Virtuoso Life - May/June 2017 - 96
Danish author Hans Christian Andersen,
immortalized in a public statue, called it "a
fairy-tale town" and "a beautiful city full of
gorgeous girls and good wine." As with Cesky
Krumlov, few in our group had given it much
prior thought. That's a primary appeal of our
visit - indeed, of the whole Danube cruise.
In this day of globalization, when the entire
world resides a few keystrokes away, finding
something unexpected is like unearthing
buried treasure, the essence of travel.
After an evening at a street café confirms
the town's reputation for great wine and
beautiful women, we board the AmaSonata
and cruise overnight to Budapest. It's our
last stop, though the Danube streams west
through six more countries before eventually emptying into the Black Sea. We
disembark and dive into the Hungarian
capital, which is stacked with ruins, bars,
a castle with ramparts that you can bike
on, and thermal baths for soaking out the
week's pedaling. It feels like a ride that you
hope will never end.
The Hungarian Parliament
building in Budapest.
ROLL WITH IT
A primer for active river cruising in Europe this summer.
GO AmaWaterways and
Backroads' eight-day bikeand-cruise Danube itinerary
takes in five countries from
Prague to Budapest over
mostly easygoing terrain
that's suitable for keen riders of every expertise level.
Expect top-rate equipment
and support on land, with
a sparkling 158-passenger
ship and restorative service
and amenities post-ride.
Departures: Multiple dates
July 5 through October 9;
During eight days between
Budapest and Linz, Avalon
Waterways' itinerary focuses more on multisport
V I RT U O S O L I F E
adventure and culture
than just pedaling miles.
In addition to cycling, the
Avalon Luminary's 138 passengers can take a jogging
tour of Vienna and paddle
canoes up the Wachau
Valley. Departures: Multiple
dates July 14 through October 8; from $3,519.
Bike and wine-taste
your way through the
and Beaujolais regions on
Butterfield & Robinson's
Rhône River cruise. The
eight-day journey from
Marseille to Mâcon includes
and gourmet meals on
Catherine. Departures: Multiple dates June 18 through
September 10; from $7,995.
Active travelers on Viking
River Cruises' eight-day
Rhine River journey can
set out on complimentary
walking tours in most ports
between Basel and Amsterdam or ask the concierge to
arrange biking excursions.
Longships sail the fourcountry route. Departures:
Multiple dates through
December 29; from $1,699.
Tauck's eight-day Rhine
River cruise from Amster-
dam to Basel is perfectly
suited to families, with
triple and quadruple
staterooms on the
130-passenger Grace and
Inspire, and discounts for
children under 12. Narrowgauge-train rides, French
language and culture
classes, and castle visits
ensure fun around every
bend. Departures: Multiple
dates June 22 through July
18; from $4,190.
STAY Budapest's 179-room
Four Seasons Hotel
Gresham Palace overlooks
the Danube and Szechenyi
Chain Bridge. Among the
art nouveau landmark's
design highlights: a 2million-tile floor mosaic,
stained-glass windows, and
a restored wrought-iron elevator. Doubles from $440,
including breakfast daily
and a $100 dining credit.
Housed in a fourteenthcentury monastery, the
99-room Mandarin Oriental, Prague's spare design
leans more modern, but
its whitewashed interior
and red-tile-roof aesthetic
remind you that you're
still in the Czech Republic.
Doubles from $310, including breakfast daily, chocolate pralines on arrival, and
a $100 dining or spa credit.