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Grand Danube

From Nuremberg to Giurgiu aboard a Premier River Vessel


Journey along paths forged by conquerors, crusaders, and kings through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, and Germany. Step back in time to explore the history and mystery living in the hillsides while cruising the Danube and through the Iron Gates. Legends of all kinds are waiting to be uncovered—Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders; the rock-hewn churches of Ivanovo, built into the side of a mountain showcasing well-preserved medieval frescos; and the Great Market Hall of Budapest, “Queen of the Danube.” Experience the Romans’ influence firsthand in Pécs, “the city of Mediterranean impressions,” and through the taste of wine in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times. From imposing capitals—Bucharest, Budapest, and Vienna—to towns lost in time, immerse yourself in the colorful folktales and traditions of the extraordinary people and places you visit along the way. You can add on an optional pre-cruise extension to Prague.

Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.


Vilshofen to Giurgiu Itinerary

Day 1
Vilshofen, Germany / Embarkation

Embark your cruise in Vilshofen. Later in the day, enjoy a festive Oktoberfest celebration. Tonight gather on board for a Welcome Dinner.

Day 2

Enjoy a free morning to walk around this quaint village. Later, cruise to Passau, and take a walking tour among the Gothic and Italian Baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Or, choose between a guided bike tour along the Danube River or a guided hike to the impressive Veste Oberhaus fortress.

Day 3

You have several options for exploring today. Choose a full-day excursion to Salzburg where you’ll tour the historic center, Mirabell Gardens, Residenz Square and the Old Market. En route to Salzburg, visit Mondsee, home of the Basilica St. Michael. Or, join a morning walking tour through the old city center of Linz and by the Mozart House. You can also choose to hop on a bike and tour the city’s famed “Cultural Mile” and the Danube. Alternatively, visit the charming Český Krumlov, located just over the Czech-Austrian border.

Day 4
Wachau Valley / Weissenkirchen

Begin the day with a scenic cruise through the lovely Strudengau and UNESCO-designated Wachau valleys. After reaching Weissenkirchen, you’ll choose from a variety of excursions. Take a walking tour of Dürnstein before visiting the UNESCO designated Melk Abbey. Or, hike to the ruins of the Dürnstein Fortress, where Richard the Lionheart was once held captive. You can also cycle through the Wachau Valley on a guided bike tour, sampling special apricot treats from a local boutique along the way. In the evening, enjoy a wine tasting hosted by a local vintner.

Day 5

The “City of Waltzes” is a treasure trove and you have two ways to discover them. Join a city tour showcasing its regal splendors, including the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs. Conclude your tour in the UNESCO-designated historic city center and visit St. Stephen’s Cathedral. For a more active exploration of the area, take a guided bike ride through Vienna. In the afternoon, enjoy some time on your own to pedal around this iconic city.

Day 6

Host to the crowning ceremonies of 11 Hungarian kings and queens between 1536 and 1830, Bratislava certainly has earned the title “Coronation City of Kings,” as you’ll discover during your walking tour today. Alternatively, you may choose to join a special “Tastes of Slovakia” tour. Those looking for a little more physical exertion can hike up to the Bratislava Castle, where you’ll get magnificent views of the city.

Day 7
Budapest, Hungary

You cannot help but fall in love with Budapest, known as the “Queen of the Danube.” Your city tour begins with visit to the vibrant Great Market Hall brimming with vendors selling everything from food to souvenirs. The remainder of this tour takes you to both the Buda (hilly) and the Pest (flat) sides of the river. As an alternative, hike up to Castle Hill for breathtaking views of the city below. Spend your last evening on board cruising around the famed Parliament Building as the city turns on all her dazzling lights.

Day 8

Tradition will be on full display in Puszta, the Great Hungarian Plain. Tour a genuine Hungarian csárda (farm) run by the world champion carriage-drivers, the Lazar brothers. Afterwards, be treated to an unforgettable performance of Hungarian horsemanship and then experience the Hungarians’ warm hospitality, along with a traditional lunch complete with typical Goulash.

Day 9
Mohacs / Pécs

Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. Visit the UNESCO-designated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. For wine connoisseurs, you’ll want to go to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2,000 years ago.

Day 10
Vukovar, Croatia / Novi Sad, Siberia

Vukovar is a Croatian symbol of resistance, which you’ll better understand on your city tour showcasing the Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Palace. Alternatively, choose a wine tasting in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times, where you'll sample its famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. Back on board, cruise to Novi Sad, sometimes called the “Serbian Athens.” Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad, the Old Town center. If you prefer a more active exploration, join a guided biking or hiking tour. During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached.

Day 11
Belgrade, Serbia

Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Later, choose from three intriguing excursions. Visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Serbian Royal Family; and then tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of Marshal Tito, who became the first President of Yugoslavia. Or, enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour.

Day 12
Scenic Cruising through the Iron Gates

The Iron Gates is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. The banks of the river dazzle with sheer-faced rocks that stretch high overhead along this natural border between Serbia and Romania.

Day 13
Vidin, Bulgaria

Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria overlooking the Danube. Continue on to Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle.

Day 14
Rousse / Bucharest

Visit Bulgaria's ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings and Bulgarian medieval art. Later in the day, travel through the Romanian countryside to the capital of Bucharest, known as the “Little Paris of the East.” Enjoy a panoramic tour of the historic city center and its elegant architecture, followed by a visit to the Palace of the Parliament, the second largest administrative building in the world.

Day 15
Giurgiu / Disembarkation

Disembark the ship in Giurgiu.

Giurgiu to Vilshofen Itinerary

Day 1 Giurgiu, Bulgaria / Embark
Day 2 Giurgiu / Rousse
Day 3 Vidin, Bulgaria
Day 4 Cruising through the Iron Gates
Day 5 Belgrade, Serbia
Day 6 Novi Sad / Ilok, Croatia
Day 7 Pécs / Mohacs
Day 8 Budapest
Day 9 Budapest
Day 10 Bratislava, Slovakia
Day 11 Vienna, Austria
Day 12 Weissenkirchen / Grien
Day 13 Linz
Day 14 Passau, Gernany
Day 15 Vilshofen, Germany / Disembarkation


Additional 3 nights Prague pre-cruise and 2 nights Brasov, 2 nights Bucharest post-cruise: $2200 (2023)
Day 1: Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic
Day 2: Prague
Day 3: Prague
Day 4: Prague / Regensburg, Germany / Embarkation
Day 4-18: Cruise Program
Day 18: Disembarkation / Brasov, Romania
Day 19: Brasov / Sighisoara
Day 20: Brasov / Sinaia / Bucharest
Day 21: Bucharest
Day 22: Depart Bucharest
*Reverse for Giurgiu to Vilshofen Departures


Additional 3 Nights Prague pre-cruise and 3 nights Istanbul post-cruise: $2,399 (2023)
Day 1: Arrive in Prague, Czech Republic
Day 2: Prague
Day 3: Prague
Day 4: Prague / Regensburg, Germany / Embarkation
Day 4-18: Cruise Program
Day 18: Disembarkation / Istanbul, Turkey
Day 19: Istanbul
Day 20: Istanbul
Day 21: Depart Istanbul
*Reverse for Giurgiu to Vilshofen Departures



Delightful cuisine and wines, optional guided bike tours
Vienna, with its famed opera house
Evening river cruise in Budapest, walking tour of ancient Novi Sad, Serbia
Bucharest, the “Paris of the East”


Length: 15 days
Cost From: $6198  
Arrive: Nuremberg, Germany (or Giurgiu, Romania)
Depart: Giurgiu, Romania (or Nuremberg, Germany)
Lodging: 14 nights aboard 164-passenger premium river vessel
Meals: All meals included aboard ship and with the group ashore, including house wine, beer or soft drinks with lunch and dinner onboard
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Walking, River Cruising
Trip Level:

14-day cruise, cultural explorations and walking tours

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