See Bucharest's 3,000-room Palace of Parliament. Make banitsa bread with a home cook in Vidin. Explore Belgrade's Ottoman and European treasures, including 6th-century Kalemegdan Fortress. View the Danube's towering Iron Gate. Visit a Croatian family's Osijek home. Witness Hungary's daredevil Puszta horsemen. Behold Budapest's grandeur. Once hidden behind the Iron Curtain, the eastern Danube still has secrets to reveal on this enriching cruisetour.
Arrive in Bucharest and transfer to your hotel in the heart of the city for a 1-night stay. Spend the rest of the day relaxing, or do some exploring on your own.
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and take a tour of the city. See the city's wide boulevards, the Romanian Athenaeum, the Arch of Triumph and the Palace of Parliament. Visit the outdoor Muzeul Satului, otherwise known as the Village Museum, where authentic dwellings from all regions of the country have been relocated and reassembled, including rural cottages, farmhouses and water mills. During lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a lively folkloric performance that recalls the simple pleasures of rural life. You then proceed to Giurgiu to board your ship and enjoy a welcome dinner. (B/L/D)
After breakfast, disembark at Russe for a full-day excursion to Bulgaria's former capital, Veliko Tarnovo. See Tsaravets Hill and the ruins of the royal castle. During free time, shop for local crafts along Samovodska Charshia. Continue your venture to Arbanasi for lunch in a local restaurant and a guided tour of the Nativity Church, with its intricate floor-to-ceiling murals and icons. Return to your ship for dinner. (B/L/D)
Arrive in the picturesque Bulgarian port of Vidin, and take an excursion to see Belogradchik Fortress, built right into the striking Belogradchik Rocks. See the fortress's amazing construction, begun in Roman times and greatly extended by Bulgarian tsars and the Ottomans, and enjoy breathtaking views. Enjoy lunch on board your ship; then you have free time to explore Vidin's city center, Orthodox churches and the ruins of the city's once-grand synagogue. We depart during dinner. (B/L/D)
This morning, enjoy scenic cruising as you travel through one of the most picturesque areas of the Lower Danube. The Iron Gate is one of Europe's most dramatic natural wonders—a spectacular narrow gorge with enormous white limestone cliffs. Arrive in Donji Milanovac where you can choose to disembark and join an optional tour, or continue to enjoy scenic sailing. Arrive in Golubac and join an included tour of the Golubac Fortress where you will admire sweeping views over the Danube. Enjoy dinner on board before departing to Belgrade. (B/L/D)
Wake up in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. Take a guided walk through the grounds of Kalemegdan Fortress, now a stately park; also see the Orthodox cathedral and stop at the Square of the Republic. Enjoy lunch on board your ship before you have free time to explore Belgrade's gracious architecture or visit one of its many museums. Enjoy dinner on board your ship. (B/L/D)
Cruise along the Danube, arriving at Vukovar around noon. Disembark for an afternoon excursion to the charming Croatian city of Osijek. Inhabited since Neolithic times, this area has had several heydays under the Romans, the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs; now, Vukovar is revered for its baroque buildings, parks and monuments. Return on board for dinner. (B/L/D)
Sail into Hungary this morning, arriving in Kalocsa after lunch. Take a guided city tour followed by a short organ concert at St. Joseph Church. Then, you are treated to a performance of traditional Puszta horsemanship. Return to the ship and enjoy a festive final dinner on board as we depart for Budapest. (B/L/D)
Disembark after breakfast and take a tour of Budapest. Begin in Pest, where you see the National Opera House and historic Heroes' Square. Cross the Chain Bridge to Buda, where you walk along Castle Hill to Fishermen's Bastion and Matthias Church, and visit the Grand Market. Check in to your hotel for a 2-night stay, then take the rest of the day to sightsee on your own. Explore a museum, do some shopping or relax in one of the Art Nouveau spas. (B)
Take a full day to explore Budapest on your own. Ride the city's innovative, efficient metro; walk through the City Park or along the Pest embankment for views of the Buda Castle District; explore the Buda Castle Labyrinth; visit the Jewish Quarter and tour the beautifully restored Dohány Street Synagogue. Your Viking Host is available to help you plan your time in Budapest. (B)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or extend your journey with 2 additional nights in bustling Budapest or 3 nights in Prague, the Czech Republic's gracious capital. (B)
Viking never disappoints! This was a really interesting journey with excellent included excursions. It was a nice mix of people on the ship from different parts of the world. The food of course was of very high quality and the staff were lovely. Would highly recommend this river cruise.
We really enjoyed the experience 6Nev & Ann, QLD, Australia, Jun 2015
We really enjoyed the experience. The lower end of the Danube is not the most scenic part but it was all of interest. Obviously some countries are still emerging from decades of neglect and poverty and the differences between countries was very obvious. Tourism is potentially a major industry but most are still struggling to provide the experiences ...read more and services that tourists expect. We had the premium drinks package and it could have been made much clearer to us how this worked as it took a couple of days to realise the benefits. The pre-paid gratuities voucher was a very good idea - however as only Australian and NZ travellers had such vouchers it made it a little difficult on shore excursions when other travellers were handing out tips to guides and drivers. However, we appreciated not having to negotiate this tipping practice. Viking is clearly a very well organised operation and all excursions and transfers went very smoothly. Our information from Global Journeys was always clear and helpful.
Great way to travel in comfort 6Fay & John Whimpey, VIC, Australia, May 2015
We really enjoyed the cruise. It is a great way to travel in comfort and not have to unpack & repack every day. All the staff were polite, friendly & helpful. The meals were superb, so good that now we have to reduce all the extra weight we have gained on the cruise. The shore excursions were well organised and the local guides very informative. It ...read more was also good to visit the home for afternoon in Croatia and also hear the personal experiences of the guides in the places we visited. The onboard entertainment was also very enjoyable and gave us an insight into the music, dance & culture of the places we visited. We hope to be able to go on other cruises in the future as we were very satisfied with this experience.
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