National Geographic Expedition — Danube Christmas Markets River Cruise with Prague


National Geographic and Scenic Luxury River Cruises have teamed up to launch a new line of National Geographic River Cruises. These itineraries combine Scenic’s all-inclusive luxury river cruise experience with National Geographic's legacy of science, conservation and exploration to create unforgettable experiences along the waterways of Europe and South East Asia.

Aboard each Scenic river cruise expedition a National Geographic Expert will join guests to share their knowledge and insights, and enrich the experience through fascinating presentations and informal discussions. A National Geographic photographer, who will offer photography tips on technique and artistry, will also join European river cruising itineraries.

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Budapest > Prague

The Christmas markets along the Danube are an incredible sight. Festive market stalls twinkle with fairy lights and are piled high with gingerbread and hand-blown Christmas glass ornaments. Soak up the festive flavour of the continent during this 11-day luxury Danube river cruise, including a three-night city break in the exquisite Czech capital of Prague. Browse Austrian and German Christmas markets, picking up handmade souvenirs and tasting your way from stall to stall, while experiencing breath-taking architecture and heritage highlights – from the ceiling fresco of Melk Abbey to the museums and galleries of the riverside town of Szentendre. Your trip begins in Budapest, the acclaimed queen of the Danube. Make the most of a guided tour of this city, including a piano concert, or choose to visit the nearby town of Szentendre. In Vienna, you’re free to explore the city’s Christmas markets by day, while the evening brings enchantment of its own with an exclusive classical concert of the works of Strauss and Mozart in the elegant halls of Palais Liechtenstein – courtesy of Scenic Enrich. Before leaving Austria for Germany, take a trip to the magical alpine city of Salzburg, where you’ll enjoy a guided tour of its most famous heritage sites. The medieval cities of Regensburg and Nuremberg give you time to experience the enchantment of a traditional German Christkindlmarkt, before journeying by coach to Prague, one of the truly magical capital cities of Europe.

11 Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Welcome to Budapest
     

    Your journey into wonder begins here. Relax and raise your glass to the days ahead at this evening’s welcome reception.

     

    Meals included: Dinner

     

     

  • Day 2 - Budapest
     
    Freechoice

    Wake up in Budapest and set out on a walking tour to discover its architectural gems, including the splendid neo-Gothic Parliament building. Climb historic Castle Hill, see the Royal Palace and visit Matthias Church, the stunning setting for the coronations and weddings of the Habsburg royalty; then enjoy a private piano concert. Alternatively, hike the Buda Hills that rise beyond the city center; or venture to the charming riverfront town of Szentendre, home to a thriving artist colony.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 3 - Vienna
     

    As you cruise the mighty Danube relax in one of the lounges and viewing areas, and enjoy the scenery as your Scenic Space-Ship sails towards the majestic city of Vienna.

    Enrich

    Breathe in the opulence and luxury of Palais Liechtenstein while enjoying a glass of fine Austrian Sekt. Then be enthralled by an enchanting private Viennese evening concert featuring the timeless music of Strauss and Mozart. Even in elegant Vienna, Palais Liechtenstein is one of the grandest of all venues.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 4 - Vienna
     
    Freechoice

    Arrive in Vienna this morning, and visit Schönbrunn Palace, host to an intimate, upscale Christmas market during the holiday season. You may instead opt to take a specially arranged tour of the Museum of Natural History for an inside look at its meteorite exhibit, co-curated by National Geographic grantee Ludovic Ferrière. Or peruse the galleries of the Belvedere Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Gustav Klimt paintings.

    Later, step into a magical winter wonderland at the city’s Christkindlmarkt, framed by twinkle-lit trees and the soaring neo-Gothic city hall, its lights all aglow. Wander past merchants selling Weihnachtspunsch, a spiked, spicy punch, and roasted chestnuts—the perfect accompaniment as you browse stalls brimming with beeswax candles and hand-blown glass ornaments.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 5 - Dürnstein > Melk
     
    Freechoice

    In Austria’s Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, hike to the hilltop ruins of Dürnstein’s medieval castle or embark on an enjoyable bike ride along the river from Dürnstein to Melk. Alternatively, enjoy a guided tour of Melk’s 18th- century Benedictine abbey, one of the world’s most magnificent baroque buildings. You may instead choose to visit a local winery for a guided tour of the cellars and vines, followed by a tasting of the region’s celebrated Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 6 - Salzburg, Austria or Ceský Krumlov, Czech Republic
     
    Freechoice

    Today, choose between a visit to Salzburg or the Czech town of Ceský Krumlov—both designated World Heritage sites. Stroll the storybook streets of Salzburg's Old Town, host to one of the continent’s oldest Christmas markets, set in a picturesque square in front of the Salzburg Cathedral and beneath the city’s iconic medieval castle. Or tour Ceský Krumlov’s historic center, a labyrinth of cobblestoned streets lined with medieval, baroque, and Renaissance houses.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 7 - Regensburg
     

    Set at the confluence of the Danube, Naab, and Regen rivers, Regensburg once served as a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire.

    Freechoice

    Browse stalls aglow with candles and twinklinge lights at the town Christmas market, set in the courtyard of St. Emmeram Palace. Alternatively, set out on a guided walk through the medieval center to see its splendid Gothic cathedral, 12th-century stone bridge, and the ancient Roman gateway to the city. Or tour the historic Kuchlbauer Brewery and its whimsical tower—a tribute to modern art.

    Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

     

  • Day 8 - Nuremberg > Prague
     

    Explore this fascinating and ancient Bavarian city, dating back to the 11th century, on an orientation tour with your local expert guide. Learn about the infamous history Nuremberg is renowned for, and discover some of the important sights that shaped modern history, before journeying by coach to Prague, one of the truly magical cities of Europe. Complete your journey with a three night stay at one of our luxurious city central hotels.

     

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

     

  • Day 9 - Prague
     

    This morning join your knowledgeable local guide on a fascinating walk through the city and view the famous Astronomical Clock. Afterwards you might wish to venture across the world-famous Charles Bridge. This incredibly beautiful structure was commissioned in 1357 by Charles IV after the Judith Bridge was destroyed by floods.

     

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

     

  • Day 10 - Prague
     

    Stroll this magnificent city at your leisure. Situated on the bank of the River Vltava in central Bohemia, the beautiful city of Prague is rich in history and home to some of the world’s most striking architectural wonders. There’s no need to fret or plan ahead – your Tour Director is on hand to take care of everything.

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

  • Day 11 - Prague
     

    After breakfast transfer to the Airport. Prague is the end of your tour but the start of a lifetime of wonderful memories.

    Meals included: Breakfast

     

Departures and Pricing

9 December 2019 — From $6,380 per person

Save $1,200 per couple
Book by 31 December 2018 to secure a discount of $1,200 per couple*.

 

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Meet the Experts

Expert — Don George

Don George is an editor-at-large and columnist for National Geographic Traveler magazine, as well as host of the National Geographic Live! series of conversations with notable authors. Don has edited eight literary travel anthologies, including Better Than Fiction, The Kindness of Strangers, and Travelers’ Tales: Japan, and received dozens of writing awards, including the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Gold Award for Best Travel Article and the Lowell Thomas Travel Journalist of the Year Award.

 

Photographer — Sisse Brimberg

Born in Denmark, award-winning photographer Sisse Brimberg has produced and photographed more than 30 stories for National Geographic magazine over the past 40 years, covering a wide range of subjects, from the Hanseatic League and the Vikings to the Dutch flower trade and the prehistoric cave art of southwestern France. As contributing photographer for National Geographic Traveler, she produced stories about Belgium and Austria's Wachau Valley, and sailed down the Rhine for a story about chocolate. Sisse won first prize for “Picture Story of the Year“ from the National Press Photographers Association for her story on migrant workers. Brimberg established and managed her own photo studio in Copenhagen after attending photography school. Her photographs have been exhibited around the world in Germany, Greece, Brazil, Mexico, New York City (International Center for Photography), and Washington, D.C. (The Newseum).

 

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