14 days from Bucharest to ViennaOverview
A deluxe Danube River cruise from the Danube Delta to Vienna is the highlight on this fascinating vacation through Eastern Europe. Explore the Danube Delta with its unique birdlife, celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea, and sail through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge. See the sights with a Certified Local Guide in Romania’s lively capital of Bucharest, Constanta on the Black Sea, Bulgaria’s Arbanassi and Veliko Târnovo, Serbia’s Belgrade, Croatia’s Vukovar, and the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Your adventure concludes with guided sightseeing and two overnights in Vienna, the magical “City of Music.” Savor Sachertorte in a local café, spend time in one of the many marvelous museums, window shop along the Kärntnerstrasse, or stroll along the historic streets—a delightful way to end this memorable vacation!Duration:
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Day 1 Arrive in Bucharest, Romania.
Welcome to Bucharest! The remainder of the day is free to start exploring this fascinating city.Day 2 Bucharest–Fetesti (Embarkation).
Much recent history has taken place in Romania’s capital city, and its wide, tree-lined boulevards and Arc de Triomphe—built in 1922 to honor the bravery of Romanian soldiers who fought in WWI—have gained it the name “Paris of the East.” During your INCLUDED TOUR this morning, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. Later a motorcoach ride takes you to Fetesti, where your river cruise vessel is docked. Before dinner, meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)Day 3 St. Gheorghe. Danube Delta Excursion
. This morning during breakfast, dock in St. Gheorghe, from where the excursion into the DELTA will start. A UNESCO World Heritage Site and the best preserved of Europe’s deltas, this area hosts over 300 species of birds as well as 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in the Black Forest to its delta at the Black Sea, the Danube measures 2,845 kilometers in length. The Km markings can be clearly seen on the river banks the length of the river. Depart St. Gheorghe during lunch and enjoy a small CELEBRATION to mark Km “0”—the end of the Danube’s journey. This afternoon a chance to relax and to learn more about the fascinating Delta at an ONBOARD LECTURE. (B,L,D)Day 4 Cernavoda. Excursion to Constanta.
From Cernavoda this morning, a full-day excursion takes you to Constanta, the most important commercial center in Romania, situated on the Black Sea. A CERTIFIED LOCAL GUIDE shows you the highlights of this city and a visit of the NATURAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM is included. Visit a WINERYin Murfatlar before rejoining your vessel in the late afternoon. Alternatively, you may prefer to relax on board in the morning and visit only Constanta in the afternoon. (B,L,D)Day 5 Rousse, Bulgaria. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi–Svistov.
Dock this morning in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. A comfortable motorcoach ride away is the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Târnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding the Yantra River, the city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. The oldest part is Tsarevets Hill, home of the ROYAL FORTRESS, and the Patriarch’s Church. With your Local Guide, discover this town that played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Then, journey to Arbanassi. Founded in the 15th century, the historic village of Arbanassi is best known for its examples of Bulgarian Revival architecture and its ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the oldest churches in Arbanassi, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. If you do not wish to participate in the full-day excursion, you may choose to remain on board and join an INCLUDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR of Rousse after breakfast. At lunchtime, sail for Svistov, where excursion participants will rejoin the ship. (B,L,D)Day 6 Cetate.
Today, enjoy a leisurely day of sailing. At first, the river separates Romania on the right bank from Bulgaria on the left and is relatively wide. Then, it carves a path through the lower Carpathian Mountains to the north and the Balkan Mountains to the south, creating a series of four steep gorges known as the Iron Gates. Until Romania and Yugoslavia jointly constructed a hydro-electric dam across the Danube (Djerdap I) between 1964 and 1972, this section of river presented great hazards to the shipping trade. A second dam and a power station (Djerdap II) were built in 1984. Before lunch, stop at Cetate and enjoy a TASTING of excellent local wines. (B,L,D)Day 7 Iron Gates. Excursion to Lepenski Vir, Serbia.
The most spectacular scenery must surely be the dramatic gorge of the IRON GATES, a narrow and formerly very dangerous passage dividing Europe’s Alps in the northwest from the Carpathians in the southeast and forming a natural border between Serbia and Romania. After lunch dock at Donji Milanovac from where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER housing archaeological artifacts found in this area and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. (B,L,D)Day 8 Belgrade, Serbia
. Early today, arrive in Belgrade. One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers. A Local Guide will be proud to show you its main sights, including St. Sava, the world’s largest orthodox church. Also visit the city’s principal landmark, KALEMEGDAN FORTRESS, which showcases the history of Belgrade. Built in stages between the 1st and 18th centuries, the fortress witnessed many battles and observed the courage of those trying to defend the city from conquerors. The surrounding park is the most beautiful and largest park in Belgrade. In your free time, be sure to check out the city’s lively pedestrian area and charming outdoor cafés. Perhaps visit one of the many art galleries or museums, relax in the park, or walk along the city streets and browse the local shops. Late tonight, depart for Vukovar in Croatia. (B,L,D)Day 9 Vukovar & Osijek, Croatia.
Today, learn more about the complex history of Croatia and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence. Accompanied by your Local Guide, explore Vukovar, Croatia’s largest river port, located at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers. Vukovar was scene to an 87-day siege in 1991, known as The Battle of Vukovar, and is today considered a symbol of Croatian resistance. The siege and other dramatic events in the recent past have shaped both the present and the future of this region. Then visit Osijek, an important economic and cultural center. (B,L,D)Day 10 Budapest, Hungary.
Today enjoy a leisurely morning of sailing before reaching the country’s capital. Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe’s liveliest cities. Whether you’re seeing the sights, shopping for handcrafted embroidery or Herend porcelain, or basking in the coffee house culture over a rich cream cake in the renowned Gerbeaud Café, Budapest’s unique energy is positively palatable. On an INCLUDED TOUR with your Local Guide, see Heroes Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion—with spectacular views of the city—and 11th-century Matthias Church, the coronation spot of several Hungarian monarchs. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges—many famous sights in and of themselves—which connect ancient Buda on the right bank with Pest on the left. You may even want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest. (B,L,D)Day 11 Budapest.
You have time this morning to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform. This afternoon, set sail for Bratislava. (B,L,D)Day 12 Bratislava, Slovakia (Disembarkation)–Vienna, Austria.
During breakfast this morning, dock in Bratislava, where you say goodbye to your crew. The capital of Slovakia, Bratislava is situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Join your Local Guide for a tour of the city, including a GUIDED WALK of its fascinating Old Town, where winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleyways twist and turn to reveal the Town Hall, one of the oldest stone buildings in the city. Also visit gothic ST. MARTIN’S CATHEDRAL, coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary from the 16th to 19th centuries. Then, enjoy some free time before a motorcoach transfer takes you to Vienna. An optional concert is available tonight. (B)Day 13 Vienna.
Once the center of the mighty Habsburg Empire, Austria’s magical capital on the blue Danube is a showcase of gilded architecture. This is home to the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex with its Vienna Boy’s Choir and dazzling Lipizzaner stallions; the neo-renaissance Vienna Opera House; and awe-inspiring St. Stephen’s Cathedral—plus, countless other sights you’ll see on your GUIDED TOUR. Shop in the delightful pedestrian Kärntnerstrasse, and be sure to take a break and enjoy a piece of decadent Sachertorte or Apfelstrudel in one of the classic Viennese coffee houses, historic institutions that helped shape Viennese culture! (B)Day 14 Vienna.
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
- Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
- Welcome dinner
- Daily Afternoon Tea
- Daily Night Fare
- Farewell dinner
- Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; soft drinks with lunch; and wine, beer, or soft drinks with dinner are included daily on board your vessel