Viking Cruises is sponsoring the inaugural 'River' category in this year's
Enter for your chance to win an 8-day Romantic Danube cruise with Viking River Cruises. The prize includes return flight from the UK, six guided tours and all on board meals, including beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner.
Prize must be booked before 30 June 2015 and travel by 31 December 2015. Validity of the prize cannot be extended. Terms and conditions apply
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary's vibrant capital divided by the Danube River. Transfer from the airport to your ship. After boarding, you have free time to take a stroll beside the Danube or in the Váci Utca, a pedestrian thoroughfare featuring shops and cafés.
Your morning begins with a panoramic tour of the Pest side of the city. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes' Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda's Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views. Rejoin your ship in Visegrád for lunch as we begin cruising along the scenic Danube River. Enjoy a midafternoon Viennese coffee workshop, complete with apple strudel.
Explore both sides of Hungary’s capital—traditional “Buda” and more cosmopolitan “Pest”—and from Fishermen’s Bastion, see how the river divides this fascinating city.
Experience Vienna’s imperial architecture and gracious culture, and tour riverside towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley. And in Germany, explore a baroque cathedral and stroll cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses. Savour the tastes of authentic dishes, learn about local legends, and understand why Strauss immortalised the “Blue Danube” in his famous melody.
Arrive in Vienna just after breakfast for your half-day city tour. See some of Vienna's gracious architecture, then ride along the beautiful Ringstrasse with sights including the Opera House, Stadtpark and Hofburg Theater. You then see St. Stephan's Cathedral. After lunch aboard, the afternoon is yours to further explore this city on your own or maybe just shop along the Kärtnerstrasse. Dinner is served aboard and you may choose to complete your day in this "City of Waltzes" with an optional evening concert.
After breakfast, sail through the stunningly scenic Wachau Valley to the Benedictine abbey at Melk, and join a guided tour through the ornate interior of this baroque architectural gem. See its elaborate frescoes and admire the library's extensive collection of medieval manuscripts; enjoy the garden courtyard and the terrace's Wachau Valley views. Rejoin your ship for dinner and leisurely cruising along the Danube—taste some local Austrian specialties as you spot charming riverside towns and castle ruins here and there.
Enjoy a glorious morning arrival in Passau, at the confluence of the Inn, Ilz and Danube Rivers. Your guided walk along the town's narrow streets takes you through the Old Town and past traditional patrician houses. You see the Oberhaus Fortress and visit the impressive baroque St. Stephan's Cathedral with its ornate interior. Inside, you are treated to a special concert played on the 17,000-pipe organ, considered Europe's largest church organ. Eat lunch aboard, but return to the city for further exploration on your own before an early evening departure and cruise through the night.
After breakfast, meet your guide dockside for a walking tour through the scenic town of Regensburg, considered one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities. See one of the largest groupings of 13th and 14th-century church spires, towers and patrician houses north of the Alps. You also encounter the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, St. Peter’s Cathedral and a number of idyllic courtyards. Take time to stroll the streets, shop or visit Germany's oldest restaurant, the Alte Wurstküche. Lunch served aboard.
This afternoon, enjoy scenic cruising along the Danube River—or take an optional Danube Narrows excursion. Travel by road to Kelheim and board a ferryboat to explore the 400-foot chalk cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Danube Narrows. Visit Weltenburg Abbey, renowned for the dark ale brewed here by monks since 1050, then rejoin your ship in Kelheim in time for dinner aboard.
Main-Danube Canal & Nuremberg
Very early this morning, you sail through a number of locks that comprise the Main-Danube Canal, an engineering marvel stretching 106 miles from Bamberg on the Main River to Kelheim on the Danube. Begun as Charlemagne's dream in 793, it was completed in 1992 with 16 locks that raise the water level 1,332 feet. Today it enables river travel from the North Sea to the Black Sea.
Arrive during breakfast in Nuremberg, Bavaria's second largest city. Your tour features the former Nazi parade grounds and the Palace of Justice, historic home of the Nuremberg Trials; or, join an optional World War II history tour visiting the Documentation Center Museum. You have a brief stop at the Court House before returning to the Old Town area enclosed by ancient city walls.
Your tour ends with a walk from the imperial castle grounds past the Albrecht Dürer House on your way to the Main Market Square with its elaborate Gothic fountain. Lunch is served aboard, but you have the rest of the day to explore. Your ship remains docked overnight.
After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.
The World Of Viking
Cooking Bread In Portugal
Viking Longship Tour
One of the best things about travelling on a Viking river cruise is the range of fantastic scenery and cultural sights that passengers experience every day. Capturing the moment in a photo is the perfect way to recall what you've seen, again and again.
From dawn till dusk, and well into the night, great photo opportunities constantly present themselves, and you don't have to be armed with a truckload of gear to take advantage.
Viking Cruises has extended the holiday experience by launching its own book club. The open, online forum, Viking Cruises Book Club, will reveal top holiday reads, best sellers and recommendations from celebrities, authors, Viking staff and, most importantly, Viking guests.
The new site has been developed to provide an opportunity for bookworms around the UK to share reviews, recommendations and experiences. Each month a new book will be chosen by a selected panel of Viking guests for review, in addition to hosting regular literary salons and author Q&A sessions. The move follows Viking Cruises' support of this year's Hay Festival and its upcoming sponsorship of the 'DEAD GOOD' crime series at The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.
Christening the book club is Jeffrey Archer's Only Time will Tell, the first in the seven-book saga, The Clifton Chronicles. The novel, which covers the years 1920 to 1940, follows the epic tale of Harry Clifton's life and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War. To find out more about the inspiration behind writing The Clifton Chronicles visit www.facebook.com/vikingcruisesUK, where Jeffrey tells all.
Jeffrey Archer, who has recently travelled with Viking Cruises, has also shared his top holiday reads to accompany guests on their cruise journey, exclusively for the Viking Cruises Book Club. Among his favourites are:
The 39 Steps, John Buchan
A classic adventure, the first of five novels featuring Buchan's intrepid all-English hero Richard Hannay. Buchan mixed with Prime Ministers and civil servants, and this rollercoaster tale is peppered with insider knowledge.
The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
An epic adventure, dismissed by intellectuals, in fact they didn't build a statue of Dumas in Paris until 200 years after his death. He had amazing energy to write The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers in the same year.
All Quiet on the Western Front, Erich Maria Remarque
A moving love story told at the height of WWI from the perspective of a reluctant German soldier, and an account of the deprivation and the hardship he goes through. It sold 2.5 million copies in twenty-five languages in its first eighteen months in print in 1928, and was banned and burned by the Nazis.
'We know our guests are both inspired by books and travel and that reading is part of the preparation for their holiday and something they enjoy on board. The new Viking Cruises Book Club is a great way to come together with like-minded fellow travellers and share and discuss the books that influenced their journeys in a relaxed and informal way.'
In a recent survey, Viking Cruises guests offered their recommendations for best holiday reads which, along with Jeffrey Archer, included the likes of Jo Nesbo, Ian Rankin and Agatha Christie – all of which will be feature on the reviews list over the coming months.
Follow the Viking Cruises book club and find about the next reviews at www.vikingcruises.co.uk or
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