Let the “Blue Danube” be your guide for this adventure through Eastern Europe, which includes a captivating mixture of well-known and lesser-seen destinations.
About the Tour
Discover the wonders of the Danube River on a 12-day rail and river cruise vacation featuring an unforgettable voyage aboard the luxurious Amadeus Silver II. The journey begins in Vienna, where Imperial history brims from the city streets. Explore on your own and with the help of a guided tour. Continue by train to Budapest, Hungary’s capital city, where there is ample time to explore both Buda and Pest before boarding your five-star river cruise vessel. As the ship sails along the Danube, watch as the scenery changes between rural expanses, riverside villages and cities. You have the opportunity to explore some of these destinations during your off-board excursions. As the ship moors in Mohács, enjoy sights of the Great Hungarian Plains with a traditional Puszta tour; in Belgrade, a guided excursion takes you through the most fascinating attractions in the city, including an Asian-inspired palace. The ship passes through the spectacular Iron Gate Gorge en route to the fascinating cities of Veliko Tarnovo and Constanta. Nearing the Danube Delta, a unique river safari presents the wildlife and immense beauty of the river and its tributaries and islands. Arriving in Bucharest, the ship moors for the final time. With rich history, dramatic scenery and incredible experiences awaiting in each destination, this rail and cruise vacation is a remarkable way to immerse yourself in the culture of the Danube River region.
- Rail travel on local rail networks
- Hotel accommodations for 4 nights
- 7-night cruise aboard the Amadeus Silver II
- 24 meals
- Vienna city tour, including Schönbrunn Palace
- Hungarian Puszta Tour
- Belgrade city sightseeing tour
- Veliko Tarnovo sightseeing tour
- Constanta city tour
- Danube Delta safari cruise
- Bucharest guided tour
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
Day 1 – Arrive Vienna
Arrive in Vienna and transfer independently to your centrally located hotel. This Imperial city is brimming with fascinating history and gorgeous architecture to explore at leisure for the remainder of the day. Overnight Vienna.
Day 2 – Vienna Sightseeing
Vienna’s historical sights and most significant attractions lie ahead during today’s guided city tour. Alongside a local guide, this excursion takes you along the Ringstrasse, a 3-mile semi-circular boulevard that hugs in the historic Innere Stadt district and is home to grand palaces, spectacular buildings, lush parks and beautiful squares. Points of interest during the tour include the MAK - Vienna’s Museum of Applied Arts; the Museum of Fine Arts, with its world-famous Habsburg collection; the Natural History Museum, which houses everything from dinosaur fossils to meteorites; the State Opera House; the MuseumsQuartier; the Hofburg, which was the former winter residence of the Habsburgs; Parliament and the Burgtheater. Also included is the opulent Schönbrunn Palace, once the summer residence of the Habsburg family and home of Maria Theresia. Here, enjoy a look at the palace’s showrooms, as well as a guided tour of the State Rooms with no wait time. The final stop on the tour is Belvedere Palace, where you may purchase a discounted ticket to see the largest Gustav Klimt collection in the world or continue on with your explorations.
Take the rest of the day to sightsee at your own pace. Perhaps ride the Wiener Riesenrad Ferris Wheel at Prater Park or sample the exotic offerings of the Naschmarkt. Overnight Vienna. (B)
Day 3 – Vienna to Budapest
Transfer to Vienna’s rail station this morning, and board your train to Budapest. This rail journey is just under 3 hours in length and connects two of the world’s most interesting capital cities. Enjoy sights of the countries’ rural expanses and small villages during the route, and upon arrival in Budapest, make your way to your hotel for check-in. Get acquainted with the city - its grand buildings, lively markets and serene riverside walkways - during your afternoon at leisure. You may also wish to explore Budapest’s culinary scene, which has gained significant attention in recent years. Overnight Budapest. (B)
Day 4 – Ship Embarkation
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and some time to sightsee at your own pace. Popular attractions lie on both sides of the river and connecting them is a landmark in and of itself, the Chain Bridge. You may wish to explore Heroes’ Square or St. Stephen’s Basilica or to visit Castle Hill, where winding cobbled streets are home to Baroque buildings, Buda Castle and Fisherman’s Bastion. Later, make your way toward the shores of the Danube to board your river vessel, the Amadeus Silver II. You are welcomed with a cocktail in the lounge before dinner is served, and as the sun sinks down beneath the surrounding hills, the ship pushes off for an evening cruise around the city. Marvel at the beauty of Budapest’s illuminated buildings and the glow of the moon upon the river. Overnight ship. (B, D)
Day 5 – Hungarian Puszta Tour
Our ship continues its gentle voyage through the night and arrives this morning at the port in Mohács. Located near the Hungarian border, this riverside town is our gateway to the Puszta region. Set amongst the Great Hungarian Plains, the Puszta region is Hungary’s version of the “Wild West.” Vast grasslands and immense plains are hallmarks of this area, and you enjoy sights of both as you travel by coach toward Kalocsa. Along the way, enjoy scenic stops and glimpses at the local culture. The first stop is a paprika house, where you have the opportunity to taste paprika in a variety of dishes and learn about the historical significance of the spice that was once called “red gold.” Next, enjoy traditional folk music and dancing at the former home of a wealthy 19th-century family and a glimpse at rural life as you try local delicacies, meet Hungarian half-blood horses and experience a horse-drawn wagon ride through the plains. Reboard the ship in Kalocsa and enjoy an evening of leisure, taking in the breathtaking scenery bathed in evening light. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 6 – Belgrade Sightseeing
Your ship arrives in the Serbian capital of Belgrade today. As you disembark, a guided walking tour presents the varied history and fascinating attractions of the city. Watch as the story of Belgrade unfolds through its wonderful architecture. First up is the Belgrade Fortress, which dates back to the 3rd century and is located in the oldest surviving part of the city. The historic structure offers views over Kalemegdan Park, as well as the Danube and Sava Rivers. Next, visit Belgrade's National Museum, which is home to impressive collections from the Paleolithic Period onward, before seeing the parliament building and Terazije Square. The tour concludes at the Palace of Princess Ljubica, a building of Asian influence built in the 1800s for the wife of Prince Miloš, the eponymous Princess Ljubica. The unique architecture of this building makes it look out of place in its location in the heart of Belgrade.
Continue your explorations independently this afternoon. The city is a treasure trove of culture, from its palaces and museums to its temples. Perhaps visit the Temple of Saint Sava or explore the offerings of Republic Square. The Nikola Tesla Museum offers a fascinating glimpse at the mind of one of the world’s greatest inventors, and the views from the Avala Tower are incredible. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 7 – The Iron Gate Gorge
Spend the day enjoying the amenities of the ship as you sail toward Vidin, Bulgaria. The Sun Deck is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the passing scenery. This afternoon, the vessel passes through the Iron Gate Gorge. This 83-mile-long stretch of river forms the boundary between Serbia and Romania and offers some of the most dramatic scenery on the Danube. Enjoy the cruise director’s informative commentary while navigating through towering moss-covered cliffs. Atop them, fortresses, castles and churches contribute to the breathtaking views. Ornate carvings are hewn straight into the rock, as well. Keep watch for one of the most famous, the face of Dacian Chief Decebalus. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 8 – Veliko Tarnovo
Continuing down the Danube, the ship pushes on toward Ruse, one of the largest and most culturally significant cities in Bulgaria. Along the way, enjoy an excursion in Veliko Tarnovo, a charming destination that boasts over 5,000 years of history and was once the cornerstone of the 14th-century empire. Here, medieval churches and timber-framed buildings seemingly sit atop one another on the tree-covered cliffside, and beautiful views lie around each bend in the road. A guided tour introduces the impressive architecture and winding streets of the city and highlights the splendor of Old Town, which is built amongst three hills. Upon Tsaravets Hill is the crowning jewel of Veliko Tarnovo, the Royal Fortress. Back onboard, enjoy an afternoon of calm cruising and lovely scenery. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 9 – Constanta
Take the morning at leisure to relax on the ship. As the vessel moors in Harsova this afternoon, you are driven by coach to the nearby port town of Constanta, Romania, where a guided tour presents the vast history of the city. see how its Greek origins and Roman ancestry perfectly mingle with its Persian influences as you explore the city’s offerings. The tour highlights points of interest such as the Great Mosque of Constanta, which is the largest mosque in all of Romania and sits in beautiful Ovidiu Square; Constanta Casino, a marvelous art nouveau building that has been abandoned for decades; and the Genovese Lighthouse, with its unique octagonal shape and beautiful natural stone facade. Enjoy a brief visit to the city’s History and Archaeology Museum, as well, to explore artifacts dating back to the time of the Greeks. You may also wish to take a stroll along the city’s pristine beach before returning to the ship and setting sail again. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 10 – Danube Delta Safari
Explore Europe’s largest wetland environment today as you disembark the cruise ship and board a smaller safari boat for a nature cruise through the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta. This spectacular region is formed as the Danube divides into thousands of tributaries on its way to the Black Sea and is a paradise for birds and other wildlife. Your safari boat allows you to explore the winding channels and stunning islands that make up this biosphere, each brimming with wildlife and natural beauty. This highly protected area is brimming with species of avian, marine and land animals. Colorful birds fill the skies, including ibis, white-tailed eagles and pelicans. Rarely, even flamingos are spotted in these waters. Monster fish, such as Beluga Sturgeon, lurk beneath the surface, and otters and seals frolic in hidden coves. On land, golden jackals and species that have been “rewilded,” such as the European water buffalo, enjoy the lush environment. As the safari concludes, board your river cruiser for a relaxing afternoon sail to Fetesti. Overnight ship. (B, L, D)
Day 11 – Bucharest
The ship reaches the “Paris of the East,” Bucharest, this morning. As you disembark, enjoy a grand introduction to the city with a guided tour. Watch as the story of Bucharest unfolds as you visit the remains of medieval homes, discover historical palaces and seek out the modernist skyscrapers downtown. The unique combination of architecture throughout the city makes the skyline one of remarkable interest and makes this destination truly surprising. Following the tour, enjoy some free time to grab lunch in one of the many alfresco eateries and charming bistros that line the tangled network of streets. Take in the many sights of the city as you are transferred to your conveniently located hotel. You are free to sightsee independently ahead of dinner this evening. Perhaps stroll King Michael I Park, an urban retreat surrounded by flowers, trees and lovely buildings. The Arcul de Triumf, Revolution Square and Cișmigiu Gardens are other fantastic places to visit during your free time. Overnight Bucharest. (B, D)
Day 12 – Bucharest
After breakfast at the hotel, make your way to the airport for your return flight home. (B)
Hotels are centrally located 4-star properties such as the Best Western Premier Hotel Harmonie Vienna; K+K Hotel Opera, Budapest; and Intercontinental Bucharest. Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be of similar quality and amenities. Rail tickets are in first class.
Tour Dates & Prices
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Hotel and Rail accommodations listed above, are subject to change based on availability at the time of booking.