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    Historic Budapest
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    Cosmopolitan Belgrade
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    Iron Gates Gorge

Scenic Transylvania and the Danube: To Budapest

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

Cruise the Danube through four countries before a three-night hotel stay in Transylvania

Your holiday begins with a three-night hotel stay in Transylvania, where you’ll visit the imposing castle that inspired the creation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and enjoy a walking tour of Brasov and its Gothic church. You’ll embark our new ship, Spirit of the Danube, in Braila to begin your cruise along the River Danube stopping to explore the historic cities of Bucharest, Belgrade and Mohacs en route to historic Budapest. You’ll also spend a day cruising the Iron Gates gorge with its dramatic mountain scenery…


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

Hands shaking Included travel insurance

Bed3 nights Half Board in a hotel, 8 nights Full Board aboard the ship

Dinner plate30 meals: 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 11 dinners

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

PersonCruise Host


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

MapIncluded excursions

  • Brosov city tour
  • Bran Castle
  • Pleven panoramic
  • Belgrade and the Kalemegdan Fortress
  • Budapest city tour OR Budapest culinary walking tour

HeadphonesInteractive maps and audio headsets for independent exploration

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Bucharest to Transylvania

Old town Brasov, Romania

Fly to Bucharest. Transfer to the locally rated 5-star Aro Palace Hotel (4Q), in the heart of Transylvania, for a three night half-board stay.

Enjoy dinner at the hotel throughout your stay.

Day 2 Transylvania

Brasov and its Black Cathedral

Head to the centre of Brasov for an enjoyable walking tour of this beautiful town, including entrance to the 14th-century Black Church. The interior of this Gothic church was destroyed by a fire in 1689 which left the outer walls and roof blackened.

Day 3 Transylvania

The medieval Castle of Bran, Brasov, Transylvania

Enjoy an included visit to 14th-century Bran Castle, the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula, even though the author never visited Transylvania! It is thought that Vlad the Impaler, ruler of this area – Walachia – in the 15th century, may have been imprisoned here.

Day 4 Transylvania to Braila

Crossing the Carpathian mountains in Romania

Depart after breakfast for a scenic drive through the Carpathian Mountains to your ship. Stop for lunch and some free time in the hills en route.

Embark Spirit of the Danube and look forward to your welcome drink reception and dinner. Your ship begins sailing shortly after embarkation.

Braila Romania Europe

Day 5 Silistra to Rousse

Silistra and the Danube River, Bulgaria

Enjoy the morning in Silistra, where you may like to explore the ruins of a medieval castle located on the riverbank.

Depart at lunchtime and enjoy the facilities on board your ship as you cruise towards Rousse this afternoon, arriving this evening.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 6 Rousse 🎧

Regional Court of Rousse, Bulgaria

This morning you'll wake in Rousse, nicknamed 'Little Vienna', on account of the Austrian-style architecture here. The city prospered from its location on the Danube and is home to many grand buildings. A good example is the Building of the Tax Administration with its elaborate facade. Enjoy the day exploring and why not join an optional city tour?

You remain moored here overnight.

Rousse Bulgaria Europe

Day 7 Rousse to Svistov to Nikopol

St. George the Conqueror Chapel Mausoleum, Pleven, Bulgaria

Your ship departs Rousse early allowing you the morning to explore Svistov, one of the largest Bulgarian Danube ports.

Enjoy an included scenic journey by coach across the Danubian Plain to the town of Pleven, on the River Vit, a tributary of the Danube. in 1877, when Bulgaria was trying to escape Ottoman rule in the War of Liberation, the town was under siege for five months. The event is depicted in a vast circular panoramic painting which was opened to the public in 1977, the centenary of the siege. You’ll walk through the town with your guide to the Pleven Panorama and afterwards enjoy a glass of Bulgarian wine in a hotel. Alternatively, head to nearby Veliko Tarnovo on an optional excursion.

Depart this afternoon for Nikopol where you pause briefly before cruising towards the Iron Gates.

Nikopol Bulgaria Europe

Day 8 The Iron Gates

Iron Gate, Danube

Cruise the Danube as it 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.

Day 9 Belgrade 🎧

Belgrade on the banks of the Sava River

This morning, join an included city tour of Serbia's capital, Belgrade, one of the oldest cities in Europe and the meeting point of Eastern and Western Europe.

From here you can join an optional tour of Novi Sad, or re-board Spirit of the Danube and cruise to Novi Sad, where your ship will pause briefly for excursion participants to rejoin before sailing on towards Mohács.

Belgrade Serbia Europe

Day 10 Mohács

Traditional carnival masks, Mohacs

Arrive in Mohács this morning with a couple of hours to explore the home of some of Hungary’s most exciting folk traditions. Perhaps join an optional full-day excursion through the Hungarian lowlands where you can enjoy a performance of traditional horsemanship, rejoining your ship when she pauses briefly in Kalocsa.

Spirit of the Danube continues cruising to Budapest.

Mohacs Hungary Europe

Day 11 Budapest 🎧

Central Market Hall of Budapest

Arrive in the early hours, giving you a day in this thrilling city. Experience the culture and local cuisine on an included culinary-themed walking tour which visits the First Strudel House and the Central Market Hall or choose to join an included tour and see some of the city’s highlights. This afternoon perhaps join an optional excursion to Gödöllo Palace or the Lazar Equestrian Park horse farm.

Your ship remains moored here overnight.

Budapest Hungary Europe

Day 12 Budapest to UK

This morning, disembark Spirit of the Danube after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK.

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 11 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 11 nights itinerary

Novi Sad

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. Enjoy a short walking tour of the old town centre, which boasts a fine selection of 18th and 19th-century buildings. Then continue to an old family wine cellar where you can taste the local wines, and also honey, produced here.

Walking Grade 3.

Three hours
Novi Sad
  • 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

Gödöllo Palace

The second largest baroque palace in the world, Gödöllo Palace was the former summer residence of Queen Elizabeth and Franz Joseph, Hapsburg Emperor and King of Hungary between 1867 and 1916. Gain an insight into the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the couple’s lavish lifestyle as you explore the interior, the Palace Theatre and gardens.

Walking Grade 2

Four hours
Godollo Palace, Hungary
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary

Lazar Equestrian Park

Travel to the Lazar Equestrian Park, owned by the world champion horse and carriage drivers, the Lazar brothers. After refreshments enjoy a fascinating show demonstrating exceptional horsemanship. Afterwards, take a carriage ride around the park, followed by a walk through the yard to see local breeds of livestock and visit to the stables where the Lazar's champion horses are kept.

Walking Grade 1

Four hours
Hungarian horsemanship
  • Optional on 11 nights itinerary
Scenic Transylvania and the Danube: To Budapest

The Danube