6 DAYS FROM $799
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Depart home for Budapest, Hungary
Today you’ll take an overnight flight to Europe.
Enjoy a drink and Welcome Briefing aboard your deluxe river ship
Upon your arrival in Budapest, you’ll transfer to your Deluxe European river cruise ship, courtesy of Vantage (if you purchased your airfare through us). Or, if you like, begin your trip earlier with an optional extension. Attend a Welcome Briefing and enjoy a drink in the lounge before dinner on board.
Budapest’s best: panoramic city tour, Fisherman’s Bastion, exploration at your own pace
Begin the day with a panoramic city tour of regal Budapest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unforgettable Moment: You’ll take in the spectacular panoramic views of the city from Fisherman’s Bastion, a magnificent terrace overlooking the Danube. The rest of the day you’re free to explore Budapest at your own pace.
Biking Opportunity: Enjoy the most magnificent sites of Budapest, including Freedom Bridge, Chain Bridge and the Hungarian Parliament Building during an easy 5-mile route. Click here for details.
Get folksy with craft and cooking lessons in Kalocsa, or elect an optional tour to Puszta
Today, you’ll visit the town of Kalocsa, where you’ll enjoy a city tour that includes workshops on folk painting, folk embroidery, and the making of traditional Hungarian paprika bread, as well as an organ concert. Sample Hungarian specialties during lunch on board. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or join an optional excursion into the vast Hungarian puszta, or “great plain,” where Hungary’s grand equestrian tradition is preserved, to visit a working horse ranch and watch a daring equestrian show by Hungarian csikós (cowboys). Cultural Connection: Take part in an insightful Folklore Workshop.
Get a glimpse of Hungarian country life with a visit to a working horse ranch that maintains a herd of up to 120 horses. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed with wine, bread, and onion slices. Watch authentic Hungarian csikós (cowboys) display their prowess on horseback. Next, take a carriage ride into the puszta, Hungary’s scenic great plain. As a special treat, a shepherd’s wife will provide homemade scones (pogacsa) and brandy (palinka). Before leaving, you’ll be able to visit the animals, including the Hungarian grey cattle, the long-haired “mangalica” pig herd, and the cheeky, clamorous donkey foals.
Exploring historic Pécs and its Roman-era UNESCO highlights
From Mohacs, you’ll set out on an excursion to Pécs, where a city tour will feature the magnificent Basilica of St. Peter and the Roman Necropolis — together recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Those who enjoy additional walking can also visit the Museum Quarter. Savor lunch in Pécs at a local restaurant.
Home-hosted lunch in vibrant Osijek before an evening party onboard ship
Unforgettable Moment: This morning, disembark to tour Vukovar and the vibrant university city of Osijek, where you’ll meet a Croatian family while enjoying lunch in their home. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn about Croatia’s independence firsthand. If you’re in Osijek when school is in session, you’ll visit an elementary school classroom and meet the children, or you’ll attend a guitar concert in a church courtyard. Tonight, toast new friendships at the Captain’s Cocktail Party and Dinner featuring musical entertainment and dancing.
Discover Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress — then embark on a pub crawl
Cultural Connection: Following an informative lecture on modern Serbia, discover the country’s 2,500-year-old capital, Belgrade, on a half-day tour. Belgrade’s recent history has left the city somewhat disheveled — yet you’ll be impressed by bold redevelopment and the positive outlook of the residents. You’ll also visit Kalemegdan Fortress. This afternooon, you may want to take advantage of the optional tour to Tito’s Memorial and Royal Palace. If you're up for something a bit more adventurous, speak to your Concierge about where you can rent a canoe or kayak on the river. Ready to raise your glass? Then, prepare to set off on a festive pub crawl later this afternoon.
Watersport opportunity: Rent a boat or kayak during your free time.
Start your tour at the Royal Compound in Dedinje, a fashionable district of Belgrade. King Alexander I Karadjordjevic built it for his family in the 1920’s, before his assassination in 1934 changed the course of Yugoslavian history. Today, the Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic and his family live in the Royal Palace. You’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the grounds, the Royal Palace, and the Church of Saint Andrej the First Called, along with a welcome drink. Your next stop is the memorial to former President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito and the museum showcasing tributes he received during his rule.
Uncover the charms of a Serbian village and Balkan-style BBQ
Begin your day with a walking tour of charming Donji Milanovac, where you will visit the Church of St. Nikolas and an elementary school. Then relax on deck and enjoy the views as your river cruise passes through one of the most dramatic and beautiful stretches of the Danube river, the series of gorges known as the Iron Gates of the Danube. As your ship passes through two sets of locks, you’ll hear commentary from the bridge describing the process. You'll also enjoy a Balkan-style BBQ party on the sun deck, weather permitting. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a fascinating introduction to the Cyrillic alphabet, the script invented by a Byzantine monk in the 9th century that is now widely used throughout the Slavic world.
Cruise into Ruse with a dance performance and onboard painting demos
Cultural Connection: As you cruise, take in a morning presentation on the “Bulgaria, Romania, and the Expansion of the European Union.” You’ll arrive in the historic Bulgarian river port of Ruse. Cultural Connection: Enjoy a charming dance performance by Bulgarian children. Later, witness a fascinating icon painting demonstration on board.
Spend a day in captivating Veliko Tarnovo, including lunch with students and a heavenly Eastern Orthodox choir performance
Today is a real high point of your journey, as you step ashore for a full-day tour to Veliko Tarnovo, a 12th-century Bulgarian capital where colorful houses perch above the winding Yantra River. Cultural Connection: While in Veliko Tarnovo, you’ll have lunch with university students. You’ll continue to the 16th-century village of Arbanassi, where you’ll be treated to a heavenly Eastern Orthodox choir performance at the Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. This evening, enjoy the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail Receptions.
Panoramic tour of Bucharest and exploring its historic buildings
This morning we’ll disembark ship and transfer to Bucharest, Romania’s largest city and capital, where we’ll embark on a panoramic tour and have lunch. Afterwards, explore Bucharest’s grand monuments and leafy, old-world boulevards on a city tour that includes a choice of entrances. Unforgettable Moment: You can visit the infamous People’s Palace, the grandiose, sprawling, and never-completed administrative building initiated by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu. Alternatively, take a fascinating walking tour of Manuc’s Inn, Bucharest’s oldest hotel building, which was built as a way station for caravans and surrounds a large open courtyard. Tonight, we’ll savor a delicious dinner at a Bucharest institution.
* Please note: Travelers taking the Transylvania post-trip extension will transfer to Brasov and follow Day 12 of the itinerary. Travelers will complete Day 11 of the base itinerary on Day 15 of the extension.
Traveling through Transylvanian history
Today we’ll venture into Transylvania, the mountainous, legend-haunted region in central Romania. On the way, we’ll stop for lunch in Sinaia, a former royal summer retreat, and visit fairy-tale Peles Castle. As we enter Transylvania proper, you’ll see why it’s known as the last medieval landscape in Europe. You’ll return to Bucharest in the afternoon. Dinner is included at your hotel.
Return home, or begin your extension to Transylvania
Transfer to the airport today for your flight home.
Important Notice:The above day-by-day itinerary is preliminary and subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Cruise Director or regional expert. In addition, should there be an extreme change in water levels, Vantage will do everything possible to provide either the included excursion or an alternate excursion at Vantage’s discretion.
Please Note: Port Times & Itineraries are subject to change. Fluctuating water levels may affect itinerary.