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  • *
    See Basarbovo Monastery
  • *
    Spend time in the city of Budapest
  • *
    Navigate the Iron Gate
  • *
    Visit the city of Pleven

From Vienna to the Balkan Mountains

The Danube

  • A car with a tick VIP on selected river cruises
  • A plate with a knife and fork Full board

Sail the Danube from Austria to Bulgaria

Explore the historic capital cities of Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade before cruising into Bulgaria through the dramatic scenery of the Iron Gates, a gorge framed by sheer cliffs.

Sail the Danube where it runs parallel to Bulgaria’s Balkan Mountain range from Nikopol to Rousse and perhaps join an optional excursion to medieval Veliko Tarnovo where the historic walls of the Tsarevets fortress encircle the Royal Palace along the way. A visit to the Pleven panorama depicting the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 is included during your visit to Nikopol.


A car with a tickVIP door-to-door travel service from anywhere on the UK mainland

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

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

CocktailWine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

PersonCruise Host


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

MapIncluded excursions

  • Tour of Bratislava
  • Tour of Budapest OR culinary walking tour of Budapest
  • Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Pleven panoramic

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

save up to £500 per person
Prices shown include any applicable saving, may only be available on selected cabin grades and departures and for a limited number of bookings, subject to availability.

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Vienna

Vienna and Danube River

Fly to Vienna before transferring to the port where you will embark Spirit of the Rhine.

Look forward to your welcome drink reception and dinner on board. Set sail from Vienna late this evening.

Vienna Austria Europe

Day 2 Bratislava 🎧

Bratislava Castle over the Danube River

Early this morning arrive in the capital of Slovakia and enjoy an included trip aboard the miniature city tourist train past Bratislava Castle, before disembarking in the Old Town for a walking tour to see the Archbishop’s Palace, St Martin’s Cathedral, the Market Square, Town Hall and more….

This afternoon you may like to join either an optional visit to the UFO observation tower for beer tasting with panoramic views or visit a Majolica pottery workshop.

Spirit of the Rhine will begin the overnight journey to Budapest late this afternoon.

Bratislava Slovakia Europe

Day 3 Budapest 🎧

Old Fisherman Bastion, Buda Castle, Budapest

Arrive early this afternoon in Budapest and perhaps uncover the city’s food and cultural scene on an included culinary walking tour, which visits the First Strudel House and Central Market Hall, or join an included city tour that will reveal the main highlights

 A city of two halves – Buda and Pest – the Hungarian capital is a cosmopolitan, culture-rich centre. Buda is the older part, with cobbled streets and medieval architecture, while Pest is the administrative and commercial centre, with wide avenues and 19th-century public buildings. The Parliament Building dominates the Pest waterfront. St Stephen’s Basilica is also in Pest, and home to a holy relic of St Stephen, the first king – his mummified right hand! The Fisherman’s Bastion has seven towers, each one symbolising one of the Magyar tribes that came to Hungary in 896, and from here you can enjoy superb city views. Heroes’ Square, flanked by the Palace of Fine Arts and the Palace of Art, is another of Hungary’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Your ship remains moored here overnight.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 4 Budapest 🎧

Budapest with the River Danube

This morning you may like visit Gödöllo Palace on an optional excursion. This afternoon, an optional excursion is available to the Lazar Equestrian Park horse farm.

Your ship sets sail for Kalocsa this evening.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 5 Kalocsa to Mohács

Traditional carnival masks, Mohacs

Perhaps disembark in Kalocsa early this morning to join an optional full-day excursion through the Hungarian lowlands to Puszta, where you can watch traditional horsemanship, rejoining your ship when she arrives in Mohács this afternoon. You have a few hours here to explore the home of some of Hungary’s most exciting folk traditions.

Spirit of the Rhine continues cruising towards Belgrade late this afternoon.

Mohacs Hungary Europe

Day 6 Novi Sad to Belgrade 🎧

Kalemegdan Fortress, Belgrade

Arrive early morning in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with this stretch of the Danube acting as a natural border.

Beside Novi Sad is the Petrovaradin Fortress, with a 16-kilometre network of underground passages and the officers' residences and government buildings beneath. Perhaps disembark to join an optional walking tour of the old town centre with its 18th and 19th-century architecture, returning to your ship in Belgrade.

Alternatively, stay on board and cruise to Belgrade where you can enjoy an included afternoon tour of the city and visit to Kalemegdan Fortress.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 7 The Iron Gates

Danube gorge

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.

Your cruise continues this evening and overnight.

Day 8 Nikopol to Svistov

St. George the Conqueror Chapel Mausoleum, Pleven, Bulgaria

Early this afternoon you’ll arrive in the town of Nikopol, which features the remains of a ruined fortress, a 13th century church and a drinking fountain constructed in the second century. Enjoy a coach trip to Pleven to visit a historic panorama depicting the events of the Russian-Turkish War of 1877 on an included excursion.

Rejoin your ship in Svistov, where she will moor overnight.

Svistov Bulgaria Europe

Day 9 Svistov to Rousse 🎧

Rousse architecture, Bulgaria

Spend a relaxing morning sailing from Svistov to Rousse, arriving in the afternoon.

Nicknamed 'Little Vienna' due to its belle époque architecture, Rousse prospered from its location on the Danube, becoming Bulgaria’s main port. As a result it’s home to many grand buildings, such as the Building of the Tax Administration with its elaborate facade. Perhaps join an optional afternoon tour, which also visits the only active rock monastery in Bulgaria.

Your ship moors here overnight.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 10 Rousse to Bucharest to UK

Disembark your ship after breakfast and transfer to Bucharest airport for your return flight to the UK.

From Vienna to the Balkan Mountains

The Danube