10 Extraordinary Experiences on your Scenic Luxury River Cruise

Scenic invites you to experience our world of extraordinary travel, where exclusive encounters reveal rare cultural insights and the chance to discover hidden gems inaccessible to the ordinary traveler.
Our Journey Designers work tirelessly to curate our hand-picked collection of diverse and thrilling experiences, each promising to become the highlights of your unforgettable European river cruise. With Scenic, you can enjoy a virtuoso classical concert in France’s Palais des Papes, cycle through the Austrian Alps or witness the sheer beauty of Russia’s ballet heritage. Our luxury river cruises afford rare moments of wonder, introducing the heart of local life and ensuring your journey is nothing short of extraordinary. So, join us as we look ahead to the wonders that await.

1. Celebrate the Sound of Music Amid the Apline Splendor of Salzburg

Tucked away within the rugged lands of Austria’s Eastern Alps, Salzburg, with its Baroque Old Town, commanding Festungsberg, and iconic musical legacy, is like something from a fairytale. Since Austria’s most famous son, Mozart, lived here as a child, the city has scarcely changed, and still retains a palpable sense of enchantment, unique to this exquisite alpine region.

Accounting for Salzburg’s tangible nostalgia and connection to its musical heritage, it’s clear why it was chosen as the setting for 1965’s The Sound of Music. Lovers of this timeless classic will relish the chance to trace the steps of the Von Trapp family through Salzburg’s cobbled streets, while a special Scenic Enrich experience brings the magic of the motion picture to life in an exclusive production performed against the city’s inspiring backdrop.

Celebrate this extraordinary experience as part of our Jewels of Europe river cruise.

2. Cycle the Danube Bank in Austria's Wachau Valley

The great Danube channels through a diverse landscape from source to sea, but few regions on the river’s iconic passage can beat the Wachau Valley in the beauty stakes. Located in the lowlands of the Austrian Alps, this beautiful river valley is renowned for its viticulture, with much of Austria’s wine coming from the Wachau’s terraced slopes. It’s also home to an extraordinary collection of unmissable heritage sites, from Dürnstein Castle to Melk’s lavish Benedictine abbey, making it one of the true highlights of the Danube’s eastward waltz through Central Europe.

To help you soak up the fine vistas of the Wachau Valley, our Danube river cruise itineraries give you the opportunity to join a guided bike ride between Melk and Dürnstein, following the river’s course through the heart of the landscape. Pedalling leisurely through this natural spectacle, stopping every so often to drink in the views, is an experience we promise you’ll never forget.

Join this extraordinary experience on our Gems of the Danube river cruise.

3. Savor Afternoon Apertifs and Entertainment on the Terrace of Tournon Castle

Overlooking the Rhône, as it weaves through the iconic départements of southern France, stands Tournon Castle; a momentous chateau with fortified walls dating back to the 16th century. The castle is one of many found on the banks of the river, built to protect the passageway from Mediterranean invaders. It’s this illustrious heritage, as well as commanding views of the river and its fertile valley, which make Tournon a must-see on the waters of the Rhône – and the ideal place to enjoy a special Scenic event.

During your Rhone river cruise, you’ll be cordially invited to enjoy an afternoon aperitif at an exclusive event accompanied by a performance from local musicians. Drink in hand, you’ll watch the sunset over the river from the château’s commanding raised terrace – the perfect way to end an extraordinary day.

Savor this extraordinary experience on our South of France itinerary.

4. Enjoy the Festivities in the Magical Viennese Christmas Markets

Few cities boast such a rich and long Christmas market tradition as Austria’s beautiful capital, Vienna. Dating back to 1298, Vienna first played host to Christmas markets, or Krippenmarkt as they were known in 13th-century Austria, when Albrecht I granted the city’s residents freedom to hold a December market. Through the centuries this tradition has grown in size, grandeur and reputation – with more than 20 official advent markets now selling delightful gifts and delicious treats.

We invite you to join us in Vienna, with its grand architecture and elegant atmosphere, to peruse the wonders of the Christmas markets. There are recognizable Christmas treats such as gingerbread (lebkuchen) and roasted chestnuts (maroni) to enjoy, as well as traditional Austrian delicacies including kaiserschmarrn, delicious pulled-apart pancakes packed with raisins and drizzled with rum. 

And, of course, the markets are the perfect place to find unique souvenirs and festive gifts for loved ones back home.

This extraordinary experience can be enjoyed on our Danube Christmas Markets itinerary.

5. Enjoy an Exclusive Russian Ballet Performance at the Palace of Prince Vladimir

The poise, power and elegance of Russian ballet is impossible to capture in words alone. To truly immerse in the spectacle, you need to experience it first-hand, and where better to do so than the birthplace of the Russian ballet, St Petersburg.

As part of our Russian river cruise itineraries, and amid the splendor of the city’s wide boulevards and historic bridges, you’re invited to an exclusive performance at the Palace of Prince Vladimir, one of the last imperial palaces built in St Petersburg before the revolution. With its richly-ornate façade and Neo-Renaissance halls, this is an idyllic setting from which to become enraptured in the art and beauty of ballet. With a glass of fine sparkling wine in hand, take your seat for a momentous performance, and one that perfectly captures the dedication, passion and devotion that Russia has for this timeless art form.

Enjoy this extraordinary experience as part of our Jewels of Russia river cruise

6. Immerse in the Romance of the Rhine with a Concert at Rastatt Palace

As part of your Rhine or Moselle river cruise, you can step into the majestic halls of one of the most magnificent historic venues in the region, the Baroque Palace of Rastatt. Modeled on Versailles, Rastatt Palace is the oldest Baroque residence in the Upper Rhine Valley, a remarkable landmark that’s been reserved for an exclusive evening of live classical music.

It is here, in the largest room of the ornate palace, the Ancestral Hall, that you’ll enjoy an enlivening private concert amongst intricate story-telling frescoes painted of the Margrave and his conquests. It’ll be an evening of grandeur unlike any other, and a rare chance to collect memories that you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Immerse in this extraordinary experience on Romantic Rhine & Moselle river cruise.

7. Sample the Ancient Brews of Weltenburg Abbey

Cruising the Danube through Bavaria introduces the Germany of fairy tales, castles and folklore, of traditional oompah bands, lederhosen, and delicious beers traditionally brewed for centuries. From the medieval enclaves of Regensburg and Nuremberg to the elegance of Passau, your German river cruise promises countless highlights – including a visit to the legendary Weltenburg Abbey.

Located beyond the idyllic Danube Gorge – a narrow peninsula of the river – this secluded Benedictine Abbey was first-founded in the 7th century, making it the oldest monastery in Bavaria. The site is as serene as they come, but most visit for an entirely different reason, its beer. With a brewing heritage dating back to 1050, Weltenburg is the oldest monastic brewery in the world, and its beers are revered the world over for their depth and flavor. Not to be missed.

Sample this extraordinary experience on our Gems of the Danube with Prague itinerary.

8. Slip into the Historic Thermal Baths of Budapest

Budapest, the queen of the Danube, sits on a land blessed with natural hot springs and ever since Roman times, local people have taken full advantage of the reservoir of warmth which runs beneath their city’s streets. From Art Nouveau masterstrokes to intimate and colorful Turkish pleasure domes, the Hungarian capital is home to several historic spas and bathhouses which utilize the rejuvenating spring water, and has become a near-daily ritual for the city’s locals.

There’s no finer way to immerse in local life than by donning your swimwear and sinking into the revitalizing waters and Scenic Freechoice gives you the option to visit the historic Thermal Baths for a restful afternoon of tranquil bathing – the perfect way to unwind after a morning of sightseeing.

Delight in this Hungarian extraordinary experience on our Jewels of Europe river cruise.

9. Share a Meal with a Local Family in Osijek, Croatia 

It’s always been our goal to bring our guests unique cultural events not accessible to the ordinary traveler, and few of these experiences are as special as a home-hosted dinner with a local family in Croatia. During a visit to Osijek, a picturesque city renowned for its Baroque architecture, you’ll be invited for a traditional home-cooked meal – an intimate and memorable encounter that offers authentic insight into local life.

This unique experience, carefully curated and organized by our expert Journey Designers, puts you at the heart of local life in Croatia. You’ll enjoy delicious and hearty Croatian fare complemented by wonderful conversation, and hear tales of folklore and traditions which will begin to help you understand the rich culture and customs of the region.

Share this extraordinary experience on our Black Sea Explorer river cruise.

10. Enjoy a Virtuoso Music Performance in the Prestigious Palais Des Papes

Standing in the shadow of the Palais des Papes – an immense Gothic palace in Avignon – is a truly humbling experience. The fortified palace walls dominate Avignon’s medieval cityscape, just as they have since the building was used as the seat of Western Christianity in the 14th century.

While it is a spectacle from the outside, Scenic Rhone river cruise guests will have the privilege of stepping through the fortified threshold, to enjoy an unforgettable evening of classical music in one of the palace’s vast stone halls. With the company of virtuoso musicians there to regale you with a selection of beautiful compositions, and a glass of fine French wine to hand, this is the ultimate cultural highlight of the Rhône River, and an extraordinary experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.

Enjoy this extraordinary experience in Palais des Pápes on our Idyllic Rhône river cruise.
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