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  • *
    Danube Delta wildlife
  • *
    Beautiful Vienna
  • *
    Bucharest
  • *
    The dramatic Iron Gate

Grand Voyage to the Black Sea

The Danube

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

Sail from Budapest to Vienna

Enjoy the spectacular scenery on this 16-night river cruise which begins in Hungary’s cosmopolitan capital Budapest. Here you’ll have a choice of included excursions: a sightseeing tour of the city highlights or a culinary themed walking tour of Budapest.

Then begin your cruise aboard Spirit of the Danube, stopping firstly at Novi Sad for a walking tour of the old town with it’s 18th-century architecture. Dramatic scenery awaits at the Iron Gate gorge and the wildlife-rich Danube Delta, where you can venture further into the UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve on an optional exploration.

Contrast and compare the sights of three capital cities: Belgrade, where an included coach tour takes in Republic Square and visits the Kalemegdan Fortress; Bratislava with its Habsburg architecture and 18th-century palaces; and Vienna, where an included tour heads to the Ringstrasse which encircles the old city.

You’ll even have the opportunity to enjoy an optional performance of music by Mozart and Strauss in one of the formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna – a truly memorable occasion and fitting finale.

Including...

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

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Dinner plate 47 meals: 16 breakfasts, 15 lunches and 16 dinners

Cocktail Free bar open 15 hours a day (2023 departures only)

Cocktail Wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner

Person Cruise Host

Plus...

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

MapIncluded excursions

  • Budapest city tour OR Budapest culinary walking tour
  • Tour of Novi Sad
  • Bucharest city tour
  • Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Bratislava city tour
  • Vienna city tour OR Vienna culinary walking tour

The free bar available in 2023 is open from 9am to midnight and serves alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

save up to 25%
Book today and and save upto 25% of full fare. How our discounts work

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Budapest

Hungarian Parliament, Budapest

Fly to Hungary's capital and embark Spirit of the Danube.

Enjoy dinner on board as your ship remains moored here overnight.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 2 Budapest 🎧

Buda Castle, Budapest

Your ship remains moored in Budapest until lunchtime. This cosmopolitan city is divided by the Danube into Buda and Pest. An included city tour this morning reveals some of the city's highlights, from the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Buda Castle that sits above the river on the west bank, to the impressive Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank.

Alternatively, perhaps opt for an included food-themed experience that enables you to sample the local food and culture as part of a small group. This tour begins with a tram ride to the First Strudel House, where you’ll see a live strudel-making demonstration and will even have the opportunity to make your own. You’ll also take a walk through the city to enjoy a slice of authentic chimney cake and visit the Central Market Hall where you can sample authentic Hungarian salami.

Set sail over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and night.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 3 Novi Sad

City Hall in main square of Novi Sad, Serbia

Arrive late morning in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with this stretch of the Danube acting as a natural border. Novi Sad is the capital of Vojvodina, the northern Autonomous Province of Serbia. Situated on the Danube between Budapest and Belgrade, it’s a treasured regional and cultural centre. You can enjoy a short walking tour of the old town centre, which boasts a fine selection of 18th and 19th-century architecture. Proceeding through the streets to an old family wine cellar, which is also a producer of local honey. Whilst here you treat your taste buds to the delicious wines and sweet honey. Set sail again this evening.

Novi Sad Serbia Europe

Day 4 Sailing through the Iron Gate

The Iron Gate Gorge on the Danube River

This morning sail through a particularly scenic stretch of the Danube – the world-famous Iron Gate gorge, between Romania and Serbia, the largest and longest in Europe, and the Iron Gates is the narrowest and deepest part. No doubt you'll want to head out on deck to admire this particularly scenic stretch of the river, as the Danube passes through the Carpathian mountains and the foothills of the Balkans. Plus you can follow proceedings as the ship manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power stations.

Continue sailing overnight.

Day 5 Rousse 🎧

The Danube River and the city of Rousse, Bulgaria

This morning you will arrive in Rousse, the largest port in Bulgaria and often referred to as ‘Little Vienna’.

Perhaps discover the city on an optional tour this morning.

Resume your cruise at lunchtime and sail through the day and night to Romania.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 6 Danube Delta

Pelican colony in the Danube Delta

Enjoy the scenery as you cruise the wildlife-rich Danube Delta. Much of it is a protected reserve, as the meandering river, reed beds and groves of willow, oak and poplar provide sanctuary for over 300 species of bird.

This afternoon you may like to join an optional small boat cruise further into this UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve.

Set sail later this afternoon and cruise overnight towards Fetesti.

Day 7 Fetesti

Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest

Arrive in Fetesti this morning and disembark after breakfast for a full day trip to Bucharest.

An included tour of this lively city reveals some of its attractions, such as the impressive Palace of the Parliament, Cotroceni Palace where the President of Romania resides, and grand Cretulescu Palace.

Rejoin your ship in Oltenita in time for dinner on board.

Romania Europe Fetesti

Day 8 Cruising the Danube

Mraconia Monastery on the River Danube

Relax on board Spirit of the Danube and admire the changing scenery as you cruise into Serbia.

Day 9 The Iron Gates to Donji Milanovac

Danube river near the Serbian city of Donji Milanovac

Spend the day on a leisurely journey along the waters of the Danube, passing through the Carpathians, and the foothills of the Balkans to the ‘Iron Gates’. This strikingly scenic stretch of river is framed on both sides by sheer cliffs that are dotted with frills of greenery, so make sure you're on the Upper Deck with your camera!

In ancient times the water level in the Iron Gates gorge was much lower and and it was considered one of the most dangerous stretches of river in Europe to navigate. The riverbed rocks and low water levels combined to make this part of the river particularly treacherous for passing ships, but now a complex system of dams and locks ensures this is no longer the case.

Enjoy passing through the scenic gorge on your way to Donji Milanovac, a Serbian town with a special history and a beautiful setting in the midst of the Djerdap National Park. You may like to join an optional excursion to the Lepenski Vir Mesolithic site, in the Derdap Gorge.

Set sail for Belgrade this evening.

Donji Milanovac Serbia Europe

Day 10 Belgrade 🎧

Belgrade on the banks of the Sava River

Arrive in Serbia's capital, one of the oldest European cities, this morning for a full-day stay.

Enjoy an included coach tour that takes in Republic Square where the National Theatre and Museum are located. You’ll also visit Saint Sava basilica, one of the world’s largest churches, and the Kalemegdan Fortress, parts of which date back to the 18th century.

The site of military fortifications from the 2nd century onwards, it has been tussled over by the Romans, the Goths, the Huns, the Avars, the Serbs, the Turks and the Austrians in turn. Today it also serves as Belgrade’s central park for all to enjoy.

This afternoon perhaps join an optional excursion visiting the Royal Palace and Tito’s Memorial.

Depart late tonight and cruise overnight towards Croatia.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 11 Vukovar

Destroyed building in Vukovar

Arrive in Vukovar, the largest Croatian town and river port on the Danube, during lunch. Vukovar was a thriving town before the Yugoslav War and its unscathed belle époque architecture can be compared with shell-scarred buildings preserved in memoriam, during your visit here.

Set sail later this afternoon.

Vukovar Vukovar-Syrmia Croatia Europe

Day 12 Mohács

The Air Battle Memorial Church, Mohács

Early this morning arrive in Mohács, an important port of call for Danube traffic for many centuries.

You can disembark to spend the morning exploring Mohács on an optional walking tour or head into the Hungarian plains for the day and enjoy watching a demonstration of traditional Hungarian horsemanship by local Magyar cowboys on an optional full day excursion.

Your ship continues to Kalocsa pausing briefly for excursion participants to rejoin her and setting sail again this evening and cruising overnight.

Kalocsa Hungary Europe

Day 13 Esztergom

Esztergom, Hungary

Arrive before breakfast and this morning you can explore independently at leisure or perhaps join an optional tour to discover the town’s highlights and the artistic community of Szentendre.

Sail on over lunch and cruise through the remainder of the day and overnight.

Esztergom Hungary Europe

Day 14 Bratislava 🎧

Bratislava Castle over the Danube River

This morning you arrive in Slovakia's capital, Bratislava.

Spend an enjoyable day exploring the city’s old quarter, overlooked by the massive rectangular castle, and admiring the attractive Habsburg architecture on an included morning city tour.

Stroll through ancient cobbled streets to Bratislava Castle for a bird’s-eye view of the city and see the Gothic-style Cathedral, where 11 Kings of Hungary were crowned while Turks occupied their own capital.

This afternoon you can sample locally brewed beer at the UFO observation tower on an optional excursion.

Before dinner set sail again, cruising overnight bound for Melk.

Bratislava Slovakia Europe

Day 15 Melk to Weissenkirchen 🎧

Benedictine Abbey above the town of Melk

Arrive after breakfast to explore the historic town of Melk, a charming medley of architectural styles from across the centuries.

Its jewel is the abbey which sits on a bluff above the town. This masterpiece of baroque architecture, with a lavishly decorated interior contains innumerable artistic treasures and can be visited on an optional tour.

At lunchtime you'll cruise along the Danube to Weissenkirchen where you can spend the late afternoon and evening at leisure or you can enjoy an optional walking tour of Weissenkirchen, followed by a wine tasting.

Set sail late tonight and cruise towards the Austrian border.

Weissenkirchen Austria Europe

Day 16 Vienna 🎧

Hofburg Palace, Vienna

Before breakfast arrive in Vienna.

This morning you can look forward to either an included city tour with a drive around the Ringstrasse, encircling the old city, or perhaps opt for an included culinary walking tour with the opportunity to sample some of the famous sandwiches for which Vienna is renowned, such as the local speciality sausage and horseradish, and the delicious Mozart Thaler sweet chocolate biscuits.

This afternoon an optional excursion visits grand Schönbrunn Palace.

You may wish to spend the final evening of your holiday in style – after dinner on board, you can attend an optional performance of music by Mozart and Strauss in one of the great formal concert houses of Imperial Vienna.

Vienna Austria Europe

Day 17 Vienna to UK

Disembark Spirit of the Danube after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

Grand Voyage to the Black Sea

The Danube