We believe the best journeys are the ones on which you enjoy not only the most comfortable accommodation and the finest food, but also the most amazing experiences. The kind of experiences that you will always look back on with a smile. As well as the iconic and expected, we take you behind the scenes, for an authentic insight into each destination, its people and culture.
And at the end of your day exploring, relax with newfound friends aboard your stunning ship, as you plan the next day’s incredible adventures.
Step into a magical fairytale
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair…” You may well find yourself letting your hair down to the words from the German fairytale as you look out from one of the turreted rooms of Marksburg Castle. This medieval gem is the only Rhine castle to have survived the centuries without destruction. Its dramatic towers and turrets never fail to evoke an awe-inspiring sense of history, while its spectacular view of the fabled River Rhine conjures a happy ever after.
Be carried away by the Cossacks
The Tatar word ‘Cossack’ loosely translates as ‘free warrior’ – these people were originally Tatar horsemen and peasants who fled Poland and Lithuania in the 16th and 17th centuries. They settled in Zaporozhye in Ukraine and became a strong political and military force. Their horsemanship is legendary, and on the island of Khortitsa you’ll be treated to a spectacular Cossack show, full of acrobatics, music and dancing.
Walk through an iconic wine label
Readers of a certain vintage will remember Mateus Rosé, the wine that soared to popularity in the 1970s, and at one time accounted for 40% of Portugal’s table wine exports. Today the label still depicts the baroque Mateus Palace in Vila Real, an extraordinary 18th-century masterpiece, which you can explore on an included excursion.
Lose yourself in the music of the Blue Danube
Everything about Vienna sings. Its elegant architecture that lines the famous Ringstrasse. The traditional coffeehouses, serving delectable pastries and cake and, of course the Blue Danube, inspiration for many a poet and painter. Where better than in this musical city to enjoy an evening of classical music from the Vienna Residence Orchestra? In a heavenly setting, be carried away by the lilting airs of Strauss waltzes and pieces from Mozart’s The Magic Flute; music that defines this magical city. This optional excursion is a must for music lovers.
Give the thumbs up at Arles Roman amphitheatre
During the height of the Roman Empire, every important town had an amphitheatre where gladiators fought to the death. Of the few arenas that have survived, the colosseum of Arles is one of the most impressive, and is largely intact. Though the structure has crumbled through the centuries, it still evokes the power of the mighty empire, and as you wander its terraces and galleries you cannot help be impressed, and inspired.
Sing the praises of Kirillo-Belozersky Monastry
Sailing from Moscow to St. Petersburg, the villages became more remote, and the landscape has a wild beauty all its own. Here, on the banks of Lake Siverskoye sits the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. As far from the glitz of the city’s more famous cathedrals, the simple but nonetheless beautiful buildings were founded in the 14th century by St. Cyrill, and grew to become one of the largest Christian monasteries in the world.
Glide through Iron Gates
The awe-inspiring Iron Gates gorge is hailed as one of Serbia’s seven wonders. Extending 40km along the Danube, the Gates once formed a formidable barrier to trade and travel, hence the name. Today the soaring cliffs form a natural border with Romania, and nature reigns supreme. This is the land of bears, lynx, wolves, eagles and owls. A land of astonishing beauty. Soak it all up from the deck of your stunning ship, as you sail through legends past.
Stroll through Monet’s garden
Few gardens are more beautiful than Monet’s masterpiece at Giverny. One look and you can see that it has been designed with an artist’s eye. Not for this great painter and leader of the Impressionist movement an ordered, formal affair. Monet married flowers according to their colours, mixing simple daisies and poppies with rare expensive varieties, and leaving them to grow freely. The result is a symphony of colour; lush and full of light and shade, and perspectives; a garden of life.
Pick up some white gold along the River Elbe
Every now and again, a piece of Meissen porcelain appears on Antiques Roadshow and the audience holds its breath in anticipation of many thousands of pounds it is worth. Meissen’s exquisite ‘white gold’ is as sought after today as it was when it was first made in the early 18th century. At the historic Meissen factory you can watch the highly skilled craftsmen and women at work, and see some of the thousands of ornate designs on display. The famous signature ‘crossed swords’ is one of the oldest trademarks in existence.
Dine in a Bordeaux château
The Bordeaux region boasts around 10,000 wine producing châteaux, and some of the world’s most expensive wines. Where the Pomeral and Saint-Émilion appellations meet, stands Château Siaurac, an exquisitely beautiful wine estate that has been in the Guichard family since 1832. You don’t need to be a wine buff to appreciate the velvety vintages produced by the estate and which you can enjoy on a private wine tasting with your hosts. Join them too for a lovely lunch of local delicacies, accompanied by a glass of wine from the château cellars. This optional, privileged-access visit is exclusive to Viking. Bon Appétit!