Once the border between great empires, the Danube River cuts a majestic path through the heart of Europe. The region’s natural beauty and engaging history combine to create a dreamy setting for various activities. Imagine biking along riverbanks surrounded by rolling hills or meandering along the cobblestoned streets of red-roofed villages. Plus, you’ll revel in countless opportunities for an exhilarating hike up to a lush vineyard or historic fortress with stunning views of the valley below.
With the seven-night “Magna on the Danube” itinerary, which stops in four countries (with an optional excursion to the Czech Republic), AmaWaterways curates the ideal balance of legendary cities and charming towns to appeal to many different interests. Also, the availability of spacious suites with full balconies, connecting staterooms, and triple and quadruple accommodations aboard AmaMagna make the vessel well-suited for families and multigenerational groups.
There are also excursions for every age and fitness level. Some might choose a heart-thumping hike or bike ride, while others prefer a leisurely stroll among architectural treasures. In the evening, all can reconvene around the dinner table to share stories and dishes crafted by expert chefs. Guests of every age are guaranteed to disembark from this river cruise ship with cherished memories and a stronger appreciation for the history and culture of this fascinating region of Europe.
ItineraryPLAN YOUR TRIP
Day 1Embarkation in Vilshofen, Germany
You’ll board the stylish AmaMagna and settle into your stateroom. As the flagship of the cruise line’s river fleet, this one-of-a-kind vessel boasts twice the width of traditional European river ships. The addition of four unique dining venues, a sundeck pool, and a whirlpool create plenty of space for socializing in groups, large and small. There’s also an expansive Zen Wellness Studio with a fitness center, two massage rooms, and a refreshing juice bar.
After connecting with the members of your group, you’ll have an opportunity to meet your other fellow passengers in the evening during a Bavarian Oktoberfest celebration complete with music, beer, and sausages.
Day 2 Passau, Germany
If you go for the walking tour, you’ll get a closer look at several examples of Passau’s famous architecture. One of the highlights is St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Learn how the ornate interior and incredible acoustics make it the perfect setting for one of the world’s largest cathedral organs.
The more active members of your group might instead choose a guided hike up “Castle Hill” to the Veste Oberhaus fortress that towers over Passau. The reward is an awe-inspiring view of not only the Old Town but also Austria and beyond. Or active types could participate in a guided bike tour along the Inn River to Wernstein, a lovely town located just across the border in Austria. No matter what you choose, you’ll all reconvene in the evening around the dinner table to trade stories about the day’s activities.
Day 3Linz, Austria
Some members of your group can explore even more of Linz during a leisurely bike ride through the city’s vibrant arts and music scene. Along Linz’s famed “Cultural Mile” on the banks of the Danube, they’ll pass the Brucknerhausconcert hall, the city’s top venue for high-quality music performances, as well as the Ars Electronica Center and the Lentos Art Museum. In the afternoon, there will be a chance to return to the ship for lunch and then go to Greinberg castle, one of the oldest residential castles in Austria.
At least one member of your group is likely a fan of The Sound of Music. For these guests, the full-day excursion to Salzburg is a can’t-miss experience—it includes stops at the von Trapp family home and various locations from the film. En route to Salzburg, there will be a stop at the Basilica St. Michael in Mondsee, where the movie’s famous wedding scene was filmed.
Then, in Salzburg, they can tour the historic center, Mirabell Gardens, Residenz Square, and the Old Market. In the afternoon, they’ll head to the scenic Czech mountain town of Český Krumlov, one of the most stunning in Europe.
Day 4Melk, Austria
After everyone returns from their morning excursions, the ship will continue to the wine-producing community of Spitz. It’s aptly nicknamed “the town of a thousand buckets” because of a hill in the village center where you could fill buckets with the region’s grapes. From here, energetic members of the group can take a guided cycling tour to the market town of Emmersorf and back to Spitz. Or they may go on a guided hike around Spitz up to Rotes Tor, one of the old city gates.
Travelers can also select an excursion to Dürnstein. Sometimes called the “Pearl of the Wachau,” Dürnstein is home to the Keunringer Castle, where Leopold V, Duke of Austria, imprisoned Richard the Lionheart. From there, they can hike to the ruined fortress to take in striking views of the city and valley below.
Everyone will meet in Spitz in the evening to partake in an exclusive evening wine experience. In a festive atmosphere with local musicians performing authentic Austrian music, guests can savor a range of Wachau Valley wines in the winery’s historic vaults.
Day 5Vienna, Austria
During the afternoon, everyone in your group can tour the opulent Schönbrunn Palace, the primary summer residence of the Hapsburg rulers. This stately palace is one of Austria’s most important architectural, cultural, and historical monuments. You’re welcome to explore Vienna and its famous pubs, wine gardens, or coffeehouses at your leisure in the evening.
Day 6Bratislava, Slovakia
You’ll have three excursion choices upon arrival. The walking tour of Bratislava includes must-see sites like St. Michael’s Gate and St. Martin’s Cathedral, with its spires that dominate the Old Town’s skyline. The Opera House, with a facade that features busts of famous composers, anchors bustling Hviezdoslavovo Square.
You can also hike up to Bratislava Castle, a splendid example of Renaissance-style architecture in the heart of Europe and one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. It was home to the Hungarian crown jewels for nearly 200 years and offers knockout views of the city below. On a clear day, you can also see Austria and Hungary. And the epicureans in your group will probably prefer the “Tastes of Slovakia” tour, which includes a short walk around the city with a local guide, a beer tasting, and lots of local snacks.
Day 7Budapest, Hungary
Those who are craving something more active should join the hike to Castle Hill for the incredible view of Budapest that includes the Parliament building and Danube below. The area is also home to some of the city’s most important monuments, like the Fisherman’s Bastion, a terrace built in neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque styles. Also nearby is Buda Castle, which has been destroyed by war on several different occasions and rebuilt in a range of styles.
This evening you’ll enjoy a final dinner aboard AmaMagna and bid farewell to your traveling companions and any new friends you’ve made along the way during this unforgettable voyage. You’ll transfer the next day to the Budapest airport to return home after breakfast on the ship, you’ll be transferred. And rest assured that AmaWaterways offers many more thrilling itineraries with 26 ships cruising through Europe, Africa, and Asia.