Setting sail from Budapest
Budapest is one of Eastern Europe's most appealing cities, a vibrant and welcoming capital that straddles the Danube. The history of Budapest has been somewhat turbulent - ransacked by the Mongols in 1241, occupied by the Ottoman Turks for over a century, and almost flattened by the Soviets in 1945 - but plenty of older buildings survive, including the imposing Parliament and iconic St Stephen's Basilica. Although a pedant might point out that Budapest has only really existed since 1873; up until then the city's two distinct halves, Buda and Pest, were separate towns.
Hungarian cuisine is vastly underrated; don’t visit Budapest without trying goulash, the paprika-infused national dish.
Formerly the centre of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna is as grand a European capital as you can imagine, jam packed full of thrusting, bombastic buildings that stand as a reminder of Austria’s glorious imperial heyday.
One of the prettiest towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley, little Dürnstein charms visitors with its handsome 16th century architecture. Richard the Lionheart was once imprisoned in the castle that sits on the hillside above the town, and the region is also famous for its wine.
The riverside village of Melk is best known for its spectacular abbey, a Baroque masterpiece that dominates the landscape. A Benedictine abbey was first established here in 1089, and the 18th century reconstruction that you can see today is still a working monastery.
Austria: Linz (Salzburg)
The city of Linz is included on river cruise itineraries due to its proximity to Salzburg, which is where you’ll most likely be headed. Salzburg’s Altstadt attracts millions of visitors every year with its fairytale skyline of domes and spires, and the city is renowned as both the birthplace of Mozart and the setting for ‘The Sound of Music’.
The pretty Bavarian town of Passau, situated close to Germany’s border with Austria, enjoys a unique setting at the confluence of three rivers: the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube. The narrow cobbled streets of the handsome old town, the Altstadt, are quite delightful.
Originally founded by the Celts and later an important Roman settlement, Regensburg is one of Bavaria’s lesser known gems. Situated on the northernmost bend of the Danube, it’s a friendly and laid back city, with an exceptionally well preserved medieval centre.
Nuremberg, Bavaria’s second city, first pops up in the history books in 1050 as a stronghold of the Franks, and later became the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Nowadays the city is a tourist magnet thanks to the beautifully restored old town, Christmas markets and excellent beer.
Arriving in Prague
Prague, the captivating Czech capital, is arguably Eastern Europe's biggest tourism success story, attracting visitors from far and wide with its handsome architecture, cosmopolitan outlook and truly excellent beer. The castle and the iconic Charles Bridge can get rather busy during the summer high season, but it's easy enough to give the crowds the slip. We recommend ducking into one of the many bars that line the cobbled lanes of the Old Town, or taking a stroll amongst the picturesque palaces and gardens of the Malá Strana district.
The Astronomical clock – you need to be in the Old Town Square on the hour to see the Walk of the Apostles.
Your home from home
Scenic Crystal, Jewel and Jade accommodate 169 guests in stylish surroundings and offer a luxurious way to explore the great rivers of Europe.
What we love
Sleek and contemporary, with an extensive list of onboard inclusions, Scenic's aptly named Space-Ships are renowned for their high levels of personal service, relaxed ambience and inviting public areas.
|Crew||53 European Staff|
Relaxed and informal during the day, giving way to an elegant evening atmosphere.
|Year Built||2012 (Crystal); 2013 (Jewel); 2014 (Jade)|
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Budapest
We like the Hotel Palazzo Zichy on the Pest side of the river, which used to be the residence of Count Nándor Zichy.
A taste of Hungary
If you’re a wine lover, you really should visit the world’s oldest classified wine region, known for its sweet Tokaji aszú dessert wine.
Extend your stay in Prague
We love the Aria, great location and a lovely boutique hotel.
Excursions from Prague
Set forth to the Czech Republic’s second city, Cesky Krumlov – a truly magical medieval town.