6 DAYS FROM $799
4 DAYS FROM $699
Vantage invites you to Transylvania, where the lure of vampire legends awaits in Romania’s fabled central region, home to mountainous scenery, medieval villages, and Bran Castle — Dracula’s legendary manse. You’ll visit Prejmer Fortified Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and check off another UNESCO Site off your list when joining our optional tour to enchanting Sighișoara. Step inside elegant Bucharest, bohemian Brasov, and a forested region of fairytales — now with an extra day added for better pacing in 2019!
Please note that for passengers on the pre- and post-trip extension to enjoy the best pacing and airline routing, two days of base tour features will be listed in the itinerary below as noted (Days 3 and 7). For pre-trip passengers, your price includes:
Depart home for Bucharest, Romania
Today you’ll take an overnight flight to Europe.
Settle into Romania’s capital and gather for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner
If you purchased your airfare from Vantage, a Vantage representative will meet you and arrange transfer to your hotel. Settle in, then gather at the hotel for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner. (Or, if you like, begin early with our optional Transylvania extension.)
Transylvanian delights: Mountainous Sinaia and Peles Castle
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 a local restaurant.
Explore elegant Bucharest and its infamous People’s Palace
This morning we’ll embark on a panoramic tour of Bucharest and have lunch at a local restaurant. 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 before transferring to Giurgiu, where we'll embark ship.
Enjoy a full day in captivating Veliko Tarnovo, including lunch with students, choir performance, and onboard entertainment
Today is a real high point of your river cruise, 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. Cultural Connections: Back aboard, you’ll be delighted by a Bulgarian children’s dance group, a perennial favorite with Vantage travelers. Later, witness a fascinating icon painting demonstration on board.
Cruising the Iron Gates of the Danube
Watch centuries of history glide by as your European river cruise floats along the beautiful and dramatic gorges known as the Iron Gates of the Danube. This afternoon, you're invited to a special Balkan BBQ lunch on the sun deck (weather permitting).
Uncover the charms of a Serbian village
Then, as your ship passes through two sets of locks on Day 7, you’ll hear commentary from the bridge explaining the process before arriving in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. You'll also enjoy a walking tour in charming Donji Milanovac, where you will visit the Church of St. Nikolas and an elementary school.
Discover Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress, or opt to visit Tito’s Memorial and Royal Palace
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 afternoon, 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? Set off on a festive pub crawl later this afternoon. Back on board this evening, you'll be treated to festive local entertainment.
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.
Home-hosted lunch in vibrant Osijek and local entertainment onboard
Cultural Connection and Unforgettable Moment: Following a lecture about Croatia’s struggle for independence, you’ll 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, enjoy local entertainment on board.
Exploring historic Pécs and its 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. Tonight, enjoy Hungarian folklore entertainment after dinner.
Get folksy with craft workshops 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: Back aboard ship, take part in an insightful Folklore Workshop. Later this evening, toast to your river cruise at the Captain’s Farewell Reception aboard ship.
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.
Budapest’s best: panoramic city tour, Fisherman’s Bastion, exploration at your own pace
Today you'll explore Budapest, Hungary's delightful capital. Draped over several hills on a gentle curve in the Danube river, the city resulted from the merger of the towns of Buda and Pest. It's an architectural gem of Baroque buildings, picturesque streets and squares, and lively shops, coffeehouses, and restaurants. Unforgettable Moment: Your included city tour takes you to the hilltop terraces known as Fisherman’s Bastion for stunning views across the river. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
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.
Return home, or begin your extension
Return home, or continue with a six-day optional extension to Bratislava & Prague.
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.