What begins in Amsterdam, ends in Budapest, and takes in some of Europe's finest river adventures on route? 22 days of cheese tasting, canal cruising, museum wandering, fairy tale castle snapping, spa dwelling, classical music watching and big city partying, that's what! Pretty much the itinerary of dreams for the aged 21-45 traveller, right?
What's up, river roaming crew? Who's pumped for 8 days of casually cruising down the Rhine? Meeting up onboard The A, we'll start as we mean to go on with a welcome shindig, drinks and some tasty Dutch street food treats. Party vibes on high, we'll then head into the bright lights of Dam for a night on the town.
We'll be casting off from Amsterdam early this morning, but chances are you'll still be snoozing peacefully. Them's the joys of a river cruise! Waking up to the pretty Dutch countryside passing by your windown and after filling up on breakfast treats, you'll step on land for the day in Haarlem, famed for its cobblestone streets, traditional gabled houses and leafy courtyards. So, what to do? Well, you could explore the museums, kick back with lattes and stoopwaffle in one of the cosy cafes, or opt for a ME Time Optional. For the hops heads, we're heading to a brewery in a converted church, and for the adventure aficinados we've got something real special - blokarting on the beach. YouTube it, then do it. Back in Dam for the night, and it's our last one as a river dwelling crew. So, lets see this trip out in style, with a farewell dinner, tasty dutch street food, and one last night out on the town."
No trip to the "Venice of the North" would be complete without a cruise around the city's iconic waterways, so that's exactly what our agenda has in store for today. On route, take note of the way in which no building is actually straight (it's legitimately crazy), and keep your eyes peeled for the narrowest house in the world (just a door's width wide!). Cruise complete, take your pick of our Optionals for how to spend the rest of the day. Maybe the house of Anne Frank has been on your must do list since forever, or perhaps it's the tulip displays at Keukenhof Gardens that you've been dreaming of. For the foodies, we've got a cheese workshop or a mixology masterclass to keep you entertained. Tonight, it's party pants on as we welcome on board one of the city's best local DJ's.
While we sleep off our sore heads, the crew will be casting off from our Amsterdam base, headed for Cologne. But first, Duisburg, where we'll be dropping off those who are keen for a long and beautiful cycle ride into Cologne. Pretty, medieval, fun loving Cologne. We love this city, its residents love this city, and we're betting you'll love it too. And to be honest, how can you not? After dinner on board, we'll take you to the Altstadt (old town), where the gothic architecture and homely beer halls will have you seriously impressed. Speaking of beer, this evening you'll be trying Kölsch, a Cologne speciality.
Cologne's Cathedral literally dominates the skyline of the city with its twin spires and is regularly voted Germany's most popular tourist attraction, so even if you're not an architecture fan, you'll still appreciate this bad boy. Our Local Guide will give you the history low down on the building and Cologne in general, and we'll also stop by the shrine containing the relics of the Three Magi (wise men). We'll stop by the pretty town of Bonn on route, most notably the birth place of Beethoven, and you can actually visit the great composer's birth house here. Ready for something special? Tonight we will dine like Kings and Queens, quite literally, as we feast on a banquet in a bonafide medieval castle. Eeekk! Think rustic food, think local Rhine wines, think lute-strumming bards and think serving wenches. Definitely more Henry VII than Red Wedding, that's for sure...After dinner (if we can roll ourselves outside), our Local Guide will show us the sites of Koblenz, starting at German Corner, a local hangout where the Rhine and the Moselle river join."
Leaving Koblenz in our white water, today we'll enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Rhine Gorge. This part of the world is lined with more fairytale castles and ruined fortresses than anywhere else on earth, so sit back on deck and just enjoy the world passing you by. Fancy getting a little educational? Today we'll also be hosting a sommelier talk on Riesling wines, the region's most famous export, and yes there will be tastings... Big on Game of Thrones? Then you'll probably recognise the 12th century Eberbach Monastery, which was used as a filming location. Today, we're visiting with one thing on the mind - wine. We'll taste the abbey's famous Rieslings and cycle around the region...in that order.
Sleepy and hung over we may be, but this is our last day so we're sure as hell gonna make the most of it. First up, we're going exploring around 'Mainhattan', Europe's largest financial centre and the reason this city is home to bankers galore. Within this part of town you'll find the Old Town - pretty, winding and impressively ancient. Explore around here on foot or bike, and be sure to stop off at the Kleine Markthall for some local wares. Foodies, you can explore the market with our on board chef, stocking up on local produce for tonight's cooking class. Keen to learn about the history of the city? The Rothchilds are a good place to start, as is the Jewish museum. Tonight is our last as a river dwelling crew, so lets go out on a high note...
More goodbye's and hello's as we enter the third and final leg of our river expedition. We're ready, you're ready, let's do this, welcoming in the latest group of comrades the only way we know how, with a delicious dinner and party. And for dessert, who fancies another go at Frankfurt after dark?
We'll be casting off from Frankfurt early this morning, but chances are you'll still be snoozing peacefully. Stopping off on route in Aschaffenburg, why not take advantage of our on board (and free to use) bicycles, freewheeling along the main river cycle route. Pretty as a postcard, Miltenberg is all traditional houses, river front vistas and medieval castles peeking through the tree tops. We'll be hitting the town with our local guide, hiking through a vineyard and nosing around a legit fairytale castle, before rewarding ourselves with some local beer at a brewery tour and tasting. Oh, and in between we'll also squeeze in a watercolour class at a local artist's studio. Now THAT is one perfect day, but we're not done yet. If your booze quota isn't quite full for the day, why not join us for a winery tour and tasting in yet another medieval castle. And if THAT'S not all, we're also offering some foodie on board experiences; pretzel making, and then a Franconian sausage BBQ on deck. #yum.
Our late night departure from Miltenberg will mean we get into Lohr (the birthplace of the real life Snow White, no less) bright and early. Cycling enthusiasts can disembark here and bicycle the route to the next stop, whilst slow risers can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and perhaps take part in our on board paint and wine class. Respectable or what? A quick stop here to pick up those who chose to cycle, then it's on to Würzburg. Pulling into medieval Würzburg at dusk, we'll jump straight into the action with an Optional visit to the Würzburg Residence, a Baroque palace famed for its grand staircase, hall of mirrors and a ceiling fresco that dwarfs the Sistine Chapel's. If you're more into all things supernatural, perhaps our lantern light tour is more your jam. Accompanying the town's Night Watchmen around the dark and winding streets, you'll stop by the aptly named Watchman pub for a strong, and well needed drink.
Keen to up your kitchen game? Head out this morning to the Green Market with our on board chef, where you'll learn about and pick up ingredients for tonight's slow food cooking class. For those looking to head further afield, we've also got an Optional excursion to Rothenburg on the cards, arguably the prettiest town, and certainly the most romantic, in all of Germany. Today's all about our cooking class, where chef will impart his wisdom on all things Franconian slow food, then, full stuffed, we'll kick back and snuggle down for a group movie night.
Our genius crew have done it again, getting us into Bamberg whilst we slept soundly in our beds. Fill up on breakfast today, as we've got ALL the activities on offer. First up, we'll explore the beer capital of Franconia in the way we've become accustomed - by bike. If it's the beer you're interested in, chances are our beer tour will pique your interest, with the opportunity to learn about and sample just some of the regions 400+ beers whilst brewery hopping. If your hungering for something a little more physical, boy have we got options. Like the sound of kayaking the Main and Pegnitz rivers, or maybe you're even more daring than that, in which case the rock climbing routes around Bamberg are your literal playground. Whatever you choose, save some energy for tonight - we've got a reputable local DJ coming on board..."
A little city with a big reputation, stepping into Nuremberg means taking a journey back in time, to the beginning of WWII and even further, given the city's previous status as the undeclared capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Exploring on a guided bike tour is for sure the best way to get up to speed on anything and everything Nuremberg, from the pivotal role it played during the war, to the highly publicised trails in the years that followed. If it's the city's culinary reputation you're more interested in, you're in luck, our 'Spice is Nice' Optional is all about tracking the historic spice route, and of course sampling the city's famous gingerbread. On board, it's all happening; a historic talk, and a beer mixology class. Sounds like you've got some decisions to make..
A quick early morning stop off here to stretch your legs, before it's onwards to Regensburg. 2000 years of history accumulates in Regensburg, and we're going to give you the low down in just one hour - how's that for the short version? On route, we'll pit stop at the world's oldest sausage restaurant, then it's back to it with a birds eye view hike around the city. If you've been accustomed to the water life, we're guessing our canoe or kayak excursion through the Danube Gorge is more your jam. But then again, this place IS the home of BMW, so it would be rude not to pay a visit to the factory to learn about German's finest piece of engineering. Tonight is our last as a group, so let's go out on a high, and given the fact that Regensburg offers the highest concentration of bars per square mile, it won't be difficult...
Waking up this morning we'll be saying our goodbyes to those leaving us, and welcoming in a new crew of river roaming pals for the second leg of our adventure. How best to break the ice? A welcome party, obvs, complete with music and German street food. And for afters, how about we show the newbies what Regensburg by night has to offer?
Casting off from Regensburg in the dead of night, we'll pull in to Straubing just as you're waking for breakfast - pretty handy, eh? Spend your morning roaming the town's ancient sites and gothic streets with a local guide, or sampling traditional Bavarian cuisine (and beer, lots of beer) on our aptly named beer & meat Optional. In fact, eat to your heart's content, as you'll be needing every last ounce of energy for this afternoon's activity - an impressive four hour bike ride from Straubing to our next stop, Vilshofen. Sounds daunting, but when you consider we'll be stopping off at pilgrimage sites, ancient monasteries and a Bavarian beer garden on route, it suddenly becomes a whole lot more manageable. Not so hot on cycling? We're sure our excursion into the depths of the Bavarian Forest/Ranger-led walk/mountain biking adventure could similarly tempt you... After a well deserved BBQ dinner and beers on the deck, Passau's peaceful and pedestrian only Old Town is the perfect place to unwind after a physically exhausting day. The beer garden culture here is pretty infectious, however, so that second wind may just find its way...
Loved getting physical yesterday? We have good news - there's plenty more where that came from, starting with an early morning yoga session on deck to stretch out those aching limbs. Warrior pose nailed and breakfast inhaled, we'll start the days adventures with a hike to two scenic viewpoints overlooking Passau, admiring the town's baroque cathedral and crooked lanes on route. Then it's decision time, to bike the route from Passau to Engelhartszell, or to chill on deck? C'mon, you know you've got it in you - 20 miles of flat, picturesque bike trails accompanied by a local guide sounds pretty good to us, and there's a cold one brewed by Trappist monks waiting for you in Engelhartszell as your reward... We're stopping to Engelhartszell to pick up our brave cyclists. and then it's on to Linz. Austria's second largest city, Linz was bombed to bits during WWII, resulting in the modern day version looking nothing short of futuristic. Our guided walk of the city will give us the scoop on the incredible transformation the city has gone through in recent years.
Leaving Linz super early doors and passing Grein on route, this morning is all about kicking back and chilling out as the glorious Austrian landscape slowly rolls on by. Pulling into Melk around lunchtime, you'll have the option to check out Melk Abbey, which boasts a 900 year old history and has a library any book nerd will literally drool over. Of course, like many other European countries, Austria has a dark and often deeply saddening past, so today you'll also have the chance to venture to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, which operated from 1938-45, to learn more. Pulling into tiny Dürnstein late afternoon, expect to hear a collective 'ooohhh'. House goals are everywhere around here, as you'll discover as we stroll to the village and make our way to the castle ruins where Richard the Lionheart was once help for ransom. The views up here are incredible, so enjoy! Tonight, we've got a choice as to how you dine; either onboard, taking part in our Secrets of Saffron culinary class, or at our Optional Vinter's dinner on the Nikolaihof wine estate, where the friendly owners will wow you with their organic winemaking skills, and garden-to-table dinner deliciousness.
We've made it to Vienna - good going crew. Docking at breakfast time, we'll get you orientated with Austria's elegant and artistic capital city with a guided walking tour of the highlights, plus a tram ride around the Ringstrasse. Then, the choice is yours, and we've got plenty to tempt you with - an opera music/Viennese cooking class (at the same time, incredibly), a unique dining experience in Vienna's giant ferris wheel, and even an after hours (read - no tourists) tour of the Schönbrunn Palace, the former residence of the imperial family. And if all THAT wasn't enough, tonight is all about one thing - classical music. This is what Vienna is best known for, so opt to join us for a performance at Klosterneuburg Abbey.
With its small town charm, Czech beer, bohemian cuisine and art deco cafes, Slovakia's capital city doesn't disappoint. An hour long walking tour will get you fully orientated, then feast your eyes on our ME Time Optionals on how to make this pit stop one to really remember - wakeboarding, anyone? Onboard, chef will be teaching us all a thing or two about his favourite Austrian deserts. ...and then bam, we're in (yet another) country, and how pumped are you to be in Budapest? Who's up for heading straight out to see what the ruin bars are saying...?
Majestic, sprawling, bohemian, post-modern - just some of the words we could use to describe Budapest. But hey, we'll leave you to make your own judgements. What we will do, however, is take you to one of our favourite spots, the covered market, where chef will introduce you to some of Hungary's most iconic flavours, including its favourite spice, paprika. Of course this IS the city of spas and a hot bed for geothermal activity, so naturally soaking in various water temperatures until you resemble a prune is likely high on the agenda. If we can tempt you away, our Optionals include visiting some seriously gorgeous libraries, and braving the aptly named House of Terror museum. Tonight, we'll feast like Kings on the produce we bought earlier from the market.
After one more blissful sleep, we're sad to say it's all over. River cruising, you're our new favourite way of travelling…
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Trip Name: Super Cruise: Amsterdam to Budapest - U by Uniworld
Duration: 22 Days
From Price: £4,999
Supplier Tour ID: UCRTF/201219
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