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The Danube from the Black Sea to Budapest with Extended Stay in Istanbul

15 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save $500 per couple off this cruise. Expires April 4. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Pay no single supplement on this river cruise. Offer excludes certain suites. Expires April 4. 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.
 
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 a 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 NATURAL 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, Bulgaria. 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 (Disembarkation)
Early this morning, dock in 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. Bid goodbye to your crew before joining a GUIDED TOUR of the city 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. (Breakfast)
 
Day 14 Budapest
You have time today to explore Budapest further. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous views of the city from its viewing platform. Or maybe you would like to join one of the optional excursions on offer. (Breakfast)
 
Day 15 Budapest
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (Breakfast)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 8-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 (Disembarkation): guided sightseeing, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square
  • Budapest: day at leisure
  • Budapest: your vacation ends this morning
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, 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, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its unique birdlife, and celebrate the end of the Danube’s journey as it flows into the Black Sea. Visit Constanta on the Black Sea, Bulgaria’s Arbanassi and Veliko Târnovo, Serbia’s Belgrade, and the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Sail through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge and visit the Lepenski Vir archaeological site. Your adventure concludes with guided sightseeing and two overnights in Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital - a delightful way to end this memorable vacation!
  • 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: To be determined
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Passion or Avalon Illumination
Budapest: InterContinental Budapest
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 Budapest:
in single room from $175 to $326, in twin room from $101 to $172
Notes
  • Port charges: $192.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • Gratuities to Local Guides & Excursion Drivers are included.
  • 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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