Sailing from Netherlands
Setting sail from Amsterdam
Amsterdam is one of our very favourite cities to visit, as well as also being a perfect base to explore the nearby landscape of windmills and dikes. The Amsterdam canal belt is now officially recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and from them there are so many neighbourhoods to explore, such as the Jordaan with its higgledy-piggledy streets and its famed garden courtyards (hofjes). There are also a wealth of famous museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House, not to mention some more, shall we say, quirky options.
Explore by water, or by bicycle to get a feel for the city – a hop on hop off canal boat, or rented bike or pedalo will do the trick.
Cologne is a wonderfully warm and welcoming city, its skyline dominated by one of the most beautiful Gothic cathedrals in Europe. You will likely spend most of your time in the attractive Altstadt (Old Town), home to beer halls aplenty and some fascinating museums.
The pretty little town of Rüdesheim, situated on a bend in the Rhine surrounded by vineyards, is a popular destination for travellers looking for a slice of quintessentially German village life. The Drosselgasse, a narrow cobbled lane flanked by old timber frame buildings, is particularly atmospheric.
Scenic river cruising
The handsome town of Würzburg, situated on the river Main between Nuremberg and Frankfurt, was ruled for centuries by a succession of powerful prince-bishops. Although much of the city was destroyed during the Second World War, the majestic 18th century Residenz palace stands as a testament to the wealth of the bishopric.
The medieval town of Rothenburg is Germany at its most romantic, a photogenic tangle of cobbled streets and fairytale half-timbered houses. There are some lovely restaurants and quirky souvenir shops, while December sees the town light up with the magical Christmas market.
Bamberg’s eye-catching, UNESCO-listed old town is one of the most beautiful in all of Germany. The city was briefly capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and the city centre is still dominated by the 13th century cathedral. There are also plenty of breweries, and you shouldn’t leave without trying Bamberg’s famous smoked beer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, but plenty of beautiful buildings survive, including the imposing Parliament and iconic St Stephen’s Basilica.
Mohács was the scene of a decisive battle in 1526 that brought Hungary under Ottoman control, but is best known these days for its Busó carnival in February, when men in creepy-looking costumes take to the streets to celebrate the end of winter. The town is also a jumping off point for the attractive city of Pécs, half an hour’s drive away.
Vukovar is one of the great tragedies of the Balkan wars, a once prosperous and elegant city reduced to rubble by fierce fighting between Croats and Serbs. There are green shoots of optimism as the city rebuilds, but the battle-scarred streets are a powerful reminder of the devastating conflicts of the 1990s.
Belgrade has been invaded and occupied dozens of times over the centuries, a fact that's reflected in the mish-mash of architectural styles, from Ottoman and Art Nouveau to grim relics of the communist era. But Belgrade is also a city with real soul, emerging from a difficult recent history as one of Europe’s most exciting capitals.
Romania: Iron Gates
As the Danube wends its way east, along the border between Serbia and Romania, the river narrows to a dramatic gorge known as the Iron Gates. The river here is flanked by a huge stone carving of Decebalus, the last king of the Dacians and a Romanian national hero.
The Bulgarian city of Ruse (also written ‘Rousse’) sits on the right bank of the Danube just opposite the Romanian city of Giurgiu, and is one of the country’s most attractive cities. Sometimes known as ‘Little Vienna’, thanks to the plethora of Neo-Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, it’s a highlight of any cruise along this stretch of the Danube.
Constanta, Romania’s largest Black Sea port, is not the most attractive city in the world, but it does have some interesting history; founded by the Greeks over 2,500 years ago, the city was home to the Roman poet Ovid after he was exiled here by the Emperor Augustus in 8 AD.
Arriving in Cernavoda
Your home from home
Tauck’s most modern design, the Inspiration Class, offers the most space per guest of all European river vessels.
What we love
Rich woods are complimented by muted tones, giving these ships an airy and luxurious feel. The alternative restaurant with outside seating at the rear is an idyllic place for a relaxed lunch as you cruise to your next call and the regional cuisine served in the Dining Room is excellent.
|Staff||43 International Staff|
Active days followed by sophisticated evenings.
Tailor-make your trip
Two nights in Amsterdam
There is a fantastic range of canal front hotels to choose from, but we love the new Waldorf Astoria.
Visit windmills in Zaanse Schans, the flowers at Keukenhof, or the cheese market in Alkmaar.