Be treated to the flavors, sights, sounds, and cultures of this diverse swath of the continent. Celtic fortifications, medieval towns, and grand cities, along with the natural beauty of pastoral landscapes and the Danube’s famed Iron Gates, showcase the best of eastern Europe. Nature lovers will relish the opportunity to see Bulgaria’s natural wonder, Belogradchik, a fairytale stone world of fantastic shapes associated with interesting legends; or to bike through Belgrade’s sprawling Kalemegdan Park. Wine connoisseurs will have a chance to taste history from the centuries-old wine-growing hills dating back to the Romans in Ilok, a royal and vinous town. Be treated to the flavors, sights, sounds, and cultures of this diverse swath of the continent.
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Pécs
Visit the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary
Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad
The “City of Waltzes” offers a treasure trove of gems on a city tour that showcases its regal splendors. See the majestic Opera House and the former Imperial Palace of the Habsburgs before concluding in Vienna’s historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (B)
Transfer from Vienna via motorcoach to Budapest where you'll be taken on a city tour. Visit the UNESCO listed Castle Hill district, Fisherman’s Bastion, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Houses of Parliament and the Chain Bridge. During the evening, be treated to an Illuminations cruise past the capital’s glittering river front. (B,D)
Enjoy a scenic morning cruise to Pécs, founded more than 2,000 years ago by the Romans. Visit the UNESCO-designated Christian Necropolis; St. Peter’s Basilica, the city’s main Catholic cathedral along with its catacombs; and Széchenyi Square, the heart of Old Town Pécs. You will also see the Mosque of Pasha Qasim the Victorious, one of the symbols of the city. For wine connoisseurs, you’ll want to go to the Szekszárd wine region, one of the oldest red-wine-growing areas in Hungary, established more than 2000 years ago.
Vukovar is a Croatian symbol of resistance, which you’ll better understand on your city tour showcasing the Ovčara Memorial and Eltz Palace. Alternatively, choose a wine tasting in Ilok, a center of wine production since Roman times, where you'll sample its famous Grasevina, Traminac and Frankovka wines. Back on board, cruise to Novi Sad, sometimes called the “Serbian Athens.” Discover Novi Sad on a walking tour to Dunavski Park and through Stari Grad, the Old Town center. If you prefer a more active exploration, join a guided biking or hiking tour. During the evening, visit Petrovaradin Fortress, a mighty stronghold no enemy has ever breached.
Explore Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, on a city tour, which includes the Kalemegdan Fortress and the Serbian Orthodox Temple of St. Sava. Later, choose from three intriguing excursions. Visit the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Serbian Royal Family; and then tour the House of Flowers, the mausoleum of Marshal Tito, who became the first President of Yugoslavia. Or enjoy a taste of the region by sampling Serbian plum brandy, Šlivovitz, and delicious local delights at the Quburich Distillery. For those wishing a more active adventure, join a guided bike tour.
The Iron Gates is one of Europe’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders. The Danube narrows as it winds through a series of magnificent gorges between the Carpathian and Balkan mountains. The banks of the river dazzle with sheer-faced rocks that stretch high overhead along this natural border between Serbia and Romania.
Explore Vidin, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities, and surrounding areas with a choice of excursions. Discover Baba Vida Fortress, the largest preserved medieval castle in Bulgaria overlooking the Danube. Continue on to Belogradchik, one of Bulgaria’s natural wonders, where you can hike around its most spectacular rock formations. Alternatively, visit a local home for a demonstration of traditional Bulgarian yogurt and Banitsa, a pastry you will also get to make. You also have the choice to bike through Vidin and to the castle.
Visit Bulgaria's ancient capital, Veliko Tarnovo, with its medieval fortress and multiple orthodox temples. You can opt instead to go to Rousse, known for its 19th- and 20th-century Neo- Baroque and Neo-Rococo architecture, and then afterwards visit the UNESCO-designated Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo with frescos revealing exceptional artistry of 14th-century paintings and Bulgarian medieval art.
Day 10: Giuriu | Disembark | Brasov
Disembark the ship in Giurgiu and board a motorcoach to journey through the Romanian countryside to Bran, where you’ll visit Transylvania’s legendary Bran Castle, which is forever linked with the legend of Dracula. Afterward, you'll travel to the lovely village of Brașov. Enjoy a tour of the town and then check into your hotel.
Day 11: Brasov to Sighisoara
Dracula lovers will be in for another treat with an excursion to Sighişoara, birthplace to Transylvania’s most notorious ruler, Vlad Ţepeş, also known as Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula. It’s hard to believe that this perfectly preserved UNESCO designated town filled with resplendent pastel-colored buildings, stone lanes, medieval towers and pedestrian-friendly Old Town was Vlad's place of birth. His home is still here, marked with a placard; however, today it houses a kitschy restaurant called “Casa Dracula.”
Day 12: Brasov to Bucharest
En route to Bucharest, stop in Sinaia to visit the enchanting Peleș Castle, considered by many to be one of the most stunning in Europe. Tour the castle, which was once the residence of the royal family. Later in the day, check into your hotel.
Day 13: Bucharest
Bucharest, Romania’s capital, has earned its nickname, the “Little Paris of the East,” with its wide boulevards and Arc de Triomphe. Enjoy a visit to the city’s most impressive sites—including the historic city center and the Palace of the Parliament, second only to the Pentagon as the largest administrative building in the world.
Day 14: Depart Bucharest
Bid farewell to Bucharest as you prepare for your independent homeward flight.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!