A Journey By way of Time: Experiencing Central Europe on a Viking River Cruise

Cruising by the enchanting landscapes and charming cities of Central Europe, Viking River Cruises presents an unparalleled journey expertise. From the historic streets of Budapest to the picturesque canals of Amsterdam, the Budapest to Amsterdam itinerary showcases the wealthy cultural heritage and breathtaking great thing about the area. This text will take you on a journey by time as I share a number of the highlights of this fascinating Viking River Cruise by Central Europe.

Viking River Cruise aboard Tir through central Europe - Photo by: Mike Shubic

Budapest: The Pearl of the Danube

Our journey started within the fascinating metropolis of Budapest, sometimes called the “Pearl of the Danube.” Straddling the mighty Danube River, town is split into two components: Buda and Pest. With a historical past that dates again over a thousand years, Budapest presents guests an array of architectural marvels and cultural experiences.

Central River Cruise to Budapest - Photo by: Mike Shubic

We opted for a cruise extension with a purpose to have extra time to discover Budapest. We arrived a few days earlier than the Viking Tir ship and stayed on the New York Palace Resort. From the second I step into the lavish foyer, it turns into clear that this was greater than only a resort—it’s a historic landmark steeped in grandeur, class and the fascinating narrative of a bygone period. A spotlight was the unforgettable eating expertise on the resort’s famed New York Café. The café is a feast for each the eyes and the palate. Vaulted ceilings, crystal chandeliers and ornate frescoes supply a regal backdrop whilst you indulge within the wealthy culinary choices.

New York cafe Budapest

We had a few Viking excursions organized, but additionally had time on our personal to discover town, which struck a pleasant steadiness. We explored components of Buda Citadel on our personal, in addition to in considered one of our excursions. Perched atop Citadel Hill, Buda Citadel is likely one of the metropolis’s most iconic landmarks within the metropolis. This UNESCO World Heritage Web site was as soon as the residence of Hungarian kings and now homes the Hungarian Nationwide Gallery and the Budapest Historical past Museum. A go to to the citadel is incomplete and not using a leisurely stroll by the Citadel District, the place you may marvel on the colourful Baroque and Gothic buildings.

Central Europe Viking River Cruise included tour to Buda Castle in Budapest - Photo by: Mike Shubic

Climbing aboard the historic Buda Citadel Funicular is a enjoyable strategy to get to the highest of the hill. Because the vintage automobile begins its ascent from the foot of Chain Bridge, a picturesque panorama of Budapest begins to unfold. The funicular, operating steeply up Citadel Hill, offers a fascinating journey into town’s historical past. Ascending by lush greenery, you attain Buda Citadel, with views of the Parliament constructing on the Pest aspect of town.

Listed below are just a few extra highlights from Budapest:

  • Hungarian Parliament Constructing: Probably the most lovely parliament buildings on the planet, it sits on the banks of the Danube River.
  • St. Stephen’s Basilica: That is the most important church in Budapest, and it presents a formidable panoramic view of town from its dome. The basilica can also be dwelling to Hungary’s most sacred relic: St. Stephen’s mummified proper hand.
  • Széchenyi Thermal Tub: Europe’s largest medicinal bathtub, sourced from pure thermal springs.
  • Heroes’ Sq. and Metropolis Park: Right here we discovered statues of Hungarian leaders, the Museum of High quality Arts and the spectacular Vajdahunyad Citadel.
  • Fisherman’s Bastion: This is likely one of the finest spots for panoramic views of town. It’s a fairy-tale-like fortress with seven towers representing the seven Magyar tribes that based Hungary.
  • Margaret Island: Positioned in the midst of the Danube River, this island is a superb place for out of doors actions.
  • Home of Terror Museum: This museum serves as a chilling reminder of Hungary’s troublesome previous, specializing in the fascist and communist regimes. The constructing was the previous headquarters of the key police of each the Nazi and Soviet occasions.
  • Nice Market Corridor: This three-story market presents a wide range of distributors promoting every thing from contemporary native produce, spices, and meats to Hungarian arts and crafts. It’s additionally an incredible place to attempt conventional Hungarian road meals like Langos.

Whereas in Pest, make sure to indulge within the metropolis’s culinary delights, corresponding to conventional Hungarian goulash or chimney cake, as you discover town’s vibrant streets. One restaurant I’d advocate is TATI Farm to Table, which could be very near the New York Palace Resort.

Central Europe River Cruise to Vienna: The Metropolis of Music

After just a few days in Budapest we lastly boarded our ship, which was known as Viking Tir. It was an thrilling day, and the most effective components was the truth that we might solely need to unpack as soon as. We set sail late within the afternoon to clear skies. It was improbable to be in the midst of the river and seeing the fantastic metropolis of Budapest move by whereas we noticed from the sundeck.

Viking river cruise passes by Budapest - Photo by: Mike Shubic

As our cruise continued alongside the Danube River, we arrive in Vienna the subsequent day. Vienna is know because the “Metropolis of Music” as it’s steeped in historical past with vital contributions to classical music and opera.

Viking River Cruise e-bike tour around Vienna

Every day Viking has an included tour, however on this cease I opted for an optionally available tour to take an e-bike journey into the countryside. Our information took us by the outskirts of city the place we went by a few unimaginable parks, together with The Danube Island park, which is about 15 miles lengthy, full of motorbike trails and a bunch of leisure alternatives. We additionally explored the park surrounding the Danube tower.

After my tour I had a number of hours earlier than the ship would set sail, so I took the subway into town heart to discover a bit by myself. I had been to Vienna a pair a long time earlier and actually wished to see St. Stephen’s Cathedral once more. I additionally stumbled onto Burggarten Park, an unimaginable sanctuary throughout the metropolis heart. One other considered one of Vienna’s well-known landmarks is the magnificent Schönbrunn Palace. This former imperial residence boasts 1,441 rooms and has beautiful Baroque structure.

Vienna, Austria

The Wachau Valley: Krems and Melk

Early that night we set sail as soon as once more. Because the Viking River lengthy ship glided by the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, we had been handled to the picturesque surroundings of terraced vineyards and quaint villages. Our first cease within the valley is the city of Krems, the place the Eleventh-century Göttweig Abbey dominates the panorama. This Benedictine monastery is famend for its Baroque structure, intensive artwork assortment, and beautiful views of the Danube River.

Melk Abby in Central Europe while on Viking River Cruise - Photo by: Mike Shubic

Subsequent, we journeyed to the charming city of Melk, dwelling to the magnificent Melk Abbey. Perched on a rocky outcrop, this Baroque masterpiece homes a formidable library and an opulent church adorned with frescoes and gold accents. The Wachau Cultural Panorama surrounding Melk Abbey presents a serene setting for a leisurely stroll by terraced vineyards and the quaint village.

Passau: The Metropolis of Three Rivers

Our subsequent cease was to Passau, the “Metropolis of Three Rivers.” Positioned on the confluence of the Danube, Inn, and Ilz Rivers, Passau is a picturesque Bavarian city with a wealthy historical past courting again to Roman occasions.

Passau - Photo by: Mike Shubic

The crown jewel of Passau is St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a beautiful instance of Baroque structure. The cathedral homes the world’s largest cathedral organ, with 17,974 pipes and 233 stops, creating a strong and unforgettable sound throughout every day concert events (which we attended, the price is simply 5 Euro). We additionally explored the charming Previous City, with its slim streets, pastel-colored buildings, and charming squares.

On this present day I took the morning included tour (a strolling tour), after which within the afternoon I went on and an excellent e-bike journey to the outskirts of city (an optionally available tour). We ended up doing an enormous loop that took us by a forest and over a bridge again into Austria the place we had some refreshments earlier than heading again alongside the embankment of the Inn River. I additionally visited the Veste Oberhaus, a Thirteenth-century fortress that overlooks town. The fortress presents spectacular views of Passau and the encircling rivers, in addition to an enchanting museum that particulars the historical past of the area.

Central Europe River Cruise to Regensburg: A Medieval Gem

As we proceed alongside the Danube, we arrive in Regensburg, considered one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. With over 1,500 listed buildings, town is a treasure trove of architectural delights and is designated UNESCO World Heritage Web site.

Central Europe river cruise stop in Regensburg, Germany - Photo by: Mike Shubic

One in all Regensburg’s most iconic landmarks is the Stone Bridge, a Twelfth-century engineering marvel that spans the Danube River. Close by, you’ll discover St. Peter’s Cathedral, one other Gothic church with intricate stained-glass home windows and towering spires.

We took a while to discover Regensburg’s cobblestone streets, the place we discovered a mixture of charming cafes, boutique outlets, and historic buildings.

Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Würzburg: A Style of Bavaria

Our Viking River Cruise continued by the guts of Bavaria, with stops in Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Würzburg, all of which had been unimaginable locations.

In Nuremberg, we immerse ourselves within the metropolis’s wealthy historical past as we explored the medieval Imperial Citadel, which was as soon as a residence for German emperors. The town’s Previous City, with its timber-framed homes and cobblestone streets, providing an enthralling ambiance for a leisurely stroll.

Bamberg, was one more UNESCO World Heritage Web site, it’s sometimes called the “Franconian Rome” because of its distinctive geography and architectural splendor. The Bamberg Cathedral and the picturesque Previous City Corridor are must-see points of interest, in addition to the historic quarter often called “Little Venice,” with its canals and half-timbered homes.

Bamberg, Germany

In Würzburg, we noticed the opulent Würzburg Residence, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site. This Baroque palace is dwelling to the world’s largest ceiling fresco and presents guests a glimpse into the extravagant way of life of town’s former rulers. The Marienberg Fortress, perched on a hill overlooking town, offers beautiful views and an enchanting perception into Würzburg’s historical past. The stroll to the fortress takes you thru a forest, previous passageways, a bridge over the mote and extra. It was one of many highlights of the journey for me.

Whereas most individuals went on included or optionally available excursions, I took each alternative to do some exploring by myself as I simply love that sense of discovery.

That night on board the ship, we had a particular presentation…a glass artist from Wertheim, our subsequent cease of the journey. This artist did an indication and gave us some historical past on the glass business in Wertheim.

The Timeless Allure of Wertheim

As we sail alongside the Principal River, our subsequent vacation spot was Wertheim, a historic and picturesque setting well-known for its contribution to the glass business.

The imposing Wertheim Citadel overlooks city, providing fascinating perception into the area’s historical past, together with beautiful views of the encircling panorama. I took one of many optionally available excursions, a hike to the very high of the citadel, in addition to a tour of city. Along with the superb 360 diploma views from the watch tower, there was additionally a live performance happening within the amphitheater.

The Glass Museum and the various glass galleries showcases the city’s glassblowing heritage and presents guests an opportunity to attempt their hand at this historic craft. It was additionally a type of uncommon time the place I really purchased some presents and souvenirs to take dwelling.

The Romantic Rhine: Marksburg, Koblenz and Cologne

After 10+ days and fairly a protracted distance navigating upstream alongside the Danube, The Principal and another waterways, we lastly entered the legendary Rhine River, the place castles, vineyards, and charming villages line the riverbanks. It was completely spectacular to have a entrance row seat atop the solar deck of our Viking river boat to see this extraordinary panorama as we slowly floated by.

Rhine river view from a Viking River Cruise - Photo by: Mike Shubic

Our first cease was a tour of the Marksburg Citadel. Perched excessive above the Rhine River, Marksburg Citadel is a fascinating testomony to medieval structure, the one hill citadel within the Center Rhineland that has by no means been destroyed. Its imposing fortifications and historic inside, replete with authentically furnished rooms, supply a vivid journey again to the Center Ages, whereas its commanding place offers sweeping, panoramic views over the serpentine course of the Rhine under.

Marksburg Castle in Central Europe while on a Viking River cruise - Photo by: Mike Shubic

Just a bit farther down river we stopped in Koblenz, which is located on the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. One in all Koblenz’s most well-known landmarks is the Deutsches Eck, the place a monumental equestrian statue of Emperor Wilhelm stands guard over the rivers. One in all my regrets in Koblenz is that I didn’t enterprise to the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress earlier than 8pm, which is when the cable automobile that providers the fortress, closes. As a substitute, I went for a protracted stroll round city, then had dinner on board the ship. By the point I used to be prepared, the cable automobile had already shut down for the day. I’ve little doubt this scenic cable automobile, which was positioned proper the place the Viking Tir was docked, would have been fairly the expertise.

Koblenz in Central Europe was one of our Viking River Cruise stops

Cologne, our subsequent vacation spot, is a metropolis steeped in historical past and residential to some of the well-known cathedrals on the planet. The Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Web site, a construction that too practically 700 years to construct. This masterpiece of Gothic structure homes the Shrine of the Three Kings, a gold sarcophagus mentioned to include the stays of the Magi.

Whereas in Cologne, I additionally strolled throughout the Hohenzollern Bridge, adorned with tens, if not a whole bunch of hundreds of affection locks.

The Netherlands: Windmills and Wonderment

Our Viking River Cruise was waning, however we had one enchanting nation left, the Netherlands. Our first, and actually solely cease was the UNESCO World Heritage website know as Kinderdijk, well-known for its iconic windmills. These superbly preserved windmills had been constructed within the 18th century to handle water ranges and stop flooding. Our go to to the windmills included a strolling tour to one of many working windmills and a glimpse into the lives of the millers (windmill operators) who as soon as inhabited them.

Our cruise concluded within the vibrant metropolis of Amsterdam, sadly, we arrived early within the morning and needed to catch our flight dwelling. Had we paid nearer consideration to the itinerary, we might have opted for an extension. I imagine that when you go from Amsterdam to Budapest, you’d have a little bit of time in Amsterdam, however none in Budapest, except in fact you go for an extension.

Holland was the very first European nation I visited, which was within the mid-90s, I used to be dissatisfied to not have the possibility to peruse town’s picturesque canals, historic buildings, and world-class museums, however that simply means I’ll need to plan one other journey to the area sooner or later quickly.

Meals and Service on board Viking River Cruises

On a regular basis we acquired three superb chef-prepared meals, every with a number of selections. As a self-proclaimed foodie, I used to be fairly impressed with the standard and number of the dishes accessible, from native delicacies to dishes with extra worldwide inspiration. Beer and wine had been included with lunch and dinner, whereas champagne (glowing wine) was accessible within the mornings. There may be additionally a full time espresso, water and tea station that all the time has some candy treats accessible. As an early riser, I’d usually get a cup of espresso and a freshly baked croissant (equally nearly as good as something you’d get in Paris) and sit on the solar deck to see the place we had landed for the day.

The service on board was additionally distinctive, each member of the crew was so very considerate, useful and personable. Our housekeeper be certain our room was all the time spotless and refreshed with new towels, and many others. Gavin, our cruise director, all the time be certain we had been effectively knowledgeable for our excursions and stepping into the proper route. Claudia, the resort director, be certain every of her departments had been operating easily. I can not say sufficient good issues about each the meals, service and high quality of the excursions on our Viking River Cruise.

This was my second Viking cruise, the primary was on considered one of their Viking Trip ocean cruises, which I proceed to inform individuals about to this present day because it was such a memorable expertise.

That’s it from Central Europe on a Viking River Cruise

The Budapest to Amsterdam Viking River Cruise presents a singular and fascinating journey by the guts of Central Europe. With its mix of historical past, tradition, and pure magnificence, this unforgettable voyage invitations vacationers to step again in time and immerse themselves within the enchanting landscapes and cities that line the banks of the Danube, Principal, and Rhine rivers. From the architectural wonders of Budapest and Vienna to the charming cities of Melk and Marksburg, this itinerary showcases the easiest of the area. As we concluded our journey, we’re left with a treasure trove of recollections and a deeper appreciation for the wealthy tapestry of Central Europe.

Viking River Cruise through Central Europe - Photo by: Mike Shubic

When you’ve got any questions on a Central Europe Viking River Cruise, go away a remark under. So, till subsequent time, we’ll see ya on the highway…