From Holland’s windmills and tulip fields to Germany’s fairy-tale castles and the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, this 15-day Viking River Cruise presents the highlights of the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers.
All along the way, you will visit charming historic villages, interesting medieval towns and teeming capital cities. Opportunities will abound to purchase wooden shoes, wheels of cheese, boxes of chocolate and of course a wide selection of fridge magnets, postcards and t-shirts.
If you are looking beyond the obvious for your trip mementos or for unique gifts for friends, there are some wonderful choices available throughout your journey. We’ve assembled a few ideas for you here. Speak to your onboard concierge or Viking River Cruise guide for even more ideas!
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
HOT TIP: Plan to arrive at least a day earlier than your river cruise departure to take full advantage of shopping in Amsterdam.
Delftware, Dutch blue and white porcelain, has become synonymous with the Netherlands as a whole. For a selection of high quality, visit Jorrit Heinen, there’s a branch on Prinsengracht and also a location in the historic former city mint, the Munttoren, which stocks a wide assortment of pieces made by the centuries old and still operating Royal Delft factory.
For something more contemporary check out the Blue D1653 collection of Royal Delft (pictured above), which combines the time-honoured trade of the Master Painters with the powerful design of modern Dutch Designers.
HOT TIP: Delftware miniature houses are fantastic collectibles and will look adorable lined up in your kitchen window. Choose from hundreds of different designs.
The family-run A. v. Wees De Ooievaar, the last remaining traditional distillery in Amsterdam, produces a range of liqueurs and old-fashioned bitters. Made from a bewildering array of herbs and spices, the drinks are beautifully packaged and have evocative names like “Bride’s Tears” “Rose without Thorns” and “Little Hans in the Cellar.”
HOT TIP: Try before you buy at the distillery’s tasting room De Admiraal on Herengracht 319.
If you have the time, head to The Rijksmuseum for a day full of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Bruegel and other Dutch Masters. If you don’t have a full day for the museum, you can still visit the Rijksmuseum gift shop which is full of over 400 postcards, replicas and most importantly, Art Nouveau jewelry pieces modeled after pieces in the museum collection.
HOT TIP: The Van Gogh Museum Gift Shop has wonderful items too!
Cologne (Eau de Cologne, “KÃ¶lnisch Wasser”) has become a generic term all over the world and this is where it all began in 1709. The Farina fragrance museum situated opposite the Town Hall brings to life three centuries of fragrance and cultural history.
For the original Eau de Cologne, head to the House of 4711 flagship store, where their original fragrance (since 1792) bubbles from a gold fountain. Take a class on mixing your own fragrance, try all of the newer varieties, and pick up No. 4711 cologne, aftershave, lotions and of course, the tres chic No.4711 refreshing tissues for your journey ahead.
Germany may be world renowned for its beer, but its wine is its hidden treasure. Franconian wine is amongst the best in the country and WÃ¼rzburg has been growing grapes since its first contact with the Romans. Be sure to pick up a memory that will last by picking up a bottle of wine. Franconian wine is often sold in special bottles named “Bocksbeutel“. These small and fat bottles were derived from the original flat leather bottles around since antiquity. They were used by people working in the fields to carry anything and everything from wine to water, even gunpowder.
HOT TIP: The WÃ¼rzburger Residence has a winery and store in the basement called Staatlicher Hofkeller, with wines at very reasonable prices. Be sure to take a tour of the cellar and sample a few varieties!
In Regensburg, you will find Europe’s one and only master craftsman for both lady’s and gentleman’s hats/headwear, Andreas Nuslan. This old “Hutmacherei” (millinery) has been a well-known address for hat-loving customers in Europe for more than a 100 years.
The traditional and complicated creation of hats here uses an age-old technique that guarantees quality.
The “Hutmacher am Dom“, located directly in the heart of Regensburg offers more than 15.000 items of headwear, of any kind and for every season.
Vienna hosts some of the very best art museums in the world. Make tracks to the Leopold Museum Gift Shop for a selection of art postcards, catalogs, books, fine art prints, as well as textiles, jewelry and design products based upon the works of Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, Richard Gerstl and others.
HOT TIP: Silk scarves like the one above based upon a painting by Gustav Klimt, make perfect, and lightweight, memories of your travels.
Vienna has also been known as the goldsmithing and jewelry making capital of Europe for centuries. A company that is carrying on the tradition in a contemporary way is FreyWille, where they continue the tradition of producing limited quantities of the finest hand-crafted gold and enamel jewelry, again inspired by Vienna’s finest painters.
Your Grand European Voyage river cruise ends in magical Budapest, famous for porcelain amongst many other things. To find a wide array for both contemporary and fine porcelain, visit one of the Zsolnay stores. Zsolnay ceramics are noted for the use of the eosin process that was introduced in 1893 and produces a unique iridescence that was a favourite of art nouveau artists.