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    Cruise the Danube Delta
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    Cosmopolitan Belgrade
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    Exploring Bucharest
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    Iron Gates Gorge
  • *
    Veliko Tarnovo

Captivating Contrasts of the Danube

The Danube

  • A car with a tick VIP on selected river cruises
  • A plate with a knife and fork Half board at hotel/Full board on ship

Sail along one of Europe's most beautiful rivers and stay overnight in Bucharest

Explore the rich history of Bucharest, Belgrade and Novi Sad, where included excursions ensure you see the main sights, and cruise through some of the most dramatic scenery the River Danube has to offer, such as the Iron Gates Gorge and UNESCO-listed Danube Delta with its abundance of wildlife.

Along the way you’ll visit the port and battlefield town of Mohács; Novi Sad, the country’s largest inland port; and Tulcea, where you’ll have the opportunity to join an optional excursion to the Saon Monastery and Danube Delta Museum. Enjoy an overnight stay at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest Hotel (4Q) in Romania’s cultural capital, home to the Palace of the Parliament and the Patriarchal Church.

Including...

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Bed8 nights Full Board on board, 1 night Half Board in a hotel

Dinner plate26 meals: 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 dinners

CocktailWine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner on the ship

PersonCruise Host

Plus…

  • Drinks reception and Captain’s dinner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board
  • All gratuities on board
  • Return flights and transfers

MapIncluded excursions

  • Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Tour of Novi Sad
  • Bucharest city tour

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Budapest

Budapest and the River Danube, Hungary

Fly to Budapest where you embark Spirit of the Danube.

Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner on board. The ship sets sails later this evening, bound for Mohács.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 2 Mohács

Traditional carnival masks, Mohacs

Today you arrive in Mohács and have a full day to explore this port and battlefield town, either independently or on an optional walking tour.

The plain close to the town was the site of a battle where the Hungarian army was soundly beaten by the Turkish in 1526 and their king, Louis II, drowned in the flooded River Csele. This was the start of 150 years of Turkish rule. Mohács has always been an important port for Danube traffic, but it was the 19th-century steamboat traffic that created a building boom here. Today the town is famous for its carnival celebrations and folklore traditions. An optional full-day excursion visits the lowland city of Kalocsa and Puszta where you can view a traditional horsemanship show.

Spirit of the Danube sails from Mohács tonight and cruises south from Hungary into the former Yugoslavia, where the Danube now forms the border between Croatia on the west and Serbia on the east.

Mohacs Hungary Europe

Day 3 Novi Sad to Belgrade

Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad

Spend the morning in Novi Sad, the city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with the Danube acting as a border.

Enjoy a short included walking tour which reveals the 18th and 19th century buildings of the old town centre, followed by a visit to an old family wine cellar to taste local wines and honey. Beside Novi Sad lies the Petrovaradin Fortress, on a hill on the Danube’s right bank. The upper fortress contains a 16-kilometre network of underground passages and galleries, with officers’ residences and government buildings below in the lower fortress. The Novi Sad City Museum is located within the fortress walls and documents the history of this fascinating city.

You’ll then sail to Serbia's capital, Belgrade, where you moor overnight.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 4 Belgrade 🎧

Republic Square, Belgrade

Belgrade, capital of the Republic of Serbia lies at the confluence of the Danube and the Sava rivers.

An included coach tour this morning reveals the Republic Square and other highlights, before you visit the Kalemegdan Fortress complex, home to the city's central park. After lunch an optional excursion visits the Royal Palace and Tito’s Memorial.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 5 The Iron Gates

The Iron Gate Gorge on the Danube River

Cruise along a particularly scenic stretch of the river, as the Danube passes through the southern stretch of the dramatic Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans to the ‘Iron Gates’, a gorge framed by sheer cliffs. The passage was infamous in ancient times as the water level was much lower, making navigation treacherous. Now the water level has been raised and the shipping hazards removed, but the journey is still exciting, and you’ll be able to watch as your ship manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power stations.

Day 6 Rousse 🎧

Rousse architecture, Bulgaria

This morning moor briefly in the small Bulgarian town of Svistov, from where you can join an optional full-day excursion to Veliko Tarnovo.

Your ship will continue cruising to Rousse, the country’s biggest inland port and the site of the former base of the Roman Empire’s Danube fleet. Perhaps join an optional tour here. Excursion participants will rejoin the ship in Rousse.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 7 Tulcea

Tulcea in the Danube Delta

Spend the morning cruising to Tulcea, which was founded in the 7th century BC by the ancient Dacians and has fallen under the Byzantine, Genoese and Ottoman flags.

You’ll arrive mid afternoon and will have the rest of the day to explore or perhaps join an optional excursion to the Saon Monastery and the Danube Delta Museum.

Tulcea Romania Europe

Day 8 Tulcea to Danube Delta to Tulcea

Glossy Ibis flying in the Danube Delta

Set off in the early hours and sail through the UNESCO-listed Danube Delta, a wetland biosphere rich in wildlife. The reed beds and groves of willow, oak and poplar provide sanctuary for over 300 species of bird! You'll also have the chance of an optional excursion aboard a smaller boat which will allow you to take a closer look at this rich natural habitat.

Sail back to Tulcea where you remain moored overnight.

Tulcea Romania Europe

Day 9 Tulcea to Bucharest

Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest

Disembark Spirit of the Danube after breakfast today and transfer to Bucharest, popular with the jet set and known as ‘Little Paris’ in the 1900s. Enjoy lunch en route before embarking upon an included tour of the lively capital of Romania. See the enormous Palace of the Parliament – dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s egotistical folly – and the Patriarchal Church.

You’ll stay overnight at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Bucharest Hotel (4Q).


Day 10 Bucharest to UK

Travel to the airport after breakfast for your return flight to the UK.


Mohács walking tour

Walk from the ship into the city centre via the Jewish quarter. Visit the Busó yard where you can browse handicraft shops and observe mask carving demonstrations. See the Nagyasszonya temple and sculptures of Szechenyi Square and enjoy included entrance to the Kanizsai Dorottya Museum where you’ll see a variety of Hungarian costume. You’ll have some free time before returning to the ship.

Walking Grade 3

Three hours
Szechenyi Square in Esztergom
Mohacs Hungary Europe
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Kalocsa and Puszta

Discover traditional Hungary during this fascinating full-day excursion into the Puszta or Great Hungarian Plain. In this historic home of gulyas - cattle herdsmen, csikos - horsemen, and Hungarian Roma, the cattle, horses, sheep and buffalo roam free, controlled only by skilled riders. You'll be treated to astonishing displays of horsemanship that date back centuries, where the necessity for horses to lie down on command ensured survival in times of war.

Afterwards you will have an opportunity to ride in a horse-drawn carriage, and be offered a nip of local brandy and savoury scones. Refreshments are included. Later continue to Kalocsa and find out more about the Hungarian way of life with a visit to the Folk Art House to see wall and furniture painting in a former peasant’s cottage. You’ll also enjoy lunch and learn about the significance of the favourite regional spice with a visit to the Paprika Museum.

Walking Grade 2

Full day
Pustza
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Royal Palace and Tito Memorial

Visit the Royal Compound, which is situated on Dedinje hill, one of the seven hills across which Belgrade is sprawled. The walking tour visits the Royal Palace, the residence of Crown Prince Alexander II and Princess Katherine and the Church of Saint Andrej the First, the patron of the Royal family. The Royal Palace was built between 1924 and 1929 with the private funds of King Alexander I Karadjordjevic (the grandfather of current Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic).

Walking Grade 3

Four-and-a-half hours
House of flowers, Tito's resting place, Belgrade
Belgrade Serbia Europe
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Veliko Tarnovo

One of Bulgaria’s most stunning medieval towns, Veliko Tarnovo perches astride three hills overlooking the dramatic gorge of the river Yantra. Here you’ll see the ancient fortress of Tsarevets with its far-reaching walls that encircle the Royal Palace, the Church of the Blessed Saviour, and the monastery with its grisly Execution Rock. Explore Veliko Tarnovo’s winding historic streets and admire the commanding views before enjoying lunch at a typical Bulgarian restaurant. If time permits, you may also visit the nearby town of Arbanassi, home to quaint, painted churches and unusual, fortress-style houses.

Walking Grade 3. Lunch Included.

Six hours
Tsarevets Castle
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Tour of Rousse

After a short drive through the beautiful valley of the Lom River you can visit the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria. Situated 10 kilometres south of Rousse, it is devoted to a local saint, St Dimitrius of Bassarbovo. Once there, a short stone staircase will lead you to an extraordinary rock church and a rock cave where the monk lived in the 17th century.

After this visit you will be taken back to the city where you will enter the Holy Trinity Church to hear its turbulent history followed by a guided walk through the town. During the visit to Liberty square you'll be treated to a small Bulgarian snack with the local wine or coffee.

Walking Grade 3

Three-and-a-half hours
Rusenski Lom Natural Park, Bulgaria
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Saon Monastery and Danube Delta Museum

Disembark your ship in Tulcea and make the short coach trip to visit the picturesque Saon Monastery. The iconic complex sits atop a hill near the delta and boasts a traditional windmill, old and new churches and three silver domes which glint in the sunlight. It is surrounded by a pretty lake, orchards and a working farm which is home to ostriches, reared by the nuns, and roaming peacocks.

After your visit return to Tulcea where you can enjoy a guided tour of an interesting museum dedicated to the history of the Danube Delta. Prepare yourself for exhibits of taxidermy in addition to a mesmerising aquarium.

Walking grade 3

Three-and-a-half hours
Saon Monastery in Tulcea, Romania
Tulcea Romania Europe
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary

Danube Delta exploration

Explore Europe's second largest delta through a series of channels and lakes that cannot be reached by large ships. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has a wild landscape and a diversity of habitats that attract many species of birds. Near Nebunu Lake, during the breeding season, you may see pelicans plus a large variety of other bird species such as heron, swan and wild duck, although obviously we cannot guarantee sightings.

Walking Grade 1

Three hours
Danube Delta
  • Optional on 9 nights itinerary
Captivating Contrasts of the Danube

The Danube