Cruise only (Please call for flight options)
Setting sail from Vienna
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. Architectural highlights include the Spanish Riding School, the Schönbrunn Palace and the Hofburg, the sprawling former residence of the Habsburg royals. Vienna is also a city rich in cultural capital, and still reverberates to the sound of the great composers who lived and worked here, including Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Liszt.
Schloss Schonbrunn, the Habsburgs' summer palace, with great gardens too. Just a few of the huge number of rooms are open – the Imperial Tour takes you into 26.
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’.
Krems sits on the river Danube at the eastern end of the beautiful Wachau Valley, surrounded by vineyards. It’s an attractive old town, with pretty cobbled streets and a good selection of galleries and museums, as well as some excellent restaurants.
Bratislava, Slovakia’s quaint little capital, straddles the Danube close to the border with Austria and Hungary. The compact old town is the best place to begin your exploration, before heading up to the hilltop castle for commanding views of the city and surrounding countryside.
Arriving in 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.
Your home from home
Crystal's 'Rhine Class' vessels offer a welcoming range of lounges and facilities, with spacious and beautifully decorated staterooms.
What we love
The Crystal River Cruises difference is all in the pace of life - slowed down itineraries, plenty of overnights in port, and leisurely hours on board to make the most of the captivating scenery. Add to that the highest crew to passenger ratio on any European river cruise vessel, with crew trained to Crystal's usual high standards, and you have a winner.
|Crew||85 Crystal-trained European Staff|
|Style||A relaxed pace with specially curated shore excursions, and Crystal's usual high standards on board.|
|Year Launched||2017 (Crystal Bach & Crystal Mahler) / 2018 (Crystal Debussy & Crystal Ravel)|
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.
See more of Austria
If you’ve got time, go to magical Salzburg too, you will love it.