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Guest room at Hotel Sacher Wein, Vienna, Austria

River cruise extension options are numerous as I’ve covered before. Staying a few days before or after in a major city can be a nice way to begin or end your journey. After working in the luxury hotel industry for more than 15 years, I can’t help but have a few favorites. My tastes often run to classic styles and smaller hotels, but I can help you find the perfect stay that suits your personality and budget, whether it’s a modern feel, a hot spot for dining or spa, or just a central location that gets you close to all the sights.

You may want to travel independently or you may consider your cruise line’s extension options, which generally include sightseeing options, side trips, and transfers to or from your river cruise ship. With some cruise lines, you’ll have your cruise manager along with you for these extensions, making for a seamless transition and a high level of service.

Here are some of my favorites in the upper Danube region:


The fascinating city of Prague, the capital city of the Czech Republic, is bisected by the Vltava River. Nicknamed “the City of a Hundred Spires,” it's known for its Old Town Square, the heart of its historic core, with colorful baroque buildings, Gothic churches, and the medieval Astronomical Clock

I love the Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel in this city. The hotel is located in the heart of historical Lesser Town and is a set of 7 historical buildings inspired by the history of the Augustine monastery going back to the 13th century, even though the hotel itself was built in 2009.

The complex includes the working Augustinian monastery with its ancient library, burgher‘s houses, and original monastery, all directly connected to the baroque St. Thomas Church. Historical parts were sensitively renovated and the symbols of the order of Augustinian monks still remain significant and timeless components of the hotel ambiance.


Vienna developed from early Celtic and Roman settlements into a Medieval and Baroque city, the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It played an essential role as a leading European music center, from the great age of Viennese Classicism through the early part of the 20th century. The historic center of Vienna is rich in architectural ensembles, including Baroque castles and gardens, as well as the late-19th-century Ringstrasse lined with grand buildings, monuments, and parks. Learn more about the top sights of this beautiful, walkable city in this article.

The Sacher Hotel Wein (with an equally exquisite sister hotel in Salzburg) is my pick for this remarkable city.

The property is the only privately owned luxury hotel in the city and is a true Viennese institution, directly located opposite the Vienna State Opera and minutes away from the Imperial Palace and other attractions. The unique balance of maintained traditions and contemporary elements mingle in harmony with one another. Home of the Original Sacher-Torte, guests can experience a piece of culinary history at the famous Café Sacher. In 1876, the Hotel Sacher Wien was opened by Eduard Sacher, son of the creator of the Original Sacher-Torte, and soon achieved worldwide renown as a meeting place for the nobility and international high society.


Budapest, Hungary’s capital, is bisected by the River Danube. Its 19th-century Chain Bridge connects the hilly Buda district with flat Pest. Once the co-capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire (sharing that title with the city of Vienna), Budapest has a long and storied history. From its beginnings as a Celtic settlement to its Communist era, Budapest has remained one of the most important European cities, drawing in over 4 million tourists annually. With thermal baths, imperial architecture, and a magnificent skyline that illuminates at night, Budapest is a city with something for everyone.

The Parisi Udvar Hotel offers an ideal location from which to explore the city’s rich history. Once home to Budapest’s most fashionable shops and cafés, the one-of-a-kind building has continuously evolved; from the shopping destination inspired by the Parisian ‘Passages des Panoramas’ that gave the hotel its name, to Budapest’s Central Savings Bank in 1906. The hotel incorporates elements from Arabic, Moorish and Gothic design, representing Hungary’s fascinating past. The original façade, staircases, and decorative tiles have been carefully preserved and the guestrooms feature tailor-made, Hungarian-crafted furnishings. Entering from the street or the lobby, visitors to the hotel’s restaurants and cafes will see its original iconography, including the Central Savings Bank mascot, the honey bee.


Munich, Bavaria’s capital, is home to centuries-old buildings and numerous museums. The city is known for its annual Oktoberfest celebration and its beer halls, including the famed Hofbräuhaus, founded in 1589. In the Altstadt (Old Town), central Marienplatz square contains landmarks such as Neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus (town hall), with a popular glockenspiel show that chimes and reenacts stories from the 16th century. Read more about Munich here.

The award-winning Bayerischer Hof, originally conceived by King Ludwig I, is one of Munich’s most legendary hotels, with fine dining, a beautiful and expansive spa, and glorious suites with breathtaking views of the city and the Alps beyond. The Bayerischer Hof is situated in the historic city center, Munich’s fashionable shopping district, near many sights and attractions.

With many hotels, I can offer exclusive bonus inclusions such as included breakfast, hotel credits to spend on-site on food and beverage, complimentary WiFi, and more. Just message me for details.


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