Day 1 - Vienna
Day 2 - Melk / Dürnstein
Day 3 - Bratislava
Day 4 - Kalocsa / Puszta
Day 5 - Budapest
Day 6 - Esztergom
Day 7 - Vienna
Day 8 - Return Flight

Spendology - Widgets

Walking the Blue Danube 

From splendid landmarks in historic cities to stunning landscapes of hills and valleys, this is a gentle journey of discovery, combining the delights of Danube cruising with unhurried tours of cultural capitals, and invigorating hikes in the glorious ‘great outdoors’

Cruising to the capitals and countryside of three countries, this fabulous tour is a cultural feast and a breath of fresh air, in fairly equal measure. Your floating hotel is the stylish MS Beethoven, which sails mostly at night to maximise your time ashore, follows the flow of the Danube from Austria’s capital, Vienna, to its counterparts in Slovakia and Hungary, and extends the voyage upstream to Melk, its ancient abbey clinging to the cliff-side for almost a millennium of monastic life; and down-river to Kalocsa for the timeless landscape of the Pannonian Plains. Between these two points, we cruise through the UNESCO listed Wachau Valley, seeing Dürnstein Castle on its rocky ridge, and hiking to the historic Aggstein Castle; moor in Bratislava to trek in the Little Carpathian Mountains to an ancient ocean, now filled with sand and fossils; and enjoy an enthralling Hungarian horse show. Our return upriver takes us to Budapest, for walking tours of Buda’s castle bastions and Pest’s graceful boulevards; to Esztergom, by the Danube Bend, for a hike to the hilltop Visegrad Fortress; and back to innately elegant Vienna, to see its sights up-close and from afar, with a city tour and scenic hike to Leopoldsberg.

Key Features

5 UNESCO Heritage Sites
New Tour
Excursions Included
Drinks Included
Qualified Mountain Guide
Jules Verne Representative

Day 1 Fly from London Heathrow to Vienna, its historic centre a UNESCO World Heritage site; its parks and promenades lining the omnipresent Danube. Transfer to the MS Beethoven to embark on your seven-night cruise, and join us for a welcome drink and introduction to the crew. Cruise to Melk. (D)

Day 2 Arrive early at Melk to visit the magnificent Benedictine abbey, dominating the riverbank, founded in the 11th century, and famed for its ‘marble hall’ and lavish library, lit by a window for each day of the year. Cruise through enchanting Wachau Valley to the riverside town of Dürnstein, awash with medieval charm; and travel by coach to Aggstein for a fabulously scenic hike (4hrs, 400m climb), visiting the haunting ruins of 12th century Aggstein Castle, and ending the trek at Maria Langegg village, the crossroads of hiking trails, where the Way of St. James meets the Alpe-Adria path. Re-join the vessel in Dürnstein, enjoy a Jules Verne pre-dinner drinks party, and sail across the Slovakian border to Bratislava, arriving during the night. (B, L, D)

Day 3 Take the coach to Devinska Nova Ves to begin today’s hike in the Little Carpathian mountain range (1½hrs, climb of 250m), walking through Sandberg, the sandy site of a one-time sea, 16million years ago, where fossils of marine fauna were found; and the Devinska Kobyla National Nature Reserve, with unique species of flora; to the Devin Castle ruins, topping a high crag and towering over the confluence of the Danube and Morava rivers. Return to the vessel and cruise south to pretty Kalocsa.  (B, L, D)

Day 4 An excursion by road takes you to the protected Puszta prairie, where we visit a ranch to see the traditional horsemanship of the ‘gulyas’ (Hungarian cowboys), fine-tuned in a truly entertaining show of skill by both human and equine performers. Sail back upstream from Kalocsa to Budapest. (B, L, D)

Day 5 Discover west-bank Buda on a morning walk of the castle district (2½hrs, climb of 100m), where landmarks include the famous Gellert Thermal Baths, majestic Matthias Church, and fabulous views from Fisherman’s Bastion. Return to the vessel on public transport (not included). This afternoon, cross the river to Pest for a 2hr guided walk, passing Art Nouveau façades, and the monumental Budapest synagogue, the largest in Europe; visiting St. Stephen’s Basilica, Budapest’s tallest structure; and strolling the pedestrianised Vaci Utca street, and Freedom Square, a green oasis at the heart of downtown. Enjoy an evening folklore show aboard. Cruise toward Esztergom tonight. (B, L, D)

Day 6 Early arrival in historic Esztergom, the Hungarian capital until the 13th century, facing Slovakia across the Danube. Travel by road to Visegrád for a walk (2hrs, 250m climb) to Visegrád Fortress citadel. The view of the castle is impressive, but the view from its hilltop is a spectacular panorama of the Danube Bend. Gala Dinner on board this evening. Cruise overnight toward Vienna. (B, L, D)

Day 7 Arrive in the capital for a morning walking tour, its regal façades and historic courtyards creating a picture-perfect city, in keeping with its soundtrack of classical music. The tour shows you landmark sights and visits the UNESCO listed Schönbrunn Palace, the summer residence of royalty. Transfer to Nussdorfer Platz for an afternoon hike (3-4hrs, 340m climb), with views of the Danube and Vienna Woods as you walk between the vines and the forest, up to Leopoldsberg, one of the finest vantage points over the city; and continue along the Nasenweg path, known for its rare flora and fauna. This evening, enjoy a concert of Viennese music at a palace in the home town of Johann Strauss. (B, L, D)

Day 8 Disembark the MS Beethoven and transfer to the airport for the return flight to London Heathrow. (B) 

  • Key
  • B - Breakfast
  • L - Lunch
  • D - Dinner


Cabins are available from 5pm on arrival and until 9am on departure (before/after this, luggage storage on board is possible).
Whilst the vessel carries more, the group size specified refers to transfers and excursions.
The programme may be altered due to navigational factors with locks, water levels or congestion at certain sites.
The included walks require a moderate fitness level and include climbs on most days and might be over uneven ground.  


per person in a twin/double Middle Deck cabin 

Austrian Airlines from Heathrow

Date Price
June 6 £2645
Early Booking Offer

For all bookings made by 31 October 2023, deduct £60 per person

Supplements per person

Single Supplement

Single Supplement £565

Cabin Upgrades

MS Beethoven
Upper Deck supplement £30

Extension Options

Extension - Vienna
Lindner Hotel am Belvedere £270
Single supplement £125

Tour Only

Save £200
Arrival or departure transfer add £35

Price Includes
Air travel and taxes, all port charges, transfers, 7-night cruise, full board and drinks on cruise vessel, excursions, Jules Verne Representative, local expert guides and representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.

Not Included
Travel insurance, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory charges introduced after publication.

No Single Supplement and Cabin Upgrade offers are only available for new bookings.

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Walking the Blue Danube

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