See the Old World cities, medieval villages and scenic countryside of central Europe on a Danube River cruise. These sailings typically meander through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, and some travel all the way to the Black Sea, where the river ends.
Explore the imperial architecture of Vienna, the towering Benedictine abbey of Melk and the cobblestone streets and 16th-century buildings of Durnstein. View Europe's largest church organ (with about 17,000 pipes) in Passau, and take in the views from Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest, a city divided by the Danube. Holiday sailings are extremely popular, as passengers can browse the outdoor Christmas markets set up in festive town squares.
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Best Small Pleasure: Eating and drinking at one of the city's famous piazzas, like Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo or Campo dei Fiori; particularly delicious are the pastas (particularly pasta carbonara), pizzas and gelatos, though many cafes only serve pizza for dinner. Wash 'em down with a glass of the house wine -- white or red Italian wines always taste delicious.
Biggest Surprise: Stumbling across some of Rome's most famous monuments by accident while meandering along winding, narrow, streets when, suddenly, there's the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps, or the neighborhood of Trastevere, with its funky boutiques and numerous sidewalk cafes.
Touristy But Fabulous: A pilgrimage to St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
Best Small Pleasure: Tucking into a cheap -- but delicious -- plate of pasta with a local wine at one of the city's numerous trattorias (Tip: Generally, the further away from San Marco Square, the less touristy they are).
Biggest Surprise: Riding the vaporreto -- a water version of a city bus -- around the city ... exploring the nearby island of Guidecca (where the "real" locals live).
Touristy But Fabulous: San Marco Square is ... awesome! During the height of summer, try to visit early, before it gets too crowded (and wear a hat in case one of the ubiquitous pigeons, well, you know) ... riding in a gondola, at sunset, with a tenor belting out Italian arias.