Cruise Through the Heart of Europe With Viking Leading the Way
Explore Europe in comfort on a Viking river cruise.
Do you dream of experiencing Europe by sailing smoothly along its iconic rivers, such as the Rhine or the Danube? Imagine gliding past bucolic villages, quaint towns and vibrant cities, and then docking for the day to explore medieval fairy-tale castles or ancient wine estates.
But perhaps you find the idea of transitioning from country to country a bit intimidating. All those different languages, cultures and local customs?
No need to worry if you’re on Viking’s Grand European Tour river cruise! This journey is designed to help you explore and engage in depth with your destination. All Viking onboard staff speak English, and shore excursions are led by knowledgeable, English-speaking local guides who can show you all the highlights. Viking offers a variety of these outings—from home-hosted visits with locals to exclusive behind-the-scenes glimpses of private estates or world-class museums. Your cruise fare includes one excursion per day.
Viking is celebrating 25 years of offering these curated experiences and top-notch customer service. When you embark on a Viking river cruise, you get a destination-focused, culturally enriching trip. And Viking owns the best docking spaces throughout the heart of Europe, so you’re just steps away from many of the things you want to see or do—just walk right off your ship and start exploring.
A curated experience: 4 countries, 15 days
Viking’s Grand European Tour is just that—a 15-day journey from Amsterdam to Budapest along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers—taking you to both cosmopolitan cities and quaint villages. Visit the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Explore exciting towns like Vienna, Budapest or charming Cologne and take advantage of included daily shore excursions. Or customize with optional excursions (like a visit to a local Dutch cheese farm), go out and discover on your own, or even try full-day excursions in Munich or Salzburg!
The best part: You don’t need to be a veteran world traveler! Viking is with you every step of the way. Before you go, Viking can guide you with packing and give you insider tips. At the airport, it’s there for a meet-and-greet and will drive you to your ship via one of its own modern motorcoaches. Once you’re on board, Viking leads the way on your shore excursions. And finally, the cruise line even provides your final airport transfer when you go home.
Your Viking Longship has been built specifically for sailing Europe’s picturesque rivers. Onboard activities include art and history lectures, cooking demonstrations of regional favorites, concerts featuring local musicians, and regional specialties in the dining room—along with always-available classics (just in case you’re not feeling adventurous). In fact, cuisine and wine are part of every Viking journey—a great way to explore the local culture. Viking chefs use fresh local produce to prepare authentic regional dishes, sourcing ingredients like Hungarian paprika locally and rosemary from the ship’s onboard herb garden. Select wines, beers and soft drinks are included at no extra charge during lunch and dinner, or you can choose regional wines from the ship’s wine list. Plus, Viking’s signature “Taste of …” events offer a great introduction to regional food and drink.
Here is the itinerary for the Grand European Tour river cruise:
Your first port of call is Kinderdijk, known for its UNESCO World Heritage windmills dating back to the 1740s. Of course, as with all Viking ports of call, expert, English-speaking local guides lead all shore excursions, helping you and answering questions. Consider an optional excursion to a local cheese farm to see how one of the Netherlands’ top products is made. Finally, return to your ship for lunch and an afternoon spent sampling handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever—the ancestor of gin.
At your next stop, Cologne, stroll through the Old Town and explore the colorful waterfront for the day. You can have dinner on board—or take advantage of the late-evening departure and discover the city’s nightlife with a brauhaus (brewery) tour and dinner in this town famous for its unique Kolsch beer.
Next day, visit Koblenz’s Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine castle never destroyed. Then enjoy lunch (maybe al fresco on the Aquavit Terrace) as you cruise through Germany’s spectacular Middle Rhine Valley, surrounded by castles, vineyards and historical towns. Enjoy the scenic cruising for the rest of the day.
Morning arrives as your ship sails the Main River through the forested valleys of the Spessart region, site of the Snow White museum (an actual 18th century baroness from this area is believed to have inspired the fairy tale). After lunch, join a guided walking tour through Miltenberg, Germany. Follow the cobblestone streets of the Old Town past medieval houses to one of the most picturesque town squares in Germany and catch a glimpse of Miltenberg Castle high above the riverside town.
Cruising the Main-Danube Canal, your ship arrives in Bamberg in early afternoon. Your guided walking tour of this German city includes a visit to its 11th-century cathedral—burial place of emperors and popes—and a stop by the Town Hall, picturesquely perched right on the river bridge! Be sure to sample the town’s unique smoke-flavored beer before returning to your ship for a relaxing night in your Viking Explorer Bed, complete with luxury linens.
The next day in Wurzburg, try a full-day optional excursion along the Romantic Road to Rothenburg, one of Germany’s last remaining walled medieval towns. See the Gothic-Renaissance Town Hall and the 1466 High Altar in St. Jakob’s Church, and then return to Wurzburg to see the Bishop’s Residenz palace.
The next morning, disembark in Nuremberg for a guided tour of one of Germany’s most renowned cities. See the Palace of Justice, site of the Nuremberg Trials and explore the city’s Old Town. Or consider a tour of the remarkable underground bunkers where priceless art was hidden during World War II.
Cruise overnight and arrive in Regensburg; take a guided walking tour here, in one of Germany’s most well-preserved cities. Your local guide will show you city walls erected by Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius; the Gothic St. Peter’s Cathedral; and the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, a marvel of medieval engineering that still carries traffic.
The next morning, arrive in Passau to explore the Italianate city streets here at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube rivers. Discover the 14th-century Town Hall—built on the site of a former fish market—and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral, home to one of Europe’s largest pipe organs.
Enjoy breakfast on board before visiting Melk’s 900-year-old Benedictine monastery—one of the most graceful landmarks in Austria’s Wachau Valley—perched on cliffs high above the Danube. Return to your ship for lunch and spectacular scenic cruising through the valley in the afternoon. Or delve deeper and try an optional afternoon excursion to Krems to sample Austrian vintages during a winery tour and tasting.
Next, spend two glorious days in Vienna, Austria’s cosmopolitan capital. Take a guided tour and see the city’s Baroque architecture, including Hofburg Palace and the world-famous opera house. Customize your experience with an optional excursion, such as a visit the Spanish Riding School, home to the world-famous Lipizzaner stallions, with a stop at a traditional kaffeehaus to indulge in coffee and a slice of a Viennese specialty, sacher torte. Explore independently, or go with a Viking guide to tour Schonbrunn Palace, the magnificent home of the Habsburgs.
Your final port is Budapest, composed of the old cities of Buda and Pest that the Danube divides. Discover Hungary’s capital city on a guided tour. On the Pest side of the river, admire the Hungarian State Opera House on Andrassy Avenue and drive through Heroes’ Square, the largest in Budapest. Visit the Castle District in Buda, see the Fisherman’s Bastion and enjoy unrivaled views of the famous Chain Bridge from the heights of Castle Hill. On board, savor a traditional Hungarian dinner before you depart for the airport after breakfast the following morning, relishing every memory you made along the journey.
Exclusive AAA Member Benefits
• $200 per person shipboard credit for all cruises 12 days or longer*
• $100 per person shipboard credit for all cruises 8 to 11 days*
*Shipboard credit is valid for onboard purchase—bar, boutique and excursions—but cannot be used for onboard gratuities. Not applicable for itineraries in Egypt or Southeast Asia. Additional restrictions may apply. Contact your AAA Travel Advisor for complete terms and conditions.