Blue Danube to the Black Sea – Vienna to Bucharest
Your cruise holiday from Vienna to Bucharest begins with two overnights in Austria's fascinating capital Vienna, before boarding the ship and heading south on the Danube, enjoying guided sightseeing in each city.
Day 1 Vienna - Arrival
Fly to Vienna Airport where you will be met by an Avalon representative and transferred to your arrival hotel for two nights.
Day 2 Vienna
Vienna is the "City of Music" that inspired the creative genius of Mozart and Strauss and was once the centre of the mighty Hapsburg Empire. A showcase of gilded architecture, see the lavish Hofburg Imperial Palace complex, with its Lipizzaner stallions, the impressive neo-renaissance Opera House and awe-inspiring St Stephen's Cathedral on your included guided city sightseeing tour. Enjoy time at leisure, perhaps visiting one of the many magnificent museums or browsing through the Naschmarkt, Vienna's main outdoor market. An optional concert is available.
Day 3 Vienna - Bratislava
A free morning to explore Vienna, then ride to Slovakia's capital Bratislava, situated at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Our sightseeing with a local guide leads through the charming Old Town with its Town Hall representing the oldest stone building in the city. We also visit the St Martin's Cathedral, historical coronation church for the Kingdom of Hungary. Embark your ship in the evening and meet the crew at a welcome reception.
Day 4 Budapest
Spanning the banks of the Danube, Budapest is one of Eastern Europe's liveliest cities. Included guided tour of the city features Heroes' Square as well as the hilltop castle with its remarkable Fishermen’s Bastion and 11th-century Matthias Church. Take particular note of the city’s eight bridges (famous sights themselves!), connecting ancient Buda with modern Pest. Spend the afternoon enjoying Hungary's exciting capital independently, taking a walk to see some of the remaining communist era statues or stroll along Vaci Utca main shopping street.
Day 5 Mohacs
Admire the peaceful riverscape of southern Hungary as you cruise towards Mohacs, a picturesque border town with Croatia. Today we visit the Villany district, where some of Hungary's best red wines are produced. During the wine tasting, learn about which varieties are grown locally and why the climate and soil conditions here are ideal for the production of excellent wines.
Day 6 Osijek & Vukovar
Learn about the complex history of Croatia and the events that led to the Croatian War of Independence. Accompanied by local experts, we explore the baroque town of Osijek and Vukovar, Croatia's largest river port. Located at the confluence of the Danube and Vuka Rivers, Vukovar was the scene of dramatic events that have shaped both the present and future of this region.
Day 7 Belgrade
Reaching 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 reveals 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 Iron Gates Gorge
Morning cruise towards the Iron Gates Gorge before docking 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. Return to your ship before lunch, then 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.
Day 9 Nikopol - Rousse - Veliko Tarnovo - Arbanassi
Upon morning cruise, we enjoy a comfortable ride from Rousse port 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 10 Cruising
Following an eventful first week, today is a peaceful day to relax on board. Join your Cruise Director to learn about the fascinating Danube Delta at an Onboard Lecture.
Day 11 St Gheorghe
This morning we depart on an excursion to the Danube Delta on board small boats, to explore this unique nature reserve featured in the UNESCO World Heritage list. This is considered to be one of the best preserved deltas in Europe, hosting over 300 species of birds and 45 species of freshwater fish. From its source in Germany's Black Forest to this delta by the Black Sea, the Danube measures a total of 2,845 kilometres in length. The “Km” markings are clearly visible on the river banks along the river's full length, so enjoy a small celebration to mark the “Km 0” at the end of our Danube voyage here. Spend the afternoon relaxing on board as we sail to Cernavoda.
Day 12 Cernavoda
There is a choice of full or half-day excursion to Constanta on the Black Sea Coast, the most important commercial centre in Romania. Our local guide introduces highlights of this vibrant port city, including the Natural History & Archaeological museum. Later on, we visit a winery at Murfatlar, a famous wine growing region. Alternatively, relax on board in the morning and visit Constanta in the afternoon. Overnight sail to Oltenita, our last port of call.
Day 13 Oltenita - Bucharest
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the crew and head for Bucharest, Romania's lively capital, only a short drive from 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. Transfer to your departure hotel for an overnight.
DAY 14 Bucharest - Departure
Breakfast and transfer to Bucharest Airport for your homeward journey.
Departure dates - May 30 • Aug 08 • Oct 17
Please note: Proposed itinerary is subject to amendments or alterations, sometimes without prior notification. For full details of this holiday, flight supplements, booking conditions & essential holiday information (all of which must be read before booking), please see relevant pages of this brochure or website pages.