the resplendent gold Melk Abbey high on a hill overlooking the Danube. Cobblestone street wind through town, leading to the Abbey’s grand entrance. Monks from the Abbey stroll through town and work in the Abbey as they have for more than 900 years.

Melk Abbey in Melk, Austria

Plan to spend about an hour inside the Abbey. You can walk up to the entrance or take a motor coach to the top of the hill.

The baroque interior is dazzling, the library has over 80,000 medieval manuscripts and several hidden doors. Leave time to step outside for a sweeping view of the city and Danube below. 

It’s a pleasant stroll over a little bridge back to the river ship, or take the motor coach again. The town is lovely with cafés and small boutique shops.

With a “Be back on board” at 3:45pm, we were welcomed with an Austrian apple strudel-making demonstration. Then the habitual cocktail hour, daily port briefing and the slow walk into the dining room. Another satisfying multi-course dinner and off to bed.

Viking Grand European river cruise with Strudel-making demonstration

Every night on the river cruise there’s entertainment in the lounge. So far, we’ve had the onboard musician at the keyboard and dancing, Slovakian folk dancing show and the goulash event. With days so busy, evening entertainment has been kept to a minimum. I think Viking knows that we’d be exhausted.

READ NEXT:  Viking Adds New Pre- and Post-River Cruise Options

Day 6:  Passau, Engine Issues and a Slight Detour

Surprise! We were informed last night that Viking Lif was having engine trouble and we’d not make it to dock in Passau. Instead, Viking Lif would tie up in Linz. So at 8:15am, (it was a really early wake-up!) passengers boarded Viking’s motor coach for a full-day nine-hour tour.

Sadly, one man had to see a doctor in the nearest town so he and his wife had to stay in Linz. I was working under deadline to file a story, so a 9-hour day in motion put me into panic. 

Viking’s Program Director, Lee, made similar arrangements for me so that I could spend the day writing instead of touring. I was so incredibly happy when I found out I would have a hotel room for the day in Linz and would get a full day’s writing done.

Viking Grand European Tour river cruise spent a day in Passau, Germany.

Even the light drizzle didn’t stop anyone from walking in the city center. After my friend’s doctor appointment, the three of us met for lunch and a walk through town. Linz is one of the most non-touristic larger cities I’ve visited in Europe. It’s very charming. And I’ll bet it’s even lovelier during the holiday/Christmas market season.

At 5:00PM, a white minivan arrived and the three of us were off to meet Viking Lif , fully repaired at the shipyard in Linz. All the other passengers were on their way back from Passau. And we all arrived in time for cocktail hour, daily briefing and another very nice dinner in the dining room.

Viking Grand European Tour continued in Linz when ship was repaired.

Onward to Straubing, Germany! Almost halfway through our Viking Grand European Tour. Tempus Fugit.

Day 7:  Regensburg, Bavaria – Germany

This was one of those years in central Europe when the rain seems to never stop. Germany and France had seen flooding at the end of summer and rivers were swollen and overflowing their banks. 

As we made our way up the Danube, I started to watch the water’s edge. I knew from past river cruises, if I saw tree trunks submerged and debris quickly flowing past us, it meant trouble.

With high water, river ships cannot fit under the dozens of ancient bridges. Locks get stuck. But Viking Lif made its way to Straubing and by 2:00pm, we boarded the motor coach for the short ride to beautiful medieval Regensburg.

I was so glad Regensburg was included on this Viking Grand European Tour. It’s among my favorite places in Europe. This is the oldest city on the Danube and dates back to the year 179.

While the Dom St. Peter Gothic Cathedral is one of the grandest in all Bavaria and worth a visit, I always head to the Alte Würstküche, meaning, “Old Sausage Kitchen”, it’s the oldest restaurant in Germany.

At the oldest sausage restaurant in Germany, Alte Würstküche, in Regensburg.

The restaurant is usually packed with tourists throughout the summer but this rainy October day, I had no problem getting my own indoor table. Once you’ve finished your beer and extras, take a walk across the Old Stone Bridge. Built between 1135 and 1146, it was the bridge used by the knights on the second and third Crusades to the Holy Land.

Danube Begins to Look a Little Ominous

What I saw from Regensburg Old Bridge didn’t look too good. I’d been on enough floods on the rivers in Europe to recognize the inevitable.

The Danube was rushing past us downstream heading towards the Black Sea, its terminus. Trees were submerged. The water was creeping up to the lower levels of the medieval buildings.

Flood waters in Germany.

While we were in Regensburg, Viking Lif sailed from Straubing to Regensburg to meet us. This was a chance for passengers who simply yearned for a quiet day onboard to just cruise.

Back onboard with time to freshen up before the daily briefing. But tonight, the meeting took a sudden twist. The Program Director proceeded with an (un)expected announcement.

To paraphrase, Lee said, “Pack your bags, we’re changing river ships in the morning”. It was a very busy evening for everyone. 

We would disembark with our carry-on luggage the next morning at 8:30 AM in Deggendorf, then board a bus to meet sister ship, Viking Skadi, in Nuremberg. Our Viking Grand European Tour was about to take a twist.

Day 8:  Changing Ships and a Detour

A visit to an extraordinarily bizarre monument.

With our luggage taken off the ship and loaded onto buses, we only had to bring along our carry-on bags. 

I had been through this river ship shuffle three times in the last few years so I knew what to expect. River cruisers seem to roll with the punches. There’s nothing you can do when there’s a flood or a drought except board a bus and change ships.

Early morning departure from Viking Lif and onto Nuremberg and our next ship.

Viking had a really good plan on the way to Nuremberg. Driving through Bavaria en route to Nuremberg, we stopped at Walhalla, Germany’s monument to its native Germanic language politicians, scientists, artists and other distinguished people over the centuries. 

Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Danube river, Walhalla looms on the horizon bearing a striking resemblance to the Parthenon in Greece.

Viking Grand European River Cruise stop at Walhalla

By 11 AM we were back on the bus leaving Walhalla, heading to our next ship. 

How River Cruise Ships Deal With Floods

To explain how this ship shuffle works, our original river ship, Viking Lif, couldn’t go any further upriver – the water was too high to let Viking Lif go under the next bridge. Viking Skad i, on its way south from Amsterdam, couldn’t get past Nuremberg for the same reason. 

Thus, each ship would swap passengers and bus everyone to the other ship. Then the ships do a U-turn and continue on the route of the original river ship. Everyone would end up at their scheduled port. Viking had this ship exchange experience down to a science.

We had reached the half-way point of our Grand European Tour. Where did that first week go?

READ MORE ABOUT:  What exactly happened on this ship-shuffle day

I divided my Viking Grand European Tour river cruise into two parts. 

This is part one; Budapest to Nuremberg. Click the link below to continue onto our  second week; Nuremberg to Amsterdam.

CONTINUE READING : WEEK 2 ABOARD VIKING SKADI – NUREMBERG TO AMSTERDAM

Thank you for reading the first half of my Viking Grand European Tour. Spoiler alert:  Seven more days of cruising, castles, culture and cuisine.

budapest river cruise viking

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Hi Gary, Thank you for your comment and for reading my article. I think I did this cruise in 2018. The last two years were a wash for sure. Nothing has changed with the itinerary, unless it is a last minute decision. Viking still advertises for their Grand European Tour so I think my article is very reliable to help readers decide to try this amazing trip. Viking did a great job, especially when you consider the unexpected ship change. Thank you again for taking the time to write. I hope you have the opportunity to try this cruise.

Hi Ruth, Thank you for writing and taking the time to read my post. As you saw, this river cruise was with Viking and it was wonderful. I also recommend AmaWaterways, Avalon and Uniworld for these longer cruises – they also carry fewer passengers.

While a suite isn’t necessary, it does give you more space. But similar to ocean cruising, in my opinion, as long as I can open a door for fresh air, a balcony or french balcony on a river cruise is fine…and less expensive. Whichever line you choose, have a wonderful river cruise. Thanks again for your comment.

When did you take this cruise? It looks like a great cruise.

This is the River cruise I’ve been wanting to do..I’m just undecided which company to go with. This seems very busy to get everything in. I also wanted a suite room but maybe that’s not necessary. Your article is very informative especially about the changing of boats due to water issues..I’ve always wondered how that would work.

Hi Terry, Thank you, too, for reading my article and your comment. Much appreciated!

Most interesting thank you

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Updated on August 17, 2022 by Sherry Laskin

As We Saw It

One Day in Budapest on a Viking River Cruise

cruise boat on Danube river in Budapest. Text overlay says Viking Cruise Journal Budapest River Cruise Tour

This is one of a series of journal entries from Viking River Cruises’ Grand European Tour, the Budapest to Amsterdam itinerary. I kept it so you could know what to expect if you plan to go yourself. To be honest, I think this is one of the best European river cruise itineraries out there. We had a blast.

But I realize that a long tour isn’t always an option. If you are looking for a brief Budapest river cruise or tour, here are a few to get you started:

Our first full day on board sure didn’t have a promising beginning. I awoke at an ungodly predawn hour to the muted patter of rain outside our window. Fearing the worst, I dragged myself to the window to see if my imagination was playing tricks on me.

It wasn’t.

Shoreline of Budapest in predawn rain as seen from my Viking River Cruise cabin

Raindrops dripped onto our balcony railing and blurred the Danube in the city’s predawn light. Groaning, I fled back to my warm cocoon of covers, with visions of an ocean of Viking’s bright red umbrellas dancing in my head.

But by breakfast time, the rain had become a light mist. Bins of those bright red umbrellas stood sentry at the door as we walked out to Viking’s waiting tour buses. The crew were really on top of things.

Our Budapest river cruise itinerary

We had boarded the ship yesterday, so today was our first full day on the ship. It began at 8:30 with a bus ride through the drizzle to the Castle District, the oldest part of Buda.

The Banks of the Danube, the Buda Castle Quarter and Andrássy Avenue are three of the best things to see in Budapest. So much so, in fact, that they have been awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Today’s tour would include more than just that, though.

As the bus took us along the Danube banks to Elisabeth Bridge, our guide pointed out a statue is of a woman holding a palm leaf up on the hill ahead. First called the Liberation Monument, It was erected to honor the Soviet soldiers who “liberated” Budapest at the end of the Second World War.

After the Velvet Revolution, it was renamed the Liberty Monument and is one of a very few Soviet-era statues that still remain in Budapest. Most of those that survived the fall of Communism have been banished to Memento Park , a sculpture park outside the city.

I think that would be a great attraction to add to an itinerary, if we make it back here.

Liberty Monument on a hill, waving a palm frond. Shot before our river cruise tour of Budapest

Castle Hill

Once at our destination, we braved the unseasonable chill to walk through Buda’s ancient cobblestone streets. For such a compact area, there’s a lot to see.

The advantage to having a guide is that they can show you things you might have missed if you were sightseeing on your own. For example, we saw a historic letter box that’s still in use, and he told us which typical Hungarian souvenirs weren’t made in China.

Of course, he also told us more about Buda’s buildings as well. Some were famous, such as the Royal Palace, National Gallery and the National Széchenyi Library, and some were just plain pretty.

Matthias Church and Fisherman’s Bastion are two of Buda’s highlights, and so is a certain irresistible cafe.

ⓘ TIP: If you’d like to take a guided tour of Budapest on your own, click here for some great ideas.

Building on Buda Hill

Matthias Church

One of the city’s best-known landmarks, Matthias Church has witnessed many coronations and royal weddings in its 700 years. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enter so our guide had to adjust the planned walking tour a bit. Apparently, today’s mass was in honor of the Prime Minister’s birthday, so tourists weren’t welcome.

Front of Matthias church, with statue on roundabout in front of the church

Fisherman’s Bastion

Our walking tour ended at Fisherman’s Bastion, which offers a breathtaking panorama of the Danube. This is probably the best place to take photos of Budapest.

At this point, everyone took off to explore on their own, promising to meet back at the bus at 10:45.

Plaza in front of Fishermens Bastion in Budapest Hungary

Cafe Ruszwurm

Architecture and history are all well and good, but the damp weather sent us in search of a café instead of exploring the city streets. Coffee is probably our favorite way to warm up.

We soon found a charming coffeehouse that looked centuries-old, called Cafe Ruszwurm. As we entered, an ancient wood-and-glass cabinet greeted us, full of tempting pastries. There was no way we could just get a mere cup of coffee now.

A pretty young waitress dressed in a traditional outfit took our order: two espressos and a tasty sour cherry strudel to share. We savored the the cafe’s homey atmosphere until it was time to return to the bus.

Two fun facts about Cafe Ruszwurm:

  • It is one of the oldest traditional cafes & confectioners in the city.
  • The cherrywood counter that we admired is 200 years old!

Pastry case at Cafe Ruszwurm

Pest city tour

The second part of our tour took us to Pest, on the other side of the river. The itinerary was supposed to include a walk along Andrassy Avenue, Budapest’s high-end shopping street, along with passing the Hungarian State Opera House and culminating on the far end at Heroes’ Square.

Bad timing, unfortunately. Today was Heroes’ Day and they were rerouting traffic and holding events on the square.

People lined up for a ceremony at Heroes Square in Budapest

So, no walking tour for us. Our guide and driver did their best though to make it up to us with an extended bus tour of the city. All good. Our guide was interesting, and we were able to see places most Viking passengers probably never have the opportunity to visit.

Lunch on the cruise ship

When lunchtime rolls around, Viking offers the choice of a light lunch on the Aquavit Terrace or full menu service in the dining room (that includes a salad bar).

Here’s the lunch menu from our first day:

Day 1 Lunch menu on Viking Bragi

Ria, the ship’s Maitre d’, is responsible for ensuring that all passengers on a special diet receive suitable dishes. Every morning she brings us the day’s menu and we select our lunch and dinner items in plenty of time for the chef to prepare.

Judging from the sheet she was carrying, it looked like quite a few people had dietary limitations.

Viking River Cruises’ Budapest afternoon itinerary

Viking’s afternoon itinerary in Budapest has something for everyone. You can enjoy free time in the city or take one of three optional tours (extra cost).

  • Jewish Budapest –  the highlight is a tour of Dohany Street Synagogue, the second-largest synagogue in the world
  • Budapest Spa Experience –  enjoy a few hours at one of Budapest’s therapeutic thermal springs
  • Hungarian Horse Show –  watch the legendary Hungarian cowboys display their famous horsemanship

Having arrived a few days early, we’d already visited the Jewish Synagogue and one of Budapest’s famous spas ( see our photos here ). Let us tell you about the third tour.

Hungarian horsemanship

Our 40-minute bus ride to Lazar Equestrian Park came with a warning: Today was a holiday and It would be quite crowded. Moreover, it was Children’s Day and there would were kids everywhere.

Stepping off the bus, we were all welcomed with a traditional biscuit and a glass of plum- or apple-flavored Hungarian brandy called palinka . As usual, Dan and I each asked for different ones so we could try them both.

We first visited the stables so we could meet some of their beautiful Lipizzaner horses. The equestrian show that followed was outstanding.

Bareback horse riding by Hungarian cowboy

It’s one thing when a kid stands up to get a better view, but it’s quite another when a horde of Chinese tourists do it. They felt it was perfectly acceptable to barge to the front of the audience, obliviously blocking everyone’s view while they took a shipload of photos. Thank goodness the host finally instructed everyone to sit down.

If you’re looking for a business idea, offering “How to Be a Good Tourist” lessons in China would be a great idea.

After the show, we enjoyed a horse-and-carriage ride around the property. The highlight was a museum that displays some of the numerous awards that their Lipizzaner horses have won.

Viking passengers in the horse museum

Before we returned to the bus, Dan and I bought some treats: local ice cream and a sweet dessert that tasted like a thick custard and was topped with stewed plums.

We arrived back at the ship a little after 6.

This is me with that sweet plum and custard dessert.

Back aboard the ship

Once back aboard, Hotel Manager Felix Anheier gathered everyone in the Lounge so Captain Oliver Barsic could welcome everyone aboard with a toast to the coming voyage. We were offered kir royale, mimosa or champagne, though of course nonalcoholic options were available as well.

Next, our Program Director Dewi gave the Daily Briefing, which is basically an overview of what to expect the following day.

As dinner ended, we felt our ship begin to drift downriver. This signaled the beginning of our cruise and the Bragi’s departure from Budapest. We joined many other passengers on the Sun Deck to bid goodbye to the city and toasted our departure with a glass of Tokaj.

This Hungarian wine is so unique that the region it comes from has actually earned UNESCO status. (It is known as the Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape.)

Hungarian Parliament building

Once Viking Bragi had drifted her way down to Gellert Hill, Captain Oliver kicked the engines into gear and headed the ship back upriver. Liberty Monument waved goodbye with her palm from the top as she watched us go.

We are only 3 weeks from midsummer so it wasn’t fully dark. The twilight blue hour gave us a memorable view. One by one, lights came on along the river and the sight became magical.

Hungarian Parliament as seen during an evening cruise on the Danube

I overheard someone say “I can see why evening cruises are such a popular attraction in Budapest. The view is remarkable.” Lit up, the city was aglow.

Next stop: Bratislava.

ⓘ 2019 update: The Viking Grand European Tour itinerary no longer includes Bratislava. Instead, you’ll spend two days in Vienna.

Places to stay in Budapest

Are you planning to spend more than one day in Budapest, like we did? We stayed at the Marriott hotel, but travel styles and budgets differ. Whether you prefer a hotel, hostel, or vacation rental, this map will help you find the best accommodation for your visit.

Inspired? Pin this post and share it with your friends!

Hover over the top left of the image to save it to your Pinterest gallery. You’ll also find more images in our Budapest photo gallery.

3 photo collage of a sign pointing to tourist attractions on Buda hill, shops on Andrassy Avenue, and text overlay over Szechenyi Bridge. Text says Budapest river cruise tour

Note: As is common in the travel industry, Dan and Linda were provided with a complimentary cruise package for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced coverage, AWSI believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see the Disclosure page.

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Written by Linda

Linda is multilingual and has been to over 50 countries. Her insatiable love of travel, cuisine, and foreign languages inspired her to create As We Saw It, where she documents her trips, shares practical itineraries, and offers insider tips. She’s passionate about helping fellow travelers save time, money, and hassle, and loves to discover new places to explore.

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5 thoughts on “one day in budapest on a viking river cruise”.

Did you see the Cty Market? It is fantastic with different things, like spices, on each level. They had fresh meats and fish, beautiful flowers – oh, I just loved it!

Aren’t markets wonderful? We just love seeing all that’s available!

Yuck! Rain is the last thing you want to face when traveling. Budapest is one of my most favorite cities in Europe and we travel there quite often. My husband is Hungarian so we have many friends and relatives there, which is not always convenient. Sometimes I wish I didn’t know anybody there, so that we can just visit and not be invited to endless dinners and drinks. My favorite places in Budapest are, well, the pastry shops! Can’t stay away from their “Doboshtorta.”

You’re right, and we have the same issue. Whenever we’re in Florida, sightseeing is a challenge because our family wants to spend time with us. We know a Filipina who sometimes flies home and doesn’t tell her family so she can take care of what she needs to. Besides, in her culture gifts are expected, and that can cost more than the flight!

Have you ever been to Budapest? What did we miss?

Comments are closed.

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Where do Viking River Cruises Dock in Budapest?

  • 2024-03-07 2024-03-07

Are you planning a Viking River Cruise to Budapest? Exciting times lie ahead! Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is a captivating city that offers a blend of historic charm and vibrant modernity. As you embark on your river cruise, one question may be on your mind: where do Viking River Cruises dock in Budapest? Let’s explore the docking locations and what you can expect from each.

The Docking Locations

Viking River Cruises in Budapest primarily dock at two locations, offering different experiences and accessibility:

1. Budapest International Cruise Terminal

The Budapest International Cruise Terminal, also known as the Buda-Castle Pier, is located on the Buda side of the city. This docking location provides a fantastic view of the iconic Budapest Castle and offers easy access to some of the city’s most significant landmarks, including the Fisherman’s Bastion and Matthias Church. The Buda side is a quieter, more residential area, perfect for those seeking a calmer ambiance.

The Buda-Castle Pier is conveniently located near the Chain Bridge, allowing you to cross the Danube River and venture into Pest, the livelier part of the city. The bridge itself is a masterpiece of engineering and provides a picturesque setting for memorable photos.

When docking at the Budapest International Cruise Terminal, you’ll find taxis and public transportation options readily available. Exploring the Buda side by foot is also a delightful way to immerse yourself in the charming atmosphere. Keep in mind that due to the location on the Buda side, it may take a bit longer to reach certain attractions on the Pest side.

2. Mahart-Drava Dock

The Mahart-Drava Dock, situated on the Pest side of Budapest, provides a different perspective on the city. This docking location is closer to downtown Budapest, allowing for quick access to popular tourist spots such as the Hungarian Parliament Building, St. Stephen’s Basilica, and the bustling Váci Street.

Docking at the Mahart-Drava Dock provides the advantage of being within walking distance of many popular attractions. You can easily explore the historical district and enjoy the lively atmosphere with its chic restaurants, trendy shops, and charming cafés.

Transportation options are abundant near the Mahart-Drava Dock, ensuring you can seamlessly move around the city. Taxis, trams, buses, and the metro system are readily accessible, making it convenient to venture further and experience the city’s diverse neighborhoods and hidden gems.

Tips for Exploring Budapest from the Docking Locations

Now that you have an understanding of the two main docking locations in Budapest, here are some tips to help you make the most of your time:

1. Plan Your Itinerary

Take time before your river cruise to research and plan your itinerary. Note the attractions and landmarks you want to visit and group them based on their proximity to each docking location. This way, you can efficiently explore the areas near the docking points without wasting time or feeling rushed.

2. Utilize Public Transportation

Public transportation in Budapest is reliable, efficient, and cost-effective. Consider purchasing a Budapest Card, which provides unlimited travel on public transport and discounts for various attractions. Using public transportation allows you to easily navigate the city between the docking locations and venture further into the city.

3. Embrace Walking Tours

Budapest is a city best explored on foot. Consider joining guided walking tours to discover the city’s rich history, intriguing stories, and hidden gems. Walking tours often start from central locations near the docking points, providing an excellent way to get acquainted with Budapest and its unique charm.

4. Time Your Visits Wisely

Some attractions in Budapest, such as the Hungarian Parliament Building and St. Stephen’s Basilica, have specific opening hours and may require advance booking, especially during peak tourist seasons. Plan your visits accordingly to avoid disappointment and make the most of your time.

5. Indulge in Local Cuisine

Budapest is known for its vibrant food scene, ranging from traditional Hungarian cuisine to modern fusion dishes. When exploring near the docking locations, venture into local restaurants, cafés, and food markets to experience the delicious flavors of Budapest. Don’t forget to try the famous Hungarian goulash!

In Conclusion

Viking River Cruises in Budapest dock at two main locations: the Budapest International Cruise Terminal on the Buda side and the Mahart-Drava Dock on the Pest side. Each offers a unique experience, allowing you to explore the city’s different neighborhoods and attractions.

Now that you know where Viking River Cruises dock in Budapest, you can plan your itinerary, prioritize the attractions you wish to visit, and make the most of your time in this breathtaking city. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Buda side or indulge in the vibrant atmosphere of the Pest side, Budapest will undoubtedly captivate you with its rich history, stunning architecture, and warm hospitality.

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robert anthony moyer

how soon will we know where the Viking Var will be docked for the cruise starting in Budapest June 7th? Thanks, robert moyer [email protected]

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Where does viking river cruise dock in budapest.

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Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Viking River Cruises typically docks at the city center in Budapest.
  • The docking location is close to Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building.
  • Public transportation, such as trams and buses, provide efficient access to various riverfront tour options.
  • Walking distance attractions from the docking locations allow for easy exploration of the city at your own pace.

Overview of Budapest’s Riverfront

Viking river cruise itineraries in budapest, docking location: chain bridge, docking location: margaret island, docking location: buda castle, docking location: parliament building, docking location: fisherman’s bastion, exploring budapest from the docking locations, nearby attractions and activities, tips for navigating budapest’s docking locations, frequently asked questions, are viking river cruises the only cruise line that docks in budapest, how far in advance should i book my viking river cruise to budapest, can i walk from the docking locations to the city center, is there public transportation available near the docking locations, are there any specific dress code requirements when visiting the docking locations in budapest, does viking river cruise dock at tender ports in budapest.

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Alfons is the visionary leader and driving force behind Voyager Info’s success. As the Editor in Chief, he brings a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for travel to the helm of our cruise-centric platform.

With a lifelong fascination for exploring new horizons, Alfons discovered his love for the ocean and cruising at a young age. From sailing across pristine Caribbean waters to embarking on daring expeditions to far-flung destinations, he has amassed a treasure trove of first-hand experiences in the world of cruising.

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Alfons is the visionary leader and driving force behind Voyager Info’s success. As the Editor in Chief, he brings a wealth of experience and an unwavering passion for travel to the helm of our cruise-centric platform. With a lifelong fascination for exploring new horizons, Alfons discovered his love for the ocean and cruising at a young age. From sailing across pristine Caribbean waters to embarking on daring expeditions to far-flung destinations, he has amassed a treasure trove of first-hand experiences in the world of cruising.

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Danube Waltz

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Cruise to enchanting destinations

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Soak up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath. Learn to waltz at a Viennese dance school. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest. Admire the Wachau Valley’s beauty. Explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau. Witness daily monastic life on an exclusive visit to Göttweig Abbey. This eight-day itinerary reveals the best of these places while cruising leisurely through spectacular scenery.

SAVE £650 PER PERSON

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Map of Danube Waltz itinerary

To learn more about each port of call and our included as well as optional excursions, click on the individual days below.

Itinerary and shore excursions are subject to change and may vary by departure.

More features, services and excursions included

Return flights from London and selected regional airports

One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call

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*All amenities on board Viking Longships; amenities vary on other ships.

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Romantic Danube Regensburg to Budapest

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Places You’ll See

Regensburg

  • Introduction
  • Day 1 Regensburg, Germany
  • Day 2 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Day 4 Krems, Austria
  • Day 5 Vienna, Austria
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  • Day 8 Budapest, Hungary

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Where You'll Stay

Standard Stateroom (E, F)

Accommodation details are subject to availability and may change

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Viking Jarl

Reviews About This Operator

  • Tour Operator Viking Cruises 4.3
  • Cheryl · 9th April 2024 This was our first Viking cruise and loved the River Cruise as there are less than 200 guests on board. The staff... Show more
  • Ian · 17th September 2023 The cruise from Budapest to Passau was beautiful. We stopped at very interesting places along the way. Viking made... Show more

Dates & Availability

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  • Upcoming departures
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  • Saturday 25 May, 2024 Saturday 1 Jun, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (B) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 26 May, 2024 Sunday 2 Jun, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 31 May, 2024 Friday 7 Jun, 2024 English Based on VERANDA SUITE (AA) Viking Var , Viking Idi Not available in your region
  • Saturday 1 Jun, 2024 Saturday 8 Jun, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (B) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 9 Jun, 2024 Sunday 16 Jun, 2024 English Based on VERANDA SUITE (AA) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 12 Jul, 2024 Friday 19 Jul, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (A) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 27 Jul, 2024 Saturday 3 Aug, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Friday 2 Aug, 2024 Friday 9 Aug, 2024 English Based on VERANDA SUITE (AA) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 3 Aug, 2024 Saturday 10 Aug, 2024 English Based on VERANDA SUITE (AA) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 18 Aug, 2024 Sunday 25 Aug, 2024 English Based on VERANDA SUITE (AA) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 23 Aug, 2024 Friday 30 Aug, 2024 English Based on EXPLORER SUITE (ES) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Friday 30 Aug, 2024 Friday 6 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 31 Aug, 2024 Saturday 7 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 1 Sep, 2024 Sunday 8 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 6 Sep, 2024 Friday 13 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 7 Sep, 2024 Saturday 14 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Saturday 14 Sep, 2024 Saturday 21 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 15 Sep, 2024 Sunday 22 Sep, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 27 Sep, 2024 Friday 4 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 28 Sep, 2024 Saturday 5 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 29 Sep, 2024 Sunday 6 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 4 Oct, 2024 Friday 11 Oct, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (A) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 5 Oct, 2024 Saturday 12 Oct, 2024 English Based on FRENCH BALCONY (D) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 6 Oct, 2024 Sunday 13 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 11 Oct, 2024 Friday 18 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 12 Oct, 2024 Saturday 19 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 13 Oct, 2024 Sunday 20 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 18 Oct, 2024 Friday 25 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 19 Oct, 2024 Saturday 26 Oct, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 27 Oct, 2024 Sunday 3 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 1 Nov, 2024 Friday 8 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 2 Nov, 2024 Saturday 9 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 3 Nov, 2024 Sunday 10 Nov, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (A) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 8 Nov, 2024 Friday 15 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 9 Nov, 2024 Saturday 16 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 10 Nov, 2024 Sunday 17 Nov, 2024 English Based on VERANDA (B) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 15 Nov, 2024 Friday 22 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 16 Nov, 2024 Saturday 23 Nov, 2024 English Based on FRENCH BALCONY (C) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 17 Nov, 2024 Sunday 24 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 22 Nov, 2024 Friday 29 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 23 Nov, 2024 Saturday 30 Nov, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 24 Nov, 2024 Sunday 1 Dec, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Tuesday 26 Nov, 2024 Tuesday 3 Dec, 2024 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Ve Not available in your region
  • Sunday 13 Apr, 2025 Sunday 20 Apr, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (E) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 18 Apr, 2025 Friday 25 Apr, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 19 Apr, 2025 Saturday 26 Apr, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 20 Apr, 2025 Sunday 27 Apr, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 25 Apr, 2025 Friday 2 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 26 Apr, 2025 Saturday 3 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 27 Apr, 2025 Sunday 4 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 2 May, 2025 Friday 9 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 3 May, 2025 Saturday 10 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 4 May, 2025 Sunday 11 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 9 May, 2025 Friday 16 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 10 May, 2025 Saturday 17 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 11 May, 2025 Sunday 18 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 16 May, 2025 Friday 23 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor , Viking Idi Not available in your region
  • Saturday 17 May, 2025 Saturday 24 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 18 May, 2025 Sunday 25 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 23 May, 2025 Friday 30 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 24 May, 2025 Saturday 31 May, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 25 May, 2025 Sunday 1 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 30 May, 2025 Friday 6 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 31 May, 2025 Saturday 7 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 1 Jun, 2025 Sunday 8 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 6 Jun, 2025 Friday 13 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 7 Jun, 2025 Saturday 14 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 8 Jun, 2025 Sunday 15 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 13 Jun, 2025 Friday 20 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 14 Jun, 2025 Saturday 21 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 15 Jun, 2025 Sunday 22 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 20 Jun, 2025 Friday 27 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 21 Jun, 2025 Saturday 28 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 22 Jun, 2025 Sunday 29 Jun, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 27 Jun, 2025 Friday 4 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 28 Jun, 2025 Saturday 5 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 29 Jun, 2025 Sunday 6 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 4 Jul, 2025 Friday 11 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 5 Jul, 2025 Saturday 12 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 6 Jul, 2025 Sunday 13 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 11 Jul, 2025 Friday 18 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 12 Jul, 2025 Saturday 19 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 13 Jul, 2025 Sunday 20 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 18 Jul, 2025 Friday 25 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 19 Jul, 2025 Saturday 26 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 20 Jul, 2025 Sunday 27 Jul, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 25 Jul, 2025 Friday 1 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 26 Jul, 2025 Saturday 2 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 27 Jul, 2025 Sunday 3 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 1 Aug, 2025 Friday 8 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 2 Aug, 2025 Saturday 9 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 3 Aug, 2025 Sunday 10 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 8 Aug, 2025 Friday 15 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 9 Aug, 2025 Saturday 16 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 10 Aug, 2025 Sunday 17 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 15 Aug, 2025 Friday 22 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 16 Aug, 2025 Saturday 23 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 17 Aug, 2025 Sunday 24 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 22 Aug, 2025 Friday 29 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 23 Aug, 2025 Saturday 30 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 24 Aug, 2025 Sunday 31 Aug, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 29 Aug, 2025 Friday 5 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 30 Aug, 2025 Saturday 6 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 31 Aug, 2025 Sunday 7 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 5 Sep, 2025 Friday 12 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 6 Sep, 2025 Saturday 13 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 7 Sep, 2025 Sunday 14 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 12 Sep, 2025 Friday 19 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 13 Sep, 2025 Saturday 20 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 14 Sep, 2025 Sunday 21 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 19 Sep, 2025 Friday 26 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 20 Sep, 2025 Saturday 27 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 21 Sep, 2025 Sunday 28 Sep, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 26 Sep, 2025 Friday 3 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 27 Sep, 2025 Saturday 4 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 28 Sep, 2025 Sunday 5 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 3 Oct, 2025 Friday 10 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 4 Oct, 2025 Saturday 11 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 5 Oct, 2025 Sunday 12 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 10 Oct, 2025 Friday 17 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 11 Oct, 2025 Saturday 18 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 12 Oct, 2025 Sunday 19 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 17 Oct, 2025 Friday 24 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 18 Oct, 2025 Saturday 25 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 19 Oct, 2025 Sunday 26 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 24 Oct, 2025 Friday 31 Oct, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 25 Oct, 2025 Saturday 1 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 26 Oct, 2025 Sunday 2 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 31 Oct, 2025 Friday 7 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 1 Nov, 2025 Saturday 8 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 2 Nov, 2025 Sunday 9 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Friday 7 Nov, 2025 Friday 14 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Var Not available in your region
  • Saturday 8 Nov, 2025 Saturday 15 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 9 Nov, 2025 Sunday 16 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Friday 14 Nov, 2025 Friday 21 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Tor Not available in your region
  • Saturday 15 Nov, 2025 Saturday 22 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Egil Not available in your region
  • Sunday 16 Nov, 2025 Sunday 23 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Saturday 22 Nov, 2025 Saturday 29 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Gullveig Not available in your region
  • Sunday 23 Nov, 2025 Sunday 30 Nov, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Tuesday 25 Nov, 2025 Tuesday 2 Dec, 2025 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Ve Not available in your region
  • Sunday 3 May, 2026 Sunday 10 May, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 10 May, 2026 Sunday 17 May, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 17 May, 2026 Sunday 24 May, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 24 May, 2026 Sunday 31 May, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 31 May, 2026 Sunday 7 Jun, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 7 Jun, 2026 Sunday 14 Jun, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 14 Jun, 2026 Sunday 21 Jun, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 21 Jun, 2026 Sunday 28 Jun, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 28 Jun, 2026 Sunday 5 Jul, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 5 Jul, 2026 Sunday 12 Jul, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 12 Jul, 2026 Sunday 19 Jul, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 19 Jul, 2026 Sunday 26 Jul, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 26 Jul, 2026 Sunday 2 Aug, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 2 Aug, 2026 Sunday 9 Aug, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 9 Aug, 2026 Sunday 16 Aug, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 16 Aug, 2026 Sunday 23 Aug, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 23 Aug, 2026 Sunday 30 Aug, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 30 Aug, 2026 Sunday 6 Sep, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 6 Sep, 2026 Sunday 13 Sep, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 13 Sep, 2026 Sunday 20 Sep, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 20 Sep, 2026 Sunday 27 Sep, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 27 Sep, 2026 Sunday 4 Oct, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 4 Oct, 2026 Sunday 11 Oct, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 11 Oct, 2026 Sunday 18 Oct, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 18 Oct, 2026 Sunday 25 Oct, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 25 Oct, 2026 Sunday 1 Nov, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 1 Nov, 2026 Sunday 8 Nov, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 8 Nov, 2026 Sunday 15 Nov, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • Sunday 15 Nov, 2026 Sunday 22 Nov, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Atla Not available in your region
  • Sunday 22 Nov, 2026 Sunday 29 Nov, 2026 English Based on STANDARD (F) Viking Jarl Not available in your region
  • 169 Other Unavailable Departures

Frequently Asked Questions

We are there for you! If you have any questions about this tour, then please don't hesitate to contact us 24/7 and we will get back to you latest within 2 hours!

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Good to Know

  • Currencies € Euro Austria and Germany Ft Forint Hungary

As a traveller from USA, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa you will need an adaptor for types C, E, F.

  • These are only indications, so please visit your doctor before you travel to be 100% sure.
  • Tick-borne encephalitis - Recommended for Austria, Germany and Hungary. Ideally 6 months before travel.
  • Hepatitis A - Recommended for Hungary. Ideally 2 weeks before travel.
  • Hepatitis B - Recommended for Hungary. Ideally 2 months before travel.
  • Unfortunately we cannot offer you a visa application service. Whether you need a visa or not depends on your nationality and where you wish to travel. Assuming your home country does not have a visa agreement with the country you're planning to visit, you will need to apply for a visa in advance of your scheduled departure.
  • Here is an indication for which countries you might need a visa. Please contact the local embassy for help applying for visas to these places.
  • For any tour departing before 21st September 2024 a full payment is necessary. For tours departing after 21st September 2024, a minimum payment of €0 is required to confirm your booking with Viking Cruises. The final payment will be automatically charged to your credit card on the designated due date. The final payment of the remaining balance is required at least 125 days prior to the departure date of your tour. TourRadar never charges you a booking fee and will charge you in the stated currency.
  • The following cards are accepted for "Viking Cruises" tours: Visa, Maestro, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal. TourRadar does NOT charge you an extra fee for using any of these payment methods.
  • Insurance Unless otherwise mentioned, TourRadar does not provide travel insurance. We do however recommend purchasing it through our tried and trusted partner, World Travel Nomads .
  • Accessibility Some tours are not suitable for mobility-restricted traveller, however, some operators may be able to accommodate special requests. For any enquiries, you can contact our customer support team , who are ready and waiting to help you.
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Christmas on the Danube

  • From $2,799
  • 6 Guided Tours
  • 3 Countries
  • Dates & Pricing
  • Budapest to Regensburg Regensburg to Budapest

Christmas on the Danube Map

Map of Christmas on the Danube itinerary

Sail to charming cities & villages

budapest river cruise viking

Discover grand cities, medieval towns and quaint villages along the “Blue Danube,” highlighting three countries: Hungary, Austria and Germany. Stroll among the stalls at Budapest’s Christmas market and immerse yourself in the cheerful atmosphere of Vienna as you shop for handmade decorations. Visit the fairy-tale village of Regensburg, one of Europe’s best-preserved cities, and delight in the city’s joyful festivities.

SPRING SALE

budapest river cruise viking

Viking Inclusive Value

All you need included, with no surprises or hidden fees

Map of Christmas on the Danube itinerary

To learn more about each port of call and our included as well as optional excursions, click on the individual days below.

Itinerary and shore excursions are subject to change and may vary by departure.

More features, services and excursions included

One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call

Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary)

Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner

24-hour specialty coffees, teas  & bottled water

Port taxes & fees

Ground transfers with Viking Air purchase

Visits to UNESCO Sites

Enrichment lectures & Destination Performances

Your Stateroom Includes:

River-view stateroom

Bottled water replenished daily

110/220 volt outlets

Queen-size Viking Explorer Bed (optional twin-bed configuration) with luxury linens & pillows

Private bathroom with shower, heated floor & anti-fog mirror

Premium Freyja® toiletries

Plush robes & slippers (upon request)

40" or 42" flat-screen Sony® TV with infotainment system featuring Movies On Demand, plus CNBC, CNN, FOX & more

Telephone, safe, refrigerator

Individual climate control

*All amenities on board Viking Longships; amenities vary on other ships.

Pre & Post Cruise Extensions

More days means more to discover, with extension packages you can add before or after your Viking cruise or cruisetour. Enjoy additional days to explore your embarkation or disembarkation city, or see a new destination altogether with a choice of exciting cities. Pre & Post Cruise Extensions vary by itinerary and are subject to change.

budapest river cruise viking

Pre: Budapest

From $599 | 2 Nights

budapest river cruise viking

Pre: Budapest Premium

From $1,299 | 2 Nights

budapest river cruise viking

Post: Prague

From $899 | 3 Nights

budapest river cruise viking

Post: Prague Premium

From $1,199 | 3 Nights

budapest river cruise viking

Post: Prague & Nuremberg

From $999 | 4 Nights

budapest river cruise viking

Post: Nuremberg

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Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

budapest river cruise viking

My favourite city on the Danube is easily Budapest. Besides being the city where I met my girlfriend (10 years ago!), the bridges and architecture are the best on the river. It is also an incredibly walkable city. On my last visit, I toured around with City Sightseeing’s Budapest Hop on hop off bus . Although it was a great way to cover a large area in a short period, Budapest on foot is the best way to experience Hungary’s capital city. Budapest was the final stop on my trip down the Danube with Viking Cruises and I was eager to see and show off what the accessible highlights are from the Viking Cruise port.

Table of Contents

Starting Point

With our Viking cruise ship tightly tucked next to the Chain Bridge, we were in the perfect spot to explore Budapest from. To be honest, it was pretty tough to leave my private balcony with views like this. Can you blame me?

budapest river cruise viking

To cover as much of the city as possible (and to get me out the door) start your day seeing Budapest on foot by tagging along on the city tour excursion. Viking Cruises does a great job getting its guests out and about and makes the most out of each stop with free excursions and activities. In Budapest, this was a guided bus and walking tour. The bus tour took us past city highlights such as the Hungarian Opera House, Hero Square, and the Pest Synagogue (Europe’s largest) before dropping us on top Castle Hill for a guided walking tour.

 READ MORE:    Down the Danube with Viking River Cruises

Hopping on and off in Budapest

Buda Castle

Buda Castle was first built in the 14th century but, like the rest of the city, was heavily damaged during World War II. At that time it’s secret tunnels below served as a hospital. Postwar it served as a bomb shelter for the Soviet-controlled city. Today, the tunnels are open to tourists and offer a great view of life during Nazi and Soviet reign.

My Rhine Getaway Experience and What to Expect on a Viking River Cruise

Hopping on and off in Budapest

Above these tunnels is the castle and the beautifully tiled Matthias Church. Now if you’re taking a tour down the Danube with Viking Cruises , You will probably be over churches by this point. I strongly recommend you do not skip Matthias Church . It’s unique tile work really makes it one of a kind and the colours inside and out are beautiful.

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

After touring the church our group started making its way back to the ship. We decided to continue our Budapest on foot tour by taking in the views before heading down the hill via the 146-year-old funicular . Note: Pay a couple of euros for access to the upper viewing platform next to the Matthias Church for fewer selfie sticks in your postcard photos!

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

Chain Bridge

Budapest is known for its beautiful bridges. With 8 fascinating ones that cross the Danube , it is easy to see why. Sadly, several were destroyed by the fleeing Germans at the end of World War II. This includes the Chain Bridge, arguably the prettiest of the bunch. Thankfully it has been rebuilt to its original state. A walk across it is a must-do while visiting the city. Really, you could spend a day crisscrossing Budapest on foot, exploring places like Margaret Island and Gellert Hill.

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

After a pit stop back at our Viking Cruise ship for lunch, our Budapest on foot tour concluded with a walk around the country’s parliament – one of Europe’s finest.

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

Perched on the Danube, the Hungarian parliament building is a stunner. Constructed from 40 million or so bricks, it is also the 3rd largest in Europe. Although tours inside are available, we chose to continue on by foot. In doing so we took in the beauty of the grounds, fountains, and sculptures that surround this masterpiece. We also made a stop at the Budapest Uprising exhibit. Located on the southeast corner of the parliament building, this underground museum does an excellent job sharing the story of Hungary’s uprising in 1956.

Down the Danube | Viking River Cruise Highlights from Port to Port

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

Down the Danube

Our Budapest on foot tour continued along the Danube promenade. The riverside path is worth a stroll to say the least. Be sure to stop at the Shoes on the Danube Bank art display. This installation tells the sad story and shares the memory of Hungarian Jewish men, women, and children that were executed and pushed into the Danube during WWII.

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

Great Hall Market

26 minutes and 3 bridges later we arrived at the Central Market Hall. Note: if the distance is too great for you, the city trams run the same route along the river and has stops near the Viking Cruise ship port and in front of the market. Hop on the #2!

IMG_4972

Along with Riga’s Central Market, this historic building is one of my favourite markets in Europe. Don’t miss a visit to the top floor where locals dish out delicacies like goulash and lángos, a Hungarian flatbread topped with sour cream, cheese, and onions.

 READ MORE:    Learning to make Hungarian Goulash in Budapest

Danube Viking River Cruise Highlights from Port to Port

Vaci Street

Post-market tour we made our way back to our Viking Cruise ship via Vaci Street . This pedestrian-only street is lined with major brand name shops, cafés, and restaurants. Stop for a beer or coffee with a side of people watching out front of St. Stephen’s Basilica. A great way to spend an hour or afternoon!

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

Home Sweet Home

Seeing Budapest on foot from the Viking Cruise port is easily doable and I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to see the city at a slow and relaxing pace. Combining this route with the Viking Cruises included excursion, Budapest’s yellow streetcars, and the metro system makes it easily achievable for less mobile guests too. Those looking to make more of their time in Budapest should consider taking a local cooking class or take in a show at the historic opera house. Either way, there is much to experience in this vibrant European capital city.

Budapest on Foot – Acessible Highlights from the Viking Cruise Ship Port

What say you? Thoughts on seeing  Budapest on foot ? Let’s hear it!

For more reviews from Europe  and beyond see HERE .

Like it? Pin it!

Budapest on foot viking cruise

— Viking River Cruises on Facebook — — Viking River Cruises on Twitter —

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This Budapest on foot tour was made possible thanks to  Viking River Cruises . As always the experience, opinions, and 100’s of photos are my own.

Shaun Robertson

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Viking River Cruises’ Romantic Danube: How To Make The Most Of Every Stop

River cruising is a popular way to get the ease and convenience of a cruise while enjoying a more intimate experience.

Viking River Cruises is one of the most recognized names in the industry, and we had the chance to take their eight-day Romantic Danube cruise in the wintertime. The cruise stops vary from year to year and season to season, but each version has stops in Germany, Austria, and Hungary.

During our trip, we wanted to indulge in one of our favorite travel hobbies: visiting different European Christmas markets . Not only did we immerse ourselves in many memorable Christmas markets, but we also explored some charming, beautiful, and historically important towns.

Viking River Cruises’ Romantic Danube offers so many different ways to optimize your time. Our experience was absolutely magical, and we wanted to share some suggestions for how to make the most of every stop on this unforgettable itinerary.

We were guests of Viking River Cruises on their Romantic Danube itinerary. All opinions expressed are our own and are based on our experiences.

Nuremberg, Germany

The Romantic Danube itinerary varies, sometimes beginning in Hungary and other times in Germany. The stops may vary slightly as well. But wherever your specific journey takes you along this beautiful river route, you’ll find a lot to explore.

Our itinerary began in the German city of Nuremberg . Steeped in World War II history, it witnessed the rise and fall of the Third Reich. History buffs can visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds , the Nazi Documentation Center , and other historical sites.

But as the second-largest city in Bavaria (after Munich ), Nuremberg also has lots more to offer. The Old Town features beautiful half-timbered houses along with the medieval Imperial Castle . Art lovers can visit the home of German Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer , explore the Germanisches Nationalmuseum , and enjoy numerous art galleries around town.

The food is incredible in Nuremberg, so we recommend having at least one meal or hearty snack ashore. Don’t miss the city’s skinny German sausages served three to a roll or on a plate with sauerkraut or potato salad. Paired with a frosty local beer, it’s a perfect meal.

Stop by the open-air Hauptmarket in the city center for a colorful look at local produce, flowers, handmade gifts, and delicious food specialties. If you happen to be there during the holiday season , you’ll see the transformation of the Old Town into a winter wonderland where over 180 vendors make up the Christkindlesmarkt . Stalls display art, local products, handcrafted goods, and treats of the season. Glittering lights and fresh greenery enhance the festive atmosphere.

Regensburg, Germany

A well-preserved medieval city on the northern portion of the Danube River, Regensburg boasts some of the most interesting historic buildings in Bavaria.

The Altes Rathaus is a bright yellow building dating to the 1200s. The Thurn und Taxis Palace is the impressive residence of an aristocratic family that had amassed a fortune from postal operations in the early 1800s. During the holiday season, a Christmas market springs up on the castle grounds. The Porta Praetoria comprises the ruins of a gateway made of rough stone blocks dating to the 13th century. Neupfarrplatz, a Roman fortress built during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, was later home to one of the first Jewish communities in Germany. The ornate German Gothic Saint Peter’s Cathedral is worth seeing, too. Walk across the Old Stone Bridge, a pedestrian walkway over the Danube, and then turn to see the colorful clock tower.

A UNESCO World Heritage site , Regensburg also has great food. The Historische Wurstkuchl , or Historic Sausage Kitchen, is 1,000 years old and the oldest sausage kitchen in Europe, maybe even in the world. If you have time, sit a while at the Weltenburger am Dom , a restaurant and brewery right next to the cathedral. Try the amazing schnitzel with a beer from Weltenburg Abbey, the oldest monastery brewery in the world.

Passau, Germany

Right on the Germany-Austria border, Passau is a picturesque city. It’s known as the City of Three Rivers, since it’s where the Danube, Ilz, and Inn Rivers come together. Something you won’t find in many other places is a wasserstand , a chart depicting high water marks from floods in the city center. It’s drawn on a wall of the old town hall as a reminder that while being at the confluence of three rivers may be beautiful, it is not without risks.

Art is important to Passau, with the city’s modern art museum and a unique glass museum containing more than 30,000 European pieces of art glass. Check out the fun Artists’ Alley, where cobblestones painted in bright colors line the streets and darling boutiques hold plenty of unique souvenirs.

Passau is home to one of the largest pipe organs in the world, with almost 18,000 pipes. It resides in the gorgeous baroque Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. If the timing is right, you could catch a concert for an unforgettable experience.

Modern pleasures in Passau include the Klostergarten, a contemporary park that is home to farmers markets and gardens. It lights up at night with dramatic lighting, water features, and choreographed fountain displays, perfect for enjoying on an evening stroll.

Melk, Austria

As the Romantic Danube cruise moves into Austria, you’ll spot the Melk Abbey standing grandly atop a hill overlooking the Danube. More than just an abbey, it’s a complex comprising seven courtyards, a beautiful church, and a library with over 90,000 volumes and rare manuscripts.

Melk is located in the Wachau Valley , where small towns and monasteries flourished during the Renaissance. The scenery is stunning. Several castles — including Schloss Schallaburg , Schloss Artstetten , and Schloss Schonbuhel — beg to be explored, and the ruins of other castles dot the landscape.

If you’re interested in local food and beverages like we are, the Wachau Valley is renowned for its apricots and wine. In addition to excellent wines made from grapes such as riesling and gruner veltliner, apricot wine, apricot dumplings, apricot cake, and some unique items made with saffron are also local specialties.

Krems is the town at the other end of the valley and is sometimes part of the Romantic Danube itinerary.

Vienna, Austria

Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There are so many things to see, do, and eat that you will not want to waste a moment of your time there.

We have to put the Viennese culinary culture at the top of our list. Famous desserts like sacher torte and apple strudel, gorgeous coffeehouses, incredible farmers markets, delicious street food, and a wide range of restaurants provide many opportunities to sample local delights. Most people don’t know that Vienna is also home to its own wine regions, making the local wine a great option to try.

Music is another highlight of Viennese culture. The City of Music has many venues from which to choose. The Musikverein , Vienna State Opera , Wiener Konzerthaus , and Schonbrunn Palace offer concerts featuring everything from the classical music of Mozart and Strauss to jazz, pop, and rock. There are also cafés, bars, and nightclubs offering food, drinks, and music in a more intimate setting.

World-renowned palaces like Schonbrunn and the Hofburg as well as sacred spaces like Saint Stephen’s Cathedral and Karlskirche impress with their magnificence.

Of course, Vienna also offers gorgeous Christmas markets in stunning venues like the City Hall, Belvedere Palace, Maria Theresien Square, and Schonbrunn Palace, among others.

Animal lovers can check out the elegant Lipizzaner stallions performing at the Spanish Riding School or visit Vienna’s Tiergarten , the oldest zoo in the world.

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is actually three different cities: Buda and Obuda on the west side of the Danube  River and Pest on the east side. That only adds to the intrigue of this unique destination.

The quieter Buda side has hills and a funicular, which you can ride to the top for a panoramic view of the Pest side. The City Park is a lovely place to stroll, with botanical gardens, a municipal zoo, the Budapest circus, and a museum of agriculture. There’s also a huge timer containing sand that takes a year to go from the top to the bottom. It’s started all over again every New Year.

The Great Market Hall features three floors of local produce, prepared delicacies, crafts, and souvenirs. If you like to shop, be sure to stroll along Vaci and Kiraly Streets, pedestrian roads full of touristy joints as well as fun local shops and cafés.

Budapest has several spas and thermal baths in which you can relax while also getting your history fix; many of these structures have been around since Ottoman times.

Budapest also boasts several phenomenal holiday markets, including the Advent Feast at the Basilica , considered among the best Christmas markets in Europe.

The folks at Viking River Cruises know that the spectacular Hungarian Parliament Building is a vision at night. They generally provide an opportunity to see it while you’re on the water and make a picture-perfect memory to last a lifetime.

What To Know Before You Go

Viking River Cruises offers several excursions as well as a variety of add-ons. Be sure to take time before your departure to explore what interests you and book anything extra well in advance because space is often limited. While the ship is comfy, the service delightful, and the onboard activities lots of fun, be sure to get out and explore at every stop. There is so much awaiting you on your Romantic Danube journey.

karenfoleyphotography / Shutterstock.com

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7 of the best river cruises around the world for 2024

Take a tour of the world’s most famous waterways on your next holiday, article bookmarked.

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The Mekong flows through six countries, including Thailand

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A cruise holiday isn’t always about setting sail across vast oceans. For an alternative type of break on the water, winding your way inland might sound similar but it’s a vastly different experience.

From crossing deep into the untouched areas of the Amazon rainforest to exploring some of Europe ’s finest cities, the river cruise experience is one that allows tourists to get to grips with the history, culture and tradition of a destination in a slow, immersive fashion.

This could be in the form of sampling Creole cuisine in Mississippi or discovering historic sites in Vietnam , but whatever it is, there’s plenty of choice across Europe , Asia , South America and North America .

Read on for a selection of the best cruises, from the Mississippi to the Mekong.

Europe’s second longest river – and arguably its most famous – river takes you through amazing capital cities and host of charming towns, as well as plenty of scenic countryside in Austria , Hungary , Slovakia and Romania. Cruises along the Danube can vary from a handful of days to almost three weeks, giving you time to explore the elegance of cities like Vienna , Budapest, Bratislava or Belgrade.

Emerald Cruises lets you see the best of the Danube with the addition of a hefty dose of traditional German culture in Munich. Leaving the Bavarian capital, you’ll travel to Passau before a quick cross-border trip to the Unesco-listed Czech city of Cesky Krumlov. Vienna is the next city, replete with opulent architecture, before a quick overnight stay in Bratislava on the sixth night. Guided tours and hikes around the castle are included, before you get three nights to explore Budapest, the Hungarian capital that is blessed with picturesque buildings, relaxed thermal baths and a buzzing nightlife scene. 

From £1,999pp, including nine nights’ accommodation, full board, tours of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest and airport transfers. Departing 7 May 2024 to 20 October 2024.

Read more on Europe travel :

  • The lesser-known Croatia destinations you may not have considered
  • The best spas in Eastern Europe for an affordable, yet luxurious, break
  • Lisbon travel guide: Where to eat, drink, shop and stay in Portugal’s vivacious capital

This famous river runs for over 4,000 miles throughout South America and is a major part of the eponymous rainforest, one of the most biodiverse and important natural areas on the planet. A river cruise remains the best way to reach deeper into the jungle, with many cruises beginning in the northern Brazilian city of Manaus or in the Peruvian city of Lima.

Start in Peru’s enchanting capital with the Peruvian Rivers and Rainforest Discovery cruise from Uniworld. You’ll fly to Iquitos, the largest city in the Amazon as your next stop, before delving into some of the most remote areas in the world as you take to the waters. From here, nature takes centre stage, with a variety of experiences – including jungle walks and kayaking on a lake – added to the enjoyment of natural features such as giant lilies, towering barrigona trees and around 10 per cent of the world’s known animal species.

From £8,799pp, including 10 nights’ accommodation, full board, return flights from London, domestic flights and various excursions. Departing regularly from 17 January until 6 November 2024.

Start in  Cairo  and make your way down to Aswan over a few days (though many shorter routes operate between  Aswan and Luxor  only). For a relaxing way to take in riverside scenery and some of Egypt’s most important historical sites, a river cruise is the ideal choice.

AP Touring’s  Egypt Discovery  trip takes you on a round trip from Cairo. You’ll cross thousands of years of history, starting with West Bank the Valley of the Kings, before a short flight to Aswan to explore Abu Simbel and a sighting of the landmark Pyramids of Giza near the Egyptian capital. The scenery along the route is exceptional, too, with palm trees, green spaces and mini oases dotted in between the yellow-hued rock.

From £6,995pp, including 12 nights’ accommodation, 30 meals (including unlimited local beer and wine) return flights from London Heathrow, domestic flights within Egypt and activities in each of the 10 destinations. Departing regularly from September 2024 to April 2025.

Exploring this land of castles and fairytales is a worthwhile European trip, with tours often starting in the pretty Dutch capital of Amsterdam and weaving across the German and French countryside, with the route broken up by cities such as Cologne, Dusseldorf and Strasbourg. Many of the towns located on the banks of the Rhine, such as Koblenz, are incredibly picturesque, with a range of medieval castles and natural sites like the Black Forest also featuring.

Ama Waterways provide a seven-night cruise that runs from Basel to Amsterdam. Get your cultural fix at either end of your trip in either of these two cities, before admiring the vistas around the Rhine Valley, the medieval castles that loom over towns like Heidelberg and the timber-framed buildings that line the streets of Riquewihr and Strasbourg. Stops in both Freiburg and Dusseldorf are also included, as well as an optional excursion to Cologne.

From £2,399pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, full board and tours in each destination. Departing regularly between 18 February and 28 December 2024.

The views around the Douro Valley are some of the best in Portugal , whether you’re sitting by the banks in Porto or admiring the verdant hills and vineyards around Pinhao. This region, well-known for its port production, has cruises lasting roughly one week that usually begin and end in Porto – where the river meets the Atlantic Ocean – with a brief crossing over into Spain and Salamanca.

The Riviera Travel package offers an affordable eight-day Douro option starting and ending in Porto , with two nights to explore Portugal’s magnificent second city (and to go on a guided tour of a well-known port producer). Days three and four take you to sleepy Castelo de Rodrigo and the historic Spanish city of Salamanca (with guided tours and time to explore at your leisure) before traversing the cascading vineyards of the valley on your way back to Porto via the beautiful Peso de Regua (and a local wine tasting).

From £1,599pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, full board, flights from a London airport, one excursion one each day and airport transfers. Departing regularly from 7 April 2024.

The Mississippi

Discovering the Deep South is often done by car, but with new routes recently from Viking Cruises, exploring Louisiana, Mississippi, Minnesota and Tennessee has never been more idyllic. The famed cities of New Orleans and Memphis can bookend your tour, with lesser-known locations such as Baton Rouge, Natchez and Darrow making up the other stops.

Opt for Viking’s ‘Heart of the Delta’ cruise to if you really want to immerse yourself in the Deep South. The cruise begins with a few days exploring the French influences and Creole cuisine of New Orleans , before moving on to Baton Rouge – a haven of Creole and Cajun culture – and then onto Natchez, the oldest city on the river. You’ll travel through other towns on the Mississippi – complete with walking tours or excursions to the Atchafalaya Swamp basin – before reaching Memphis, the atmospheric home of blues music.

From £6,545pp, including 12 nights’ accommodation, full board, return flights from London and one excursion per destination. Departing weekly from March 7 until 13 June, with additional departures on 7 November and 13 November.

The Mekong flows through a host of Asia’s most fascinating countries, including Vietnam , Thailand , China and Cambodia. Most cruises only take in parts of Vietnam and Cambodia , though this mix of floating fishing villages, traditional markets and the two capitals of Ho Chi Minh City and Phnom Penh will be enough for most travellers. With Avalon Waterways , you’ll combine energetic, modern cities with some of the most vibrant culture in Asia and a history that is equal parts sobering and fascinating.

It starts in Siem Reap, site of the Angkor Wat temple, before moving on to the Cambodian capital, where you can learn about the dictatorship of Pol Pot and visit several must-see landmarks. After this, Vietnam beckons, with a visit to the dizzying Ho Chi Minh City to see its admirable architecture. Visits to markets, old Vietnam War tunnels, temples and cooking classes are dotted in between these city trips for good measure, with stops at characterful towns like Vinh Long, too.

From £4,229pp, including seven nights’ accommodation, full board and activities on each day of the trip. Departing regularly from 15 January to 11 March and from 12 August to 2 December 2024.

Read more: Best hotels in Europe: Where to stay for a city, beach or retreat break

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  1. Budapest River Cruises

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    Discover quaint towns in Germany, Austria and Hungary. Celebrate Vienna and Salzburg's musical legacy, and savor the culinary delights of Budapest and Bratislava's brewing heritage. Enjoy scenic sailing through the Wachau Valley and admire sleepy villages along the Danube. With overnights in Vienna, Passau and Budapest, enjoy more time to fully explore. The winter season is an ideal time ...

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  5. Budapest River Cruises Europe

    When it comes to Budapest river cruises, Viking River Cruises does it best. Book a cruise through Budapest today. Rivers; Oceans; Expeditions; Complimentary Brochures; Special Offers; ... Budapest River Cruises. Hide map Show map. Grand European Tour Budapest to Amsterdam ONBOARD GRATUITIES INCLUDED 15 days. 12 tours. 4 countries. £3,595 from ...

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    The Viking River Cruise Dock in Budapest is easily accessible by various means of transportation: By Public Transportation: Budapest has an efficient public transportation system. You can reach the Viking River Cruise Dock by taking tram line 2 or bus 15, which both stop nearby. By Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Budapest.

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    Viking River Grand European River Cruise Review. In the course of two-weeks, we would cruise on three rivers; the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. Along the way, Viking Lif had 12 scheduled cruise ports to visit before docking in Amsterdam. A couple of port tour excursions offered day trips to other nearby ancient towns, and I highly recommend ...

  8. One Day in Budapest on a Viking River Cruise

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  9. Where do Viking River Cruises Dock in Budapest?

    Viking River Cruises in Budapest primarily dock at two locations, offering different experiences and accessibility: 1. Budapest International Cruise Terminal. The Budapest International Cruise Terminal, also known as the Buda-Castle Pier, is located on the Buda side of the city. This docking location provides a fantastic view of the iconic ...

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    Key Takeaways. Viking River Cruises typically docks at the city center in Budapest. The docking location is close to Buda Castle and the Hungarian Parliament Building. Public transportation, such as trams and buses, provide efficient access to various riverfront tour options.

  11. Viking River Cruises From Budapest

    Treasures Of The DanubeDetails. 174 Reviews. Leaving: Budapest. Cruise Line: Viking River Cruises. No prices currently available for this sailing. Itinerary.

  12. Passage to Eastern Europe

    See Bucharest's 3,000-room Palace of Parliament. Make <i>banitsa</i> bread with a home cook in Vidin. Explore Belgrade's Ottoman and European treasures, including the 6th-century Kalemegdan Fortress. View the Danube's towering Iron Gate. Witness Hungary's daredevil Puszta horsemen. Behold Budapest's grandeur. Once hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the eastern Danube still has secrets ...

  13. Grand European Tour

    Admire Rhine Valley vistas from a 900-year-old castle. Sample the culinary delights of Austria's Wachau Valley. Learn the Viennese waltz, visit Melk's Benedictine Abbey and delve into Nuremberg's World War II history. Indulge your senses on this 15-day journey spanning the best of Europe, tracing the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers between the windmill-dotted waterways of Holland and the ...

  14. Romantic Danube

    Expires May 31, 2024. Save an additional 3.3%—just pay via electronic check. Ask for details. Get available dates and pricing for Romantic Danube river cruises. Book your 2024 Regensburg to Budapest river cruise through Viking Cruises.

  15. Danube Waltz

    From £1,049 | 2 Nights. Premium. Soak up soothing steam at a Budapest thermal bath. Learn to waltz at a Viennese dance school. Savor Austro-Hungarian cuisine in Vienna and Budapest. Admire the Wachau Valley's beauty. Explore lesser-known Central European cities like Bratislava and Passau.

  16. Romantic Danube Regensburg to Budapest by Viking Cruises

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  17. 2024 Itinerary

    Discover grand cities, medieval towns and quaint villages along the "Blue Danube," highlighting three countries: Hungary, Austria and Germany. Stroll among the stalls at Budapest's Christmas market and immerse yourself in the cheerful atmosphere of Vienna as you shop for handmade decorations. Visit the fairy-tale village of Regensburg, one of Europe's best-preserved cities, and delight ...

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    When it comes to Budapest river cruises, Viking River Cruises does it best. Book a cruise through Budapest today. Rivers; Oceans; Expeditions; Complimentary Brochures; Call Viking at 1-800-207-7286 or Contact Your Travel Advisor. Menu. Rivers. Oceans; Expeditions; Search.