Europe has an embarrassment of enchanting waterways, from the Rhine to the Rhone, the Danube to the Douro. And while some may say it’s all about the journey, it’s easy to make a case for the destinations, especially when you consider some of the shore excursions available on a European river cruise. Whether it’s royal treatment or majestic rail, here are some of APT’s exclusive signature experiences.
An Imperial Rail Adventure in Austria
All aboard for a journey back to the days of the Habsburg Empire on rail adventure to Salzburg, departing Passau in Germany and finishing in Linz, Austria. The Majestic Imperator train, a virtual palace on wheels, is based on the imperial train of Austria-Hungary in the 19th century, the age of railroads. Its elegant wagons are decorated with wood panelling, fine brocades and brass fittings. Enjoy drinks and canapes on white linen with silver service as the German and Austrian countryside slides by.
Feats of Falconry at a Chateau in Prague
Dine in a Bohemian castle – the 18th-century Chateau Jemniste in Prague. Descendants of the Czech Republic’s oldest aristocratic family of Sternberg welcome you to their Baroque home, where you can explore the magical estate on a private guided tour. Discover how noble families lived in centuries gone by and after lunch, enjoy a spectacular falconry display, featuring falcons, hawks, eagles and owls.
Lavish Banquet in a German Castle
The 14th-century Namedy Castle in Andernach, near the Rhine River in Germany, is the home of Princess Heide von Hohenzollern, who may be there to greet you. Wander the manicured gardens and castle rooms – don’t miss the red Knight’s Hall and the Hall of Mirrors – then take your place at a special banquet in the ballroom, accompanied by a classical piano recital.
Dine with Royal Descendants in a French Chateau
Chateau de Cazeneuve in Aquitaine, once home to King Henri IV of France and his Queen Margot, dates to the 13th century. Meet the current owners of this medieval masterpiece for a private tour – discover secret passageways, walk the ramparts, delve into the cellars and peek into the kitchens. Then dine in the Grand Salon to the strains of a traditional Baroque band.
Cocktails and Concert in a Palace in Vienna
The Liechtenstein City Palace, in the middle of Vienna, is a superb aristocratic residence with a breathtaking grand staircase. Be greeted by a lavish cocktail reception, then attend a private concert featuring an orchestral performance of Mozart and Strauss, plus music by members of the Mozart Boys’ Choir, amid sumptuous surroundings.
*Featured image: The Liechtenstein City Palace in Vienna. Image: Getty