In a few weeks’ time, I will be boarding Tauck’s Swiss Jewel for an exciting adventure along the Danube. Traveling from Budapest to Prague, my 12-night itinerary includes stops in some of the most spectacular cities in Hungary, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.
But it also presents me with a unique and difficult choice upon arrival in Linz, Austria: Do I want to spend my day taking an overland excursion to the Sound of Music capital of Salzburg, or explore the medieval splendor that is Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic?
Let me be brutally honest: I never liked the Sound of Music. I don’t know why; I quite enjoyed musicals like Chicago or Moulin Rouge, but I just never managed to catch the appeal of the movie for which the city is internationally known. But Salzburg was also the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, not to mention a city boasts a remarkable collection of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
Cesky Krumlov, on the other hand, is a European fairytale come to life. Its UNESCO World Heritage Site old town district is towered over by Cesky Krumlov Castle, and is the second-largest castle in the Czech Republic after Prague’s famous Castle District.
Making the decision even more difficult is the fact that Tauck doesn’t charge a dime for these optional excursions, which eliminates price as a deciding factor.
So this is where I turn to you, the reader, and ask: What would you do? I’ve already been to and explored Linz, so the slate of exploration is wide open. Have you been to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov? What did you enjoy most? Would you go back?
Let us know via the comment form below, and we’ll run answers and recommendations in a future article here on River Cruise Advisor.
E Grant says
I have visited both places and I think you would probably enjoy Cresky Krumlov a bit more than Salzburg. We loved our visit to the castle and the town itself is charming. You won’t be disappointed.
Aaron Saunders says
Good to know. Cesky Krumlov is winning out!
edwina grant says
I really am interested in the comparison between Tauck’s riverboat experience in comparison with Uniworld’s on pretty much the same trip. There is a considerable difference in price and an even larger difference in the Viking riverboats that do a similar excursion. I know the decor of the boats are very different. Is that the reason for the difference in price? I love the decor of the Tauck’s and Uniworld boats, but Viking and so many of the others are very simple, modern, I would say Scandinavian design. No real warmth (in my opinion). Would that be the only difference or are there other variables such as service, food, land tours etc? Trying to make an assessment on what line to travel with.
Thanks for any input. We have done one trip and it was with Uniworld. Wonderful experience but pricey.
Aaron Saunders says
The new Viking Longships are quite striking. They are, as you say, very Scandinavian, but not in a bad way. They’re gorgeous at night.
Tauck has a very good product that is based upon the idea that very few things are offered at an additional cost. We’ll have lots of coverage here in October!
Exactly my own dilema when I took my first river cruise last year. So, I did Cesky Krumlov on my own last year and will be doing Salzburg this year as an included tour with Scenic Tours. Loved Cesky Krumlov, as you say, a very medieval town, the old portion particularly inviting even if it rained the whole day we were there. Lots of little shops, restaurants etc. to wander about. I am also not a fan of the Sound of Music and hope that the excursion this year is not all about that movie and hopefully we won’t be singing those songs on the 2.5hr. bus ride to get there! I leave tonight for Amsterdam so when I return I will let you know about Salzburg.
Aaron Saunders says
We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts! I wish you a pleasant, song-free 2.5 hour bus ride!