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    The view from Kalemegdan Fortress
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    Budapest, a tale of two cities
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    Vienna, the city of music
River Cruise
River Cruise

Journey through the Iron Gates

The Danube

from £2,399 per person
2 passengers 11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
  • New New holiday
  • VIP travel service included on selected European tours VIP on selected river cruises
  • Full Board Full board

Explore the great capital cities of the Danube

Your holiday begins in the beautiful capital of Hungary, Budapest. The city is a treasure trove of architectural style encompassing baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau, which you’ll see during an included tour. Alternatively, you may choose to experience the local culture and cuisine by joining an included culinary-themed walking tour to the First Strudel House and Central Market Hall. After soaking up the city sights you’ll step aboard our new ship, Spirit of the Danube, to begin your river cruise. 

Arriving in Vukovar, perhaps embark on an optional tour into the historic centre with its baroque arches and classical buildings, before visiting the poignant Ovcara Memorial. Continue cruising, pausing at pretty Donji Milanovac in the Djerdap National Park, before passing through the dramatic scenery of the Iron Gates – the largest and longest gorge in Europe. Enjoy included visits to medieval Golubac Fortress and Belgrade’s Kalemegdan Fortress before arriving in Novi Sad, the meeting point of European and Balkan cultures. Contrast the traditional Hungarian town of Kalocsa with Bratislava, Slovakia’s bustling capital city, before cruising to Vienna. Choose between an included culinary-themed walking tour from Albertina Square to the Imperial Palace and an included sightseeing tour, which involves a drive around the Ringstrasse encircling the old city. Both offer a unique window on this musical city, steeped in imperial history. For a grand finale to your holiday why not spend the evening at an ornate Viennese palace listening to the work of Mozart performed live?


Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Dinner plate32 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 11 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

  • Budapest city tour OR Budapest culinary walking tour
  • Golubac Fortress
  • Belgrade and Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Vienna city tour OR Vienna culinary walking tour

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

Celebrity Guest

This cruise is joined by celebrity chef, Mark Sargeant – former Head Chef of Gordon Ramsay at Claridges and winner of Michelin Star and National Chef of the Year awards.

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Budapest

Sunset over Budapest, Hungary

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

Enjoy a welcome cocktail reception and dinner on board this evening.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 2 Budapest 🎧

Buda Castle, Budapest

An included city tour reveals the highlights, from UNESCO-listed Buda Castle on the west bank, to the impressive Hungarian Parliament buildings in Pest on the east bank. Alternatively join an included culinary-themed walking tour to the First Strudel House and Central Market Hall.

In the afternoon Spirit of the Danube will begin cruising overnight towards Vukovar.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 3 Vukovar

Vukovar water tower alongside the Danube

This morning you’ll arrive in Vukovar, the largest Croatian town and river port on the Danube, during breakfast. 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 this evening and sail overnight towards Donji Milanovac.

Vukovar Vukovar-Syrmia Croatia Europe

Day 4 Donji Milanovac

Donji Milanovac on the Danube

Shortly after lunch you’ll arrive in the pretty town of Donji Milanovac, on the banks of the Danube in the midst of the Djerdap National Park, the largest, and possibly most beautiful, of Serbia's five national parks. The region has a rich history, and this afternoon, you may choose to join an optional excursion to the Lepenski Vir Mesolithic site, revealing a series of villages and rock carvings dating back to 6400 BC and the earliest examples of ‘monumental’ sculptures.

Your ship moors here overnight.

Donji Milanovac Serbia Europe

Day 5 Donji Milanovac to the Iron Gates

The Iron Gate gorge on the Danube between Serbia and Romania

Spirit of the Danube sets sail early this morning and later will 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. Head out on deck and see how the ship manoeuvres through two locks by the Djerdap power station.

Continue sailing overnight towards the village of Golubac.

Day 6 Golubac to Belgrade

Medieval fortress in Golubac, Serbia

An early arrival in Golubac enables you to spend the morning on an included visit to the medieval fortress, which stands guard over the entrance to the Iron Gates and was first mentioned in a Hungarian charter issued in 1337.

Spirit of the Danube will continue sailing in the early afternoon towards Belgrade, arriving this evening.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 7 Belgrade 🎧

St Sava Cathedral, Belgrade, Serbia

Serbia's capital, Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe.

Explore its key attractions, including the Kalmegadan Fortress, the cathedral and St Sava Temple, all set on the waterfront, during an included excursion this morning. The Kalemegdan Fortress, parts of which date back to the 18th century, looms over the city below commanding glorious views. 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 utilise the interactive maps and audio headset to conduct an independent tour of the city. Depart late tonight and cruise overnight towards Novi Sad.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 8 Novi Sad

Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad

Spend the morning at leisure in this city where European and Balkan cultures meet, with the Danube forming part of the 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’t miss the Petrovaradin Fortress, Built between 1692 and 1790, the upper fortress contains a 16-kilometre network of passages and galleries, with officers’ residences and government buildings below in the lower fortress. There’s the City Museum within the fortress walls where you can find out more and also see artisan workshops. The old town is home to some fine 18th and 19th-century architecture.

Set sail early this afternoon and spend the rest of the day relaxing on board Spirit of the Danube as she continues towards Kalosca.

Novi Sad Serbia Europe

Day 9 Kalocsa

The Bishop’s Palace of Kalocsa

Arrive in Kalocsa this morning and perhaps embark on an optional full-day excursion through the Hungarian lowlands to enjoy a performance of traditional horsemanship.

Spirit of the Danube continues cruising towards Bratislava in the afternoon.

Kalocsa Hungary Europe

Day 10 Bratislava 🎧

Medieval St Michael Gate tower, Bratislava

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

Take the opportunity to explore the city’s old quarter, overlooked by the massive rectangular castle, and admire the attractive Habsburg architecture, independently or on an optional city tour. This afternoon perhaps venture up the UFO observation tower for panoramic views and the opportunity to sample locally brewed beer.

Set sail again late this evening cruising overnight bound for Vienna.

Slovakia Europe

Day 11 Vienna 🎧

Albertina Square, Vienna

Arrive in Vienna – steeped in imperial and musical history – before breakfast.

This morning choose between an included culinary-themed walking tour from Albertina Square to the Imperial Palace and an included sightseeing tour, which involves a drive around the Ringstrasse, encircling the old city. This afternoon an optional excursion visits grand Schönbrunn Palace. You may wish to spend the final evening of your holiday in Viennese 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 12 Vienna to UK

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

Vukovar and the Ovcara Memorial

Vukovar was the site of one of the biggest battles of the Yugoslav War and many shell-scarred buildings have been deliberately preserved as a memorial. Pre-war architecture can be seen in the historic city centre with its baroque arches and classical buildings. High above the Danube, the city is dominated by the Franciscan Monastery and the Saint Philip and Jacob Church. You’ll also visit the Ovcara Memorial, dedicated to those who died in the tragic Vukovar Hospital massacre in 1991.

Walking Grade 3

Three hours
A war damaged water tower in Vukovar
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Lepenski Vir Mesolithic Site

The Lepenski Vir Mesolithic Site was found in the Derdap Gorge on the banks of the Danube. First discovered by peasants in 1940, serious excavation work began in 1965 uncovering a series of villages, dating back to 6,400 BC. In 1970, the Lepenski Vir finds were moved to higher ground 35 meters above the original site to avoid the flooding that took place when the Derdup Dam was opened. Uncharacteristically, the villages revealed careful planning in both house construction and positioning and, even more significantly, a number of sculptures carved out of rock. Eerily combining the features of humans and fish, these figures are the earliest known examples of 'monumental' sculpture. Explore the site with a guide, and visit the museum to see finds from the dig and films about the archaeological research. There will be time at the end of the excursion to see a little of the pretty town of Donji Milanovac before the ship departs.

Walking Grade 3

Two-and-a-half hours
Clay totems, Lepenski Vir
  • Optional on 11 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
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Bratislava city tour

Step aboard the miniature Bratislava City Train to explore the many highlights of this historic city. You’ll pass the 18th-century Slovak Philharmonic Hall and impressive National Theatre before your train slowly makes its way around the Old Town, arriving at Bratislava Castle, with its commanding hill-top setting, to admire magnificent views across the city. The train will then continue through Leopold Gate, back to the Old Town where you’ll disembark for a walking tour. A stroll through the narrow, cobbled streets will reveal sights such as the Archbishop’s Palace, St Martin’s Cathedral, the charming Main Square with its fountain and Old Town Hall, and a number of 18th-century palaces.

Walking Grade 2

Two hours
Bratislava Slovakia Europe
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Beer tasting at the UFO

Beer was first brewed in Bratislava by the Celts 2,000 years ago and has long competed with wine for the most popular drink in the region. This excursion ventures up to the UFO observation tower where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to sample a selection of locally brewed beer.

Walking Grade 2

Two hours
The UFO Bridge, Bratislava
Bratislava Slovakia Europe
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Schonbrunn Palace

Visit the sumptuous Imperial Summer Palace of the Hapsburgs, the centre of royal life in the 18th century, inspired by Versailles. The UNESCO-listed palace is filled with priceless treasures, while the vast grounds feature well-manicured lawns and colourful flower beds.

Walking Grade 3

Four hours
The gardens at Schonbrunn Palace
Schonbrunn Palace Vienna Austria Europe
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Vienna evening concert

After dinner on board your ship, travel to the baroque Palais Auersperg or one of Vienna’s other impressive palaces near the Ringstrasse, for a concert of music by Mozart and the Strauss family. Performance details will be provided on board ship.

Walking Grade 1

Two-and-a-half hours
A classical concert in Vienna
Vienna Austria Europe
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary
Journey through the Iron Gates

The Danube

from £2,399 per person
2 passengers
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required
Read reviews
Journey through the Iron Gates

The Danube

from £2,399 per person
2 passengers
11 nights
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £54 if not required