Optional Two Day Prelude In
Depart the United States on Thursday, July 23 for flights arriving the next day in Budapest, Hungary (airport code BUD). Spend two days and two nights exploring the Buda and Pest banks of the Danube. The historic castle district of Buda offers cobbled, medieval streets and dramatic views of the city from Fishermen’s Bastion. On the Pest side of the city, we will wander the famed Great Market Hall, discover Heroes’ Square, and marvel at the multiple bridges connecting the city, including the famous Chain Bridge. Consider a stop at the New York Café. Featuring Italian Renaissance-style architecture dating to the 1890s, it is widely considered one of the best and most beautiful cafés in the world. For a taste of Hungarian countryside, our tour will include a trip to an equestrian park for a stunning show of horsemanship. Lunch includes Hungarian cuisine accompanied by gypsy music.
Pricing and additional details will be available late summer 2019.
Twelve Day Core Itinerary
Saturday, July 25
Depart United States
Depart the United States for overnight transatlantic flights to the charming city of Budapest (airport code BUD).
Sunday, July 26
Arrive in Budapest
Hop in a taxi at the airport for transfer to the AmaCerto, docked in the heart of the city, waiting for your arrival. It’s all aboard by midafternoon with a welcome cocktail in the company of the ship’s crew. Our first fivecourse dinner is served on the ship, followed by a breathtaking illumination cruise past the neo-gothic Parliament. One of the most iconic architectural masterpieces in all of Europe, the House of Parliament contributed to Budapest being named a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Monday, July 27
Host to the crowning ceremonies of eleven Hungarian kings and queens, Bratislava certainly has earned the title “Coronation City of Kings” as you’ll discover during your walking tour of Old Town. Visit Michael’s Gate, built in the 1300s, now the last vestige of this once fortified medieval city. Known among locals as the “Blue Church,” the Church of St. Elisabeth exhibits unique Hungarian-style architecture.
More active adventurers may hike up to Bratislava Castle, situated on a rocky outcrop of the Little Carpathians. From this vantage point, your excursion is rewarded with stunning panoramic views of the city and river valley.
Or join a local culinary host to sample traditional Slovakian specialties. Learn how to prepare stuffed potato ravioli with an opportunity to taste your own creation.
Tuesday, July 28
Vienna offers a treasure trove of architectural gems. Your city tour showcases its regal splendors, including the majestic Opera House and Hapsburg Palace. Conclude your tour in Vienna’s historic city center with a visit to St. Stephen’s Cathedral. During the afternoon, enjoy leisure time exploring this iconic city even further. Partake of Vienna’s famous Sacher-Torte, one of the most well-known cakes in the world.
For a more active exploration of the area, take a guided bicycle ride to Klosterneuburg Abbey. Housed at this monastery is both the 12th-century Verdun Altar and Austria’s oldest wine estate.
Spend the afternoon visiting the splendid Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of the rulers of the Hapsburg Empire, including famed Maria Theresa. In the evening, take in a performance at a concert hall in the “City of Waltzes.”
Wednesday, July 29
Dürnstein & Melk
The steep, terraced hills on both sides of the Danube in the Wachau Valley boasts abundant acres of vineyards. Throughout this scenic section of the river, our ship offers the perfect perspective to view Schonbuhel Castle, built a millennium ago. And if one castle is not enough, you can glimpse almost a dozen others along the banks, including Hinterhaus Castle, a wellpreserved 13th-century fortress.
This morning you’ll have a choice of three excursions in Dürnstein. Partake in a walking tour along storybook streets to the luminous blue facade of the Baroque Stiftskirche, its famed church tower, before enjoying a wine tasting in a local cellar.
For a striking view along the Danube, hike up to the ruins of Dürnstein Castle where Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned during the Third Crusade in 1192.
Or visit to a local boutique, where you’ll be treated to the region’s finest apricot products. Grapes are not the only fruit that famously grows in the Wachau Valley. Each spring nearly 100,000 apricot trees burst into bloom, and our ship arrives just as the fruit is the freshest and ripest.
Following lunch, continue cruising through the Wachau Valley to Melk or join a bicycle tour along the Danube. Upon reaching Melk, take a guided tour of the UNESCOdesignated Melk Abbey. For nearly 1,000 years, Benedictine monks have continually lived and worked on this rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube. The baroque abbey boast an impressive nave and a famous, medieval library.
Thursday, July 30
Linz, Salzburg, & Passau
Upon arrival in Linz, Austria, we set off on a day-long excursion to the foothills of the Eastern Alps and historic Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart and the site of the filming of The Sound of Music, Salzburg sports a wonderfully well-preserved city center along the Salzach River.
Your guided walking tour will include Nonnberg Abbey, Mirabell Palace Gardens, Residence Fountain, and various sites in the Altstadt (Old Town) area of the city. Be sure to duck into one of the many cafés and enjoy a legendary Viennese coffee and the Salzburg Nockerl. But don't try to eat this soufflé on your own; it's too heavy for one person!
Or enjoy a scenic morning sail to the medieval city of Passau, Germany. Join a walking tour through this 2,000-yearold city, noted for its gothic and Italian baroque architecture and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Guests looking for a more active morning can choose between a guided bicycle tour along the Danube or a guided hike up the 200 steps to the Veste Oberhaus Fortress, balanced on steep cliffs overlooking Passau.
Friday, July 31
Explore Regensburg, one of Germany's most well-preserved medieval cities. Our guided walking tour will showcase the city's architectural highlights, including the Old Town Hall, the Porta Praetoria, and gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 A.D. Admire Bavaria's only gothic cathedral, St. Peter's, with guarding gargoyles and the grandeur of spires pointing heavenward. The cathedral's stained glass creates a heavenly illumination.
Alternatively, sample some of Bavaria's specialties - beer, sausage, and pretzels at the Regensburg Sausage Kitchen. The restaurant first opened its doors in 1164, and hungry customers have been coming back ever since.
If you need to work off some Bavarian delights, cycle the path to Walhalla, where you'll see the neo-Classical white marble temple inspired by the Parthenon in Athens. Built by King Ludwig I and named after the warrior paradise in Germanic mythology. Walhalla celebrates 2,000 years of German-speaking writers, clerics, scientists, and musicians.
Saturday, August 1
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise as the ship crosses the Continental Divide via the Main-Danube Canal to Nuremberg, Germany. When we arrive in the medieval city, you may choose to explore the Old Town with a tour that showcases the Imperial Castle and the famous town wall, as well as Albrecht Dürer’s home and Market Square with its legendary fountain.
Or enjoy a guided tour of the city’s World War II history, including a visit to the site of the Nuremberg Trials, the infamous Zeppelin Field, and a museum built on the site of former Nazi rallies.
Alternatively, savor traditional Franconian specialties by sampling famously delicious Nuremberger Bratwurst, Rot bier, and Lebkuchen.
Sunday, August 2
We'll sit down for our final breakfast on AmaCerto before we travel together by coach to Munich, the largest city in Bavaria. Our time here will include a guided tour of Munich Residenz, the seat of Bavarian government and home to dukes, kings, and the royal court from 1509 to 1918. The magnificent palace began as a castle and fortress in the 14th century but steadily grew to include multiple inner courtyards as the complex expanded in grandeur. Through the original collections of art, furnishings, and architecture, visitors can see the changing forms of princely self-representation in the ages of humanism, Counter-Reformation, the Enlightenment, the divine right of kings, and constitutional monarchy.
After a lunch at leisure, enjoy either a walking tour of Old Town or a guided tour by coach. Be sure to catch a view of the famed Glockenspiel in Marienplatz. Enjoy a dinner of your choice near Sofitel, our centrally located five-star property.
Monday, August 3
Ettal & Oberammergau
Following breakfast at our hotel, we board private, luxury motor coaches and journey again toward the Alps. Ettal Abbey, a masterpiece of Bavarian architecture, overtakes a sweeping valley. Founded in 1330 by Benedictine monks, the abbey was rebuilt in the 1700s following a devastating fire. This imposing complex with a massive basilica rises dramatically out of the countryside.
We will also visit Linderhof Palace. Completed in the late 19th century, Ludwig II designed Linderhof as a miniature Versailles – the symbol of the sun can be found throughout, identifying God-given monarchy with divine right. From the opulent Hall of Mirrors to his grand bedchamber, this palace conjures the memory of a romantic era.
Between these visits, we will lunch at Ludwig der Bayer, featuring regional ingredients such as produce from the monastery’s farms, gardens, and dairy, as well as local fish and game.
Upon arrival in Oberammergau, we will enjoy dinner and have time to explore this small village nestled in the lap of the Alps.
Tuesday, August 4
Oberammergau Passion Play
After being spared the worst of the Black Plague in 1634, this modest, unassuming community committed to performing The Passion of Christ every ten years. Keeping this promise for twenty generations, nearly half the inhabitants of the village assemble to bring the story to life right before our eyes.
Complete with impeccable costumes and makeup, haunting music, brilliant scripts, and gorgeous settings, this depiction of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ will move your heart. This once-in-a-decade production and nearly 400-year-old tradition is not to be missed!
The day begins with breakfast at our hotels. Wandering the heart of the village will allow you time to absorb the charm of this small, remote community. Be sure to look for traditional wood carvings, Christmas decorations, and cuckoo clocks.
Lunch at leisure with Bavarian delights at several local, homey restaurants offering outdoor seating.
The Passionsspiele is a two-part performance beginning mid afternoon. During the extended intermission, you will enjoy a three-course meal as the sun sets behind the Alps. As darkness descends on the village, return to the theater to witness the interpretation of the death of Christ and the hope of his resurrection.
Wednesday, August 5
Motor coach transportation will be provided to the Munich airport for transatlantic return flights, or choose to extend your stay in this quintessential region of Germany.