Cruises

Danube Holiday Markets (2023)

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Budapest to Passau | 8 Days

Date Range: Dec 2023 - Dec 2023

Ships : S.S. Maria Theresa

Countries: Central Europe

Glorious baroque architecture, delightful concerts, and ravishing scenery will make this Christmas season unforgettable as you cruise through the holidays along the Danube.

Glorious baroque architecture, delightful concerts, and ravishing scenery will make this Christmas season unforgettable as you cruise through the holidays along the Danube.

Budapest has celebrated Christmas for a thousand years, since the reign of St. Stephen, the king who founded Hungary and encouraged the spread of Christianity throughout his realm. As you ramble through the Christmas Market on Vörösmarty Square, admiring the handmade porcelain, stop to watch as kürtos kalács (a pastry) is baked on rods over an open fire and then coated with sugar before it’s handed to you.


In Bratislava, where a lively young art scene is revitalizing the compact city core, stalls abound with traditional Slovakian Christmas items such as medovníky (spiced ginger cookies) and šúpolie (figurines made from corn husks). Experience Uniworld’s exclusive “Taste of Christmas” program in the heart of Vienna during the day.


Glorious baroque architecture, delightful concerts and ravishing scenery will make this Christmas season unforgettable as you sail through the holidays on the Danube.


Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.

Budapest to Passau | 8 Days
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Program offerings are subject to change.
DAY 1 Budapest (Embark)
Arrive at the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer, or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
DAY 2 Budapest
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each have their own distinctive character and allure. You’ll get a taste of this dynamic capital city with your choice of tours, and visit Budapest’s celebrated Christmas Market—one of the largest in Europe. Christmas has been celebrated in Budapest for a thousand years, since the time of St. Stephen, the king who founded the nation of Hungary and encouraged the spread of Christianity throughout his realm, but the city began as a Roman encampment almost a millennium before that. Over the centuries it was controlled by Germans, Austrians, Ottomans and Communists, all of whom have left traces.

Other Excursions:

A panoramic tour will carry you from Heroes’ Square, created in 1896 to honor the thousand-year anniversary of Hungary’s founding and its greatest historical figures, past some of the city’s most striking architectural sights—Dohány Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum, the state opera house, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the truly stunning Parliament Building—to Castle Hill. The city of Buda began here, when King Béla built a strong keep in 1243 as a defense against Mongol invaders. The current castle is primarily 18th-century, and the Castle Hill district has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll go inside the magnificent 700-year-old Matthias Church, named for one of Hungary’s greatest kings, and then wend your way on foot to the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion, whose seven fairytale-like towers represent the seven tribes that originally settled the region. At Vörösmarty Square you’ll find Budapest’s most celebrated Christmas Market, one of the largest in Eastern Europe. The enticing aromas of cinnamon, baking bread and meats grilling over open fires drift among the 100 or so gaily decorated stalls.

Only the finest Hungarian craftspeople are invited to participate in this market, so you can be assured of finding unique and beautifully made gifts.

Note: Visits to the interior of St. Matthias Church may not be possible on some weekends and Catholic holidays.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Budapest city tour with Christmas market
or

Your local guide will lead you on a walk from the ship to the Central Market for some authentic local holiday shopping. Three floors of produce and Hungarian specialties—garlands of paprika and sausages, jars of golden honey, the special gold-foil-wrapped candies Hungarians hang on their Christmas trees (and eat one by one until only the empty wrappers deck the tree), goose liver pâté—fill stalls and shelves. If you want to pick up some souvenir foodstuffs, look for those labeled Hungarikum, which must meet strict standards to merit the label. After you leave the market, you’ll head to Szamos Gourmet Palace (getting there will entail a ride on the tram, another linchpin in Budapest’s excellent public transportation system) for a coffee break.

Marzipan is a favorite confection in this city, and Szamos has specialized in making it since the 1930s, so you might want to try some—but the shop’s truffle selection is almost irresistible too. Nearby, you’ll see the famous Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market; spend a little while taking in its delicious aromas and colorful stalls before strolling to quiet Karoly Gardens with your guide for a respite from the holiday bustle. Then ramble down Karoly Boulevard, named for Budapest’s first mayor, to the magnificent Central Market Hall. The oldest, biggest and most diverse of Budapest’s market halls, the Great Market Hall is worth a look just for its splendid tiled roof; the interior, however, is equally dazzling. Explore it on your own, return to the ship with your guide or return to the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market. If you go back to the Christmas Market, be sure to check out the enchanting gingerbread ornaments decorated with Hungarian folk motifs; in the middle of the square you’ll find a playhouse where children bedeck their own tasty ornaments in workshops during the afternoon. (Feel free to join in and try your hand at creating your own gingerbread ornaments.)

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

“Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour with Christmas market

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 3 Cruising the Danube River, Bratislava
Once hidden from the world behind the “Iron Curtain,” Slovakia retains an air of mystery and intrigue, and its small capital city has an unexpectedly colorful history. You’ll learn more about Bratislava’s past from a local expert and also visit the local Christmas Market—a relatively new (and thoroughly delightful) tradition for Slovakians. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Slovak? “Veselé Vianoce!” The heart and soul of Slovakia, Bratislava is full of surprises. The city straddles the mighty Danube and has played a leading role in the politics and culture of the region for many centuries. Unlike cities with venerable Christmas Markets, Bratislava just established its first holiday market in 1993. But the Slovakians have quickly embraced the seasonal traditions of their Austrian and Hungarian neighbors—and you’ll get to embrace them as well.

Featured Excursion:

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 4 Vienna
Renowned for its art and architecture, its classical music, its decadent pastries and its lengthy list of famous former residents, the refined city of Vienna is a cultural treasure trove. Experience the city with your choice of tours, as well as something extra special—VIP access to an extraordinary collection of art.

Featured Excursion:

Other Excursions:

Today's panoramic tour includes a visit to Ring Street, the great horseshoe-shaped boulevard lined with many of the city’s major landmarks—Parliament, City Hall, the Vienna State Opera, and numerous glorious palaces and museums. Ring Street (Ringstrasse) is a mere 150 years old, practically an infant for a city of Vienna’s age. It replaced the walls that had protected the city for centuries. Next, set off on foot for a guided walking tour with a local expert, passing more top sites—such as Hofburg Palace, the Spanish Riding School and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. You’ll also have time to explore on your own and to visit the Christmas market at St. Stephen's Square.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Vienna city tour with Christmas market
or

Vienna is a delicious experience for visitors (and for locals too, of course) at any time of the year, but it’s especially inviting during the winter holidays. Join an exclusive excursion that combines delectable treats of the season with a look at some of the highlights in the Innere Stadt—the historic city core. This district offers a stunning array of Vienna’s gems in just a few blocks.

Stroll with your local guide down elegant shopping streets, including the Graben and Kohlmarkt (don’t miss the dazzling display of holiday confectionary art in the windows of Café Demel, which once supplied Empress Sissi with candied violets), step into a newly restored 15th-century courtyard house, see where Mozart once lived (though he moved often as his finances changed), peek into some of the Hofburg’s courtyards and churches, and discover as you go along the luscious flavors of Vienna’s favorite holiday sweets and savories, some of which will be available for you to sample. Vienna also cherishes its New Year’s traditions, so you’ll find market stalls offering the good-luck charms Viennese people exchange on New Year’s Eve: You may spot marzipan pigs, chocolate chimney sweeps, plush mushrooms, tiny metal ladybugs, even lucky pennies— they all symbolize prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. Pick up some good luck and a mug of mulled wine and roam on your own through this short- lived market before returning to the ship.

“Taste of Christmas” Vienna walking tour

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 5 Krems, Melk
Enjoy a handful of delightful excursions that inspire the holiday spirit in this beautiful millennium-old town and surrounding valley—both of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Featured Excursion:

Other Excursions:

Considering its diminutive size, the village of Dürnstein offers much to explore. The famous blue baroque tower of the abbey church is doubtless its best-known landmark, but the ruined castle above the town provides its most romantic tale. There Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned until he was found by his faithful bard, Blondel, and ransom could be raised—or so the legend goes. Walk with the Cruise Manager through the Kremser Gate, which dates to the 15th century, and past 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century houses; it’s an up-close look at over 300 years of local architectural styles. The inhabitants of this region have grown apricots and grapes for many centuries, and they have happily turned both into delectable beverages through the years. See what they do with the local wine in winter, as you warm up with a mulled wine tasting after your walk, then sit back and enjoy an organ concert inside a rococo Augustine monastery church.

Dürnstein village stroll with spiced wine tasting and organ concert in a monastery
or

Stroll around charming Krems as it takes on the most festive of forms. A local expert will take you on a tour of the town, including a visit to the Christkindlmarkt featuring local crafts. During this time of year, baroque and medieval houses are stunning backdrops for alleys and streets lined with stalls for the market and storefronts adorned with holiday décor. Spend your free time this afternoon wandering along Museum Mile, perhaps stopping in one of the many fascinating museums for a tour, such as the Gozzoburg. This 13th century merchant mansion is a testimony to Krems as a trade center and features wonderfully preserved fresco paintings, including the largest preserved medieval fresco and graffito paintings north of the Alps. Or, opt for grabbing a bite to eat and something to drink at a cozy bar or café in the Krems Stein, a lively student town. Then, peruse the local shops for a souvenir to commemorate your time in Krems before heading back to the ship.

Krems town visit

You’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck today as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian Mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful; UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape. Castle ruins dominate hilltops; baroque church towers appear on the riverbanks, marking historic villages and splendid abbeys; and vineyards and apricot orchards cling to the rocky slopes. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes grown on the dry-stone terraces above the river, where grapes were first planted 2,000 years ago.
DAY 6 Linz (Salzburg)
Your ship docks at Linz, a modern yet historic city that extends across the shimmering waters of the Danube. From there, you’ll head to Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, which is nestled in a glorious alpine setting that sparkles like a winter wonderland this time of year. Fans of “The Sound of Music” may recognize locations from the Oscar-winning film in the city’s Old Town, the site of the grand cathedral and absolutely enchanting Christmas Market.

Other Excursions:

Salzburg’s musical heritage is apparent everywhere in its UNESCO-designated Old Town. The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg celebrates its most famous son in many forms—with statues, with chocolates, with concerts—but there are other musical associations to discover too. Walk with your guide through the Mirabell Garden, the beautiful formal gardens where Maria sang “Do-Re-Mi” with her young charges in the movie The Sound of Music, and through the heart of the Old Town, which lies on both sides of the river. Because Salzburg belonged to the archbishops, the splendid cathedral has been the focal point of the city for nearly 600 years. The archbishop’s magnificent residence faces the square now named for Mozart, and the house where Mozart was born is nearby. (Mozart worked for the archbishop of his day—whom he despised—before he moved to Vienna.)

After your walking tour, you have some leisure time to explore the enchanting Christmas Market located in the square in front of the cathedral. Here you’ll find everything from Austrian lace to cinnamon-marbled cakes. Shop, nibble, browse and sing along with the carolers as you celebrate the holidays in this magical part of the world. Your guide can also suggest some great restaurants in the area: Café Tomaselli has hosted musical notables, from Mozart to Max Reinhardt, since 1705.

Note: Today’s lunch will be on your own.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Full-day Salzburg walking tour with Christmas market
or

Enjoy a stroll through the city’s Old Town and marvel at the sights, including Old Market Square, the Plague Column and the historic Landhaus—a lightly-colored, Renaissance-style government building. The former monastery was transformed into a meeting place for Austrian politicians, but still holds on to its 16th century roots. Embark on a short ride to the Austrian countryside to an authentic family-owned-and-operated “Mostheuriger” farm. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed by the owner and the farm’s many critters. They’ll tell you the story of their family, farm and products, and you’ll indulge in a tasting of the region’s most popular drink, cider, and “Brettljause,” a spread of local delicacies. Then, you’ll enjoy a scenic ride through the countryside en route back to the ship.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Linz Town & Country: cider farm visit and Christmas markets

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 7 Passau
Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town with a guided stroll, then visit the local Christmas Market on the square in front of the cathedral. You’ll find a lot to enjoy here—from miniature houses and blown-glass ornaments to spun-sugar confections—in more than 70 stalls.

Featured Excursion:

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 8 Passau (Disembark)
Disembark the ship in Passau. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer, or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Munich Airport for your flight home.
Passau to Budapest | 8 Days
Note: The itineraries presented are subject to modification due to water levels, closures because of public holidays or other uncontrollable factors. Every effort will be made to operate programs as planned, but changes may still be necessary throughout the cruise. This day-to-day schedule is subject to change. Your final day-to-day schedule will be provided onboard on the first day of your cruise.

Program offerings are subject to change.
DAY 1 Passau (Embark)
Arrive at Munich Airport. If your cruise package includes a group arrival transfer, or if you have purchased a private arrival transfer, you will be greeted by a Uniworld representative and transferred to the ship.
DAY 2 Passau
Passau is a crossroads in more ways than one—three rivers meet here and three nations nearly do, making for a fascinating cultural mosaic. Get to know the town with a guided stroll, then visit the local Christmas Market on the square in front of the cathedral. You’ll find a lot to enjoy here—from miniature houses and blown-glass ornaments to spun-sugar confections—in more than 70 stalls.

Featured Excursion:

A special Captain’s Welcome Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 3 Linz (Salzburg)
Your ship docks at Linz, a modern yet historic city that extends across the shimmering waters of the Danube. From there, you’ll head to Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg, which is nestled in a glorious alpine setting that sparkles like a winter wonderland this time of year. Fans of “The Sound of Music” may recognize locations from the Oscar-winning film in the city’s Old Town, the site of the grand cathedral and absolutely enchanting Christmas Market.

Other Excursions:

Salzburg’s musical heritage is apparent everywhere in its UNESCO-designated Old Town. The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg celebrates its most famous son in many forms—with statues, with chocolates, with concerts—but there are other musical associations to discover too. Walk with your guide through the Mirabell Garden, the beautiful formal gardens where Maria sang “Do-Re-Mi” with her young charges in the movie The Sound of Music, and through the heart of the Old Town, which lies on both sides of the river. Because Salzburg belonged to the archbishops, the splendid cathedral has been the focal point of the city for nearly 600 years. The archbishop’s magnificent residence faces the square now named for Mozart, and the house where Mozart was born is nearby. (Mozart worked for the archbishop of his day—whom he despised—before he moved to Vienna.)

After your walking tour, you have some leisure time to explore the enchanting Christmas Market located in the square in front of the cathedral. Here you’ll find everything from Austrian lace to cinnamon-marbled cakes. Shop, nibble, browse and sing along with the carolers as you celebrate the holidays in this magical part of the world. Your guide can also suggest some great restaurants in the area: Café Tomaselli has hosted musical notables, from Mozart to Max Reinhardt, since 1705.

Note: Today’s lunch will be on your own.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Full-day Salzburg walking tour with Christmas market
or

Enjoy a stroll through the city’s Old Town and marvel at the sights, including Old Market Square, the Plague Column and the historic Landhaus—a lightly-colored, Renaissance-style government building. The former monastery was transformed into a meeting place for Austrian politicians, but still holds on to its 16th century roots. Embark on a short ride to the Austrian countryside to an authentic family-owned-and-operated “Mostheuriger” farm. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed by the owner and the farm’s many critters. They’ll tell you the story of their family, farm and products, and you’ll indulge in a tasting of the region’s most popular drink, cider, and “Brettljause,” a spread of local delicacies. Then, you’ll enjoy a scenic ride through the countryside en route back to the ship.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Linz Town & Country: cider farm visit and Christmas markets

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 4 Cruising the Wachau Valley, Krems
Enjoy a handful of delightful excursions that inspire the holiday spirit in this beautiful millennium-old town and surrounding valley—both of which have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Other Excursions:

Stroll around charming Krems as it takes on the most festive of forms. A local expert will take you on a tour of the town, including a visit to the Christkindlmarkt featuring local crafts. During this time of year, baroque and medieval houses are stunning backdrops for alleys and streets lined with stalls for the market and storefronts adorned with holiday décor. Spend your free time this afternoon wandering along Museum Mile, perhaps stopping in one of the many fascinating museums for a tour, such as the Gozzoburg. This 13th century merchant mansion is a testimony to Krems as a trade center and features wonderfully preserved fresco paintings, including the largest preserved medieval fresco and graffito paintings north of the Alps. Or, opt for grabbing a bite to eat and something to drink at a cozy bar or café in the Krems Stein, a lively student town. Then, peruse the local shops for a souvenir to commemorate your time in Krems before heading back to the ship.

Krems town visit
or

Considering its diminutive size, the village of Dürnstein offers much to explore. The famous blue baroque tower of the abbey church is doubtless its best-known landmark, but the ruined castle above the town provides its most romantic tale. There Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned until he was found by his faithful bard, Blondel, and ransom could be raised—or so the legend goes. Walk with the Cruise Manager through the Kremser Gate, which dates to the 15th century, and past 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century houses; it’s an up-close look at over 300 years of local architectural styles. The inhabitants of this region have grown apricots and grapes for many centuries, and they have happily turned both into delectable beverages through the years. See what they do with the local wine in winter, as you warm up with a mulled wine tasting after your walk, then sit back and enjoy an organ concert inside a rococo Augustine monastery church.

Dürnstein village stroll with spiced wine tasting and organ concert in a monastery

You’ll want to find a comfortable seat in the lounge or on the Sun Deck today as your ship cruises through the Wachau Valley. Over the eons, the Danube cut a gorge through the foothills of the Bohemian Mountains, resulting in a 19-mile (30-kilometer) stretch of riverine scenery so beautiful; UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Landscape. Castle ruins dominate hilltops; baroque church towers appear on the riverbanks, marking historic villages and splendid abbeys; and vineyards and apricot orchards cling to the rocky slopes. Some of Austria’s finest white wines are produced from grapes grown on the dry-stone terraces above the river, where grapes were first planted 2,000 years ago.
DAY 5 Vienna
Renowned for its art and architecture, its classical music, its decadent pastries and its lengthy list of famous former residents, the refined city of Vienna is a cultural treasure trove. Experience the city with your choice of tours, as well as something extra special—VIP access to an extraordinary collection of art.

Featured Excursion:

Other Excursions:

Today's panoramic tour includes a visit to Ring Street, the great horseshoe-shaped boulevard lined with many of the city’s major landmarks—Parliament, City Hall, the Vienna State Opera, and numerous glorious palaces and museums. Ring Street (Ringstrasse) is a mere 150 years old, practically an infant for a city of Vienna’s age. It replaced the walls that had protected the city for centuries. Next, set off on foot for a guided walking tour with a local expert, passing more top sites—such as Hofburg Palace, the Spanish Riding School and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. You’ll also have time to explore on your own and to visit the Christmas market at St. Stephen's Square.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Vienna city tour with Christmas market
or

Vienna is a delicious experience for visitors (and for locals too, of course) at any time of the year, but it’s especially inviting during the winter holidays. Join an exclusive excursion that combines delectable treats of the season with a look at some of the highlights in the Innere Stadt—the historic city core. This district offers a stunning array of Vienna’s gems in just a few blocks.

Stroll with your local guide down elegant shopping streets, including the Graben and Kohlmarkt (don’t miss the dazzling display of holiday confectionary art in the windows of Café Demel, which once supplied Empress Sissi with candied violets), step into a newly restored 15th-century courtyard house, see where Mozart once lived (though he moved often as his finances changed), peek into some of the Hofburg’s courtyards and churches, and discover as you go along the luscious flavors of Vienna’s favorite holiday sweets and savories, some of which will be available for you to sample. Vienna also cherishes its New Year’s traditions, so you’ll find market stalls offering the good-luck charms Viennese people exchange on New Year’s Eve: You may spot marzipan pigs, chocolate chimney sweeps, plush mushrooms, tiny metal ladybugs, even lucky pennies— they all symbolize prosperity and good fortune for the coming year. Pick up some good luck and a mug of mulled wine and roam on your own through this short- lived market before returning to the ship.

“Taste of Christmas” Vienna walking tour

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 6 Cruising the Danube River, Bratislava
Once hidden from the world behind the “Iron Curtain,” Slovakia retains an air of mystery and intrigue, and its small capital city has an unexpectedly colorful history. You’ll learn more about Bratislava’s past from a local expert and also visit the local Christmas Market—a relatively new (and thoroughly delightful) tradition for Slovakians. How do you say “Merry Christmas” in Slovak? “Veselé Vianoce!” The heart and soul of Slovakia, Bratislava is full of surprises. The city straddles the mighty Danube and has played a leading role in the politics and culture of the region for many centuries. Unlike cities with venerable Christmas Markets, Bratislava just established its first holiday market in 1993. But the Slovakians have quickly embraced the seasonal traditions of their Austrian and Hungarian neighbors—and you’ll get to embrace them as well.

Featured Excursion:

Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 7 Budapest
Located on opposite sides of the Danube, Buda and Pest each have their own distinctive character and allure. You’ll get a taste of this dynamic capital city with your choice of tours, and visit Budapest’s celebrated Christmas Market—one of the largest in Europe. Christmas has been celebrated in Budapest for a thousand years, since the time of St. Stephen, the king who founded the nation of Hungary and encouraged the spread of Christianity throughout his realm, but the city began as a Roman encampment almost a millennium before that. Over the centuries it was controlled by Germans, Austrians, Ottomans and Communists, all of whom have left traces.

Other Excursions:

A panoramic tour will carry you from Heroes’ Square, created in 1896 to honor the thousand-year anniversary of Hungary’s founding and its greatest historical figures, past some of the city’s most striking architectural sights—Dohány Street Synagogue, the Hungarian National Museum, the state opera house, St. Stephen’s Basilica and the truly stunning Parliament Building—to Castle Hill. The city of Buda began here, when King Béla built a strong keep in 1243 as a defense against Mongol invaders. The current castle is primarily 18th-century, and the Castle Hill district has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll go inside the magnificent 700-year-old Matthias Church, named for one of Hungary’s greatest kings, and then wend your way on foot to the picturesque Fisherman’s Bastion, whose seven fairytale-like towers represent the seven tribes that originally settled the region. At Vörösmarty Square you’ll find Budapest’s most celebrated Christmas Market, one of the largest in Eastern Europe. The enticing aromas of cinnamon, baking bread and meats grilling over open fires drift among the 100 or so gaily decorated stalls.

Only the finest Hungarian craftspeople are invited to participate in this market, so you can be assured of finding unique and beautifully made gifts.

Note: Visits to the interior of St. Matthias Church may not be possible on some weekends and Catholic holidays.

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

Budapest city tour with Christmas markets
or

Your local guide will lead you on a walk from the ship to the Central Market for some authentic local holiday shopping. Three floors of produce and Hungarian specialties—garlands of paprika and sausages, jars of golden honey, the special gold-foil-wrapped candies Hungarians hang on their Christmas trees (and eat one by one until only the empty wrappers deck the tree), goose liver pâté—fill stalls and shelves. If you want to pick up some souvenir foodstuffs, look for those labeled Hungarikum, which must meet strict standards to merit the label. After you leave the market, you’ll head to Szamos Gourmet Palace (getting there will entail a ride on the tram, another linchpin in Budapest’s excellent public transportation system) for a coffee break.

Marzipan is a favorite confection in this city, and Szamos has specialized in making it since the 1930s, so you might want to try some—but the shop’s truffle selection is almost irresistible too. Nearby, you’ll see the famous Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market; spend a little while taking in its delicious aromas and colorful stalls before strolling to quiet Karoly Gardens with your guide for a respite from the holiday bustle. Then ramble down Karoly Boulevard, named for Budapest’s first mayor, to the magnificent Central Market Hall. The oldest, biggest and most diverse of Budapest’s market halls, the Great Market Hall is worth a look just for its splendid tiled roof; the interior, however, is equally dazzling. Explore it on your own, return to the ship with your guide or return to the Vörösmarty Square Christmas Market. If you go back to the Christmas Market, be sure to check out the enchanting gingerbread ornaments decorated with Hungarian folk motifs; in the middle of the square you’ll find a playhouse where children bedeck their own tasty ornaments in workshops during the afternoon. (Feel free to join in and try your hand at creating your own gingerbread ornaments.)

Please note that on or after Christmas Eve, the Christmas Market will likely have ended its season and not be part of this tour.

“Do as the Locals Do” Budapest walking tour with Christmas market

A special Captain’s Farewell Reception and Dinner will be prepared for you this evening. Please note that most Christmas Markets in Europe end their season on the 23rd of December and will not be available after that date.
DAY 8 Budapest (Disembark)
Disembark the ship in Budapest. If your cruise package includes a group departure transfer, or if you have purchased a private departure transfer, you will be transferred to Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport for your flight home.
Cruise Departure Double Occupancy Pricing Ship
Sat, 02 Dec 2023
(Budapest to Passau)
$3,899.00 S.S. Maria Theresa
Select this date
Sat, 09 Dec 2023
(Budapest to Passau)
$3,899.00 S.S. Maria Theresa
Select this date
Sat, 16 Dec 2023
(Budapest to Passau)
$3,599.00 S.S. Maria Theresa
Select this date
  • All fares are per guest in US Dollars based on double occupancy unless otherwise noted.
  • Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice.
  • Availability of all stateroom categories cannot be guaranteed.
  • Single Supplement applies for single accommodation.
  • Itineraries, hotels, and vessels may change, and substitute visits to other sites may occur during your trip due to water level fluctuations and other uncontrollable factors.
  • The order of sightseeing and docking ports are subject to change according to port authority assignments.
  • Prices exclude additional port charges of $210 per person

Dining

  • All meals onboard, prepared using the finest and freshest ingredients
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell Receptions
  • Welcome and Farewell Gala Dinners
  • Unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and mineral water

Dining

Excursions

  • 6 days of excursions, including “Choice Is Yours” options, all fully hosted by English-speaking local experts
  • Guided “Taste of Christmas” program
  • State-of-the-art Quietvox portable audio-headset system on all excursions
  • Use of Nordic walking sticks

Excursions

Accommodations

  • 7-night cruise in a riverview stateroom on the stately S.S. Maria Theresa
  • Lavishly appointed riverview staterooms and suites have handcrafted Savoir® Beds of England, high thread count 100% Egyptian cotton sheets and European duvets, and a menu of pillow options
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access

Accommodations

Experiences

  • 4 countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
  • 4 UNESCO World Heritage sites
  • Services of an experienced Uniworld Cruise Manager
  • Group Transfers are included on arrival and departure days (please see terms and conditions for transfer guidelines)
  • Gratuities for onboard personnel (ship staff, crew, Cruise/Tour Manager) are included during the cruise/tour
  • Captivating onboard local entertainment

Experiences