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From the Black Sea to the North Sea with Istanbul
(Istanbul to Amsterdam)

27 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save $200 per couple off this trip. This offer is combinable with other promotions. Expires May 31. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Pay no single supplement on this river cruise. Offer excludes certain suites. Expires June 6. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Avalon Journeys Club members save 5% off the cruise/land price. Click here for eligible departures.

Offers subject to change or withdrawal, availability is limited. Some discounts are not combinable.

River Cruise Itinerary
Day 1 Istanbul
Welcome to Istanbul, where you have free time to relax and begin exploring this unique city.
 
Day 2 Istanbul
Known throughout the centuries as Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul, the city on the Bosporus is one of the most exciting places in the world. Guided sightseeing includes HAGIA SOPHIA, the BLUE MOSQUE; TOPKAPI PALACE, residence of the Ottoman Sultans; and the GRAND BAZAAR. (Breakfast)
 
Day 3 Istanbul
A free day to explore on your own or to join a full-day optional excursion to the incredible archaeological site of Ephesus. (Breakfast)
 
Day 4 Istanbul–Bucharest
Fly to Bucharest. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring this fascinating city. (Breakfast)
 
Day 5 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. (Breakfast, Dinner)
 
Day 6 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 affords the chance to relax and to learn more about the fascinating Delta at an ONBOARD LECTURE. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 7 Cernavoda. Excursion to Constanta
From Cernavoda this morning, an 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 NATIONAL HISTORY & ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM is included. This afternoon, relax on board as you cruise westward towards Rousse. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 8 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 9 Vidin. Excursion to Belogradchik
Today, enjoy a leisurely morning of cruising before arriving in Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, Baba Vidin, is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the Middle Ages and is the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country. It is now a fortress museum and has been restored to its former appearance. In nearby Belogradchik, view the eclectic group of ROCK FORMATIONS on the western slopes of the Balkan Mountains. Sculpted by natural elements for more than 200 million years and with a variety of sizes and shapes, the Belogradchik Rocks are spectacular. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 10 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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 11 Belgrade
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. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 12 Mohács, Hungary. Excursion to Pécs
Relax on board this morning before arriving in Mohács, the first stop in Hungary. After lunch, an included excursion takes you to Pécs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. These early Christians left behind many underground burial chambers with memorial chapels above ground. With a Local Guide, visit the UNDERGROUND TOMBS—now part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site—many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes. Later, enjoy an ORGAN CONCERT. Pécs is also a rich showcase of Turkish architecture and home to Turkish mosques, striking churches, and an enjoyable atmosphere around its restaurants and cafés. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 13 Budapest
Enjoy a free day today to explore on your own. Your Cruise Director will have suggestions for things to do. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 14 Budapest
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 your GUIDED TOUR of the city, see Heroes’ Square as well as the massive hilltop castle complex with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. 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. In your free time this afternoon you may want to walk across Chain Bridge, built in 1849 and a symbol of Budapest; visit St. Stephen’s Basilica with marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform; or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (Breakfast, Lunch Dinner)
 
Day 15 Bratislava, Slovakia
Today, arrive in Bratislava, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains and the dynamic capital of Slovakia. Join a 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. Later, enjoy free time to explore on your own. Tonight, depart for Vienna. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 16 Vienna, Austria
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 Boys’ 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 included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR. Stroll through 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! An optional concert is available tonight. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 17 Excursion to Gottweig Abbey–Dürnstein
This morning, a short drive takes you to the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, perched high on a hill overlooking the Danube. A visit with a Local Guide shows you this magnificent monastery whose fresco-decorated imperial staircase is considered a masterpiece of baroque architecture. Rejoin your ship in Dürnstein in time for lunch. Dürnstein, situated in the heart of the Wachau wine region, is known for the magnificent baroque, blue Stiftskirche built in the 1700s. The main street of this small town—with a population of less than 1,000 people—is lined with 16th-century residences and charming cobblestone streets. A Local Guide will take you on a WALKING TOUR and tell you the tale of England’s King Richard the Lionheart, who was imprisoned in the castle whose ruins still stand above the town. This evening, you’ll be able to sample some of the FAMOUS WINES of this region. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 18 Passau, Germany
Today, choose from full-day optional excursions: to Salzburg, taking in some of The Sound of Music sights, or to Ceský Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rejoin your ship in Passau in the early evening. Alternatively, you may choose to stay on the ship and relax as you cruise to Passau, uniquely located where the Inn, Ilz, and Danube Rivers converge. Passau is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets lined with beautiful patrician houses. St. Stephen’s Cathedral, a masterpiece of Italian baroque architecture, houses one of the world’s largest church organs with 17,774 pipes. Take in the highlights on the included GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 19 Regensburg
Dating back to the time of the Celts around 500 BC, Regensburg is one of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Architectural highlights of your GUIDED WALK include the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), built in the 13th century, and Porta Pretoria, gates to an ancient Roman fort built in 179 AD. Walk across the 12th-century Steinerne Brücke (Stone Bridge), the oldest of its kind in Germany. Grab a beer and enjoy an included SNACK at the Historische Wurstküche (Old Sausage Kitchen), one of Germany’s oldest restaurants. Bask in the vibrant atmosphere and take in the remarkable views along the river. Before dinner, we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s FAMOUS BEER. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 20 Nuremberg
This morning, relax on board, then the afternoon is dedicated to Nuremberg. Although 90% of Nuremberg’s Old Town suffered extensive damage during WWII, much of it has been restored to the glory it once knew as the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire. This afternoon, choose a GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR and marvel at this thousand-year-old city’s medieval fortifications, extraordinary gothic churches, and the Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle), or join a more specialized NUREMBERG RALLY GROUNDS tour. During free time, be sure to try some tasty Lebkuchen and make a wish at the beautiful fountain in the Hauptmarkt (main square). Legend says your wish will come true if you turn its gold ring three times. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 21 Bamberg
This morning, arrive in medieval Bamberg, former residence of one of Germany’s most powerful imperial dynasties and today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your GUIDED WALKING TOUR takes in its historic center, including the great 13th-century Romanesque cathedral and the fascinating Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall)—built on an island in the middle of the Regnitz River when the bishop refused to give the townspeople land for a town hall! This afternoon, cruise gently along the Main River as you head for Würzburg. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 22 Würzburg
Surrounded by verdant hillside vineyards, Würzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” makes an immediate impression with imposing Fortress Marienberg perched above town and the 15th-century Alte Mainbrücke (Old Main Bridge). On your included GUIDED SIGHTSEEING TOUR, visit the magnificent baroque BISHOP’S RESIDENZ, home to the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. This afternoon you are free to explore on your own, or perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Rothenburg. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 23 Main River Village
On the banks of the Main River you find cultural gems of small towns, many of them tucked away behind defensive walls and towered gates. With half-timbered houses, narrow streets, and medieval town centers, these picturesque Bavarian villages are a photographer’s delight. Join your Local Guide to experience one of these towns on a GUIDED WALK. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 24 Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge
Today, arrive in Rüdesheim, a quintessential Rhine Valley wine town. Visit SIEGFRIED’S MECHANICAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM, where you’ll see and hear a large collection of self-playing calliopes and music boxes from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. Enjoy a SPECIAL TREAT, then head downstream from Rüdesheim, through the dramatic RHINE GORGE, the most beautiful stretch of river. Here, ancient castles stand sentry on lofty cliffs rising 400 feet above the waters. Cruise past the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where echoes of enchanted siren song lured unwitting sailors to their doom. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 25 Cologne
Arrive in Cologne this morning. One of Germany’s largest cities and capital of the Rhineland, Cologne straddles both sides of the Rhine and is known for its soaring, twin-steepled gothic cathedral. Choose between an included GUIDED CITY WALK or JEWISH HERITAGE WALK. Later, during free time, perhaps look in on the Romano-Germanic Museum, home to a large collection of artifacts from the Roman settlement on which modern Cologne is built—a must for history buffs! The Old Town abounds with cafés, shops, and taverns. Be sure to try a Kölsch pale lager, locally brewed in Cologne for over a hundred years! (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 26 Amsterdam, Holland
Holland’s sophisticated, modern capital has a rich and fascinating history. This delightful 700-year-old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés and restaurants, and lively marketplace has a distinct ambiance. With over 60 museums, Amsterdam has the highest museum density in the world. Get a unique perspective of the city on an included CANAL CRUISE, floating along the elegant grachten lined with stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s “Golden Age.” There’s free time this afternoon to enjoy the city or perhaps join an optional excursion. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
 
Day 27 Amsterdam (Disembarkation)
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 22-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Istanbul: welcome to Istanbul
  • Istanbul: intra-tour flight from Istanbul; guided sightseeing, visit Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Grand Bazaar; Host service during your stay
  • Istanbul–Bucharest: fly to Bucharest
  • Bucharest–Fetesti (Embarkation): guided sightseeing in Bucharest; onboard welcome reception
  • St. Gheorghe: excursion to Danube Delta; Km 0 celebration; onboard lecture
  • Cernavoda: excursion to Constanta, guided sightseeing, visit the National History & Archaeological Museum
  • Rousse. Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi: guided sightseeing, visit Tsarevet’s Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, and the Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity in Arbanassi; or guided sightseeing of Rousse
  • Vidin, Belogradchik: guided sightseeing to Vidin’s fortress; excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations
  • Iron Gates: cruise through the Iron Gates gorge; visit Lepenski Vir archaeological exhibition
  • Belgrade: guided sightseeing, visit Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Mohács: Excursion to Pécs: guided sightseeing; organ concert 
  • Budapest: Day at leisure
  • Budapest: guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square
  • Bratislava: guided sightseeing, visit St. Martin’s Cathedral
  • Vienna: guided sightseeing
  • Excursion to Göttweig Abbey–Dürnstein: guided visit of the Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig; guided walk in Dürnstein, see the Stiftskirche; wine tasting
  • Passau: guided walk in Passau
  • Regensburg: guided walk; enjoy a snack at the Historische Wurstküche; beer tasting
  • Nuremberg: choice of guided sightseeing or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour
  • Bamberg: guided walk, see the Old Town
  • Würzburg: guided sightseeing, visit the Bishop’s Residenz
  • Main River Village: guided walk
  • Rüdesheim–Rhine Gorge: visit Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum; enjoy a special treat; cruise through the Rhine Gorge
  • Cologne: choice of guided walk or Jewish Heritage walk
  • Amsterdam: canal cruise
  • Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Learn about the Danube Delta at an onboard lecture.
All This Included
Your vacation begins with three overnights in exciting Istanbul, Turkey. Founded by the Greeks as Byzantium more than 2,500 years ago, you will visit the 6th century Underground Cistern, the Blue Mosque, and the Grand Bazaar. Next, fly to Bucharest, Romania’s vibrant capital and See the sights with a Certified Local Guide. Then travel to Fetesti to embark your ship for a deluxe Danube River cruise. Explore the Danube Delta with its unique birdlife, celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea. Sail through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge on the Lower Danube, visit the Lepenski Vir archaeological site, as well as the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik and enjoy an organ concert in Pecs. In Regensburg we’ll introduce you to some of Germany’s famous beers, and there’s wine tasting in Austria’s Wachau Valley. Visit Vienna, charming Dürnstein, Regensburg, Nuremberg, medieval Bamberg, picturesque Rüdesheim, and Cologne. Also enjoy inside visits of Bratislava’s gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral, the amazing Benedictine Abbey of Göttweig, and Würzburg’s Bishop’s Residenz. Guided sightseeing in each city is conducted by Certified Local Guides. Cruise through the dramatic Rhine Gorge past the legendary Lorelei rock, and glide past quaint towns, beautiful scenery, and historic buildings along the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers. Your vacation concludes with a scenic cruise through the delightful canals of Amsterdam.
  • 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
  • Included excursions with Certified Local Guide; sightseeing as outlined in the day by-day itinerary; inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE.
  • Deluxe cruise in an outside stateroom with hotel-style beds
  • Headsets for shore excursions
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Personalized room options & excursions
Accommodations on this Tour
Istanbul: To be determined
Bucharest: Athenee Palace Hilton
Crusing: Cabin onboard Avalon Passion
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extra nights per person in Istanbul:
in single room from $264 to $312, in twin room from $136 to $160

Extra nights per person in Amsterdam:
in single room from $179 to $445, in twin room from $112 to $245
Notes
  • Port charges: $528.
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • In the event of water level problems or any problems of a technical nature, it may be necessary to operate the itinerary by motorcoach or to alter the program.
  • Included visits and special features are subject to change. If a change is necessary, a substitute will be offered.
  • Please check visa requirements with your local consulate(s); responsibility for obtaining visas rests with the traveler.
  • Participation in this vacation requires purchase of the following flights from Avalon Waterways, not included in pricing: (1) roundtrip air from your U.S. gateway and intra-vacation air segments; or (2) intra-vacation air segments only, starting at $250. Required intra-vacation air segment: Istanbul/Bucharest. Air prices were effective on April 6, 2016 and their availability is limited. At the time you purchase your tour, air prices may be higher.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package at the price quoted.



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