For the last few years, Europe river cruising has evolved in the most surprising ways. And the latest evolution? The ability to bike, hike, canoe and learn your way down one of Europe's most iconic rivers.
For the active and young at heart, Avalon Waterways has just released an amazing 9-day experience along the Danube River from Linz in Austria to Budapest in Hungary; an itinerary which can also be done in reverse from Budapest to Linz.
Come with us as we explore some of the highlights on this new 'Active Discovery' along the mighty Blue River.
1. Enjoy a brew at a 13th Century monastery
Engelszell is a pretty little market town where you'll have the choice of exploring the brewery, herb garden and vineyard of Engelszell Abbey – dating back to the 13th Century. This experience is finished off with tasting locally produced cheeses and tipple of beer brewed by the Trappist monastery's monks.
Alternatively, complete a guided walk following the World War II route the smugglers took while the borders were tightly controlled between Austria and Germany.
2. Bake the world's oldest cake
In Linz, Austria's third largest city, you can enjoy a cooking class, baking the world’s oldest known cake “Linzer Torte”. Why not visit a farm and learn how to milk a cow or mow the grass with a traditional scythe and saw wood? These are experiences you just can’t have access to everyday, if not ever.
3. Take watch from an ancient Roman fort
Mauthausen is another fascinating Austrian town where evidence of human habitation dating back to the Neolithic Age has been uncovered. Take a guided walk to an ancient Roman border defense fort or visit a 9th Century Saint Florian Monastery where you might meet one of the monks or join a touching visit to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp?
4. Paddle down the majestic Blue River
In Spitz you can enjoy an adventurous choice of either a bike tour from Spitz to Krems, paddle a canoe down the Danube, join a Wine World Experience with wine tasting, or get hands on with a local encounter that showcases regional fruits, vegetables, wine or other products that are seasonal.
5. A jogging tour of the 'City of Music'
In Vienna, 'the city of music' offers up a bike tour around places not accessible to buses and cars or a jogging tour (where in the world can you go on a jogging tour? Amazing!). Alternatively, take an insiders tour featuring something different every day, like meeting the locals, visiting a music instrument maker, or a crash course on etiquette and protocol at diplomatic gatherings.
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There is a second full day you have to explore Vienna, which is very lucky as you need two days to soak in Vienna’s beauty. You have the choices of joining an Early Risers Walk which takes you to breakfast at a Viennese café and an exclusive viewing of the Habsburg Family’s private art collections.
You can join a museum tour of the Italian & Dutch Master Gallery and for the military history buffs you have a choice to visit the Military Museum too.
6. Hike to discover birds of prey and more
In Visegrad, you can go back in time and enjoy a Medieval Knights Tournament and join a guided hike through the Danube-Ipoly National Park, home to eagles, falcons, bats, terrapins, fire salamanders and other wildlife.
7. Explore a city's secrets on two wheels
Budapest, one of Eastern Europe’s most dynamic cities. Ride a brand new model 24-gear bicycle along the bike paths and car free areas and enjoy the city’s intricate tapestry of musical traditions, hidden folklore and fantastic sights.
Or you can see the very best of Budapest by sightseeing through Heroes’ Square, Fisherman’s Bastion, Matthias Church and a venture inside it's iconic Opera House. You can also enjoy time on your own shopping for Hungarian Paprika or handcrafted souvenirs or even be a bit naughty and indulge in the famous cream cake at Gerbeaud Café.
The above itinerary and unique experiences are all whilst you are aboard one of Avalon Waterways many beautiful ships, this one in particular named Avalon Luminary.
The Active Discovery Tour departs on select dates from July 2017 through to October 2017 — against the exquisite backdrop of a European Summer or Autumn.
For more information on inclusions, getting there, how to extend your river cruise holiday and other questions, don't hesitate to contact me on 0408 408 010 or via email. With group travel being one of my specialties, the Active Discovery Tour is also the perfect itinerary for clubs, associations and conference delegations looking to explore Europe.