Our featured sailing for March is the wonderful ‘Delightful Danube (westbound)’ voyage which sails from Budapest to Vilshofen (it also operates in the reverse).
You can spend 7-nights exploring the majestic river Danube aboard the all-suite, butler-serviced ship, Crystal Ravel, which provides twice the number of crew per guest than the industry average, so you can indulge in true luxury and exceptional service in the heart of Europe.
Day 1/2: Budapest
Budapest is actually made up of two cities straddling the Danube – Buda on the west side is hilly and classy, whilst Pest on the east is its flatter, wilder neighbour. However, both sides are now joined by a number of spectacular bridges. Budapest is arguably the most fascinating city in eastern Europe, rich in history and also home to some breathtaking Art Nouveau architecture. Pay a visit to the iconic thermal baths, quirky ruin bars and bustling food halls and then you will discover the very reason as to why so many travellers end up falling in love with this destination.
Recommendation from Beth, Sales and Marketing Assistant: There is so much to do in Budapest and that’s one of the reasons why I love it. From the incredible Parliament building to the scenic strolls along the Danube, it would be hard to tire of this incredible city. Visit the Great Market Hall and you will be able to find many of the local delicacies.
Day 3/4: Vienna
The Austrian capital, Vienna is a wonderful city that is well-known for its music, history, elegance and coffeehouse culture. The rich history, baroque streets and hallowed concert halls are just some of the attributes that make this city so remarkable. Vienna is the place to discover countless museums, art exhibits, palaces, opera performances, delicious food halls and expansive parks that sprawl along the banks of the Danube. Plus, this voyage offers you ample time to explore the gems of Vienna with two days to do as you please.
Recommendation from Elaine, Marketing Director: A stunning city that you can go back to again and again, Vienna always has something to tempt you: the stunning Imperial palaces, including Schönbrunn, the Habsburgs’ summer residence; the deliciousness of a slice of Sacher Torte outside the famous Hotel Sacher; the delights of the talented horses at the Spanish Riding School; or losing yourself in a private concert of the classics performed by some of the world’s most talented musicians. Vienna is one of my favourite cities – you won’t be disappointed.
Day 4: Dürnstein
Dürnstein is often described as a fairytale town, it’s compact, but enchanting and sits along the protected Wachau landscape. You can expect colourful, quaint 16th century houses, cosy wine taverns, and historic monuments when you visit here. The beauty of Dürnstein is heightened once you lay eyes on the lush forests, rolling hills and thriving vineyards that surround this town. A postcard-worthy European treasure that begs to be photographed.
Recommendation from Elaine, Marketing Director: This is the perfect place for a little stroll – not too large, and easy to navigate, you can enjoy an hour or so’s wander around the medieval streets, stocking up on souvenirs. It is also perfectly located in the middle of Wachau wine so plenty of opportunity also to sample this too.
Day 5: Melk
The alluring city of Melk should certainly be on your travel list, that’s if it’s not already! An appealing, quaint city that is home to the world-famous monastery, the Melk Abbey, which is set high above the Danube and dominates the skyline. Melk offers an abundance of charm and a myriad of ways to spend a leisurely summer’s day.
Recommendation from Natalie, Product Manager: When you visit Melk, there is only one place to go: Melk Abbey. From the riverside, it is only a 5 minute drive up to the top of the hill before you are at the entrance of the spectacular abbey. You are guided around by specialist Abbey Guides through the exhibition rooms, marble hall and, my personal favourite, the library. Split over 12 rooms, there are approximately 100,000 works stored there, and it was designed with ingenious reading nooks in the walls so that the monks could read by the windows and not have to light any candles. After your tour, skip the coach ride back if you can and take the short stroll through the town of Melk back to the river. It’s a typical Austrian town with lots of little shops selling local goods as well as bars and restaurants. It is extremely quaint and absolutely beautiful.
Day 6: Passau
Passau, nicknamed the ‘City of Three Rivers’ as it is conveniently located at the confluence of rivers Inn, Ilz and Danube. The gentle hills and rivers combined make for a spectacular backdrop. Take a wander around the Old Town and discover Gothic architecture, quaint crumbling alleys, cobblestone streets and the delightful smell of gingerbread that lingers throughout (it’s a popular treat in Passau!). If you venture outside the Old Town you can find an abundance of quiet, remote places to take in the picturesque river views.
Recommendation from Natalie, Product Manager: When you get to Passau, take a trip down Hell Alley, or Höllgasse, to see the artistic heart of the beautiful Old town. Full of Gothic architecture, with a stunning town hall and St Stephen’s Cathedral you can get lost in the cobbled lanes. But don’t worry, look up and head towards the 13th Century castle perched atop the hill and you will soon end up back at the riverside – well one of them anyway as Passau sits at the confluence of three, the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers. If you want to see something a bit more modern, head to the other side of town which has lots of lovely small boutiques and coffee shops as well as a small shopping centre. The train station is also here if you want to explore further to the city of Munich, which is around a 3hr ride away.
Day 7/8: Vilshofen
Vilshofen, a town that precariously sits on the Danube River. At over 1200 years of age, it has seen its fair share of flood, plague and wars, but despite all of this it appears to be even more appealing now having survived it all. The captivating cobblestone Old Town which sits close to the waterfront and the historic Church of St. John are just a couple of the reasons why Vilshofen should be on your list of places to visit.
Recommendation from Becca, Product and Marketing Executive: Vilshofen is a tranquil riverside town, and the history it holds makes it feel even more special. It’s the perfect place to take a bide ride along the picturesque paths, or if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous you can take a hike in the neighbouring Bavarian forest where you can discover impressive nature with its various habitats.
To find out more information on this sailing, click here
Crystal River Cruises, True luxury in the heart of Europe. Just like you imagined.
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