Delightful Danube - Spitz, Austria
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Budapest (Embark)

Arrive at Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. If your cruise/tour package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Budapest, Cruising the Danube River

Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each has a distinctive character and allure all its own. Explore this dynamic and multi-faceted city with your choice of excursions—you can see it from a local’s perspective on our exclusive walking tour, or cover more ground with a panoramic tour. Vibrant Budapest, Hungary’s capital, offers an enchanting combination of East and West, old and new. Even its geography is made up of two parts—Buda (the hills) and Pest (the flatlands)—divided by the Danube. Appropriately enough, you have your choice of two different ways to explore it today.

Budapest panoramic highlights with Parliament visit

This panoramic tour is a wonderful way to get an overview of the city if you have never been here before. It will carry you from Heroes’ Square, created in 1896 to honor the thousand-year anniversary of Hungary’s founding and its greatest historical figures, past some of the city’s most striking architectural sights—Dohány Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum, the state opera house, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the truly stunning Parliament Building—to Castle Hill, which has been called the heart of the nation. The city of Buda began here, when King Béla built a strong keep in 1243 as a defense against Mongol invaders; a castle replaced the simple fortress, and over the centuries other castles replaced that one. The current castle is primarily 18th century; a museum dedicated to Budapest’s archaeological finds is housed there, and the Castle Hill district has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll go inside the magnificent 700-year-old Matthias Church, named for one of Hungary’s greatest kings, and then wend your way on foot to the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion, whose seven fairytale-like towers represent the seven tribes that originally settled the region. It offers a glorious view of the city and the Danube below.

Note: Visits to the interior of Matthias Church may not be possible on some weekends and Catholic holidays.

“Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour

Get ready for a fun immersion in daily life in Budapest— your local guide will show you how to use the metro (one of the oldest in Europe) to easily reach all the city has to offer. Start with a visit to one of the city’s irresistible market halls. Stalls spill over with produce, sausages and meats, festoons of dried paprika, cheeses, and jars of honey, all of it authentically Hungarian. After you leave the market, stop for coffee and a sweet treat at Szamos Gourmet Palace, a combination pastry shop, café and chocolate maker in Vörösmarty Square. Marzipan is a favorite confection in Budapest, and Szamos has specialized in making it since the 1930s, so you might want to try some—but the shop’s truffle selection is equally irresistible. Refreshed, you’ll be ready to hop back on the tram for a visit to the gracious green spaces of Károlyi Garden, sometimes described as Budapest’s most charming small park. You’ll ramble along the boulevards and pass the Hungarian National Museum, truly getting the feel for this dynamic city, as you head back toward the ship.

Your ship sets sail from Budapest after your tour, cruising along the Danube Bend, which is lined with scenic towns—among them are the oldest settlements in the country—nestled at the foot of lovely wooded hills.

Hospital in the Rock

Imagine living underneath Budapest for 34 years in a secret abandoned hospital. That’s what one couple did, tending miles of echoing caverns lined with ghostly hospital beds, boxes of files, gas masks . . . gas masks? Yes, gas masks. The Hospital in the Rock began as a hospital during WWII, when Budapest was besieged, but it became a secret nuclear bomb shelter—and hospital/torture chamber for prisoners—during the Soviet era in the 1950s. It was so secret that once it was abandoned in 1970, a single couple continued to live here as caretakers, telling no one what they did. Explore these once-secret caves, seeing 70-year-old hospital equipment still in place, along with some 200 wax figures that stand in for the real people who worked on this site of heroism and horror. Why was this place such a dark secret for so many decades? Can you help unravel its mysteries?

In the evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 3: Cruising the Danube River, Vienna

A city tour will show you the architectural highlights of the Austrian capital as well as the legendary opera house in the heart of the city. Or, indulge your passion for art with visits to two distinctively different collections—a “cabinet of curiosities” collected by the Habsburgs and the Belvedere’s extraordinary cache of paintings by Klimt and other renowned artists. The grand dame of the Danube, Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and remains, to this day, the political and cultural center of Austria. Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here. It’s a treasure trove of splendid architecture, astonishing art collections and inviting cafés—and today it is yours to explore.

Vienna panoramic highlights with Old Town food and art walk

Vienna panoramic highlights World Museum Vienna: the manic Habsburg collector's treasures

Segway ride in Prater Park, Ferris Wheel, and see how Sacher Torte or Schönbrunn is made

Here’s a fun way to see Vienna: Head to Prater Park. Tweens and teens can zoom around the park on Segways, but there’s plenty for younger travelers to do too, including a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel, built more than a century ago. Unlike American Ferris wheels, which have open seats, the carriages of the Riesenrad resemble miniature railroad cars. It’s one of the tallest wheels in the world, so you get a fabulous view of the city from the top. Back on the ground, you’ll encounter some mouthwatering classic Viennese sweets—because Vienna loves sweets!—by watching the famous Sacher torte being made at Café Demel, one of the city’s most elegant cafés, and sampling yummy Lilliput chocolates at a shop near St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Younger travelers can get a taste of Habsburg splendor at Schönbrunn Palace. At the Children’s Museum in the palace, girls may dress up in the ruffles and brocades of long ago, and boys can don imperial uniforms. Try on tricorns and powdered wigs, flirt with your fan, figure out how to set the table for an imperial banquet—it’s all fun, but it’s also a glimpse into a long-ago world of protocol and grandeur.

Day 4: Cruising the Wachau Valley, Spitz

Sit back and enjoy the ever-changing views as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley, famous for its apricot groves, Rieslings and natural beauty. Later, enjoy an exclusive sparkling wine reception at Artstatten Castle. You’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck today as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley toward Spitz. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape. Castle ruins dominate hilltops; baroque church towers appear on the riverbanks, marking historic villages and splendid abbeys; and apricot orchards and vineyards cling to the rocky slopes. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes ripening on the dry-stone terraces above the river, where grapes have been grown for 2,000 years. Your ship will dock in Spitz, midway through this glorious landscape.

Private sparkling wine reception at Artstatten Castle with a member of the Habsburg royal family

Meet a member of the Habsburg royal family and a fascinating slice of history at the same time today. You’re invited to an exclusive cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle with a direct descendent of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. As a pivotal part of world history, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo triggered WWI. The seven-towered castle, parts of which date back to the 13th-century, remains the private property of the Hohenberg family. It is the final resting place of the archduke and his wife, who are entombed in the family crypt, which you may explore. A museum within the castle walls is dedicated to Franz Ferdinand; you might be surprised to discover that the archduke, a stern military man if one judges him by his portrait, renounced his descendants’ claim to the Habsburg throne in order to marry for love.

Treasure hunt hike in the vineyards

Head outdoors to the beautiful Wachau Valley, one of Austria’s great nature habitats. Hike through vineyards high above the river with a nature expert who will guide you in a hunt for the treasures hiding in this habitat. Can you spot one of the orchid species that only grows here in the Wachau? How about the rare native feather grass? Glimpse a European green lizard basking on a stone terrace or a falcon soaring far overhead, but don’t forget to look out over the river and the valley; these views are so lovely, the memory will stay with you forever.

Day 5: Engelhartszell, Cruising the Danube River, Passau

Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town and its main claim to fame, Europe’s largest pipe organ, or join an invigorating riverside hike or bike ride. Your ship cruises through a scenic highlight of the Danube today, the Schlögener Schlinge—a hairpin loop in the Danube that was once very hazardous for ships and is now a lovely, serene stretch of water—and leaves Austria behind today. Your first German port of call is Passau, where three rivers meet—the Inn, the Ilz and the Danube—and three nations almost meet: Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. Explore the historic Old Town or choose a more active adventure.

Passau walking discovery tour

The skyline of Passau is dominated by two buildings that owe their existence to the prince-bishops who ruled the city until 1803: the great fortress looming on a hill above the three rivers, home to the bishops until the 17th century, and the green onion domes of St. Stephan’s Cathedral. As you walk through the cobblestone streets toward those green onion domes, you’ll realize that Passau retains the layout of the medieval town. However, many of the wooden medieval buildings burned to the ground in the 17th century, and the prince-bishops imported Italian artists to build a new cathedral and a magnificent new residence for the bishops themselves. As a result, these splendid structures flaunt Italian baroque and rococo style and ornamentation, complete with opulent gilding and wonderful frescoes. Your guide will introduce you to some of the architectural highlights—the rococo stairways of the New Residence; the cathedral; and the Town Hall, which boasts a magnificent atrium adorned by large paintings by Ferdinand Wagner—and make sure you get a close-up view of the point where the three rivers meet.

“Let's Go” scenic Bavarian river biking

Set off on an invigorating bike ride from Engelhartszell to Passau, led by one of our certified wellness instructors. Wind your way through the lovely countryside, along the Danube’s right side, upstream into the picturesque Danube Valley. These particular landscapes are some of the most beautiful in all of Europe, characterized by expansive vineyards, tree-lined slopes, and castle-dotted hillsides–and seamlessly blend the region’s cultural, historical and natural components together. Make a pit stop halfway at an Austrian beer garden, where you can savor your choice of regional beer. Pedal onwards toward Passau, past more charming villages, meadows and orchards, rounding out your trip in Passau’s Old Town.  

"Let's Go" hike along the Ilz River

Put on your hiking boots, grab a windbreaker and a bottle of water, and head out with a local hiking guide and nature expert to explore the banks of the Ilz River. This small but rushing tributary of the Danube originates deep in the Bavarian Forest, near the Czech border, and is just 40 miles (65 kilometers) long. Its upper stretch is a premier whitewater rafting location, but you’ll be hiking along the lower, serene end of the river. Your starting point is Hals-Hochstein, where you’ll pick up a nature trail that follows a curve of the river and then climbs a steep hill, where you have a great view of the river and woodlands. You will cross the river repeatedly, once by way of a dam and again toward the end of your four-mile (6.5-kilometer) hike, as you loop back to the Hals. 

Bike the famous Danube Valley from Engelhartszell to Passau

Get into the water this morning: The Ilz River is a great place to paddle a canoe or a kayak—or you could even try some stand-up paddleboarding. It’s splashy fun! Later in the day, you can mount a bike and join a group for a river-hugging ride that starts at the bike ferry across the Danube. You’ll pedal through the lovely countryside between Engelhartszell and Passau—orchards and meadows glide past, along with the occasional castle, charming village or picturesque ruin. Your expert bike guide will have a surprise waiting for you somewhere along the route, too!

Uniworld looks for the next top model of Bavarian kids fashion, and dumpling workshop onboard

Day 6: Regensburg

You have your choice of adventures in Regensburg, famous for its beautiful, UNESCO protected old city center. “Regensburg is so beautifully situated; this region had to attract a town,” wrote Goethe in his Diary of an Italian Voyage. And attract a town it did, but not due to its beautiful location alone. Ambitious and farseeing locals built a bridge (Steinerne Brücke, or Stone Bridge) over the Danube back in the 12th century, making Regensburg an international trading hub. Because so many of the handsome buildings from that period remain, UNESCO declared the old city center a World Heritage Site in 2006.

"Baroque 500" Thurn and Taxis castle visit

BMW factory visit

Here is your opportunity to see German engineering, famous the world over, in operation as you tour the state-of-the-art BMW factory on the outskirts of Regensburg. About a thousand cars a day roll off the assembly line here, many of them in the BMW 3 series. You’ll see the fascinating production process from beginning to end, starting with rolls of sheet metal that are stamped out into body parts and continuing as the body is built and the various other elements are robotically assembled. You’ll follow a car into the finishing department to see it painted, polished and have the final touch applied—the BMW roundel.

NOTE: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead

"Let's Go" Regensburg hiking experience

Did you know that Regensburg residents raised silkworms at one time? It’s just one of the unusual aspects of the city that you’ll discover on a hike that begins at the ship’s dock. Meet up with your guide and head out along the eastern gate road (that eastern gate was part of the old Roman walls), crossing the river to the narrow streets of Stadtamhof, an island in the Danube that is part of Regensburg’s UNESCO-honored medieval complex. Pause atop another bridge to take a look at boats cruising through the lock and then begin your ascent of Holy Trinity Hill; you’ll have a great view of old Regensburg from Windsor Heights, and you’ll pass some of the beautiful mansions that overlook the city—including the buildings that housed the silk plantation begun by Ludwig I in the early 19th century. Your route continues along the heights, offering views of the entire region: fields, woods, even the Bavarian forest in the far distance. After a brief rest, you’ll head back down to the town and the ship.

Fascination BMW

Don your safety goggles and discover how BMW builds a thousand cars a day at their Regensburg plant. Robots and humans work together to assemble a single car—which has about 550 parts—in less than 40 hours (it used to take weeks). The place is huge, and though robots do a lot of the work, a great deal still needs to be done by the human hand. You get to see all aspects of the process, from stamping out metal parts to painting, in a tour tailored to young visitors.

Student stroll

If you’d rather see some of historic Regensburg, you can experience it from the viewpoint of its modern-day teenagers, who will show you where to shop, stop for a bite to eat at a thousand-year-old sausage stand and find the best ice cream. They’ll also point out all the must-see sights—the cathedral, the medieval bridge and the house where Oskar Schindler lived.

Day 7: Regensburg, Roth, Nuremberg

The Main-Danube canal is a masterwork of engineering: It allows ships of all shapes and sizes to cruise from the Black Sea all the way to the North Sea, through no fewer than 15 countries. Sixteen locks punctuate the 106-mile (160-kilometer) stretch between Kelheim and Bamberg, linking the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Building the canal was no small task, especially considering changes of altitude (each river is different); the locks gently lift and lower the ships an astonishing 1,332 feet (406 meters) over the continental divide. Efforts to connect the rivers began with Charlemagne in AD 793, but the present-day canal was only completed in 1992.

Nuremberg panoramic city tour with WII rally grounds visit

Hitler considered Nuremberg the perfect expression of German culture (partly because of its significance in the Holy Roman Empire, which he called the First Reich), and so beginning in 1927, he chose to hold his massive rallies in the city. By 1933, his favorite architect, Albert Speer, had designed the vast Nazi Party Rally Grounds, where thousands upon thousands of Nazi troops saluted Hitler. (Leni Riefenstahl captured these events in her famous propaganda film Triumph of the Will.) Not all of Speer’s plans were executed, and some of his grandiose structures were bombed out of existence, but the remainder stand as vivid testimony to Hitler’s megalomania. A four-square-mile (10-square-kilometer) complex known as Zeppelin Fields contains parade grounds and a huge grandstand, the excavation site where a stadium for 400,000 people was begun—the hole is now filled with water.

Day 8: Nuremberg (Disembark)

Disembark the ship. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer or if you purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Nuremberg Airport for your flight.
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Day 1: Nuremberg (Embark)

Arrive at Nuremberg Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be transferred to the ship.

Day 2: Cruising the Main-Danube Canal, Regensburg

The Main-Danube canal is a masterwork of engineering: It allows ships of all shapes and sizes to cruise from the Black Sea all the way to the North Sea, through no fewer than 15 countries. Sixteen locks punctuate the 106-mile (160-kilometer) stretch between Kelheim and Bamberg, linking the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. Building the canal was no small task, especially considering changes of altitude (each river is different); the locks gently lift and lower the ships an astonishing 1,332 feet (406 meters) over the continental divide. Efforts to connect the rivers began with Charlemagne in AD 793, but the present-day canal was only completed in 1992. You have your choice of adventures in Regensburg, famous for its beautiful, UNESCO protected old city center. “Regensburg is so beautifully situated; this region had to attract a town,” wrote Goethe in his Diary of an Italian Voyage. And attract a town it did, but not due to its beautiful location alone. Ambitious and farseeing locals built a bridge (Steinerne Brücke, or Stone Bridge) over the Danube back in the 12th century, making Regensburg an international trading hub. Because so many of the handsome buildings from that period remain, UNESCO declared the old city center a World Heritage Site in 2006.

"Baroque 500" Thurn and Taxis castle visit

"Let's Go" Regensburg hiking experience

Did you know that Regensburg residents raised silkworms at one time? It’s just one of the unusual aspects of the city that you’ll discover on a hike that begins at the ship’s dock. Meet up with your guide and head out along the eastern gate road (that eastern gate was part of the old Roman walls), crossing the river to the narrow streets of Stadtamhof, an island in the Danube that is part of Regensburg’s UNESCO-honored medieval complex. Pause atop another bridge to take a look at boats cruising through the lock and then begin your ascent of Holy Trinity Hill; you’ll have a great view of old Regensburg from Windsor Heights, and you’ll pass some of the beautiful mansions that overlook the city—including the buildings that housed the silk plantation begun by Ludwig I in the early 19th century. Your route continues along the heights, offering views of the entire region: fields, woods, even the Bavarian forest in the far distance. After a brief rest, you’ll head back down to the town and the ship.

BMW factory visit

Here is your opportunity to see German engineering, famous the world over, in operation as you tour the state-of-the-art BMW factory on the outskirts of Regensburg. About a thousand cars a day roll off the assembly line here, many of them in the BMW 3 series. You’ll see the fascinating production process from beginning to end, starting with rolls of sheet metal that are stamped out into body parts and continuing as the body is built and the various other elements are robotically assembled. You’ll follow a car into the finishing department to see it painted, polished and have the final touch applied—the BMW roundel.

NOTE: If the tour lands on a day when the BMW factory is closed, we will visit the Audi factory instead. The Audi production line is closed on weekends, so if your visit is scheduled for a weekend, you will see the Audi museum instead

Fascination BMW

Don your safety goggles and discover how BMW builds a thousand cars a day at their Regensburg plant. Robots and humans work together to assemble a single car—which has about 550 parts—in less than 40 hours (it used to take weeks). The place is huge, and though robots do a lot of the work, a great deal still needs to be done by the human hand. You get to see all aspects of the process, from stamping out metal parts to painting, in a tour tailored to young visitors.

Student stroll

If you’d rather see some of historic Regensburg, you can experience it from the viewpoint of its modern-day teenagers, who will show you where to shop, stop for a bite to eat at a thousand-year-old sausage stand and find the best ice cream. They’ll also point out all the must-see sights—the cathedral, the medieval bridge and the house where Oskar Schindler lived.

In the evening, a special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you.

Day 3: Cruising the Danube River, Passau

Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town and its main claim to fame, Europe’s largest pipe organ, or enjoy an invigorating riverside hike or bike ride.

Passau walking discovery tour

The skyline of Passau is dominated by two buildings that owe their existence to the prince-bishops who ruled the city until 1803: the great fortress looming on a hill above the three rivers, home to the bishops until the 17th century, and the green onion domes of St. Stephan’s Cathedral. As you walk through the cobblestone streets toward those green onion domes, you’ll realize that Passau retains the layout of the medieval town. However, many of the wooden medieval buildings burned to the ground in the 17th century, and the prince-bishops imported Italian artists to build a new cathedral and a magnificent new residence for the bishops themselves. As a result, these splendid structures flaunt Italian baroque and rococo style and ornamentation, complete with opulent gilding and wonderful frescoes. Your guide will introduce you to some of the architectural highlights—the rococo stairways of the New Residence; the cathedral; and the Town Hall, which boasts a magnificent atrium adorned by large paintings by Ferdinand Wagner—and make sure you get a close-up view of the point where the three rivers meet.

“Let's Go” scenic Bavarian river biking

Set off on an invigorating bike ride from Engelhartszell to Passau, led by one of our certified wellness instructors. Wind your way through the lovely countryside, along the Danube’s right side, upstream into the picturesque Danube Valley. These particular landscapes are some of the most beautiful in all of Europe, characterized by expansive vineyards, tree-lined slopes, and castle-dotted hillsides–and seamlessly blend the region’s cultural, historical and natural components together. Make a pit stop halfway at an Austrian beer garden, where you can savor your choice of regional beer. Pedal onwards toward Passau, past more charming villages, meadows and orchards, rounding out your trip in Passau’s Old Town.  

"Let's Go" hike along the Ilz River

Put on your hiking boots, grab a windbreaker and a bottle of water, and head out with a local hiking guide and nature expert to explore the banks of the Ilz River. This small but rushing tributary of the Danube originates deep in the Bavarian Forest, near the Czech border, and is just 40 miles (65 kilometers) long. Its upper stretch is a premier whitewater rafting location, but you’ll be hiking along the lower, serene end of the river. Your starting point is Hals-Hochstein, where you’ll pick up a nature trail that follows a curve of the river and then climbs a steep hill, where you have a great view of the river and woodlands. You will cross the river repeatedly, once by way of a dam and again toward the end of your four-mile (6.5-kilometer) hike, as you loop back to the Hals. 

Day 4: Engelhartszell, cruising the Danube River

Your ship cruises through a scenic highlight of the Danube today, the Schlögener Schlinge—a hairpin loop in the Danube that was once very hazardous for ships and is now a lovely, serene stretch of water.

Day 5: Spitz, Cruising the Wachau Valley

Your ship will dock in Spitz, midway through the glorious landscape, where you are invited to enjoy a private sparkling wine reception at Artstatten Castle. Later in the day, you’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian Mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape.

Private sparkling wine reception at Artstatten Castle with a member of the Habsburg royal family

Meet a member of the Habsburg royal family and a fascinating slice of history at the same time today. You’re invited to an exclusive cocktail reception at Artstetten Castle with a direct descendent of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie. As a pivotal part of world history, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination in Sarajevo triggered WWI. The seven-towered castle, parts of which date back to the 13th-century, remains the private property of the Hohenberg family. It is the final resting place of the archduke and his wife, who are entombed in the family crypt, which you may explore. A museum within the castle walls is dedicated to Franz Ferdinand; you might be surprised to discover that the archduke, a stern military man if one judges him by his portrait, renounced his descendants’ claim to the Habsburg throne in order to marry for love.

Day 6: Vienna

A city tour will show you the architectural highlights of the Austrian capital as well as the legendary opera house in the heart of the city. Or, indulge your passion for art with visits to two distinctively different collections—a “cabinet of curiosities” collected by the Habsburgs and the Belvedere’s extraordinary cache of paintings by Klimt and other renowned artists. The grand dame of the Danube, Vienna was the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and remains, to this day, the political and cultural center of Austria. Klimt painted here; Beethoven and Mozart composed here; Freud developed his theories here. It’s a treasure trove of splendid architecture, astonishing art collections and inviting cafés—and today it is yours to explore.

Vienna panoramic highlights with Old Town food and art walk

Vienna panoramic highlights World Museum Vienna: the manic Habsburg collector's treasures

Day 7: Budapest

Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each has a distinctive character and allure all its own. Explore this dynamic and multi-faceted city with your choice of excursions—you can see it from a local’s perspective on our exclusive walking tour, or cover more ground with a panoramic tour. Vibrant Budapest, Hungary’s capital, offers an enchanting combination of East and West, old and new. Even its geography is made up of two parts—Buda (the hills) and Pest (the flatlands)—divided by the Danube. Appropriately enough, you have your choice of two different ways to explore it today.

Budapest panoramic highlights with Parliament visit

This panoramic tour is a wonderful way to get an overview of the city if you have never been here before. It will carry you from Heroes’ Square, created in 1896 to honor the thousand-year anniversary of Hungary’s founding and its greatest historical figures, past some of the city’s most striking architectural sights—Dohány Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum, the state opera house, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the truly stunning Parliament Building—to Castle Hill, which has been called the heart of the nation. The city of Buda began here, when King Béla built a strong keep in 1243 as a defense against Mongol invaders; a castle replaced the simple fortress, and over the centuries other castles replaced that one. The current castle is primarily 18th century; a museum dedicated to Budapest’s archaeological finds is housed there, and the Castle Hill district has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll go inside the magnificent 700-year-old Matthias Church, named for one of Hungary’s greatest kings, and then wend your way on foot to the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion, whose seven fairytale-like towers represent the seven tribes that originally settled the region. It offers a glorious view of the city and the Danube below.

Note: Visits to the interior of Matthias Church may not be possible on some weekends and Catholic holidays.

“Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour

Get ready for a fun immersion in daily life in Budapest— your local guide will show you how to use the metro (one of the oldest in Europe) to easily reach all the city has to offer. Start with a visit to one of the city’s irresistible market halls. Stalls spill over with produce, sausages and meats, festoons of dried paprika, cheeses, and jars of honey, all of it authentically Hungarian. After you leave the market, stop for coffee and a sweet treat at Szamos Gourmet Palace, a combination pastry shop, café and chocolate maker in Vörösmarty Square. Marzipan is a favorite confection in Budapest, and Szamos has specialized in making it since the 1930s, so you might want to try some—but the shop’s truffle selection is equally irresistible. Refreshed, you’ll be ready to hop back on the tram for a visit to the gracious green spaces of Károlyi Garden, sometimes described as Budapest’s most charming small park. You’ll ramble along the boulevards and pass the Hungarian National Museum, truly getting the feel for this dynamic city, as you head back toward the ship.

Your ship sets sail from Budapest after your tour, cruising along the Danube Bend, which is lined with scenic towns—among them are the oldest settlements in the country—nestled at the foot of lovely wooded hills.

Hospital in the Rock

Imagine living underneath Budapest for 34 years in a secret abandoned hospital. That’s what one couple did, tending miles of echoing caverns lined with ghostly hospital beds, boxes of files, gas masks . . . gas masks? Yes, gas masks. The Hospital in the Rock began as a hospital during WWII, when Budapest was besieged, but it became a secret nuclear bomb shelter—and hospital/torture chamber for prisoners—during the Soviet era in the 1950s. It was so secret that once it was abandoned in 1970, a single couple continued to live here as caretakers, telling no one what they did. Explore these once-secret caves, seeing 70-year-old hospital equipment still in place, along with some 200 wax figures that stand in for the real people who worked on this site of heroism and horror. Why was this place such a dark secret for so many decades? Can you help unravel its mysteries?

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening.

Day 8: Budapest (Disembark)

You’ve experienced the best of the Danube River, sampling myriad culinary delights and exploring fascinating stops along the way. Now your journey comes to a close (unless you’ve booked a Uniworld post-cruise tour of Budapest) and it’s time to disembark the ship. If your cruise/tour includes a group departure transfer or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your flight home. Your Uniworld adventure may be over, but we know you’ll enjoy the memories you’ve made for years to come.