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Balkan Discovery with Transylvania
(Budapest to Bucharest)

12 days with Avalon Waterways  Rating: Deluxe

Book this River Cruise Now and Save!


  • Save $500 per couple off Europe cruises. Click here for eligible departures.
  • Pay no single supplement on this river cruise. Offer excludes certain suites. 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 Arrive in Budapest, Hungary
Welcome to Budapest, Hungary’s lively capital spanning the banks of the Danube. The remainder of the day is free to start exploring Eastern Europe’s most cosmopolitan metropolis.
 
Day 2 Budapest
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 included 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, 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. This afternoon is free. Perhaps visit St. Stephen’s Basilica for marvelous city views from its viewing platform, or stroll along Váci utca, the main shopping street. (B)
 
Day 3 Budapest (Embarkation)
This morning you can explore this vibrant city at your own pace. Shop at the Great Market Hall and purchase paprika or embroidery at one of its 180 vendor stalls, or wander around the Royal Palace grounds. This afternoon, board your river cruise vessel and meet your crew at a welcome reception. (B,D)
 
Day 4 Mohács. Excursion to Pécs
This morning, enjoy some leisurely cruising before arriving in Mohács, the last 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. (B,L,D)
 
Day 5 Belgrade, Serbia
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. (B,L,D)
 
Day 6 Excursion to Lepenski Vir–Iron Gates
This morning, dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes you to the impressive LEPENSKI VIR EXHIBITION CENTER, which houses area archaeological artifacts and from where you have unique views of the Danube Gorge. Return to your ship before lunch, then cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery of the dramatic IRON GATES gorge, 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. (B,L,D)
 
Day 7 Cetate, Romania–Vidin, Bulgaria. Excursion to Belogradchik
This morning stop in Cetate, an old Danubian grain shipping port, now turned into a cultural center. The owner will explain the concept of this fascinating venture before you have a chance to see for yourself and to TASTE some of the locally made products. Then on to Vidin, an important Danube port in northwestern Bulgaria. Its medieval FORTRESS, known as “Baba Vidin,” is the town’s primary landmark. It served as Vidin’s main defensive installation during the course of 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! (B,L,D)
 
Day 8 Rousse–Excursion to Veliko Târnovo & Arbanassi
A comfortable ride from the river port of Rousse 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. One of the oldest towns in Bulgaria (dating back to 4300 BC), 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. Next, journey to Arbanassi, founded in the 15th century, and best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and ETHNOGRAPHICAL MUSEUM, a 400-year-old house preserved as a museum. Visit the CHURCH OF THE NATIVITY, one of the town’s oldest churches, and see its outstanding collection of frescoes. Return to your ship in Rousse, Bulgaria’s largest inland port. If you don’t wish to participate in the full-day excursion, stay on board and relax or join a GUIDED TOUR of Rousse. (B,L,D)
 
Day 9 Oltenita, Romania (Disembarkation)–Bucharest
After breakfast say goodbye to your crew. Bucharest, Romania’s lively capital, is only a short drive from Oltenita. It's 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.” Much recent history has taken place in the city. During the INCLUDED TOUR this afternoon, see the main sights including Royal Palace Square, the scene of riots in 1989, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. In your free time, discover this interesting city even further. Stroll down Calea Victoriei, “Victory Avenue,” Bucharest’s most historic and alluring street. Initially built in 1692, today it is lined with shops, museums, churches, restaurants, cafés, and fine houses. (B)
 
Day 10 Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov
Head out of the city to your first stop, a visit of BRAN CASTLE, of Dracula fame, built in 1377 and assumed to be the home of Romanian vampires. Then continue to Brasov for the night, with a free afternoon to explore on your own. (B,L,D)
 
Day 11 Brasov–Bucharest
This morning join a Local Expert for GUIDED SIGHTSEEING of Brasov. In the afternoon drive into the Carpathians to Sinaia to visit PELES CASTLE, considered to be one of the most beautiful in Europe, before returning to Bucharest. (B,L)
 
Day 12 Bucharest
Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. (B)
Tour Map
River Cruise Highlights
  • Cruise: deluxe 6-night cruise in an outside stateroom with Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM
  • Budapest: welcome to Hungary; guided sightseeing on Day 2, see Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square
  • Budapest (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception
  • Mohács. Excursion to Pécs: guided sightseeing in Pécs, visit the underground tombs; organ concert
  • Belgrade: guided sightseeing in Belgrade, visit Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Iron Gates: visit Lepenski Vir archaeological site; cruise through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge
  • Cetate–Vidin–Belogradchik: visit the cultural port in Cetate; special tasting; guided sightseeing to Vidin’s fortress; excursion to Belogradchik to see the rock formations
  • 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
  • Oltenita (Disembarkation)–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Bucharest
  • Bucharest. Excursion to Transylvania–Brasov: guided visit of Dracula’s Bran Castle
  • Brasov–Bucharest: guided sightseeing in Brasov and Peles Castle
  • Bucharest: your vacation ends this morning
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts, designed to enrich your cruise.
  • Visit the captivating Lepenski Vir Archaeological site.
All This Included
See the best of Eastern Europe on this exhilarating Balkan adventure. Your cruise vacation begins with two overnights in the lively Hungarian capital of Budapest. Board your ship and head south, enjoying guided sightseeing in each city, including inside visits of Kalemegdan Fortress in Belgrade, the eclectic rock formations of Belogradchik, Tsarevet’s Fortress in Veliko Târnovo, Arbanassi’s Ethnographical Museum and Church of the Nativity. Other highlights: an organ concert in Pécs, passage through the dramatic Iron Gates gorge, and visiting the Lepinski Vir archaeological site and Vidin’s medieval fortress. From Bucharest travel into Transylvania to visit Dracula’s Bran Castle—built in 1377, a guided visit of Brasov, as well as a guided visit of Peles Castle.
  • 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; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel
  • Ship Amenities - Avalon Passion:
    • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
    • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs and shade awnings
    • Fitness Center
    • Non-smoking interior and staterooms
    • Elevator
    • Elegant, contemporary design
    • Outside viewing deck
    • Headsets for guided shore excursions in Europe
    • Friendly, English-speaking crew and Cruise Director
    • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
    • Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Sky Deck whirlpool
    • Complimentary computer use in public areas
    • Hair salon
    • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
    • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
    • Bicycles available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Behind-the-scenes galley tour
    • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing pace options
    • Nordic walking sticks available onboard for complimentary check-out
    • Local FavoritesSM onboard experiences to bring the customs, cultures and tastes of your destinations to life, including local entertainers, artisans & experts
    • English-speaking TV channels with over 100 free movie options
    • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
    • Delectable petite portions of regional specialties, with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
    • Sky Deck game area
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Well-stocked library
    • Fresh fruit available throughout the day
    • Full-size closet mirror
  • Ship Dining - Avalon Passion:
    • Avalon FreshSM healthy cuisine options at every meal
    • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees, including decaf options
    • Captain's reception with sparkling wine & canapés
    • Welcome dinner
    • Five-course farewell dinner
    • Spacious, open-seating dining room
    • Daily early-riser breakfast
    • Daily late-riser breakfast
    • Full buffet breakfast with sparkling wine and made-to-order egg station
    • Lunch buffet with carving and pasta stations
    • Sky Bistro lunch option on the Sky Deck
    • Cocktails with a view on the Sky Deck
    • Healthy Corner options including low calorie, low fat, high fiber, low cholesterol, and high energy choices
    • Vegetarian options at every meal, as well as vegan and allergy-free selections
    • Afternoon Tea featuring tea, coffee, and sweet treats
    • Happy Hour every evening including featured drink specials
    • Seasonal cuisine featuring the freshest local ingredients
    • Delectable regional & Western cuisine with all onboard meals
    • Four-course dinners with choice of appetizers, soups, salads, entrées and desserts or cheese
    • Complimentary wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner
    • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
    • Upscale bar serving premium spirits
    • Night Fare served at 10:30 pm
    • Healthy meal options
    • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
    • Delectable petite portions of regional specialties, with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
    • Tastings - sample the destination's famous delicacies
    • Coffee or tea after dinner
Accommodations on this Tour
Budapest: InterContinental Budapest or similar
Cruising: Cabin onboard Avalon Passion
Bucharest: Athenee Palace Hilton or similar
Brasov: Aro Palace or similar

Notes
  • Prices and itineraries are subject to change. Final details will be available in April 2016.
  • Cabin upgrades are available.
  • Please call for single accommodation price. Triples not available.
  • Port charges of $144 per person are not included in the prices shown above.
  • 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.
  • This vacation can also be taken as a Cruise-Only option starting at the embarkation city and ending at the disembarkation city, and does not include overnight land stays.
  • 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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