Balkan Discovery Cruise – Bucharest to Budapest
Your cruise holiday from Bucharest to Budapest begins with an overnight in the lively Romanian capital Bucharest, before boarding the ship and heading north on the Danube, enjoying guided sightseeing in each city.
Day 1 Bucharest – Arrival
Fly to Bucharest Airport where you will be met by an Avalon representative and transferred to your arrival hotel for the night.
Day 2 Bucharest – Oltenita
Tree-lined boulevards and The Arc de Triomphe (built in 1922 to honour the bravery of Romanian soldiers in WW1) justly reputed Bucharest as "Paris of the East." Much recent history has taken place in the city and our included guided tour explores Palace Square and other main sites of the 1989 coup, which led to the collapse of the communist dictatorship. At your leisure, discover this interesting city even further, stroll down "Victory Avenue," the city's most historic and alluring street lined with museums, churches, restaurants and cafes. Later we take a short drive to Oltenita where we board our cruise ship and meet the crew at a welcome reception.
Day 3 Rousse - Veliko Tarnovo – Arbanassi
This morning we explore Rousse on a tour of the city and then relax on board in the afternoon as we cruise to Svistov. Alternatively, join the included excursion to the ancient Bulgarian capital of Veliko Tarnovo. Situated on three hills surrounding Yantra River, this city was a natural fortress with ancient stone houses clinging to the steep slopes. We visit Tsarevets Hill, home of the Royal Fortress where our local guide reveals how this town played an important role in Bulgaria’s history. Next, journey to Arbanassi, best known for its Bulgarian Revival architecture and Ethnology Museum, carefully preserved as a 400-year-old house. Visit the Church of Nativity, one of the oldest churches here, to admire a truly unique and outstanding collection of fresco paintings.
Day 4 Vidin
The medieval fortress known as “Baba Vidin” is the primary landmark of the Danube port of Vidin in northwestern Bulgaria, serving as the main defensive installation during the course of the Middle Ages. Being the only entirely preserved medieval fortress in the country, there is a museum and walls that have been restored to its former appearance. In the afternoon, we drive to nearby Belogradchik to explore an eclectic group of rock formations, sculpted by nature for more than 200 million years into a variety of sizes and shapes.
Day 5 Iron Gates Gorge
Cruise what must surely be the most spectacular scenery in the dramatic Iron Gate 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. In the afternoon we dock at Donji Milanovac, where a short drive takes us to the impressive Lepenski Vir exhibition centre, housing pre-historic archaeological artefacts and offering stunning views of the Danube Gorge.
Day 6 Belgrade
One of the oldest cities in Europe, the capital of Serbia is situated at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. Our local guide will be proud to show you Belgrade's main sights, including St. Sava, the largest Orthodox church in the world! There is also a visit to the city’s principal landmark, Kelemegdan Fortress, showcasing the entire 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.
Day 7 Mohacs
We cruise to Mohacs in the morning and join the included guided excursion to Pecs. Established by the Romans in the 2nd century, this was a flourishing and important town for Christianity by the 4th century. We visit the early Christian Underground Tombs, many of which have splendidly decorated murals with Christian themes that are featured in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Later, enjoy an organ concert before returning to the ship for lunch and heading to Budapest.
Day 8 Budapest
After breakfast we say goodbye to the crew. Included guided tour of the city features Heroes' Square as well as the massive hilltop castle with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Be sure to take note of the city’s eight bridges (famous sights themselves), connecting ancient Buda on the right bank with modern Pest on the left. The afternoon is left to explore the vibrant city at leisure.
Day 9 Budapest
Today is spent enjoying Hungary's exciting capital independently. Visit one of the many museums, take a walk to see some of the remaining statues from the communist era, shop at the Great Market Hall to purchase paprika and embroidery, or stroll along Vaci Utca main shopping street.
Day 10 Budapest - Departure
Breakfast and transfer to Budapest Airport for your homeward journey.
Departure dates - Jun 10 • Aug 19 • Oct 28
Prices are per person, per cruise, based on â€œCategory Eâ€ Lower Deck Forward Cabin
Supplements (per person per night)
Prices per person per week:
Category D £111.60 • Category B from £584.10 • Category A £625.50 • Category P £681.30 • Category E sole use from £873.80 • Category D sole use from £1032.90 • Category B sole use from £1710.40 • Category A sole use from £1763.00 • Category P sole use from £1843.80
What's included in the price
Return scheduled flights from London Heathrow or Gatwick with British Airways, including 1 piece of hold luggage up to 20kg (connecting regional flights with LH from XXXXX available at a supplement)
6 nights deluxe accommodation on board your ship, 1 night at the Athenee Palace Hilton (or similar), Bucharest & 2 nights at the Inter-Continental Hotel (or similar), Budapest
All transfers, local port charges & airport taxes
Captain's Welcome Reception
Welcome Dinner & Farewell Gala Dinner
On board lectures, activities & nightly piano music
Services of an experienced Cruise Director
Gratuities for Cruise Director & crew
Excursions and sightseeing trips with local guides or headsets provided are included as follows:
Bucharest - guided sightseeing • Veliko Tarnovo & Arbanassi - guided sightseeing, Patriarch's Church, Ethnographic Museum, Church of the Nativity • Rousse - guided sightseeing (if not taking previous) • Vidin fortress • Belogradchik excursion to rock formations • Iron Gates Gorge cruise • Lepenski Vir archaeological site • Belgrade - guided sightseeing • Pecs excursion, underground tombs, organ concert • Budapest – guided sightseeing
Your Cruise Ship/s
Avalon Illumination (launched in June 2014) and sister vessel Avalon Passion (planned for launch in April 2016), have been innovatively designed as 'Suite Ships', offering two full decks of Suite accommodation, each with wall-to-wall panoramic windows that open to create unique “Open-Air Balconies”. Every suite provides the very best in size, views and design, each including a tranquil, private sitting area and presenting a spacious 200sq.ft, which is 30% larger than industry standard. This ship offers impeccable personal service and attention to detail as well as fine dining and chic, contemporary decor. Onboard amenities include free Wi-Fi access, state-of-the-art equipment and a large Sky Deck with shade system and delightful Sky Bistro for al-fresco lunches.
Accommodation & Facilities
Deluxe accommodation for 10 nights in a spacious stateroom with hotel-style beds, en-suite facilities and river views • Floor to ceiling sliding glass doors and a French Balcony in most staterooms • One night at the Athenee Palace Hilton B&B basis (or similar), Bucharest and two nights at the Inter-Continental Hotel B&B basis (or similar), Budapest
All meals on board including full breakfast, buffet lunch & waiter service dinner with quality wines from Europe's most famous wine regions • Afternoon tea with cakes & sweet treats • Choice of teas & coffees throughout the day • Buffet breakfast in Bucharest & Budapest hotels
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